Posts tagged ‘cps school board’

CPS School Board: To elect or appoint?


A quick search this morning on our school board led me to this article which I think summarizes the situation nicely and in an unbiased way and includes some quotes from some professors at DePaul.  Share your opinion in the comments section.

by The DePaulia


The DePaulia writes:

“The board is responsible for the finances, governing, and organization of CPS. So, the members of the board of education have profound impact on the policies and direction of CPS.

William Sampson, DePaul Chairman of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences said electing board members does not guarantee that the public’s values will be represented accurately.

“There is no assurance that board members will know anything about education or finance,” Sampson said. “Since the mayor will be held accountable for school performance, he or she will want to control the education process for which he or she is held accountable.””

““Elected boards, just as appointed boards, require a broad range of skilled individuals to be successful,” Horace Hall, a DePaul Educational Policy and Research Studies professor, said. “

The PROS of an elected school board:

“Elected school boards have their advantages.

“One of the major advantages of an elected school board is that it can bring all citizens closer to issues surrounding public education and criticality voice our needs and concerns,” Hall said. “This ideally breeds civic engagement and support.” “


“The main issue seems to be the balance between keeping the community’s concerns and involvement at the forefront of educational policy while simultaneously ensuring that the board has diverse and qualified members.”

March 6, 2015 at 9:43 am 98 comments

School Board – Elected or Appointed?

I’m once again in the middle of a work tornado, lasting another week or so.  So I’m trying to think of a good discussion topic.

I know there’s discussion going around about whether the school board should be elected or appointed.  I haven’t had time to read opinions anywhere so I’m curious to see what people think.  I gather that the current way of thinking is to push for an elected board?  I actually have mixed thoughts about that based on my experience in a private school where my son went to PreK and my experience on the LSC of my neighborhood school.

I actually see some serious benefits of appointing a board, assuming it is done by someone who’s judgment I trust (and there is my idealism, rearing it’s naive head again.)

At the PreK my son attended, there was a big enrollment debacle (which I will write about one day, now that I’ve had 3 years for my anger to diffuse.)  During that time, many of us learned that the school board (who had made a crappy decision about something) was not a voted-in board, but rather each member was selected by the school principal.  Which made for a weird set up, since how many hand-selected members are going to actively oppose the person who picked them.  It became too much of a monarchy/dictatorship in that the principal had her yes-men under control.  Or maybe she just picked people who thought just like her.  But there was no way for parents to ever decide to “take over the school” by electing in a new board.   The parents, who paid to keep the place running, had no power, in a sense.  All we could do was show up at the board meetings, express our opinions, and face the eye-rolling.  Did I say my anger had diffused?  I feel it swelling up.

However…. the principal pointed out that running a school takes a range of skills.  The board generally needed people skilled in accounting, law, finance, and P.R.  (well, I think they needed the PR piece, they clearly didn’t.)  She told us that an elected board would end up being a popularity contest.  OK, maybe not Marcia Brady popularity, but she raised a valid point.

And seeing what needs to happen to make an effective LSC run and surely the Chicago school board run, I see where it makes sense to balance out the skills of the board members.  Have you ever read the minutes of a board meeting?  There is a lot of boring crap in there that requires some special skills to understand.  It’s not all about deciding what % of Selective Enrollment high school kids get in based on straight test scores.  Much much more than that.

And do we want to know that parents could come over and “take over” CPS?  Sure, it makes sense if it’s you, me, and the Raise Your Hand people.  But it could be any large group with an agenda.  Charter school lovers.  Track E lovers.  Teachers union members.   In theory an appointed board would prevent this from happening.

I’d like to think that everyone in the city would carefully consider the candidates and vote for those with the best intentions for all students.  Just like the people running for Water Reclamation district hope that I will consider their candidacy with great effort.  Will it really happen that way?  I don’t know.

Maybe split the # who are appointed or elected.  And balance the appointed by Tier.  Heh.


January 19, 2011 at 1:56 am 22 comments

Board Meeting Wednesday

Here ya go….

Big CPS board meeting Wednesday Nov 17.

They will be voting on the recos of the Blue Ribbon Committee in regards to policy on admission criteria for selective enrollment and magnet schools.

I endorse going to the meeting to voice your opinion (although I believe the goal was for the BRC to collect this input before this meeting and incorporate it into their reco.)  If you disagree with their recommendations, it’s certainly worth expressing that opinion at Wednesday”s meeting.

I read the entire BRC recommendation document this weekend and my personal opinion is that they did a very thorough job (especially considering they all have other full time jobs.)  I find most of recommendations to be well-discussed.  I feel like the points they made reflect that the group wasn’t biased toward one specific group and I generally agree with their report and the recommendations they’re making.  If you don’t, by all means speak up on behalf of yourself.

You can read their report here (first document BRC Report 9_22_10.)

As a disclaimer, I’m not necessarily here to be a CPS activist.  I’m happy to provide links to sites that support CPS-related activism (such as Raise Your Hand,) so if anyone wants to start one, please feel free to give me your link and I’ll post it.  But my goal is to provide a forum about the CPS experience.  All aspects of it.     Thanks for reading and especially for all the discussion.


November 16, 2010 at 9:36 pm 69 comments




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