-- As the gentrification of a handful of Chicago neighborhoods pushes on, the competition for spots in the city's most coveted schools -- public, private and parochial -- has reached new levels as young, well-off parents move in.
It's more difficult to get into Drummond Montessori, a public magnet school in Bucktown, than it is to get into Harvard University. About 995 children applied for the 36 openings at Drummond next school year, a 4 percent acceptance rate. Harvard accepted about 9 percent of its applicants last year.
At Sacred Heart, an independent Catholic school in Rogers Park, the competition is so fierce, parents are applying now for "early admission" for 2009-10.
And at the private British School, which just last month opened a $25 million, five-story schoolhouse in Lincoln Park, the preschool and kindergarten classes for next year already are full, with a waiting list. Annual tuition: about $18,000.
Stiff rivalry is not new to parents applying to the city's most exclusive and long-established private schools, such as The Latin School in the Gold Coast or University of Chicago Laboratory School in Hyde Park. These campuses have long had five to ten times as many applicants as spots.
Last year, the city's 36 magnet schools received nearly eight applications for every opening. At the classical and gifted schools, there were 6,800 applications for 1,600 spots.