The Imperatives Of Gentrification At Work In NKO Schools

There are a bunch of folks who like to think that there are good things going on in North Kenwood-Oakland (known as NKO), many of which are challenged in a new book about the neighborhood that's reviewed in this week's Chicago Reader (The Mixed-Income Myth).  In particular, school improvement efforts take a bit of a beating, largely because the three new schools created there don't serve the neighborhood's low-income kids.  Black middle-class gentrification hasn't translated into equal opportunities.

"In 1995 NKO was served by Martin Luther King Jr. High School (with a
58 percent graduation rate), Florence Price Elementary (with more than
90 percent of students scoring below national norms), and Jackie
Robinson Elementary (slightly less than 90 percent below national
norms). A third elementary school, Shakespeare, was closed in 1993 due
to low enrollment. Today King has been turned into a citywide magnet
school. Shakespeare has been replaced by two new schools -- Ariel
Community Academy and the North Kenwood/Oakland Charter School. Most
low-income children in the neighborhood attend Price and Robinson and
Dyett Academy High School, but the old schools offer less education --
in Dyett's case, much less, with fewer than one student in five
achieving at national norms.
  The three new schools are technically public schools. There's no
tuition, no signs saying "only our sort need apply." But they're
selective all right. The devil's in the details, and Pattillo has them.
Applications to attend Ariel are due in January for the following
September, but siblings and family members of current students get
priority. The charter school's three-page application isn't due until
March, but there are almost no spots available for grade schoolers who
don't already have an in."

There's lots on housing, as well.  And there's also a reading tomorrow (Sat) at the Englewood branch of the library. Check the Reader review for all the deets.

Filed under: Communities & CBOs

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