September 30, 2011
The consortium report highlights the immediate and critical challenge we face – we’re not graduating students who are college and career ready. It’s simply unacceptable that over the past 20 years, the achievement gap across Chicago communities continued to rise. Despite progress in some areas – such as math scores -- the vast majority of CPS students are at academic achievement levels far below what they need to graduate ready for college. This report reinforces the need for students to have more time with teachers in the classroom to receive the instruction they need to be college and career ready. Having the shortest school day and year is handicapping both teachers and students. As study after study shows, adding 90 more minutes of instruction for math, science, literacy, and enrichment will help boost student achievement.
Furthermore, the report confirms that publicly reported data in recent years, including ISAT scores, lacked the necessary rigor to give a complete and accurate picture of how our schools are performing. Fortunately, the Consortium has also revealed the path to progress. Their research uncovered five drivers of school success -- which match the pillars of the Chicago Public Schools’ reform program. Their research shows that schools following three of five proven practices achieve dramatic and lasting performance gains, which is why our efforts are focused on all five:
- Implementing more ambitious instruction, with challenging and engaging classes. The longer school day will help make that a reality, as will the Common Core standards.
- Promoting professional capacity, with teachers who collaborate to promote professional growth. That’s why the Longer Day Pioneer Program includes expanded time for greater teacher collaboration.
- Building instructional leadership, with principals working with teachers to implement a shared vision. That’s why we’re focusing on principal performance.
- Fostering strong family and communities ties, which is why we’ve created a new office of community development and
- Crafting better learning climates, with schools that are safe, demanding and supportive. This includes a renewed commitment to safe schools and higher achieving schools. Our Portfolio Plan will help create more world class education opportunities for student and parents in every neighborhood.
Chicago Public Schools serves 405,000 students in 675 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.