Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Chicago Mayoral Candidate Jesus "Chuy" Garcia Talks About Schools - #OneTermRahm

Chicago Mayoral Candidate Jesus "Chuy" Garcia Talks About Schools - Living in Dialogue:

Chicago Mayoral Candidate Jesus "Chuy" Garcia Talks About Schools 

 By Anthony Cody.

The schools of Chicago are ruled by a school board appointed by the mayor (though efforts are under way to allow for a democratically elected board.) For this reason, educators, students and parents are very interested in the upcoming mayoral election. The Chicago Teachers Union has been especially active, since incumbent mayor Rahm Emanuel has not been their friend. Union members won a strike in 2012, but the following year, more than 50 neighborhood schools were closed, and many charter schools have opened. CTU president Karen Lewis was forced to withdraw from the mayor’s race for health reasons, but she and the CTU have endorsed Jesus “Chuy” Garcia. Today the Garcia campaign announced that he has received the endorsement of Diane Ravitch as well. I asked Mr. Garcia to share his views on some of the issues educators are concerned about. 
Until an elected school board can be put in place, what criteria do you have for appointing board members?
Jesus “Chuy” Garcia: An elected representative school board is one of several components of checks and balances to ensure accountable leadership in public education. As Mayor, I will advocate for an elected school board in Springfield, and if the legislature fails to act, I will ask the federal courts to intervene because I believe the people of Chicago have a constitutionally protected right to elect the leaders of any institution as important as the School Board. I would also support the need for a public elected Chairman of the CPS board, and I would insist that the election be done by district to allow every community in the City to have fair representation on the School Board. Additionally, to ensure that elections do not turn into a popularity contest or lopsided by non-education informed interests, I would support articulating criteria for candidacy to be rooted in experience with public education and community engagement. And this is the criteria I would use to appoint members until an elected school board can be put in place.
What are your views on the early childhood needs for Chicago?
Jesus “Chuy” Garcia: Early care and education is a top priority for not only preparing our children to be school-ready, but also to strengthen families. Head start programs need to be established and supported in the communities with greatest need. The standards of Head Start as administered by the City should be compared to the standards of other early care facilities throughout the City, and raised to address any material disparity.
As Mayor, I would support building an integrated early learning and care system in Chicago which provides affordable, accessible, full-day programs for children birth to age five, with wrap-around care for working parents that guarantees living wages for the workforce with parity with early educators in public schools. I would also support an oversight body made up of workers and parents to guide the administration of early learning and care programs in the city so that they respond to community needs.
Is current funding for Chicago schools adequate? 
Jesus “Chuy” Garcia: No, too many students and teachers are lacking basic education needs. As Mayor, I would commit to ensuring that every student in our system has access to good textbooks, libraries, Chicago Mayoral Candidate Jesus "Chuy" Garcia Talks About Schools - Living in Dialogue: