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John Chuckman



Turning failing schools into “academies” has long been a practice in the city of Chicago.

This was done mainly in neighborhoods where schools once were okay to superior, but with changing population patterns – the neighborhoods having become mainly black – school results dropped like a brick.

The re-designation has achieved nothing – and a few schools have even been re-designated more than once – other than in confirming Orwell’s views on politics and the English language.

It is part of a game to buy time, giving the politicians and school authorities some years afterward to say, “Just wait and see.”

But in Chicago, they have waited and waited. These schools still perform badly.

All the schools I went to as a boy – schools which ranged from mediocre to excellent – are now called academies, and do you know what? Performance in them has not changed from the time they first became failed schools decades ago. One can know this because the Chicago Board of Education is required to publish stats on each school on the Internet.

This new British policy is a sure sign of desperation and dishonesty. Well, what else to expect from David Cameron?

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