Trying to figure out what happened with SE High Schools

March 8, 2010 at 5:13 pm 21 comments

Can we discuss why the Tier system has had such an imapt (assuming it has) on the SE admissions process?

From what people are saying, kids in the upper Tiers (3-4?  Just 4?) who had the grades/scores to get into an SE High School last year, aren’t getting spots this year.  So the higher socio-economic background kids are having to compete against each other more directly, with more getting pushed out.

So it sounds like in the past, more lower-socio-econ kids were getting pushed out, due to lower scores.  If this is true, then why is CPS scrambling to get kids from low-performing kids into the top schools?

If speculation is correct, the SE schools ended up looking a little too “rich”/white so CPS needed to balance it out.

Oh, why can’t they just publish the numbers for geeks like me?  Need to understand…..

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Wah! Even the suburbs may not be a great option anymore… When “bad” schools close

21 Comments Add your own

  • 1. hopeful  |  March 8, 2010 at 5:19 pm

    It seems to me that the problem is not that they didn’t get enough less wealthy kids, but rather that they did not get enough kids of color. White kids in Tiers 1 and 2 shut out minority kids in those same tiers and that is why they are pulling in kids from poorly performing schools, since those schools are 99-100% minority. I could be wrong, but that sounds like what happened.

  • 2. Need to Wait  |  March 8, 2010 at 6:22 pm

    Until all the children are selected and accept placement into each of the SE schools, and their race is finally known, I doubt CPS will publish any information about how the schools break down by race or gender. They still have to wait for some to decline, others to get in on the 2nd round and the principal selection takes place. Then they will add in the 25 extra kids and then maybe they will give numbers.

    Not sure after all that if anyone will be able to tell exactly what happened during the first round.

    I can tell from personal experience that it appears some kids from tiers 3 and 4 that would have gotten in based on last year’s rules did not get in on the first round this year. What seems most interesting is that most of these kids are Hispanic or black. In the past, even though they lived in “wealthy areas”, because of their race, they were selected while this year, race could not be a factor.

    What we may have now is more kids living far away from each other rather than a diverse group of kids that may have lived near each other. Not sure that is the best thing.

    It really hurts that some kids that may live in a one or two bedroom apartment, whose parents just opted to pay rent and live in a good neighborhood (even if they could not afford it) so their kids could be safe, are now forced out of the SE schools because their parents originally made the right choice on where to live (tier 4). These kids deserve a slot in a SE school because they worked hard, studied, did well in school and on all the tests. But, because they had to compete with kids from private schools that live in tier 4, they were shut out.

    Maybe CPS needs to create SE schools that have a requirement that you cannot live more than X miles from it? I hate seeing kids have to travel such long distances to school or to visit friends.

    I know CPS was just trying to maintain diversity, but only time will tell what they really received.

  • 3. mom  |  March 8, 2010 at 8:37 pm

    No–I think there were just more seats this year for non-minorities and so white kids who would not have gotten in in the past got in with lower scores and then those who had slightly lower scores complained because they didn’t get in.

  • 4. Mayfair Dad  |  March 9, 2010 at 10:27 am

    Remember only 15% of all applicants get accepted, so 85% of applicants’ parents will be dissatisfied. Blogging allows the dissatisfied parents to share their dissatisfaction 24/7.

    We need more SE-quality high schools dispersed all over the city. Kids should not have to travel across town to receive a college prep education.

    The Tier system looks good on paper, but using the imprecise, out-of-date census information compromised its effectiveness. Huberman further compromised its integrity by cherry picking students outside of the process to color-correct admissions at a handful of elite schools.

    Since 7th grade report cards determine the trajectory of your child’s life, there needs to be a uniform grading scale in place. Another glaring miss by Hubie & Co.

    The Select 100 public relations stunt does nothing to address the real problem: King (94% black); Brooks (85% black); Lindblom (78% black). What is the plan to diversify these schools? Or is it O.K. for schools in predominantly black neighborhoods to have predominantly black student populations?

    Why is this about race anyway?

  • 5. Justanaunt  |  March 10, 2010 at 10:40 pm

    I don’t think it was about race but CPS competence, or the lack thereof. Where did the “admission test” come from? CPS says it was “nationally normed” but there is no information where it came from. It was statistically impossible to get into the “elite” schools without doing extremely well on that test.

    The data on which they relied for their “tiers” is, at least as disclosed, incomplete. Question. Can you get a four digit “socioeconomic score” from two digit percentiles on their disclosures?

    If CPS would release the census tracts for the 1st offer letters, we would have a better source for checking whether children who lived in areas which have been recently gentrified are disproportionately included in the alleged “tier 1” or “tier 2” admissions.

    CPS has not explained how their “tiers” were based upon an assumed population of 540,000 children age 5-18 in Chicago, yet they only have 407000 PreK to High School and their capacity at neighborhood schools & other schools could not accomodate that number. Where are the “missing” children?

    I think we are all being snowed. No disrespect is intended in any manner to the children who tried so hard or to ignore the fact that a child who managed to achieve despite hardships ought be rewarded. It is simply wrong for 8th grade children – regardless of their “tiers” to be put under such pressure.

    Just some thoughts.

  • 6. Anyone get a SE high school letter today?  |  March 11, 2010 at 12:17 am

    I’m not sure where the test came from but I’ve heard that in the pst it is similar to ISAT’s. My son scored about the same on the SE test as he did on EXPLORE, Lincoln Park IB, Catholic School –maybe a few points higher on the SE test because he’d had some practice. but he was in the high 90’s on all of them. Not a great student but an awesome test taker.

  • 7. cpsmama  |  March 11, 2010 at 4:38 pm

    In the past when deseg guidelines were used, cut-offs for SE schools were not posted by CPS, only average scores. I assume that this was as a well-intended protection for some minority students who were perceived to have gotten in with lower scores than some non-minority students.

    The publishing of the cut-offs by tier doesn’t have this same effect because there are (theoretically) students of all races in each of the 4 tiers. Of course, there are still some students with higher scores than admitted students- based on tiers rather than race. But, socio-economics is not as obvious as race.

    It is obvious that the socio-economic tier method failed to result in sufficient low-income minorities being admitted to most SE schools.

    I think Mayfair Dad raises a good point- why is it OK for SE schools in predominantly black neighborhoods to be 75- 100% black? Why doesn’t CPS pay the black SE schools $250,000 each to take 100 non-black Tier 3 & 4 kids who didn’t get into any SE school ?

  • 8. cpsobsessed  |  March 12, 2010 at 12:26 am

    I’m gonna guess that CPS does not think it’s fine that those schools are 75%-100% black. I’m sure they’re not purposefully keeping Caucasian kids out. I’d bet they’re not applying to those schools at a high rate.
    I hope I’m wrong.
    Another thing to keep in mind is that CPS is only 9% white.
    So in theory, each of those schools should have 39% white kids which I’m guessing isn’t true.
    I see Northside College Prep is 35% white and 32% Asian which is clearly skewed.

  • 9. chicago parent  |  March 12, 2010 at 9:06 am

    The schools on the south & west side (King, Lindblom, Brooks & Westinghouse) all admitted a substantial portion of low income students (e.g., from tier 1 & tier 2 neighborhoods) who in past years probably would not have been admitted. I say this because the average scores dropped year to year & this would be due to a different student mix of kids, which I’m guessing is due to a different economic mix.

    I don’t know about the racial characteristics of these tiers — because as you all know now — it’s really not about race anymore, but I’d guess looking at the neighborhoods that a large portion are probably non white who were admitted to these schools. If this is true, non white, low income students were big winners under the new system, not losers. They’re just not making a big noise about it. The other big winners are students with top academics — that made the scores at north side schools jump — Jones, Payton with Northside & WY, & LT staying rather flat. The losers are middle income parents who do not have stellar academics & do not want to go to the south & west side schools listed above.

  • 10. Mayfair Dad  |  March 12, 2010 at 4:47 pm

    “Why doesn’t CPS pay the black SE schools $250,000 each to take 100 non-black Tier 3 & 4 kids who didn’t get into any SE school ?”

    Cpsmama, I like where you’re going with this, but do you think CPS would give me a voucher worth $25K so I could send my kid to St. Ignatius instead? My freckle-faced angel gets a nosebleed if he travels south of Cermak Road.

  • 11. Curt  |  March 12, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    Okkk…. so to reiterate what chicago parent said, a lot of low income students attend lindblom, brooks, westinghouse, and king… so this whole tier thing was stupid. The main problem here is that there are thousands of students in the CPS that qualify for admission to SE schools, there just arent enough spots for them. I think the smartest thing to do would be creating two more SE schools, bringing the total to 10, and pumping more into the GOOD magnet programs at schools like lincoln park, von stueben, morgan park, etc. We already rank 49 in education funding…we cant go any where but up, right?

  • 12. somos americanos  |  March 18, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    This is not rocket science. You don’t need to see the data.

    It’s not a surprise that affluent, mostly white families have moved into historically poor areas. Real estate boom, anyone?

    Little wonder that the outcome of lotterying kids based on decade old data that doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with the actual applicant is not yielding the “desired” results.

    Told you so.

  • 13. CPS Employee  |  March 10, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    @Mayfair Dad, Your son would not get a nose bleed if he traveled south of Cermak. Depsite your negative beliefs, many whites do live on the southside of Chicago. And we have many great safe neigborhoods on the Southside, as do the northside such as; Ashburn, Hyde Park/Kenwood, Bronzeville, Garfield Ridge, Midway, Bridgeport, Chinatown, Morgan Park/Beverly, Chatham, Hegweisch, South Loop and Mt. Greenwood, just to name a few. Please stop making assumptions about all of the southside areas because clearly you are generalizing things from stuff you have seen on the news about other neighborhoods. I know for a fact that all of the northside isn’t great ie, Uptown/Logan Square/ parts of Edgwater, Humboldt Park, are some areas as well. But does that prevent me from exploring other parts of this great City and meeting different people from various ethnic backgrounds? No! What are we realy teacing our children about people different from us??? Futhermore, I have friends that live in Lincoln Park that complain about rapists and bums in that area so please stop pretending that the Northside is paradise. The area where Walter Payton is located is still sketchy/risky, however, you guys flock to the school to try to get your kid in there even though most of you don’t stand a chance. Crimes/Violence is still high in that area but no one complains or question it. We get many complaints about LPHS students (from all backgrounds) about them fighting, racism, lack in teacher quality, gang issues and drug/alcohol use. But somehow, many parents seem to think that this is one of the better City neighborhood high schools? Trust me, I have been there numerous times and it is just like of all of the other neighborhood high schools. This City is segregated and stereo types still resonate in many of our minds.

    And as for everyone’s comments about why certain schools are all black/latino on the southside, is because many whites make false generalizations about these schools and the kids that attend. So let’s just be honest with ourselves. Even if the State or CPS gave these schools extra money to diversify, it still would not happen bc a lot of whites are afraid or don’t want their kid at these schools. Additionally, Lindblom, Westinghouse and KCP all tried to diversify their schools but still many non Black & Latino parents chose not to apply or did not send their kids to the SE schools. Don’t blame these schools, when you clearly have other options besides WP/NS. Will there be another SE school in the near future? No! We already have nine SE’s, that are equally distributed throughout the Chicago area (3 on the south KCP/LIN/BRKS, 3 on the north PY/LT/NS, two on the west WY/WCP and one centrally located-JCP). If you only chose to apply to two schools (PY/NS), which many of you don’t even stand a chance at getting in bc thousands of other kids have also applied, then that is your problem and loss. Each school is public and anyone can apply to any of the SE’s schools, regardless of the location.

    Now, there will be some neighborhood HS schools that will get new Magnet programs (STEM/Performing Arts/IB etc.) and some schools will improve their Magnet programs (Von Steuben/MP/LakeView/Kenwood, and others), Lane/lakeView/MPHS/Taft/Mather will gain the STEM program, but no more SE’s. (Lane will be an SE, STEM and AC school in the upcoming years). Additionally, more Charter high schools and elem schools will open such as Quest Academy (2 more campuses will open). There will be no more Military Academies.

    Many parents don’t realize how much power they possess. If you start sending your children to these schools and demanding certain programs or implementing new ideas to raise test scores, then any school can change or get even better! You have the power to get rid of principals, change a school into anything you want it to be, rid the “bad students, create new programs, etc. However, the longer you stay away from the certain schools, the longer they will stay the same.

  • 14. mom2  |  March 10, 2011 at 4:07 pm

    @13 – you are a year late to this particular thread, but I would like to comment since we were directed to your comment.

    First of all, I wish people would stop putting race into everything. The tiers are supposed to be about socio-economic factors, not color. But, since you did, I believe you are making a huge assumption that “white” parents don’t send their kids to South side SE schools because they are “black”. While neighborhood safety is a concern, the distance is the biggest issue for a vast majority of North side parents. They don’t want their children spending 2 hours to travel back and forth to school each day. That is why you see most north side parents selecting those you listed that are north or centrally located. Location, Location, Location. And while WY is further East than Lane, and still North of the Eisenhower (so not sure I would qualify that as West), I know north side parents that wouldn’t put WY down as a choice for high school because even that is “too far”.

  • 15. Mayfair Dad  |  March 10, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    OK, it is fun to re-visit comments I made a year ago. Obviously stressed out about how the new tier system would effect my then-7th grader and railing about racial imbalance at southside SE high schools. It will be interesting to measure what impact the tier system has had on racial composition across all SE high schools. My guess is that Lindblom and Westinghouse will see a slight uptick in white students; SE highs schools on the northside will remain about the same.

    My comments then and now were not a blanket diss on the southside. I have many close friends I met during college who grew up in Beverly, Mt. Greenwood and Oak Lawn. White families from those neighborhoods had given up on CPS in favor of Catholic schools and this was the long-standing tradition. So I don’t know if families from the northside have a moral obligation to integrate the SE high schools on the southside, but maybe white families on the southside should give CPS another chance.

    And not to end my message on a snarky note, but can you imagine the day when Northside College Prep was allowed to become 90% white because it is located in a white neighborhood? Never never never gonna happen in a million years. So yes, there is a double standard.

    P.S. to # 13: Go Cubs!

  • 16. CPS Employee  |  March 10, 2011 at 8:35 pm

    I don’t believe that there is a double standard. For one NSCP is 45% white and the remainder is Asian. Very few AA’s and Latino’s attend that school. The complaints that we have recieved about NS is that the environment isn’t welcoming to them.

    @Mom2, I do believe that race plays part in the decision along with distance. Whether people want to admit it or not. I have worked for CPS for many years and have seen and heard it ALL! Additionally, it dosen’t matter how old this post is bc many of the same issues still occur. Things just never changes in this City of ours…

  • 17. CPS Employee  |  March 10, 2011 at 8:39 pm

    Additionally, many schools will remain all Black or Latino as long as they are the only ones to apply. So like I said before, stop bringing it up bc it will not change until “different” people apply. I see the same type of comments in posts from 2009-2011. If you are not willing to travel to these schools or apply, then be quiet and stop complaining!

  • 18. Mayfair Dad  |  March 11, 2011 at 10:18 am

    @ 16 – 17. Diversity is good…right?

    As a longtime CPS employee, certainly you must know how to access accurate information on the internet. Here are the facts:

    2010 Enrollment Statistics

    Northside College Prep (1,074 students)
    38.5% white
    5.35% black – 60 students
    23.2% hispanic – 250 students
    32% asian/pacific island – 344 students
    Total non-white students: 654

    King College Prep (926 students)
    1.1% white – 10 students
    95% black
    2.5% hispanic – 23 students
    1.4% asian/pacific – 13 students
    Total non-black students: 46

    From before the doors opened at Northside College Prep, great care was devoted to attracting and maintaining a diverse student population. Caucasian enrollment was capacity controlled and artificially suppressed – either through affirmative action quotas or a complicated socio-economic tier formula – to achieve this goal. Some have speculated that a siren went off at CPS headquarters every time Caucasian enrollment inched past 30%.

    Meanwhile on the south side of town, King College Prep was allowed to become a racially segregated school. Perhaps if school administrators had employed the same capacity control strategies to suppress African American enrollment, King would have a diverse student population, and white families would have a viable SE high school option closer to their homes in Beverly.

    But that didn’t happen. Why?

  • 19. cpsobsessed  |  March 11, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    Interesting points, Mayfair Dad. Once again the question arises: should it be CPS’ job to desegregate a highly segregated city?

  • 20. Mayfair Dad  |  March 11, 2011 at 6:22 pm

    According to CPS, it is.

    This is the whole point of the Tier system mumbo jumbo; socio-economic voodoo is simply a proxy for race, since the Supreme Court has decided (correctly) that skin color can no longer be used as a criteria for school admissions.

    Do I agree with it? Actually yes but with caveats, specifically on the shoddy implementation and reliance on imprecise census tract generalizations.

    No child chooses to be born into a poor family and live in a dangerous neighborhood, and children should not have to pay for the foolish life choices of their parents. It benefits society in the long run if these kids from less-than-stellar circumstances get a shot at a first-rate education.

    I don’t agree with hypocrisy and reverse discrimination and when race-based politics get tangled up in public education. That really bugs me (obviously).

  • 21. RL Julia  |  March 14, 2011 at 10:34 am

    While in theory, it should not be CPS’s sole purpose or job to de-segregate the city, because of the consent decree (and its repeal) CPS is the only place in city government where race is really openly acknowledged as a criteria. I think that in the end of it all, race becomes a sort of shorthand. To parents race means one thing (to white parents it seems to be equated with poverty), to the school system, it means another, to the politicans, yet another. Too many times before the tier system came into place, I heard parents (of all races) talk negatively about race when they really meant poor kids or kids with parents who aren’t interested in school or kids with behavior issues or parents who made value judgements without understanding cultural practices. It left everyone feeling very put out and defensive. At least the (incredibly imperfect) tier system makes people articulate their racism (or classism or lack thereof) a little more.

    Now if everyone could just get over the idea that a neighborhood that is predominently not the same color as whatever your color is could be “safe”. It’d be a huge step forward.

    I do find it odd though that northsiders (on the geographically smaller and more congested side of town) are far more likely to complain about something being too far away. Southsiders, seem a little more willing to do what it takes. For instance, my son is at Taft AC and has at least one or two classmates who make it to school at 7:30 every morning commuting up from Hyde Park or thereabouts. I doubt Kenwood has even two 7th grader from Norwood Park or some equivalent northside neighborhood. Ironic since as far as I can tell, the northside is much better serviced by the trains.

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