CHICAGO (CBS) — Mayor Emanuel says new research from the University of Chicago
is evidence that the city’s school system has gone from the worst in the nation to the biggest turnaround story.

The U of C researchers looked at 20 Chicago schools that have the freshman on-track program in which ninth graders are given support and intervention.

Dr. Timothy Knowles of the university’s Urban Education Initiative says those schools have raised projected graduation rates to 82 percent, a 25 percent increase since 2007.

“That’s astonishing. That is remarkable progress,” said Knowles.

Mayor Emanuel notes in 1987, then U.S. Secretary of Education William Bennett declared Chicago’s schools the worst in the nation.

“Today, I would like to give him a one-way ticket back to the city of Chicago and take a look at what has happened in our city because we aren’t the worst, we’re the biggest turnaround,” said Emanuel.

The Mayor says he won’t be satisfied until every child is 100 percent college-ready and 100 percent college-bound.

“We are going to beat 82 percent,” said Emanuel.

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