There is a pressing need for clarity about what the turnaround model entails, what has actually occurred in schools that are considered turnarounds, and how the different types of turnaround reforms have affected student outcomes.
Last school year, 11 percent of the entire student population—41,771 students—were classified as chronic truants. These students were absent for almost a month: 18 days out of a 170-day school year. In contrast, the average truancy rate elsewhere in Illinois has remained at a stable 2 percent for the past decade. And this fall, CPS is serving 9,000 homeless children, more than the district has ever had so early in the school year. Schools can’t solve these problems on their own. Help must come from the outside.
On the eve of a February meeting where the death knell was set to sound
for five Chicago schools, CEO Ron Huberman granted Paderewski
Elementary on the West Side an 11th-hour reprieve. The decision might have yielded relief for teachers, parents and
students in the short term, but in the coming years, the next mayor and
school leader will have to confront a longstanding question: What
should be done with schools like Paderewski, with dwindling enrollment
and little academic improvement?