Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel pushes forward in fixing Chicago Public Schools’ flawed system.
Emanuel said the school board will work out the specifics but at least now there are the tools to achieve what CPS students have been denied.
The Mayor-Elect called CPS’ current system an anomaly that needs to be fixed and now he has the green light from state lawmakers to do so.
Senate Bill 7, passed by the Illinois House on Thursday, makes it easier to fire low performing teachers and reward those who produce results.
“There's no doubt that this gives us the tools to achieve what has always failed at the negotiating table,” Emanuel said.
The Mayor-Elect praised the success of students at Kenwood Academy High School as a model for others to follow.
“It makes me feel special because I go to this school and the way he's speaking of it, I take a part in this,” Derric Roberts, a Kenwood Academy High School student, said.
But for each success story there are many others of failing and falling through the cracks.
The Mayor-Elect's aggressive plan to turn around the city's struggling public school system includes longer school days, a lengthened school year and more.
“I've talked about a five year performance contract for every school so we can measure their performance. I've talked about making sure we have more Chicago Teaching Academies,” Emanuel said. “You can't get from here to there if teachers do not have parents as a partner and we are going to set up a system where they're enticed to get off of the sidelines and involved in their child's education.”
“I think that it will reap great benefits in terms of students' readiness for colleges and careers after high school. I think it will reap great benefits in terms of safety in the school,” Kenwood Academy High School’s principal Liz Kirby said. “Most students really prefer to be in school as long as they can and I think parents will feel comfort knowing there is a safe place for them to be up to 4, 5, 6 o'clock.”
Kirby said Mayor-Elect Emanuel's education overhaul 'To Do' list will bring structure, context and financial support to CPS.
“I think teachers are really supportive of a vision that really does provide that type of foundation for students,” said Kirby.
But for the Mayor-Elect it looks like, long overdue success.
“It finally gives the Chicago Public Schools the ability, in my view, to undo an injustice,” Emanuel said.
The Mayor-Elect said change to CPS is essential and the status quo is not an option.