The shifting tone on Chicago school governance, Pritzker’s capital plan

New school board

The days of the Chicago Board of Education conducting much of its business in closed session are over, the city’s new mayor, Lori Lightfoot, declared this week. This announcement followed the unveiling of Chicago’s new school board — a list that includes people with deep experience in Chicago schools, including former graduates, a principal, and parent and community advocates.  

When releasing the names of new school board members, Lightfoot said she targeted candidates with academic backgrounds and a broad array of experiences learning about, understanding, and challenging the school district.

“I think every single one of the members here that we are proposing understand that transparency is the cornerstone of legitimacy,” Lightfoot added. “You can’t have legitimacy when you do everything in secret, and we’re not going to operate that way.” Read more about the new school board here and find out what Lightfoot said about transparency here.

Chicago also has a new deputy mayor of education. Here's what you should know about Sybil Madison, who helped co-chair the Team Lightfoot education transition team.

The week in review

Schools see capital bill windfall: The state’s new capital plan lays out $415 million in all for maintenance, repairs, and upgrades to K-12 schools across Illinois, including charters and private schools. It sets aside $111 million more in construction grants to early childhood providers. Here’s a list of which Chicago schools so far stand to gain.

An equity tool is on the way: The man Chicago Public Schools hired to tackle racial disparities and other inequities in the nation’s third-largest school system said he plans to show his work this summer. Maurice Swinney said he is working on the design of a new “equity framework. ” He spoke to Chalkbeat about it. 

Streamlining the tests: She’s only been on the job for less than four months, but state education board superintendent Carmen Ayala already is moving toward overhauling the state’s controversial testing system. She briefed Chalkbeat on her plans. 

‘I don’t understand how it works’: At a recent parent meeting, frustrations boiled over regarding the application for universal pre-K. Chalkbeat was there. 

Teacher village troubles: A project that touted affordable housing for teachers in Humboldt Park might not happen after all, Block Club Chicago reported.

$10K to stay: Another salvo in the teacher wars: One charter is paying $10,000 bonuses to its award-winning teachers in hopes they will stay. WBEZ visited one recipient. 

We’re Cassie Walker Burke, Adeshina Emmanuel and Yana Kunichoff, and we round up Chicago education news every week — just for you. Please send any tips or story ideas our way: [email protected].

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Looking ahead

Chicago Public Schools is planning a Diverse Learner Parent Advocacy Meeting on June 13 at the Coleman Office, 4655 S. Dearborn Street.

The next Illinois State Board of Education meeting is June 19. Chicago’s Board of Education meets June 26. Here’s our preview of the new board, plus four things to know about the school board president, Miguel del Valle. 

The last day for students at many Chicago Public Schools is June 20


Chicago Public Schools this week honored its newest class of National Board Certified Teachers. National Board Certification is a challenging and rare credential awarded to applicants who must prove their teaching ranks among the best in the country. Fourteen CPS teachers (pictured here) were recognized at a ceremony attended by schools CEO Janice Jackson and Chicago Teachers Union President Jesse Sharkey. The 14 honorees include Lorraine Platek, Little Village Academy; Jessica General, Chalmers Specialty School; Jennifer Jones, Stowe School; Heather Morrison, Disney II Magnet School; Anna Deters, Hawthorne Scholastic Academy; Heather Dunfee, Hyde Park Career Academy; Caitlin Stich, Schurz High School; Rachael Nicholas, Taft High School; Neil Farlow, Taft High School; Jonathan Reiman, Kenwood Academy; Justin Huang, Jones College Prep; Lisa Anderson, Northside Learning Center; Menyett Baker, Simeon High School; and Elisabeth O’Keefe, Westinghouse College Prep. Congrats!