Early Xmas for Chicago-Area Public Schools (Chicago IL)

Hidden underneath slew of numbers and 20-page pull-out sections, the basic news revealed this week is that Chicago-area public schools improved last year, despite the difficulty of the task and, in Chicago at least, all the tumult and distraction created by the near-strike by the teachers union and displacement of its reform leader Debbie Lynch last year. While some of the apparent improvements were the result of bureaucratic and statistical "adjustments" to the process, there was a real and substantial improvement.

For all the details, see: 2004 School Report Card (Chicago Tribune), Schools soar to new heights (Chicago Sun Times), South suburban schools improve (Chicago Daily Southtown), and For schools labeled failing, goals are key (Chicago Daily Herald). Or, listen to my take on the results on WBEZ: 2004 Test results -- what do they mean?

The news couldn't have come at a better time for the Chicago Board of Education, which has had a difficult and defiant run of days since Thanksgiving -- first spanked by the Tribune's editorial page for failing to create more preschool spaces, then chastized by a federal judge for scrimping on transfer spots for minority students who might want to attend largely white schools, and finally called to task for Hoovering the lion's share of the $53 million federal tutoring program that is supposed to be operated by outside tutoring companies. Over the weekend, Mayor Daley apparently blew up at being victimized thusly: Daley blows up at federal judges at luncheon (Chicago Sun Times).

See "Showdown in Chicago" for all the previous details.


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