Arne Duncan's, former head of Chicago Public Schools and now U.S. Secretary of Education, strategy in Chicago was to move children out of underperforming schools to other schools. The only problem is that the "other schools" were also underperfoming. No surprise that this variant on NCLB of moving children around has not been effective for students. It did however make for good press allowing Mr. Duncan to become Secretary of Education Duncan.
I am a President Obama supporter on most issues, but picking Arne Duncan was not a smart move. Chicago's schools are and have been systematically broken and lot of that responsibility lies with Mr. Duncan's lack of effective leadership (see e.g. Download AccessLiving_Ren_2010) [Click for background information on Renaissance 2010 a Duncan lead proposal]. Now we are getting the same on the national level:
"A Chicago-style strategy is a feature of U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s push for the nation to turn around its lowest-performing schools. Mr. Duncan was the chief executive officer of the Chicago public schools from 2001 until December 2008, when President Barack Obama nominated him as education secretary. School closings are one element of the so-called “turnaround” plans Mr. Duncan has promoted as secretary, which also include measures that would replace principals and teachers in persistently failing schools."
I have very low expectations of anything effective coming from Mr. Duncan's leadership on a national level. We need to move him out and someone with real ability into this role.