But now the Chicago Civic Committee, the city's ruling elite, has turned on Arne Duncan and in a report released yesterday, titled "Still Left Behind," attacked the Duncan-led Chicago school reform as an "abysmal" failure. Ironically, it was the Civic Committee that designed and financed the Mayor's Renaissance 2010 plan--the very plan that Duncan was hired to implement and enforce.
A flabbergasted Duncan, who rode the myth of the Chicago turnaround miracle all the way to Washington, tried to defend his record. But, well, 8th grade test scores did rise by a few points, was the best he could do.
Crain's Chicago Business blogger Greg Hinz writes:
The report directly challenges widespread claims by current and former CPS officials that local students have shown substantial progress over the last decade on standardized tests. For instance, it notes a 2006 letter from then schools CEO Arne Duncan, now U.S. secretary of education, stating that the share of CPS students meeting or exceeding state standards had leapt 15 points in one year. In fact, it says, the change occurred because of a change in the test, not because of real educational gains.The fallout from the Civic Committee's report will be felt way beyond the city limits. Duncan has been touting the Renaissance 2010 model on his current "listening tour" and has even been threatening districts who won't follow along, with loss of federal dollars.
There are two lessons I hope Arne Duncan will take away from all this: 1) Tell no lies and claim no easy victories, and 2) He who lies down with dogs, wakes up with fleas.