We can point to the evidence of this shared responsibility in communities like Pilsen and Little Village, with the work Dr. Carlos Azcoita, Ed.D., distinguished professor of practice at National Louis and an alumnus, has done with John Spry Community School. He served as the founding principal of the school, a pre-kindergarten through high school program in the Little Village area that serves students, families and the community. In this case, school and parents came together, with a shared-vision of supporting children in their learning destinations, and both school and community helped each other to help children succeed.

Schools naturally operate under a “spoke and wheel” framework, where children are central and the community is fundamentally a dynamic network of complex, dependent systems functioning within the beliefs and values of its members. When we successfully use an interdisciplinary lens along with a comprehensive understanding of the complex issues facing our communities, driven by leadership as diverse as the families accessing our schools, transformation is possible.

Current Landscape

Without a doubt, we are seeing an increase in performance gaps in educational gains among students of different socio-economic status. As economist and Harvard professor Richard Murnane has found, “…the gaps between the average reading skills and mathematical skills of children from relatively affluent families and those from relatively low-income families have increased by one-third over the last three decades.”1 He attributes the increase in family-income related gaps in educational outcomes to “growing differences in parental resources devoted to children” and growing differences in the quality of schools attended, based upon socio-economic status. 

Although the United States has relatively high education expenditures, they have not helped us remain globally competitive in educational achievement. According to the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)2, only Luxembourg spends more per student on education than the United States. But how resources are used is important. 

On average, pupil/teacher ratios in the U.S. have fallen by more than 30% since 1970, from 22.3 in 1970 to 15.4 in 2009 (National Center for Education Statistics, 2012)3. But not all students benefit from this investment. A Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) report points out that the United States is one of only three OECD countries where socio-economically disadvantaged schools have less favorable student-teacher ratios than more advantaged schools4. Further, according to PISA analyses (OECD, 2011), the U.S. spends a far lower proportion on high school teachers’ salaries than the OECD average, but spends near the top on capital outlays for schools (11.6% versus the OECD average of 7.6%)5

Teacher turnover is another factor that significantly impacts how education dollars are spent. The introduction to a 2007 policy brief from the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future (NCTAF, 2007)6 on the effects of teacher turnover estimates that the national cost of public school teacher turnover could be as much as $7.3 billion per year, with teacher attrition “spiraling out of control,” having grown by fifty percent over the past fifteen years and reaching a rate of over 20% in urban schools.  

1  2  3

Locations
  • CHICAGO DOWNTOWN CAMPUS

    NLU’s Chicago campus on South Michigan Avenue occupies five floors of the historic Peoples Gas Building. This landmark building, across the street from the Art Institute of Chicago and Grant Park, is easily accessible by train, bus and car and is surrounded by restaurants, parking lots/garages and shops.

    122 S. Michigan Avenue
    Chicago, IL 60603
    (888) 658.8632
    Info » | Directions »
  • ELGIN

    Conveniently located in a fast-growing business district off I-90 and Route 31, NLU Elgin features 10 classrooms with high-tech media equipment; a computer lab with high-speed Internet access; two conference rooms; and comfortable student lounges. Parking is free at this recently remodeled and upgraded teaching site, which now includes wireless Internet access.

    620 Tollgate Road
    Elgin, IL 60123
    (888) 658.8632
    Info » | Directions »
  • NORTH SHORE

    Opened in the summer of 2006, NLU North Shore at Skokie is a state-of-the-art modern campus located just off the Edens Expressway near the Old Orchard Shopping Center. The campus includes 44 wireless classrooms equipped with high-tech media equipment; four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, including a walk-in lab in the library; six conference rooms; a public café for beverages and snacks; a student welcome center; a library for research and study; and multiple, comfortable student lounge areas.

    5202 Old Orchard Road
    Skokie, IL 60077
    (888) 658.8632
    Info » | Directions »
  • LISLE

    Located just minutes from the East-West Tollway (I-88), NLU Lisle features 42 wireless classrooms equipped with high-tech media equipment; four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, including a separate walk-in lab in the library; a café for beverages and snacks; a student welcome center; a library for research and study; conference rooms; and six comfortable student lounge areas with wireless access.

    850 Warrenville Road
    Lisle, IL 60532
    (888) 658.8632
    Info » | Directions »
  • WHEELING

    Located in one of Chicago's major northwest suburbs, the newly renovated NLU Wheeling includes 20 classrooms with high-tech media equipment, four conference rooms, four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, large student lounge areas with wireless capabilities and interactive video capabilities, and an extensive research library. The site also houses the university library research collection.

    1000 Capitol Drive
    Wheeling, IL 60090
    (888) 658.8632
    Info » | Directions »
  • FLORIDA (TAMPA)

    Established in 1988 and located in one of the city's major business districts, NLU's Florida Regional Center serves students in 13 counties in central Florida. In addition to six classrooms, this location features a conference room, a computer lab with high-speed Internet access, an extensive research library and comfortable student lounges.

    5110 Eisenhower Boulevard Suite 102
    Tampa, FL 33634
    (800) 366.6581
    Info » | Directions »
  • WISCONSIN

    NLU's Milwaukee campus has a proud history of serving graduate students in education in southeastern Wisconsin. Nearly one in five certified Wisconsin teachers looks to NLU for graduate education programs – more than any other university in the state. In addition to classrooms with high-tech media equipment, the campus offers a state-of-the-art computer lab with wireless Internet access and an extensive IDS research library.

    12000 West Park Place, Suite 100
    Milwaukee, WI 53224-3007
    (414) 577.2658
    Info » | Directions »