CHICAGO (CBS) — All six candidates for mayor of Chicago have said the city’s public schools need reform, but like other issues facing the candidates, there is disagreement on specific solutions.
What do parents and students really want the next mayor to do to improve the Chicago Public Schools? CBS2’s Dorothy Tucker spoke to some of them about that very issue at a “New School Expo” on Saturday at Soldier Field.
Parents and students have definite ideas about the improvements they would like to see the next mayor focus on. Saturday’s expo was a chance for them to learn more about the system’s charter school options.
They had come to the expo seeking answers, trying to determine which school is the best for their child.
Maria Ingram has three children in public schools. She said she wants the next mayor to make sure the schools focus on technology.
“I want my child to come home and say I can build a website just like you mom. I can do and speak those different programming languages and be able to be marketable,” Ingram said.
Preparing students for jobs and helping them to compete in a global market is what Scott Massingale said he wants from the new mayor.
“I went to a public school and I learned Latin. We may say it’s a dead language, but we know that five languages are based off Latin,” Massingale said.
Each candidate has committed to making education a priority. They’ve all talked about the need to improve test scores, increase graduation rates, and focus on safety. But Eunice Vasquez wants the city’s next leader to also concentrate on training teachers.
“We have a lot of fresh graduates; teachers not prepared to deal with the students here,” Vasquez said. “They’re not trained to be out in the field with kids with behavior problems, that might be neglected or come from certain families.”
Perhaps the simplest suggestions came from those who spend the most time at the schools.
“Some schools are broken down, the paint is peeling. I don’t like that.” said 7th grader Ronise Doss. “I want next mayor to clean up the schools.”
Some parents and educators at Saturday’s expo also wanted to see the next mayor increase the number of charter schools in the city and devote more funding them
But other parents and the Chicago Teachers Union have said that, because of selective enrollment, charter schools exclude too many students who need better schools.