NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


August 2, 2004

Dozens of Chicago's failing public schools will be shut down to make way for new ones, many of which will operate outside the Chicago Teachers Union contract.

Chicago's school system -- the nation's third largest -- has been home to sub-par schools for decades, but major reforms have been difficult to implement until now. According to Mayor Richard Daley, the city plan will:

  • Replace 60 failing schools with 100 new ones, and turn one in ten of all its schools over to private managers.
  • Allow 60 of the 100 new schools to operate outside the union contract.
  • Allow the creation of 30 new charter schools and 30 new contract schools, created by private groups that sign five-year, renewable contracts with the district.

The only prior attempt to reform underperforming schools involved shutting down three failing elementary schools in 2002.

Chicago's plan is also an attempt to comply with the federal No Child Left Behind law, which requires districts to restructure schools that fail to make adequate progress for several years in a row. About 200 of Chicago's 600 schools could soon fall into that category.

Source: Sam Dillon, "Chicago Has a Nonunion Plan for Poor Schools," New York Times, July 28, 2004.


Browse more articles on Education Issues