Quality Schools

IFF believes that every child deserves the opportunity to attend a good school near where they live—and, with hard data and a neighborhood focus, is working to make it happen. IFF works with school districts, charter school authorizers, and foundations to support data-driven education reform strategies.

IFF’s research focuses on the location, enrollment, and academic performance of public, charter, and other schools, to pinpoint the geographic areas where new quality schools and broader education reform strategies will have the most impact. IFF uses its research findings to support public policy reform and action that will attract proven school operators of all types to these high-need areas.

Public charter schools are an important component of education reform throughout the country. But unlike other public schools, they generally do not receive public funds to help acquire buildings and pay for renovations and often rely on CDFIs like IFF to help finance their capital projects.

IFF Research

The Shared Challenge of Quality Schools: A place-based analysis of school perfomance in Indianapolis
Released in 2013 this is a study about neighborhoods, children and access to high performing schools. At its heart lies the question, “What areas in Indianapolis have the greatest need for high-performing seats?” In providing an answer to this question, it aims to unite district, charter, and independent school leaders around the shared goal of providing quality schools for all children.
[PDF 4.6MB]
Quality Schools: Every Child, Every School, Every Neighborhood
This study, released in 2012, assesses location and performance of charter and traditional public schools in Washington, DC. It is a supply and demand analysis based on current and projected performance data that provides information to guide education reform and to maximize the impact of resource allocations. This study was commissioned by the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Education of Washington, DC and funded by the DC Public Education Fund through a generous grant from The Walton Family Foundation.
[PDF 10MB]
Putting Performance on the Map: Locating Quality Schools in the Kansas City, Missouri School District
This report identifies the five zip code areas in Kansas City with the greatest need for performing schools as determined by comparing current school enrollment, the school-age population, and school performance across the district.  Ultimately, we find that 85 percent of KCMSD students do not attend a school that meets Missouri state standards for academic performance, and that the majority of those student reside in just five KCMSD neighborhood areas.
[PDF 1.4MB]
Choosing Performance: An Analysis of School Location and Performance in Milwaukee
This report analyzes the performance, location, and enrollment of Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS), charter schools and certain private schools participating in the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program (MPCP) in 2008-2009. The study determines that most children do not attend or live near a school that meets the Wisconsin State Standard.
[PDF 1.5MB]
Denver Public Schools: Locating Quality and Access
This report, produced by IFF and commissioned by the National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA), provides essential new information on the relationship between the location of and enrollment in Denver public schools that meet the 2009 School Performance Framework (SPF) standards.  It is designed primarily to identify and highlight those areas with the largest number of school-age children and the fewest seats in schools that meet SPF standards.
[PDF 2.2MB]
Public School in St. Louis: Place, Performance, and Promise
This study analyzes the performance, location, and enrollment of both public schools and charter schools in St. Louis in 2007-08. The study - Place, Performance, and Promise - determined that St. Louis students have limited access to a quality school in their neighborhood. The report was produced by the National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA) and IFF, in conjunction with the St. Louis Mayor's Office.
[PDF 2.5MB]
Here and Now 2: Change We Can Measure
This report examines citywide and community area changes in the number of performing schools in Chicago's 77 neighborhood areas between 2004 and 2008. It also documents the contribution of charter and other new schools under Renaissance 2010. Like the 2004 Here and Now study, this study is based on the premise that all Chicago students should have academically performing schools within or near the community area in which they live.
[PDF 1.5MB]
Here and Now: The Need for Performing Schools in Chicago's Neighborhoods
A planning tool for government agencies and communities that ranks Chicago's 77 community areas in terms of the need for performing public elementary and high schools, based on academic performance, space utilization, and demographics.
[PDF 400KB]






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