Education A National Roundup

Chicago District Offers Schools More Freedom From Rules

By Catherine Gewertz — June 14, 2005 1 min read
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Chicago has given 85 of its better-performing schools a chance to be free of some district rules.

In an attempt to reward good schools, the district offered last week to let them skip certain requirements in training, such as centrally sponsored staff development, and in curricular initiatives, such as spending two hours a day on reading.

The “autonomous management and performance schools” also would get more financial freedom, such as being able to transfer money from one account to another without central-office approval. In addition, the schools would be subject to less oversight, such as the periodic walk-throughs by area instructional officers.

The schools could choose which practices to forgo and which to retain. They have until June 30 to decide whether to take part in the program. Those that do will be evaluated each year to remain in it.

District officials looked at more than a dozen indicators of academic performance, climate, and management in choosing schools to invite to participate.

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