Elected Representative School Board Campaign Resources and Updates

Chicago has NEVER had an elected school board. TJS has been fighting with other Chicagoans for an Elected Representative School Board (ERSB) since 2006. 

TJS is part of the Grassroots Education Movement (GEM) which is a coalition of organizations that are fighting for education justice in Chicago. CODE Chicago is Communities Organized for Democracy in Education which includes GEM organizations as well as other supporters of an ERSB.

Two advisory referenda have shown that nearly 90% of Chicagoans want an ERSB. 

How can you help fight for an Elected Representative School Board for Chicago?

  • Hang a window sign at your home and workplace and distribute window signs (See below)
  • Contact your elected official to ask if they are supporting the ERSB. Thank them or tell them to get on board. (find your state legislators by putting your address into this website.
  • Come out to mass rallies in Chicago and Springfield when we need to demonstrate mass support. Springfield actions are coming up on Feb. 10 and April 12, 2016
  • Donate to our crowdfunding campaign for a lawsuit for an elected school board https://rally.org/ChiElectSchoolBoard
  • Follow TSJ on Twitter @teachforjustice 
  • Follow CODE - Communities Organized for Democracy in Education @CODE4Democracy on Twitter
  • Follow #ERSBnow on social media - Retweet, Like, Post, Share, Spread the word, Organize!
  • Help with phone banking
  • Participate in a door-door canvas to mobilize support
  • Host a house-meeting/coffee to educate and organize your neighbors

Elected Representative School Board Window Signs! 

Download, Post, and Share to Show Your Support for an ERSB!
8.5 X 11 B&W          8.5 X 11 Color            

A Brief History of the Fight for an Elected Representative School Board

Elected Representative School Board
Organizing History & Major Developments

·         First petition drive for ERSB INITIATED by coalition of community organizations

·         After years of neighborhood public school closings under Renaissance 2010, community and education groups begin discussions about elected representative school board legislation.
·         Feb 2011:  Report released, Should Chicago Have an Elected Representative School Board?  A Look at the Evidence (http://ceje.uic.edu/publications/)

·         Communities Organized for Democracy in Education (CODE)
o    Early 2012, meetings of community organizations to discuss need for elected board. This followed the fight over extended school day.
o    Groups included:  Kenwood Oakland Community Organization, Teachers for Social Justice, 19th Ward Parents, Albany Park Neighborhood Council, Action Now, Raise Your Hand, Enlace, Parents 4 Teachers, Northside Action for Justice, Will Guzzardi’s Progress Northwest, Pilsen Alliance, Hope Center
o    CODE formed Spring 2012
·         Referendum
o    Summer 2012: CODE put question of ERSB to advisory referendum on Nov.  2012 ballot in 327 precincts  (nearly 10k signatures) (http://www.catalyst-chicago.org/notebook/2012/08/06/20314/grassroots-coalition-submits-signatures-voter-referendum-elected-school)
§  Results
·         Representative sample of city (https://sites.google.com/site/codechicago/esb-referendum-map), 87% of voters voted “Yes” for ERSB
o    City Council strategy (July 2012):  Progressive caucus attempted to put question on city-wide ballot,  blocked by Ald. Joe Moore and Rahm Emanuel (http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/moore-and-emanuel-block-elected-school-board/Content?oid=7095690)
·         November 2012
o    CODE seeking ILGA sponsor for ERSB bill; meetings with State Reps.
o    Discussion of potential lawsuit for ERSB
·         December 8, 2012:  CODE holds ERSB workshop at Education Summit @ Marshall HS

·         February 2013:
o    Meetings with state legislators to sponsor bill 
·         March 2013:
o    Elgie Sims sponsors house ERSB bill, HB 2793
o    Willie Delgado sponsors senate ERSB bill, SB 1573
o    March 18, 2013—CODE meets with civil rights attorney about potential lawsuit
·         March-May 2013: 
o    outreach to legislators
·         May 2013: Mayor appointed Board votes to close 50 schools after 6 months of protest
·         June 2013:  MALDEF Chicago works on draft of legislation to reflect CODE proposal
·         July 2013:  Aging Justice Program—LSC strengthening bill
·         August-December 2013:  outreach to legislators
·         August 2013
o    August 28, 2013:  Boycott of CPS—raised ERSB issue
·         September 25, 2013:  People’s Board Meeting @ Mt. Carmel Church
·         October 2013:  Attorney Tom Geoghegan (Despres, Schwartz & Geoghegan), proposes state and federal lawsuit for ERSB
·         November 19, 2013:  People’s Board Meeting @ People’s Church in Uptown
·         November 2013 Progressive Caucus of the Chicago City Council attempts to get ERSB onto city-wide ballot; again blocked by Rahm Emanuel (http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/rahm-emanuel-ed-burke-elected-school-board/Content?oid=11723604)

·         February 27:  Springfield Lobby Day
·         March:  ERSB Lawsuit fundraising site established:  Rally.org/chielectschoolboard ($20,000 goal)
·         Summer:  CODE folds into GEM to continue ERSB work
·         Referendum:
·         Fall 2014: GEM & United Working Families organize 2nd petition drive to get ERSB on Feb 2015 ballot
·         Referendum for elected school board on ballot in 37 of 50 Chicago wards. November: CPS risky borrowing exposed. 
·         November: CPS “toxic swaps” risky borrowing deals exposed
·         February: Revised Report released, Should Chicago Have an Elected Representative School Board?  A New Look at the Evidence (http://ceje.uic.edu/publications/)
·         February: Nearly 90% vote in favor of referendum for elected board
·         Elected school board issue “litmus test” for mayoral and aldermanic candidates: http://catalyst-chicago.org/2014/10/elected-school-board-be-litmus-test-aldermanic-candidates-grassroots/
·         March: CPS bond rating downgraded
·         June: Barbara Byrd-Bennett resigns in latest CPS insider contract scandal
·         August 10: Sate legislators introduce HB4268 for elected representative school board
·         January: TSJ Teach-In- There are approximately 54 co-sponsors of HB4268, but we need a Rauner veto-proof majority of 71 legislators to pass the bill. GEM groups are organizing to reach that threshold and begin to work on the IL Senate to make sure the bill will pass in both houses. 

November 3, 2015


This is a game changer.  

The popularity of an elected representative school board in Chicago (2 advisory referendums with close to 90% of voters in favor) and CPS’s chaos and damaging policies have spurred the Democrats to introduce House Bill 4268 to end mayoral control and give Chicagoans the same right as every other Illinois school district to elect our school board. HB 4268l has 5 chief sponsors in the Illinois General Assembly; 50 State Reps have signed on. We are beginning work with the State Senate. This is OUR BILL (school bd members elected from geographic districts representative of Chicago’s majority Black and Latino voters). Grassroots Education Movement (GEM—city-wide coalition of community orgs, parent orgs, TSJ, CTU) is working closely with Rep. Martwick who is chairing the ERSB task force.  We need a veto-proof majority in the Assembly (71 votes) and comparable in the Senate.

WE CAN GET THIS BILL PASSED SPRING 2016! WE need to mobilize to make sure it happens.

* attend town hall meetings across the city to show support and make sure the elected officials follow through (see schedule below. Sign up to testify in favor. MAIN THING TO DO NOW.
*hang a window sign at your house and work and distribute window signs (coming soon)
*help with phone baking (just one hour makes a difference)
*participate in a door-door canvas to mobilize support
*contact your elected official to ask if they are supporting. Thank them or tell them to get on board.   
*come out to mass rallies in Chicago and Springfield when we need to demonstrate mass support
*donate to our crowdfund campaign for a lawsuit for an elected school board https://rally.org/ChiElectSchoolBoard

Email teachersforjustice@hotmail.com to let us know how you will be involved. Check TSJ website for updates.


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