As Director of Fiscal Policy & Analysis for Chicago Public Schools, Cameron Mock is in a position to influence many of the District’s most important decisions. He never loses sight of the fact that his work can affect policies that shape the educational experience of hundreds of thousands of students.
His work requires him to engage with public officials at multiple levels of government. During the Chicago Public Schools’ contract negotiations with the Chicago Teachers Union, Mock was a member of the CPS bargaining team. His analyses were important for their assessment of contract proposals. Similarly, he has testified before the state’s General Assembly committees and the Chicago Board of Education about the impact of various spending and policy proposals.
Mock says that as a Masters of Public Policy student education finance “wasn’t really on [his] radar.” He was most interested in tax policy. But when he did work with education budgets, he realized how closely related education and taxes were, as well as how important education is to economic health.
Mock recalls, “Furthermore, I knew I wanted to do something where I could make the greatest difference on the most lives. It finally occurred to me that nearly everyone is invested in educational outcomes— whether someone has a child, pays taxes, or simply wants to live in a country or region with robust economic growth, it all generally comes back to how we invest resources in our education system.”
Prior to entering the MPP program, Mock completed an undergraduate degree in Political Science at Michigan State University. During this time, he interned with a state representative and later worked on the same individual’s successful campaign for the Michigan Senate.
It was during the Masters of Public Policy program that Mock developed a real passion for finance. This translated into a job as a Fiscal Analyst at the Senate Fiscal Agency, and it was there that he became involved in education finance. He credits the expertise and concern for the public good among the staff at the Fiscal Agency with giving him a strong foundation for his future career.
After moving to Chicago, Mock became Budget Manager at Illinois Governor’s Office of Management & Budget.
He explains, “In this role, I managed the Governor’s education budgets and conducted tax and fiscal analyses for him and members of his senior staff. As I grew more familiar with the intricacies of the education funding system in Illinois, I set my sights on the financial challenges that face Chicago Public Schools.”
In his previous position as Budget Manager for CPS, and now as a Director, Mock oversees the forecasting and budgeting of over $6 billion in revenues, money that Chicago’s students and schools depend on. He sees it has his duty to care for the District’s finances to ensure that students receive a sound education that will help them learn and put them on the path to future success.
Mock’s advice to policy students is to always persevere in the face of setbacks or self-doubt. As he’s illustrated, being ready to take advantage of opportunities and learning from each experience can lead to new and rewarding work.