Friday, April 22, 2011

6th ward schools on probation

Before the February 22, 2011 municipal election, candidate Richard Wooten posted this [VIDEO] on YouTube to take aim at those schools within our ward that are on probation.

This morning I found a graphic courtesy of the Chicago News Coop about the schools throughout the city that are on probation. They make special note of Austin Polytechnical Academy which took up residence in a now closed public high school. You can read about Austin Polytech here. That is one school that is currently on Probation has been since October.

Here is the graphic with information on the 6th Ward's schools.

Click for larger resolution

Now the reason I post Wooten's video was to show a list of those schools that are currently on probation. Now even as Harlan advertises itself as a school on the rise and Gillespie keeping itself off of the school takeover list I'm disappointed that both of those schools are still on probation.

There are metrics for both high schools and elementary schools

And here's more from that article regarding Austin Polytech:
Administrators and teachers at Austin Polytech, which occupies two floors of a massive concrete building that once housed the failed Austin Community High School, have been working for four years to undo decades of neglect and failure. Neighborhood crime and poverty are rampant, and unemployment rates are among the highest in the city.

The challenges faced by Polytech are common to hundreds of Chicago schools when they struggle to get off probation.
The No Child Left Behind law has received a lot of attention since it was enacted in 2001. But in Chicago, intervention and accountability systems were introduced earlier, in 1996, by Paul Vallas, the former schools chief executive, as a way to shake up failing schools. The policy’s impact has ranged from decreased school autonomy to wholesale changes in staffs and, in extreme cases, school closings — but it has not resulted in much educational progress.

Mr. Vallas initially placed 109 schools on probation, roughly 20 percent of the city’s public schools. This year, the district placed about half of all schools — 289 — on probation. Sixteen years into the overhaul, educators and researchers say probation’s shock value has worn off.

“There is something inherently wrong with that number. It’s almost senseless,” said Joseph Murphy, an associate dean and professor of education at Vanderbilt University, who researches school improvement.

At Polytech, teachers and administrators say they are taking steps — including renewing focus on instruction, conducting frequent assessments, and measuring attendance and graduation rates more consistently — to turn the tide on student achievement. But the task is daunting.
Attendance has also dropped, due mainly, teachers say, to an erratic schedule in which some Wednesdays are half-days — with afternoons set aside for professional development — and some are not, sometimes deterring students from showing up.
You know it seems as if Harlan has the same problem as indicated at Austin Polytech:
Polytech officials and education experts lament that the Chicago Public Schools system hardly takes into account the things that make Polytech unique — the job-shadowing, internship programs and other career-building initiatives.
If you continue to read the article, you may see that a lot of this may be blamed on No Child Left Behind enacted in 2001.

Anyway, what can we do about the schools in probation in our community? How soon can they be off of probation?

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