Comparing Chicago’s 2023 mayoral candidates on 5 key education issues

Two men running for Chicago mayor shake hands after a recent forum.
Former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas and former teacher and union organizer Brandon Johnson differ vastly in how they would approach public schools. They will face each other in the April 4 runoff.  (Chris Sweda / Chicago Tribune / Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

Chicago voters are facing a choice between two mayoral candidates with vastly different backgrounds and views on education. 

Former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas has a long record managing urban school districts as an appointed bureaucrat. His opponent, Brandon Johnson, is a former middle school teacher and Chicago Teachers Union organizer.

The next mayor will be the last to have control of the school district before it transitions to being governed by an elected school board. The city’s runoff election will be held on April 4.

Here is a side-by-side breakdown on where Vallas and Johnson stand on five key education issues:

Mila Koumpilova contributed to this report.

Mauricio Peña is a reporter for Chalkbeat Chicago covering K-12 schools. Contact Mauricio at Becky Vevea is the bureau chief for Chalkbeat Chicago. Contact Becky at  

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