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Halfway to goal with few results

The mayor’s sweeping plan to replace low-performing schools by creating 100 new ones is nearing the halfway point and, come September, it will be surpassed. So far, 46 new schools have opened, 12 more are in the pipeline to open this fall and another seven have been approved for 2008.

Yet only 3 percent of the district’s 413,694 students attend Renaissance schools, raising concerns about access and the plan’s ability to truly transform the entire district. Teachers union leaders criticize the plan as a school privatization scheme.

Half of the new schools are charters (23 of 46), which have more autonomy than the two other types of Renaissance schools. Contract schools—a hybrid between charters and traditional district schools—are free to hire non-union teachers, but must meet annual performance targets set by the district. Performance schools—regular district schools with a twist—must hire union teachers but have more control over budgets and schedules and can opt out of area oversight. All three types use per-pupil budgeting and sign five-year performance agreements.

Charter

Performance

Contract

2005
9 elementary

1% white

67% black

28% Hispanic

Enrollment: 2,659

ISAT: 55%*

1 high school

100% black

Enrollment: 185

3 elementary

2% white

45% black

51% Hispanic

Enrollment: 1,484

ISAT: 68%*

9 high schools

2% white

55% black

39% Hispanic

Enrollment: 2,063

On track: 76%**

None

2006
7 elementary

4% white

53% black

42% Hispanic

Enrollment: 1,744

6 high schools

1% white

76% black

21% Hispanic

Enrollment: 1,053

1 elementary school

98% black

1% Hispanic

Enrollment: 617

1 high school

99% black

Enrollment: 217

2007
2 elementary

3 high schools

2 elementary

4 high schools

1 alternative high school

*Some schools, which do not yet enroll test-taking students, were omitted.

**Does not include on-track rates for Williams School of Medicine.

Note: CPS considers 10 schools that opened before Renaissance 2010 was announced to be part of the initiative. One of them, KIPP Chicago Youth Village Academy, closed last year.

Source: Chicago Public Schools; Consortium on Chicago School Research

WebExtra: Enrollment down, more choose CPS

Chicago Public Schools enrollment has dropped close to 6 percent during the Duncan years, despite a bump of 16,000 Hispanic and multiracial students. The decline impacted mostly predominantly black schools, with several of those schools closing in the wake of public housing demolition. District demographers also cite an overall decline in citywide population and lower birth rates.

CPS breakdown

2002

2007

Enrollment
437,618

413,694

Poverty rate
85%

85%

Bilingual
12%

12%

Special Ed
13%

14%

Student ethnicity

2002

2007

Black
52%

49%

Latino
35%

38%

White
10%

8%

Other
3%

6%

Source: CPS, Consortium on Chicago School Research

Stiff competition for selective schools

Families face a bevy of options when picking a school. Perennially popular are magnets and college preps, which require applicants to take an entrance exam and/or enter a lottery. Last year, more than 78,000 students applied for 9,400 available seats in magnet and selective enrollment schools, which tend to enroll more white and middle-class students. This year, military academies received some 7,800 applications for 750 seats available in the fall.

Elementary

High School

424 Regular

48 Magnet/selective

18 Charter

9 Special education

36 Regular

13 Magnet/selective

12 Vocational

8 Math and science

4 Military

21 Small schools

9 Charter

20 Special education

WebExtra: Magnets, charters more likely to graduate students

(Weighted average school rates)

Four-year graduation rates held steady in 2006 for most types of schools. Military academies were the exception due to Phoenix Military Academy graduating only 44 percent of its first crop of seniors.

Type of high school

Grad rate (2005)

Grad rate (2006)

Regular
57%

56%

Magnet/selective
83%

85%

Vocational
52%

51%

Math/science academy
52%

53%

Military
69%

60%

Charter
68%

66%

Source: Consortium on Chicago School Research

WebExtra: Charters, magnets feel safest

For the first time last year, CPS surveyed students on a variety of school climate issues to collect data for high school scorecards. About one in four students who attend vocational and regular high schools say they don’t feel safe and supported.

Type of high school

Safe environment

Supportive environment

Charter
90%

84%

Magnet/selective
90%

80%

Regular
70%

76%

Vocational
69%

75%

Special Education
85%

82%

Source:

CPS Scorecard; mean of school ratings