Chicago NEWS

This story was produced in partnership with students at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and WTTW News.

By: Bridgette Adu-Wadier, Selena Kuznikov and Samantha Aguilar

Chicago Public Schools has been working to combat declining enrollment and funding challenges — but a significant number of low-income families of color are choosing to leave the district, opting for private and charter schools.

For North Center parent Blanca Rosa Chattin, sending her daughter to DePaul College Prep, a private high school in Roscoe Village, was a necessary shift.

“We graduated from CPS, and we moved into private school,” Chattin said. “And I think it was the best for my child because she adapted well to the new system.”

Still, Chattin said dealing with the change hasn’t been easy financially. A scholarship covers half her daughter’s tuition, but Chattin makes sacrifices to pay for the other half.

“We took the risk,” Chattin said. “We said, ‘OK, we’ll have to work.’ I start working more hours, and we both, you know, push ourselves to work a little more to increase our budget.”

High school Spanish teacher Claire De Leon transferred from Roberto Clemente Community Academy to Amundsen High School, a larger school. She said she saw many students transfer out of Clemente to charter or alternative schools.

De Leon said serving students at Clemente was a challenge because low enrollment and unengaged students go hand in hand.

“I was becoming apathetic and sort of stagnant as an educator,” she said, “which is not what my students deserve from thei

Sponsored Content

Sponsored Content