And while the teachers and administrators must still use "proven" and "scientifcally-based" curriculums and methods to turn around student performance now inspired by the evaporation of hope, the pols who control the schools adopt entirely unproven and draconian measures as a remedy for the school failure created by the poverty and lack of opportunity that they ignore, thus making it even more difficult for schools to have a positive effect in the lives of children who are now counted as test scores.
This is, truly, a stunning degree of self-imposed blindness by those chosen to lead. From the Chicago Tribune:
January 29, 2008
No school district in the nation has yet managed what Chicago officials proposed last week: a sweeping, simultaneous overhaul of a cluster of failing schools.
Experts say the plan to fire the staffs of eight schools and replace them with better qualified educators is somewhat of a gamble, one that will require an almost perfect alignment of stellar principals, committed teachers and re-invigorated curriculum and programs to succeed.
But that's no guarantee.
"No one knows if turnarounds work," said Andrew Calkins of the Mass Insight Education and Research Institute. "We spent two years looking at turnarounds and could not find a single example of turnaround work that was successful and sustained and done on scale, not just one school."
As Chicago parents began to digest the proposal first reported in the Tribune on Thursday, many seemed willing to roll the dice -- in part, an acknowledgment that even partial success is better than what their children face now.
Fara Bell, a Morton Career Academy parent, said turning around both Orr High School and Morton, an elementary school that feeds into it, is the only way to guarantee wholesale change.
"There's a little thing going on with every grade, and there's no progress. I believe [the teachers ] get to the point where they're ready to give up," said Bell. "I think we need stricter and dedicated teachers. Just because they come to work don't mean nothing. I see a lot lacking."
The school district is proposing replacing the staffs at Harper High School and the three small schools on the Orr High School campus.
Both Harper and Orr have undergone repeated efforts to be reinvented, but those efforts have been unable to improve student performance. Fewer than 25 percent of students at the schools met or exceeded state standards last year. . . .