Then – 1990

Another Chicago education institution is celebrating its 25th Anniversary this year: the University of Chicago’s Consortium on Chicago School Research. CCSR is a unique institution that has long produced rigorous, technical research that is accessible and useful to practitioners and policy-makers, and which is broadly used by the school reform community. Formed as the school system was being decentralized, CCSR examines the day-to-day implications of the policies and practices it researches, e.g. the five essentials that matter most for school improvement, and then works to build capacity to implement solutions. Data sharing with CPS has resulted in one of the most comprehensive longitudinal data archives of public school data for a single city. As a non-political group that sticks by its research without being swayed by those in power, it has enviable credibility.


Continuing to research the effect of policy decisions on students, CCSR’s most recent research report focused on the impact of mass school closings on Chicago students and their families. Issued this January, the report found that most all students ended up in schools with higher performance ratings, although not necessarily substantially higher. Proximity was the major factor in deciding where families would enroll their students. See Catalyst’s story on the report or listen to WBEZ’s Afternoon Shift coverage of the report.


CCSR has become a national model for applied research centers around the country focusing on education. New York City, Los Angeles, Newark, San Diego and Baltimore have created research consortia, and CCSR is contributing to their incubation. Will they at some point collaborate to produce multi-city reports?

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