Pub. date: 2006 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412939584 | Print ISBN: 9780761930877 | Online ISBN: 9781412939584| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Chicago School Reform
G. Alfred Hess
The efforts to reform the Chicago Public Schools have captured the attention of the nation since 1988, when the Illinois state legislature mandated the decentralization of decision making from the central administration to elected local school councils at each school. In 1995, amendments to the act consolidated the remaining central powers under the control of the city's mayor and led to a 6-year period of steady improvement in student achievement under CEO Paul Vallas. Since 2001, a new, weaker administration has taken more direction from the mayor's office, with student achievement continuing to improve. This article examines these three phases of Chicago school reform. In 1988, the Illinois General Assembly enacted the Chicago School Reform Act (P.A. 85-1418). The Reform Act had three central components: (a) a set of goals that established that Chicago students should achieve at levels comparable to other students across the country, (b) the system's resources ...