Curie LSC, PURE Call On CPS, Media To Do Better

Speaking through their lawyers, Curie LSC members who voted not to renew Principal Jones rejected the notion that they were motivated by race, and called on the press to "stop this vile conjecture and get back to facts and objective reporting." 

In an explicit effort to show the diversity of support for LSCs and blunt any effort to divide minority groups against each other, the event included both African-American and Latino supporters. 

Click below to read the full text of the press release (including a challenge to Principal Jones to attend and open the building for a special meeting on Saturday).   Click here to read -- and edit -- a Wikipedia entry on LSCs.

Meanwhile, a bunch of Jones supporters are supposed to be showing up at the Board meeting today.

From PURE:

The following statements were made at the LSC press conference held
today at Gage Park High School in support for the Curie LSC and the LSC
structure. In addition to the two speakers listed below, also speaking
were Maria Martiinez, MALDEF; Catherine Jones, community LSC
representative from Key and Douglas; Wanda Hopkins from PURE and also
Lewis and Andrew Jackson LSC; and Qauthemoc Morfin, LSC Chair from
Juarez High School LSC.

A letter regarding these issues was e-mailed to Mayor Daley at City Hall
this morning, and the text follows at the end.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Statement presented 3/27/07 by Jose Gutierrez, Curie High School LSC
community representative
Prepared by Elaine Siegel and Assoc., legal representatives of the Curie
HS LSC

As we have said many times, we cannot discuss the reasons why we decided
not to renew the four-year performance contract of Jerryelyn Jones. It
is improper and disrespectful to discuss these confidential personnel
matters. The case, moreover, is in a confidential arbitration process.

We can, however, discuss reasons that did not motivate our decision. The
Curie LSC states emphatically that this decision was not based on race.

There have been rampant reports in the media that the LSC "fired" Ms.
Jones because she is African-American, and to make way for a Latino
principal. There are even reports that we have already selected Ms.
Jones's successor.

All of this is completely false. These news reports are based on nothing
but rumor and speculation. There is no truth to them. We ask the media
to stop this vile conjecture, and get back to facts and objective reporting.

The Curie LSC understands, and deplores, racism in all its forms. Ever
since the mayor's reelection, we have been held up to ridicule in the
media as Latinos. We have been mocked for speaking Spanish. The news
coverage of the Curie situation has been filled with every stereotype
imaginable.

We stand in solidarity with the African-American community. We refuse to
be part of a politics that seeks to drive a wedge between our
communities, in an effort to weaken the authority of local school
councils. We all share a commitment to equal education opportunity for
all our children. LSCs are a critical part of our children's continuing
success. We are proud to be a part of this democratic process.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Statement presented 3/27/07 by Julie Woestehoff, PURE Executive Director

Today members of a diverse group of LSCs from schools across the city
come together at Gage Park High School to call on Mayor Daley to offer
more support and stop taking sides against LSCs.

We challenge the Mayor to take the following specific actions to see for
himself what the Curie LSC has encountered as they try to carry out
their responsibilities.
The Mayor should ask for and view the video clips of LSC meetings
taken at the school to see what the LSC members have been putting up
with from the audience and the principal.
The Mayor should watch the principal this weekend to see if she opens
the school and attends the special LSC meeting called for Saturday,
March 31 at 9 am. (The LSC needs a quorum to fill a parent vacancy and
approve two budget transfers for school programs. If the principal does
open the building and attend, the LSC will be able to get its important
business done.)

We also challenge the Mayor to improve support for LSCs instead of
attacking them. LSCs have been struggling for years with poor support
from the Chicago Public Schools. In cases like Curie, CPS CEO Arne
Duncan publicly takes sides against the majority of the LSC. Yet LSCs
are expected to go to CPS for help. There should be a better check and
balance – LSCs should not have to depend for support on an institution
that is working to dismantle them.
Now even some of the independent groups that have supported LSCs over
the years have had to close down because Chicago foundations and
businesses are funding such programs as the Mayor's Renaissance 2010
plan and withdrawing their support from programs that support LSCs.
The Mayor should ask why LSCs elected in 2006 have not been given an
LSC manual.
The Mayor should support a proposal to outsource LSC training to
independent groups that have a track record of supporting LSCs.
The Mayor should support the LSC Conflict Resolution program that was
piloted in 2005-06 by CPS, PURE and the Center for Conflict Resolution
which resulted in successful (and calm) resolutions at two schools.

LSCs work!

The good news is that LSCs have worked well despite the neglect. The
positive research on LSC effectiveness has multiplied over the last two
or three years. For example:

"Empowered Participation," a 2004 book by Archon Fung, a professor at
Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, uses LSCs as a model of
empowered civic involvement. Fung finds that LSCs
improve accountability between the community and local officials,
build social capital,
give a voice to people in the poorest communities,
and, most importantly, have a positive impact on student achievement.

Studies by the Consortium on Chicago School Research found a high level
of effectiveness in local school councils.
Their 1997 study found, among other things, that principals view LSC
selection of principals very positively: "Their positive responses stand
as a strong endorsement of this most important work of the councils."
Their 2003 study found that, of the teachers who know about LSCs, 70%
said they were "really helping to make this school better," up from 63
percent nine years ago.

"The Big Picture," a 2005 report by Designs for Change, found a
correlation between schools with test scores trending "substantially up"
over 15 years and effective LSCs.

The DFC report compares 144 successful schools (top lines on the left)
with 113 other low-performing schools (bottom lines) which did not
escape CPS intervention and whose LSCs were no longer allowed to make
key decisions for the school. These schools have failed to make
significant progress over the years and most remain stuck on probation.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

To: Mayor Daley
From: Julie Woestehoff, Executive Director, Parents Untied for
Responsible Education
Date: March 27, 2007
Re: Support LSCs, Don't Attack Them!

Today LSC and organization members from across Chicago are gathering at
Gage Park High School to call on you to offer more support to LSCs and
stop taking sides against them.

We urge you to learn more about what has been happening at Curie:
*Ask for and view video clips taken at the school during LSC meetings to
see how the LSC has been treated.
*Watch to see what the principal does this Saturday when the LSC has
called a special meeting to fill a vacancy and approve key budget
transfers - will she open the school and attend the meeting, assuring a
quorum?

We also urge you to improve support for LSCs rather than attack them.
*Ask why LSCs elected in 2006 have not been given an LSC manual (PURE
and others helped rewrite the 2002 manual over 5 months ago).
*Support a proposal which has been languishing at CPS for months to
certify independent LSC trainers that have a track record of support for
LSCs.
*Support expansion of the LSC Conflict Resolution program which was
successfully piloted in 2005-06 by PURE, CPS and the Center for Conflict
Resolution and led to peaceful resolutions of principal issues at two
schools (CPS since dropped the program).

We challenge you to balance your public criticism of LSCs by
acknowledging the facts about the positive effects of LSC. According to
research, LSCs have
*improved accountability between the community and local officials
*built social capital
*given a voice to people in the poorest communities
*been praised by principals for their selection processes
*"really helped make this school better" according to 70% of CPS
teachers familiar with LSCs
*correlated with schools with test scores trending substantially up.

Thank you for your attention. We look forward to your response.

Filed under: Events & Deadlines

Comments

Leave a comment
  • The school reform law envisions a wide variety of groups and institutions sharing in the work of LSC training and support. The proposal to outsource LSC training came from a coalition of over 30 school reform and community groups, all of which have an interest in providing LSCs with better training and support than CPS provides, and none of which should be expected to provide such services to LSCs for free. Unfortunately, there are fewer and fewer of those groups around any more. We have lost a lot of experience and wisdom.

    PURE's involvement with the conflict resolution program was not funded.

    I assume the anonymous critic who criticized PURE's "self-interest" always works for free.

  • Educators?

Leave a comment