- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 14, 2007

Noble: Adrian Willis, the Chicago principal who overhauled a failing elementary school.

Before Mr. Willis arrived, the Earle School in the Englewood area of southwest Chicago was in complete disarray — abysmal test scores, constant outbreaks of violence and teachers who were too scared even to show up. Luckily last year, Chicago decided to recruit Mr. Willis and three others to take over three of the city’s worst performing schools. According to a profile in the Chicago Sun-Times on Tuesday, the new principals will receive “performance bonuses of up to $72,000 over four years” for turning around the schools. The results at Earle suggest that merit pay has worked.

Since Mr. Willis began his post in August, Earle has seen significant drops in violence — “from 47 incidents last year to seven this year” — and an 11 percent increase in the number of students performing at grade level. He has incorporated parents into the schooling process, instituted weekly staff curriculum meetings and created new teacher training programs. He also takes the time to write “notes of praise” to for exceptional performance.

Rounds of applause to Mr. Willis and the Chicago school system for implementing policies that this editorial page has championed for years: merit pay and parental involvement.

For using smart methods to improve Earle school, Adrian Willis is the Noble of the week.

Knave: The Major League Baseball Players Association, for trying to bury the names of steroid users.

In April, former New York Mets clubhouse aide Kirk Radomski admitted selling steriods to “dozens” of pro baseball players. As part of a plea bargain, Radomski agreed to cooperate with a federal investigation as well as one led by former Sen. George Mitchell in conjunction with MLB. Last month, two newspapers filed a motion to release the names of up to 23 players included in a 2005 warrant used to search Radomski’s home. The names have been redacted since the warrant was released. The newspapers want the information to be available. The MLB players’ union and the Department of Justice disagree.

Earlier this week, a Long Island, N.Y., court ruled that the union could formally join the Justice Department in opposing the release of the names. The feds are claiming that giving up the names could jeopardize their ongoing investigation. MLB obviously wants to protect its players. And although the argument can be made that the newspapers will benefit financially from having the list of names, Eve Burton — general counsel for the publishing company — said it best: “Baseball could take a giant step in cleaning up the sport.” Instead, baseball is trying to bury the bodies.

For trying to cover up substance abusers, the MLB player’s union is the Knave of the week.