Education: "Chicago Model a Disaster"

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

Education: "Chicago Model a Disaster"

WASHINGTON -  

PAULINE LIPMAN
Lipman is professor of policy studies at the College of Education at the University of Illinois-Chicago. Her books include High Stakes Education: Inequality, Globalization, and Urban School Reform.

She said today: "President Obama's speech Thursday, in which he
touted the performance of 'Race to the Top,' is now the prime example of
equating 'change' -- and we do need change -- with privatizing public
education.

"Chicago is important to look at because it's the model [Education
Secretary Arne] Duncan [who headed up the Chicago system] is using. In
Chicago we've seen what this plan means, beginning in 2004, and it has
been a disaster for students, teachers, and low-income communities of
color. Some 70 schools have been closed creating massive dislocation in
African American and Latino communities. These schools simply didn't get
the support they needed, they were basically set up to fail. We now
have 100 new schools, two-thirds of them charter, thousands of teachers
laid off, over 2,000 African American teachers and administrators.
Research by the Consortium on Chicago School Research found that school
closings did not improve student education. Most displaced students were
transferred to another low-performing school.

"Several studies, most recently one from Stanford University ["National Charter School Study"]
have shown that in the aggregate, students in charter schools are not
doing as well as their counterparts in public schools. In Chicago,
charter high schools have less qualified, less experienced teachers and a
lower percentage of special education and English language learning
students. These experiments are not being run on the affluent students.

"Privatizing schools and imposing teacher merit pay pits teachers
against each other, undermining essential teacher collaboration. It's a
move to weaken teacher unions.

"What's needed is improvement in public education based on what we
know works: decrease class size, high-quality public pre-K education,
rich, engaging and relevant curriculum for all students -- including
arts and athletics, professional working conditions and high quality
relevant professional development for teachers."

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A nationwide consortium, the Institute for Public Accuracy (IPA) represents an unprecedented effort to bring other voices to the mass-media table often dominated by a few major think tanks. IPA works to broaden public discourse in mainstream media, while building communication with alternative media outlets and grassroots activists.

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