Something’s going right in the Chicago Public Schools. Today, it’s the fastest-improving district in the country, according to a national researcher. It’s outperforming districts all across the state, says a local researcher. It’s not just test scores, says another.
So, what is driving Chicago’s educational progress?
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“This research proves that progress is possible,” adding, “We need to tell that story.”
To seek out answers to this question, the Chicago-based Joyce and Spencer Foundations sponsored a forum on Nov. 2, with researchers, policy experts, and educators discussing the studies and initiatives that have led to Chicago’s rapid academic gains.
Some panelists said the district’s focus on principal quality is the answer. Others said better use of data by principals and teachers is the answer. Chief Education Officer Janice Jackson highlighted the district’s focus on school quality and choice.
The forum closed with Robin Steans, who has been active in education reform statewide for years and helps run the Steans Family Foundation, soliciting audience suggestions for how to move forward with policy, practice, and research. A number of great ideas surfaced, including a deeper focus on teacher practice and collaboration and on how successful schools make much better use of time. A full report from the forum is in the works.
Several people present also called for a concerted effort to change the negative narrative around improving education, which is so often about money and politics rather than about teaching and learning.
Read the full article by Peter Cunningham about education reform from The 74
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