Mayoral Candidates on Chicago Public Schools

January 31, 2011 | Chicago, IL

By Olubukola (Bukie) Adekoje

If you’re wondering where the Mayoral Candidates stand on Chicago Public schools, here is their response from a questionnaire developed by Catalyst Chicago in collaboration with other public media in Chicago. Full answers and responses to other questions are also available on various websites including, WBEZ 91.5, the Chicago News Cooperative and “Chicago Tonight” on WTTW-TV. Topics covered in the questionnaire include the role and quality of the CEO of CPS; the length of the school day; the 2011-2012 school year deficit; the divide on closing failing school; as well as teacher evaluation and tenure. Read the candidates’ responses here.

Erie House provides preschool, after school, youth and adult education with the belief that education is an invaluable tool in empowering individuals and families. As the mayoral election nears, there will be more opportunity to learn about the Candidates’ plans for the city of Chicago and on issues of concern to our partners, donors, participants and staff. Stay tuned.

Will the next mayor take control of Chicago Public Schools like Mayor Daley? Who should elect the Board of Education members?

Gery Chico: I do not support the idea of an elected school board. I would not create 11 new politicians. This isn’t about politics, it’s about doing the best job we can for our kids. I believe the mayor should be accountable for the success or failure of the public schools.

Miguel del Valle: I believe the next mayor should maintain control over the Chicago Public Schools and Board of Education because it creates a direct line of accountability for all the different constituencies that have an interest in creating a quality public school system.

I know it will only be possible to foster positive results if students, parents, teachers, principals, teachers, unions, and the school board work together as partners. [A]s mayor I will make sure all voices are heard and will keep a focus on what is best for students and their families.

Rahm Emanuel: I am comfortable with the current responsibilities given to the mayor and the school board.

Carol Moseley Braun: I do not support limiting the mayor’s involvement in the school system. The board members should be selected based upon merit and experience, and I support public input in the board’s selection.

William Walls III: No, I do not want to control the Board of Education. Rather than continue to allow the mayor to appoint the school board, we must elect a school board, from single member districts, the president should be elected citywide.

Patricia Van Pelt Watkins: The mayor should be held accountable to the people of the city for improving our public schools by working with the Board of Education, not on the Board of Education.

As mayor, I would support changing the membership rules of the Board of Education to allow for a combination of appointed and elected members. This critical balance would allow for the mayor’s office to maintain a high standard of qualification for the board without infringing on the board’s autonomy.

Frederick Williams: Yes, I think the mayor should retain control and the Board of Education members should be a mix of appointed by the mayor, selected by the CTU and a consensus of the principals of our school system.


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