Fresh Start versus Turnaround

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The Chicago Teachers Union wants the district to fix failing schools using the teacher-driven Fresh Start program. Instead, CPS is plowing forward with its turnaround approach, angering the union because teachers are fired and new principals handpick new faculty. There’s little data to compare the two models, since turnarounds are too new. Recent data, however, suggest mixed results for Fresh Start, with test scores exceeding citywide gains in just two of six elementary schools. More promising: The percentage of freshmen on track to graduate spiked in both Fresh Start high schools.

  2006 ISAT Comp 2007 ISAT Comp Diff
  (percent meeting or exceeding standards)  
Fresh Start Elementary Schools
Hamline 48% 56% +8
Attucks 38% 45% +7
Piccolo 45% 47% +2
Bass 40% 41% +1
Chalmers 41% 41% 0
Burke 51% 48% -3
Turnaround Schools
Sherman 29% 35% +6
Harvard 28% 32% +4
Dodge 62% 65% +3
Citywide 62% 64% +2
Fresh Start High Schools 2006 Freshmen On-Track 2007 Freshmen On-Track Diff
Richards 54% 60% +6
Wells 52% 58% +6
Citywide 58% 57% -1

Notes: Harvard became a turnaround school just this year. Dodge enrolled few of its original students after closing for an entire year. Three of the original Fresh Start schools have closed, and Delano Elementary was dropped from the program in 2006.

Sources: School Report Cards, Chicago Public Schools