Thursday, April 19, 2012

Shoesmith and Murray Add Reformers to LSC's

-posted by chicago pop

The results of yesterday's local school council (LSC) elections are in for the two most hotly contested races. At both Murray and Shoesmith, reformers were successful in gaining seats on both councils on the back of extraordinary voter turnout at both locations. This is a strong sign that Hyde Park and Kenwood residents are against two things: backsliding (Murray) and the status quo (Shoesmith). It is an equally strong sign that they are for maintaining and improving the public school options available to residents of Hyde Park and Kenwood - and are willing to put in the time to make it happen.

This could be the local impact of an overall spike in CPS (and Catholic school) enrollment, due in part to a continued sluggish economy that is sending more and more families into the public school system - as opposed to private schools or suburban districts. It could also be the buds of a distinctly local parent activism, akin to similar movements that have taken shape on the North Side, as a core of local parents commit to improving public education options in the neighborhood

At Murray, the reformist Parents for Murray group saw its top four "Slate for Change" parent candidates pull in the most votes, together with a community member endorsed by the group. Together this represents a significant contingent of new voices to agitate for change at HP-K's beloved magnet school:

Josephine Njoku-Sanders: 240
Thomas Hoffer: 230
Michael Ewing: 227
Julie Hammond: 198

Community Members:
Michael Scott: 81

A similar story at Shoesmith. Here is a school in the heart of the neighborhood that has just signed a new principal. She is open to new ideas and is testing the waters for ways to improve the school's performance and make it an option for more neighborhood children. Unprecedented voter turnout for an LSC election landed two community members on the council who are both education professionals: Lina Fritz and Tom McDougal.

Community Members:
Lina Fritz - 96 votes
Tom McDougal - 78 votes
Camille Hamilton-Doyle - 73 votes
Roxanne Brown - 36 votes

 Both of them not only know the data on urban education inside and out, but can collaborate with the administration and demand accountability, to make sure what's being done is what works, and that Shoesmith reaches out to the neighborhood.

Worth noting in both cases were the high numbers of community member (non-parent) voters: out of 153 eligible votes cast in the Shoesmsith LSC election, 81 were cast by community members, 72 by parents. I don't have a similar breakdown for the votes at Murray, but the word is that community turnout there was also very strong. Undoubtedly some of those community votes were parents of children attending other schools.

The message is pretty clear: wherever your students come from, you're in Hyde Park. We all have an interest in how well you do.

1 comment:

Judah's Mommy said...

Love this article, especially your last line!