Chicago: Where the Feds Don't Blink

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In other NCLB stories, the standoff between the feds and Chicago school officials is at an end and both parties are still standing, leaving local officials poorer but proud. The two sides got into a bit of a tussle over Chicago's determination to provide its own tutoring services to kids attending failing schools, at a fraction of the cost of what private companies were charging. The long and the short of it is that the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) will now be ponying up $4 million out of its own funds (take that Uncle Sam!) to avoid withdrawing tutoring from some 40,000 students. And even more in the face, the Illinois school board is taking $1 million of its own NCLB money not otherwise designated and donating it (dare we suggest with delight?) to the cause.

The smart move at this juncture would be for all parties to agree to study the progress made by both sets of students, those in the federally funded private programs and those in the district funded in-school programs. Our bet is that students on both sides may end up being the beneficiaries of a race to see which side was right.