PSAT for 3-20-12: Practice democracy – it’s a good thing!

Of course, you need to vote today if you have not already voted early.

Please also consider signing up as a candidate for the local school council. This Friday, March 23, is the (extended) nomination deadline (you can nominate yourself!). CPS has actually posted an awesome map that allows you to click on your local school and see how many candidates are signed up.

And I think that’s probably the FIRST TIME I have ever used the words “CPS” and “awesome” in the same sentence.

There are 4,159 candidates in 436 schools as of yesterday. More than 6,000 candidates are needed just to fill all the available seats. Many schools are in danger of losing their LSC, at least for a period of time, if too few people sign up.

Nomination forms are here, and must be dropped off at the school by 3 pm Friday.

I was surprised to see the LSC nomination deadline turn up on the Tribune’s weekly calendar, right next to other key dates like Captain Kirk’s birthday. I’ve started to think that the Trib is opposed to democracy, especially in our schools, after this editorial crowing about a “North Chicago Victory,” their take on Illinois State Superintendent Chris Koch’s decision to overrule the democratically-elected school board in that suburb and force the district to open a LEARN-operated charter school.

Trib editorial writers had originally demanded that Koch also disband the school board for its stubbornness in rejecting the charter proposal. He didn’t – but the finger-shakers over at the Trib will maintain their “we know better than your elected school board” vigilance:

The next question is whether the District 187 board will welcome LEARN or try to make life hard for the new educators in town. Charters are designed to operate with little interference from school boards, but we imagine the opponents of LEARN can cause trouble if they want. We’ve encouraged Koch to use the power he has to work with State Board of Education members to remove the North Chicago board and install a new authority to lead the district under ISBE control. If he doesn’t do that now, he should be prepared to do so at the first whiff of interference with the LEARN school.

So, even as the Trib urges us all to get out and vote, they also endorse the idea of letting unelected bureaucrats throw out democratic decision making in favor of privatized solutions. You know, like TIFs and selling the Skyway.

And that’s despite the research showing that struggling Chicago schools run by democratically-elected LSCs actually outperform turnarounds, which are bureaucratically-imposed and bureaucratically-run programs.

Chicagoans, cast a vote for democracy and better schools. For Public Schools Action Tuesday, run for the LSC.



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About the PURE Thoughts blogger
Julie Woestehoff is PURE's executive director. Julie's work has earned her a Ford Foundation award and recognition as one of the 100 Most Powerful Women in Chicago.