Chicago's legacy of top-down school reform
Mayor Daley went and hired Paul Vallas, and then Arne Duncan to steer, what he called in 1996, his "national model of urban school reform" called Renaissance 2010.
It only took a decade after Bennett's proclamation before politicians and the media were talking about the "Chicago Miracle" in education. In his 1999 State of the Union address, Pres. Clinton took personal credit to Chicago's rise to the top.
So my balanced budget triples the funding for summer school and after-school programs to keep a million children learning. Now, if – if you doubt this will work, just look at Chicago, which ended social promotion and made summer school mandatory for those who don't master the basics. Math and reading scores are up three years running with some of the biggest gains in some of the poorest neighborhoods. It will work, and we should do it.But a decade later, Chicago test score were flat as a pancake and departing school's chief Arne Duncan's "miracle" was being debunked by critics from right to left. The Chicago Tribune was reporting that,
Six years after Mayor Richard Daley launched a bold initiative to close down and remake failing schools, Renaissance 2010 has done little to improve the educational performance of the city's school system.
The architect of Renaissance 2010, former schools CEO Arne Duncan, is now the U.S. Secretary of Education -- and he's taking the Daley-Duncan model national as part of his Race to the Top reform plan.From Renaissance to Dark Ages...The Rahm Emanuel era brought new charges that Daley/Duncan school reform had been a flop and that the new mayor would re-invent school reform with more seat time, mass teacher firings, the biggest school-closing move ever, and upping the previous mayor on privatization.
My prediction is, that within the next few -- hopefully post-Emanuel -- years, Rahm's top-dow reforms will end up in the same waste bin of history as Duncan's.
Here's my recommendation for one of the first to go.
It's Rahm's fascination with selective-enrollment schools as a driver of Mike Klonsky's SmallTalk Blog: Chicago's legacy of top-down school reform: