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Obama's Education Law Still Roils Chicago Schools

There's precious little from Barack Obama's resume or his positions to look at and evaluate.  But that won't stop me from trying.  Last week, I posted about the Chicago teacher training organization Obama supports, which has over the last three years turned into a school management organization used to help close and reopen schools.  Ebca623b6677c25857ca418b77b34f3eaa0This week, it's Obama's 1999 work on compromise legislation that still governs -- for better or worse -- how Chicago principals are hired and fired.

Under the 1999 law that Obama helped broker in Springfield, local school councils that govern Chicago schools can let a principal go pretty much regardless of their performance.  Obama advocated for this wider leeway for the local councils, which then-superintendent Paul Vallas had argued was giving the local councils -- elected groups of parents and teachers and community members -- too much authority.

The law remains extremely controversial nearly 10 years later.  Last year, a principal that Mayor Daley called a "superstar" was dismissed from a Southwest Side high school she had run for several years.  Last week, a promising young principal at a North Side elementary school was "nonrenewed" despite strong evaluations in the past.  Critics see these instances as evidence that local control should have its limits.  Proponents see this as an example of Chicago's unique and long-running local control effort doing its work.

It's a complex, messy issue that so far this year hasn't hit the mainstream news. 
Riled Up At Ravenswood - New Principal Ousted District 299 


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As a parent, I'm torn on this issue. Being a stay at home parent, I'm totally involved in the education of my children and most of the time I do know what's best for them. I also believe that the majority of the parents involved in the councils that influence teacher status are just like myself. They're well- educated and very involved in all aspects of their childs education. However, I have found at times that the decision voted on by the council has not been scrutinized enough and all the factors have not yet been evaluated. It has been in these few circumstances where the future of the educator is at trial , that I would have appreciated some intervention.

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