Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s new appointments to Chicago’s Public Schools’ Board of Education fall woefully short of the voter mandate for an Elected Representative School Board. In February 89% of voters said they wanted a school board that was accountable to the people and represented the population that utilizes CPS.
Very rarely do decisions made in the dark of night bode well for our communities. Decisions made behind closed doors protect special interests and shut out the voices of parents, students and educators.
We believe a school board without Deborah Quazzo and Andrea Zopp is an improvement. Just this past winter Action Now led the charge for Quazzo’s resignation from the board after it was revealed she stood to profit from contracts between CPS and companies her investment firm held a financial stake.
Action Now also protested Zopp’s conflicting roles as a board member and President of the Chicago Urban League during the massive school closures. Nearly all of the 50 schools closed under her watch happened in neighborhoods of color; neighborhoods that she did not advocate for during her time at the Urban League.
Emanuel’s appointees do nothing to divert from the ways of the past. Mark Furlong was a CEO of BMO Harris. Gail Ward, like David Vitale, is a product of the Academy of Urban School Leadership’s Board of Directors. Dominique Jordan Turner’s previous work includes KIPP Foundation, a charter school organization known for its harsh discipline policies.
These new appointees reaffirm the mayor’s commitment to privatizing Chicago’s public school system. Rahm’s hand-picked board has not worked during his tenure, it is time Chicago had an elected representative school board.