Lots of things you might want to talk about this weekend, including the possibility of more CPS closings, the REACH teacher evaluation program, operating under budget cuts this year, or how great or horrible CPS or CTU are.
Or, how about the pair of stories from WBEZ and Catalyst about neighborhood high schools with dwindling enrollments -- whether that's reversible, desirable, or whether they should be closed eventually just like other low-enrollment schools.
Neighborhood high schools struggle to attract students Catalyst: This year, the number of 9th through 12th grade students has increased to about 112,000, but spread among substantially more schools--154, plus 21 small campuses that re-enroll dropouts and operate under the Youth Connection Charter School umbrella. Today, only about a third of high school students attend their neighborhood school, [CPS demographer Jimm Dispensa] says.
Future uncertain for Chicago's neighborhood high schools WBEZ: Many of Chicago’s 50 neighborhood high schools are anchors of their communities. But some city high schools have alarmingly few students enrolled this fall, raising questions about whether neighborhood high schools with long Chicago histories will be able to stay alive in an ever more competitive marketplace.
Back in the day, these schools were the only real option, and had all the electives and activities. Nowadays, these schools remain open for other reasons, including sentimentality, safety, and ongoing improvement efforts. In some cases there's no substantially better alternative, or not enough room. But budget pressures and parent choice seem to be trending away from neighborhood high schools, leaving the possibility that they'll be eventually be closed, replaced by smaller district and charter schools in the neighborhood and elsewhere.
Image courtesy WBEZ.