With guest, Louder Than a Bomb poet Nate Marshall

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Coalition demands extension of deadline for LSC candidate sign-up

Chicago's popularly-elected Local School Councils have been an effective model of democratic school management in this district for more than two decades. But in all those years, they have never received the kind of support they deserve from district leadership, especially under mayoral control of the schools. In fact, the mayor, his hand-picked school board and CEO, and the city's powerful corporate reformers would like nothing better than a quiet death of the LSCs, which would enable them to have total and unrestricted control over principal selection and millions of dollars in discretionary funds now in the hands of the councils.

With this year's LSC elections drawing near and the deadline for candidates to sign up to run for election only a day away, only about 2,000 parent, community teacher, non-teaching staff, and student candidates have been enlisted  to run. The problem is a total lack of leadership and support for the elections coming from CEO Brizard and the board.

The Office of Local School Council Relations, its Director (Guillermo Montes de Oca), and the rest of the Central and Network Administrations have failed to lead a successful candidate recruitment campaign. Hardly anyone knows about the approaching deadline and recruitment has fallen entirely upon the shoulders of community-based school-reform groups. Information about the numbers of candidates signed up at each school has been kept under wraps and parents and community groups have been told by Montes de Oca that they have to file Freedom of Information requests to find out those numbers.

The reform group Designs For Change has issued a call for the sign-up date to be extended until March 22nd. The call has received support from 27 organizations in the city who yesterday, in an open letter, called on CEO Brizard to act on the extension. The Coalition to Strengthen Local School Councils includes:

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
Small Schools Workshop
South Side Branch NAACP
Teachers for Social Justice
West Side Branch NAACP
Youth Guidance


  1. CPS has extended the deadline to March 23rd.

  2. The FOIA request thing is almost unbelievably bizarre. Not only should the candidate information be available, CPS should create a simple website that lists the vacancies, the candidates, and the information about the candidates. It's the polar opposite of democracy, what they're doing.


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