Thursday, October 20, 2011

Chicago math and science scores worst ever

Duncan rode the myth of the Chicago "miracle" all the way to D.C.
It's been 16 years since Mayor Richard M. Daley took control of Chicago's school system, bringing with him a school-reform agenda focused on school closings, mass teacher firings, privately-run charter schools, and increased reliance on standardized test scores as the main means of judging  schools and teachers. Now Mayor Emanuel has taken the reins with his own brand of corporate-style reform.

Each campaign, from Renaissance 2010, to Turnaround Schools, was supposed to produce big gains in measurable "student achievement."  The mayor's hand-picked, politically faithful school CEOs, from Paul Vallas, to Arne Duncan, to Ron Huberman, were all quick to make claims of miracle "turnarounds." Duncan even rode the myth of Chicago "miracle" all the way to Washington.

But facts are stubborn fellows, as they say, and now comes news that nearly half of all Illinois public school students failed the annual 11th grade Prairie State Achievement Exam, the worst statewide performance recorded in the test's history. This news comes on the heels of a report from the Consortium on Chicago Schools Research, showing, "No real progress in CPS grade school reading in 20 years."

The latest results not only show the bankruptcy of corporate-style school reform in Chicago, but the failure of No Child Left Behind as well. Chicago's  failure to meet NCLB standards makes the district part of the 80 percent nationwide who are anticipated to be left behind.

I can already predict the mayor's response. Instead of calling for an end to the testing madness, Rahm will likely claim that the dismal scores are the result of schools not implementing HIS longer-school-day reform. Maybe he can name it, Renaissance 90 Minutes.

Isn't it time to rethink the whole notion of mayoral control of the schools?


  1. "corporate-style school reform in Chicago"??

    Whatever reform you might think Chicago has enacted, it most certainly is not "corporate style". In business, firms that do not serve their markets do not last long.

    With results like you cite, I think we should START some corporate style reform in Education!

    What is going to happen is that this politically-correct education union model where the Union is close-minded about working to improve things for the kids is going to go bankrupt. As a taxpayer, what I see is a bloated administrative layer and some good teachers who do not get support to do their jobs. Budgets will go down not up and that is how it must be. Although the Admin fat layer should bear the brunt I am sure some teacher muscle will get cut too.

    My kids are using Khan Academy, Flipped classrooms, YouTube and anything a teacher can offer is out there for free.

    Check out Steve Jobs advice to Obama on education reform. That is where the majority of taxpaying parents stand.

    Your way certainly doesn't work and to claim education is being "Starved" is idiocy. Far from being "starved" Education has completely lost its way and is like a bedridden 900 pound morbidly obese person that hasn't left the bedroom in 3 years and is crapping its own pants.

  2. To Anon. Free internet sites, like youtube and TED, that could be used in the classroom are blocked by CPS admin. because, well, I have asked and have never gotten a reasonable answer. However, I feel it is because admin. does not want the teachers to be successful. Instead, they want public schools to fail so they can implement charter schools and neglect the average student.

  3. Over HALF of all kids failed the PSAE in science and math? OK, this should be (but won't) be a wake up call the the politicians pushing all this testing nonsense that has hobbled real education in this state and across the nation. The ironic thing about the current "reform" movement is that back in the 90's, long before NCLB or RTTT, the achievement gap between white and minority kids was closing, according to a report done by the Sandia National Lab regarding education.

    Educational success in schools should be left to the professional educators and their professional training, not to the political and business hacks who have hunches but no research to back up their feeble claims.

  4. Because there are no checks and balances of Chicago education administrators allowed since 1995 (your political hacks at work), corporate-style reform has been alive and well for years, Anonymous. Real educators who have day-to-day contact with kids have not been making the important, binding decisions. The politicians, corporations, and their supporters have sucked the money up in private contracts and have led our students down the road to failure with ridiculous assumptions, loaded class sizes, lack of technology, ripping apart communities with union busting and school closings...only to replace their "accountability" with MORE requirements for teachers and stifling rules that people call innovation.

    It's more of the same poison. We unionists tell the union to keep us together and not drink it. Instead of anti-union rhetoric, why don't you check the CTU out, research it for the last 25 years for its platforms, and then try to blame us for the system. Support going back to a voted-in school board! No mayoral control of education!

  5. This came in the mail from Monty Neill at FairTest:

    What I'd like to see from the defenders of this madness (like Ed Trust) is independent evidence that the AYP scheme has led, after nearly a decade, to widespread improvement. The only indpendent national and state data is NAEP, and NAEP scores have flattened or declined n both subjects for most groups and grade levels. I keep seeing how we need to defend the test and sanction regime, but not evidence that it works. The NAEP evidence as we at FairTest summed it up is here:


Agree? Disagree? Let me hear from you.