Journal of Educational Controversy


Thursday, March 5, 2015

Chicago Politics: School Closures, Appointed School Boards and the Upcoming Mayoral Election – a Look at Some New Research

With the tight mayoral runoff election coming up this April in Chicago between Mayor Rahm Emanuel and challenger, Jesús G. Garcia, much of the opposition seems to be coming from a challenge to educational policy decisions that were made by the city’s current administration.  (New York Times, March 3, 2015)  

 A new report by the Collaborative for Equity and Justice in Education at the University of Illinois in Chicago just went public and we thought our readers would like to read the report with its review of the evidence.

From their website:

The report, “Should Chicago Have an Elected Representative School Board?  A New Review of the Evidence,” assesses the agenda and major policies of Chicago’s current Board and how their decisions have negatively impacted Chicago Public Schools students.  The research found no conclusive evidence suggesting mayor-appointed boards are more effective at governing schools, inequities in schooling have increased under the leadership of the current Board, its major policies including school closures have failed to improve schools, and the unelected Board is largely unresponsive to the complaints and suggestions of parents and community leaders.

To read the entire report published at the University of Illinois at Chicago, go to:

 For other reports, see the one published by the University of Chicago’s  Consortium on Chicago School Research in January of this year, entitled: “School Closings in Chicago: Understanding Families' Choices and Constraints for New School Enrollment.”   An interesting aspect of this report was the finding on the way the families viewed academic quality as something different than simply a schools’ performance policy rating.

 From their website:

The way that many parents defined academic quality was different than the official markers of quality represented by the district’s performance policy rating system. For example, many families defined academic quality as having after-school programs, certain curricula and courses, small class sizes, positive and welcoming school environments, and/or one-on-one attention from teachers in classes. Although some families did talk about their school’s official policy rating, most factored in these other "unofficial" indicators of academic quality when making their school choice decisions.

Readers can find that report at:

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