By Noreen S. Ahmed-Ullah
3:54 PM EDT, June 10, 2013
Chicago Public Schools unveiled a five-year education plan on Monday that promises an annual report card to provide parents with information on the academic performance of schools and show how many principals and teachers are rated as high performers.
The plan also aligns the entire district with the rigorous Common Core Curriculum by the 2014-15 school year. CPS will integrate art at every grade level and social and behavioral support systems will be provided for students who need them, under the plan.
"We must hold every adult accountable to make decisions in the best interest of our children," schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett said Monday. The goal is not just to raise high school graduation levels but to have every child prepared for college, a career, and life, she said.
It's the first education plan from CPS since Mayor Rahm Emanuel took office in 2011.
The district is facing a nearly $1 billion budget deficit, and principals, this year given great responsibility over spending at their schools, will be looking for places to cut. So it is not clear how art education and support systems laid out in the plan will be funded.
The plan comes after two years of contentious debate over efforts to reform Chicago's Public Schools: The Emanuel administration focused on increasing the length of the school day in its first year and this year is closing 49 elementary school.
The education plan also calls for stronger partnerships with parents and communities including more parent training opportunities.
The plan drew a quick rebuke from Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis, who said it was put together "in the silo of CPS without any stakeholders at the table."
"It is amazing that CPS's first impulse, no matter who heads it, is towards an autocratic, top-down approach that people who actually work with kids are expected to implement without the appropriate resources or tools," Lewis said.
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