The Future of Our
The cornerstone of equity is access to quality education, and in Chicago, the Chicago Public School system should be at the forefront of providing equitable opportunity to its students. Through decades of underfunding, under-resourcing, and lack of consistency, CPS has seen declines in enrollment, further compromising funding to the district. With key leadership changes and strategic investments, Chicago’s public education system can serve as a valuable tool to bridge the equity gaps that have plagued our city for generations.
My plan prioritizes equity and opportunity for all students in the city, and will equip teachers and administrators with the resources they need to give kids the education they deserve. Students enrolled in city schools deserve the same resources as their peers in suburbs and around the state, and my plan will take a major step towards bringing that equity to the table. The future of Chicago rests in the hands of the youth in this city, and investing in CPS ensures a brighter outlook for all.
INVEST IN CHICAGO PUBLIC SCHOOLS
- CPS is underfunded; our schools need another $436 million just to be considered 90% adequately funded by the state. As a State Representative, I have voted for fiscally responsible budgets that have increased this funding, and as Mayor I will continue to work with Springfield to hold CPS accountable for directing state funds to schools based on need, not other criteria.
- Implement the data-backed evidence-based funding formula to ensure that schools with the highest needs are receiving the resources they need to thrive, not just survive.
- Work with ISBE to propose a recalculation of the formula in the future to accommodate factors such as generational trauma and poverty.
- End the mandatory privatization of school cleaning services for CPS, which have resulted in filthy schools, as soon as the current contract is up. Demand a district-wide plan to ensure all schools meet a standard of cleanliness, maintenance, and seasonal heating and cooling before entering future long-term contracts.
- Maintain transparency around the CPS budget, and specifically work towards building up a dedicated cash reserve to reduce taxpayer burden. I will work with CPS to ensure budgets include out-year projections, including information on planned capital improvements. Voters, educators and communities deserve to know the current and future projected budget.
- Enforce transparency in CPS spending by creating a public database of Requests for Proposal and executed contracts.
- Use data to properly serve students and transparently inform improvements and investment needs in as many categories as possible.
EXPAND CHICAGO PUBLIC SCHOOLS RESOURCES
- Every school should have at least one nurse, one librarian, and one social worker. These supports are critical for the health and safety of communities, and it’s time we prioritize funding in CPS’ budget to allow our schools to fully support the health and well-being of our students.
- Work with the Chicago Housing Authority to make sure that it’s a priority to get quality, affordable housing for every CPS student. We need to take bold steps to drastically reduce the number of students in temporary living situations (STLS).
- Ensure schools have sufficient resources to manage day-to-day health needs, including mental health support (such as expanded access to 311 for non-crisis needs), trauma-informed counseling, and pandemic protective equipment.
- Expand access to advanced learning opportunities beyond selective enrollment schools. Identify opportunities to partner with CCC to give students access to additional courses and advanced learning options, including dual credit and mixed enrollment programs.
- Formalize a Business and Education Coalition to work with CPS to provide resources and expertise. This coalition can also provide opportunities for CPS students to get real-world experience while they are in school.
- Expand access to Career Technical Education programs to create more opportunities for students who want to pursue good-paying trade jobs right after High School.
- Create citywide Pre-K programs and focus on early year literacy and numeracy specifically in under-resourced communities. Ultimately, the goal is to establish a Universal Pre-K program for all 3 and 4 year olds within the CPS network.
- Commit to a full external evaluation of CPS special education practices, including unfit transportation accessibility issues, and publish an action plan to remediate practices.
SUPPORT CPS EDUCATORS & SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS
- Set up targeted teacher recruitment from Chicago community areas; build a high-quality teacher workforce that looks like the communities they serve.
- Create Leadership Academy for CPS Principals. The morale for these school leaders is extremely low district wide and Principals are a pivotal factor to a school’s success. We are on the verge of a Principal shortage and crisis if we don’t act immediately.
- Work with all stakeholders to create incentives for teachers to continue educating across the Chicago Public Schools system. High teacher turnover leaves many CPS students without the continuity and mentorship they need to thrive.
- Partner with CTU and CPAA to establish an Educator Advisory Committee, which would provide annual public recommendations on how to improve support for young people across the CPS network. Educators should have a greater voice in policy and decision-making within CPS.
- Commit to hands-on, direct contract negotiations between the Mayor and the Chicago Teachers Union to promote greater collaboration and a commitment to prioritizing students.
REINFORCE CPS LEADERSHIP
- Work with Springfield to spur reform and efficiency for the imminent Elected Representative School Board (ERSB).
- Reorganize the Central Office for efficiency, effectiveness and economic best practices.
- Fully complete and execute reforms laid out by ISBE for the Office of Diverse Learners.
- Empower Local School Councils by giving them greater autonomy. Work with the Local School Council Advisory Board to make them true partners at the policy table.
- I’ve proposed a first ever Office of Youth Engagement and a Commander level CPD administrator of Youth Engagement in my Public Safety plan. Provide the ability for this Office to work directly with CPS to create connectivity and preventative collaboration.
- Coordinate with the Cook County Criminal Justice system to provide support for students who have been Justice Involved.