A very interesting thing is happening in Rahm Emmanuel’s Chicago. The Chicago Public Schools leaders are trying to close and overhaul 17 of the city’s failing schools. However, the Chicago Teachers Union is fighting this effort to improve education for minority students by filing a lawsuit to prevent the CPS action. Why would union leaders fight efforts to improve schools? They argue that turnaround efforts actually discriminate against these minority students. How’s that work? So, let’s get this straight, if the worst performing schools in Chicago are closed and their students are sent to better performing nearby public schools, then these same students are being discriminated against?
The real story: ten of the worst performing schools would be in “turnaround” in which the teaching and administrative staff would be fired and replacements would be brought in to actually educate the students. So, this is not about the kids, this is about power of the union leaders.
There is empirical evidence that schools that undergo reform, such as turnaround, improve significantly. The University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research documented that 22 elementary schools made significant gains as a result of reforms. (The Chicago Tribune)(read more…)