Locating Chicago’s Charter Schools: A Socio-Spatial Analysis

epaaEducation Policy Analysis Archives, Volume 24, Number 24, 14 March 2016

By Jennifer C. LaFleur

“This project contributes to the body of research examining the implications of the geographic location of charter schools for student access, especially in high-poverty communities. Using geographic information systems (GIS) software, this paper uses data from the U.S. Census American Community Survey to identify the socioeconomic characteristics of the census tracts in which Chicago’s charter schools tend to locate. Echoing the findings of other researchers who have examined charter school locational patterns, the present analyses found evidence of a “ceiling effect” by which many charter schools appear to locate in Chicago’s higher-needs census tracts, broadly cast, but avoid locating directly within those that are highest-need.

Map including portions of the following neighborhoods: South Austin, West Garfield Park, and West Humboldt Park. Yellow flags represent the location of charter schools. Shading reflects the number of standard deviation units the census tract’s socioeconomic need index score was from the city mean. Census tracts shaded in the lightest blue represent areas of lowest socioeconomic need, those shaded in the darkest blue represent areas of highest socioeconomic need.

Map including portions of the following neighborhoods: South Austin, West Garfield Park, and West Humboldt Park. Yellow flags represent the location of charter schools. Shading reflects the number of standard deviation units the census tract’s socioeconomic need index score was from the city mean. Census tracts shaded in the lightest blue represent areas of lowest socioeconomic need, those shaded in the darkest blue represent areas of highest socioeconomic need.

“The findings suggest that because Chicago’s charter schools face per-pupil expenditures that are often up to 20% less than those of traditional public schools, they may strategically leverage location to help shape student enrollment. By frequently locating near, but not directly within highest-need communities, charter schools may find it easier to attract a quorum of relatively higher achieving students who are less expensive to educate, therefore increasing their chances of meeting academic benchmarks and retaining their charters. By extending the findings of other researchers to the context of Chicago—where charters represent an ever-increasing share of the public school market—the present analyses may inform future revisions to the policies governing the authorization of charter schools in Chicago, with the goal of increasing access for highest-need students. ”

GeoTech Center and URISA Announce 2015 Undergraduate Geospatial Technology Skills Competition

URISAThe GeoTech Center and URISA are pleased to announce the 2015 Undergraduate Geospatial Technology Skills Competition! The intent of the competition is to showcase the geospatial technology skills of U.S. undergraduate students. Competing students will create a project that utilizes geospatial technology to address a real-world problem. The student will then present the project and the resulting deliverables as a video (approximately 10-15 minutes in length) which not only highlights their use of geospatial technology, but also demonstrates their communication and presentation skills. As Rodney Jackson, Dean of Business, Engineering & Technical Studies at Davidson County Community College states:

“The ability to provide a competition for students to demonstrate their geospatial competency to industry partners, within the context of a national conference, has significant value within their educational experience.”

More details to follow in the coming months; updates will be posted to the competition website.

Eligibility

Students who are at least 18 years old and currently enrolled during Spring 2015 in a geospatial technology course (e.g., geographic information systems, remote sensing, or GPS/GNSS) or geospatial technology program at an accredited 2-year or 4-year U.S. institution are eligible to enter. Questions regarding eligibility can be directed to either Tom Mueller at mueller@calu.edu or Scott Jeffrey at sjeffrey@ccbcmd.edu. One entry per student and only individual student submissions allowed (no group projects).

Judging

Entries will be due by Friday, June 12, 2015 and will be judged by a panel of experienced geospatial specialists. The combined scores from all judges will determine the top five (5) student finalists. These finalists will win an all-expense-paid trip to the GIS-Pro & NWGIS 2015: Geography at the Nexus of Collaboration international conference in Spokane, WA on October 18-22, 2015, where they will be required to present their project. Judges will then determine the competitors’ final place ranking. It is anticipated that three (3) of the student finalists will be from two-year colleges and two (2) from four-year institutions. The exact split will depend upon the number of students who enter the competition and the quality of the work submitted (judges also reserve the right to invite fewer than five student finalists).

[Source: URISA news release]

Young GIS Practitioners Encouraged to Apply to URISA Vanguard Cabinet

URISAURISA is pleased to announce the availability of the 2015 Vanguard Cabinet application. The Vanguard Cabinet (VC) is a URISA initiative which debuted in 2011 to engage young GIS practitioners (35 and under), increase their numbers in the organization, and better understand the concerns facing these future leaders of the GIS community.  The Cabinet’s mission is to collaborate with URISA’s Board of Directors and Committees in creating and promoting programs and policies of benefit to young professionals. Comprised entirely of passionate young members selected from different geospatial disciplines, the Cabinet aims to position URISA as the center of opportunities for creative young professionals who are committed to improving URISA and the geospatial profession via innovation, collaboration, networking, and professional development.

Clare Brown, GISP, advisor to the Vanguard Cabinet, notes, “Young professionals are not only increasing in number within URISA, but they are also leading and initiating important programs. From student outreach to  professional practice development, the VC is making its mark and being noticed. I encourage all young GIS professionals to learn more about the Vanguard Cabinet and apply to become a part of this great group of future leaders.”

Visit the Vanguard Cabinet web page for the 2015 application form (due by November 30) and additional information. Catch up with current and former Vanguard Cabinet members during GIS-Pro 2014 in New Orleans, September 8-11. There will be ample opportunity to learn more about the VC’s activities during the conference.

[Source: URISA press release]

Help Transform America’s Schools with Digital Learning

Esri logoPresident Obama’s recently announced ConnectED Initiative aims to transition schools to digital learning through upgraded connectivity, access to learning devices, teacher support, and digital learning resources. Esri is proud to contribute to ConnectED by providing our ArcGIS Online web mapping tools and learning resources to all schools in the United States for free.

With ArcGIS Online, students can use maps to explore places in their community or around the world. ArcGIS Online includes content from leading providers like National Geographic, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the US Geological Survey (USGS). Students can also create maps from their own data.

Using ArcGIS Online helps students develop problem-solving, data analysis, communication, and technology skills that lead to college and career readiness.

ConnectED Commitment by Esri to Provide Free Educational Software to Every K-12 School in America

“In continuing its support of education, and in line with the President’s ConnectED vision of opening new opportunity through technology in the classroom, Esri will provide to every U.S. K-12 school in America free access to ArcGIS Online Organization accounts — the same GIS technology as used by government and business. These allow users to map and analyze data, create and share content, and collaborate in the cloud — via computers, tablets, or smartphones, anytime, anywhere connected.  This commitment expands on Esri’s successful program in pilot schools at all levels across the country, and will allow students to do projects of unlimited content, from global to local, building community, as well as knowledge and skills for college and career.”

URISA’s Student Competition Revolutionized for GIS-Pro 2014

URISAIn a recent development for GIS-Pro 2014: URISA’s Annual Conference taking place September 8-11, 2014 in New Orleans, the URISA Vanguard Cabinet has revitalized the traditional student presentation competition.

Help revitalize traditional poster contests by joining the Vanguard Cabinet for a showcase of recent ‘maptastic’ GIS student innovations. Instead of traditional printed and thumb-tacked maps, we are going completely digital. There will be a series of brief presentations (no longer than five minutes each) during the competition session on September 9th at 2:00 PM where students will compete for the “Best Presentation” cash award*. Additionally, digital submissions will be accepted for students unable to attend the conference, where they can compete for additional cash prizes in various categories. All approved submissions will be uploaded online and displayed in the common area during the conference, to allow conference attendees to vote on a “People’s Choice” award. All awards will be presented to select competitors during the Wednesday morning awards ceremony at GIS-Pro 2014: URISA’s 52nd Annual Conference in New Orleans.

“With today’s GIS students becoming the future leaders of our industry, it’s essential to offer students a platform to continue learning, present analysis results, and get feedback to improve their skills,” said Ashley Hitt, a current URISA board member. “As young GIS professionals, the Vanguard Cabinet recognizes this and is offering more opportunities for students and other young professionals to get involved and take advantage of the opportunity.”

Students may submit a map or poster .pdf (or image file), a PowerPoint presentation, or a video walk-through of a web app., mobile app., model, or script they have developed. All submissions will be reviewed, to ensure appropriate content, and competitors will receive an email confirmation upon approval. We encourage competitors to attend the conference to present their work, but those unable to attend will still be able to compete for all but the “Best Presentation” award. All students are welcome to compete, as long as they submit evidence of at least half-time enrollment at an accredited college for the Fall 2014 term. More details, as well as the competition application form, can be found at https://sites.google.com/site/gispro2014studentcompetition/.

Additional opportunities for GIS students to get involved with the URISA GIS-Pro Conference – to be held in New Orleans, LA from September 8-11, 2014 – include a panel designed for students/young professionals and student volunteer opportunities.

  • Young Professional/Student Panel: This will be an educational session for students and young GIS professionals to learn more about GIS career paths, how to keep up with skills and technology changes required for more advanced positions, advice on creating effective resumes and portfolios, interview tips, and resources for open job positions. This session will take place on Tuesday, September 9 from 4-5 p.m.
  • Student Volunteer Opportunities: URISA strives to involve students as much as possible in its annual conference. There are a limited number of opportunities to attend the conference through a complimentary registration, in return for volunteering at the conference. An application is posted here: https://sites.google.com/site/gispro2014studentcompetition/volunteer

If you have any questions about the student competition, or would like additional information, please contact urisa.vc@gmail.com.

About URISA: URISA – Fostering Excellence in GIS – is a leading provider of learning and knowledge for the GIS community. URISA connects great ideas and great people to inspire leadership and achievement. We strive to provide exceptional educational experiences, a vibrant and connected community, and the essential resources you need to be successful in your career. URISA is a multidisciplinary association where professionals from all parts of the spatial data community come together to share concerns and ideas. www.urisa.org

About the URISA Vanguard Cabinet: The vision of the Vanguard Cabinet is to provide students and young professionals within the geospatial profession with opportunities to further professional development and represent their interests with the URISA organization. http://www.urisa.org/about/vanguard

* URISA is seeking a total of $1,500 in sponsorship funds to award cash prizes to the top submissions in various categories. Demonstrate your commitment to future GIS leaders by sponsoring this important event.  If your organization is interested in sponsoring the student competition, or would like additional information, please contact Wendy Nelson at wnelson@urisa.org.

[Source: URISA press release]

Learning from Students: Geodesign Lessons from the Regional Design Studio

NUcoverJournal of Urbanism: International Research on Placemaking and Urban Sustainability, Published Online 08 February 2013

By David L. Tulloch

“This paper explores potential issues in the emerging field of geodesign by examining key lessons learned through design studios. Presenting three distinct projects as examples from regional design studios in an undergraduate landscape architecture program, this paper points out common learning experiences that repeat despite very different contexts. Recurring issues that can be observed from these examples include difficulty in addressing scale, difficulties in dealing with the volumes of data and information available and complications due to perceptions of the false dichotomy between science and design.

As students worked to develop design interventions that responded to the existing site characteristics, they also found inspiration in the earlier work of Ian McHarg who had also diagrammed the dunes of the Jersey shore in Design with Nature (1969).

As students worked to develop design interventions that responded to the existing site
characteristics, they also found inspiration in the earlier work of Ian McHarg who had also
diagrammed the dunes of the Jersey shore in Design with Nature (1969).

“With the potential to reshape urban planning and design, the need for geodesign to openly embrace a grand vision of itself is evident. However, for these changes to be meaningful, serious changes need to be undertaken in our educational processes developing a generation of urban and regional geodesigners who are better equipped to think scientifically while shaping landscapes and places responsibly and creatively.”