The Grow Network is designed to change all that. Imported from New York City at an annual cost of $2 million, Grow is an Internet-based program that analyzes test scores for teachers and parents and provides suggestions to both on what to do next.
Weekley has posted notices, gone to conferences and sought out recruits through a well-established network of contacts that generated almost half of her current teaching staff. But so far, she’s had little luck, and like others in the field, says low pay is largely to blame. Only a newly minted Type 04 teacher, or one with a working spouse, is likely to accept the $35,000 starting salary she can currently offer, Weekley says.
Spencer Gould is one of eight black men who teach at Triumphant, thanks to the extra effort Helen Hawkins makes to recruit them as role models. A 1993 graduate of Morehouse College, Gould has been involved in the school since its founding. After a stint in the Marines, he returned two years ago to teach language arts and social studies.
Debate is catching fire in urban school districts around the country, and nowhere more so than in CPS, which now has the largest league; 31 schools have teams, and 19 offer an elective course in debate. And young women like Marin have flocked to sign up; 55 percent of Chicago debaters are female, compared to only 40 percent in the National Forensic League, the national high school debate society.
Among the 10 districts included in NAEP’s 2003 urban sample, Boston is the best point of comparison for Chicago because the students tested are most similar on the major characteristics of race and ethnicity, eligibility for free or reduced-price lunch and parents’ educational level. (New York City is close, but the parent educational level is higher—for example, 43 percent were reported to have graduated from college, compared to 30 percent in Chicago.)
Community-based centers are at a competitive disadvantage, Portia Kennel adds. Teachers in the Chicago Public Schools work fewer hours and have summers off while those employed by private child care programs typically work all day, year round. Kennel says certified teachers also worry about their professional environment.
In practice, Georgia officials got more than they hoped for. Today, the percentage of lead preschool teachers with a bachelor’s degree is 81 percent, according to Gary Henry, a Georgia State University professor of education policy studies, who was commissioned by Georgia in 1996 to conduct a study examining the school readiness and primary-grade achievement of children in the state’s preschool program.
Offered in the high schools students would attend, Step-Up included reading and math instruction and a daily 45-minute “survivor” session to teach skills crucial to success in high school, such as time management and study skills. Ultimately, CPS officials hope Step-Up will help lower the dropout rate.
Chapters on the community’s role in school reform were contributed by Russo; Ken Rolling, former executive director of Chicago Annenberg Challenge; Andrew Wade, executive director of Chicago School Leadership Cooperative; David Gordon, editor of Harvard Education Letter; Madeline Talbott, head organizer with Illinois ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now).
Funding level FY03-04