It’s no secret that Chicago Public Schools are in bad shape. About half the students in the city’s lowest-performing high schools can’t do math beyond basic addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.

That’s a sign the same old thing won’t work, said Josh Dwyer, director of education reform for the Illinois Policy Institute.

“Politicians in Springfield and Chicago have had a long time to fix the schools and make sure they work for the kids, and they haven’t done that,” he said. “It’d be one thing if this was a new phenomenon, maybe I’d entertain some different policy suggestions, but it’s been persistent for decades. Something needs to change.”

Dwyer’s report, “Trapped in Chicago’s Worst Schools,” published Oct. 30, details the abysmal data from the schools. At the lowest-performing elementary schools, 75 percent of students failed to meet standards on state standardized tests. Among juniors at the lowest-performing high schools, 95 percent didn’t meet state standards in math and reading.

The report measured students by state and federal standards, chronic truancy and graduation and dropout rates. In some high schools, more students dropped out than graduated.

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