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New Report Shows Big Gains for Huge Group of Once–Failing Chicago Schools


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WHAT: New research shows that 144 Chicago K-8 public schools -- all low-achieving at the beginning of school reform in 1990 -- have shown substantial and sustained improvement in reading test scores. Many now exceed national averages.

WHERE/WHEN: Report available online at Wednesday, Sept. 21 at 6 a.m.

WHY: “The fact that 144 elementary schools have shown this remarkable success is a cause for celebration for the teachers, Local School Councils, parents, and principals that have turned them around,” said Donald Moore, executive director of Designs for Change. “Chicago has a successful network of elementary schools the size of the entire Baltimore school system.”

The 144 “Substantially Up” schools serve nearly 100,000 students, are distributed throughout Chicago, and receive 87 percent of their students from low-income families. Almost all are neighborhood schools that accept any student.

In 1990, only about 20 percent of students in “Substantially Up” schools could read at or above the national average. Today that number has increased to 50 percent.

WHO: Designs for Change is a 28-year-old educational research and reform organization focused on improving the quality of urban education for the most vulnerable students.


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