The Differences between Chicago Schools and Suburban Schools

John Heintz Chicago
John Heintz, Chicago

A graduate of the John Marshall Law School in Chicago, John Heintz recently served as assistant superintendent of operations and chief legal officer at Niles Township High School District 219 in Skokie, a suburb of Chicago. Now leading Second Rail Education, John Heintz consults on educational matters and writes about education-related topics. In a recent article, he discussed the disparity in educational quality between Chicago schools and the city’s suburban schools.

Although the best schools in Chicago outperform many suburban schools, including those in wealthy districts, the overall quality of education in the suburbs is greater than the quality of education in Chicago schools. Among the reasons for this difference is the tendency of middle-class parents to move their families to the suburbs, leaving parents in the city with less political power to demand better schools.

Another problem is the disparity in spending between wealthy suburban districts and city schools. Chicago has one of the most inequitable school systems in the United States. Some of the wealthiest suburban districts spend nearly $30,000 per student each year, whereas disadvantaged districts spend only about $8,000 per student. For city schools to catch up to suburban schools in terms of quality, legislators have to tackle the problem of inequitable funding and enable all urban students, not just those at selective charter schools, to obtain an excellent education.


The Donnelley Ethics Program

Donnelley Ethics Program pic
Donnelley Ethics Program

The co-founder and senior legal consultant at Lydian, Inc., in Chicago, John A. Heintz also served as chief legal officer and assistant superintendent for operations for Niles Township High School District 219 in Skokie, Illinois. John Heintz also has contributed time and money to a number of nonprofits, including serving as a member of the Foundation Board of the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC).

Designed to ensure high-quality care for disabled patients, the Donnelley Ethics Program at RIC offers consultations on clinical ethics and education to staff working in the field. It also consults on research ethics for journal clubs and conferences. A hospital ethics committee deals with ethical concerns in policies and resources, and an accreditation and quality improvement portion explores such issues as patients’ rights.

Named for mentor Strachan Donnelley, the Donnelley Ethics Program began in the 1960s, and was officially founded at RIC in 1995 with its first director, Kristi Kirschner, MD. Since its inception, the ethics program has trained scores of health care professionals in a variety of disciplines. The program is employed at RIC’s Shirley Ryan AbilityLab.