Straight Up Conversation

Emily Krone Phillips is the author of the new book The Make-or-Break Year, which chronicles how Chicago Public Schools used the metric Freshman OnTrack to boost graduation rates. Now at the Spencer Foundation, she was previously at the University of Chicago Consortium on School Research, where the Freshman OnTrack research originated. I recently talked with Emily about dropouts and efforts to help students stay on track. Here's what she had to say...

Tala Ali-Hasan

Tala Ali-Hasan is a second-year undergraduate student majoring in public policy and comparative human development at the University of Chicago. She is currently a member of the REACH project at the UChicago Consortium, where she manages and codes teacher interviews. Before working at the UChicago Consortium, she worked at the Thirty Million Words Project as an observational coder for the longitudinal study on child literacy and tutored middle school kids for Maroon Tutor Match.

Closing the achievement gap at Signal Hill Elementary

For decades, policymakers have been working to address the large differences in test scores between students from different income brackets and racial backgrounds – an issue known as the achievement gap. A 2018 report studying national data found that on average, Black and Latino 12th grade students perform at similar reading levels to White 8th grade students. Further, the income-based achievement gap is twice the size of the racial achievement gap and has increased exponentially in recent decades.

Lisa Sall

Lisa Sall is the Director of Outreach and Communications at the UChicago Consortium. She collaborates with researchers and the communications team to engage stakeholders and help the UChicago Consortium amplify its research findings to inform education policy and practice. Lisa has worked in marketing communications for 25 years on both the agency and client sides with the public, private, and nonprofit sectors.

How can data be the answer to solving urban school problems?

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Since 1987, when the federal education secretary called Chicago Public Schools the “worst in the nation,” officials searched for answers.

Some came through a partnership between the Chicago Public School District and the University of Chicago. The Consortium on School Research, founded in 1990, identifies the problems facing the urban school district and assesses how well different initiatives are working...

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