Sunday, December 22, 2013

A Tale of Two Schools

On December 16th, Arne Duncan visited Benito Juarez High School to discuss the school's improvement. Duncan's visit was notable because Juarez is a neighborhood, general enrollment high school. An article in the Sun Times presents the following talking points Juarez used in their discussion with Duncan:
  • Juarez's graduation rate this year expects to reach 90%, up from 57% in 2010
  • A 2% jump in attendance
  • Freshmen On Track rate will likely reach 100% (this is a new measure CPS uses to rate schools that measures how many freshmen are doing well enough to be on track to graduate).
On December 19th, an article appeared in Substance News claiming Juarez is a Potemkin Village. In this article, one anonymous Juarez teacher claims:
  • Attendance is rigged
  • Grades are changed unbeknownst to teachers
The article also states that some Juarez teachers have asked the Inspector General to investigate Juarez's grading and attendance practices.

One week, two articles, and two differing versions of the same school. We suspect that while the spotlight is on Juarez, two versions of many schools may be found within CPS thanks to the performance criteria schools must now adhere to. 

The former article would have you believe Juarez's efforts are a focused effort to help students succeed, while the latter article would have you believe everything is made up. So which is it?

Teachers, what do you think? Do you notice a tale of two schools where you work? Leave a comment or send an email to

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