Wow, CPS kicks butt… if you’re Asian

May 29, 2009 at 1:25 pm 9 comments

As an LSC member at my neighborhood school (I’m on as a community member) I received and interesting pamphlet from CPS call “On the Same Page.”  It’s filled with some of the key data about CPS and some of it is very eye-opening.
The test score information by race is particularly interesting (and simultaneously depressing.)  By overall race, results in CPS vary dramatically.  To CPS’ credit, scores for all races, especially African American and Hispanic have increased greatly in the past 5 years (meaning the # of kids who meet ISAT standards.)  But mainly because they were so abysmally low back in 2004.  Here’s some numbers:

2008 % of Elementary Kids Meeting ISAT Standards
Asian:       93%
White:       87%
Hispanic: 74%
Af-Am       58%

2008 % of Elementary Kids Exceeding ISAT Standards
Asian:       44%
White:       36%
Hispanic: 13%
Af-Am         8%

2008 ACT Score of 20+
Asian:       64%
White:       60%
Hispanic: 22%
Af-Am       13%

2008 Graduation Rate
Asian:       77%
White:       62%
Hispanic: 57%
Af-Am       51%

So those Asian/Pacific Islander families are utilizing CPS quite well, it seems.  44% exceed ISAT standards?!  That is pretty good!  In fact I’d like to have some seminars called “How to Get Your Child Through CPS Like an Asian Family Does.”  Hopefully that doesn’t sound impressive… I would just truly like to know how this group stand out above the others.  I imagine a strong focus on education and academics above all else must be involved.

White kids fare nearly as well, but their graduation rate is a lot lower than the Asian kids.

Obviously something is lacking in the system for Af-Am and Hispanic students.  Of course that is the million dollar question in school systems like Chicago, LA, and NYC.  From the little reading I’ve done, it’s much more than just inadequate schooling, but a range of social and socio-economic issues that come into play that are challenging to incorporate into a school system’s strategy.  From other CPS newsletters I get, it seems that some schools with large minority populations have started to crack the code to success, as have some of the charter schools, but clearly there’s still quite a ways to go.  I wish I knew what the answer was….

Entry filed under: Test scores. Tags: .

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9 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Peggy  |  May 29, 2009 at 2:34 pm

    Many Asian American families send their kids for extra tutoring/challenge work in the range of 2-20 extra hours EACH week. I used to work at a tutoring center which was run and owned and targeted Korean families. They are not fooling around with education. As a teacher myself, I have worked with and plan on continuing to work with my children a LOT at home each week. Those scores are the result of an incredible amount of work and dedication on the part of the high scoring kids and their families. I want my children to learn similar values, within balance. If every family in CPS spent 3-5 hours a week working with their kids on academics, we’d see scores, and learning increase dramatically. This is a huge soap box issue for me as a parent and a teacher. When teachers start getting the support from home, our effectiveness will soar.

    Love this topic.

  • 2. C  |  May 29, 2009 at 4:09 pm

    There is obviously a variety of factors coming into play but it does lead me to some questions: What is the percentage breakdown per race in CPS? Its been mentioned on here that Whites are a minority in CPS and I imagine so are Asians with Hispanics and African Americans being the majority. I wonder if the higher number of Hispanic and African American populations in CPS combined with the fact that many of the schools Hispanics and African Americans attend are located in areas with a high concentration of lower SES families contributes to the lower figures. Would White and Asian scores maintain if those populations increased within CPS? Who knows.
    Also, don’t all of these populations mentioned tend to be a majority within certain schools across the city, given Chicago’s segregated ways and with most kids going to neighborhood schools. Too very few neighborhoods and schools are diverse enough; those few neighborhoods/schools that are diverse enough likely have families with a higher SES.
    I wonder if parents income bracket and educational level per school and CPS-wide would correlate with scores and successful outcomes. Like you said cpsobsessed, if we only knew the answers.

  • 3. C  |  May 29, 2009 at 4:29 pm

    Peggy I agree that help from home is fundamental in helping teachers and students towards being successful. However, the challenge faced is supporting those parents and families who can’t provide the same educational reinforcement at home due to lower parental educational attainment, language barriers and legal documentation, lower perceived value of education, limited financial support and resources… and the list goes on and on. If we, collectively, can find a way to support families who do not provide instruction at home, then the school system and the future of the children will be better for it. This is probably best done on a community-by-community basis by focusing on the social issues that plague those communities while providing resources for families to reduce them. Perhaps this will help lead to empowerment of these families and communities. I believe every parent wants the best for their child; just some parents and families are more capable of providing those opportunities for their children.

  • 4. Jill  |  May 30, 2009 at 8:55 am

    Casual readers may misinterpret the reference to the success of “some… charter schools.” By and large, charters have not “cracked the code” to success. Despite the fact that they cherry pick their students, outcomes are generally no better than the “low performing” elementary schools they replace. blog “Pure Thoughts” has numerous links to information about studies of charter schools including a 2008 Rand study on Chicago’s charter schools and the 2009 SRI International study on Renaissance 2010. Also required reading is PURE’s report co-written with FairTest showing mayoral control and Renaissance 2010 has not been successful.

  • 5. cpsobsessed  |  June 7, 2009 at 9:50 pm

    Peggy, that is really interesting about the Asian families spending so much time outside of school. I have to admit that 3-5 hours a week is intimidating to me (and I’m a parent who thinks I plan to work with my kid outside of school.) Maybe it gets easier when they’re older. Homework is such a struggle right now… a complete war of wills.
    Are they tutoring to make sure the kids do well in school or working outside school to get them even further ahead than CPS teaches? Again, I’d love to see some documentary about the parents and what they focus on, how they motivate the kids, etc.
    I need to read the PURE info about Charters.. I’m marginally informed about those.

  • 6. Brian M. Bastyr  |  June 25, 2009 at 6:56 am

    A major deficit is lack of literacy skills. If students don’t read outside the classroom, they don’t succeed. This reading has to start from before the age of 5. Are you reading to your little ones? Do they see you reading and have the opportunity to explore books around the house, or is all they see video game playing and TV watching? The number of words read has a high correlation to ACT score.

  • 7. skohng  |  July 18, 2009 at 1:00 am

    Interesting post! (I was linked to your blog from npn.) Being Korean-American myself, I can attest to the rigor of extra-curricular activities common in our culture. For example, it is common to see (at least in Korean circles) 5th-8th graders in ACT/SAT classes or, if the family is well off, with private ACT/SAT tutors. Academics is highly emphasized because “traditional” Asian parents steer kids towards certain professions (doctors/lawyers vs. starving artists or baristas). Integral in many Asian cultures is the notion of saving face, and that individuals represent the larger family, community, or culture. These issues are even more salient if the child is from an immigrant family, since the children are often the family’s shot at the American Dream, seeing that the parents, with limited English and career options as a result, depend on children to succeed academically and financially; they will be the ones who ultimately care for their elderly parents. (Again, a common Asian virtue.)

    It will be interesting to see if these trends change as Asian children become the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th generations born in the States, with parents and their standards more “Americanized”, and aging elders comfortable with being independent and perhaps having more retirement fund options.

    Sorry to go off there…obviously this struck a chord with me!

  • 8. cpsobsessed  |  July 18, 2009 at 8:42 am

    Thanks for the input… very interesting! Given that I have only one child I probably ought to take more of a vested interest in steering him toward a career that’ll help support me in my old age! I know that in Korean culture the oldest son has the responsibility, no?
    Instead his dad and I both are like “whatever makes you happy (but you have to go to college.)
    Actually I think the path you’re discussing is common among Jewish families as well, but not that big of a push when I was growing up. I feel like up on the North Shore in the more Jewish communities it’s more common for kids to be “groomed” for more professional careers and I’ve actually pondered whether my son would be better off if we lived up there.

  • 9. Mayfair Dad  |  September 22, 2009 at 3:05 pm

    An observation:

    Why does it seem these studies are always are broken down by skin color: black, brown, yellow and white.

    Lackluster academic performance is not a skin thing, its a POVERTY thing. Poor kids, regardless of the melanin content of their skin, are at a disadvantage.

    All of the CPS formulas for affirmative action – consent decree, leveling the playing field, optimal ethnic mix based on census information, yadda yadda – should be rewritten in race-neutral and gender-neutral language. The only subset of CPS student that deserves a “break” are poor kids, who come in all colors!

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