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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Leigh McGuigan joins CPS

It was announced last week that Leigh McGuigan left her position in Cleveland's Office of New and Innovative Schools to take a position as special assistant under CPS CEO Ron Huberman. What does this mean for Chicago?

We know that McGuigan has done extensive work in Cleveland based around evaluation and metrics. She designed a "value-added" score that was adopted as part of Ohio's school report cards. By taking the students' academic starting point into consideration, her new metric could take some of the pressure off CPS’ reliance on standardized state tests to show that students are learning. Chicago has been considering such a metric, but educators, and the charter sector in particular, still need to weigh in on the outcomes they’re expected to live up to.

As part of Cleveland's academic infrastructure, McGuigan did a lot of work with assessment and evaluation as well as helping schools first develop, then reach, explicit goals. Knowing all this, it won't surprise anyone to hear that McGuigan’s publishing history focuses on teacher efficacy and standardized testing.

What does it mean for the charter sector’s hard and costly choices around facilities planning, the ugly battles over school closings, miscommunication about charters, or the uneven tug of war for resources between pensions and pencils? We’ll have to wait and see

One of the advantages of a school system that includes charter schools is the ability for charters to employ different, innovative techniques in the classroom and feed those practices into the larger system. There’s a lot happening in CPS these days, to put it bluntly, and there’s still a lot left to do. Welcome to the big game, Ms. McGuigan.

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