Illinois – Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT) President Dan Montgomery issued the statement below following the passage of the elected school board bill (HB 2908).
“Today, we celebrate the parents, teachers, and community organizations who have fought for decades to ensure that parents in Chicago have a powerful voice in their children’s education, just like those in every other Illinois school district.
“Having an elected school board in Chicago will make the board and Chicago Public Schools accountable to the people they serve. This is a core value of our democracy. We applaud every person who fought for today’s win.
“As we have seen, a mayor-appointed board has been profoundly problematic, which has led to severe disparities for Black and Brown children and communities. This bill is a step in the right direction to remedy inequalities and restore trust in Chicago Public Schools and its leaders.
“Today’s win would not have been possible without the steadfast leadership and vision of Chicago Teachers Union President Jesse Sharkey, Vice President Stacy Davis Gates, and our beloved Karen Lewis. Karen was committed to achieving this goal on behalf of the students and city she loved, and I have no doubt that she is looking down on us today with tremendous pride.
“Our union sends a special thanks to State Senator Robert Martwick for his leadership and unwavering support throughout the years. We also thank Senate President Don Harmon, House Speaker Chris “Emanuel” Welch, State Representative Delia Ramirez, and all the lawmakers who worked tirelessly in moving public education in Chicago a step closer to democracy. We look forward to Governor Pritzker signing this bill into law."