Experts: Charter Schools Could Stem Declining School Enrollment In Chicago

CHICAGO (CBS) — Education experts say declining enrollments in public school systems around the country are forcing some schools to close, and often affect the poorest neighborhoods.

As WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports, Chicago is doing its part in responding to the crisis.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports

A New York Times analysis shows public school enrollments in many major city schools, including the ones in Chicago, are dropping because of factors such as declining birth rates, population shifts, or competition from privately-run charter schools.

In Chicago, charter schools are part of the public school system. Linda Lenz, publisher of the education reform magazine Catalyst, says they could be part of the solution.

“One thing the school system can do is to try to make sure that charter schools go into neighborhoods that are most in need of better schools, and I think that they’ve made an effort to do that,” Lenz said.

CPS officials say they are trying to offer parents everywhere a choice.

The New York Times study shows enrollment in the Chicago Public Schools dropped by 3.3 percent, or 13,825 students, between the 2005-2006 and 2009-2010 school years.

Many districts fared far worse. Columbus, Ohio, lost 10.4 percent of its students during the same period; Milwaukee lost 11.1 percent; Cleveland lost 17.7 percent; and at the top, Detroit lost 32.1 percent of its students, a total of 47,256.

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