Academic Disparity in America

The Public School System and Community Solutions 


Chicago, IL

Throughout America, public schools vary significantly in terms of quality of education and experience—even two schools within the same zip code may have extremely different literacy rates and represent completely different extremes of national test scores. These stark differences are often caused by a variety of factors, and for decades these differences have remained stagnant along with the American public school system, in general. In 1987 Chicago public schools were called “the worst in the nation” by the education chief. Recently, however, a Stanford study found that Chicago students were improving at a rate that is 96% faster than students in all other major school districts across the country. Studying this swift and drastic change, and understanding how the Chicago school district attempted to combat these issues can provide enormous insight into how to implement similar improvements in school systems around the country and in our own communities. This trip will be exploring the Chicago Public School System, and the numerous initiatives the district and the local community has taken in order to achieve this status. We will be talking to several nonprofits who have contributed to this improvement, administrators in the school system itself, as well as other community partners who have contributed to various education initiatives in the area. In doing so, we hope to learn what initiatives have worked and which ones haven’t, explore some of the root causes of the disparities among public schools, and hopefully share this research with partners in our area.



Trip Leader Qing Huang
Qing Huang '22

Qing is a sophomore majoring in Operations Research and Financial Engineering, and grew up in the Bay Area. On campus, she is involved in the Society for Women Engineers, Trego, and IgniteSTEM, and is very passionate about learning more about the US education system. In her free time, she loves spending time with friends and scuba diving!

Trip Leader Nastasia Klevak

Nastasia Klevak '22

Nastasia is originally from Fort Lee, NJ and is a sophomore majoring in Computer Science. She is currently a member of IgniteSTEM and Engineers Without Borders on campus, and is really interested in education and linguistics. In her free time, she loves to read, swim, and spend time with friends!