Our take: The status quo is unacceptable in a school district with terrible results (Chicago). New York Times columnist Joe Nocera, often a skeptic of school reform initiatives, notes that the Chicago school strike shows that we are in the midst of a nationwide education crisis.

So said Karen Lewis, the fiery president of the Chicago Teachers Union, when Mayor Rahm Emanuel named a new chief executive of the citys sprawling school system, the third largest in the nation.

It was April 2011. The new man was Jean-Claude Brizard, who had cut his teeth working with one of the countrys best-known school reformers, Joel Klein in New York City, before becoming superintendent of schools in Rochester. There he promoted charter schools and merit pay, pushed for performance standards and so infuriated the teachers union that it overwhelmingly gave him a vote of no confidence two months before he left for Chicago.