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The race for City Hall

Jobs and schools promise to be top issues in next year’s city elections. The mayor’s education agenda faces its toughest test in the African-American communities that gave him strong support in 2011.

For the Record: Enrollment trends and school utilization

When rolling out new data on school utilization, CPS officials emphasized that the number of children in the city has plummeted by 145,000 over the past 12 years, citing the figure as the major reason why the district has so many empty schools.

Meanwhile, a chorus of teachers union and community activists who oppose closings (and some media outlets) have pointed out contradictory data: The population of children in the city may be down, but CPS enrollment has declined by only about 32,000 students since the 1999-2000 school year.

Both sides have a point—but not the entire story. A closer look at enrollment trends explains why the district has 330 schools that are considered under-utilized, with 136 half-empty.

 A drop in black student population: Almost 80 percent of under-utilized schools are predominantly African American. Since 2000, the number of black students in CPS declined by 63,000. In addition, 29,000 black students now attend charter schools, and black students comprise 58 percent of all students in charter schools.  

More charters in black communities: Thirteen community areas in Chicago have more than 10 under-utilized schools. In those neighborhoods, CPS over the past decade has opened 46 charter schools. North Lawndale has the most under-utilized schools, at 19, and has gotten eight charter schools, more than any other community area in the city.

CPS leaders have focused on opening charter schools in neighborhoods that needed “quality” options—“quality” being most often defined as a charter—with little regard as to whether the demographics would support another school. As a result, many charter schools ended up in neighborhoods where the traditional schools were already shedding students.

The end result: Traditional CPS schools have lost about 92,000 black students, either through demographic shifts or a shift to enrollment in charters. 

Latino enrollment shift: Latinos are the only demographic group that has experienced an increase in student population. Between 2000 and 2013, the number of Latino students rose by 28,000. But 18,000 Latinos are now enrolled in charters—which means a net gain of about 10,000 students for traditional schools.

School Board Vice President Jesse Ruiz, speaking on the CAN-TV show Chicago Newsroom, said some charter school operators are aware of the demographic shifts in the city and therefore aren’t building structures meant to last 100 years. In particular, UNO President Juan Rangel has told Ruiz that he isn’t building for the long haul. UNO serves more than 6,100 Latino students. 


Rod Estvan wrote 2 years 4 weeks ago

I agree

I agree with Sarah Karp's short commentary on the issue of demographics, utilizations, and charters. I thought the discussion of CPS Board Vice President Jesse Ruiz comments in relation to charter schools' perspectives on student population shifts was very interesting.

Rod Estvan

xian barrett wrote 2 years 4 weeks ago

So...those nearly $100 in

So...those nearly $100 in state bonds for UNO schools were for short term structures?

Anonymous wrote 2 years 4 weeks ago

Re-posted from Wendy Katten

Re-posted from Wendy Katten posted in RAISE YOUR HAND - CPS Parents for Fair Funding

Wendy Katten 3:31pm Dec 13

After testifying at the new Chicago Educ Facilities Task force today, Jeanne Marie Olson went home and crunched the numbers.

She found that based on her formula of having 30 kids max in a c/r, CPS has 24,956 "unfilled seats" -- not over 100k as CPS has been stating.

Anonymous wrote 2 years 4 weeks ago

Isnt this what Daley II wanted--black flight?

--how many latino dominated charters are there? and how many african american-in what postions are employed there?

Anonymous wrote 2 years 4 weeks ago

Would have loved it if the

Would have loved it if the reporter asked Rangel why he wasn't building schools for the long haul, and what he means by long haul.

I have never heard anything like this. It's like saying government shouldn't build public buildings -- libraries or hospitals -- to last.

He sits on the Public Building Commission, too.

Rosita Chatonda wrote 2 years 3 weeks ago

Black teachers and students, You've been bamboozled!
African Americans students have lost about 1/5 of their enrollment. Everyone else have gained except for a small drop in of about 1% in white children. APPROXIMATELY 63 ,000? ( the number looks a little high to me) looks like 40,-50,000 ) AA students are no longer in public schools since the year 2,000.
52.3 - 41.7
400,931 Enrollment Students
Teachers have dropped from 45% to 19.6 losing over 1/2 of their teacher population since 1998.

African Americans have been the only demographic negatively impacted by REN 2010. It was designed to create Black Flight and that goal has been accomplished. For over 10 years, I have been trying to get people to look at the data. No one was interested. For three years I have been going to the BOE presenting this information. Everyone said it wasn't true even when the data was presented. Now there's an election coming up. Now everyone get's it! Black teachers caucuses have finally been started. Research had finally been done in an effort to appear to be concerned. After all, it's too late to really get something done. By the the time something significant happens there will be so few AA teachers they won't have enough voting power to bus a grape! I think this is the same strategy used by Daley after he won the election. He purged the system of AA's. Looks like someone else is doing the same thing! And it ain't just Rahm!

utilization wrote 2 years 3 weeks ago


All of this back and forth about who is right when it comes to changes in the number of children in the city or the number of children enrolled in CPS schools is not so relevant if the fact remains that so many schools are more than half empty.

Raise Your Hand/Apples2Apples has presented one of the most meaningful challenges to the CPS analysis by reframing the formula used to measure school capacity. Advocates should focus the most attention on demonstrating the need for the spaces that exist, as some have by highlighting the space needs of special student populations and special curricula.

northside wrote 2 years 3 weeks ago


...why are there only a small, small percentage of males teaching or leading? black, white, or hispanic...

this also I believe is true of principals too....In my entire career of 15 years I have met 2 male principals in a working capacity...and that was because i was a sub! i have ALWAYs, and still do, have a female principal! but many female, black, white, and hispanic?
where can i see the statistics you got??

I am just curious?

Anonymous wrote 2 years 3 weeks ago

To Northside

Hi Northside. You can find many answers for why men are not going into teaching (and in fact their numbers are at record lows) by doing a simple google search. Most of the answers go like this:

"Why the downward trend in male teaching? According to Bryan Nelson, founder of MenTeach, a nonprofit organization dedicated to recruiting male teachers, research suggests three key reasons for the shortage of male teachers: low status and pay, the perception that teaching is "women's work," and the fear of accusation of child abuse."

"There's a lack of support for male teachers, a lack of respect, and a lack of being able to be involved in decision-making," says Reg Weaver, president of the NEA. "And I can't say it's getting better."

Northside Teacher wrote 2 years 3 weeks ago



It's funny ...they give their reasons ...but I still know a lot of male teachers who can't even get an interview. i would like to know what perceptions people have of male teachers on the other side of the desk? i have heard that men actually suffer from a reverse form of sexism in education.

i just don't understand why their is no scholarship money available to men..when our own city is trying to promote women owned businesses but not worrying about inequalities in their own schools?


MBA wrote 2 years 3 weeks ago

G. Quagmire

I went into teaching for the chicks, giggidy giggidy.

Rosita Chatonda wrote 2 years 3 weeks ago

Dear Northside

As you already know, discrimination runs rampant at CPS. Minorities, males, older veteran teachers etc. I think that men find it a little more challenging to survive in an environment where there is such a lack of discipline. The strategies CPS uses to address discipline require personalities that are able to allow (in some cases and at some schools) teachers to be victimized by parents, teachers and administration. CPS know that hiring men and indoctrinating them to accept verbal and physical abuse may be more difficult . They don't say it and will never admit to it, however, my guess is that they fear hiring males for these reasons and others. In addition, children are much more likely to accuse men of sexual harassment.

Rosita Chatonda wrote 2 years 3 weeks ago
Anonymous wrote 2 years 3 weeks ago

Agreed there should be more male teacher scholarships

Our hiring team welcomes and encourages males to apply. We were able to hire at least 4 this school eyar.

Anonymous wrote 2 years 3 weeks ago

good job

You are the exception

Anonymous wrote 2 years 3 weeks ago

thanks--although a 'male' teacher is not end all be all

we need male teachers--roll models--scholarships for them would help.
There must be some great men out there who have the soul of a teacher and the heart for children learning.

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