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Reform: Another Questionable Urban Prep "Success" Story

Picture 98The event was transmitted live online and the Mayor was in attendance along with a throng of media.  There were repeated assertions that what was being done was unique nationally.  The occasion?  The announcement that - for the second year in a row -- all of the senior class at Chicago's Urban Prep had been accepted to a four year university.  But the school's graduation rate isn't really 100 percent.  Roughly 40 kids of the starting class of 2011 didn't make it through at, an issue raised on my blog and in the WSJ (here) last year.  Some transferred to other schools, perhaps even to good ones. But others likely didn't.  There's no mention in the latest Tribune story about the dropout rate, and so far at least no one from the school has responded to my queries. No doubt, there are good things going on at the school, and congratulations to the kids, their families, and the school.  But why exactly does Urban Prep have to make such a big deal of such an obviously questionable number when it has so many other accomplishments to tout?  Image via Tribune.


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The issue of why players in the charter movement so often behave in this dishonest way raises the question of whether they DO have any actual accomplishments to tout.

And the continual press susceptibility raises the question of whether editors should regularly remind their staffs to keep in mind the notion "fool me twice, shame on me." What a gullible bunch!

I really hope that you continue with your inquiries because to skew results to highlight some fantasy success is disengenous and I am surprised that the local press would report what is tantamount to a lie. I really have to question in order to ensure that they had 100 percent success if some students were not run out of the institution so false claims could be made and supported. The fact that questions regarding this issue lacks transparency or resolution suggests that something is astray, and it is a shame, because there is indeed something really good going on at this education institution. I fail to see what is wrong with 99%, but for some it is perfection or nothing at all!

Indeed it is a shame to believe that they have found the answer to the complex issue of urban education when in reality they are doing (great) things that are already known to be effective for many (but not ALL) students. Which is not a bad thing, it is just a little misleading to presume that they have the 100% "holy grail" the NCLB touts. They do not, and no program does.

The reality is that educational attainment is a product of a variety of factors at the school house, in the student, and in the community. Nothing wrong with a society that has a diversity of educational attainment. True, a democracy needs a citizenry with a certain level of intellectual acumen, but that doesn't mean everyone should have the same goals and achievement levels academically.

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