Posts Tagged ‘local school councils’

PSAT for 9-4-12: Be, see role models

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

For this “traditional” first day of school, some teachable moments courtesy of excellent role models:

Back in 1989, Chicago became a national model for school reform, thanks in part to the late Don Moore, PURE and many others who helped craft the Chicago School Reform law creating local school councils.

Then we became a model for what NOT to do in school reform when the mayor took control of the schools in 1995, hiring a non-educator as CEO of the schools.

Well, we’re back!

Public education supporters all over the world are watching Chicago’s courageous, unified teachers’ union and the strong parent, student and community support spearheaded by such groups as Parents 4 Teachers and KOCO.

They know that if we can do it, they can do it.

Here’s what Parents4Teachers has on tap for this week.

P4T Banner Day Friday Sept. 7

On the eve of a potential strike, we want to have a visible presence across the city showing the breadth of support for our teachers. We’ll be at key locations from 4 – 6 p.m., Friday, Sept. 7, with banners and leaflets–talking to Chicagoans about what’s at stake in the contract battle and urging them to support the teachers. We’re targeting 10 different, high visibility locations and will need 50 people to make this action a success. Please join us!

Email to get involved.

Call CPS every Thursday until teachers win a fair contract!

We flooded central office with calls last week–several people reported the number was “our of order” when they called. Let’s do it again this Thursday and every Thursday until the board offers a contract that benefits teachers and students. Call CPS CEO J.C. Brizard at 773-553-1500. Tell him you support the teachers’ contract demands for:

Smaller classes
1. A better, not just longer, day
2. More social services, counselors and nurses for our schools
3. Job security and fair compensation for teachers

Teachers’ needs and our children’s needs go hand in hand. With parents and teachers united, we can win the schools our children deserve!

Call 773-553-1500 and make your voice heard!

Host a parent/teacher meeting at your home or school

Parents have a lot of questions about the contract dispute and, if you just listened to the media, you’d think it’s only about money. In fact, it’s about so much more. The teachers–and the CTU–are fighting for the things that matter most in our schools. Good working conditions for teachers are good learning conditions for our kids.

Host a meeting at your home or school to help your friends, family and neighbors understand what’s really at stake and brainstorm ways we can all make a difference at this critical time.

Contact and we’ll help facilitate the meeting and make a presentation.

Parent pressure on the board is the key to avoiding a strike and winning a fair contract for our teachers and quality schools for our kids. We all need to stay informed and involved.

Please share this email with your friends!


And here’s an event you should plan to attend: a forum with another great role model, Jonathan Kozol.

S A V E     T H E      D A T E !

Author Jonathan Kozol to speak in Chicago September 27th. The event is free and open to the public but we recommend that you reserve a seat here.

Urban public schools and teachers who serve children in poverty are under attack. So argues activist author Jonathan Kozol. There is a profound connection, he insists, between urban poverty, racism and educational neglect. Kozol, author of a series of notable books about the conditions of children in urban America, will speak in Chicago on September 27.  He will address the current, unprecedented assault on public education and on public school teachers.

Jonathan Kozol’s new book is Fire in the Ashes: Twenty-Five Years Among the Poorest Children in America. In this volume, Kozol reconnects with some of the children his readers first met in  Rachel and Her Children (1988), Amazing Grace (1996), Savage Inequalities (1991) and Shame of the Nation (2006) and his other works documenting the social and educational conditions facing urban children. Kozol argues that as a society, we must judge ourselves by the way we treat our children–particularly our poorest children–and that public schools are a critical anchor in a democratic society. He describes vividly the resilient and curious spirits of children growing up in adversity; he asks that we examine the priorities of our society which has seized upon their public schools as a profit center, instead of a sheltering, supportive center of learning.

A book signing by the author will follow the talk. Mr. Kozol’s new book will be available for purchase at the event.


Date:  Thursday, September 27, 2012, at 6 pm. (Doors open at 5 pm).

Location: Thorne Auditorium of Northwestern University Law School, 375 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL

Hosted by the Children and Family Justice Center of Northwestern University Law School.

Sponsored by the Chicago Teachers Union, CReATE, Parents United for Responsible Education (PURE), Raise Your Hand Coalition

Free registration here.

Remembering Don Moore

Monday, September 3rd, 2012

News of the death of Don Moore is rippling through the Chicago public school community. Don founded Designs for Change, a key education advocacy group, and was one of the architects of Chicago’s Local School Council-based reform law.

Don dedicated his entire life to promoting LSCs and their potential for leading significant improvement in public education. He documented their successful impact on parent empowerment, teacher collaboration, and overall student learning. His user-friendly reports were truly the “wind beneath the wings” of the LSC reform movement. Check them out here:

I had enormous respect for Don. He had a terrific sense of humor. While we clashed from time to time, we were always on the same side where it really mattered.

We will honor him every day that we keep fighting for real reform and for a better education for all children.

Services are pending. You might also check with the DFC Facebook page.

LSC training by Wanda

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

You know she’s the best. PURE’s Wanda Hopkins will be offering LSC lessons 1 and 2 on Thursday, July 19 from 9 to 1 pm at Leslie Lewis school, 1431 N Leamington Ave.

All LSC members are welcome. Please let her know you are coming by sending an e-mail to

There will be no charge for this training.

If you would like to have Wanda come out to your school for LSC training, please e-mail or call her (773-663-5420). Your LSC can donate some of your LSC training money to help defray our costs. We would also like to be able to invite other LSC members to join in any other training that Wanda offers.


Supplemental LSC elections – apply by May 9th!

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

Local School Councils at 31 CPS schools (see below) did not have enough candidate/elected members to form a quorum after the April election. At those schools, CPS must hold supplemental elections to fill the vacant positions so their LSCs are ready to get to work by July 1.

Interested candidates should submit nominating forms at the school where they want to run by May 9th. Schools will hold candidate forums on May 14th and 16th and hold elections on May 18th.

Application forms are available here

Schools needing supplemental LSC elections:

Bright Elementary School (10740 S. Calhoun Ave.)
Burke Elementary School (5356 S. King Dr.)
Chicago Military Academy (3519 S. Giles Ave.)
Clark High School (5101 W. Harrison St.)
Collins High School (1313 S. Sacramento Dr.)
Curtis Elementary School (32 E. 115th St.)
Davis Magnet Elementary School (6730 S. Paulina St.)
Deneen Elementary School (7240 S. Wabash Ave.)
Drake Elementary School (2722 S. King Dr.)
DuBois Elementary School (330 E. 133rd St.)
Dumas Technical Academy (6650 S. Ellis Ave.)
Dyett High School (555 E. 51st St.)
Fuller Elementary School (4214 S. Saint Lawrence Ave.)
Goldblatt Elementary School (4257 W. Adams St.)
Guggenheim Elementary School (7141 S. Morgan St.)
Hoyne Elementary School (8905 S. Crandon Ave.)
Lathrop Elementary School (1440 S. Christiana Ave.)
Marine Military High School (145 S. Campbell Ave.)
Marquette Elementary School (6550 S. Richmond St.)
Parskside Elementary School (6938 S. East End Ave.)
Phillips High School (244 E. Pershing Rd.)
Piccolo Elementary School (1040 N. Keeler Ave.)
Raby High School (3545 W. Fulton Blvd.)
Reed Elementary School (6350 S. Stewart Ave.)
Robeson High School (6835 S. Normal Blvd.)
Ross Elementary School (6059 S. Wabash Ave.)
School of Leadership High School (7627 S. Constance Ave.)
Sherman Elementary School (1000 W. 52nd St.)
Tilden High School (4747 S. Union Ave.)
Till Elementary School (6543 S. Champlain Ave.)
Woodlawn Elementary School (6657 S. Kimbark Ave.)

Proof positive Rahm votes “The Chicago Way”

Friday, April 20th, 2012

WBEZ reports that Mayor Emanuel “believes he may have voted” in Wednesday’s elementary school LSC election.

Here’s what it looks like, Mr. Mayor >>>

School officials at Rahm’s local school don’t remember seeing him.

But thanks to Alderman Bob Fioretti (pictured) and to everyone else who supports LSCs!

LSC elections today and tomorrow!

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

Parents, teachers, community members and students all over the US would love to have what we have here in Chicago.

No, not a 9.5-fingered Mayor.

They would love to have our local school councils, our voice in school decisions.

Let’s show that we appreciate our LSCs and the fact that LSC-style school reform is more successful than top-down interventions like school turnarounds.

Go VOTE! Until 7 pm today, Wednesday April 18, at the elementary schools; tomorrow, Thursday April 19, from 6 am to 7 pm at the high schools.

Thanks to Coalition, 6500 candidates will run for LSC this week

Monday, April 16th, 2012

A local school council at work

“Largest municipal election yields largest number of public officials of color in the US.”

Thanks to Don Moore of Designs for Change for preparing this press release:

[Organizational Members Listed Below]


6,500 Candidates Set To Run for Chicago’s Local School Councils This Week, After 28 Organizations Won a Two-Week Candidate Recruitment Extension
Chicago School System’s Central Administration Repeatedly Obstructs Recruitment Efforts



Don Moore  312-236-7252, ext 236

CHICAGO, IL (APRIL 15, 2012).  About 6,500 candidates signed up to run in Chicago’s Local School Councils election this week, primarily as a result of an extended candidate recruitment deadline demanded by the 28 organizational members of the Coalition to Strengthen Local School Councils.

Local School Council elections will be held at nearly 540 schools with an LSC, from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 18 in elementary schools, and from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 19 in high schools. Parents whose child attends a school or community members who live in a school’s attendance area are eligible to vote for parent and community LSC representatives.

This is the largest municipal election in the United States, and chooses the nation’s largest number of elected officials of color.

The number of candidates increased dramatically during spring 2012 from about 2,000 to 6,500, after the Coalition to Strengthen Local School Councils demanded that CEO Jean-Claude Brizzard extend the candidate recruitment period for two weeks, which he did.

Media are urged to cover LSC races, announce election dates, and advocate voter participation.

About Chicago’s Local School Councils

In 540 schools with Local School Councils, the LSC typically has the right to choose the school’s principal for a four-year contract and help develop, approve, and monitor a school improvement plan and school-based budget—as required by a 1988 state law that applies only to Chicago.  (LSC rights to approve their improvement plan and budget are diminished if a school is on probation.)

Local School Councils consist of six parents, two community residents, two teachers, one non-teaching staff member, the principal, and (in high schools) a student.

Research indicates that active cohesive LSCs have helped schools significantly improve student achievement and increase parent and community involvement.

Central Administration Obstructs LSC Election Process

Independent groups seeking to recruit LSC candidates encountered multiple forms of resistance from the school system’s central administration in the run-up to the eleventh LSC election, including problems that they had not experienced in the ten previous LSC elections.  For example:

•  The school system’s Office of LSC Relations did not coordinate meetings and communications with interested independent groups to plan a coherent recruitment and election strategy.
•  While in past elections, the Office of LSC Relations had released a daily computerized tally of the number of candidates for each position by school in the last month of the recruitment period (which allows groups to target their recruitment), the Office of LSC Relations stated that they would release these data only in response to a Freedom of Information Request, to which the school system typically takes at least ten days to respond.  This delay makes the resulting information (which changes day-to-day) useless.

Two days before the original recruitment deadline of March 8, independent groups obtained tallies indicating that only about 2,000 candidates had registered to run for their LSCs.

In response, the Coalition to Strengthen Local School Councils (a broad spectrum of 28 Local School Council, community, parent, school reform, teacher, and principal groups) demanded that Chief Executive Officer Jean-Claude Brizzard extend the recruitment period for two weeks, take visible leadership in endorsing Local School Councils and their importance in improving schools, and halt obstruction of the recruitment process, particularly by the school system’s Office of Local School Councils. CEO Brizard subsequently extended the deadline for candidate registration from March 8 to March 23 and interested groups began to receive daily school-by-school candidate tallies.

A few of the 28 organizations supporting the Coalition’s demand for an extension include, for example, Black Star Project, Blocks Together, Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, Chicago Principals and Administrators Association, Chicago Teachers Union, Designs for Change, Kenwood Oakland Community Organization, Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, North River Commission, Parents United for Responsible Education, PUSH Excel, the West Side and South Side Branches of the NAACP, and Teachers for Social Justice. (A list of all 28 organizations demanding the extension is below.)

In the process of their distributing the resulting school-by-school lists during the recruitment extension period, it became apparent that CPS did not have an accurate list of schools with Local School Councils, because the first lists that were released contained many charter schools and other schools without LSCs, which were listed as schools that needed LSC candidates recruited for them. It took several days of pressure on the Office of LSC Relations for them to generate an accurate list of schools with LSCs. This raises a question as to whether and how effectively the Office of LSC Relations and other CPS staff had been recruiting candidates to that point, when the Office of Local School Councils did not even have an accurate list of schools with LSCs several days after the deadline extension.

Further, three community newspapers (Center Square Journal, Austin Talks, and Welles Park Bulldog) also had trouble obtaining the names and addresses of candidates who had registered to run at specific schools, so that the newspapers could interview them. The Office of LSC Relations told these newspapers that they would have to Freedom of Information requests for this information, which is unprecedented. LSC candidates are candidates for elected public office, and information about them that they file when they register to run (except for their phone number) must be publicly available on request. The public has a right to learn about these candidates through the press.   Candidates are subject to challenge before and after the election takes place.   (Information relevant to public challenges is required as part of the candidate application materials and is supposed to be available for public inspection.)

Ultimately, Center Square Journal filed and pursued a freedom of information request and obtained the attached citywide list of candidates by school and position sought.

See also this article from Center Square Journal about the obstruction of the LSC candidate recruitment process by CPS that Center Square Journal encountered.


Austin Community Action Council

Black Star Project

Black United Fund of Illinois

Blocks Together


Chicago Coalition for the Homeless

Chicago Principals and Administrators Association

Chicago Teachers Union

Designs for Change

Education Village Keepers

Family Resource Center on Disabilities

Introspect Youth Services

Kenwood Oakland Community Organization

Kids Off the Block

Latino Organization of the Southwest

Lawndale Alliance

Men and Women in Prison Ministry

Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund

North River Commission

Parents 4 Teachers

Parents United for Responsible Education

PUSH Excel

Raise Your Hand

Small Schools Workshop

South Side Branch NAACP

Teachers for Social Justice

West Side Branch NAACP

Youth Guidance

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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.