Ultimately, Chicago’s future rests with its schools.
Good public schools, more than anything, will keep young families from fleeing the city for the suburbs. Good public schools are vital to thriving neighborhoods across the city, and especially in communities of color left devastated by decades of disinvestment. Good public schools lead to a well-educated workforce that keeps and lures businesses.
Good public schools are Chicago’s foundation, as they are for every successful big city. Without that foundation, Chicago is going nowhere.
So Mayor Lori Lightfoot must fight, publicly and hard, against a bad proposal to create an ungainly, unmanageable 21-member fully elected school board that would upend how Chicago’s public schools are run — and not for the better.
Stability, not the uncertainties and transparent dangers of a completely new system of governance, is what Chicago needs right now to build on more than a decade of hard-won academic progress. And that’s truer than ever as three top CPS officials
— CEO Janice Jackson, Chief Education Officer LaTanya McDade, and Chief Operating Officer Arnie Rivera — make their way for the exit.
Their resignations will leave a huge leadership vacuum at the very top at a time when the school district is struggling to recover from the educational and financial impact of a devastating pandemic.
One person must be accountable to recruit superb new leaders. One person must be in charge. That one person should be the city’s elected chief executive, the mayor.