Kids First CHICAGO
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHAT IS KIDS FIRST CHICAGO?
Kids First Chicago (K1C) is a nonprofit that addresses the three areas that will transform Chicago into a world leader in public education:
- We empower parents to identify, navigate, and advocate for quality public schools for their kids;
- With parents’ help we shape education policy to better support their families; and
- We support the improvement of middle performing schools, creating better opportunities for kids across the district.
WHAT ARE KIDS FIRST CHICAGO'S GOALS?
Our goal is to ensure we put the focus back on school quality, rather than school type, and get 50,000 more kids into high-quality seats by 2020.
HOW DO YOU SUPPORT PUBLIC EDUCATION?
Our support for public education is to ensure families and communities have a role in shaping the fate of their schools, and to ensure all kids have access to a high-quality education through kids-first policies.
HOW HAS THE WORK OF KIDS FIRST CHICAGO CHANGED OVER TIME?
Our organizational focus has always been about improving education for families in Chicago. During Renaissance 2010, we worked to increase the number of high-quality options available to families through the growth of charter and innovative traditional schools. Our efforts helped to provide choice to many families who didn’t previously have choices.
In 2015, we engaged in an organizational relaunch and shifted strategies to address the current barriers to success. We believe that all choices need to be high-quality, no matter the school type. Our work today is about helping improve school quality and optimizing choice for families.
WHO IS ON THE BOARD OF KIDS FIRST CHICAGO?
Our Board is comprised of a bipartisan mix of city business and philanthropic leaders, along with current and former educators.
How much influence do your board and funders have on your mission and decision making?
Our Board helps guide our overall strategy, which is why balance within leadership has been important. Like other boards, the board of Kids First Chicago is responsible for approving the budget and hiring the Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
WHAT TYPE OF SCHOOLS DO YOU SUPPORT?
We prioritize a high-quality public education, regardless of what type of school provides it. When we relaunched, we spoke with families and polled them extensively. We found that the majority of families focus on whether their child is receiving a high-quality education that prepares them for college, careers, and life—not on school type. That is foundational to all of our work around good public schools of all types including traditional, charter, magnet and others.
WHAT TYPE OF SCHOOLS DO YOU
BELIEVE FAMILIES SHOULD ENROLL IN?
We don’t have a school type preference, as long as schools are providing a high-quality education to kids. Whether it’s a district run or charter school option in any neighborhood, we believe families should have the information to make a decision that fits their family, and ensure their child gets a high-quality education.
WHY DON’T YOU SUPPORT EXISTING SCHOOLS IN CHICAGO AND MAKE THEM BETTER, INSTEAD OF OPENING MORE SCHOOLS?
We recognize that improving the quality of schools of all types is an important piece of a healthy school district. We do that actively through our School Improvement Grants. Our grants focus on mid-performing schools and are open to all school types.
How do you view expansion of schools in Chicago today?
We are only interested in expanding high-quality options where there are more kids than high-quality seats, and the community is asking for change in response to an authentic need for that school. What matters to us is that leadership has a proven track record of providing high-quality outcomes for kids like those in that community.