Education Question 12

What would success with your education agenda look like at the end of your first term?

Gery Chico: At the end of my first term as Mayor of Chicago, our school system will be educating and elevating our kids so that they are empowered to take advantage of opportunities in their future.  The Chicago Public Schools were a launching pad for my career, and I’m proud to have sent my own children to CPS schools.  As Mayor, I will take the successful experiences and lessons from my time as CPS President in the 90’s - and apply it to the current landscape.  By holding students, teachers, and parents accountable, we will improve the morale across our system, and see measurable gains in student achievement reflected in both test scores and graduation rates.  My education agenda, released several week ago lays out my plans in more detail, including among other things, giving all students laptops by the end of my first term, creating parent academies for every school, recruiting excellent teachers and principals, etc.  I intend to once again make CPS a stronger schools system that is equipped to help shape our children’s lives.

Miguel del Valle: In the short-term, within my first time, I would seek to ensure that all CPS schools have active, well-trained, functioning Local School Councils.  As a state senator, I was the co-sponsor of the 1988 School Reform law that created Local School Councils.  When I spoke at the 20th Anniversary Celebration of Parents United for Responsible Education (PURE), I said, “Show me a school that’s progressing, I will show you a school with a Local School Council that is strong, that is involved, that is connected, that is fully engaged.

Also, I would consider it a success to partner with the private sector to fund the creation of more Community Learning Centers as articulated above, increasing their number by 50% during my first term as mayor.

In the longer-term, all students will succeed by having the same effective and efficient educational opportunities in every single neighborhood. Each school will be the community learning center of its neighborhood.

Rahm Emanuel: Classroom success in Chicago should be judged on improvement on basic metrics, like student attendance, school completion, and the extent to which our students enter and succeed in post secondary education. I will judge our success not just based on whether Chicago is improving relative to itself, but how Chicago stacks up against cities across the country. This is not about standardized test scores, but about the ability of our children to leave the public schools with the tools they need to excel in higher education and the workforce. Our local economy and global competitiveness require this investment in our children so that they can thrive in higher education and the workforce.

Carol Moseley Braun:
Increased enrollment, improved performance, an increased graduation rate and more Chicago students enrolling in college.

Patrica Van Pelt-Watkins:
First, I would ensure that Chicago Public School District has implemented a full community engagement process that gives parents and community members an equal voice in the school reform process. 

Secondly, I would overhaul the way information is shared with parents about their child’s performance in school to ensure that the information is useful to help improve educational outcomes.

Thirdly, I would work to overhaul the Reduction in Force process for teacher layoffs to ensure that it was redesigned in such a way that it was not focused on tenure only, but on student needs.

Fourth, I would develop a plan to provide all schools with the necessary technology to provide up-to-the-minute tracking of each child’s performance for teachers, and allow them to tailor instruction to those needs.

Finally, I would develop a plan to ensure that all schools work to expand individual learning plans for each student. This would include information on what they currently know, and what will they learn this year. In addition, the plan should be shared with every parent.

Further more, I believe that every teacher and school should also have goals and targets.  This should not include esoteric targets set by the Federal government or the state – but targets set by the school and community. When we look at some of our schools, the targets and goals will mean that certain students will not be on trajectory to get to college ready. Schools should be supported to hit meaningful targets.

William "Doc" Walls, III: At the end of my first term, we would  have an education first model of Public Education headed by a Superintendent who's committed to the development of a school system that does more than safely warehouse students; teach them reading, writing, math and science and train them to pass tests. We will have a system that thoroughly exposes students to all of life’s intangibles; including the arts, history, the humanities, civics, vocations, languages sports and technology. We will be committed to having one curriculum common to children at the same grade level, across each of the schools, throughout the city.

Irrespective of the level of parental support or involvement, or lack thereof, we will completely educate all of our children. We will empower them to perform critical and analytical functions, and enable them to appreciate their limitless potential.

Thanks to encouragement from a vast body of involved stakeholders, the Illinois state legislature will have reformed education Funding, and the state shall be supplying 51% of the amount needed to provide each child a high quality education.

Additionally, we will have lessened the burden on taxpayers despite the burgeoning cost of education. Our agenda would include institutionalizing Corporate support for our educational system through naming rights, not charter schools. For example, we might rename Lane Technical High School, the “Sprint-Lane Tech Campus.” In exchange for long-term naming rights, Sprint Communications would be required to invest an initial $1.6 million dollars for Capital improvements and thereafter provide $600,000 per year to fund educational programs at Lane Tech High School. Other companies and private individuals might pay a fee to have the auditorium or gymnasium, or certain classrooms named according to their wishes.