This from the Chicago Tribune by Diane Rado:
Like the menu at a potluck supper, Chicago Public Schools has a dizzying array of offerings, from classical, magnet, selective enrollment and gifted schools to charters and contract schools and career and military academies.

The smorgasbord is a testament to Chicago's myriad attempts to fix broken schools and keep middle-class parents from fleeing to the suburbs.

But 15 years after a historic shake-up put the city's mayor in charge of public education, the litany of reforms has not produced widespread success.

Some 80 percent of the city's schools didn't meet federal testing targets this year, leaving Mayor Richard Daley's successor with a massive organization still plagued by academic failure as well as budget woes, high poverty and debilitating social conditions that make teaching and learning difficult.

"How do we guarantee that … year after year, every child in this city will have access to a great school?" said Janet Knupp, CEO of the Chicago Public Education Trust, which has raised $50 million to support principal and teacher training in a decade.

"We aren't there yet," she said, "and we simply have to accelerate the pace of improvement."

With a new mayor on the horizon for the first time in two decades, the nation's third-largest school system is at a fork in the road. Some lawmakers, educators and parents question whether the new mayor should even control public education.

The city's next leader and schools chief will have to decide which reforms to keep and which should be tossed, all at a time of uncertainty and strife.

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