Chicago Roundup: The Annual Rush to Flee Neighborhood Schools

For all of the city's efforts to create choices and improve neighborhood schools, there's still this year a glut of parents who want to get their children out of local schools and into something else -- a charter, a magnet, or anything else they can find.


The pressure on the magnets continues to be intense, despite the creation of magnet 'cluster' schools that are supposed to be local versions of the much-desired magnet schools. City braces for load of magnet school applications (Tribune).

One obvious bottleneck is the cap on charter schools, currently set at 30: Charter school waiting lists grow (Tribune). As the Ren10 applications, approvals, and waiting lists reveal, the new charters created last year and this one come nowhere near to meeting the demand. The cap also limits the number of national school creation outfits that Chicago can get, since they can't or won't open without a charter.

But the main factor is that Chicago schools don't have enough success to generate parents' confidence in neighborhood schools. Articles like this one (Colleges find students lacking Tribune) do little to suggest that they should. And so parents rush for the magnets and charters and all the rest - even though not all of them are nearly as successful as some think: "We had good intentions..." (Small Talk).

Catalyst Charter to open Austin school by 2007 (Austin Weekly).
Charter School Wins Architecture Award Chicagoist (see pic above)

Best of the Rest:
District 95 reveals plans to combat reading slide Pioneer Press
Some schools to get leeway over reforms Tribune
`Teaching with toys' Tribune
Montessori for the Mandarin set Chicago Journal
Few books in the library, no water in the pool Sun Times
Diversity goal a challenge to area schools Daily Herald
Rhodes scholars have Chicago ties Tribune
More kids will be tested this spring Daily Southtown
Public Education: Cost and Quality Chicago Matters
Daley seeks more schooling for kids Tribune