A group of Chicago elementary schools that were low-achieving in 1990 have made substantial progress in reading, concludes a study.
The 144 public, inner-city schools studied by Designs for Change, a Chicago-based research and advocacy group, typically reached national averages in student performance. They were among the lowest-performing of the city’s approximately 480 elementary schools.
In 1988, local school councils were installed in each school by the state legislature, with the power to hire and fire principals. In 1990, the study says, only about 20 percent of the nearly 100,000 students attending the schools in the study were reading at or above national averages. Since that time, the study says, an average of 50 percent of the students in the K-8 schools read at the national average.