Duncan’s two years as CEO

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2001


June 6 Chicago Public Schools CEO
Paul Vallas resigns after six years in the position. After a failed
run for governor of Illinois, he is later named CEO of the School
District of Philadelphia in July 2002.
June 26 Mayor Daley appoints 36-year-old
Arne Duncan, Vallas’ deputy chief of staff, to head CPS.
August 3 Duncan names noted McCosh
Principal Barbara Eason-Watkins as chief education officer.
August 7 The School Board drops intervention,
a punitive policy used at five low-performing high schools, and closes
the Office of Intervention.
August 9 Duncan announces his management
team, with 36 of the 43 senior positions being holdovers from the
Vallas administration.
August 16 Duncan unveils the $31 million
Chicago Reading Initiative that is designed to bolster reading instruction.
August 30 Mayor Daley announces an $18.2
million high school redesign plan that will subdivide the five intervention
high schools into smaller units. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
provides $12 million, local funders donate the rest.
September 4 Duncan proposes a policy that
requires all CPS teachers to have full state certification within
12 months. Later, the Chicago Sun-Times publishes a report finding
that more than 5,000 Illinois teachers failed at least one of the
tests required for certification.
November 8 Duncan proposes to revamp
school report cards to give parents more detailed information about
a school’s performance.
November 15 Duncan announces a $2 million
plan to restructure and expand after-school programs.
2002


January 8 President Bush
signs into law the No Child Left Behind act, a sweeping school reform
measure that requires greater district accountability for student
and school performance.
January 23 The School Board retains four
consultants to re-examine its 21-year-old desegregation plan.
April 3 Duncan introduces the Human
Capital Initiative, a task force to develop recommendations for new
teacher hiring practices, principal evaluations and career ladders
for teachers.
April 5 The Chicago High School Redesign
Initiative awards its first round of Gates-funded small schools grants
to Bowen, Orr and South Shore. The school district proposes to create
five new schools to open by fall.
April 10 Duncan reveals plans to close
three low-performing elementary schools—Dodge, Terrell and Williams—and
angers Chicago Teachers Union President Deborah Lynch by not notifying
her in advance.
July 8 Citing Office of Accountability
data that one in five CPS teachers in the district’s 81 probationary
schools are not fully certified to teach, Duncan bans hiring teachers—except
those in shortage areas—who don’t have full credentials.
August 25 CPS releases "Every Child,
Every School," the district’s education plan that emphasizes
quality teaching and learning over punitive accountability measures.
September 3 Under the No Child Left Behind
act, students in schools that fail to make "adequate yearly progress"
two years in a row may transfer to better-performing schools. CPS
has 179 such elementary schools, but offered transfer options at only
50 of them.
September 25 To provide more instructional
support to principals and schools, CPS reorganizes its six region
offices into 24 area offices, each led by an "area instructional
officer" who is backed by a management support director.
November 12 The School Board revamps its
accountability policy to reward schools for overall improvement. The
first round of monetary rewards of $10,000 each went to 60 schools
for professional development, textbooks or supplies.
November 21 The Illinois State Board of
Education announces that 25 CPS schools, considered failing schools
under the No Child Left Behind act, must offer tutoring services to
students.
December 5 Duncan throws out the Chicago
Academic Standards Exams (CASE), standardized final exams given to
9th and 10th graders, and announces plans to replace it with a new
test that is better aligned with state and district standards.
2003


January 10 Judge Charles
Korcoras threatens to pull the plug on the district’s 22-year-old
desegregation consent decree, claiming it is moot because the school
district is more than 90 percent minority. He delays making a final
decision.
January 17 Chief Accountability Officer
Philip Hansen and Chief Operating Officer Timothy W. Martin resign
to take state government positions.
January 30 School officials announce
plans to restructure Williams into three small schools and refashion
Dodge as a professional development school for teachers. Both schools
are on track to open in the fall.
February 3 Duncan names businessman David
Vitale as his senior adviser. The former Chicago Board of Trade director
will help hire top-level staff to replace senior officials who have
resigned.
February 18 Duncan announces the $14.5
million Chicago Math and Science Initiative, which aims to improve
instruction in both subjects.
February 25 CPS General Counsel Marilyn
Johnson resigns and becomes general counsel at the Illinois State
Toll Highway Authority.
March 5 With another round of grants
from the Chicago High School Redesign Initiative, Bowen, Orr and South
Shore high schools will create four more small schools, bringing the
total to nine.
March 10 A financial crisis prompts
Duncan to order central office departments to trim budgets by 15 percent,
a move the district estimates will save $30 million a year.
March 19

Chief Fiscal Officer Kenneth Gotsch resigns and accepts a similar
post with the Los Angeles Unified School District.

April 3 CPS strikes a deal with the
Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) to postpone closing schools for academic
performance. The agreement gives so-called "partnership schools"
one year to turn around performance with extra resources and support.
April 16 Gov. Rod Blagojevich signs
into law a measure that restores some bargaining rights to the CTU.
The measure includes a provision to double the number of charter schools
in Chicago to 30.
April 21 The Bill & Melinda Gates
Foundation awards $7.6 million over the next five years to CPS to
create 12 new small high schools.
May 6 The Board of Education and
the Chicago Teachers Union officially begin contract negotiations.
The current 4-year contract expires June 30.

Compiled by Elizabeth Doak