Education: Parent Power's First Big Test

Clashes over local councils roil Chicago's schools

The cafeteria at Chicago's Morgan Park High School was jammed, and tempers were rising. Only a week earlier, the school's new eleven-member, parent-led governing council had voted not to renew principal Walter Pilditch's contract. The move had sparked violent protests among students, parents and teachers, resulting in seven injuries and ten arrests. Now council president Calvin Pearce was gamely trying to get on with other pressing matters.

But many in the crowd would not cooperate. They demanded to know why principal Pilditch, a 21-year veteran, had been fired. When the council refused to discuss the reasons, Cheri Dybus, mother of a...

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