Big News – Consent Decree Overturned

September 27, 2009 at 8:23 am 31 comments

There is big news in CPS, news that could actually make a major impact on the system depending how it plays out.

The Consent Decree has officially been overturned.

To review (in my own words which are probably around 75% correct,) the Consent Decree was put into place a couple decades ago when desegregation was the big thing for schools.  It basically mandated that certain “top” schools (magnets, gifted, classical, selective enrollment high schools) would guarantee a certain number of spots to minority applicants.  The definition of “minority” that is used in CPS is any non-Caucasian person and a child’s race is self-identified (meaning a biracial child’s family chooses to identify as Caucasian or Non based on how they identify.
Caucasian students are given up to 35% of the spots in these classes which is actually hugely generous given that only 9% of CPS is white (surprised?)  The thing that throws a monkey wrench into this balancing is the level of geographic segregation in Chicago.   Achieving these numbers requires kids to be bussed in criss-crossed directions.   So the goal is admirable but the means are inefficient.  I’ve toured Stone and Hawthorne and the classes have such a range of different kids – it’s like Chicago at its finest mix.

I was surprised to hear last year that the Consent Decree was up for review.  I have no idea what prompted this.  Certainly racial (or socio-economic) equality has not been met in CPS by a long shot.  I don’t know if the effort is too costly for CPS (keeping track of race, keeping 2 lottery lists for each school, bussing for sure) or if there was some political reason or if they really want to go to an income-based method of balancing.

But in the meantime, there is great uncertainly among parents as to how this will play out.  I’ve been reading the NPN message boards where there’s been a lot of interesting discussion about what will happen.  Some speculation includes:
– CPS moves so slowly that they’ll ask the judge to keep things in place for 1 more year while they figure out what to do
– Each school decides on their own how to balance and some schools are already planning to continue to ensure a mix
– Schools may actually be RESTRICTED from using race to select students
– CPS will switch to an income-based system for the lottery (which is actually a truer indicator of test scores)
– The income-based system would never work because CPS doesn’t have the time to check everyone’s income
– CPS is trying to save money on bussing
– Schools will start to reflect the actual geographic makeup of the neighborhoods around them (or rather the makeup of families who test/enter lottery which as we can guess will skew higher income)
– This stinks and isn’t fair
– This is good and is more fair

As you can see, it’s anybody’s guess right now how it will play out.  I would bet many of the schools don’t even know about it unless an obsessed parent has brought it up.

The big question for parents applying for schools for 2009/2010 is whether that little race box on the forms is going to make a difference this year.  The truth is many white families now stand a better chance at getting a spot in those coveted schools while minority families have lost an advantage.

You know what I would personally love to see?  I’d love for several schools in mainly minority neighborhoods get together and flood a school like Hawthorne with applications so that they get the majority of the spots (statistically they should get the same % as the % of applications they submitted.)  OK, OK, I know that is a bit twisted but let’s face it… CPS sets this up like a game and parents can try to use their best tactics to master it.

Please add comments with opinions of if you have heard anything about what will happen next!

Entry filed under: CPS Policy / Resources, Uncategorized. Tags: .

Nettelhorst book launch party this Saturday Attendance won’t count for Selective Enrollment High Schools any more

31 Comments Add your own

  • 1. ChiTeacher  |  September 27, 2009 at 10:26 am

    Will Hawthorne still be a high achieving school with 80% or more minority and low-income students?

    If you believe school is the most important determining factor in student achievement, you will believe that.

    However, the most important determining factor is student’s family income, which includes parent’s education.

    Visit any top schools in Chicago or anywhere in the world, every one of these schools have majority of students coming from middle or upper middle classes. These families ensure their children are prepared, provide supplementary education, and make schools more accountable. It’s no wonder top schools all have these elements in common.

    Hopefully, with the Consent Decree lifted, more middle class families will invest in CPS schools. It wasn’t long ago schools like Edgebrook had to bus in students from minority neighborhoods because neighborhood families abandoned them for private school. When the school started to improve, these families invested in Edgebrook, making it the the best neighborhood school in Chicago.

    So what about minority and low-income students? By attending schools with strong middle class population, every student will benefit from richer curriculum, high expectation, and greater enrichment activities.

    My parents didn’t even graduate from high school, but they put me in a middle class community where I learned along side middle class kids. Just being around them, I learned how to succeed and apply to college.

  • 2. Mayfair Dad  |  September 28, 2009 at 10:14 am

    If we aspire to live in a colorblind society, then skin color should never be a determining factor for school admission. I would argue that only the very poorest students from the most desperate circumstances be given preferential status for admission.

    In New York City they have a race-neutral process for admission to their version of selective enrollment schools. Not surprisingly, the student populations at these schools are overwhelmingly Asian.

    Rather than a city-wide pool of students, why not limit admission to highly coveted High Schools by geographic region? If the pool of potential students in Northside College Prep’s region is predominantly Caucasian, then you will yield a student population reflecting the demographics of the region.

    This would only work if other, similarly academically challenging High Schools were available throughout the city. Some might argue this smacks of “separate but equal” but I would term this “representative AND equal.”

    After all, what is the goal? Forced racial integration or academic excellence available to all students in the city, regardless of race?

  • 3. dave4118  |  September 28, 2009 at 2:35 pm

    If CPS decides to base preferential treatment on income levels, then they already have data concerning those levels of income. On the CPS website, there are bits of info concerning percent of minoriy, percent of low-income. What will be the criterion for ‘low-income’? Will it be based on zip code, closest school boundary zone, some other arbitrary area? Our closest school is Bateman, which has a 90% low income count for students, but we are middle class in income, maybe upper(gulp). Would our daughter get preferential treatment? If they went by zip code, then our zip is relatively high for the surrounding zip codes.

  • 4. hopeful  |  September 28, 2009 at 4:25 pm

    Minneapolis just converted to a system of regions. They are a much smaller city to be sure, but they divided into 3 regions, with 3 magnet schools in each region, and kids can apply to attend any school within their own region. I think this actually might be a decent solution. It would cut down on bus costs (I think). Though, I am guessing that most of the south and west side schools, even the magnets and gifted schools, probably aren’t performing as well as the north side ones due to income factors.

    I am not sure if I think “color blind” is a good goal. We will always see color and cannot pretend we don’t. Perhaps you meant non-discriminatory in regards to color?

  • 5. hopeful  |  September 28, 2009 at 4:27 pm

    Mayfair Dad,
    I wonder if you realize just how many of the poorest and from the most desperate situations kind of kids we have in Chicago? Nearly ALL of my students from CPS have been from the kind of destitution you might see on a world vision commercial, living with all kinds of neighborhood gang violence and other problems. If I had to guess, I would say at least 30% of the system’s kids are living like this and another 30% aren’t much better off.

  • 6. cpsobsessed  |  September 28, 2009 at 10:43 pm

    ChiTeacher – regarding your question about whether a school like Hawthorne would still have the same scores: One of my favorite stories (I may have told it before) is that I used to work out next to a woman who was a teacher (now admin) at a top magnet school. I pressed her to find out how their test scores were so high when kids lottery in (rather than test in) and she said “most of those kids could come to school every day and we could put them in a closet and they’d still score that well.” Meaning that it was their family/upbringing/resources OUTSIDE of school that really determined their success. I’m sure she was being modest, but it does show that even those inside the system recognize that the kids’ backgrounds play a big part in their education. So no, unfortunately it would look a lot different with a totally different base of students. What I WOULD like to see is an experiment comparing kids who applied to Hawthorne but didn’t get in with those who got in and see if going to Hawthorne (or any other top magnet) gives them better test scores.

  • 7. cpsobsessed  |  September 28, 2009 at 10:45 pm

    Hopeful – I do like that idea. Even though I am a fan of letting people “choose” their school (ha ha, like we really get a choice) I have always thought the whole criss-crossing bus system was a bit nuts. I guess the 6 mile limit keeps it a bit geographical, although in the city that is a pretty wide range.

    It’s such a loaded topic because it brings so many larger social issues into play, doesn’t it?

  • 8. hopeful  |  September 29, 2009 at 9:17 am

    blah, I just reread my comment about the poverty levels of my students. I might have overstated my point a little bit….though these kids are REALLY poor. I saw an awful lot of free lunch applications where parents were living 8 in a one bedroom apartment and making less than 10K a year for the entire family. And I have seen roach infested apartments, non-functioning plumbing, etc….(I am a big fan of home visits by teachers, it helps to understand families and make a connection that nothing else comes close to).

  • 9. Mayfair Dad  |  September 29, 2009 at 9:26 am

    All of this talk about admission to selective enrollment and magnet schools would be a moot point if every CPS school in every neighborhood offered a high quality, challenging, college prepatory curriculum. (In fact, no need for this blog!) Maybe impractical in the short-term but should be the long-term goal. Bussing students across the city does not make sense. Once excellence is established in every school, no need for racial quotas at select schools.

  • 10. cpsobsessed  |  September 29, 2009 at 10:03 am

    Hopeful, don’t worry – your point is valid. Many of us literally can’t envision how some of the families in CPS live, and clearly this translates into greater challenges for many students – thus the main dilemma for a school district like CPS.

    Mayfair Dad, I totally agree – why not just aim to make the neighborhood schools all good? I once got to have lunch with Arne, and off the record he even implied that it made sense. I mean to have a lottery to get in a “good” school somehow implies that the others are sub-par! If parents were forced to attend their local school (like it is in the suburbs) there would most likely be greater effort to improve the local schools. But in many ways it’s about “marketing.” CPS wants to offer choice to keep obsessive parents happy.
    I loved Daley’s comment last month about he was proud that so many people were trying to get into the SE High schools (during news of the principal dicretion scandal.) Uh, it’s not that parents necessarily want their kids in THOSE schools, they’re just too afraid to have them in the other 95% of CPS High Schools!

  • 11. KevinG.  |  September 29, 2009 at 1:54 pm

    Why is it that social engineers and certain politicians and education “experts” don’t seem to understand the concerns of parents that are highly interested in their kids’ education? People in Chicago that send their kids to gifted/magnet/competetive CPS schools aren’t afraid of minorities and poor people (otherwise they’d live in Lake Forest) –they really care about what kind of education their kids receive. Yes, in an ideal world, all CPS “neighborhood” schools would be perfectly good, just like thet are in the North Shore Suburbs, Hinsdale, Naperville, ….etc, but it’s painfully obvious from test scores and visits by potential parents that it’s not the case. In a globalized world my kids will have to compete with the best and the brightest from all over the world IF they want to be competetive in certain areas of academia (mediciine, law, etc.). My wife and I are both educated individuals (lawyer, physician) who went to competetive colleges and had to compete for the few (relatievely speaking) coveted places at grad schools, then we had to compete for places at “good” law firms, residencies, etc…… THE WORLD IS A COMETETIVE PLACE! Schools where teachers are lazy/unmotivated, most students aren’t performing anywhere near where they nead to be, etc. just won’t cut it (I know personally, having gone to lousy public schools for years before being saved by the parochial sysytem). That’s why people like us (refugees from the private schools admissions war –waitlisted at Lab, Latin, Parker, City Day, etc., but wanting to remain in the city) are so preoccupied with scores, rankings, etc. These things are not THE determining factors, but they mean a lot. We have many friends in the same position –we’ll just up and move to the suburbs if things don’t work out at CPS (and take our disposible income and tax dollars with us, sad but true) . If CPS plays games and makes it too difficult for people to receive a quality public education in a safe, quality academic environment, LOTS OF PEOPLE WILL LEAVE CHICAGO.

  • 12. Mayfair Dad  |  September 29, 2009 at 4:21 pm

    Kevin: everyone who visits this site understands your frustration – CPS can drive a person crazy. To clear up any confusion re: my earlier posts:

    1.) I am not anti-competition. I just don’t believe skin color should factor into the competition.

    2.) And compete for what? Too few seats in “premium” elementary schools that poach top performing students and divert resources from neighborhood schools?

    3.) The end of the Consent Decree will surely be the end of magnet schools, unless CPS devises a race-neutral formula for admission that takes poverty into consideration. But I think bussing is over – too costly.

    4.) When 50% of high school students fail to graduate, the system is broken. At some point you have to separate the kids who want to succeed from the kids who are forced by law to attend school. So I think elite, academically challenging, selective enrollment high schools make sense – there just needs to be more of them. A lot more.

    5.) We do agree that public education should not be used as a tool for social engineering, however well intentioned. Forced racial integration, vis-a-vis magnet schools, is not the answer. Providing a high quality education to every student in Chicago regardless of race should be the goal. IMHO, this needs to happen at the neighborhood school.

  • 13. chicago parent  |  September 30, 2009 at 3:27 pm

    thank you Kevin G. I could not agree with you more. It’s all about getting your child the best education possible to be competitive on a global basis.

  • 14. KS  |  October 1, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    The applications are now online at

    They look pretty much the same as last year, race question and all. Hmmmm, looks like status quo to me. We will see what this year’s lottery holds. And I have a 4 yo, applying for K for fall 2010. This should be interesting….

  • 15. hopeful  |  October 1, 2009 at 6:58 pm

    According to the article I read in Catalyst Chicago, it appears as if for this year, that CPS is going to use the median income, as determined by census data, of the student’s zip code. If I remember right, you have to put your address on the form. By not changing the form, CPS saves a ton of money and precious time, and can still make an attempt at equitable distribution of spots. It is a terrible way to do it for sure….but it sounds like this is the way things are going to go for this year.

    I agree with Mayfair dad, I think bussing is done. (except for special needs kids, which they will have to serve) I don’t like that it will likely be cut, since my family depends on the service, but I’d rather them cut bussing than classroom teachers. Laying off teachers is something that I do believe is coming down the pipes sooner than later anyway though.

    The end of bussing will mean the end of good schools for a lot of kids. Particularly kids whose families don’t own a car to drive them to school or who have too many kids and can’t trek all over the city twice a day on a bus…..or who can’t even afford the bus fare.

  • 16. Mayfair Dad  |  October 2, 2009 at 10:02 am

    From today’s Chicago Sun Times:

    “New report rips Huberman’s oversight of Motorola contracts

    Chicago schools chief Ron Huberman is being accused of a “significant management failure” that set the stage for alleged contract irregularities at the city’s 911 center that cost taxpayers $2.25 million. In an explosive new report, the city inspector general’s office characterizes Huberman as so derelict in the oversight of a contract with Motorola that he should be suspended if he still worked for the city.”

    I feel a lot better knowing Mr. Huberman is going to fix the Chicago Public School system, don’t you?

  • 17. dave4118  |  October 3, 2009 at 3:36 pm

    I just returned from the GEAP fair at malcolm X…on the official ‘Options for Knowledge Guide 2010-2011’ there is now affixed a sticker which reads, “On Sept 24, 2009, the federal court vacated the CPS desegregation consent decree. As a result of that ruling, the race-based criteria referenced in the Options for Knowledge Guide and the applications and other materials related to the 2010-2011 admissions process will not be used to make admissions decisions. Alternate admissions procedures are currently being developed and will be available for public comment inthe near future.” Whew! We received blanket non-answers from every representative; that was to be expected. The fair was informative and helpful in that it allowed a one-stop chance to chat with school officials and teachers. There was also a eminar on the Gifted assessment and what your child can expect to encounter during the test. Gifted assesments will be aimed at logic and reasoning questions, while classical assesments will be aimed at fundamental reading and math ability. That is for the pre-k kids heading to kindergarten. If you have a child in pre-k this year, when fillingout the geap application, designate that your child is in pre-k(P), not with a K for kindergarten. They emphasized that the designation should indicate the grade that your child is NOW in.

  • 18. KevinG.  |  October 4, 2009 at 9:48 am

    I seriously wonder how fair using socioeconomic indicators will be. Chicago is a city where gentrification and high-density urban development have allowed poor and rich, advantaged and disadvantaged to live very closely. For example using zip codes: half the Gold Coast shares a zip code with Cabrini Green. I live in Lincoln Park, which sterotypically is more affluent, attracts educated professionals, etc. However, there is public housing, section 8 housing and some working class folks living in crowded apartments so that their kids can go to one of the best neighborhood schools in CPS (Lincoln Elementary). I know of 2 billionaires that are within several blocks of my home, one of whom lives about 1 block from a fairly substantial block of public/low-income housing (nice people live there, but I’ve never seen one who’s white). In Old Town there are several $3-4million homes being built next to a large housing project, …..I could go on and on—you get the picture. Also, will people rent the cheapest possible dump of an apartment or get a mailbox in a high-poverty neighborhood just long enough to help their kid get into a “good” CPS school, all the while actually living in their “real” homes? I guess we’ll see how this all works out. Ultimately, there will be so many scenarios where low-income, disadvantaged kids will be “punished” for living in a higher siocioeconomic neighborhood (even if they were put in public hosing by CHA and are living on food stamps) and where rich kids with every advantage in the world will be “helped” because their parents bought a luxury home in an area where some poor people live close by. I guess we’ll see how this all works out in several months –I’m guessing there will be an aproar prompted by stories of poor minority kids gets not getting into any magnet schools and of “too many” white kids enrolling at the best schools, etc.

  • 19. Fed Up with CPS  |  October 10, 2009 at 10:03 pm

    Although it’s evident that they don’t have the details worked out yet (actually it sounds like kind of a mess), I think the change will ultimately be a good thing. My daughter tested 97th percentile last year and did not get in to the schools we applied to. We know two kids that did get in last year, both from families who are better off financially than we are and they happen to be of mixed ethnicity. When a child comes from a family that makes a lot of money, I don’t care what ethnicity they consider themselves, they should not get preferential treatment. Also, now that I know that my child is 97th percentile, I do not want to enroll her in a neighborhood program. If her test score suggests that she could benefit from a curriculum that is accelerated (and it does, because the qualifying score is 90th percentile), then that is the curriculum she should get. Let’s put the race issue aside for just a second…why can’t CPS provide the gifted/classical curriculum to all students who test above 90th percentile? I’m sure the answer comes down to money/resources, but I don’t fully understand why kids can’t be given the classical curriculum within a neighborhood school, if their test score suggests they could benefit.

  • 20. chicago parent  |  October 11, 2009 at 7:50 pm

    I think that this continued focus on social experimentation is a huge distractor from the core goal of striving for an excellent education and should be abolished. No racial, census block or income mixing requirements, just merit admissions criteria for Academic Centers, Selective Enrollment High Schools, gifted, classical and the like. Census block or income will be arbitrary and unreliable. Racial discrimination is unconstitutional. Let the best qualified students be admitted. If too many white and asian kids excel at math and verbal skills — good for them. I don’t see why a school should be judged as having too many or too few of a certain type of group. Just on the results that it produces.

  • 21. don't assume  |  October 13, 2009 at 2:36 pm

    “Also, now that I know that my child is 97th percentile, I do not want to enroll her in a neighborhood program.”

    My daughter has higher test scores than this and I had to take her out of private school for financial reasons this year. I signed her up for the neighborhood school and it is FINE!

  • 22. Kurtosis  |  October 18, 2009 at 11:50 pm

    No offense, but have you ever compared curricula and other metrics of academic preparation? Other than UCLS, private schools are not close to selective CPS in academic rigor. So Im not surprised a neighborhood school was better academically than private school.

  • 23. don't assume  |  October 19, 2009 at 12:38 am

    That’s a pretty sweeping statement Kurtosis. The private school we transferred from has MEAN 7th grade scores in the 90+% in language, math and reading. It is open registration so I think it does a pretty good job.

  • 24. chicagomom  |  October 20, 2009 at 1:48 pm

    I just hope they figure something out. Last year my son received a 145 and did not get into any of our choices. Granted, they were the most popular schools, but it was very frustrating to hear of other students with much lower scores getting placed. I am a single mom and cannot afford a private school with an accelerated program. So, he sits in a Kindergarten class while they learn what he had accomplished by 2 1/2 or 3 yrs. I think sometimes CPS forgets that there are economically challenged, gifted, non-minority students who deserve a level-appropriate education as well. I wouldn’t be as upset about it except that he keeps getting in trouble for being “disruptive” (because he’s not challenged) or he wants to answer the questions all the time and not “give other kids a chance.” Sorry – just venting. Any thoughts or suggestions?

  • 25. hopeful  |  October 20, 2009 at 3:48 pm

    Hi chicago mom,
    I am a teacher in the system. I wonder if you have sat down with your son’s teacher and spoken with her about your concerns? Does she know how high he scored? If she did, she might realize his behavior is due to boredom and make some accommodations for him.
    Most teachers will differentiate for kids, especially if parents advocate for their kids. And especially if the parent is willing to help out in some way. Not everyone can come into the classroom and volunteer a lot, but most people can sharpen the tons of pencils that need sharpening at home, or cut out art projects, or something along those lines. Sort of a “you scratch my back I’ll scratch yours”…..of course teachers should be helping kids no matter what, but I just remember what it is like to have 30+ kids without help and sometimes meeting all the needs of all the kids is really hard. Hopefully you will find a really cooperative and caring teacher who will go to bat for your son in the classroom. Good luck!

  • 26. cpsobsessed  |  October 20, 2009 at 10:54 pm

    Chicagomom, I think there are plenty of parents in your situation. We all know there are very few spots to accomodate all the bright/gifted kids in Chicago so naturally there are plenty scattered around the neighborhood schools who are working above grade level (and I’m quite sure could do the work at the same level as the gifted programs.) From what I hear, this seems to be a low priority in CPS and challenging for a teacher with a big classroom.
    From a pure lack-of-resources standpoint, CPS is placing a HUGE emphasis on “performance” right now (meaning test scores.) So I’m sure each schools is really focusing on getting those low-performing kids up to the “Meets Expectations” level – which is what improves a school’s test scores. Not to say they don’t care about the smart kids, but they get more payoff by getting everyone up to minimum. And one could argue that those kids SHOULD get the attention they need to get up to minimum. But that leaves the smarties bored out of their gourds.
    I would agree with Hopeful in working collaboratively with the teacher to see if your child can get more challenging homework, perhaps go to a higher grade for reading center time, etc.
    But unfortunately the burden of it seems to fall on the parent to supplement at home.
    I guess you could also try the “let’s try to stop the misbehaving” angle and suggest he be given some other work or book as an experiment to see if that helps the behavior.

  • 27. mom  |  October 21, 2009 at 5:23 pm

    This is RIDICULOUS!!! Little kindergartners–especially boys–want to be physical and are “disruptive” because they are forced to sit still when they want to be moving. They are all over the place developmentally until around third grade.

    I did not push my children to read–but our house is filled with books. During the summer between first and second grade, I gave my son some step up books on a topic he was fascinated with. In a few weeks he was a fluent reader and always had his nose in a book–mostly Great Illustrated Classics. In second grade, after reading David Copperfield, he pulled the unabridged verson off the shelf and read 200 pages. He is still a voracious reader in 8th grade but regularly gets in trouble for being disruptive in class–calling out, talking etc.

    Parents need to relax–this is not a race.

  • 28. skeptical  |  October 21, 2009 at 9:03 pm

    My apologies,

    the reply to hopeful above is from “skeptical”. I typed in the wrong name in the message.

  • 29. Mayfair Dad  |  October 23, 2009 at 1:39 pm

    Differentiated instruction, specific to each student’s ability level, should be the norm in every CPS classroom, not the exception – and not limited to a select category of schools called “magnet” or “gifted”. And while I heartily encourage parents to volunteer their time at the neighborhood school, it shouldn’t be offered as a bribe to get your kid’s teacher to do their job.

    The fact is, bright children are not academically challenged at most neighborhood schools. There are exceptions – I can think of a few Region 1 schools on the NW side – where parents demanded excellence and fought to obtain it, usually by taking over the LSC to influence principal selection and then having the new principal fire CTU lifers who refused to elevate their instruction. This is the current recipe for school reform.

    In the meantime, keep filling out those magnet lotteries and having Buffy and Jodie tested for gifted schools.

  • 30. cpsobsessed  |  October 24, 2009 at 8:04 pm

    A couple posts were deleted at the request of the poster (so if you’re reading this and are confused, no, you’re not nuts.)

    It is definitely a debate-worthy topic.

    Love the Buffy and Jodie reference btw. I am old enough to know who they are. I LOVED that show.

  • 31. CPSMom&Teacher  |  December 15, 2012 at 9:17 am

    Since the last post was 2009, I am wondering if this is the right forum for a current issue.

    Not sure how many parents are aware of this , but there is a huge push for FULL inclusion for SpEd students. I have two classes with 13 sped students (most at a K-2 reading level in 7th grade), and an additional 3-4 RTI students in each class. My class total is 32 students in both classes. Putting all SpEd in one class is not inclusion, and these students must be placed with our GenEd population.

    Since I teach science and social studies the rules of having SpEd support does not apply (this only applies to reading and math). Students with extreme disabilities (reading 6 years below grade level, developmentally delayed, inappropriate social skills of touching oneself in front of others, tendencies for threatening verbal outbursts, schizophrenia) are now all in the gened classroom.

    Please parents find out how many SpEd students are in your child’s classroom. Ask your child how disruptive the class is due to uncontrollable outbursts. Ask your child’s teacher what the GenEd / gifted students are doing while small groups for SpEd students are taking place. When you hear the answer, don’t blame the teacher; blame the policy. As IEPs are written, SpEd “minutes” do not acknowledge a student’s needs in science or social studies. SpEd support for students and teachers is non-existent in science and social studies.

    As a science and social studies teacher, I service more SpEd students than my other colleagues (who receive SpEd support physically with a second teacher in the room, planning curriculum modifications, and daily pull-out). I also see more SpEd students than my grade level SpEd teacher, as her load is shared with a second SpEd teacher. Our GenEd students are getting the short end of the stick for an hour and half a day, every day, five times a week. Due to these high numbers of SpEd students now being pushed into the regular classroom (when most had been in self-contained until this year), our GenEd students are often being left to teach themselves. As the previous poster recognized, back in 2009, our bright children are NOT being challenged, but today this is due to Full inclusion policies.

    Additionally, what parents need to know is there are trends of lowered classroom-wide ISAT/NWEA scores when a class has a large SpEd full inclusion population.

    I’m hoping someone can help start a change or at least an awareness. CPS desperately needs neighborhood school parents to speak up, ask questions and advocate for our GenEd and gifted populations. This policy of full inclusion is causing a mass exodus of high achieving and gifted students from our neighborhood schools. Please know, it’s not the teachers; it’s the policy.

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