In today's Chicago SunTimes a story showed the walking route between King Elementary School, 740 S. Campbell, to Jensen Elementary Scholastic Academy, 3030 W. Harrison. In the printed edition of the SunTimes a map was included showing King at one side of a rectangle and Jensen at the other, with potential routes kids might take from King to Jensen, and potential hazards to kids shown along the routes.
Since I'm a map fanatic, and I've done maps of school areas in the past, I thought that there was more to this analysis than what was being presented. Thus, I used the Chicago Public Schools Locator web site (which is quite good). I created the analysis below:
I don't know how CPS elementary school districts are drawn, or from what distance around the school kids are drawn. However, I drew a circle around the two schools in the SunTimes article. (One question I had was that in the SunTimes article the receiving school at 3030 W. Harrison is Jensen, yet on the CPS locator the only school at that address is Bethune. Is the CPS locator up-to-date?)
If you look at the circle around the two schools, and you look at other elementary schools in the area, you might want to ask a few questions, such as:
a) The students who live in the area West of King would could be within 4 blocks of Jensen, depending where they live. However, students living South, North or East of King would have to travel even further than the 8 blocks shown in the Sun Times article.
b) With other elementary schools potentially closer to where some of King's students live, is CPS really planning to divide kids from closing schools among several different schools, not just the "receiving school"?
c) CPS has mapping capacity. Do they map the home addresses of students to determine the attendance pattern for every school, or to understand transit routes, bus routes, etc.
Using map analysis tools like this it might be possible for CPS, parents, community activist, political leaders and others to make better decisions about what schools kids should attend, as well as what non-school resources are in the area around every poorly performing school in the city.
As a vocational education program, CPS and City Colleges of Chicago could be teaching youth in area high schools to create maps and do map analysis stories like this. Businesses in Chicago who provide mapping services could provide technology and mentoring. Why not?
See more of the map stories on this blog and the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC blog.