Chicago Public Schools
|Chicago Public Schools|
Educate. Inspire. Transform.
|Type and location|
|Type||Public School District|
|Students and staff|
20.0 to 1 (elementary schools; 2008-09)24.6 to 1 (high schools; 2008-09)
Chicago Public Schools, commonly abbreviated as CPS by local residents, and officially classified as City of Chicago School District #299 for funding and districting reasons, is a large school district that manages over 600 public elementary and high schools in Chicago, Illinois. Chicago Public Schools is currently the third largest school district in the United States, with more than 400,000 students enrolled in the school district.
Unlike most school systems, CPS is headed by a chief executive officer rather than a superintendent. The position was redefined after Mayor Richard M. Daley convinced the Illinois General Assembly to place CPS under the mayor's control. Illinois school districts are generally governed by locally-elected school boards, where each district board hires a superintendent, who in turn hires administrators such as principals, who then must be approved by the school board. In contrast, the CPS board is appointed by the mayor, essentially making the entire system completely accountable to the mayor. CPS is headquartered in the 125 South Clark Street building in the Chicago Loop.
Most schools in the district, being prekindergarten-8th grade, elementary, middle, or secondary, have attendance boundaries, restricting student enrollment outside of any given residential area. A school may elect to enroll students outside their attendance boundaries if there is space, and or if it has a magnet cluster program. Full magnet schools, such as Gunsaulus Elementary Scholastic Academy, are open to student enrollment citywide, provided that applicants meet a level of high academic standards: living near a magnet school does not guarantee admission. Magnets offer a variety of academic programs with various focuses (agriculture, fine arts, international baccalaureate, Montessori, Math, Literature, and Paideia programs, among others). The Chicago High School for the Arts (ChiArts) is the system's only audition based performing and visual arts high school. Chicago was the largest city in the country without a public high school for the arts until the establishment of ChiArts in 2009.
School closures 
From 2001 to 2008, CPS, under Arne Duncan's leadership, closed dozens of elementary and high schools. University of Chicago researchers found that most of the students that transferred as a result of the closures did not improve their performance. New schools created from the conversions include charter schools and five military schools, three of which have Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps programs.
In response to CPS's announcements in 2013 that it was considering closing nearly 200 schools, many Chicago parents, students, teachers and community activists voiced their opposition through the media and at hearings around the city. In addition, several Illinois lawmakers, including chairman of the Senate education committee William Delgado (D-Chicago), pushed for a moratorium on school closings in CPS, citing "the disproportion[ate] effect on minority communities, the possibility of overcrowding and safety concerns for students who will have to travel further to class."
On March 21, 2013, officials announced they would be closing 54 school programs and 61 school buildings.
As of 2012, Chicago Public Schools were the most segregated among large city school systems, according to research by the New York Times.
Selective enrollment 
Elementary schools 
The school system contains two levels of elementary-middle school programs which make selective admission only.
Regional gifted centers have an area of focus (such as math and science) and require one type of assessment. The following schools are gifted centers:
- Lenart Regional Gifted Center
- South Loop.
Classical schools, in contrast to regional gifted centers, take a liberal arts approach focusing on all areas. Classical school applications thus require a different type of assessment. There are five classical schools:
- Edgar Allan Poe
- Skinner North
- Skinner West.
Secondary schools 
At the secondary level, CPS operates ten selective enrollment high schools. These are;
- Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy
- Jones College Prep High School
- King College Prep High School
- Lane Technical College Prep High School
- Robert Lindblom Math & Science Academy
- Northside College Preparatory High School
- Walter Payton College Prep
- South Shore International College Prep
- Westinghouse High School
- Whitney Young Magnet High School
Selective Enrollment high schools work on a point system out of 900 points:,
- 300 points for the 7th grade standardized testing (ISAT)
- 300 points for the entrance exam (tested in vocabulary, literature, math)
- 300 points for 7th grade grades (A=75, B=50, C=25; D and below=0)
Competition is fierce, and many factors decide whether students are admitted or not:
- Ranking: Students are asked to rank their top 6 high schools—the higher a school is on the list, the higher the chance a high school will choose to admit a student
- Points from the point system mentioned above
Other high school options 
In addition to the selective enrollment high schools, a number of other possibilities exist for high school students. These include military academies, career academies, and charter schools. Lincoln Park High School and Von Steuben Metropolitan Science Center are neighborhood "magnet" high schools, which also offer various honors programs to students citywide. More specialized options, such as the Chicago High School for the Arts and the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences are also available.
Military academies 
In partnership with various Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps programs, six high schools are operated as public military academies.
- Chicago Military Academy at Bronzeville (Army)
- Carver Military Academy (Army)
- Marine Math & Science Academy (Marine Corps)
- Phoenix Military Academy (Army)
- Rickover Naval Academy (Navy)
- Air Force Academy High School (Air Force)
Career academies 
Some high schools have been designated as "Career Academies". According to CPS, these schools have "intensified resources to prepare students for careers in business/finance, communications, construction, health, hospitality/food service, manufacturing, performing arts, and transportation. Vocational shops, science labs, broadcast journalism labs and media/computer centers help students gain 'hands on' experience."
Charter schools 
Chicago has a growing number of charter schools which receive nearly all of their operating budgets from the same tax sources as CPS.
The main offices of Chicago Public Schools are located in the 125 South Clark Street building in the Chicago Loop. The 20 story building, managed by MB Real Estate, and originally built as the Commercial National Bank, has 570,910 square feet (53,039 m2) of space.
The April 21, 2006 issue of the Chicago Tribune revealed a study released by the Consortium on Chicago School Research that stated that 6 of every 100 CPS freshmen would earn a bachelor's degree by age 25. 3 in 100 black or Latino men would earn a bachelor's degree by age 25. The study tracked Chicago high school students who graduated in 1998 and 1999. 35% of CPS students who went to college earned their bachelor's degree within six years, below the national average of 64%.
Chicago has a history of high dropout rates, with around half of students failing to graduate for the past 30 years. Criticism is directed at the CPS for inflating its performance figures. Through such techniques as counting students who swap schools before dropping out as transfers but not dropouts, it publishes graduation claims as high as 71%. Nonetheless, throughout the 1990s actual rates seem to have improved slightly, as true graduation estimates rose from 48% in 1991 to 54% in 2004.
In September 2011, the University of Chicago's Consortium on Chicago School Research (CCSR) published a report on the school system's performance over the course of 30 years of reform. While the report evaluated three decades of reform, it measured the progress of such policies by "analyzing trends in elementary and high school test scores and graduation rates over the past 20 years." As a result of this analysis, the authors of the report highlighted five of their central conclusions:
- "Graduation rates have improved dramatically, and high school test scores have risen; more students are graduating without a decline in average academic performance."
- "Math scores have improved incrementally in the elementary/middle grades, while elementary/middle grade reading scores remained fairly flat for two decades."
- "Racial gaps in achievement have steadily increased, with white students making slightly more progress than Latino students, and African American students falling behind all other groups."
- "Despite progress, the vast majority of CPS students have academic achievement levels that are far below where they need to be to graduate ready for college."
- "The publicly reported statistics used to hold schools and districts accountable for making academic progress are not accurate measures of progress."
2012 strike 
In September 2012, CPS teachers went on a nine-day strike, walking off the job for the first time in 25 years. The work stoppage, which began during the second week of the 2012 school year, culminated with a march on City Hall. Striking teachers voiced complaints about pay, teacher evaluations, and benefits, as well as general concerns about the neglect of the city's public school system. Soon after the strike, CEO Jean-Claude Brizard stepped down from his position.
See also 
- List of schools in Chicago Public Schools
- Chicago Public High School League
- Local School Councils
- Renaissance 2010
- Middle School Cadet Corps
- "Schools and Education". Encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org. Retrieved 2013-03-22.
- "Chicago Public Schools - Stats and Facts". Chicago Public Schools. Retrieved 2009-06-27.
- "CITY OF CHICAGO SD 299: District Profile". Iirc.niu.edu. Retrieved 2013-03-22.
- Jean Claude Brizard out as CPS chief
- "Chicago's largest employers". ChicagoBusiness. Crain Communications, Inc. 2011. Retrieved 2012-09-13.
- Sam Dillon, "Report Questions Duncan’s Policy of Closing Failing Schools ," "The New York Times," October 28, 2009 http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/29/education/29schools.html
- "A Look at Arne Duncan’s VIP List of Requests at Chicago Schools and the Effects of his Expansion of Charter Schools in Chicago", "Democracy Now!," March 26, 2010 http://www.democracynow.org/2010/3/26/a_look_at_arne_duncans_vip
- "193 Chicago elementary schools not safe from closing". Chicago Sun-Times. 19 January 2013. Retrieved 16 March 2013.
- "Call for action against CPS school closings".
- "CPS School Closing Hearing: Tensions Boil Over In Heated Meeting Later Called 'A Disaster'". Huffington Post. Retrieved 16 March 2013.
- "CPS School Closings: Hearing Heats Up Ahead Of Release Of Preliminary Closure List". Huffington Post. Retrieved 16 March 2013.
- "Parents, teachers tout rising test scores to save Armstrong".
- "Why close Lewis when CPS is spending millions on renovations, advocates say".
- "Lawmakers threaten to push CPS closings moratorium". Chicago Tribune. 11 March 2013. Retrieved 16 March 2013.
- "CPS to close 54 school programs, 61 school buildings". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 21 March 2013.
- Ford Fessenden, "A Portrait of Segregation in New York City’s Schools" The New York Times, May 11, 2012 http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2012/05/11/nyregion/segregation-in-new-york-city-public-schools.html?ref=education
- Chicago Public Schools Office of Academic Enhancement, "Selective Enrollment High Schools", Available online at http://cpsmagnet.org/apps/pages/index.jsp?uREC_ID=72696&type=d&rn=5261203, Cited September 21, 2009
- Scoring Rubric: Selective Enrollment High Schools
- Chicago Public Schools, "Career Academies", Available online at http://www.cps.edu/Schools/High_schools/Pages/Careeracademy.aspx, Cited September 28, 2009
- "Board meeting schedule." Chicago Public Schools. Retrieved on November 7, 2009.
- 1910 photograph of the Adams Street entrance during the 1910 Triennial Conclave of the Knights Templar Grand Encampment
- "125 South Clark Street." MB Real Estate. Retrieved on November 7, 2009.
- "Topic Galleries". chicagotribune.com. Retrieved 2013-03-22.
- "Consortium on Chicago School Research finds graduation rates lower than typically reported". Consortium on Chicago School Research. University of Chicago. 2005. Retrieved 2008-12-06.
- "Trends in Chicago’s Schools Across Three Eras of Reform". Retrieved 16 March 2013.
- "Chicago teachers union rally | Photos". Time Out Chicago Kids. 2012-09-10. Retrieved 2013-03-22.
- "Chicago teachers vote to suspend strike". CNN. Retrieved 18 September 2012.
- Pearsen, Michael. "Chicago teachers strike; students and parents scramble". CNN. Retrieved 10 September 2012.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Chicago Public Schools|
News and commentary 
- District 299 The CPS Blog
- "CPS career program sends fashion students out of classroom and into business" Article on recent CPS vocational programs
- "50/50: The Odds of Graduating" WBEZ Chicago Public Radio multimedia project on Chicago's dropout crisis