Thursday, December 30, 2010

Coalition calls for an elected school board

Crossposted at Shedd Public School!

The video above is from Chicago Tonight which talks about calls for an elected Chicago School Board.

Below an article from the Chicago Tribune:
Chicago's next mayor shouldn't control the city's public school system, a coalition of teachers, community leaders, parents and students said Wednesday, raising an idea that quickly splintered the major contenders for the office.

The group called for an elected school board that would geographically represent the city instead of the current panel the mayor appoints. The proposed board would dedicate seven of the 13 seats for parents and community members. Two would go to teachers and one each to an administrator, education researcher, paraprofessional and business person.

The push is in its early stages; advocates will need to persuade state legislators to overhaul the landmark 1995 law that put control of Chicago Public Schools into Mayor Richard Daley's hands. To that end, the group is lobbying "key legislators," said Jitu Brown of the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization, who declined to say which lawmakers the group is targeting as sponsors.
In an open letter to the "citizens of Chicago," the coalition also recommended the board stagger its meetings between weekday mornings in district headquarters and evening sessions in area schools. A student advisory board also would be convened and report to district leaders.

The proposed changes would upend the system that allows Daley to appoint a school CEO and board members. The school board now includes seven members drawn from several top financial and consulting firms in the city.

But Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis said that's no substitute for the voices of parents, teachers and students who are in the city's schools every day. The union is one of the main architects of the proposal.

What's more, the union wants the return of an educator to lead the Chicago education system. Daley has favored the CEO model of leadership, picking four school chiefs in 15 years who were not career educators.

"The top-down decisions made by non-educators have not shown the improvement," Lewis said.
Before Mayor Daley took control of CPS back in 1995, I have no idea how one became a member of the School Board. In addition to that, I have no idea who appointed the School's superintendent. Today the schools have a Chief Executive Officer, the last superintendent of the public schools was Argie Johnson.

BTW, I have little problem with a CEO running the schools. Running a major school system will involve more skills than being an educator, especially if one needs to worry about making sure the school get all the necessary resources. But it's not unreasonable to call for an elected school board even if CPS remains a department of the City of Chicago where the Mayor still has a hand in who actually runs the system.

BTW, what about the Mayoral candidates on this issue you saw that in the Chicago Tonight video, but what about reading that article that I had excerpted.

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