Let’s take a look at what the mainstream outlets did with all that extra time CPS gave them to write their stories about the turnaround process to come:
As you’ll see, they rehashed a lot of things that CPS told them in a press release and phone briefing. They created graphics (the Tribune’s is better because it includes visual information about how the schools rate as well as where they’re located). CPS didn’t give reporters a chance to report over the weekend, which would likely have generated deeper coverage. But it isn’t all bad.
The Sun Times (Biggest turnaround push in CPS history) notes that the announcement doesn’t include closings, which will come today or tomorrows.
The Tribune (CPS proposes a record 10 school turnaround projects next year) notes that the list includes higher-performing schools like Casals that are selected because they’re not up to par with their peers rather than CPS overall and that the district will spend $20M on the effort and reap unknown cost savings from lower salaires from replacement teachers who are often younger.
Chicago Public Radio (CPS names a record 10 schools for turnaround) notes that Tilden also isn’t a super low performer when it comes to pass rates, raises the issue of the measures CPS uses to chart turnaround progress, and gets some anonymous reaction quotes from a handful of schools. Free from space or time constraints,
CNC (CPS Unveils School Turnaround Targets) puts the announcement in context, noting the overall number of turnarounds over time (50) and that at least one of the listed schools (Tilden) already got a federal SIG grant (which sort of makes Tilden not count, IMHO). The story also asks the question whether CPS followed its own guidelines.
Last but not least, Catalyst (CPS leaders propose record-number of turnarounds) notes that Marquette is among the first schools slated for turnaround with large Hispanic populations, and highlights the strange use of ISAT scores for determining and defending turnaround picks when the district ignores those numbers in its new report cards on schools.
What does all that time and legwork leave out? No one seems to have found out how many more schools will be listed for closure — just as important if not more so than the turnaround list. No one seems to have checked the main claim that this is the largest turnaround effort for CPS ever.
But maybe I’m missing something — which story did you think got it best, and why?