Second round letters SHOULD have gone out…

May 3, 2010 at 10:41 am 23 comments

But seems like they haven’t.

First of all, a big thanks to everyone who has taken the time to call the OAE office to find out what’s what.  I love how every person gets a different answer and some people on the phone will divulge a LOT more than others. 

It seems like there has been notification and movement on many of the proximity magnet lists (I really cannot believe that people are turning down Hawthore in the proximity lottery!)  But I guess the magnet borders are pretty big and once people really face the idea of driving, spliting up kids, changing schools, etc maybe it’s not that great of an idea.)

There doesn’t seem to be a ton of movement on the pure lottery lists, nor is it clear how the Tier factor is working in or how many lists a school is working from.

Some people have heard there will be letters about gifted/classical programs, others have heard phone calls.

I can say with certainty now, that my son wouldn’t have gotten into his current gifted program had the Tier system been in effect.  But he is certainly holding his own, which to me indicates that a lot more kids in the system could be working beyond the typical CPS curriculum.  But I think we all knew that.

Keep posting about notifications so other can be informed.  If only the OEA had any idea that people were comparing the results of all the phone calls there….

Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

Second round letters should be going out Eek. The budgets.

23 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Steph  |  May 3, 2010 at 10:57 am

    We have heard nothing about our placement in the second round. I continue to be absolutely amazed that our child with a score in the 99% will not secure a spot.

    When we called the OAE we were told that we would be notified by phone and a letter. I can only assume at this point that the Tier system didn’t hook us up this year.

    This is our first year in the CPS lottery and I doubt that we will do it again. We will likely find a school system in a nearby community and just get off this crazy treadmill.

  • 2. if I remember correctly . . .  |  May 3, 2010 at 11:04 am

    after we accepted a second round spot verbally we were sent a form from OAE that we had to send in to confirm. This was separate and distinct from registering at the school itself. Perhaps that is what is leading to all of the confusion.

  • 3. Confused  |  May 3, 2010 at 1:32 pm


    Wow, 99% and you didn’t get a spot. That’s crazy!

    DId he get a 99% on the Classical or GIfted Program? Is it for Kindergarten? And what Tier are you in? How did you rank your schools? This could be a big determining factor. But 99% should have gotten you in………………….if that is the case, that’s means that most kids scored a 100%???

  • 4. hz  |  May 3, 2010 at 4:02 pm

    Crazy, but true. According to OAE, our son’s score (Gifted, for K) ranked him in the 99.5%– and we did not get a placement in the first round. If the cut-offs I’ve seen for the schools we ranked are true, I think it is unlikely we will get one in the second round either.

  • 5. a mom  |  May 3, 2010 at 7:48 pm

    Our daughter also took the gifted K test and scored in the 99.7% and didn’t get in on the first round. I personally know of at two kids that scored even better and also didn’t get offers. We’re tier 4. I’m still hopeful for my daughter, but we’re lucky to also have a really good neighborhood school.

  • 6. amy  |  May 4, 2010 at 4:11 am

    Has anyone looked into the appeals process?
    I am wondering if that applies only to the selective enrollment high schools. With scores of 99% and above, I think that your child deserves a spot. Does anyone ever win, and how do they find placement for someone? The current lottery system has really left a bad taste in my mouth. I don’t think that I could do this again. I personally think that the gifted and classical slots should only be given to the top performing students, not by tier or lottery.

  • 7. cps mom 5  |  May 4, 2010 at 5:08 am

    Does anyone have an experience to share for Galileo?

  • 8. a mom  |  May 4, 2010 at 6:52 am

    @amy, I think the process is reasonable. I don’t think us tier 4 folks deserve more than 1/4 of the geap slots. This is a test of 4 year olds. It only means so much. Our kids aren’t _really_ any better than anyone elses, they’ve just had a lot of enrichment opportunities. To say, because we can afford to pay for all these classes and to be home with our kids, now we deserve to grab more gifted slots just doesn’t make sense to me.

  • 9. Mom  |  May 4, 2010 at 9:06 am

    #8 — What you say makes sense if in fact the spots from Tiers 1-3 are going to more disadvantaged kids. That’s not necessarily the case. Many areas that are designated Tiers 1-3 have well-to-do pockets. The kids from those pockets are likely scoring at the top of their tiers due to the advantages you mention and are therefore probably the ones taking the spots. Assuming they have the same advantages that Tier 4 kids have, why should they get gifted/classical spots ahead of better-performing kids who happen to live in Tier 4? Just as an example, the area just south of Belmont surrounding Hamlin Park is Tier 1. There are million-dollar homes that front Hamlin Park! Why should the kid from the million-dollar home on Hamlin Park get a spot ahead of the kid who lives in the million-dollar home in Roscoe Village just north of Belmont who scored 99.7%? Now if CPS releases data to show that the lower-scoring kids who got in from Tiers 1-3 actually are from less advantaged homes, that would be a different story.

  • 10. a mom  |  May 4, 2010 at 9:27 am

    #9, I agree the process isn’t close to perfect. But what you’re saying is that us rich folks are actually getting more that 1/4 of the slots. It sounds like Amy and lots of other on other lists too are complaining that somehow we deserve even more.

  • 11. Mom  |  May 4, 2010 at 9:31 am

    Just to add on a bit more to my point in #9 above, someone on NPN posted that her child got into Coonley with a score of 122. That’s a 93rd percentile score. Although I’m sure that child is bright and will handle the challenge of Coonely just fine, if that child is not from a less advantaged home, I’m not sure why he/she should get the Coonley spot over a child with a 141 (a 99.7 percentile score), or higher.

  • 12. Mom  |  May 4, 2010 at 9:37 am

    #10 — I don’t think rich people should get any more magnet spots than anyone else. However, when the question is spots for schools that supposedly cater to particular abilities (classical and gifted), I think by definition the kids that most deserve those spots are the kids who perform best on the tests. Now, if there are kids who haven’t had advantages that rich kids have had and yet still manage to score pretty well on the tests, I’m all in favor of giving them a boost over better-scoring kids. My issue is if there are kids from advantaged homes who by the luck of the system get in despite lower scores because they happen to live in lower-income tiers. That doesn’t seem to serve any worthy goal — it neither helps disadvantaged kids nor ensures the kids most in need of the service provided by gifted/classical schools get the education they need.

  • 13. hz  |  May 4, 2010 at 10:00 am

    #12: Of course there will be wealthy kids from lower-income tiers who will get in, and of course that outcome doesn’t serve any worthy goal. Nobody is arguing otherwise. The tier system will produce this result sometimes because old neighborhood census data is an imperfect proxy for material wealth and cultural capital. (The new census data may be only marginally better).

    But your question was this: “Why should the kid from the million-dollar home on Hamlin Park get a spot ahead of the kid who lives in the million-dollar home in Roscoe Village just north of Belmont who scored 99.7%?” And the answer is– she “should” (that’s a practical, rather than a moral “should”) because the system that makes that unfair outcome possible is the only one currently available that also produces the good outcomes you claim to want: giving kids who haven’t had advantages that rich kids have had and yet still manage to score pretty well on the tests a boost over better-scoring kids.

    You want data about advantages that cuts finer? Find a source of the data that doesn’t suppress lower income participation even further. You want to show your tax return when you test at OAE? OK– but don’t be surprised if that erects an even greater barrier to entry than the testing process alone for low income and low information families who may not file returns, or who need substantial assistance in doing do.

  • 14. chimom2  |  May 4, 2010 at 10:11 am

    OK, I know this is going to ruffle some feathers but I need to put in my two cents. The tier system is not perfect, but if you are a non-minority you have a much better chance of getting a slot this year than last. There were many kids last year (including my child) who scored extremely high (99+%) who did not get into K. A child who lived down the street from us was accepted into a school we appled to with a score 24 points lower than my child’s because he has a grandfather of minority decent. His parents live in a huge house, drive luxury cars and could quite honestly pay for private school. Our family cannot. We can barely afford to stay in our neighborhood. So this year, considering the same situation with the tier system in place, my child would have probably had a much better chance of attending a gifted school because his TEST SCORE would have been considered in comparison to this child’s (and any others in that tier.) And honestly, it did help this year. My son received a spot based purely on his abilty in comparison to other children in our tier. Actually, he received it based on comparison with all children because he was in that first 40%. I’m not saying this to brag, but to remind everyone that the first 40% was based entirely on score – a much larger group than last year. I know this isn’t comforting if you have a high scoring child who hasn’t received a spot, but it sure beats the old system. At least from my (I admit biased)perspective there is one child who needs to be in a gifted school, cannot afford private school, scored well on this years test and actually got a spot. This does not mean the system is a good one by any means, but at least it is a step toward an ability & need-based system. I honestly would be happy with a purely ability-based system. The highest scores get in. Period. But we do have to admit that there are gifted children who would be missed due to any number of factors if this were the case.

    I think what happens is that everyone is so frustrated about scores and tiers that we (to some extent) disregard the real problem. There are not enough good local schools (especially with differentiation for bright kids) so everyone scrambles for a few spots in the gifted and classical schools and kids who are truly gifted (not trying to sound elitist) or extremely bright, are left out. There are many kids who get into the gifted and classical schools who could be served at local schools if they were any good. They essentially frustrate us so much that we concern ourselves with comparing test scores instead of focusing on the fact that most CPS schools do not serve our children – no matter what level of learning they display.

    I agree that transparency is needed. But, instead of more transparency with showing test scores, why don’t we focus on transparency for school spending? Where does all that tax and lottery money go? Why are our teachers frustrated to the point of quitting? Why are aldermen complaining that not enough children in their district are being selected for special programs when they should be complaining that none of the children in their area are getting a decent education at a local school to begin with?

    Anyway, now I’m rambling. Just a thought or two to throw out there. And, I feel your frustration. I lived with mine all last year as my child attended a K that did not serve him well.

  • 15. cpsobsessed  |  May 4, 2010 at 10:25 am

    @chimom2 – I think that was very well put.
    Unfortunately, no system is going to be perfect (especially when CPS has limited funds to administer the system.)
    In the old system, some people got screwed over. In the new system, some people get screwed over.
    I suspect that people who object to the Tier System, probably would object to the old Race system as well.
    But I keep forgetting, as you have kindly pointed out, that CPS DID let in 40% of the kids based on score alone. That certainly gives an edge to kids from more advantaged homes.
    And as you state, it points to the lack of spaces for the top kids. I think that is something we can all agree on. AND the frustration that parents feel that the neighborhood schools don’t do enough to challenge the kids who don’t get a spot in a gifted/classical school or for logistical reasons can’t attend one.
    In the end, I think that the kids in chicago who are in the truly disadvantaged home are the ones getting the raw deal. I think they got shafted in the old and the new system.
    I think the Tier system this year has certainly revealed that the test is not truly unbiased in measuring “innate” intelligence since the scores differ by socio-economic level.
    But if one assumes that people all have the ability to be intelligent, regardless of socio-econ level, then choosing the top kids from each tier, SHOULD really be picking kids who are all innately on the same playing field. They just scored differently because of their background. Not because they are innately less smart. SO…. one could conclude that once they get in a good gifted/classical test, they should be able to hold their own with the Tier 4 kids.

  • 16. Mom  |  May 4, 2010 at 11:00 am

    #13 — I would agree with you if in fact it is happening that lower-scoring disadvantaged kids from Tier 1 are getting in along with the lower-scoring rich kid who just happens to live in Tier 1. But my concern is that is not the case. Using Coonley as an example, out of its 30 spots (easier math), 40%, or 12, will go to the highest performers on the test. Let’s assume they all hale from Tier 4. The remaining 18 spots get divided by 4, so 4.5 spots per tier. Are the disadvantaged kids from Tier 1 scooping up those 4.5 spots? Or is it more likely the kids living in the well-to-do pockets of Tier 1? I would predict, although of course have no way of knowing, that there are more than 5 rich kids living in Tier 1 who score highly on the test, just judging from looking at where some of the Tier 1 tracts are located, such as the Hamlin Park area referenced above. My concern is that the current system does not actually produce any of the good outcomes we want. If this system (or the old race-based) system actually picked kids who are disadvantaged, that would be worth it. But I agree with #15 that it is the truly disadvantaged kids who are getting the shaft because I am guessing that the system will not actually succeed at selecting the disadvantaged. By the way, I am not saying any of this out of self-interest. My child is not even in the running for GEAP.

  • 17. Carm  |  May 4, 2010 at 12:10 pm

    chimom2: How do you know your child was part of the 40% accepted on the basis of just their score?

  • 18. gratamama  |  May 4, 2010 at 12:21 pm

    What’s done is done. All i really care about is what will be cut at schools this year.

  • 19. Mom of 2  |  May 4, 2010 at 3:17 pm

    My daughter will be attending Kindergarten (at one of the Gifted/Classical schools) with my son next year. I would rather not say what school, but in my son’s class it is 50% African American. I will be curious to see if this will still be the case (with the whole tiering system) when my daughter attends this fall.

  • 20. dave4118  |  May 4, 2010 at 4:37 pm

    CPS arbitrarily chose to create areas based on a certain level of census tract data. CPS could have delved a bit further and gotten to the next level…census block, I believe….which would have displayed even more detailed socioeconomic info.

  • 21. andrea1213  |  May 4, 2010 at 11:16 pm

    I agree with @chimom2. I keep wondering if things would have been “fairer” this year if the percentages had been reversed. That is, 60% would have gone to the highest scores and the remaining 40% would have been evenly divided by tier. But, I’m sure that CPS, in its infinite wisdom, will come up with yet another formula to use next year. We are happy with the lottery school (magnet cluster) that our daughter will be going to for K (we are a half block out of district so consider it our adopted neighborhood school) and our focus right now is on making sure that full-day K remains an option!

  • 22. Mimimama  |  May 5, 2010 at 5:53 pm

    I agree that the true issue is the lack of proper education. I was a student of a cps neighborhood school. I will not put my son thru that same ordeal. I can not live in a suburb because my husband works for the city. We are middle class and can afford a catholic school but the reality is they are not much better. The good private schools are so expensive we truly can not afford it. We have so little options I have come to the decision I will be moving to a different state where my son can prosper how he deserves. I do think as the parents of such bright children it rest on our shoulders to find ways to get funds to these schools.We should not feel 99 vs 95 is much if any differene in the ability of a 4 year old. These children deserve an education that challages them and its our resposibility to make that happen. Seems to me we have a well rounded group of parents and we can take some of the responsibility. I am sure we can find grants and private donations. We can not allow governmental inadequecies to impact our childrens future. I guess I also had to let out some steam.

  • 23. Mom  |  May 5, 2010 at 8:12 pm

    Mimimama, I feel for you. But I am always scratching my head when someone says they cannot afford a good private school. Almost all of the good ones offer financial aid. Many actually prefer to offer middle class families their aid because those families can contribute something themselves, albeit not the full amount — that way the school’s financial aid dollars stretch further and the income distribution at the school, when plotted on a graph, does not look like an upside down mountain. Middle class famillies should not immediately assume they must rule out great private schools based on cost. That said, I obviously understand the predicament you find yourself in now. Best of luck.

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