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Renewed Call Issued For Elected School Board

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Chicago Public Schools

(Credit: CBS)

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CHICAGO (WBBM/CBS) – A renewed call has been issued for a school board that would be elected in Chicago instead of appointed by the mayor, and all the mayoral candidates are being asked to go along with the idea.

As WBBM Newsradio 780’s John Cody reports, a coalitions of community organizations backed by the Chicago Teachers Union says it now has data to back up its call for the Chicago School Board to be elected by popular vote.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s John Cody reports

In a news conference in the School Board lobby, University of Illinois at Chicago professors Rico Gutstein and Pauline Lipman say their analysis of national studies conducted by others shows the disparity between black and white students in Chicago Public Schools continues to increase.

Gutstein and Lipman are careful to acknowledge that both black and white students’ achievement scores have risen, but whites more than blacks, and neither very much.

They suggest that an elected school board might help remedy the disparity.

The Chicago Teachers Union also sees an elected school board as a counter to charter schools, which they see as a union-busting tactic.

The Teachers Union has long been calling for a return to an elected school board, as all other Illinois school districts have.

But in Chicago, the then-Republican-led Illinois General Assembly gave Mayor Richard M. Daley direct control of the school system in 1995.

The system was reorganized so it was led by a chief executive officer rather than a superintendent. The 1995 revamp also created a board of trustees that was appointed directly by the mayor, rather than an outside School Board Nominating Commission.

Among the many other changes in the 1995 legislation was a refocusing of resources on student achievement, and a pledge to ensure academic improvement through accountability councils.

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