Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson takes oath of workplace — science weblog

Brandon Johnson, a public college father or mother, academics union organizer, and former center college instructor, has been formally sworn in as Chicago’s 57th mayor. 

Johnson defeated former Chicago Public Faculties CEO Paul Vallas in a runoff election on April 4 after each candidates surpassed incumbent Mayor Lori Lightfoot throughout a Feb. 28 common election, dashing her hopes of a second time period. 

“We get to put in writing the story of our kids’s and our grandchildren’s future,” Johnson mentioned throughout his inaugural tackle Monday on the Credit score Union 1 Area at College of Illinois at Chicago on town’s Close to West Aspect. “What’s going to that story say?” 

Because the final mayor with management of Chicago Public Faculties, Johnson will oversee town’s transition to an elected college board, which he lobbied for as an organizer with the Chicago Academics Union. In his speech Monday, he as soon as once more promised to double the variety of youth jobs, present “little one look after all,” and associate with college district management to “present each single little one with a world class schooling that meets their wants.”

“Let’s create a public schooling system that sources kids based mostly on want and never simply on numbers,” Johnson mentioned. 

“Let’s have a system that respects its dad and mom, educators and faculty staff,” he mentioned. “The place the president of the Chicago Academics Union and SEIU Native 73 and the CEO of the Chicago Public Faculties can work collectively to advocate for extra sources for all of our kids.”

Roughly three hours after taking the oath of workplace, Johnson signed 4 government orders — one which directs the funds workplace to search out accessible cash to pay for youth employment this summer time and year-round. It additionally duties his new Deputy Mayor of Schooling Jen Johnson to establish entry-level jobs “appropriate for younger folks” inside metropolis departments and companies. Chicago’s youth unemployment charges elevated in the course of the pandemic, hitting Black younger girls notably exhausting, based on a brand new report launched final week. 

Johnson’s personal story from center college instructor to mayor started greater than a decade in the past. He left the classroom in 2012 to be part of a grassroots effort by the Chicago Academics Union to construct political energy with the intention to enhance the circumstances past the classroom partitions that influence college students and their households, akin to housing affordability, poverty, crime, and environmental racism.

“I’m struck by how a lot work it took to convey us to this second,” Johnson mentioned, with CTU president, Stacy Davis Gates, and vice chairman, Jackson Potter, seated behind him on the stage.

Whereas operating for mayor, Johnson promised free public transit for college kids, an growth of kid care applications and well being clinics in colleges with accessible house, and a rise in assist workers, akin to social employees and counselors

Johnson’s election alerts a nationwide shift on schooling inside Democratic politics away from an emphasis on high-stakes accountability and market-based college selection. That view of reform, at occasions, additionally vilified academics and their unions and got here with laws that stripped academics of their bargaining rights and tried to tie job safety to scholar take a look at scores. 

The Chicago Academics Union started to push again on that pondering in 2010 with the election of the late Karen Lewis as CTU president. Their motion gained momentum and nationwide consideration happening strike in 2012, protesting mass college closures in 2013, and electing the primary instructor to Metropolis Council in 2015. The CTU’s activism galvanized unions in different cities. 

In a slim election in 2018, Johnson upset an incumbent to win a seat on the Prepare dinner County Board of Commissioners, a place he formally resigned on Friday.

A man in a gray suit shakes hands surrounded by other people.

Mayor Brandon Johnson shakes fingers exterior Michele Clark Magnet Excessive College in Chicago’s Austin neighborhood hours earlier than taking the oath of workplace.

Previous to taking the oath of workplace on Monday, Johnson stopped at a number of colleges on Chicago’s West Aspect, together with DePriest Elementary, Michele Clark Magnet Excessive College, and Leland Elementary. A drumline and crowd of scholars, academics, and elected officers greeted him exterior Michele Clark.

Torrence Bell, 15, held up a poster congratulating the brand new mayor and stood alongside a fence exterior the entrance entrance, the place dozens of elected officers gathered, together with Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, Metropolis Clerk Anna Valencia, and Prepare dinner County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. 

“He’s a black male, you already know, I’m a black male, so it’s actually very inspiring for me,” Bell mentioned. 

Up the road, exterior Leland Elementary college students cheered and chanted for the brand new mayor, shaking his hand as he walked via the playground earlier than getting in a black SUV to go to the inauguration ceremony.  

“He’s one in all our personal,” mentioned Alesia Franklin-Allen, performing principal at Leland. “That’s an amazing asset to have in a frontrunner. He is aware of the wants of the colleges.” 

Talking exterior Michele Clark Magnet Excessive College, present union president Davis Gates mentioned she felt just like the “personification of pleasure.”  

“We deserve a mayor who’s going to put money into our kids, who’s going to follow justice and fairness, not simply as a price, however as a coverage crucial,” Davis Gates mentioned. “I’m so very completely happy for us proper now.”

Students stand behind a fence with signs.

College students from Leland Elementary on Chicago’s West Aspect wait to satisfy Mayor Brandon Johnson Monday morning earlier than he took the oath of workplace.

Ten years in the past this month, Davis Gates mentioned, she and Johnson have been in Springfield lobbying lawmakers to cease then-Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his appointed Chicago Board of Schooling from closing 50 colleges. Finally, the board voted to shut these colleges, which turned a galvanizing second for the CTU. After the Might 22, 2013 vote, then-CTU president Karen Lewis mentioned the union would begin coaching folks to run for workplace.

“Clearly, we now have to vary the political panorama on this metropolis,” Lewis mentioned on the time.

Davis Gates choked again tears Monday morning as she recalled that second. 

“I’m so completely happy that academics and clinicians and paraprofessionals believed their union who mentioned that we may discount for the frequent good, that we could possibly be in coalition with the group, that we may remodel Chicago,” Davis Gates mentioned standing exterior Michele Clark Excessive College earlier than heading downtown for the inauguration. “That is so wonderful. And my solely remorse is that Karen is just not right here.”

Just a few hours later in his inaugural tackle, Johnson nodded to Lewis, calling her his “mentor and expensive sister.” 

“All of us are right here due to the work of giants who got here earlier than us and with out whom at the present time wouldn’t be doable,” he mentioned.

Becky Vevea is the bureau chief for Chalkbeat Chicago. Contact Becky at     

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