February 2015:  Should Chicago Have an Elected Representative School Board?  A New Review of the Evidence 

Authors:  Pauline Lipman, Eric (Rico) Gutstein, Rhoda Rae Gutierrez, and Tirzah Blanche

Download the publication | Download the executive summary

Chicago has never had an elected school board, unlike 98 percent of school districts across the US, and all other districts in Illinois.  In 2012, 87 percent of 80,000 Chicago residents voted in 13 percent of the city’s precincts for an elected school board in a nonbinding referendum. A similar referendum is on the February 24, 2015 ballot in 37 of Chicago’s 50 wards.  These referenda and the 2013 closing of 50 schools have brought to a head the question of an elected Board of Education for Chicago.  This report examines the results of mayoral control of schools, assesses existing Board policies and discusses opportunities for open participation and accountability, including the possible results of an elected school board.


Chicago School Closings:  Experiences of Families, Students and Communities

In May 2013, Chicago closed 49 public elementary schools. This action was the largest school closure in US history.  Even though there is very limited data about the impact of such closings, the trend of closing schools is increasing.  Currently underway, this CEJE research project aims to document the impact of school closings on children, families, and communities from the perspectives of those directly affected.  We will post research briefs and reports as the become available.  For more information about this project, please visit our Research page or contact Pauline Lipman, principal investigator, or Kelly Vaughan, project coordinator and lead researcher.

June 2014:  Root Shock:  Parents’ Perspectives on School Closings in Chicago

Authors:  Pauline Lipman, Kelly Vaughan and Rhoda Rae Gutierrez, with contributions from Eric (Rico) Gutstein, Michelle Hoereth, Dena Campbell, Asif Wilson and Katie Osgood.

Download the publicationDownload the executive summary

On May 22, 2013, Chicago’s appointed Board of Education voted to close 50 schools, turn around five others and co-locate 17 elementary schools, affecting roughly 40,000 students.  The action brought the total number of neighborhood schools closed in predominantly low-income African American and Latino neighborhoods since 2001 to more than 150.

Drawing on in-depth interviews with a sample of parents from the west, south and near west sides of Chicago, as well as testimony at public hearings and publicly available data, this study examines the effects of school closings from the point of view of parents.  The study focuses on effects of school closings on children’s academic performance, social and emotional well-being and safety and the impact on their families and communities, as well as parent experiences with the process of school closings.

In addition, the study documents parents’ substantial contributions to the life of their schools, ways parents stepped in to mitigate the harm of the closings and parents’ vision of the education they want for their children.

April 2014:  School Closings and Quality Education–What Parents Want

Download the research snapshot on parent perspectives on quality education.
Watch this video of Pauline Lipman commenting on parents’ visions of holistic education.

A policy snapshot, based on a subset of 20 interviews with parents and caregivers from schools closed in May 2013, reports on parent perspectives on quality education in Chicago Public Schools.

February 2014:  The Impact of School Closings on Parent Involvement

Download the research snapshot on parent involvement.
Watch this video of Pauline Lipman commenting on parents’ involvement and decision-making in public schools.

A policy snapshot, based on a subset of 20 interviews with parents and caregivers from schools closed in May 2013, reports preliminary findings on the effect of school closings on parent participation.

February 2014:  School Closings and Decision-making in Chicago Public Schools

Download the research snapshot on CPS decision-making.

A policy snapshot, based on a subset of 20 interviews with  parents and caregivers from schools closed in May 2013, reports preliminary findings on parents’ perspectives on decision-making in Chicago Public Schools.


May 2014:  A Longitudinal Comparison of Enrollment Patterns of Students Receiving Special Education Services in Chicago Charter and Neighborhood Public Schools

Authors:  Federico R. Waitoller, Josh Radinsky, Agata Trzaska, and Daniel M. Maggin at the University of Illinois at Chicago

Download the publication.
Watch the following videos of Professor Waitoller discussing his research on charter schools and inclusion of special education studentscharter schools and special education access; and  charter schools serving students with autism.

This report presents a longitudinal comparison of patterns of special education enrollment in two types of Chicago Public Schools (CPS):  neighborhood public schools and charter schools. Public schools in categories other than charter or neighborhood (e.g., magnet, gifted, classical, special education, or contract schools) are excluded from the present analysis. The report identifies how patterns of enrollment for students with individualized education programs (IEPs) have played out across neighborhood and charter categories, at different school levels (elementary vs. high school), over the past five to eight years. We address the following questions:

1.  How does the proportion of students with individualized education programs IEPs in CPS charter schools compare over time to that in CPS neighborhood public schools?
2.  How do differences in the proportions of students with IEPs in charter and neighborhood schools vary by disability categories?

For more information about this research, please contact Federico R. Waitoller.


August 2012: Dyett High School & The 3 Ds of Chicago School Reform: Destabilization, Disinvestment, Disenfranchisement

Authors:  Rhoda Rae Gutierrez and Pauline Lipman

Download the fact sheet.

This fact sheet summarizes the destabilizing impact of Chicago Public Schools’ top-down reforms on Walter H. Dyett High School, located in the African American neighborhood of Bronzeville.


Data & Democracy Project: Investing in Neighborhoods

This research by the Collaborative for Equity and Justice in Education and the Nathalie P. Voorhees Center for Neighborhood and Community Improvement provides data related to school closings and other school actions in Chicago Public Schools since 2008.

February 2012: Examining CPS’ plan to close, turn-around, or phase out 17 schools

Authors:  Pauline LipmanJanet Smith, and Eric (Rico) Gutstein, with assistance from Lisa Dallacqua

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This report provides data that can be used to examine Chicago Public Schools plan, announced November 30, 2011, to close, phase out, turnaround, or co-locate 20 schools. The report focuses on school closings, phase-outs, and turnarounds.

February 2009: Examining CPS’ plan to close, phase out, consolidate, turn-around 22 schools

Authors:  Jane Fleming, Andrew Greenlee, Eric (Rico) GutsteinPauline Lipman, and Janet Smith

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This report provides data that can be used to examine Chicago Public Schools’ plan to close, consolidate, phase out or turn-around 22 schools announced January 16, 2009. This report builds on the framework and analyses of the Data and Democracy research paper released February 2008.

February 2008: Examining CPS’ plan to close, consolidate 11 schools and turn-around 8 schools

Authors:  Andrew Greenlee, Nancy HudspethPauline LipmanDanielle Akua Smith, and Janet Smith

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The report provides data that can be used to examine Chicago Public Schools’ plan to close, consolidate and turn-around several schools, announced January 24, 2008.  Data in this report show these schools are primarily in communities of color experiencing gentrification or rapidly changing demographics.


September 2011: Investing in Youth: How Does the U.S. Compare?  Analysis of international comparative data and recommendations for policy

Authors:  Stacey S. Horn and Fausto Lopez, UIC Youth Development Program, Educational Psychology;  Pauline Lipman and Byron Sigcho, Collaborative for Equity and Justice in Education

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In order to inform public discussion about youth policies, this report investigates the United States’ investment in youth and provides a snapshot of where the U.S. stands relative to other countries in its support for the development of young people.


February 2011: Should Chicago Have an Elected Representative School Board? A Look at the Evidence (see updated 2015 report)

Authors:  Pauline Lipman and Eric (Rico) Gutstein

This report summarizes research on the effectiveness of mayor-appointed school boards and the record of Chicago’s mayor-appointed board. The report was written to provide information to elected officials, educators, parents, and members of the general public concerned about improvement of education in Chicago and the proposal to shift to an elected representative school board.


February 2009: The Charter Difference: A Comparison of Chicago Charter and Neighborhood High Schools

 Authors:  Liz Brown and Eric (Rico) Gutstein

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With the proliferation of charter schools in Chicago, an independent study of charters’ performance and management practices is long overdue. How do charter schools differ from CPS schools? Do they perform better? The scope of this study is restricted to high schools, but takes the first step towards such an independent study.


January 2007: Students as Collateral Damage? A Preliminary Study of Renaissance 2010 School Closings in the Midsouth

Authors:  Pauline Lipman and Alecia S. Persons in collaboration with Kenwood Oakland Community Organization

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In June 2004, Mayor Daley announced Renaissance 2010, a plan to close 60-70 schools and open 100 new schools: one-third charter schools, one-third contract schools, and one-third CPS performance schools. The first phase, termed the Midsouth Plan, called for the closure of 20 of 22 schools in the Midsouth. Faced with strong opposition from the community and supporters across the city, CPS backed away from this plan. Nevertheless, Renaissance 2010 school closings have had a substantial impact on the Midsouth. This report outlines findings and recommendations of an initial study of the effects of school closings in the Midsouth.