Sunday, February 10, 2008

Student body reform

A grand experiment spearheaded and financed by Bill Gates aimed at reforming high schools in Chicago has suffered a setback. In addition to the ongoing high school transformation, Gates' other big idea is to smash high schools into smaller pieces, part of the so-called small-schools movement.

A high school in a tough neighborhood was turned into small schools six years ago. Performance continued to be dismal. Now, the idea is to put the pieces back together again. Oh, and don't forget to fire all the teachers in another merry-go-round.

See this Chicago Tribune article:

Chicago Public Schools to fire hundreds at 8 under-performing schools -- 200 teachers, 7 principals face ax after years of poor performance
Beginning in 2002, Orr was broken up into three small schools -- Vines Preparatory Academy, the Applied Arts Science and Technology Academy, and EXCEL-Orr Academy -- which were supposed to improve performance both through their scale and through curriculum specialties.


Under the plan, Orr would be re-created as a single school, a teacher-training academy. It would be operated, along with its feeder elementary schools, by the Academy for Urban School Leadership, the non-profit teacher preparation and school management organization that runs Sherman.
Panacea after panacea has been tried with this school. What hasn't been tried is student body reform.

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