Chicago: Education and Research

Elementary and Secondary Schools

With 613 elementary and high schools, the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) system is the largest public elementary and secondary educational system in Illinois. Several initiatives, such as the Chicago Reading Initiative and the Chicago Math and Science Initiative are programs that have been implemented district-wide to ensure students meet minimum achievement standards in basic subjects. The After School Matters program is a partnership between CPS, the Chicago Park District, the Chicago Public Library, and the City of Chicago. Apprenticeships and club activities offer teens exposure to and on-the-job training in the arts, sports technology, and communications.

Because of the city's large foreign-born population, the school system employs bilingual teachers in 20 languages. Special schools include Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences, situated on the last farm in the city of Chicago, which prepares students for jobs in "anything to do with food and fiber," and Curie Metropolitan High School, with magnet programs in the performing and creative arts and electronic repair and maintenance. Construction is expected to begin in 2006 on two new high schools, a selective enrollment college prep school and a vocational magnet high school, to be housed in one building on Chicago's west side. When opened in 2008, the schools will replace the existing Westinghouse High School.

The following is a summary of data regarding the Chicago public schools as of the 2004–2005 school year (middle schools are included in the elementary school count).

Total enrollment: 426,812

Number of facilities

elementary schools: 486

high schools: 107

Student teacher ratio: elementary, 22.7:1; high school, 19.6 (2003)

Teacher salaries

average: $62,985 (2003)

Funding per pupil: $8,786 (2003)

The Archdiocese of Chicago operates 235 elementary and 41 high schools in Cook and Lake counties, with an enrollment in excess of 107,000 students. There are also approximately 52 state-recognized public schools in Chicago.

Public Schools Information: Chicago Public Schools, 125 South Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60603; telephone (773)553-1000

Colleges and Universities

Chicago-area institutions of higher education include private, state, and religious universities of national note. The University of Chicago, founded with an endowment by John D. Rockefeller in 1891, enjoys an international reputation for pioneering science research and the "Chicago plan" in undergraduate education. The university claims more than 70 Nobel laureates—far more than any other university in the country. The university, with research funding of $236 million in 2003, administers advanced scholarship and research centers, including the Enrico Fermi Institute, the Enrico Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, and the Argonne National Laboratory, among others. The University of Illinois at Chicago enrolls approximately 25,000 students earning bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees and first professional degrees in dentistry, medicine, and pharmacy.

The city's three leading Catholic institutions are DePaul University, offering undergraduate, master's and doctorate and law programs to more than 23,000 students; Loyola University of Chicago, which awards bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees, first-professional degrees in dentistry, law, and medicine, and a master's degree in divinity to its more than 13,000 students; and Saint Xavier College, where popular recent majors among its 5,700 students were business, nursing, and education. The Illinois Institute of Technology enrolls more than 6,000 students and offers professional programs in the sciences, engineering, law, art, and architecture. The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, with more than 2,700 students, holds national stature in art instruction.

Among the city's many other institutions of higher learning are Chicago City-Wide College, Roosevelt University, Chicago State University, Columbia College, Dr. William M. Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine, Illinois College of Optometry, Rush University, and Vandercook College of Music. Northwestern University is located in nearby Evanston.

Libraries and Research Centers

The Chicago Public Library encompasses 75 branches, two regional libraries, and the central Harold Washington Library Center, which opened in 1991 and is one of the foremost educational and cultural resources in the city of Chicago. At 756,000 square feet, the library center is the largest municipal building in the world. The library's collection consists of about 6.5 million books, 14,500 periodicals and serials, 90,000 audiovisual titles, and 3 million microfiche. A special collection of books and materials in 90 foreign languages is maintained, and the library center is the repository for the Chicago Theater Collection, the Civil War Collection, and the Chicago Blues Archives. The library center also boasts an 18,000-square-foot children's library, a bustling business/science/technology division, and a Teacher Resource Center offering print and online resources to assist educators. On display throughout the building is an extensive public art collection.

Staff members in each library of the public library system build their own collections and tailor services to meet the needs of their local community. Since 1989, the city has built or renovated more than 40 branch libraries. Currently, new construction projects, renovations, expansions, and consolidation projects are underway. All of Chicago's public libraries offer free Internet access and free access to research databases.

The approximately 275 other libraries located in Chicago are affiliated with such entities as government agencies, colleges and universities, cultural and historical societies, professional organizations, research institutes, religious organizations, hospitals and medical associations, private corporations, and law firms.

The University of Chicago, internationally recognized for excellence in education and research, maintains a central library facility with more than 7 million printed works and 30 million manuscripts and archival pieces. Special collections are maintained in American and British literature, American history, theology and biblical criticism, American and British drama, and Continental literature. The University of Chicago operates seven separate facilities, including the D'Angelo Law Library and the Social Service Administration Library.

The Newberry Library, an independent research library, was founded in 1887. Free to the public, the library's non-circulating research materials number more than 1.4 million volumes; among the special collections are materials pertaining to Americana and American Indians.

One of the largest research libraries in Chicago is the Center for Research Libraries, an international not-for-profit consortium of colleges, universities, and libraries that makes available scholarly research resources to users everywhere. It houses more than 5 million books and periodicals; fields of study include Africa, South Asia, South East Asia, Latin America, and war crime trials. The Chicago Academy of Sciences' International Center for the Advancement of Scientific Literacy (ICASL) is the leading research organization in the world studying and measuring the impact of science and technology on public awareness. The National Opinion Research Center collects current opinion poll reports conducted for commercial television networks, newspapers, state governments, professional pollsters such as Gallup and Harris. The Chicago Historical Society maintains research collections on Chicago, the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln, Illinois, and United States history.

The Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center at Northwestern University is the only cancer center in Illinois. The center is dedicated to cancer care, research, prevention, and education. Other research centers in the Chicago area include those maintained by Bell Labs, Nalco Chemical, the ITT Research Institute, the Institute of Gas Technology, the Illinois State Psychiatric Institute, the Institute for Psychoanalysis, and the Institute on the Church in Urban-Industrial Society.

Public Library Information: Chicago Public Library, 400 South State Street, Chicago, IL 60605. Information Center, telephone (312)747-4300