Systemic Nature of Reform in Chicago
In urban environments, the need for improved student achievement in grades K-12 generally, and in mathematics and science specifically, is long-standing and well-documented. Over the past two decades, Chicago Public Schools (CPS), like other urban school districts, launched a variety of initiatives designed to reform the teaching and learning of mathematics and science. This website presents the experience of one initiative characterized by its systemic nature. The goal of systemic education reform is, through coordinated policies and practices, to move interconnected resources and groups of people toward improved teaching and learning for all children. From the 1990s to the present, large districts and states throughout the country have increasingly adopted systematic education reforms driven by learning standards—particularly in math and science education through the support of the National Science Foundation (NSF) (Anderson, Brown, & Lopez-Ferrao, 2003; Chatterji, 2002; Supovitz & Taylor, 2005).
This website offers an overview of Chicago’s systemic math and science initiatives from 2002-2008, frames its programs and policies in the context of this systemic nature, and discusses how the district and this project used research and evaluation to study this systemic reform.
CPS conceived its comprehensive reform effort as a district-wide transformation of teaching and learning of mathematics and science, from kindergarten through high school. The district teamed with university partners, instructional material providers, and assessment developers to design and deliver its program of reform. At its core, the reform effort was about changing the practices of teachers, both in content knowledge and classroom practices, as the means to transform student learning.