New Race Balance at Selective Enrollment/Magnet Schools

July 21, 2010 at 2:08 pm 61 comments

Be still my data-loving heart.  A reader has sent in a link that breaks out race info for the selective enrollment schools.  Score! 
This shows the race breakout for the entry level class for last year and this upcoming school year so we can see how the Tier System affected things (and basically who, if anyone, got screwed.)

The total numbers for SE high schools show only a little change. 
Freshman Class 2010 => 2011 all schools:
Af-American 37%  =>  32%  (-5)
Asian 12% => 10%  (-2)
Hispanic 28% => 33% (+5)
Caucasian 23% => 23% (0)

Apparently there was rounding that lead to 2 missing % points this year.  So basically African Americans lost some spots and Hispanics gained some spots and are at equal percentages.  One could argue that Caucasians are over-represented as I believe they less than 10% of CPS.

I looked for any notable differences by school:
King, Westinghouse, and Lindblom all lost Af-Ams and gained Hispanic students.
Northside lost Asians (-12%)
Payton gained Caucasians (+6%)
Whitney Young lost Asians (-11%) and gained Hispanics (+12%)
Other schools didn’t show big shifts.

As for the magnet, gifted, and classical, some of the numbers look a little screwy which may reflect small base sizes (a school like Edison takes 28 new kids a year, so one child = almost 4% points.)

Some big shifts I noticed (again, I know the Coonley numbers look way off so I’m not sure I totally trust all these:)
Bell – no change
Beaubien +12% White
Decatur -15% Asian
Edison +10% White
Keller -8% Af-Am and -8% White
Hawthorne +26% White (hello proximity lottery!)
Stone – No change
Franklin +9% Af-Am
Thorp +8% Hispanic
Lenart – No change

So…. not quite sure what to conclude except the glaringly obvious impact on Hawthorne.    Many of the schools continue to have a good mix of diversity in their entering class (although some schools remain very off-kilter in terms of balance.)

Post any comments.  I’m eager to hear if anyone else sees something interesting in the data…..

*As a note, if you’re new to the Tier System, 4 Tiers were used to select kids for these schools.  The Tiers are based on socio-economic status (and not race) using information from census tracts.

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61 Comments Add your own

  • 1. curious  |  July 21, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    Are there big shifts at Andrew Jackson Language or LaSalle? Also, seems that overall there was little change due to the general pool of applicants, but it seems to me that individual schools are making big shifts. This also includes the 100 NCLB students that will greatly skew the demographics for a school like Jones or Payton that have a smaller freshman class. I wonder if the assigned seats are now policy and how that will impact the schools overall.

  • 2. cps mom 5  |  July 21, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    It really looks like African-American students lost out the most. I would be interested in seeing this data in September to show the race of students that actually ATTEND vs. were accepted. Based on what happens with transportation/buses, many children from various neighborhoods may not be able to get to the schools they were accepted to. I am really surprised by Hawthorne. Was it proximity in Lakeview/Wrigleyville only?

  • 3. Christine  |  July 21, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    On the website it says CPS did not release racial information in cases where fewer than 10 students belonged to a specific group. Instead, those students were placed in the “Other” category. Officials cited student privacy laws.

    We live in South Loop and I was curious as to their wide swing. Both Black and White students are down with White students down considerably and other is up dramatically.

  • 4. RL Julia  |  July 22, 2010 at 7:27 am

    I found it interesting that Hawthorne’s principal is on the blue ribbon commission to look into the efficacy of this past year’s lottery etc… I understand that she is a great principal – it just seems ironic since Hawthorne’s diversity seems to be only decreasing.

    In terms of the elementary school reporting I agree- the number just seem off. I wonder if they did some sort of weird rounding and excluded information if there was just one child of the race (for identification purposes) or something. I just have a hard time believing that some of these schools have no kids in their kindergarten classes of one race or another – for instance Bell and Beaubien both have no Hispanic, African American or Asian kids – just white and other. I find that hard to believe.

  • 5. Christine  |  July 22, 2010 at 8:12 am

    RL Julia, CPS did not release racial information in cases where fewer than 10 students belonged to a specific group. Instead, those students were placed in the “Other” category. Officials cited student privacy laws.

  • 6. LR  |  July 22, 2010 at 10:37 am

    After attending the picnic for the 1st graders going into the Bell options program next year, I can tell you that it is not all white kids. There are some children of mixed ethnicity. It is heavily white, but not all.

    I would note a couple things:
    1. As I expected, it seems like overall there is little change in the RGC’s. Generally, the changes are in the range of 1-3 kids per school (as per your data above). Magnets (particularly ones in heavily white neighborhoods) may be a different story.
    2. Didn’t we report our ethnicity after the fact this year? I remember checking a box upon accepting our spot this year. There is no way to be sure, but that could have impacted the outcome as well (just because there is no longer an incentive to check the box, so that your child has a better chance of getting in).

  • 7. Emom  |  July 22, 2010 at 12:45 pm

    I received this email from the principal at my dc’s school:

    Blue Ribbon Commission on
    2010 Selective Enrollment and Magnet School Admissions Policy

    Community Forums

    Tuesday, July 27th
    Lane Technical Prep High School, 2501 W. Addison St .

    Tuesday, August 3rd
    King College Prep High School, 4445 S. Drexel Blvd.

    Tuesday, August 10th
    Whitney M. Young Magnet High School, 211 S. Laflin St .

    All forums will begin at 7 pm .

    Please call (773) 553-1477 with any questions.

    I wonder if the admission policies will be different next year?

  • 8. Mayfair Dad  |  July 22, 2010 at 4:10 pm

    I find it curious we are still talking about skin color. The new admissions policy was designed to be race neutral and instead use socio-economic data to achieve socio-economic diversity. Poor is the new black.

    One of the interesting (unintended?) outcomes is that magnet schools are starting to look more like the neighborhoods they reside in, thanks to sibling preference and the proximity lottery. Is this really a bad thing?

    I, for one, never bought into the notion that it was in a child’s best interest to travel across the city in search of a decent education at a magnet school. Excellent neighborhood schools should be the goal…and the norm.

  • 9. cps mom 5  |  July 22, 2010 at 4:39 pm

    @ Mayfair Dad

    Yes Mayfair Dad, it really is a bad thing if the only children that are assured of attending a “decent” magnet school are the ones who have siblings that already attend. Everyone else is thrown in a lottery. That explains why you are seeing decreasing diversity in many of these schools?

    I agree that excellent neighborhood schools should be the norm, but in reality we’re not there yet. Although traveling across the city is not an ideal situation, it is the reality for many students (minority or poor) who want to go to a “decent” school.

    Most selective enrollment and “decent” magnet schools that have been discussed on this blog are located in affluent or gentrified communities. I’m sure there are various reasons for this. But how does this help diversity?

  • 10. curious  |  July 22, 2010 at 4:59 pm

    Emom – yes they are changing, word is that they are not happy with the demographics so sounds like we are not getting the full story. There are many other issues such as grade inflation and the basis of point for selective enrollment and academic centers. Mayfair Dad – as a mom who traversed the city for 9 years to bring my child to a magnet school for the diversity, the language offerings, the structured environment and high teacher skill level – going to a school like Bateman is not an option – there is a difference. If you live in a neighborhood that does not have an acceptable school option (as I would guess 90-100% of those attending magnet schools do not have) the politics of school lottery parameters is important. Excellent schools should be the norm but they are not. With a budget deficit, removal of programs and teachers – raising the bar could take years. Do you want to take that gamble with your child’s elementary school years? Not one high scoring African American student from our school got into the top 4 selective enrollment schools because they accepted first round offers from Westinghouse, King and Lindblom – already predominately black schools. These students were displaced by NCLB students scoring much lower than more qualified applicants. Last year we had more than double the number of students in total accepted into the top 4 with a fair representation of African American students. In addition to this, we have Asian and Hispanic students from China town, Bridgeport and Midway traveling to Lane Tech because they felt as though they had to take their 1st round pick or risk nothing. So much for the idea of going to a near-by school. You better believe that race along with the process in general is still a hot topic. If you have anything to say about the process, you need to attend those community meetings because CPS has committed to having their changes to the process before the start of school in September??!!

  • 11. Mayfair Dad  |  July 23, 2010 at 9:32 am

    @ cps mom

    My problem with the magnet approach is that it lets CPS off the hook for making the necessary investment in and commitment to improving neighborhood schools. Every child in Chicago should have an excellent school to attend in their own neighborhood, period. It should be the birthright of every child who lives in the United States, period. Anything less than this is a cop-out and a distraction. A society that doesn’t realize the importance of this is doomed to mediocrity.

  • 12. curious  |  July 23, 2010 at 3:43 pm

    You can’t ignore the fact that there is a large? segment of the population that is content with mediocrity. Many kids do not have family support urging them forward in school. You are right in the ideal world. Relying on CPS to fix it by upgrading schools is just not going to make a difference. Not to mention that they don’t have the resources now. There are a number of schools that have done additions, new computer labs, upgraded programs etc to realize little if any progress. With a school that you either have to test to get into or even just make an effort to file an application and get your child to school on a daily basis indicates that there is a desire to learn and excel which in my opinion is a prerequisite to a “good” school.

  • 13. sfw  |  July 24, 2010 at 9:16 am

    So if I’m reading this right, there’s fewer than 10 black students at Decatur?

  • 14. cpsobsessed  |  July 24, 2010 at 9:42 am

    @sfw – the data is based on the entering class. Sometimes Decatur takes 2 classes, sometimes 1 class per year. So that would mean there are less than 10 black students in those 1/2 classes.
    But again, I think the data is a little odd (likely based on low class sizes and as LR pointed out, may have been reports after-the-fact. I don’t think there is a b-racial option either.)

    Overall though, I would say that any school that doesn’t have enough Af-Am kids to report a % is probably not getting its “fair share.” (based on CPS Af-Am population and assuming you want to keep race fairly even across schools) – how’s that for a disclaimer?

  • 15. cpsobsessed  |  July 24, 2010 at 9:47 am

    @everyone 🙂 —
    The race discussion is so interesting. I feel like every time someone posts a comment, I think “Yeah!” and then I change my mind with the next comment.

    Mayfair dad – I don’t know that people are obsessed about race necessarily, but I think there is a curiosity factor as to how it was going to shake out, given the change from Race-based to Tier-based admission. I don’t think anybody wanted to see one particular race group getting totally screwed over or getting a total break from the Tier system since it’s supposed to keep things even. In theory, the Tier system should make race more representative of reality across the city, right?
    But the proximity preference will make things less balanced by school.
    And given the racial “segregation” of our city, there will always be imbalances by neighborhood. Nobody wants to drive their kid across the entire city to go to school.

  • 16. cpsobsessed  |  July 24, 2010 at 10:09 am

    Here is the Sun Times article on it btw…,CST-NWS-skuls21.article

    So I see now why they added those 100 seats… clearly the Af-Am % was too low for comfort after the first round of offers were made. So I guess one *could* conclude that Af-Am students are getting lost in the new Tier system but are being compensated for by CPS. But it doesn’t seem fair that the 100 seats draw from only a few schools (or ha ha, maybe CPS’s lowest performing schools is like 50% of the schools!)

    “And maintenance of the African-American student ratio hinged on the opening of 100 college prep seats, outside the process, to students at CPS’ lowest performing schools. “

  • 17. cpsobsessed  |  July 24, 2010 at 10:14 am

    OK, here is the CPS race breakdown from 2009:

    Total CPS:
    White 9%
    Af-Am 45%
    Asian/Pacific 4%
    Hispanic 42%

    SE High schools:
    White 23%
    Af-Am 32%
    Asian 10%
    Hisp 33%

  • 18. cpsobsessed  |  July 24, 2010 at 10:51 am

    And just if you’re curious, here’s 1998:

    White 10%
    Af-Am 53%
    Asian 3%
    Hispanic 33%

  • 19. curious  |  July 24, 2010 at 11:32 am

    The system needs to be refreshed. If the problem is about having representation from the AfAm community in the top schools it’s an unfair solution to award seats to lesser qualified AfAm students. If the basis for awarding seats outside the system is based upon attendance in underperforming schools how does that effect the ranking of the SE schools now or 4 years down the road especially if this becomes policy.

    My main concern is that the schools maintain excellence along with diversity. My son is now a Freshman at a SE school and I want him to have the college options that these schools have traditionally offered.

  • 20. Does it matter  |  July 24, 2010 at 8:37 pm

    So in my son’s class at Edison at least half of the kids are MIXED race with one parent being a true foreign national. Does it matter?

  • 21. Y  |  July 25, 2010 at 10:04 am

    From today’s Tribune…,0,1237251.story

  • 22. 32nd street Mom  |  July 25, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    Most of the current SE high schools did not even exist in 1998. (i.e, Northside:1999, Payton:2000) SE high schools were designed to keep white families in the city and the numbers from 1998-2009 prove that it worked.

  • 23. curious  |  July 25, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    Y – thanks for the article. That pretty much sums it up. In the meantime, the clock is ticking for 2011-12 admissions. This should be interesting.

  • 24. Hawthorne mom  |  July 25, 2010 at 5:38 pm

    The article listed above mentioned the possibility of bus service ending and how that would affect diversity. The end of bussing would kill diversity. Many parents, who are less wealthy and disproportionately minority, depend on the bus. No bus = pulling those kids out of the best schools out there and sending them back to their neighborhood schools. Then, schools will have to go back down the wait lists and let in a disproportionate amount of wealthier white families who either have a stay at home parent or who can afford to pay someone to drive their kids back and forth to school.

    Hawthorne’s principal has said they won’t take away bus service, but who knows? I would even be willing to pay a fee to use the bus. We don’t own a car and trekking back and forth two ways each day on the red line won’t be fun. I’d do it, though, because our neighborhood school is not an option. Nearly half the kids aren’t even meeting the lowest of state standards in reading and the number of kids exceeding are in the single digits.

    Does anyone know when the actual budget comes out in August? Supposedly there will be a decision then.

  • 25. courtney  |  July 26, 2010 at 9:18 am

    curious@19: I wouldn’t worry about your hs son. His college opportunities are dependent on his body of work in hs and on his placement tests. If he does well in those, he should have good opportunities at the next level–no matter where he goes to hs.

  • 26. Mayfair Dad  |  July 26, 2010 at 11:11 am

    @ Curious # 19: I was wondering the same thing when I first read about the “Fortunate 100” a few months ago. To me, it undermines the validity of the brand new system when Hubie & Co. are compelled to make a color correction invoking some obscure NCLB covenant. Since the Supreme Court has already determined skin color should NOT be used to decide school admissions, this color correction, however well-intentioned, could be the basis of a class action suit. It certainly works against highly-qualified African American candidates when the “Fortunate 100” get a Willy Wonka ticket to attend Northside while hard-working AA students in Tier 3 and Tier 4 automatically apply to Westinghouse. Going forward, will CPS bus 100 Caucasian students from the north side of the city to the predominantly black SE high schools on the south side?

  • 27. curious  |  July 26, 2010 at 6:31 pm

    #25 – Courtney – Thanks, I just needed a little validation here.

    #26 – MD – Thank you. I think we can see eye to eye here. I was beginning to think that I was the only one questioning the sucess of this method of integration. These schools have worked hard to achieve national ranking and rigor. Are we backtraking by gifting 100 spots that could have gone to high scoring tier 3 and 4 Afr. Am. students that were not able to make the cut off? Wouldn’t the 100 students from underperforming schools have greater benefit going to one of the other 5 selective schools where they would be closer acedemically to their peers? Thank you all for your inciteful comments.

  • 28. South Side AA Mom  |  July 26, 2010 at 9:11 pm

    Believe it or not I questioned offering seats to 100 students from the worst performing schools. My gripe is that both of my children attend southside high performing schools (one son classical and the other son magnet) and I wondered why students of color from any school weren’t considered as part of the fortunate 100. They are not HS age but if they were I would have been mad that they were passed over simply because I worked with both my children at home academically and we were lucky enough to get selected for a random lottery and to “test into” a SE elementary. This year was not fair to many students of all races. I don’t have a solution but I wonder why can’t more at least classical schools open. Why are there only five (until Skinner North there were 4) classical schools? Why can’t CPS open more? It is far more likely that many children can work a grade level ahead than two grade levels (gifted curriculum). There has to be a better way to run a school district than having everyone scramble for a few precious, coveted seats at SE and Magnet schools.

    On another note #27…I take issue with your statement that AA students from low performing schools should attend the lower performing southside SE high schools. I know you meant well, but I was rather insulted.

  • 29. curious  |  July 26, 2010 at 9:41 pm

    Sorry, no offense intended. I think you have stated the delima perfectly. I was actually thinking of Lane Tech – along with others – that are not as high performing as Northside or Payton. This was a bad year and I am for diviersity, that is what I am used to with the magnet school my son attended. It was sad to see so many excellent students get passed over or have to accept the impractical traveling – especially in a year when many people needed public education. Given that there is no budget, why can’t more schools be converted? There was something like 13,000 qualified applicants and we can’t even provide space for half of them!! It seems that the B student doesn’t have a lot of options.

  • 30. LOL  |  July 27, 2010 at 10:38 am

    What better way to lower the demand on the top schools than to make them not the top schools anymore.

  • 31. Mayfair Dad  |  July 27, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    @ curious 27. Did you mean “insightful” or “inciteful”? I guess if the shoe fits…

    I actually think the new socio-economic tier system is a big step forward as a race-neutral approach to achieving a mix of different students from different backgrounds. Isn’t this diversity? Or is diversity defined solely by skin color?

    You may argue that sibling/proximity preference at magnet schools defeats the purpose and you may be right – this will make more sense when CPS finally announces that bussing is eliminated.

    The “Fortunate 100” was nothing more than a public relations exercise meant to placate powerful African American ministers who complained to Daley about not having “designated” seats for African American students at top high schools. This move was clout-driven, not numbers-driven.

    My biggest complaint about the new system is the imprecise nature of the Census tracts. Within the geographic territories, one household’s socio-economic profile can vary widely from their next door neighbor’s. My own household is properly classified, but I feel badly for other families less fortunate. How can you have a neighborhood school with 75% poverty in a Tier 4 tract?

    So much for my rant. See you at a Community Forum.

  • 32. cps mom 5  |  July 27, 2010 at 2:06 pm

    I ‘m unable to attend tonight’s Community Forum at Lane Tech on Selective Enrollment due to a prior commitment. However, my hope is that there is a really good turnout of parents, teachers and community members. What better way to show CPS that the current process is unfair and that we need a better solution to address diversity.

    If I was the parent of a smart and hardworking 8th grade student that was denied entry into one of the top 4 SE high schools because 100 others were given preferential treatment to placate special interests, I would be mad as heck.

    If I were the parent of a smart and hardworking student that got into one of the top 4 schools on their own merit, and now has to sit in a class with below average students, I would also be mad as heck. Who wants to have to go over stuff they learned last year? I agree with #30 that these four schools won’t be top schools for long!

  • 33. not going to happen  |  July 27, 2010 at 2:57 pm

    Wait, you think adding 25 students per school, probably half of whom will not even ever show up at the schools because they are so far away by CTA, are going to draw down the instruction for schools of 1000 kids or so?
    I can tell you what I imagine happening. Out of the 100 kids who were offered spots, 30 will actually show up. Out of those 30, half of those will drop out or discontinue because the schools won’t dumb down instruction, like even some of the kids who earned spots drop out. The remaining 15 or so kids will fight hard to keep up and will succeed.
    I thought adding 25 spots per school for kids who weren’t even in the applicant pool was a stupid move on the part of CPS. But don’t kid yourself for a second into thinking that small amount of
    kids are going to change the best high schools in the city. And I also won’t be surprised if each of those schools find ways to get rid of some of the “invited students”.

  • 34. Mayfair Dad  |  July 27, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    The “Willy Wonka 100” have also been promised supports – I think that is the exact word used – which means tutoring, transportation, and other resources to facilitate their success.

    It is a misguided, expensive social experiment that insults the integrity of every other student who was more deserving of those highly coveted spots. Same old Chicago-style racial politics.

  • 35. LOL  |  July 27, 2010 at 4:10 pm

    Payton and Jones have a freshman class of approximately 200 students. That is roughly 12%. If this is a continuing policy, I can’t see how it wouldn’t have an impact on those schools.

  • 36. Worry Wart  |  July 27, 2010 at 4:45 pm

    Well, I’m not sure how I feel about giving anyone anything seeing as how I worked for absolutely everything I have. But since we’re giving things away, I don’t think that qualified African American students should have been passed up for those who weren’t even close to qualifying either. I can give you a laundry list of African American kids who didn’t get in but would kick butt if did. However, I do know that kids will surprise you when simply given a chance and when there is the expectation to succeed. And from what I’ve read on this blog half of the people whose kids are in top schools (at least at the elementary level) aren’t entirely sure that their kid didn’t just lucky on test day because they sure don’t seem to be super smart. I don’t think few kids are not gonna bring down the whole system and now the kids are destined to nothingness. The kids will be fine. Again, not everyone who did get in gonna have a cake walk either. The system does need work but let’s see how this plays out before taking to the streets. I think everyone has good intentions and wants our school system to work and for our children to succeed.

  • 37. curious  |  July 27, 2010 at 4:50 pm

    $1.000.000 or roughly 18 teacher jobs

  • 38. Worry Wart  |  July 27, 2010 at 5:52 pm

    Quick correction(among other typos I noticed!), my sentence should have stated that ” I don’t think a few kids are gonna bring down….

  • 39. smp  |  July 27, 2010 at 10:08 pm

    I attended the forum tonight at Lane Tech – it was my first time attending one and I thought the turn-out was low – please make an effort to attend one of the next two to make your comments heard.

  • 40. Mayfair Dad  |  July 28, 2010 at 9:43 am

    Attention Concerned Parents: Anyone who wishes to voice their concerns/opinions/suggestions re: the new selective enrollment admissions policy to the CPS Blue Ribbon Panel must submit same IN WRITING by 5:00 p.m. TODAY.

    Attention: Victor Scotti, CPS Blue Ribbon Panel
    Fax number: (773) 553-1501

    Since the turnout was so low last night (by design, IMHO) this is an excellent way to be heard. Here’s an idea – take your blog post above, copy and paste it onto a Word document and fax to Mr. Scotti. Takes 5 minutes. Do it now!

  • 41. curious  |  July 28, 2010 at 10:52 am

    Thanks – I will do that

    I too was at the meeting last night. I realize that there will always be differences of opinions but from what I’m reading here and from some of what was said last night, the assignment of 100 seats to unqualified students doesn’t seem to be that big of an issue. One woman got before the commission and stated that she was in favor of the NCLB assignments because these are students who will never get the opportunity to attend one of these schools otherwise. Awarding the coveted prize in such a manner is tantamount to giving the woman at the meeting who had cancer and needed to place one of her twins at a magnet school (who BTW did not seem to be getting far with her plea) a slot. To use an analogy – my son will more than likely never see Harvard. Does that mean that he should get to go and if he did, would it be the right thing for him given his level of ability.

    The selective enrollment process is riddled with inequities and problems. I don’t think it’s coincidental that there is a quick flurry of unannounced meetings. Our year (for lack of a better word) got screwed. It is up to you to voice your concerns if you have any. Otherwise, as in #28, you can always chalk it up to another bad year. I’m done and in but will support in any way needed including sending a FAX today.

    BTW #38 I don’t think these blogs need to be grammar perfect – otherwise I would have given it to my son to review.

  • 42. LOL  |  July 29, 2010 at 9:19 am

    I hear you #41. My kids are almost out of high school now. If I had a 7th or 8th grader I would be all over this. I lost trust in CPS bureaucrats long ago.

  • 43. RL Julia  |  July 29, 2010 at 9:50 am

    What I don’t really understand is everyone’s blanket acceptance that the only problem with the the select high schools select is a race or census tract based one. Last time I checked, a good ISAT score wasn’t much of a predictor of anything and grades can sometimes be quite subjective measures – depending on the quality of the teacher. I think it is terrible that a B student at CPS has so few decent high school options or opportunities to succeed or access the kinds of educational supports and opportunities that might benefit them.

    As a side note, most of the people I know who have Ph.Ds or who went to Yale or another ivy league school (or both) were not stellar middle school students. My today’s standards, they wouldn’t stand a chance getting into a select.

  • 44. curious  |  July 29, 2010 at 3:41 pm

    I agree. There are a few issues going on. We have the 100 student appointed spaces, tiers with misclassified data everywhere, grade inflation, public and private schools with varying grade scales, students from gifted schools losing out because they are getting B’s in an excellerated program. I’m sure I’ve left other important things out.
    It’s sad. The system is basically telling our kids that a B is not good enough and that perfection is what it takes.

  • 45. Dad  |  August 1, 2010 at 11:10 pm

    @cps obsessed: You assert that Caucasians may be, at 23%, overrepresented at SE schools because they comprise only 10% of the CPS population. But what if they comprise far greater than 10% of the top scorers? How, then, could limiting Caucasian admissions to 10% of the incoming SE class be fair?

  • 46. concerned  |  August 2, 2010 at 3:13 pm

    It’s not fair. My understanding is that the African American community protests the idea of SE using highest scores because it does allow a greater % of whites in with relation to the ratio of Caucasians in CPS. According to statements, the black community makes up the majority of CPS enrollment and depends on it. The numbers however support the fact that the top performing high schools have a significant white/asian population. So where does that leave us now that race is not supposed to be a factor? As much as we may want integration, is the solution to artificially pump up the demographics by appointing seats to students “in need”? 100 high scoring children of all races – rich or poor, single parented, families fighting cancer and unemployment etc – lost seats in the top 4. Need is all relative. Space should be awarded based on merit, Period.

  • 47. a dad  |  August 2, 2010 at 5:14 pm

    Something to keep in mind – when we look at this year’s results for admissions, saying that 23% of the admissons were caucasion yet only 10% of the CPS populatiuon is caucasian, this does seem “off”. However, the entire CPS population didn’t apply for those spots, so it really isn’t an accurate comparison. If people don’t have their kids tested they can’t get in. If the entire CPS population was tested and the results were as listed this year, that would be a different story.

  • 48. chicagoteacher  |  August 2, 2010 at 9:26 pm

    Having worked in north side past two years, I have to defend white parents wanting to send their kids to SE high schools. There are way more than 10% of school aged students who are white but many attend private schools. These white parents pay property taxes that fund CPS but they don’t get the benefit while saving CPS ton of money because they don’t have to educate them.

    If you really want to improve CPS system, you need most of these white parents to send their kids to CPS schools. Don’t forget who pays property taxed that fund CPS.

  • 49. Hawthorne mom  |  August 3, 2010 at 9:18 am

    Does anyone have the stats for the racial breakdown for the city as a whole? Wouldn’t it make more sense to compare, for example, how many caucasian children there are entering their freshman year in HS in the entire city (not just CPS) and then looking at how many get spots in SE high schools? My thought process is that while caucasian kids make up 9% of CPS, they make up a higher percentage of kids in the city of Chicago as a whole. This would be a better frame of reference than just using who actually attends CPS, since many middle and upper class families opt out of the system if their kids don’t get into a great public school.

  • 50. RL Julia  |  August 3, 2010 at 10:08 am

    From Wikipedia:
    “According to the 2006-2008 American Community Survey [85], the racial composition of the city are 39.9% White (Non-Hispanic Whites: 31.5%), 34.6% Black or African American, 0.2% American Indian, 4.9% Asian, 18.6% from some other race and 1.7% from Two or more races. Hispanic or Latino (of any race) make up 27.8% of the population”

    Since it seems like the city is trending towards 1/3 Hispanic, 1/3 African American and 1/3 Caucasian (although I would bet that the average age for a Caucasian Chicagoan would be higher than the average age for a Hispanic, don’t know about African Americans).

    I personally find these races-based discussions to be really depressing and well, sort of racist. I liked the idea of going by family income and while the census tract method was far from perfect, the race method didn’t exactly work for me either.

    The root of the problem is that there is a perception (and perhaps a reality) that a CPS education is not equal in value across the system. There is also a problem that there are more “gifted and talented” or potentially high achieving students then there are slots in schools that specialize in serving this particular population.

    I would also argue that there are more students with disabilities than the system can handle as well. This is all exacerbated by the perception (or perhaps reality) that if you have an average student, that child will be relegated to a school that is unsafe, uninspired and educationally inadequate. So basically, everyone has to have a rock star child – or send them to parochial or private or home schools.

  • 51. concerned  |  August 3, 2010 at 10:57 am

    The point is that the income method is a good way to give high achieving students of all backgrounds a break. This method is, however, in a typical Chicago politics kind of way, being bypassed by improper classification of tiers and out and out assignment of seats in order to placate various interest groups. It’s OK to therorize about how the system should be run until your child (after being tutored, prepped and prodded) is the one that doesn’t get in – it hurts, I’ve seen it.

  • 52. RL Julia  |  August 3, 2010 at 3:13 pm

    Can relate. Been there.

  • 53. Mayfair Dad  |  August 3, 2010 at 3:51 pm

    Point # 1.

    Suppose you asked a blue-ribbon panel of internationally acclaimed pastry chefs to create the recipe for the world’s greatest chocolate chip cookies. Now suppose when you set out to make the cookies, you used 10-year old rotten eggs instead of fresh eggs. Crappy cookies, right?

    10-year old Census information is rotten eggs.

    Point # 2.

    It is abundantly obvious to anyone involved with high school education in Chicago that there is a dire need for more seats at academically rigorous high schools. The gap in quality between the neighborhood high schools (50% drop out rate) and the SE high schools is vast. Just to be fair, lets add Von Stueben Scholars Program, Agricultural Magnet, Lincoln Park IB , maybe 1 or 2 more I’m not aware of into the mix. So maybe a dozen acceptable public high schools in a city the size of Chicago? Fear not, gentle taxpayer, Mayor Daley has a solution: more CHARTER high schools.

  • 54. Mayfair Dad  |  August 3, 2010 at 4:22 pm

    Ogden International, Alcott Liberal Arts and Chicago Performing Arts belong on the list, too. OK, now we’re up to 15.

  • 55. RL Julia  |  August 4, 2010 at 9:02 am

    Mayfair dad – totally agree. What’s your take on Elementary education?

  • 56. curious  |  August 4, 2010 at 9:26 am

    Makes perfect sense to me. Lets add more idependently run schools to the mix instead of making what we have into an acceptable alternative. The attraction to selective enrollment is that a specified academic level and testing are required. Imagine a school filled with students who want to learn – which is what everyone is scambling for in the few schools that offer this. The selective enrollment format needs to be carried over to more of the existing CPS schools that we have so that more of those qualifed 13,000 candidates have a real choice. CPS is losing top students to private schools and the suburbs because of this leaving the worst students to populate the neighborhood schools.

  • 57. Mayfair Dad  |  August 4, 2010 at 9:43 am

    @ RL Julia. In a perfect world, there wouldn’t be magnet schools because every child could walk to an excellent neighborhood school down the street and receive a first-class education. (I wonder how many posters on this blog remember what the original intent of magnet schools were? Hint: not yuppie designer label upgrade schools for Buffy & Jody) That being said, many people I know pull their kids out of an otherwise acceptable neighborhood school and try for magnets or opt for Catholic schools for one recurring reason: no gifted track offered. Gifted or accelerated track should be mandatory, like ESL and Special Ed, with fed funding behind it. This is a major flaw of most neighborhood schools – they offer nothing to stimulate the bright, college-bound student because the teachers’ energies are devoted to kids who can’t keep up and kids who can’t speak English. Smart kids get bored and start acting up in class. Gifted track would solve this. Full disclosure: my kids are in a gifted program and at a magnet school for this very reason.

  • 58. Hawthorne mom  |  August 4, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    I agree that every school needs to offer an accelerated track. But, here’s the thing. There are a number of schools which offer a comprehensive gifted program. I can think of three that I have observed firsthand. Those schools have so many “regular kids” who are so incredibly far behind, that while, yes, the “gifted” room is ahead of them, the gifted room is really only operating at actual grade level. Not above grade level.

    Not all cgp’s are like this, but some are. It is worth some very serious investigating if choosing a school because it has a comprehensive gifted program or an accelerated track. CGP’s need to truly be accelerated by a year or more. Otherwise, it is misleading to say that they are accelerated.

  • 59. curious  |  August 4, 2010 at 2:12 pm

    Good point – that is the case, for example, at Bateman elementary close to where I live

  • 60. Christine  |  August 10, 2010 at 10:27 pm

    What other schools would the point that #58 makes be applicable? We’re near South. Any in this area?

  • 61. @Christine  |  August 11, 2010 at 7:47 pm

    If you are South then Burnside elementary has a CGP which really is a program for parents whose children are on grade level and whose parents are involved. The curriculum really isn’s accelerated, it is on grade level per a parent whose child attends the school. In fact, my child sho attends a great magnet school on the south side did better than her child on the ISAT and she seemed upset about it. This is the reason she began investigating the curriculum. She quizzed me on what my child was studying and found out they were studying the same topic. I told her just go home and look at the books and sure enough (this was last year) both boys were in 5th grade and the books were on a fifth grade level. The CGP’s book were not a grade level above!

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