The Noble Network of Charter Schools has grown into a district within a district, with its own sports league, teacher-training program and a growing army of alumni spreading the brand. But its expansion comes with increased public scrutiny and internal questioning about whether its core tenets work for all students.
Of the all the reforms that have swept through Chicago Public Schools in the past 25 years, the creation of local school councils is one of the few that persists. Although their authority has been curtailed over the years and not all new or struggling schools have them, the councils in many ways continue to deliver on the initial vision of allowing parents and community members to be catalysts for change at their schools.
I’m often asked — by friends, television hosts, people I’ve just met — whether Chicago’s public schools have gotten any better after decades of reform. I know they’d like a simple yes or no, but I find neither satisfying. Rather, it’s been more like yes and no, or two steps forward, one step back.
In an odd twist, rugby, the national sport of Ireland, has become one of the most popular sports among Noble Street campuses. All of the 16 campuses have boys’ teams and most have girls’ teams as well.
CPS is known for a handful of powerhouse basketball teams. But most high schools, especially those in poor communities, offer few opportunities for teens to get involved in sports. To do so, schools must raise their own money for athletics.
For a select but growing group of schools in wealthier communities, parent fundraising has risen to new heights. In just a decade, the number of parent groups that raise more than $50,000 a year doubled to 41; 30 schools brought in more than $100,000 and eight raised more than $200,000. Altogether, these 41 schools raised roughly $7.6 million in one year.
Since City Colleges began taking applications for a plan widely advertised as “free college” by a campaigning Mayor Rahm Emanuel, more than 1,000 students have applied for the offer of waived tuition, books and school fees. But research shows that City Colleges are not the best post-secondary choice for high-achieving students who will benefit from the Star Scholarship.
College counseling has become more important to high schools since CPS now rates them on the college enrollment and persistence of their graduates. It's an area in which charters sometimes have a distinct advantage.
Nationwide, more than one-third of undergraduate students are over 24, and a majority of them attend college part-time.
High schools are now rated on the college enrollment and persistence of their graduates. To solve the money problems, academic difficulties and social challenges that many students face, CPS is partnering with local colleges and universities.