Saturday, June 14, 2008

Chicago School Days

An interesting case study by Alexander Russo.  I hope this isn't indicative of how Obama might act on this issue as President (these events occurred nearly 10 years ago):
Based on Obama's actions in Chicago in 1999, it's hard to imagine him taking charge of the continuing debate over whether and how No Child Left Behind should be renewed. Forced to take a side, Obama's record suggests that, ultimately, he would be sympathetic to local autonomy. But there's not much evidence to show that he would be able to help mend deep and abiding schisms between testing hawks and local-control advocates. And without strong and unifying national leadership, our troubled public-education system stands little chance of making the dramatic improvements that it needs.
Chicago School Days
Obama's lackluster record on education.
By Alexander Russo
Posted Wednesday, April 2, 2008, at 3:05 PM ET

School reform advocates in Chicago have of late been heralding Barack Obama as a champion of local school councils, Chicago's hyperlocal system of school governance. Unique among big-city school districts in the United States, these independent, elected bodies at each school are made up of parents, teachers, and community members, 10 in all, plus the principal. Think of them as mini school boards, parent-teacher organizations on steroids, or condo boards for schools.

Created 20 years ago, these councils each hire and fire their own principals. Though firings aren't common, they turn out to be a very big deal. Dismissing a principal is the education equivalent of capital punishment. It's often career-ending. It disrupts a school to the core. And it sends shock waves out through the rest of the system. The councils—each dominated by six parents—are not all-powerful, however. Since 1995, Chicago has also had a central Board of Education overseen by the mayor that, among other things, has the power to close schools and open new ones.


Post a Comment

<< Home