democracy vs turnarounds

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    814 South Western Avenue

    Chicago, IL 60612-4140

    312.236.7252

    FAX: 312.236.7927

    TTY: 312.236.7944

    info@designsforchange.org

    www.designsforchange.org

    Designs for Change Press Advisory

    Media Event about CPS Turnaround Schools

    Tuesday, February 21, 10:30 a.m.

    Hyde Park Union Church5600 South Woodlawn Avenue, Chicago

    Who: Dr. Donald Moore o Designs or Change, author o a major

    new research study that compares the impact o:

    nElementary-level "Turnaround Schools," over which the Chicago

    School Board may give total control this Wednesday to an outside

    contractor ater ring all the staf.

    n"School-Based Democracy, with high-poverty high-achieving

    collaborative Chicago elementary schools in which parents,

    teachers, the principal, the community and students work together

    to strengthen to quality o education and achievement.

    Meet: Local School Council members rom a high-achieving

    100% Arican American school that is 98% low-income school and

    has a ocus on teaching their children to master sophisticated

    technology, in a building with roo leaks, crumbling walls, no

    kitchen, no gymnasium, and no lunchroom.

    What: More than 60 elementary-level high-poverty schools that

    have made school-based democracy a reality, out-achieved the top

    Turnaround School. Chicago can use these successul schools as

    resources to help other schools.

    Why: Chicago is a crossroads in education. Hard evidence will lead

    to a real turnaround o Chicago's schools.

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    i

    www.designsforchange.org

    February 2012

    Designs for Change

    Chicagos Democratically-LedElementary SchoolsFar Out-PerformChicagos Turnaround Schools

    Powell 14

    Bradwell 194

    Washington, H. 21

    Dulles 177

    Deneen 165

    Harvard 127

    Altgeld 3

    Mays 15

    Peck 22

    Graham 19

    Sherman171

    Langford 150

    Talman 10

    Fulton 206

    ColumbiaExplorers 23

    Carson 33

    Yet Turnaround SchoolsReceive Lavish Extra Resources

    Designs for Change, 2012.

    All Rights Reserved.

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    1SECTIONSchool-Based Democracy VersusSchool Turnarounds: Context andFramework for Careful Research Analysis

    The studys purpose is

    to assess the potential

    o two undamentally

    diferent strategies or

    improving hundreds

    o very high-poverty

    urban elementary

    schools. (School-

    Based Democracy and

    School Turnarounds.)

    Chicago has 210 neighborhood

    elementary schools that serve 95% or

    more low-income students (largelygrades

    prekindergarten to eight in Chicago).

    Chart 1 depicts the distribution o schools

    in the state in terms o the numbers o

    percent low-income schools and shows that

    avery high percentage o schools that are

    95% or more low-income are located in the

    Chicago Public Schools. Te two major

    ocuses o this study are:

    n Tocompare the impact in these veryhigh-poverty neighborhood schools otwo undamentally dierent strategiesor improving them.

    n o assess the potential o each othese two strategies or radicallyimproving the quality o education andostering undamental improvement

    in hundreds o very high-povertyelementary schools in Chicago andother major cities.

    Te two reorm strategies being

    compared are:

    n School-Based Democracy (whichemphasizes the involvement oeachschool communityin improvingtheir school), through school-basedparticipation by parents, teachers,non-teaching school sta, community

    members, principals, and students.A central ocus o School-BasedDemocracy in Chicago is an electedLocal School Council at each schoolrepresenting these groups. A key parto this strategy is to intervene with highquality supportive external assistancein the portion o these schools that donot improve on their own.

    n Turnaround Schools (whichconcentrate near-total control o a low-achieving high-poverty school with anindependent turnaround specialist),through a contract with the Board oEducation. Or in Chicago, the ChicagoBoard may operate the turnaroundschool directly through a department othe central administration.

    School-Based Democracy andurnaround Schools represent two

    opposites on the spectrum oschool-

    based versus top-down strategies or

    educational improvement in educating

    students who attend the schools with the

    highest percentage o low-income students

    (95% low-income or more), as well as or

    other schools.

    School-Based DemocracyOne hundred-ninety-eight o these

    extremely high poverty Chicago

    elementary schools on which the study

    ocuses are led byelected Local School

    Councils, consisting o six parents, two

    teachers, one non-teaching sta member,

    two community members, the principal,

    and (in high schools) a student.

    Based on a study by the Consortium

    on Chicago School Research, the vast

    majority o Local School Councils quietly

    oversee school policy and carry out their

    ocial duties o evaluating the principal,

    approving the budget, and monitoring

    the School Improvement Plan and are

    active in building school and community

    partnerships.1

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    0

    25

    50

    75

    100

    125

    150

    175

    200

    225

    250

    275

    300

    325

    172166162

    177 178

    156

    171

    179

    311

    167172

    152

    133

    121

    108

    90 87

    150

    91

    04.9%

    59.9%

    1014.9%

    1519.9%

    2024.9%

    2529.9%

    3034.9%

    3539.9%

    4044.9%

    4549.9%

    5054.9%

    5559.9%

    6064.9%

    6569.9%

    7074.9%

    7579.9%

    8084.9%

    8589.9%

    9094.9%

    95100%

    CHART 1.

    Distribution of Illinois Pre-K to Eighth Schools Ranked by Percentage of Low-Income Students

    166

    Chicago Pre-K to 8 Schools (Not Turnaround)

    Chicago Pre-K to 8 Schools (Turnaround)

    Illinois Pre-K to 8 Schools Outside Chicago

    data source: Illinois State Board of Education

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    2

    Tese Local School Councils (LSCs) have

    potent authority, established by a state

    law that applies only to Chicago (the 1988

    Chicago School Reorm Act). Te Act

    abolished lie-time principal tenure and

    gave each LSC the right to choose their

    principal or a our-year-contract, which

    they can subsequently vote to renew or

    not renew. Te LSC also has the power to

    help develop, approve, and monitor the

    implementation o a school improvement

    plan and school -based budget (which

    contains about $650,000 in state and

    local discretionary dollars in a typicalelementary school, over which the LSC has

    clear discretionary control.

    Local School Councils have some o the

    key local authority exercised by more

    than 900 elected school boards in the rest

    o Illinois.

    Te principals power was also increased

    through the 1988 Chicago School Reorm

    Act, by establishing his or her authority to

    appoint any certied sta member or an

    open teacher position, without regard to

    seniority; to lead the process o developing

    the school improvement plan and school-

    based budget; to develop the specics o

    the schools curriculum; and to lead the

    overall management o the school.

    Teachers won additional authority to

    help select their principal and to become

    signicantly involved in school-wide

    decision making. Te role o teachers on

    the LSC was recently strengthened, when

    a non-teaching sta member was added to

    the LSC.

    Since 1989, ten LSC elections have taken

    place; one every two years and an eleventh

    is upcoming in April 2012. In the most

    recent LSC election 6,700 candidates ran

    or 5,400 seats.

    Stanord political scientist Michael Kirst

    told the New York imes that the 1988

    School Reorm Act was the biggest

    change in American school control since

    the 1900s. It is the most dramatic

    change in any school system that I can

    think o. It is absolutely precedent-breaking.2 [emphasis added].

    We present our examples o such high-

    poverty Comparison Schools or this

    study that have achieved impressive

    results. Each o the our achieved above

    the city-wide average or all 480 Chicago

    elementary schools and represent a range

    o those 95% or more low-income schools

    that have reached this testing standard.

    Since these schools almost never receivepublic recognition and most in the public

    have never heard o them, below are brie

    proles o our o these eective high-

    poverty neighborhood schools:

    n Dunne echnology Academy (352students, 98% low-income, 99% AricanAmerican). 77% Meet or Exceed ISAStandards in Reading, 91% Meet orExceed ISA Standards in Math. Closecollaboration exists among the LSC,

    principal, and teachers. Dunne ocuseson teaching its students sophisticated

    video and music production skills.Dunne educates children in a wretchedschool building, which lacks manybasic physical resources that mostpeople regard as essential or aminimally-adequate school building.Dunnes roo leaks; they have nokitchen, lunchroom, or gym; and thewalls are crumbling. Repeated attempts

    Dunne, Cather, Chopin,

    and Gallistel are

    our high-achieving