My invitation must have gotten lost in the mail, but it turns out that the folks at the Consortium on Chicago School Research are having a 15th year anniversary next Thursday that sounds sort of interesting -- all the more so since (a) there's a lot of foundation talk about creating more Consortium-like entities in other cities around the country, and (b) there's some question (in my mind at least) about how much the Consortium's work really influences policy and how widely its work helps schools figure out what their strengths and weaknesses are.
No doubt, the Consortium is a unique to Chicago institution that has done a lot of solid, relevant research, with very little sense that they're pulling punches or shading things one way or the other. In that sense, CPS is the envy of many other districts. They also do a better than average job of getting the word out about what its findings mean -- to reporters, to the public, to schools.
But I would challenge the notion that the Consortium's reports on student retention put an end to "ending social promotion," I know that Consortium members working in and with CPS created questions about independence, and I'm not sure whether the Consortium's work gets out into the hands of school people except those few who read Catalyst or just really like research.
What do you think? Has the Consortium made a bigger difference than I know, in your school or across the system? Is it as independent as it claims from CPS or other political forces?
Filed under: Events & Deadlines