Near South Side: In but not of the Gap

Forte’s case is typical, says Douglas Principal Beverly Blackwood, who has seen the school’s enrollment decline from more than 2,000 some 30 years ago to 700 today. Only 163 come from the school’s attendance area. “Within the Gap community itself, there are not that many students,” Blackwood says, and many of them “attend magnet schools and private schools.”

Near South Side: Recruiting to stay alive

With the Chicago Housing Authority tearing down buildings, many of Drake’s students have been forced to leave the school’s attendance area. This fall, the few remaining families in the Prairie Courts development, which borders Drake on two sides, moved out. Amid the turmoil, Drake’s rising test scores took a dip.

Near South Side: New gem of a ‘projects’ school

Although Dearborn Park, a middle-income development, is not in the Academy’s attendance area, Gloria Williams, head of the tenant advisory council in the Harold Ickes Homes, casts a wary eye at parents there. “Those Dearborn Park folks, we know that they’d want their kids to come, with all that the school has to offer,” says Williams.

Research Roundup

The policy of reserving magnet school slots for neighborhood children favors families in the wealthier sections of the city, which have the highest concentrations of magnet schools: the Loop, the Near West Side and the north lakefront from the Gold Coast to Lake View. After this and other special attendance considerations, only one magnet school slot in five remains open.

Elsewhere 

OHIO: ‘4th Grade Guarantee’ on hold

Ohio may have to suspend a controversial mandate that requires 4th-graders to pass a state reading test before advancing to 5th grade, after a May 11 state Supreme Court ruling. The court’s decision praised Ohio’s attempt to set higher academic standards, but called the “4th Grade Guarantee” an unfunded mandate that “must be addressed and immediately funded,” according to a report in the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Highlights of a decade: 1993

A series of temporary restraining orders kept the schools open until Nov. 10, when an appeals panel overturned them. Legislators then used a four-day grace period provided by the panel to do what they had long resisted, hammer out a $378 million borrowing package.

Highlights of a Decade: 1994

Grant’s conduct had raised conflict-of-interest questions before: In 1993, she had come under fire for negotiating a no-bid insurance contract with Blue Cross/Blue Shield, even though Grant was part-owner and CEO of a health-care company with business ties to Blue Cross/Blue Shield.