Chicago has much to celebrate in its schools. Graduation rates and ACT scores are at an all-time high. Our elementary students are outpacing the growth of their peers nationally in both reading and math on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, which is known as “the nation’s report card.” More of our high school students are earning college credits than ever before, and thousands more of our graduates earn college degrees each year than they did a decade ago. Our students and schools are succeeding, despite the financial challenges facing our district.
To build on the momentum of the past few years, this three-year plan lays out our next steps for improving student success. It builds on the ideas of hundreds of teachers and over a thousand parents, students and community leaders who have met with district leaders since last spring to share their concerns and insights. It builds on the vision that Mayor Rahm Emanuel set out to provide a high quality education for every child in every neighborhood. It also builds, on the hard work of our teachers and principals, who have persevered through a time of financial uncertainty and lifted their students to unprecedented heights.
While we have come far, much work remains to be done to ensure that every child in every school receives equitable support and opportunity. We must close achievement gaps, especially for Latino and African American students, and students with disabilities. We must increase college enrollment and persistence. And we must set all of our young people on the path to a fulfilling and productive life.
As we work toward achieving financial stability and continue to fight for fair funding from the state, we are grateful for strong support from the entire Chicago community—parents, community members, businesses, universities and nonprofits—for establishing partnerships with CPS to share their expertise, talents and resources which provide even more opportunity for our students.
This vision breaks new ground in several areas, and builds on many proven strategies that educators and school leaders have already begun to use. This plan is grounded in the latest thinking and research about what it means to prepare children for the workforce of the future, which is a place where their ability to think, create and collaborate will be more vital than ever.