Demonstrating the increasing demand for school choice, Latino families were among the
thousands of Chicago families who explored more than 130 of the city’s public schools,
including charter schools, at the 6th Annual New Schools EXPO, which was hosted by New
Schools for Chicago.
With 123,000 CPS students in failing schools, the demand for high-quality charter schools has
grown. More than 19,000 students are currently on charter waiting lists according the Illinois
State Board of Education.
“It’s hard to find a quality school in my neighborhood that will accept a student at any level,”
said Margarita Oliveras, a Logan Square parent who attended the event with her children.
“More choices are always better.”
Chicago’s charter schools are tuition-free public schools that don’t require admission tests, and
serve neighborhood students. On average, charter schools outperform their neighborhood
counterparts. For example, 77 percent of charter freshman graduate, while only 56 percent
of neighborhood peers graduate. When it comes to college enrollment 70 percent of charter
school graduates attend college, while 57 percent of their neighborhood counterparts do.
Currently, CPS has more than 123,000 students in underperforming schools, with a majority of
those students also attending schools that are under-enrolled. And although CPS has focused
on utilization when it comes to school action decisions this year, parents are demanding quality
“The large turn out today reminds us how many communities still lack quality school options
for their children,” said Phyllis Lockett, president and CEO of New Schools for Chicago. “Charter
schools are getting kids to college. And judging by the record attendance today, parents are
voting with their feet when it comes to public education.”
Many parents took advantage of Increase Your Odds, a free program to help them navigate
charter enrollment and choose the schools that are a good fit for them and their children. If
they don’t get a seat in a school they selected, Increase Your Odds may be able to find them an
opening in a school that still has room. Parents can find out more information about the free
resource by calling 773-4-SCHOOLS (773-472-4665).
Parents at EXPO also participated in an interactive exhibit showcasing education technology
tools to help their children learn more at home and in school, many of which are available free.
This post is also available in: Spanish