The John M. Olin Center

Paper Abstract

259. S.R. Krishnamoorthi, Making Local School Councils Work: The Implementation of Local School Councils in Chicago Public Elementary Schools, 6/99; subsequently published in Journal of Law & Education, Vol. 29, No. 3, July 2000, 285-314.

Abstract: Chicago's public schools have undergone massive reform in the past decade. The most radical of these reforms has involved decentralizing operational decision-making for the schools from the central Board of Education to parent-dominated Local School Councils (LSCs).

The dual purposes of this paper are to determine what aspects of LSC governance, if any, matter for student achievement and what, if anything, the legislature can do to help LSCs perform better in these areas. The paper begins with a brief examination of the history behind Chicago school reform and a description of these reforms. This is followed by a description of the rationale behind this reform. Next, the paper presents the procedure used to perform the empirical analysis of this paper, and after that the results of this analysis. The paper turns finally to an interpretation of the results and what they mean for legislators.

The results show that training LSCs might be important for their proper functioning and might, in turn, lead to higher student achievement. The Illinois state legislature has taken important steps toward mandating some training and encouraging more; however, further action in this direction might be necessary. In any case, more research must be done to answer lingering questions about the training of LSCs. Currently, the link between the training of LSCs and student achievement remains under-researched.

259: PDF
Table 1: PDF