New schools: Drivers of change?

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Not really. Over the past six years, the number of students inhigher-performing schools—those in which the majority of students meet state averages on the ISAT—rose 22 percent.

But Renaissance 2010, Mayor Richard M. Daley’s grand 2004 plan to close low-performing schools and replace them with better ones (mostly charters), has not been the main spark.

Charters, on average, are performing slightly better on test scores than neighborhood schools in their same community. But of the 56 schools whose scores have risen above state averages since 2004, fewerthan a third are new schools.

Test score gains in existing neighborhood schools on the North Side did much more to drive scores up.