If, by the mayor’s standards, current elected school board proposals are illegitimate to govern our school communities, consider how much decades of mayoral control has met, or exceeded, that illegitimacy.
The Chicago Teachers Union released the following statement today regarding comments this morning from Mayor Lori Lightfoot on her concerns about proposals for an elected representative school board, despite campaiging as a candidate in 2019 for a fully elected board:
The mayor’s claim that it is important for parents to have “a seat at the table” regarding proposals for an elected representative school board may sound rational, but contradicts the fact that it has been Chicago public school parents who have led the charge for an elected board in Chicago for the past two decades. But residents of our city have become accustomed to what has become standard practice from the mayor — public arguments that play well for cameras, but mask her underlying motives, whatever those may be.
Ironically, we already have an election for control of Chicago Public Schools — the Chicago mayoral election, which, for at least half a century, has never produced a single CPS parent. If, by the mayor’s standards, current elected school board proposals are illegitimate to govern our school communities, consider how much decades of mayoral control has met, or exceeded, that illegitimacy.
If the mayor is sincere about her concerns regarding parent voice, she should work collaboratively at the City Council level regarding public finance for school board elections to ensure residents, including parents, are not locked out by big-money interests and the board is truly representative of the city. Also, if the mayor is as attuned to parent voice as she claims, she should listen to the more than 70 percent of families who have chosen remote learning for their children, and have been asking for improvements to remote learning for nearly a full calendar year.
That is, unless the only true criteria the mayor cares about are the criteria that leave all the power in her hands.