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Parents Hope New CPS Boss Brings Reform

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Chicago Public Schools

(Credit: CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — Parents of Chicago Public School students saw Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel’s choice of a new CPS chief as an opportunity for change in the school system.

CBS 2’s Roseanne Tellez spoke to some parents about the improvements they’d like to see under Jean-Claude Brizard, Emanuel’s pick to be the new chief executive officer at CPS.

The list is long and differs depending on the neighborhood.

Most Chicago Public Schools were on spring break this week, but some year-round schools were in session.

At Socorro Sandoval Elementary School on the Southwest Side, most parents hadn’t even heard that Emanuel had named his choice for a new school CEO, but they were quick to offer advice.

“I would love to see the school day lengthened. Right now the six-hour day is just way too short and the teachers complain that they don’t have enough time to teach the children all that they need,” William Baske said.

Irma Molina said she wanted to know what Emanuel would do about school security.

“We have a problem, issue with gangs early, at 7 and 8, 9 years old. They get them from elementary and then they start … to sell the drugs,” she said.

In the city’s Hyde Park neighborhood, a former teacher weighed in with ways to help teachers.

“I think it’s important to allow them the freedom in the classroom to do what they’re paid to do,” Kimberly Goodrule said. “And also to have a little bit more responsibility put onto the parents. I think they do a lot of babysitting in the public schools.”

Illinois Raise Your Hand, a coalition of parents working to improve all Chicago Public Schools, also offered a list of suggestions to Brizard, including:

–a more well-rounded curriculum that would bring back language, arts, recess and PE;
–more of a focus on neighborhood schools;
–and more parent input, especially at school board meetings.

But the kids who talked to CBS 2 on Monday had a different priority.

“Better cafeteria food,” said Sydni. “”It’s nasty. It’s not healthy. I don’t even know what’s in it.”

CBS 2 reached out to parents from different parts of the city by phone on Monday and one other bit of input was that individual schools should have more freedom to implement programs that make sense at their school.

Parents said they’re tired of the “one-size fits all” approach.

Brizard doesn’t start right away. He still needs to be approved and hired by the members of the Chicago Board of Education, whom Emanuel also named on Monday.

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