Chicago has pioneered many school reforms that NYC has adopted, among them small schools, grade retention and mayoral control. So NYC administrators may want to check out the results of a long-term study of Chicago schools by education research organization Designs for Change. The study found that schools did best when Central just stayed away. “Three expensive central administration initiatives to improve Chicago’s schools (school probation, large-scale grade retention, and assigning Reading Specialists to low-achieving schools) have not significantly raised achievement levels over a period of years,” the report says. Schools that did not receive expensive new programs often did better than those that were heavily managed from central. A Chicago Tribune story on the report was titled, “Schools left alone, to shine.” Some principals cracked the whip, but they also insulated their staffs against outside administrators. The principal of one featured school commented, “I don’t want to be mandated to have this or to do that. I’d rather have my people here tell me what they need.” If this resonates, consider emailing a copy of the study to Klein, and cc your LIS and RIS. Just a suggestion.