Improving education locally – but how?
Because we all like to give advice, I thought this could be an interesting topic. A reader has written in who’s been invited to participate on a new Alderman’s education committee for the ward. (As an aside, I love that an Alderman would make this a priority.)
Here is her letter and more details about the committee are below. The challenge is figuring out what can be done at the ward level. I applaud (more than applaud — celebrate, love, thank, etc) any parent who is willing to take this on. I don’t fully understand the impact that an Alderman can have on the schools, but I assume having him/her on your side is a good thing. Any thoughts on where they might start, what some goals should be would be great to hear and share. My head starts to explode when I think about improving the entire CPS system. Maybe starting in smaller chunks is easier?
Our previously unhelpful alderman has left office and we have elected a new one who is soliciting input from actual residents of the ward. Having spoken to our alderman-elect many times during the campaign regarding education I have been invited to serve as a part of his transition team in the area of education. My only qualifications are that I am a parent, I highly value education for all members of society, and I want to see all of the ward’s schools educate not only the low-income student population that it primarily serves currently but also the middle income students that currently seem to all attend private schools. I would value input from your readers on what sort of vision they would have in helping to reshape an entire ward’s policy on education from elementary through college! The schools in our ward are as follows.
Elementary – Greeley, Stockton, Brennemann, Stewart, McCutcheon, and Disney Magnet
High School – Uplift (although our “neighborhood” high school is Senn although not in our ward)
College – Truman Community College
FROM THE ALDERMAN:
Thank you again for volunteering to be part of the transition team for the 46th Ward. I would like you to serve on the Education committee, and welcome your input as an advisor into the future of the ward.
Below, I have outlined the goals for each committee and expectations for each team member so that every participant understands the commitment they are making.
Within the framework of the committee topic, I would ask that each group address the following questions:
- What is the committee’s vision for the ward?
- What values do we want to preserve in the ward?
- What is working well?
- What needs to be changed? Identify the top 3 priority initiatives within your committee’s topic that you would like to see implemented in the 46th Ward.
- How will these initiatives promote economic development in the ward?
- How will these initiatives promote sustainability and environmental responsibility within the ward?
- Who will these initiatives immediately affect and how will they be involved in attaining the goals?
- Who else will be part of the solution (identify stakeholders and roles)?
- What are the goals to reach these three initiatives and how will we measure success (include timeline if necessary)?
Time commitment: Members will be asked to attend one meeting each week for 3 weeks. Meetings will be 1-2 hours in length, and team members may be assigned ‘homework’ to complete before the next meeting. These assignments will include policy research and document writing. Once we hear back from you and your team members that you are able to fulfill this commitment, someone from my transition team will assist with assigning the first meeting date. During your first meeting, you will schedule your next two meetings with your committee, so please plan to discuss dates and times that will work for you.
Deliverables: Each committee will produce a report that includes a Vision Statement and will address the questions listed above. This document will be submitted to my office for my review.
Follow Up: A meeting will be scheduled so that I have the opportunity to discuss your report with the group. These findings will inform the board of the Ward Master Plan.
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