Maybe Urban Schools Aren't So Bad

MLewyn's picture

It is conventional wisdom that big cities have problems retaining the middle class because of poor schools.  But many older cities labor under a disadvantage that their suburbs don't have- lots of students from underprivileged background.

A recent study suggests that when one controls for social class, Chicago schools are actually not so bad. This study compared the test scores of Chicago's elementary schools with those of other Illinois schools with similar poverty rates, and calculated a "Poverty-Achievement Index" (PAI) based on this comparison.  As it happens, 55 of the 100 schools with the best PAIs were in Chicago- which is to say, their test scores were better than those of suburban or small-city schools with similar student bodies. 


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