As Chicago Public Schools transitions to an elected school board, former CPS CEO Janice Jackson says the district maps currently under consideration need to be reexamined to better represent the majority Black and Latino students who make up the school system.
The Chicago Board of Education will start transitioning to a hybrid model of elected and appointed members starting next year, before becoming a fully elected 21-member body by 2027. State lawmakers are tasked with drawing school board district maps, which have drawn criticism for not reflecting the student population of districts.
Jackson said a 21-member school board is too big and fears that the process is moving too quickly without enough oversight.
“We need to start organizing ourselves around this and make it a truly democratic process,” Jackson said. “Most parents, if you walk up to them on the street, they cannot tell you anything about this new governance model.”
Jackson, who resigned from her position in 2021, serves as CEO of Hope Chicago, a two-generation scholarship program that aims to remove financial barriers for thousands of CPS students and their parents by allowing them to attend college debt-free.
A new report finds college enrollment rates averaged 74% — a 17% increase — in the organization’s first year partnering with five CPS high schools. The report was done by City University of New York economics professor Clive Belfield and funded by the Hope Chicago Foundation.
“With the success of the first year, we can see right away that students are making different choices, their behaviors have changed toward college because finances are no longer an issue,” Jackson said.