The Selective Enrollment numbers

March 5, 2010 at 1:13 pm 24 comments

For those who haven’t seen it yet, here’s the talkworthy link from the District 299 Blog that reveals the test score distribution by Tier for the Selective Enrollment High Schools.

As you also may have read, CPS has decided to open 25 spots at each of 4 top high schools for kids at “failing” elementary schools.  The top-performing kids at these schools have been invited to apply for the spots. Speculation is that the new Tier system ended up with too many whiteys in the top high schools.

One of the first things that surprised me was the narrow range between the average score (out of 1000 based on 7th grade grades, admission test, attendance) by Tier that gained admission.  At Northside, the Tier 4 kids had an average score of 888 while the Tier 1 kids had 868.  Maybe in reality that does give the Tier 1 kids a big advantage.  But it’s good to see they aren’t exactly letting slackers into the school.   Whitney Young has a wider spread of 836-869.

As I face a possible housing move in the upcoming year, I can’t help but think that if Ireside in a Tier 1 neighborhood, my son has an immediate 20-30 point advantage the year he applies to high schools.  I would like to move to his neighborhood school area.  Tier 4.  Disadvantage.  I’m thinking of living in a mobile home so I can move as needed for the best application strategy.

Let me know what you think of these number.

I don’t necessarily see the SE thing as a debacle.  I’m OK that CPS is doing some experimenting and I’m also in favor of helping kids who are excelling despite being in schools/neighborhoods where the odds are against them.  I would LOVE to see some follow-up stories on these kids over the next few years to see how they’re faring in the high schools and what they do beyond high school.

Entry filed under: High school. Tags: .

Source for info on cutting gifted/magnet/classical programs Wah! Even the suburbs may not be a great option anymore…

24 Comments Add your own

  • 1. I wouldn't count on it  |  March 5, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    this is most likely a one year thing.

  • 2. cpsmama  |  March 5, 2010 at 2:25 pm

    I think it is more informative to look at the actual scores across the tiers rather than the mean scores. Kids in tier 1 got in with 818 and above. Kids in tier 4 needed a minimum of 864. This is a spread of almost 50 points.

    It’s not a debacle when you have a 1st grader who won’t be in HS for 8 years. It is a horrible mess when you have an 8th grader who didn’t get into any SE high schools, who would have gottten in under the old system.

    But that’s CPS for you- they make it up as they go along, not stopping to think for one minute what they are doing to children and families.

  • 3. Mayfair Dad  |  March 5, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    OK, where do I start?

    The new system was intended to eliminate race as a criteria for selective enrollment, since the SCOTUS has ruled race-based enrollment policies unconstitutional. CPS spent $900,000.00+ to roll out a new system based on socioeconomic factors (not skin color), which mirrors sucessful systems used in other cities. Yet when faced with vocal criticism from black aldermen and preachers, Hubie pulled an about-face and cherry picks a Select 100 minority students outside of the brand new system to “color correct” the incoming freshmen classes at Northside, Payton, Young and Jones. Further, he cites an NCLB covenant to sanctify the scam. If CPS was truly concerned about ensuring adequate minority representation at these schools, what about extending additional offers to qualified Tier 1 students within the new system? No, this would not placate the black power brokers. So now we are left with a corrupted new system, soon-to-be-announced class action lawsuit, and a bunch of pissed off white folks moving to the suburbs. Same old racial politics, Chicago-style!

  • 4. hopeful  |  March 5, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    I am surprise at the fact that not one single child got a perfect score (out of 900) in the entire city. Really? There are so many kids who get perfect SAT’s…..just a thought.
    I am not surprised that people are mad their child did not get in somewhere.
    People, this is CPS. Typically 5-10% of kids who want a spot at a good high school get one. There are just not enough spots. This is reality. Even if we went to a solely score based entrance, guess what? Most people’s kids won’t get in that way either. We need more good schools and aren’t going to get them due to an economy that isn’t going to support anything new….not for a long, long time.

  • 5. cpsobsessed  |  March 5, 2010 at 3:20 pm

    Oh, so it only went to 900 this year? I was wondering why nobody was even close to 1000! LOL.
    Yikes… i figured my kid actually had a chance.
    You’re right, Hopeful. Most of have to face that our kids won’t get in and start thinking of options. After raising our kids in the city, I’d hate to see us all flee for the suburbs after all. Or blow college money for private high school.

  • 6. look again  |  March 5, 2010 at 3:28 pm

    hopeful–look again, there were perfect scores at lane, young, nscp and payton. my kid was not far off, which is sort of a shock to me.

  • 7. Clearing things up  |  March 5, 2010 at 4:30 pm

    To Hopeful – You are confused. Many kids had perfect scores in the city. In fact, kids with perfect scores (900 points this year due to the elimination of the attendance category) applied and were accepted to Lane Tech, Northside, Whitney Young, and Payton (maybe Jones, too).

    To all – for those of you with younger kids, the best thing to do to have a great high school available when they are ready is to all get together and agree to send your kids to the local high school. It is risky at first, but if everyone stayed away from the selective enrollment schools and sent their kids to the local schools, especially in some of the better neighborhoods, the school would become better just by having them there. Dedicated parents and students are the main reason a school ends up doing well. And if all those kids were there, the local school wouldn’t have room to let in all those kids you feel bring the school down. They are only there because the school has room due to the local kids not going there. Make sense?

  • 8. cpsobsessed  |  March 5, 2010 at 4:35 pm

    @ttt, are you saying that the high schools bus in (or allow kids to come in) from outside the neighborhood to fill seats?

  • 9. hopeful  |  March 5, 2010 at 4:45 pm

    I looked at the link that was provided and none of the high scores were at 900. Was there an error in what was reported in the article? If I am reading the scores right in the charts, the highest score was at Northside and it was 894. Or am I incorrectly reading the charts?

  • 10. Clearing things up  |  March 5, 2010 at 5:10 pm

    Yes, I do believe that local high schools will admit kids from outside the area to fill vacant seats. I guess I could be wrong.

    If you look at the suburbs, those schools really aren’t sooo much better than what CPS can offer. (Well, maybe a little better). What makes them better is that they don’t have selective enrollment schools taking away all the bright kids or kids with parents that care about education. Those kids go to the local school and bring up the scores as well as bringing up the whole level of the student body just by being there and setting a good example.

    Just my opinion, but it deserves some thought.

    Hopeful – the highest score at Northside was 900 and the lowest score was 850. You have to look at the highest maximum and the lowest minimum to get those numbers. 894 was the highest score of a tier 4 child that did not already get in under the first “rank” category – which are the first group of kids that got in by points alone and not by where they live.

    Hope that helps.

  • 11. hopeful  |  March 5, 2010 at 5:36 pm

    Thanks…I see that now!

  • 12. Y  |  March 5, 2010 at 6:52 pm

    I heard that there were 27 perfect 900s at Payton this year. I think that’s around 10% of the class.

  • 13. high school mom  |  March 5, 2010 at 7:36 pm

    To hopeful–there are perfect scores of 900 allover the place–I saw many at our elementary school and my daughter was one of them. I think if we see any changes in the future, I expect they will change the the admission criteria so there aren’t so many kids with such high perfect scores (maybe the test will become harder or something like that). Having gone through experience twice now, I would recommend everyone have as many options as you can possibly can (Private, Lincoln Park IB, Von and then the SE high schools) and then let the chips fall as they may. Also, there are no perfect high schools–even NCP has it’s share of problems. Take the good with the bad.

  • 14. chicago parent  |  March 6, 2010 at 9:49 am

    I think a mobile home is the best strategy in case they use updated census numbers by the time your guy is ready for high school.

  • 15. LR  |  March 6, 2010 at 12:13 pm

    My kids aren’t anywhere near high school yet (thank goodness), but if they were, it’s hard to just say I would send them to our local school. I believe the graduation rate at our local h.s. right now is 50%. It’s hard to envision putting them into an environment where half of their classmates aren’t graduating and feeling good about that decision.

    I went to school in the northern suburbs and true, everyone sends their kids there. But there is a reason for that. There is major tracking within the school. If you are one of the brightest kids, you can take enough AP classes to have a year of college under your belt by the time you graduate. There are plentiful extracurricular opportunities. There are also options for kids who don’t really deal well with the traditional school environment, such as early release (for job purposes) and night school.

    I don’t know what the answer is for Chicago. I think they are on to something with having more specialized high schools, like career and technical academies. I really don’t know…but you are in general dealing with a much different population, that is far less affluent than many suburban districts, so it’s hard to say that what works there will work here. What I do know is that worrying about tiers and making things more “fair” at the highest levels, doesn’t mean a whole lot when you look at the big picture for CPS.

  • 16. cpscounselor  |  March 7, 2010 at 12:54 am

    Yes, many neighborhood schools will accept students from outside the attendance area. Such as Lakeview, Amundsen, Von Steuben, Taft, Lincoln Park etc because they all have programs that students can apply for and be accepted to w/o having to be in the attendance area. They may have an IB program, honors, ROTC, etc.

    I think the SE process is horrible. I am at a school with a pretty high performing student population and many of the students who would have been accepted last year did not get in this year and they all happen to be minorities. The fact is, students who are in Tier 4 have to perform that much better because that Tier is more competitive. I don’t really think it’s fair when they are already competing for the small number of spots, and then they have to only really compete with the students in their Tier-way tougher for Tier 4 kids. And what if they are actually poor but live in a Tier 4 neighborhood or block?

    Regardless, the SE process is a joke and pretty disgusting that barely any students have a real chance to go to a good high school. I recommend all parents save their money to either buy a house in the burbs or send their kids to private school for HS. The 8th graders who weren’t accepted are devastated. They start stressing about HS when they are 10 years old and it’s so unnecessary and way too much pressure. And god forbid they get a “B” in 7th grade -their chances are basically shot. I think its all pretty ridiculous.

  • 17. James  |  March 8, 2010 at 11:14 am

    To Y — I’m curious about the 27 perfect 900s that were supposedly accepted at Payton. Did you hear it from a good source? Payton is the SE schools that I worry about the most with the addition of the 25 NCLB transfer students. It’s much smaller than Northside and Whitney Young, yet it is accepting the same number of transfer students as those two schools: 25. Those 25 are a much larger percentage of the incoming class. If that percentage is offset somewhat by having a high percentage of perfect scores, maybe the impact will be lessened.

    By the way, Payton admitted 146 kids through the regular admissions process this year. It gets 13 principal discretion spots, which is more than 5%, but the number is based on last year’s class size, which was larger than this year. Combined with the 25 transfer students, Payton’s incoming class will be around 184 kids. Assuming all 27 kids with perfect 900s go, they’ll make up about 15% of the class. The transfer kids and the principal discretion kids (who, by definition, didn’t make the cut through regular admission) will make up about 21% of the class.

  • 18. kg  |  March 8, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    The most prestigious SE enrollment high schools in NYC (Styvesant, Brooklyn Tech, Bronx Science, etc.) have faught and resisted the pressure to change the most egalitarian admissions process devised since their inception: admission is based on the result of an admissions test given once a year. Period. There have been howls and scorn thrown on them from some politicians and civil rights leaders through the years, but they’ve stuck to their guns. They seem to argue that if you don’t like the result, don’t blame us –do something more so that more poor and non-Asian minority kids do well with the academics needed to do well on the admissions exam. I wish Chicago SE high schools in Chicago were similarly meritocratic, but can anybody in a million years imagine such a thing happening here?

  • 19. Disgusted  |  March 8, 2010 at 10:34 pm

    Every damn thing in this city is about race.

  • 20. Y  |  March 9, 2010 at 7:28 am

    @James – The information was passed to me from a parent of a daughter going through the SE process, so I don’t have an official confirmation.

  • 21. SJ  |  March 9, 2010 at 6:34 pm

    Where can I buy a mobile home in the city????

  • 22. abc  |  March 14, 2010 at 11:44 pm

    There were 50-something perfect 900s at Northside this year. This was stated by the administration.

  • 23. Ted C..  |  March 28, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    Jury-rigging the outcome is shameful. I hope someone sues CPS for using NCLB as a ruse for performing illegal race-based admission. CPS doesn’t seem to think it has to follow the law.

    The answer isn’t to jury-rig the system. The answer is to provide better elementary schools so that more kids are at an equal level. Putting kids that are not academically at an equal level with their peers into the same school is a recipe for demoralization and failure for those students.

  • 24. Exasperated mom  |  April 2, 2010 at 9:54 pm

    I came across this site looking for CPS info and am intrigued. I’m surprised that there is no conversation about the scoring system itself and the grade scale component. The latest talk is that some of the magnet schools – Skinner, Franklin, LaSalle, Hawthorn – are now lowering grade scales so that more of their kids will get into the SE schools. The CPS recommendation is 93 for an A and 87 for a B. If you happen to go to a school that sticks to these numbers a child with a 92.3 will be penalized 25 points in the grade component of the SE scores (which, HELLO, is a lot). This is exactly what happened with us. A child scoring identically to my child attending one of these schools or others with lower cutoffs will have 25 more points. This inequity needs to be addressed now and could be a simple matter of assigning the grade its number value instead of ABC. I rallied at the “town meetings”, spoke to school and CPS officials and literally begged for change. The upshot, my son did score perfectly on ISATs and SE tests earning him his first choice SE school not by points but by living in a Tier 2 zone!! (the only blip in the NW side). We had one piece of luck due to a change in the system on our side. It seems that not only do you need to live in a trailer but you also need to consider your elementary school grading system if you have a choice. Quite frankly, I’m disappointed in the lack of support and interest that the parents have on this topic. The extreme demand for the Selective schools will far outlast the recession and with a budget deficient expected to continue growing – don’t expect to see many new school programs or the realization of that dream of the existing local school doing a turn-around. I too, like many of the parents on this site, was elated when my son was admitted to one of the top magnet schools. I reveled in the depth and rigor of the program. He attended outside academic programs, was tutored in 6th grade and took prep classes for the tests. This was all done with an eye toward getting him into the best possible school for his ability. I did not expect 7th grade to be the uphill battle that it had become. Even with our happy ending, I am exasperated and thoroughly disappointed with a system that put us through the ringer and teaches a child that a B is not good enough and a school that cares more about its ranking than about the success of any one child. If you would have told me that I would feel this way at the end of our 9 year journey with CPS, I would not have believed you.

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