A Market in Education

An incredible story from WBEZ about how the skyrocketing number of public high schools in Chicago – up 50% over the last decade – has left those with poor reputations struggling to maintain enrollment:

Roberto Clemente Community Academy in Humboldt Park is one of those. It’s an eight-story building. Until recently escalators carried 1,800 kids from floor to floor. There are just 130 freshmen enrolled today. Another 473 freshmen live in the area but go to high school somewhere else. In fact, the Noble Street network of charter schools, with its various campuses, enrolls more students from Clemente’s attendance area than Clemente.

On the one hand, whatever you think about it, this is exactly what the charter folks said would happen: under competition, weak schools would shrivel and die. The only question from the reform perspective is whether or not the dying schools are actually weaker in their academic and social support for students than the ones that are “winning.”

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