Chicago’s steep enrollment losses hit high-poverty schools hardest

This fall’s enrollment drop in Chicago’s public schools — the sharpest in two decades — hit Bret Harte Elementary particularly hard.

The school, near the wealthy University of Chicago but serving primarily low-income South Side students, lost about 50 students. For a small school, with enrollment hovering at about 330 students in recent years, it was a painful 15% drop. Right before the coronavirus pandemic hit, Harte had revived its fundraising group to help hire a music teacher and plug other program holes. Now, the school could face a fresh financial setback...

Resolving the pre-k paradox

A series of policy changes begun seven years ago to help create more equitable enrollment in Chicago Public Schools’ pre-K programs has worked, according to education researchers at three Chicago organizations. Enrollment tripled among Black students and children from the city’s lowest-income neighborhoods, they found.

5 researchers who can help us understand how children succeed

When Paul Tough first began reporting on the skills that help children succeed both in and out of the classroom, he drew upon an already robust body of research on the subject. The scholars he turned to had looked at how adverse childhood experiences affected one group of kids attending a pediatric clinic in San Francisco, as well as how children’s classroom environments could help build noncognitive skills key to long-term success.

Linking Social-Emotional Learning to Long-Term Success

Key Findings

  • Compared to test-score value-added, measures of social-emotional value-added are nearly as predictive of a high school’s impact on test scores. This suggests that fostering social-emotional development may be foundational to academic success.
  • Schools with strong social-emotional value-added help students stay on track and miss school less often in ninth grade.

New study shows full-day pre-k access and enrollment increased after Chicago enacted policy changes

Policy changes to Chicago’s school-based pre-k system resulted in greater equity in access to, and enrollment in, full-day, school-based pre-k, according to a new study by education researchers at NORC at the University of Chicago, Start Early (formerly the Ounce of Prevention), and UChicago Consortium on School Research. 

A New Method for Describing Chicago Neighborhoods

Key Insights

  • This “neighborhood-centered” (as opposed to a “variable-centered”) method resulted in a parsimonious set of five neighborhoods groupings in Chicago that focused researchers’ attention on the characteristics of neighborhood residents rather than the geographic locale of individual neighborhoods.
  • The five groupings are relatively easy to describe and are easily understood by those familiar with Chicago.

Expansion of pre-k options in Chicago led to jump in Black student enrollment

For years, the students being enrolled in Chicago Public Schools’ full-day pre-K were largely from White families living in the city’s wealthiest areas. But after reforms were made to make pre-K more accessible to all families, the number of Black students and those from the city’s lowest-income neighborhoods has tripled, according to a new study.

Subscribe to