|Rahm's urban removal project|
The latest study by the University of Chicago’s Consortium on Chicago School Research finds that after 20 years of reform efforts, reading scores in the city's weakest elementary schools didn't budge. An editorial in today's Sun-Times summarizes the Consortium study, including the news that, "among African-American students, reading scores essentially were unchanged from 1990."
The predictable response from Rahm Emanuel's CPS crew is that this time around, things will be different, reform is working. This even though their reform is basically more of the same, ie. mayoral control, school closings, privately-run charter schools, mass teacher firings, salary and pension cuts. Rahm's only addition -- more seat time for kids, with even fewer resources for schools. If that's reform, who will reform the reform?
Even the autocratic Rahm is meeting with resistance in his attempt to close Crane High School. An independent hearing officer has recommended that, no decision on the phase-out of Crane should be made until school district officials analyze a “well-thought-out’’ Crane-proposed plan for the school’s rejuvenation.
The recommendation, a vindication for Crane faculty, came after a battery of elected officials — including Ald. Robert Fioretti (2nd), Ald. Walter Burnett (27th) and state Sen. Annazette Collins (D-Chicago) — showed up at public hearings to oppose the CPS plan to gradually turn over the Crane building at 2245 W. Jackson to Talent Development Charter High School.The high schools that would-be Crane freshmen would be routed to are “only marginally better,” David Coar, the hearing officer found. Meanwhile, Crane faculty and supporters have “put forth a well thought-out plan” that includes support from Strategic Learning Initiatives, “an organization with a track record of school turnarounds.”
Chicago Teachers Union officials and Strategic Learning Initiatives president John Simmons have repeatedly contended that Strategic Learning has produced success in failing schools with far less disruption to staff and at one fifth the cost of current CPS turnaround models.