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.
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.
Authors: Pauline Lipman, Kelly Vaughan and Rhoda Rae Gutierrez, with contributions from Eric (Rico) Gutstein, Michelle Hoereth, Dena Campbell, Asif Wilson and Katie Osgood.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Download the publication.
Watch the following videos of Professor Waitoller discussing his research on charter schools and inclusion of special education students; charter 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Authors: Liz Brown and Eric (Rico) Gutstein
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.
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.