LSC – Power to the People
I learned this week in LSC training that Chicago is the only major city where a parent-majority board evaluates, retains (or not) their principal, and selects a new principal when needed. In some ways it makes total sense that the local community decides who will run their local school. In other ways, its seems crazy to have hundreds of these small groups across the city reinventing the wheel over and over again when it comes to figuring out what makes a good SIPAAA (school strategic plan,) Budget, and Principal Evaluation.
Even stranger is the staggering of the LSC term with the school’s strategic plan. The SIPAAAs were all approved at the end of the last school year, around the same time as LSC elections. So each new LSC is working off a SIPAAA that the previous LSC approved (or even helped create.)
CPS provides training, but there is also a rogue parents rights group called PURE (Parents United for Responsible Education) who also provides training. I’d advise anyone who needs LSC training to check them out. They are a true “Power to the People” group, in a way that makes you look inside yourself and wonder why you haven’t stood up more often and shouted “WE WANT RESPECT!” Wanda, who leads the groups is a force to be reckoned with and apparently is well known (and sometimes despised) in CPS. She knows exactly what information parents have the right to see and she knows how to get it when all other efforts fail. Her motto is basically “why are people being paid $100K per year when Johnny doesn’t know how to read and write.” Well… good question. The million dollar question, actually. But unlike many of us who complain, avoid CPS, or just sit and blog about it, she is out there doing something about it. In a big way.
Some of my favorite tidbits from training:
– “I like a person with a big pile of data. It’s easier to send them to jail.” (joke)
– “The principal doesn’t have the paper you asked for, stop the meeting and tell them to go to their computer and get it (is that before or after I cower under the table?)
I can’t rave enough about this group. Schools in crisis should contact them. People needing LSC training should contact them. And Chicago parents should realize that the power really is in our hands. We just need to figure out how to harness it.