An advisory referendum on switching Chicago to an elected school board, rather than an appointed board, is expected to be on the ballot in more than 30 wards on Feb. 24. Currently, the mayor appoints all seven board members and the Schools CEO. Do you support a change to an elected school board? Yes or No? Please explain.

Education

Yes, I support a change to an elected school board. I will support an elected Chicago Board of Education. We will establish eight single member districts with a president to be elected at large. The legislation must include safeguards to avoid the hijacking of the election by powerful, well funded organizations, PACS, unions and other special interest groups. The enabling legislation must be carefully drafted to include strict campaign financing and spending limits, and thereby ensure that ordinary and average individuals have an equal opportunity to win election.

Yes. The Chicago school board should be comprised of members who are elected to those positions by the people of the city. We should allow the people to participate and voice their opinion in who should serve on the school board.

Yes I have been a longtime supporter of our teachers and in 2011 I received the “Defender of Public Schools” award from the Chicago Teachers Union. Strong neighborhood schools are the backbone of strong communities. Our current model of a Mayoral-appointed board is not responsive to the needs of the majority of public school parents. It favors those with clout or financial interest and gives them undue influence. I will work to create an elected school board as soon as I take office, much as I have done while on City Council.

Yes I believe it is necessary to change course dramatically from the so-called "reforms" offered by Mayor Emanuel and instead take a new, holistic approach to our city’s schools. A sound public education system should the right of everyone one in our society, as it is the very foundation of a functioning democracy and a healthy economy.
My plan involves giving the school system back to the people through an elected school board; reducing to the barest legal minimum the plethora of high-stakes, standardized tests by which we falsely judge schools, students, and teachers; placing a moratorium on further charter schools; expanding public education to include pre-kindergarten and even earlier; and reducing class size, which is one of the largest in the state.
We must further provide a multitude of proper books, libraries, and recreational facilities and course offerings in languages, literature and the arts. As Mayor, I will make sure critical bilingual and dual-language programs will be available to all students that need and desire them. We need a serious expansion of dual language programs into all communities in Chicago. There is solid evidence that fluency in a second or even third language, starting at an early age, helps students academically across the board, putting them in position to be truly college and career ready. These programs are also essential in our increasingly global economy, as recognized by the recently established Illinois State Seal of Biliteracy.
I do not support a further expansion of charter schools, and I think any discussion on savings within the public school system must recognize charters have become the new coin of political patronage. A glaring example is the UNO group, until recently led by Juan Rangel, who was forced out after reports of cronyism and corruption in its charter network, which has received more than $100 million in state money. Rangel, who earned $260,00 a year, was a co-chair of Emanuel’s mayoral campaign while UNO personnel worked in local campaigns against Emanuel’s critics.
This is classic pinstripe patronage, typically funneled through contracts with lawyers and bond issuers. Now it’s an unconscionable mix of money and politics, short-changing the debt-plagued public school system, punishing children and taxpayers alike.

I am comfortable with the current responsibilities given to the mayor and the school board. At a time when we're seeing gains across the board – from record high graduation rates of 69%, on pace to reach 82% in three years, to record high attendance rates and record low expulsions – the last thing we need is more politics in our schools. There continues to be significant elected representation at the local level through Local School Councils that approve budgets and principal hiring.