What's Up With Rogers Park?

The common perception is that the farther North you go, the better the school options are. So I was surprised to hear friends in Rogers Park talking about having to send their kids South to find suitable schools or creating new schools or even sneaking across the line to Evanston.  Maybe it's because Rogers Park is so far North, or because Evanston is so close.  Still, I'm wondering what's going on up there -- anyone familiar with the neighborhood willing to spill the beans? I'm too lazy to figure it out for myself.

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  • What's going on with Rogers Park is that it has demographically changed. People who used to live there moved to Highland Park and then died.

    North of Howard has pretty much always been a ghetto and given other pejorative nick names.

    The east part of Rogers Park is probably no different demographically than Little Village, especially around the Howard station. West Ridge is still primarily multiethnic immigrant, but it is a new generation of immigrants. However, most of them have established their own private schools

    Other than that, Northside Prep isn't in Rogers Park. Also, it appears that most of the schools near Uptown are actually in Edgewater, so I guess that's why one doesn't hear much about them.

  • I live in Rogers Park (East RP, not West, which is quite a different story), and have a 3rd grader and preschooler. We do have our third grader in a magnet CPS farther south - when he was starting kindergarten, the options in RP were limited. And the schools in RP do struggle with lots of the same issues other CPS schools do - underfunding, overcrowding, lack of resources, high poverty rates without adequate services, charters coming in. But New Field does seem to be a solid neighborhood school, and we'd like to send our preschooler there next year. And there are great schools in Uptown and Edgewater, so the area has plenty of good options if you can get in through the lottery.

    BTW, admitting to being too lazy to do reporting is kind of weak for a reporter, isn't it? This is a good story idea, you should actually report on it!

  • Why don't people send their kids to schools in Rogers Park? Test scores, lack of English and poverty. Unless those scores can get into the 90% meeting 30-40%+ exceeding range, most who have the chance to go elsewhere will not choose a RP school. Last year, Gale's 3rd grade had something like only 25% meeting standards. Kilmer, Field and New Field had reading scores in the 50-60% meeting range. Armstrong was a little higher maybe in the high 70's? They are probably the best of the area, and even that isn't very good. I forget Jordan's numbers, but they were lower than Kilmer. Most of those schools had less than 10% exceeding standards in reading.
    They all have poverty levels of 90% + because middle class families simply don't send their kids to RP schools or they move before their kids get to be school aged.

  • Several years ago, I did a two year stint in a RP elementary school. And, boy was it inner-city. Rogers Park itself has changed a lot, but a few things haven't: lots of section 8 housing, lots of poverty, lots of unemployment and mostly working poor. Gangs and drugs exist visibly in this area, and since the housing bubble bust, hope for continued gentrification of the area save for existing single-family homes has stalled.

    The school I worked at was about 50% African-American, and 50% Latino, many of whom came from first-generation homes that spoke only Spanish, so we also had a fairly large bilingual program. So poverty and a large ELL population meant that scores were never particularly strong.

    Let's face the facts: white middle class parents are not going to send their offspring to a school where their child will be in a super-minority and where the achievement is lacking. This is not to accuse neighborhood white parents of being racist, but to underscore the fact that although white parents are willing to include their student in a diverse school, the population of existing white children would have to be about 25-30% and the achievement of the students would need to be at least average, not way below. That ratio doesn't exist anywhere in RP and the closest schools that do are elementary magnet programs.

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