UChicago Consortium Anniversary — Closing Remarks: Moving Forward on Multiple Fronts

UChicago Consortium Anniversary — Closing Remarks: Moving Forward on Multiple Fronts


ELAINE ALLENSWORTH: So, we have
here– hopefully all the groups have been writing in. We can see what
different groups said– and you can actually look
and see on your devices– what different
groups came up with. At the Consortium we’re going
to be looking at these things. I’m sure that it was just
the start of hopefully many other conversations. But hopefully it
will help stimulate some ideas, in terms of
where the research is going to go in the future. Just in closing, I want
to invite two people to come up and
give some remarks, because they have very
important perspectives. First of all, I want to
invite Janice Jackson, who’s the chief education
officer of CPS. JANICE JACKSON:
Thank you, Elaine. Good evening, everyone. I’m here tonight just to
close things out and really thank the Consortium on behalf
of Chicago Public Schools. Not only for their
tremendous support and valuable data over
the past 25 years, but really just
personally as a principal, I feel like the data
that’s been supplied really changed my practice. And I think that
that’s ultimately the goal of any researcher. I want to congratulate you. 25 years is an amazing
feat, and to be able to be in the place in the
space that you’re in right now is even more amazing. One of the things that I’d like
to talk about– and take it down to the micro level
and then go back macro, because obviously
my goal here tonight is to represent the district. But the reason why
the Consortium’s work is so important to me is
because my initial desire was to be a college professor. So that’s like the
researcher inside of me. And like many of the
students we serve, I couldn’t get on that
pathway right away. So I had to go and
teach, and then I started teaching
in a high school. I saw different things that led
me to school level leadership, and the rest is history. But one of the things
that I’ve always valued about the
Consortium’s work is that marriage between
the research and practice. And not every institution
is able to say that. I think that you stand in
a very influential place. I was joking with
Elaine off to the side, as we were reflecting on
the legacy and the things that I appreciate most. And without any legitimate
authority over CPS, I feel like– [LAUGHTER] A lot of people think
they have authority. But I’ve learned that
when you’re a principle, it’s like everybody’s your boss. Now that I’m the chief I
realize everybody is my boss. But without that
legitimate authority, one thing that the
Consortium is able to do is to really influence practice. And they do it because the
research is so powerful, it’s so accurate,
and it just goes right to the heart of the work. And what I often
say is that it’s not about you have to
do it, it’s often you would be crazy if
you didn’t do this. You would be crazy if
your practice didn’t change as a result of the
data and the knowledge that they give us. So as a practitioner
I relied on that. Kevin mentioned earlier when
the potholes report came out. That wasn’t fun. I remember exactly where I was–
not just from a school level, I’m being honest– I was
on Congress and Michigan on my way to work when
I saw the man holding up the headline that said
six students from CPS go to college. And I’m going every
day with 120% zeal, and to see something like that. You could take two
paths when you see that. You can turn around and give
up, because you’re working hard and you could think that
you’re doing it for nothing. Or you can peel
through that report, engage with the
stakeholders who wrote it, and who are impacted by it,
and change your practice. And as a result,
I led two schools that had higher than expected
freshmen-on-track graduation rates, and all sorts of metrics,
because of the work that came from the
Consortium, because of the professional
learning communities through Network for
College Success, and through our
network at the time. And I just really
want to thank you for how you’ve influenced
my practice personally. Now in this space, as
the role of chief ed. Officer, we’re constantly
faced with problems, issues, and things like that. But I see you as a trusted
partner, who can not only help tell the narrative of
what’s happening in CPS, but also continue
to help guide us, because the research is so
rich, and the partnership is so strong. I just want to thank you
on behalf of Chicago Public Schools, and thank you
on behalf of the students and the families that we serve. Thank you. ELAINE ALLENSWORTH:
Thank you, Janice. I know you would have
been a great professor, but I’m so glad that you’re
a school leader instead. And finally, I want to
introduce Tim Knowles, who’s going to take a city
perspective on some of the to and through work, I think. We’ll see. Tim Knowles is the chairman of
the Urban Education Institute, and he’s also the Pritzker
director of the Urban Labs. TIMOTHY KNOWLES: So
only the Consortium would have its 25th birthday,
and 300 people would show up, and they would make
you work for two hours before you can have a drink. It’s funny, but it’s not funny. It’s very, very indicative
of the Consortium, and how seriously
they take the work, and how seriously
the City of Chicago takes the Consortium’s work. So thank you all for being here. I have two more things to say. The first of the
two is that I want to thank one person
who I think probably knows everybody in
this room, and who was at the Consortium at
the very, very beginning. And that’s Penny, Penny Sebring. There are anchors in our
city, and Penny is one. There are anchors at their
Urban Education Institute, and Penny is one. And then there are
anchors in the Consortium, and Penny’s lesser
half is here as well. [LAUGHTER] Should I say anything else? I’m done now, I
realize I’m done. So the final thing I
want to say is this. This is evident to everybody
in this room, why this work matters as much as it does. But in the spirit
of the Consortium, I want to remind you that
the best social science in the world connects
the outcomes that we care about as a society
to educational attainment. So the further you go in school,
the longer you will live, the more you’ll
earn, we know that. You’re 37 times less
likely to go to prison if you finish a
post-secondary degree. You’ll vote more,
you’ll volunteer more, you’ll exercise more,
you’ll give blood more, you’ll have children
with higher levels of educational attainment. So it is the investment that
pays dividends for generations. So my charge, our
charge, I think– there was this remarkable
story, in terms of freshmen getting and staying on
track and graduating from high school in this city. A story that’s playing out
in a thousand different ways without a top-down mandate
in schools across our city. Just in that way, we too now can
do the same thing for college, for this city. And I think our charge is to
put our stake in the ground and say we– not just teachers,
not just school leaders, not just district leaders,
but we as a city– are going to make this
city the attainment city for our country. This city that proves
that it’s not just 6%. Now it’s 14. We’re fighting
with New York City because they don’t
believe there are 11. Baltimore is four, that
should explain something. This is ninth grade to four
year college completion. The nation– for those of you
who don’t know, take a guess. All of the ninth graders
across the country, their four year college
completion rates. 18. Chicago should be the city
that, within five years, gets that to 30; the
14 to 30, or 40, or 50. So that’s our challenge. Thank you all so
much for being here. We have stood in the way
of wine for too long. And congratulations everybody
for this remarkable moment in the Consortium’s life,
and in the city’s life. Thank you.

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