The recent resignation of CPS CEO Jean-Claude Brizard is further evidence of what parents, teachers and students have known for years: CPS is chaotic and has no vision for our public schools or our children. Action Now member Jackie Pruitt spoke at a press conference on October 12th, the day after Brizard stepped down, saying, “CPS has a long history of pulling in outsiders, who know nothing about Chicago’s communities, to run our neighborhood public schools. They run our schools like a business and refuse to allow input from parents, teachers or students. This top down approach to education is not working.”
She continued, “We are sick and tired of being left out while CPS experiments on our kids with school closings and turnarounds that don’t work. We need a strong community voice in our schools, not another clueless outsider. We need an Elected School Board and we need it now!”
Action Now is a member of the coalition “Communities Organized for Democracy in Education” (CODE) that delivered the signatures of over 10,000 Chicagoans that want an Elected School Board. As a result, there will now be a measure on the ballot in 327 Chicago precincts (35 out of the 50 Wards) where people can vote on changing the school board from appointed to elected! CODE was started in 2011 by Jitu Brown at Kenwood Oakland Community Organization, and also includes Teachers for Social Justice, Raise Your Hand Coalition and Parents 4 teachers, among others.
According to National School Board Association, 94.5 percent of school boards in the country are elected and only 5.5 percent are appointed. Chicago has the only non-elected board in Illinois. an independent study by two professors at University of Illinois at Chicago found that under a mayor-appointed board, CPS made little progress in academic achievement and there were widening gaps between white, African-American and Latino students. The report, “Should Chicago Have an Elected Representative School Board? Look at the Evidence,” recommended that Chicago transition to an elected school board.
Chicago Now, “Why Chicago Needs An Elected School Board”
Austin Weekly News, “Should Chicago have an elected school board?”