On Dec. 16, President-elect Barack Obama nominated Chicago Public Schools CEO Arne Duncan as U.S. secretary of education. The night before, Catalyst Chicago, an independent news magazine that has covered school reform in Chicago since 1990, posted the first in a series of analyses. Here are links to those stories.

Duncan’s track record

In his seven years as CEO of Chicago Public Schools, Arne Duncan hastaken on a host of urban education policy challenges, to varyingdegrees of success, including high school reform, school choice,accountability and transparency.
Chart: Achievement ups and downs

Duncan’s track record, part 2

This installment of Catalyst’s series on the record of Secretary ofEducation nominee Arne Duncan examines his efforts to raise the bar forprincipals, and what’s still lacking for special education.

Duncan’s track record, part 3

This final installment of our series on Duncan’s track record examineshits and misses in early childhood education, teacher quality andelementary education.

Decoding the district’s progress report for 2008

Chicago Public Schools put on its best face in 2008: Another Year of Strong Progress for Chicago’s Students– the district’s self-assessment of last year’s accomplishments andtest score gains. But the rosy numbers mask a troubling reality,including decidedly mixed results on test scores at the showcaseturnaround schools. On one measure – first-day attendance – thedistrict is being disingenuous.

Catalyst In Depth: School Choice

At the heart of Renaissance 2010 is the belief that families andstudents should have a range of good educational options in theircommunities. But the neediest neighborhoods are still lagging behind,and a Catalyst analysis finds that a surprising number of blackstudents are fleeing one low-performing school only to land at anotherone. The district’s free-for-all system for applying to schools makesit harder for families to make good choices.

Performance Charts:

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