The next best thing to a Super Bowl ring

This past week, as the temperature in Chicago dipped below zero, the Chicago Tribune's editorial board warmed itself by the ed reform fire. In an inspired three-part series, the editors explained how Illinois can make educators "more accountable for their good or bad performance, more transparent about how they spend our dollars, and more willing to embrace rigorous, research-driven strategies for teaching our kids." To improve teacher quality, they recommend: 1) stepping up mentoring programs and 2) introducing "private sector standards" into the teaching profession--e.g., merit pay, pension reform, and tenure reform. To fix the classroom they would 3) reduce class sizes, 4) extend the school day and year, 5) provide more tutoring for struggling students, and 6) embrace testing for diagnostic purposes. Saving the best for last, they call for the state to 7) lift its charter cap (currently at 60) and fund charters and traditional public schools at equal levels. To top it all off, schools would receive extra state funds for each of these seven reforms they adopted, and they would have to produce results to keep that funding. The Tribune editors have it right. Do the policymakers?

"In return for more money," Chicago Tribune, February 2, 2007

"Classroom ideas that work," Chicago Tribune, February 4, 2007

"5 more great classroom ideas," Chicago Tribune, February 7, 2007