ERIC Number: ED315870
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1989-Mar
Voice and Choice in Chicago. Draft.
Moore, Donald R.
The Chicago Public Schools have recently been restructured by the Illinois General Assembly, radically altering patterns of governance (voice) and patterns of choice in Chicago. This paper analyzes the history of the Chicago restructuring campaign and the specific conception of school-based governance enacted into law. The paper also analyzes the school choice system that has existed in Chicago, its inequities for students at risk, and the effect of Chicago's past experience with choice on the content of the new school restructuring law. The paper then advances conclusions based on the Chicago experience and relevant research applicable to voice and choice issues in big cities. One essential feature of effective school-based management is giving majority control of school policy-making councils to parents and citizens, not to principals and teachers. Genuine educational improvement depends on the presence of other features, such as training for participation on these councils provided by groups independent of the school system, significantly increased principal accountability and authority, limitations on central administration's role, and availability of advisory resources for assisting schools in the change process. In Chicago and other big cities, choice programs have typically operated to increase the isolation of at-risk students, and have thus become a new form of discriminatory tracking. Creating equitable choice programs is not just a "program design" issue. Unless a school system makes and implements a fundamental commitment to improve educational services in all schools and for all student subgroups, school choice increases inequality. Choice is best viewed as a subsidiary strategy to augment the effectiveness of school-level governance reform characteristics described in this paper. (30 references) (MLH)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Reports - Evaluative; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Designs for Change, Chicago, IL.; National Center on Effective Secondary Schools, Madison, WI.
Identifiers - Location: Illinois (Chicago)