Breathing Room for Chicago Schools -- Momentarily, At Least

Yesterday's announcement that state testing results for Chicago schools have gone up -- especially in reading -- provides a nice end of summer/start of school treat for the city school system and its many helpers and shapers.

Or, as Chicagoist.com put it,
We Can Read!

Perhaps no one appreciated the good news more than the beleagured Mayor Daley, who hasn't had much to crow about of late
. It looks like there will be no special master for Chicago schools, -- for now at least.

The results do include some notable progress, and we should all take a moment away from handicapping the political horserace to congratulate and acknowledge the parents, teachers, administrators, and kids. Amazing work, considering the tight budgets and all the rest.

There are a couple of points to make, however, some of which I made during a radio segment this morning (Chicago schools move on reading WBEZ "Eight Forty-Eight"):

If "experience" is what you get when you're not getting what you really want, then "progress" -- the Board's rallying cry these days-- is what you get when you're still not quite good enough. And CPS still isn't.

The other foot drops later this month when the lists of schools not making adequate progress according to NCLB come out. This will not be such a good day, since the law now requires schools to have at least 47.5 percent of their kids proficient in reading and math -- just about where the average CPS composite score is now.

Strange that the math and science program, generally thought to be better-run etc. than the reading program -- didn't seem to make as much of a dent as its much larger sibling. Mike and Marty, what's up with that? I'm sure there's a good answer.

The links:

CPS gets high five for improved test scores Chicago Defender
Chicago reading scores surge Chicago Sun-Times
Reading efforts pay off Chicago Tribune

More good Chicago stuff:

Childhood obesity worst in poorest areas Chicago Journal
Suder and Skinner to welcome back students
Chicago Journal
Parents are right to protect their children from ... Defender
Spending gap grows for schools Tribune
New school gives its kids a head start Tribune


Blogger Instructivist said...

I heard your comments on WBEZ. In a report just preceding your appearance I heard a board official or something proclaim that because reading takes place across the curriculum (after all science and history can come in the form of words and sentences) and there was progress in reading, the same must be done with math. Math in English, math in history and so on.

This is fatuous. It'll lead to more contrivance and more wasted time without real gains.

12:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Schools using the district's math and science programs did indeed see an increase overall in their math ISAT performance, it is the other CPS schools overall that did not.
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6:32 PM  

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