Mayor Daley’s brother not in favor of New Orleans-style school privatization

The latest “our schools suck” report from Advance Illinois would seem to suggest that the testing and privatization policies this group has been successfully promoting in the state legislature for the past 4-5 years are not helping much. But instead, AI CEO Robin Steans wants to double down on failure: “We’re going to have to hit this with a 2-by-4,” Robin told the Tribune.

Reminds me of when Paul Vallas called his student flunking policy “The Hammer.” That didn’t work either.

My friend Jim Broadway put it more kindly than I in today’s Illinois School Policy Update:

“(T)he business community’s factory model of educational reform, driven by high-stakes tests aligned to ever more ‘rigorous’ learning standards and intensified ‘accountability’ on everyone involved – has failed. Educators were not involved in the formulation of this model 15 years ago…. But it became law in Illinois and throughout the U.S…. (T)wo AI Board members – Edgar and State Farm Chairman and CEO Ed Rust, Jr. – were key figures in installing the corporate model of education reform in Illinois in the 1990s. Still, it is – by state law – the operative model.”

(Read the rest by subscribing to this most useful of all resources for people who follow education policy in Illinois.)

But here’s the real news: Bill Daley agrees with Jim and me. 

While supportive of charter schools, Advance Illinois Co-chairman William Daley said the solution doesn’t lie in a voucher system or other measures that could largely privatize education. “I’m a big charter school believer, and I think they are playing an enormous role and a growing role, but to take the New Orleans model (where 70 percent of schools are privately run charters), post-Katrina, and say this is the model of the future is totally unrealistic,” Daley said.


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About the PURE Thoughts blogger
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.