PRESIDENT CLINTON PRAISES RAISING STANDARDS AND INCREASING ACCOUNTABILITY AS KEYS TO IMPROVING PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Chicago has shown us that having high expectations for our children, setting high standards and holding students accountable for them, and above all, making sure we stay at it, systematically, school by school, child by child, Chicago has shown us that this works.
President Clinton visited Oscar Mayer Public Elementary School in Chicago, and witnessed Chicago's successful school reform efforts in action. The President challenged schools across America to follow Chicago's lead by taking decisive steps to turn around low-performing schools and raise standards.
Raising Standards And Performance. More than a decade ago, the Chicago school system was singled out as one of "the worst in America." But today, Chicago's schools are vastly improved. The City took a number of steps to bring about this progress, including: instituting tough new discipline policies; placing the school system under the control of the Mayor; and improving the school system's financial footing with a new financial management team. And the Chicago Public Schools have also taken action to insure success, including: strengthening the curriculum; expanding participation in preschool and kindergarten programs; creating after-school programs to expand learning time; and providing parents with training to help them succeed as their children's first teachers. Chicago's efforts have paid off. There have been significant increases in test scores over the past two years and academic achievement is improving.
A Model of Accountability: Ending Social Promotion and Intervening in Failing Schools. President Clinton praised Chicago's tough accountability system, which holds both students and educators accountable for learning.
Chicago has ended social promotion, requiring instead that students meet academic standards at grades 3, 6, 8, and 9 before moving to the next grade level. Students who need extra help to meet the standards, have access to tutoring, and other kinds of academic help through extended day programs. Chicago holds schools to tough accountability standards and takes decisive action when schools are failing. For example, schools in which fewer than 15 percent of the students meet the standard for reading are placed on probation. Once on probation, these schools are reviewed by a team of outside experts and a corrective action plan is developed -- which the school must follow. In addition, schools on probation receive additional assistance and their performance is closely monitored. If academic performance fails to improve, the Chicago Public Schools system can require the principal and teaching staff to compete again for their jobs, remove the principal or close the school.
President Instructs Department of Education to Promote Successful Education Reform Efforts -- Like Chicago's -- Across the Nation. President Clinton directed the U.S. Department of Education to share promising local efforts to improve performance in troubled schools, like those he saw in Chicago today, with communities across America. The President also directed the Education Department to develop a plan to help local school districts use existing federal education programs and resources to transform schools that are not performing -- into world class learning centers.
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