Elected School Board?

Today's education news: CPS has hired a new person to run special education, the Defender ponders an elected school board, CTU pushes for a comprehensive recall policy.  It's a hot summer Friday.  What more do you expect?


Chicago schools name new special education chief Sun Times:  The Chicago schools system has tapped a Cincinnati educator as the new head of its Office of Special Education and Support at a salary of $170,000.

CPS hires two new department heads Tribune: Chicago Public Schools this week hired a chief special education officer and an employee of the business consultant McKinsey & Co. to lead the district's key reform efforts. Markay Winston, formerly director of Student Services at Cincinnati Public ...

CPS appointments, New Leaders, United Way Catalyst: Todd Babbitz, Markey Winston, Luis Soria, Jennifer Vidis, Nathan Pietrini, Zipporah Hightower, Richard Jones.


Mixed feelings about notion of an elected school board Chicago Defender: Chicago Public Schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard said Tuesday that an elected school board would be “a disaster for the city” due the possibility of cronyism, nepotism and political agendas of elected officials getting in the way. “That would not be a solution.

History lesson, elected board Catalyst:  It is a common misconception that the Chicago mayor acquired the authority to appoint the School Board in 1995. In fact, in Chicago, the mayor has always appointed the School Board, at least during the lifetime of anyone now living.


CTU Pushes For Overall Teacher Recall Policy Progress Illinois: There is no recall plan in place for the 2,000 additional tenured teachers CPS has laid off since 2010. Following the longer school day agreement, CTU is pushing for a recall procedure to handle past and future layoffs as they continue collective bargaining negotiations with CPS.


Former CPS hoops star killed in shooting Sun Times:  Haynes, 22, was shot in the chest and lower back near South Vincennes Avenue and West 116th Street, police said. A friend took him to MetroSouth Medical Center in Blue Island, where he later died

Dold snags Illinois Education Association endorsement Sun Times:  Freshman Republican Rep. Bob Dold (R-Ill.) has snagged a rare and important endorsement in his bid to keep his North Shore congressional seat.

Romney in London, high school in the Loop and guns WBEZ: Today on the 3@3, Chicago Journal's Ben Meyerson and Chicago Magazine's Carol Felsenthal join Steve Edwards today to chat up these topics:  Carol Fesenthal: Romney says, “London might not be ready for the Olympics” and his “shared Anglo-Saxon heritage/


Filed under: Daily News Roundup



Leave a comment
  • My take on an elected school board is that it would be a complete disaster! There is a falacy that people think it would give "voice" to parents. What a crock of BS. What would happen is that CTU and Stand for Children would fund candidates (as they both do now in Springfield) and it would be like the dysfunctional congress of no one getting anything done. IF any side got the side to get majority, it would be trouble. As a parent, it would take several election cycles, so basically more or less 12 years, to try and change the makeup of a board. This means my kids are done with school before I could make any type of impact if I as a parent provided I even made it on the school board.

    Another troubling point is that it is a 5.3 billion dollar budget. I highly
    doubt ANY elected person would have the skills to manage that size budget. Corruption would explode. Better to have the mayor fully accountable and able to get the calibre people to serve.

    THE MOST troubling point is that LSCs would be eliminated if there was an elected school board. So effectively, this effort completely takes parents who have skin in the game at their kids school out of the equation. With an elected school board, a parent would have to run for the whole board and not be able to be on the governing body at their local school.

    The real answer here is to increase the support for local LSCs. If parents want a voice, start at your local school. There are also already "regional LSC" positions that are elected. These do nothing now, parents can make them mean something.

    It is ironic that these parent groups jump on an elected school board bandwagon without having all the facts straight. They are pretty much taking parents skin OUT of the game at the local school level. Of course CTU would love this move as they can fund candidates for an elected board. These parent groups got suckered once again by the union.

  • CTU is funding candidates? That's a joke right?

    We endorse candidates and many of us will volunteer to canvass for candidates we know support teachers and students, but CTU does not have the $ to drop $100k on a candidate. Our power is in our numbers and our connection to the community, not in our bank accounts.

    Why do LSCs have to disappear with an elected school board?

    Remember, this is a taxing body that is not elected. No taxation without representation. Stand On Children taking over the Board would look no different from what we have now. I feel like it could only get better.

    Plus, at least someone might be willing to dissent. Why bother having a school board if all they do is what Rahm tells them. We could get rid of so much waste if we just eliminated it and Brizard and the Minster of this and the Chief of that and the Director of whatever they come up with next at CPS.

  • In reply to BillyTurtle:

    Actually BT, CTU *does* have a political action committee (PAC) that gives money to candidates. The amounts aren't that large--certainly nowhere near the $100k you mention, but in some races, they are still important.

    I agree with you that there is no reason for LSCs to disappear with an elected school board. Both would take an act of the state legislature to accomplish.

  • Yes we have a PAC, but we cannot rain money down on a candidate like Stand did in the State primaries. Maybe it's time to increase the PAC contribution amounts? It's been the same for 25 years.....

  • fb_avatar

    Thank you for this editorial. Yes, an unconstrained election would get us what we've already had for 20 years...a school board saturated with special interest money. The current CPS board IS elected by the same special interest money that supported Rahm's campaign, let's not be naive about that.

    Parents don't wish to have "more representation handpicked by the Mayor." We wish to have AUTHENTIC representation that has not been pre-determined by the mayor. The referendum to seek public opinion is non-binding. If this referendum gives the people a chance to say whether or not they want more fair representation, let it be on the ballot. It would give us a temperature read.

    If the system or infrastructure didn't matter, we could have an elected board, an appointed board, or a group of random bystanders. The system matters, because the system bestows/withholds representation and balance. Chicago will ALWAYS have the problems that an oversized, underfunded, very diverse and overly segregated system has, especially during economic downturns. These problems will always challenge us. But HOW stakeholders are represented on the board can make a HUGE difference in the involvement, investment and commitment of parents.

    There is a spectrum of opportunity, a variety of representation models available to us, some in urban districts more successful than Chicago's. (See Boston, Miami-Dade, CMS, Cleveland) There are boards where members are appointed by unrelated elected officials (a mayor and a governor, for instance). And boards chosen by the mayor but from a pool of candidates presented by a Citizen Nominating Committee unconnected to the mayor. (see Cleveland) Or boards that are constrained in their representation (see Cleveland).

    Chicago is the only large school district in the nation with unilateral mayoral control. This control has been in place for 20 years, during which CPS' performance gaps have significantly widened. Keeping parents from putting up their own representation for the board has NOT improved CPS. I think we've given this failed system plenty of time to work.

    I have never seen a model of demonstrable urban school improvement in a large urban district that has prevailed after depriving parents and teachers of any power, respect or representation. The current model is creating more division, not less, and that won't be overcome by shoving programs down the throats of the districts most important stakeholders without their input. The last time the division around the schools was this bad was in the late 70's/early 80's. Middle class parents (and anyone else who could afford to) fled the city in droves, or started their own private schools. in the last 15 years, we have finally started to see movement back into the City again, and have enjoyed more economic stability and improved reputation. We're on the cusp of a new exodus once the housing market improves slightly if CPS parents are not engaged and involved in system-wide decisions. I hardly believe that the current mayor would like to have that legacy

Leave a comment