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Neighborhood School Enrollments

Linda Lutton, reporting for WBEZ, notes that the percentage of children attending elementary school in the neighborhood they live in, is declining in Chicago, but some of them are still choosing Chicago Public Schools, just not the one in their neighborhood.

Green schools are neighborhood schools; that is, schools with an attendance boundary. A darker green indicates a higher percentage of children from that attendance boundary choosing to attend the neighborhood school. A lighter green indicates a lower percentage of children from that attendance boundary choosing the neighborhood school. Citywide enrollment schools with no attendance boundaries (charter, classical, gifted, magnet and small schools) are colored red. The size of each school reflects the total number of students enrolled. There were 50,000 fewer elementary school students in the district in 2014 than 2001.

Lutton reports that data analysis tracks changes in where children attend elementary school in the decade since “…Renaissance 2010, a program that gained national attention by opening dozens of new grammar schools and closing dozens of neighborhood schools deemed low-performing or under-enrolled. And they show that under expanded school choice, the relationship between the “City of Neighborhoods” and its neighborhood elementary schools is undergoing a sea change, reshaping the school system and the city’s culture.”

The administration of Chicago Public Schools has changed enrollment options for existing schools as well as opening new schools and introducing specialized curricula and programs of study at other schools.

Parents can choose a school that is near their workplace. They can choose a school because of teachers, or the physical plant, or other factors, even if they decide not to try to get their child into one of the selective schools.

This is a fascinating story, because for some families, choosing a school outside the neighborhood they live in, is viewed as an escape from violence and crime.

For other families, finding the nearby school where there isn’t a long commute for elementary kids is important. The local school might be and “engine of economic development” in some areas.

Take time to check out and consider this comprehensive report that goes beyond accusations and shouting, in addressing education issues in Chicago Public Schools.

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