AUSL “loses” more students at Orr

Peter and the Lost Boys

The Academy of Urban School Leaders (AUSL) is Arne Duncan’s go-to model for high school turnarounds, and they are once more showing what that really means – they are great at “turning around” the student population.

Catalyst offers a detailed report of a meeting Saturday between community groups, Alderman Walter Burnett and Orr leaders where Blocks Together, a leading activist group in the area, accused the new Orr principal of pushing out as many as 150 students. That’s on top of the scores that were pushed out when AUSL was given a contract to consolidate the small schools at Orr back into one school in 2008.

Blocks Together said they were leaked a list of 150 students whom security guards were supposedly told not to let through the door. Blocks Together youth organizer Ana Mercado said she thinks administrators are trimming the rolls to increase the school’s attendance figures….Some of the students were younger than age 17, says Cecile Carroll, Blocks Together co-director, and were dropped without the proper documentation. Under CPS policy, schools are required to complete a “Lost Child Report” for every student who is removed from enrollment because their whereabouts cannot be determined.

CPS refuses to hold AUSL accountable for these lost children. We’ve blogged and testified about this issue before the Board of Education to no avail. No one knows if these students have gone on to create hugely successful internet businesses, landed on some faraway island where Wendy reads to them and Peter teaches them to fly, or what’s happened.

Blocks Together is pushing for a meeting with AUSL head honcho Don Feinstein to get some real answers. We’ll keep you posted.

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Julie Woestehoff is PURE's executive director. Julie's work has earned her a Ford Foundation award and recognition as one of the 100 Most Powerful Women in Chicago.