As the President of the Board of Education for CPS, Gery Chico built new neighborhood schools and selective enrollment high schools, renovated existing schools, increased teacher salaries, and maintained a positive and peaceful relationship with the Chicago Teachers Union. He dramatically increased Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate programs, introduced more charter school options, and worked to strengthen neighborhood schools across the city.
Gery sees the importance of community members having a direct voice in the decisions made and the direction taken by CPS. That’s why he supports a hybrid elected-appointed school board, with the majority of members being appointed by the mayor, so that the mayor is held accountable for the educational outcomes of the district throughout the city.
Educational attainment rose under Gery Chico and continues to be on the rise in Chicago today, but not for everyone. There are schools with dire under-enrollment, schools that lack resources, and students who may make it to college but drop out before earning a degree—only to be saddled with massive debt. These challenges must be met head-on.
The lessons learned from the success of neighborhood schools, selective enrollment schools, charter schools, and other high performing schools must be applied to all schools in every neighborhood. Gery expanded preschool options at CPS and is committed to expanding access to preschool and early childhood education even further. We must continue to fund the teachers’ pension and recruit teachers from the neighborhoods where they will be teaching. The next mayor must also address teacher burnout rates so that we retain their knowledge and talent in the classroom.
Investing in education is key to a better, safer and stronger Chicago.