CBS 2 asked Toni Preckwinkle and Lori Lightfoot for their positions on key issues facing Chicago.
I believe every child should be able to get a quality education at their neighborhood public school, no matter their race or zip code.
I was a public school kid, and I remember how my school served as a community anchor and a source of pride for my neighborhood. In my education plan, I commit to work with impacted communities to ensure there are safe, Level 1/1+ elementary and high school in every neighborhood, expand high school apprenticeship programs to create pathways to good jobs, create early childhood education zones and provide each school with basic educational support positions like librarians, nurses and social workers.
Further, I support the creation of an elected, representative school board. The mayor and his hand-picked school board, with its revolving door of CEOs, have failed our kids again and again, from refusing to address root causes of the sexual abuse crisis to neglecting special education and janitorial services. If we had an elected, representative school board, Chicagoans could hold schools and administrators accountable in moments like these.
As a former teacher, education is an issue that is close to my heart. During my 10 years teaching history, I saw firsthand what a good education could mean to Chicago’s students. But in order to have a great education and great schools, we have to allow for our communities to have a voice in the system to address their specific needs. I have been a long and proud proponent of an elected school board in Chicago because it will represent the needs and voices of working families around the city instead of the wealthy special interest groups and outside money.
Alongside giving voice to our communities, we have to make sure that we are keeping schools open in neighborhoods that have for too long lacked critical resources and investments in education. It’s not enough to promise that not close any schools in Chicago. We have to go further and secure real long-term investments for our neighborhood schools that are chronically underfunded.
Fully funded education means educating the whole child. We need to be meeting the physical and mental health needs of all of our CPS students. Currently, we have too few nurses, social workers, and special ed teachers in our schools to meet this obligation to our students. This is why I support changes to the TIF program that would dedicate yearly surpluses to CPS schools.