Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel came into the office with a narrow focus on testing gains and increased graduation rates, but after a series of setbacks and conversations with educators, his focus shifted to figuring out what inputs make up a great school system.

My teaching career began in Washington, D.C., at the same time the first pay-for-performance plan was implemented in the city. I saw up close how the focus on student output changed the behavior of school leaders and staff, sometimes for the better, but not always. In 2017 and 2018, journalists and a follow-up audit report disclosed that a third of D.C. public school graduates should not have received a diploma according to eligibility criteria. But with graduation rates scrutinized as a

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