Chicago School Reform

In Chicago public schools, recent reform has taken some power away from the central administration and put it in the hands of local school councils. However, school reform is being threatened by a looming budget crisis.

0:02Copy video clip URL Recent school reform has caused many changes in Chicago public schools. Ted Kimbrough, the new superintendent, says that the system is now less authoritative, allowing parents to work with the school administration and influence the way that schools function. Decisions are now made by local school councils, who have the power to hire and fire school principals. The principals also have more power than before and can hire their own faculty.

3:30Copy video clip URL Elizabeth Brackett speaks to Barbara Kroner, president of the Albany Park school council. She believes the council has turned the school around. They were able to get an art and science teacher by using discretionary funds that used to be controlled by the central administration. However, 90 percent of the budget is still managed by the downtown bureaucracy, and the board still controls salaries, which creates tension. Many principals dislike the new system because it has disrupted their job security.

7:30Copy video clip URL A looming budget crisis threatens to undermine the progress that has been made by school reform. A $350 million deficit has been predicted, the largest in the history of Chicago public schools. Parents, teachers, and administrators rallied in Springfield to convince legislators to address the problem, but they have not met with much success. The school board is threatening to close schools and take back the recent 7 percent raise in teachers’ salaries.

9:02Copy video clip URL Brackett speaks to Bill Ayers, who was a leader of the radical movement in the 1960s, and is currently very involved in the school reform movement. He is concerned that the deficit will be used as an excuse to take away local control of the schools. Many activists would prefer to fire administrators in the central office.

10:54Copy video clip URL End of tape.



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