Tracy Dell'Angela

Tracy Dell'Angela

Tracy loves to ask questions and write stories. She roots for the underdog, wants our nation to reimagine schools and the teaching profession, and seethes about how much school inequity she sees. She spent most of her career as a journalist covering schools and crime. She and her husband raised two daughters in a diverse suburb of Chicago. She currently runs an education foundation in her community and formerly served as managing editor of Education Post. After leaving journalism she explored her wonkier side communicating school research at the University of Chicago and the Institute of Education Sciences at the U.S. Department of Education. She is Californian by birth and a Chicagoan in spirit. She loves the outdoors and all animals, especially her spoiled "dingo" dog.

A “new” accountability plan for Illinois high schools–with the same old status quo

Last week, I wrote broadly about Illinois’ new accountability plan, where the goals promised “a focus on equity and excellence for all students” but where the details appear to fall far, far short of that. Understanding this plan is not yet cast in stone, let’s look at one area where Illinois seeks to break new ground but only clears a… Read more →

Illinois’ school accountability plan fails on pillar promises of equity and transparency

Illinois released the latest draft of its public school accountability plan last week­– 164 pages of policy that is supposed to reassure the public and parents that our state will “ensure a focus on equity and excellence for all students.” I’m not reassured. Yes, there are things to like in this plan. It rightly shifts the accountability focus on student… Read more →

Time to focus on principals, the linchpin of school improvement

Back in the day, when I was an education reporter and trying to figure out where to find the school stories that would illuminate something revealing or surprising, I was given a great piece of advice by a veteran principal: “Study their budgets and look at how they spending their discretionary dollars. It will tell you a lot about what… Read more →

Time for suburban schools to shift to a new definition of ‘demanding families’

There’s a myth that persists in education for both parents and teachers: That heading to suburban schools somehow insulates you from hardship, instability and academic failure. So, not only are suburban schools now dealing with higher rates of poverty, cultural barriers and family disconnection, their staffs and school communities are not well equipped to handle this shift. According to a recent… Read more →

Analyzing high school performance state by state? Like comparing bananas to bowling balls

I know we’re all supposed to be on the “local control” bandwagon when it comes to setting school accountability standards, but a recent report made it crystal clear why this is going to be a hot mess. Achieve–an independent education nonprofit focused on high standards and raising graduation standards–set out to measure how well students are doing nationwide when it… Read more →

States and districts now get to decide if low-income students get a break on AP and IB exams: Will they make the right call?

In my home state of Illinois, more than 112,000 high school students took at least one Advanced Placement course last school year, and more than a fourth of those students are from low-income families. An even greater proportion of low-income students were able to to access International Baccalaureate last year–of the 4,500 students taking IB classes, more than two-thirds are low-income.… Read more →

Redirect your misplaced fury over DeVos to the truly dangerous cabinet picks

So Betsy DeVos is our new Education Secretary, a job she secured by the skin of her teeth thanks to a historic tie-breaking vote by Vice President Pence. Her shaky approval weakened her in a department already weakened by a major change in K-12 education law that relegated nearly every meaningful accountability decision to states and local districts. Yet it  was… Read more →

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