Thursday, June 27, 2019

Takeaways from yesterday's school board meeting

Sun-Times ed reporter Mitchell Armentrout's tweet seems to sum up the first meeting of Mayor Lightfoot's APPOINTED school board,
You'll notice, I put the word appointed in all-caps as a nod to the RYH scribe who felt it necessary to mention it in each live tweet from the meeting. Yes, we know that this board was appointed by the mayor and that we don't have an #ESRBNow. No need to rehash all the reasons why that hashtag is little more than hash. The main one being that after 10 years of struggle for an elected board, Sen. Martwick's bill calling for an ESRB, 4 YEARS FROM NOW, is going nowhere.

Don't get me wrong. As an educator, a CPS parent and grandparent of a student with special needs,  I'm eternally grateful for all the difficult work that RYH and other groups have been doing in trying to hold CPS accountable and for their push for a democratically-elected board. I'm also grateful for their and other reporters' on-site tweets from board meetings. For one thing, it meant that I didn't have to sit through this marathon affair.

I also really like this new, appointed board. But those of you who follow this blog already know that.

So my takeaway from Wednesday's board meeting is, it did what it's supposed to do. The new board, led by its president Miguel delValle, got input from the school community, thoughtfully discussed important proposed changes in school policy, demonstrated its independence from the mayor who appointed them, and after debate and struggle, reached unity and got some good things done on our behalf.

If you read my previous post, you know I'm not thrilled with the board's decision to adopt CEO Janice Jackson's proposed weak tweaks to the school rating system. But given the choices put in front of them, the board did the right thing in adopting the changes.

For someone like me, who's been to so many of these meetings as a reporter, an educator, and school activist, the board's democratic style of work represented an important sea change from the past Daley/Rahm years.

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