By 2007, CPS expects to have the schools listed below up and running; some new construction is already in the works. By 2010, CPS plans to open dozens of additional new schools, to replace those in neighborhoods where public housing is being redeveloped and to relieve overcrowding. In addition, the district will also convert another 30 high schools into small schools.
At the moment, the math simply doesn’t add up. The Chicago Public School ‘s sweeping plan to open 100 new schools in the next six years creates a lopsided budget equation that may be difficult to balance. Private donors have raised more than half of the $50 million needed to pay for advance planning, but CPS must find another $75 million to cover startup expenses.
A new $65 million headquarters for the Chicago Police Department on the corner of 35th Street and Michigan Avenue. Two new buildings on the campus of the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT), one of them, the McCormick Tribune Campus Center, straddled by a dramatic 530-foot, concrete-and-steel tube encasing the CTA Green Line El tracks at 33rd and State Street.
DePaul University officials tracked 26 former IB students from CPS and found those students performing better than expected, given that the students had lower ACT scores than the average freshman, according to Brian Spittle, assistant vice-president of enrollment management. Twenty of the 26 are black or Latino.
As a freshman at Kennedy High in Garfield Ridge, Rocio Barba knew she was good at math and thought she might become a computer technician. Now she’s valedictorian for the Class of 2004, heading to the University of Chicago next fall and planning to major in math. Her eventual goal is to become an engineer.
Mid-South is a composite of four poor communities that covers just over three square miles along Lake Michigan between 31st and 47th streets. It is home to some 80,000 people, 25,000 of them children under the age of 18. It is also home base to 25 public schools, few of which are filled to capacity—three are closed, four more will be this summer.
What were the key survey findings?
We did not find [racial] differences in student’s attitudes about how much they want to achieve, in peer support or the amount of time they report spending on homework. But there were differences. The black students went home to fewer resources [such as books and computers].
In 2003, Chicago’s pass rate was 42 percent, compared to a nationwide rate of 60 percent, the College Board reports. And pass rates in CPS showed wide racial gaps: 60 percent of exams taken by white students had scores of 3 or higher, compared to 40 percent of exams taken by Latinos and 22 percent of exams taken by African Americans.
In Chicago, central office allows schools to set their own AP admissions standards. Catalyst interviews with teachers, counselors and administrators at 26 schools found that, in general, less-competitive neighborhood high schools are more likely to give lower-achieving students a shot at AP, while selective-admissions schools have higher standards.
The 22 schools (ones that may become charter) are those that have already gone four years without making what the federal No Child Left Behind Act calls “adequate yearly progress” in reading and math, putting them into what is called “corrective action.” If they don’t hit test score targets either this year or the next, “restructuring” is to take place in year six.
The new fund will help support leadership training for teachers and principals in new schools, financial rewards for school leaders who improve student achievement, a new principal preparation system for CPS and efforts to encourage teachers in troubled schools to take on National Board Certification.
In March, I read a Chicago Tribune article about the shortage of local school council candidates. Thinking I might run for community representative, I called two nearby high schools to see in which attendance area I lived. At the first school, I was referred to an office worker who cut me off saying, “The election is April 22.”
CEO Arne Duncan broke ground on a new school that was designed to be friendly to the environment. Tarkington Elementary, to be built at 3330 W. 71st St., is registered with the U.S. Green Council, which so far has certified four public schools nationwide as “green.” Tarkington will enroll 1,000 students in grades K-8 and is slated to open in the fall of 2005.