Jan Resseger nails the central issue in the Chicago mayoral race: school reform. Pail Vallas tried to make the race about crime and his promise to control it. But the deciding issue was education, and their very different visions for improving it.

How do we know? Vallas has no record as a crime-fighter. He has a long resume as a school superintendent, starting in Chicago. He was the ultimate technocrat, who ruthlessly imposed his test-and-punish and school closing-choice ideology, regardless of how parents, students, and teachers felt about it.

Brandon Johnson was a social studies teacher and then a community organizer for the Chicago Teachers Union. He was the antithesis of Vallas. He knew that the root of school problems was not in the schools but in the social and economic conditions in which children were growing up.

Brandon is the heir of the late, great Karen Lewis. She changed the narrative when she led a citywide strike in 2012. She organized communities and teachers. She continues to be our greatest visionary of what education should be.

How about that, Brandon!

For another account, read Chalkbeat Chicago.

Johnson’s win marks a stunning achievement in the grassroots movement started by Chicago Teachers Union leadership roughly a decade ago to focus on issues beyond the classroom, such as affordable housing, public health, environmental justice, and police reform.

“We have ushered in a new chapter in the history of our city,” Johnson said. “Whether you wake up early to open the doors of your businesses, or teach middle school, or wear a badge to protect our streets, or nurse patients in need, or provide child care services, you have always worked for this city. And now Chicago will begin to work for its people…”

Vallas, a torch bearer for school choice and charter schools who has supported voucher expansion, faced criticism and applause for his complicated schools’ legacy. Johnson taught at Jenner Academy of the Arts and Westinghouse College Prep before becoming a union organizer for the Chicago Teachers Union. His education platform, which aligns closely with the teachers union, promises more staff, free transit for students, and green schools…

The CTU called Johnson a “protege” of the late former union president Karen Lewis, who almost ran for mayor herself in 2015 before being diagnosed with a brain tumor.

“You don’t have a Brandon Johnson without a Karen Lewis,” said CTU president Stacy Davis Gates said. “She transformed the political debate in our city. She showed Chicagoans how to stand up and demand what their schools and their city need and deserve. Tonight affirms Karen’s dream of a city that works for us all, not just a privileged few.”