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Emanuel: School ‘Turnarounds’ Lead To Better Academic Performance

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Mayor Rahm Emanuel

Mayor Rahm Emanuel announces plans for a new building mission for Malcolm X College on the Near West Side. (Credit: CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — Mayor Rahm Emanuel says state education officials are proving his point about “turning around” some poorly performing Chicago Public schools.

As WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports, Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, and some researchers have questioned the Emanuel administration’s efforts to overhaul underperforming schools by replacing administrators and faculty.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports

But Mayor Emanuel says the Illinois State Board of Education has saluted turnaround schools run by the Academy for Urban School Leadership – a charter school operator.

“There’s 12 turnarounds in the whole AUSL family. Eight of them were selected by the State of Illinois for academic honor roll recognition,” Emanuel said Tuesday. “We’ve now had a University of Chicago study showing academic excellence at this model – closing the math gap by two-thirds; the reading gap by 50 percent. Why would you deny the children of Chicago that opportunity?”

The mayor wants AUSL schools expanded.

Last week, the Chicago School Board voted to stage turnarounds at 10 public schools, and close or phase out seven more.

Chicago Public Schools chief executive officer Jean-Claude Brizard came out in defense of the move over the weekend. He disputed an argument by Rev. Jackson that the better solution would be to keep schools open as they are, and pump more money into them.

“They’re still getting the lowest achievement in the city. That should give you the answer. Money does not solve the problem,” Brizard said at a South Side church Sunday. “It’s getting a good team of people – principals, teachers together – to do what’s right for kids. In some cases, we have to close (schools), in… most cases we do turnarounds.”

The 10 schools slated for turnarounds are:

• Amos Alonzo Stagg Elementary, 7424 S. Morgan St.;
• Wendell Smith Elementary School, 744 E. 103rd St.;
• Pablo Casals Elementary School, 3501 W. Potomac Ave.;
• Brian Piccolo Elementary Specialty School, 1040 N. Keeler Ave.;
• Theodore Herzl Elementary School, 3711 W. Douglas Blvd.;
• Carter G. Woodson South Elementary School, 4444 S. Evans Ave.;
• Melville W. Fuller Elementary School, 4214 S. St. Lawrence Ave.;
• Marquette Elementary School, 6550 S. Richmond St.;
• Edward Tilden Career Community Academy High School, 4747 S. Union Ave.;
• Chicago Vocational Career Academy High School, 2100 E. 87th St.

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