Is Cicero really a family-oriented place?

When Chicagoans think about Cicero the one phrase that probably doesn't leap to mind is "family-oriented," given the town's long-standing association with organized crime, public corruption and its above-average crime rate. None of that, however, suggests that Cicero isn't a family-oriented community, and a recent Tribune article goes to some lengths to make the case that it is.

The hallmark of a family-friendly community is a good public school system.

Cicero elementary school students attend District 99 schools and high school students go to Morton East. On standardized tests Cicero schools radically underperform Illinois' less-than-stellar averages.

Are Cicero schools doing a better than average job of serving their largely immigrant population, or are they failing it? If Cicero schools are failing, is it still possible for Cicero to be family-oriented? If Cicero fails on both counts, are there better, equally affordable alternatives for new immigrants to the area?

I'm posing questions, and seeking input, not making value judgments. I don't know enough about Cicero to make any judgments.

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