CCSR is analyzing survey data from Local School Council (LSC) members in the Chicago Public Schools. The purpose of the survey is to develop baseline information from one of the sites of power that governs schools. These data will complement survey data from two other sites of power: teachers (elementary school teachers were surveyed in 1991; elementary and high school teachers in 1994) and principals (surveyed in 1992). This is the first time CCSR has conducted a survey of parents and community members on the LSCs. Replication of prior survey measures on school politics types, views about LSC contributions, role clarity, and the impact of Chicago school reform, will offer fruitful possibilities for comparative analysis.
A second rationale for conducting this study is to obtain citywide data about LSC members and the roles LSCs play as local institutions. The survey will focus particularly on activities, contributions, and training in relation to their mandated responsibilities: selecting and evaluating the principal, and developing and approving the budget and the School Improvement Plan.
The results of this survey are intended to inform educators, policy makers, citizens, and LSC members about Local School Councils, how they are performing, and their role in contributing to school improvement from the vantage point of the members themselves. These results should stimulate ongoing discussion and debate on school improvement and the progress of school reform.