Magnet/Selective Enrollment Admission Changes

November 4, 2010 at 12:57 pm 211 comments

Well, it is a BIG news day in CPS, eh?  Thanks to MayfairDad for alerting us to this news on the CPS website (  Can someone help me make sense of it now?

November 4, 2010
Chicago Public Schools today released the Blue Ribbon Commission report on the Selective Enrollment and Magnet School Admission policy which includes several key changes in the one-year policy adopted by the District last year.

 Key changes in the new proposed policy include:

  • Sibling preference for non-entry grades for magnet schools.
  • Twins/triplets/multiples applications linked together for magnet schools.
  • Increasing the number of Selective Enrollment High School (SEHS) choices to six.
  • Including a sixth variable in socioeconomic tier score calculation — average attendance area school performance
  • Modifying the selection process for selective schools (both SEHS and Selective Enrollment Elementary Schools) to 30 percent rank order, and 70 percent tier.

 The Blue Ribbon Commission was charged with reviewing the one-year policy and making recommendations for any revisions to the policy. In July and August, the BRC convened three public forums to take public comment in addition to evaluating the effect of different policy changes on the system. 

 “When we implemented the one-year policy, we said we would review the results and ask the Blue Ribbon Commission to recommend any revisions they felt would make it more effective and representative of the diversity of the District,” said CPS Chief Executive Officer Ron Huberman. “We appreciate the time, effort and expertise shown by members of the commission and look forward to presenting these changes to our Board.”

 Members of the Blue Ribbon Commission include:

 Alderman Latasha Thomas,17th Ward, and Education Committee chairman

  • Alderman Freddrenna Lyle, 6th Ward
  • Miguel Del Valle, city clerk
  • Anna Alvarado, principal of Hawthorne Elementary
  • Alan Mather, principal of Lindblom Math & Science Academy
  • Cynthia Flowers, Black Star Community PTA
  • Lisa Scruggs Esq. Jenner &Block
  • Bertha Magana, JD, Latino Education Alliance
  • Dr. Mary Davidson, PhD, retired  

 The one-year policy under evaluation, which used socio-economic variables instead of race as a factor in admissions, was established after a federal court judge vacated a longstanding desegregation consent decree last fall.

 Under the one-year policy, approximately 40 percent of those admitted to Selective Enrollment High Schools are drawn from applicants based on their point ranking drawn from such criteria as test scores and grades; the remaining admissions are based on point ranking within four socio-economic groups drawn from updated U.S. Census tract data.

 SEHS principals also were given the latitude to admit up to 5 percent of their incoming classes through discretion, with those picks subject to a review process.

 Magnet school students were classified into one of three groups: sibling, proximity or general. If space was available, all siblings at the entry level were admitted. Up to 40 percent of the remaining seats were set aside for students within the proximity of each school, and the remaining seats were divided into four equal socio-economic diversity groups.  Lotteries were then held for each group of seats.

 Huberman is to present the BRC’s findings and the new proposed policy to the Chicago Board of Education at its monthly meeting tomorrow.  In all areas where the BRC presented a consensus recommendation, CPS incorporated that recommendation into the new policy. 

 The Board will be asked to vote on this proposed policy at the November 17th Board meeting.  The full BRC report and the proposed new policy can be found on the Office of Academic Enhancement’s website.

Entry filed under: Applying to schools.

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211 Comments Add your own

  • 1. smp  |  November 4, 2010 at 1:08 pm

    Tears of joy that my twins have a chance to be reunited next year for 1st grade if this new policy passes!

  • 2. momof4  |  November 4, 2010 at 1:20 pm

    What in the world does this mean:
    “Including a sixth variable in socioeconomic tier score calculation — average attendance area school performance.”

    Someone help me decipher this.

  • 3. CPSmama  |  November 4, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    momof4: I think it means that they will take into account how poor your neighborhood HS performs as one of the socioeconomic characteristics that determines whether you are in Tier 1, 2, 3 or 4. I assume it is to lower the tier of families who have moved into gentrifying areas where the schools haven’t caught up with the attractiveness of the neighborhood yet. (i.e. West loop, university village, bucktown,etc) In other words,it will help the affluent more than the poor.

  • 4. Hawthorne mom  |  November 4, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    So it sounds like that means if your neighborhood elementary or high school is horrible, that will help your chances of getting into a better performing magnet! Yay! What a smart thing to include! I am also thrilled to know that my friend with triplets will likely be able to send all of her kids to one school next year, assuming there are openings!
    I wonder, though, how all the parents of kids who live near great elementary schools, but would prefer a magnet or a gifted feel about this. Looks like their chances just decreased, unless they get in via sheer test score.
    My family lives near a crappy elementary school and an even worse high school, so from my perspective, this is good news in terms of high school…..though somehow I doubt that this policy will stay in place for long.

  • 5. adad  |  November 4, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    @3 Actually, I thought maybe it meant that a student’s performance in school would be rated in comparison to the average performance in their local school. In other words if you are in “A” student in an area where the school has horrible performance levels then your score would be padded compared to an “A” student who got an education at a higher performing school. This way they would reward those who do well in horrible conditions, much like the additional 100 seats given out this year. I could be way off though.

  • 6. Mayfair Dad  |  November 4, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    I think adad is onto something. My initial reaction is this new socio-ecomic variable tied to the neighborhood school performance would help level the playing field for lower income kids enrolled in an underperforming school in a Tier 3 or Tier 4 neighborhood. Not sure how the formula would work and I can’t find details on yet.

  • 7. cps Mom  |  November 4, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    I would say they are looking to replace the debacle of assigning seats out of order, that no one liked. Sounds like a better idea. I think it would be pretty tough to manipulate tier level based upon the performance of the local high school since that would put 90% of the applicants into play (speaking tongue and cheek of course)

  • 8. RL Julia  |  November 4, 2010 at 2:19 pm

    Where exactly is the report to be found on the OAE website? I can only find the report released in the summer.

    As far as the average attendance area school performance – I imagine it would help everyone who has a terrible neighborhood school who wanted their kid to go somewhere else.

    I wonder if the 5% principal discretion will be taken from the 30% of the 70% pool?

    On the multiples thing – It sounds great but in the end of it all what if one of the multiples has a bad testing day – does that mean that neither gets in? Will multiples end up competing against other multiples for slots? Since the applications are linked – not given preference will the scores be averaged or something? What about the SE HS? Does the multiple thing hold true then? Should it?

  • 9. Hawthorne mom  |  November 4, 2010 at 2:22 pm

    The linking of multiples is only for magnet schools, not for gifted/classical schools.

  • 10. cpsobsessed  |  November 4, 2010 at 2:23 pm

    I’m having trouble getting my head around the attendance thing, but I guess it helps down/up-grade your Tier, just like the criteria about the % of families with single parents does.

    For the multiples, I think that just applies to lottery spots, not test-in spots. Does anyone else interpret it differently?

    Yeah, dropping the top-score down to 30% from 40% is a big drop. I thought 40% was a little high, personally. (I have just been teased on Facebook for being a socialist at heart btw. )

  • 11. cps mom 5  |  November 4, 2010 at 2:24 pm

    I’m glad I did not submit my form yet as this will change which schools we list.

  • 12. EDB  |  November 4, 2010 at 2:26 pm

    I can’t find the new presentation. The links take me back to the one from earlier in the summer. Can anyone help?

  • 13. EDB  |  November 4, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    OK, I found the text you posted on, but am wondering if there is anywhere to calculate Tier based on the proposal. I’m wondering what, if any, impact this will have on us.

  • 14. momof4  |  November 4, 2010 at 2:39 pm

    It’s all on the OAE website. Wow. Take a look.

  • 15. RL Julia  |  November 4, 2010 at 2:50 pm

    But has it been updated to reflect the new recommendations or is it the same as what was used for last year’s lottery?

  • 16. Hawthorne mom  |  November 4, 2010 at 2:52 pm

    When I look at the link above and the section reporting ISAT performance, it looks to me that having a bad neighborhood school will help a child’s chances of getting into a good school. But who knows? Maybe it means actually BEING in that bad school that will help high school admissions only, like pp’s have suggested.

  • 17. Hawthorne mom  |  November 4, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    Sorry to post so much, but here is another page that already has determined people’s tiers and it can only mean that being in a bad school’s attendance area will help kids. Our tier (2) hasn’t changed, but I know an awful lot of families just north of us who are tier 1 who will have a pretty decent shot at magnets and SE schools now.

  • 18. Hawthorne mom  |  November 4, 2010 at 3:15 pm

    This report indicates that the proximity lottery won’t be used at magnets that are majority one race. Probably will affect my school since it is predominantly white….neighborhood families won’t like that!

  • 19. mom  |  November 4, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    There are a number of interesting recommendations in the SEMagnetAdmissions_Principal_Presentation_draft.

    For example – what does this mean?
    If the school is more than 50% within the proximity, AND more than 50% any one race, then the proximity lottery would be eliminated and all students placed in the general lottery.

    And then there’s this:
    Remove candidates who don’t respond to offers after the second round of admissions

    Also interesting that they might request current and application address verification

  • 20. fiveofnine  |  November 4, 2010 at 3:34 pm

    Okay, can someone guide me to the link for neighborhood school performance ranking?

  • 21. Grace  |  November 4, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    Ifor those of you who have older kids

    The panel wants to cut to 30% the number of seats for the highest ranking students. This would be the second cut in 2 years. It began at 50%, then was quickly cut to 40%, and now to 30%.

    That means CPS eliminates about 300-350 of its highest scoring students from district 299, making room for lower scoring students.

  • 22. Grace  |  November 4, 2010 at 4:07 pm

    Sorry, to be more specific, I’m referring to s.e. high schools.

  • 23. cps Mom  |  November 4, 2010 at 4:32 pm

    That 10% difference may not make a big difference because the high scoring kids will get in by tier anyway. Assuming that all the kids that got in by rank were not tier 4 kids (this I know for a fact). It could theoretically hurt lower tiers if lower tiered students were at the bottom of the ranking students. I could see this being a problem if they keep chipping away at rank – could this be the plan? I thought this whole thing was generated by U of I students that were high scoring and passed over by political pull hence forcing the system to take students by rank. Of course we will never know for sure because no data has been released (even though that was promised)

    I like the bit about being taken out of the pool after 2 declines. That must have been a nightmare for them with all the shuffling that went on after the fact. Take the spot or let someone else have it!

  • 24. adad  |  November 4, 2010 at 4:32 pm

    Regarding the link in @17. I looked at this new tier map and it doesn’t make sense. We are now part of tier 4 (on a block of condos and apartments) yet across the street is tier 3 (large $$ houses) but we are all part of the Waters school area. How can this be?

  • 25. RL Julia  |  November 4, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    It looks like the multiples rule is only in effect in magnet schools – not in selective enrollment elementary or high schools. So no multiple preference at Edison or Coonley but yes to Bell?

    am I reading this right?
    Siblings – Priority Admission to Magnet Schools – The CEO is authorized to establish a percentage of seats to be allocated to siblings up to and including admission of all siblings. Siblings of currently enrolled students in magnet schools shall be given priority in enrollment as specified in the CEO’s admissions guidelines, provided that the enrolled sibling and the applicant sibling reside in the same household and will be attending the same school at the same time for at least one school year. For the purposes of this policy, the term sibling means natural siblings, step siblings, foster siblings and adopted siblings, as evidenced by documentation required by the Office of Academic Enhancement. For magnet high schools and high school magnet programs with academic requirements, sibling applicants must meet eligibility requirements in order to qualify for sibling priority admission. A sibling of a student who will be graduated, or who is scheduled to transfer to another school, prior to the enrollment of the sibling who is applying for admission, shall not be eligible for this priority. The priority admission only applies to twins, triplets or high order births and siblings seeking enrollment at entry and non-entry level
    grades. The priority admission of siblings outlined in this section does not apply to SEHS, SEES, or any other selective enrollment schools or programs. The CEO may establish a modified sibling preference for magnet cluster programs and magnet schools with defined attendance areas.

  • 26. momof4  |  November 4, 2010 at 4:38 pm

    Clearly, the trend is to eliminate rank order altogether. Now that would be a tragedy. Perhaps the word selective has a different definition in CPS world.
    Again, this latest policy stands for only one year. I cannot believe that we need to go through this again and again and again.

  • 27. mom2  |  November 4, 2010 at 4:40 pm

    @21,22 – Yes, it looks like “they” are very concerned with getting more black students into the top SE schools (if you read the blue ribbon report carefully). They are so concerned that they are willing to eliminate the students that most deserve those spots based on scores. These students work so hard to get those points and now if they happen to live in the wrong place, they don’t get accepted. This bothers me greatly. It is as if they will do anything to work around the supreme court ruling. I love the diversity of the city, that’s why we live here and not the burbs, but I don’t want forced diversity if it means not accepting the most qualified students.

  • 28. mom2  |  November 4, 2010 at 4:44 pm

    Also, did anyone notice that the committee recommends one grade scale for all CPS? Will that be voted on, too?

  • 29. cpsobsessed  |  November 4, 2010 at 4:54 pm

    @24 – adad, yeah, that neighborhood (mine, as well) is very mixed by tier. I see at the corner of Lawrence and Kedzie, there are 3 different tiers at that corner!
    I’m not sure how fine the census tracts are, but that could explain the differences by block, even within a school district.
    I wonder if these tier rankings will stay constant? I guess not if they can add new criteria every year. I will be moving next year and I’m scouting out the red zones….

  • 30. pessimistic  |  November 4, 2010 at 4:56 pm

    Not to sound like a pessimist but lowering the percentage from 50% now down to 30% this year will change the make up of kids ate these SE schools….isn’t that why we call them selective enrollment high schools in the first place? people seem to forget that they are not just a regular high school in the neighborhood–they are selective in nature, so you must work to get in (and also, work even harder when you are in) How would it be if Harvard or Yale started doing this for college applications–giving only a small percentage of spots to the highest scoring applicants, but making entrance criteria easier for applicants with lower income, and some other obscure reasons…..Already, many of the SE high schools have several kids who have a full 900 points for entrance–so what are we going to do now–turn away some of these high performing students so that a student with lower points can get into these schools instead. Just to do the math, a school like Walter Payton had 60 kids with perfect scores last year-so by applying the 30% rule this year, those kids would be the only kids who would get in this year and rest of the new students would come in with lower points…..aren’t we right back where we started before the consent decree was lifted? To me, this new system seems even more unfair for the kid who busted their butt last year (in 7th grade) and finds out now that their 897 points are not enough to get into one of the top schools in Chicago. So much has to change before the admissions standards change mid stream like this (like the things that have been discussed on this blog) but this move to me will change the schools altogether. Glad to not be in the hs rat race this time around….and isn’t it ironic that hubie won’t be around to get the grief. What a messed up school system we have…..

  • 31. Mayfair Dad  |  November 4, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    In the short term, this doesn’t impact Mayfair Son as our Tier designation did not change, nor did the numeric definition of an “A” get solidified, nor did the SE rubric change re: points awarded for A vs. B. But at least now we know.

    I will have to sit with this for a while and try to ascertain the larger implications. It does seem they are tilting the playing field to accept more poor and minority students at the expense of merit-based students. If I listen to my better angel I know this is the right thing for society, but it sure won’t help my kids.

  • 32. cps Mom  |  November 4, 2010 at 5:00 pm

    @27 – students that don’t make it by rank automatically go to the tier pool. Very high scoring students will get in. It will be the lowest scoring tier 4 students that would be affected if you assume that rank = tier 4 – which is not a valid assumption.

    My hot spot has been the grade scale – where is the discussion of one grade scale?

  • 33. mom2  |  November 4, 2010 at 5:23 pm

    “• Standardizing Grading Scale City wide
    o Background: Historically, each school has been allowed to set its own grading scale.
    o 2010‐2011 Policy: Each school set its own grading scale.
    o BRC Findings: Allowing each school to set its own grading scale creates an added layer
    of complication for SEHS admissions. Because each school is unique, a 92 at one school
    might be an “A” where it would be a “B” at another school. Many parents and school
    administrators feel this gives their students an unfair disadvantage. They feel they are
    being penalized because their grading scales are more rigorous. However, they don’t
    want to diminish the rigor of the program, they just want a level playing field for their
    o BRC Recommendation: The BRC believes standardizing the grading scale is an
    important step towards creating equity in the selection process and, as such, the BRC
    strongly recommends that the Board adopt a universal grading scale for all CPS
    Found on the BRC Final Report

  • 34. cpsobsessed  |  November 4, 2010 at 5:25 pm

    Thanks #33. That’s great they included that in the reco.
    So is that part of what CPS is planning to adopt? I haven’t been able to delve in yet…

  • 35. mom  |  November 4, 2010 at 5:26 pm

    Pessimistic has a great point. For the gifted program, going from 50% performance-based to 30% performance based erodes the entire premise of a gifted program. This to me is clearly CPS deciding they are really no longer in the business of providing specialized gifted education. Particularly at the elementary level, lots of very bright kids who really do need something different, regardless of tier, are going to get stuck in neighborhood schools. At the HS level, this will end up pulling the rug out of some very hard-working kids who now happen to have the wrong address.

  • 36. mom2  |  November 4, 2010 at 5:29 pm

    @cpsobsessed – “So is that part of what CPS is planning to adopt? I haven’t been able to delve in yet…”
    I don’t know. I can’t find anything more on this. Does anyone else know? Why would they ignore that or am I just missing it?

  • 37. Hawthorne mom  |  November 4, 2010 at 5:40 pm

    Does anyone know….
    1) do the SE high schools have different levels of classes within them? As in honors, double honors, etc.? To me, different levels of class offerings would soothe any worries people might have about kids of any tier with lower scores pulling down higher scoring/ability kids. I mean, if a student is taking 3-4 A.P. classes each year, which is not uncommon, who cares if a lower scoring peer is taking regular classes down the hall? High schools are large enough to ability group quite well.
    2) does anyone have information on how many kids from each tier would have been admitted last year IF strict score was used? For example, would 60% of the kids been from tier 4, 25% tier 3, etc…
    I am at least curious how the data plays out if scores were only used.

    Maybe CPS needs to create 2-3 high schools that only rely on scores and keep the current schools as they are, with some kids having the advantage of their tier to help them get in. Put one on the north side, one on the west side and one on the south side.

  • 38. lauren  |  November 4, 2010 at 6:23 pm

    Contrary to the BRC comments, the fact is that CPS has a recommended grading scale that it issued to elementary schools. On paper. And which was distributed to parents, if the schools chose to do so.

    Some schools have chosen to ignore the CPS recommendations and lowered their standards in order to inflate grades. This serves the purpose of getting more students into SEHS, it serves no instructional goal.

    The principal of Hawthorne Elementary, a school that long ago dropped its academic standards (90% is an A) is on the Blue Ribbon Commission making these changes to SEHS policy. One imagines that is the basis for the disingenuous and self-serving representation that schools made unilateral grading scale decisions in 2010-2011. In fact, some school have been gaming this system for many, many years. (Hawthorne, Burley, LaSalle etc.)

    CPS needs to man up and say NO to schools dropping academic standards. But they’d rather kowtow to politicians and pursue SEHS reform as a social engineering project, instead of supporting schools serving high-achieving students.

  • 39. Mom2  |  November 4, 2010 at 8:00 pm

    @38, Hawthorne had a grading scale of A=93 or above until last year. No “gaming this system for many many years.” They changed it to match other schools that went to the standard system across most states for years and years. And, all students currently in any SEHS from Hawthorne, including this year’s freshman, were on that same A=93 scale. So, you are out of your mind.

    And, as I have said in numerous posts before, if the concern about having an A=90 seems like lowering academic standards, then the issue is with the curriculum and expectations – not the grade scale. Teach more difficult subject matter, teach more in depth on the subjects, expect more from your students and the academic standards go up. You don’t have to make it harder to get an A to appear to have higher academic standards. That gives a false impression of high academics.

  • 40. cps Mom  |  November 4, 2010 at 8:03 pm

    #33 – just read through the whole BRC recommendation letter. According to what I read, there was no consensus on the 70/30 split or the tier change and they had no recommendation. So… are these in fact proposed changes or a mandate from CPS?? Possibilities of voting that down at the meeting exist?? Another interesting point is that they are recommending keeping the cut-offs that various schools have in place. So, it seems like no matter how you add it up, you are still dealing with pretty much the same pool of kids.

    Hawthorne mom – Other than Lane, which has 5 or 6 different tracks that a student can take, I believe that the SE schools offer only 1 class level. At Jones, all classes are honors level with the option of taking AP (or not). There are no special classes or separation of students by level. A more advanced student may place out of an entry level class – I’m sure it’s the same everywhere. We signed an agreement that basically said that if our child can’t keep up this may not be the right school for him/her. I don’t believe it to be common, but a student would be asked to leave if they are unable to do the work. The students from all tiers at the selective enrollment schools are high scoring.

  • 41. cps Mom  |  November 4, 2010 at 8:12 pm

    @39 maybe the point is that the current 8th graders at Hawthorne or other schools will have an advantage over the 8th graders at schools that stuck with an existing grade scale of 93. For that matter, unless things are changed, it will be the same next year because 7th grade as already started with the multitude of grading scales. Many schools didn’t even know that this problem existed until it became apparent with last years SE process. Sounds like @38 is still under the impression (as many have been) that the 93 scale was CPS policy.

  • 42. Mom2  |  November 4, 2010 at 8:32 pm

    @41 – I totally believe that the grade scale should be change immediately so that all schools have the same scale. I am not in favor of one school having an advantage over another. In fact, I wish that CPS would mandate a standard right now and before the first report card pick up.

    I was just pointing out that #38 was very wrong in the statement, “The principal of Hawthorne Elementary, a school that long ago dropped its academic standards (90% is an A) is on the Blue Ribbon Commission making these changes to SEHS policy…. IIn fact, some school have been gaming this system for many, many years. (Hawthorne, Burley, LaSalle etc.)” I don’t know about Burley and LaSalle, but the principal at Hawthorne hasn’t been gaming any system for years and as far as I hear, their academic standards are far from low. Making 90% equal to an A doesn’t have to lower standards, you just change how and what you teach to offer a rigorous curriculum.

  • 43. lauren  |  November 4, 2010 at 8:46 pm

    @39 My bad – the information distributed at our school was that this change happened under the helm of the previous principal, Mawrence.

    In any event, the CPS published grading scale recommends an “A” be awarded only to students performing at 93%. Call it a policy, call it a recommendation, call it a guide. Whatever. That’s what CPS issued. The system “across most states for years and years” is irrelevant in the SEHS world.

    As to lowering standards, the research is clear: lowering standards results in lower performance levels. It is not a content or curriculum issue (!?), it’s a nearly Pavlovian response to a reward system. The seminal research on this issue is a decade old. Conclusion: “In models in which we control for student-level fixed effects, we find substantial evidence that higher grading standards benefit students.” (Journal of Public Economics).

    Dropping the bar is a bad idea for all students. And it is being cynically executed by some schools to get ahead. End of story.

  • 44. Lauren  |  November 4, 2010 at 9:04 pm

    Posted on this website in October, 2009:

    “I got a note this week from my son’s school that referenced the CPS recommended grading scale, which I have to admit surprised me. Here’s how it looks:

    A 93%-100%

    B 88% – 92%

    C 78% – 87%

    D 70% – 77%

    F 0% – 69%”

  • 45. cps Mom  |  November 4, 2010 at 9:08 pm

    Here’s where I disagree. I really don’t think that an elementary school child is sophisticated enough to only work to a 93% or a 90% so that they can get an A and no more. I think that most kids aim for high grade and the % falls where it falls. Will they push harder to get A’s – yes, hopefully. But putting it further and further from grasp and obtainable for only a clear few can be very discouraging for a child. If you tell me that maybe they are just a B student – I can buy that. But the line has to be drawn that is consistent and comparable throughout the system. Right now our selective enrollment system is telling our students that a B isn’t good enough.

  • 46. Mom2  |  November 4, 2010 at 9:42 pm

    “higher grading standards” can mean different things to different people. It can either mean that you must get a 93 or 95 or whatever to get an A without making the class any more difficult or rigorous or it can mean that it will be harder to get a 90 (still an A) because of the difficult curriculum and higher expectations of the teacher.
    In any case, a standard across all of CPS (elementary, middle and high school) should be mandated. Having teachers or principals decide for themselves is crazy and unfair to our students that must compete with each other (where a 93=A could still be fair as long as they are all the same scale) and with others outside of CPS for both high school and college (where a 93=A could be a huge disadvantage since we cannot mandate the same scale at other schools in other places).

  • 47. Hawthorne mom  |  November 4, 2010 at 9:59 pm

    I am confused why another school would be putting out such outdated and inaccurate information about another school. (the former principal retired what? 3, 4, 5 years ago? That’s a lifetime in CPS)
    Hawthorne is consistenly ranked the #1 top scoring school in the state, out of all middle schools that do not require testing to get in. Low standards? Hardly.
    The fact that CPS can’t figure out how to grow a pair and enforce the same grading scale for all its schools is a sign of ineffectual and weak leadership at the top, not of schools trying to “game” the system. I’ve taught in 3 different countries, in private, public and a northshore suburban district, too. I have never seen such a screwy system like CPS. Some of its schools are GREAT, because of great parents, teachers and principals who make greatness happen in spite of awful people who call themselves leaders at the top.

  • 48. letmykidsin  |  November 4, 2010 at 10:22 pm

    Here is the article about it in the Tribune:,0,5506287.story

  • 49. Grace  |  November 4, 2010 at 10:56 pm

    From the Tribune article:

    ” Last year, 40 percent of openings in selective schools went to students with top academic scores and the rest were divided among top-scoring students in the four socioeconomic groups.

    This year, only 30 percent of the openings will be reserved for students with top scores overall.

    While the district can no longer take race specifically into account because of the federal decree, Katie Ellis, director of student assignment at CPS, said it hopes the new factors will be able to promote socioeconomic and racial diversity in competitive schools by increasing the chances of students living in 134 of the census tracts. CPS predicts it could increase the percentage of African-American and Hispanic students in selective enrollment high schools by 1 percent each. ”

    Hispanics got 5% more seats overall this school year in the s.e. schools. Blacks lost less than 3% of seats overall.

    The planned 10% cut in seats means that roughly 350 fewer top scoring students will be given a seat at the top schools next year.

    Remember: this cut comes on top of a 10% cut last year, when southside parents complained to CPS about setting aside 50% of s.e. seats for the highest scoring students, which was the original recommendation of the Harvard social policy expert, Mr. Kahlenberg.

    So, in just one year, one group of parents and their politicians have pressured CPS to cut the number of seats for high scoring students from 50% to 30%. That’s a loss of about 700 top-scoring students.

    Remember, for the current school year, whites made up 17% of the s.e. schools enrollment overall and Asians accounted for about 10%, the SAME percentages as last year.

    They did not increase their share of seats at the expense of minorities in Chicago. Even counted together, these 2 groups had many fewer seats than either blacks or Hispanics at s.e. schools, overall. That is partly because a number of s.e. schools reside in minority neighborhoods, and those schools reflect their neighborhoods.

    Further, it makes no sense that 2 Chicago alderman sat on the Blue Ribbon panel, and that CPS invited no parent group other than Black Star Community PTA and a Latino parent group.

    Do whites and Asians pay taxes, too? They make up more than 1/3 of the city’s population, but have no place at the table.

  • 50. agree with lauren  |  November 4, 2010 at 11:58 pm

    I agree. An “A” in an honors class at Lane really means something. (95% and above). Geez–what happened to the gentleman’s C? Grades are pretty meaningless now.

  • 51. Grace  |  November 5, 2010 at 1:55 am

    Regarding # 26, 27, 30 and the ever-interesting Mayfair Dad #31:

    The Blue Ribbon panel has ignored Mayor Daley’s release of $111 million to build a new Jones College Prep. This adds many seats for high school and for a 7th & 8th grade Academic Center to prepare kids for high school.

    Mayor Daley also released $35 million in TIF money to expand seats at Brooks on the far south side.

    Additional capacity is the very best way to increase diversity without hamstringing top-scoring students.

    Why wasn’t this factored into the BRC’s recommendations?

    The BRC’s approach appears to hurt the individual.

  • 52. Uptown Mom  |  November 5, 2010 at 7:06 am

    @51 – Good point about Jones, but the contract was just approved this year and I couldn’t find a construction schedule or projected completion date on the PBC’s website.

    How long did it take to complete Skinner West and the new Ogden buildings? It could be at least two years before the new Jones is open, and it looks like the BRC recommendations will be applied for a 1-year admissions policy with BRC to revisit in next year.

  • 53. Grace  |  November 5, 2010 at 7:17 am

    BRC recommendations — this year or next — are most likely to continue to move one class ahead at the expense of the individual, top-scoring student.

    It is very unlikely to come under review in the future despite an increase in capacity.

  • 54. M  |  November 5, 2010 at 7:58 am

    For the vast majority of applicants, the new criteria of neighborhood school performance won’t affect chances at all. They are adding this sixth criteria to the existing five criteria for determining a census tract’s tier level. I compared the five-criteria map with the proposed six-criteria map, and although I was just eyeballing it, could only see two or three tracts that had actually changed levels. This makes sense, because for a sixth criteria to make a difference, the school(s) performance had to be very starkly different from the other SES criteria used, and my guess is that they are usually correlated. It would be interesting for someone to do an overlay map showing which census tracts actually change, and which way, to lower or higher.

  • 55. M  |  November 5, 2010 at 8:06 am

    I also want to say that those who are forecasting doom for the quality of students at SEHS are overreacting. Currently, 40 percent of offers are given to top scorers regardless of SES, and then 15 percent to the top scorers in each tier. Under the proposed new system, the split willl be 30 percent first, then 17.5 percent to the top scorers in each tier. If you make the assumption that the lowest scorers to be admitted come from tiers 1 and 2 (which is somewhat borne out by data published), then this change basically has the effect of reserving an additional 2.5 percent of seats for applicants from the lower tiers, and those are likely to be students with lower overall scores, but everything is relative. Given the scanty number of seats at SEHS, even these students will likely be smart, motivated and perfectly capable of the work demanded of them at the schools.

  • 56. mom2  |  November 5, 2010 at 8:54 am

    #50 -“I agree. An “A” in an honors class at Lane really means something. (95% and above). ” – Your statement implies to me that you think that honors classes at Lane are somewhat easy and so the only way to have an A mean something is to make it difficult to achieve. I disagree totally. I took mostly honors courses at my high school growing up. They were difficult and challenging and an A=90 or higher. It was hard to get an A and it meant something when you got one. If someone fears that their class is too easy and that too many kids will get an A if they make the grading scale standard 90, 80, 70, then they need to take a look at what they are teaching and expecting.

  • 57. mom2  |  November 5, 2010 at 9:02 am

    #55 – I believe you are correct that this change may not have a huge impact on the overall quality of students or scores. But I agree with Grace that selective enrollment means selective and merit is being overlooked by trying to get more diversity – specifically more African Americans based on the blue ribbon panel – and this is wrong. I don’t think anyone would be so calm if they had a child (in tier 3 or 4) that they believed would have been at the bottom of their tier group that was admitted last year and now this year they will not receive an offer because CPS decided someone from a lower tier, with lower scores should get the spot. They keep lowering the merit portion of the rules (50, 40 and now 30%) and that is concerning.

  • 58. cps Mom  |  November 5, 2010 at 9:13 am

    I have mentioned above a couple times. 10% fewer rank offers does not mean those kids will not get offers. They will get in by tier and they can take 1, 2, 3 or 4 tier spaces. Also, if the lower 10% of rank offers are not tier 4, it will actually be a disadvantage for other tiers. But who knows. It will very much depend upon the pool of candidates. Interesting how they feel after all this manipulation of % and tiers and NCLB seats that they only predict a 1% increase in Black and Hispanic students. As I said, looks like we are really dealing with the same pool of kids.

    Whatever happened to Asian as a minority? No one seems to be concerned that those % are going down.

    Anyone know what the cut off scores are for the schools? The info states that OAE will determine cut off. It would be nice if people knew before applying.

    Something is up with the tiers. My tier went from 2 to 3 – OK, we have an OK performing neighborhood school on the northside. A friend in the gentrified area of Olde Town with a neighborhood school in Cabrini Green is still a 4. Looks like the 6th criteria was only applied where it could benefit minorities.

    I also resent the fact that the presentation blatantly added the neighborhood lottery limitations due to the lack of diversity in some “northside” neighborhoods.

  • 59. cps Mom  |  November 5, 2010 at 9:23 am

    BTW I do agree that if the rank % gets any lower, it will impact high scoring tier 3 and 4 students. And yes, the initial 50% would have let more 3 and 4 students in. No idea what that does to race but that’s not supposed to be the point. The statement was that the % change would impact diversity.

    At this level, I believe that all high scoring kids will get in and a school like Northside will not be impacted in any way because their cut off was 950 last year and they took most of their students from rank and tier 4.

  • 60. CPSmama  |  November 5, 2010 at 10:02 am

    @Hawthormemom & cpsmom: WY, NS, Lane all ahve regular, honors and AP level classes. NS added them this year, I beleive to accomodate the needs of the NCLB students. NOt sure about Jones & Payton, though.

    And the proposed CPS uniform grading scale will NOT take effect until nexy year at the soonest. And schools will still have the ability to make their own grading scales that are different.

    I agree w/ posters that getting an A at Lane or another school where 95 is the cutoff is more of an accomplishment than getting an A when the cutoff is a 90. That’s just simple mathematics folks.

    FYI: the scale at Lane is:

    A= 95-100
    F= 74 & below

    The part I find most problematic is not that a 95 is the lowest a, its that an 87 is a C! That’s absurd.

  • 61. EJB  |  November 5, 2010 at 10:09 am

    These grade scales amaze me. I grew up with a 10 point grade scale & thought that was standard everywhere.
    F=59 & below.

    It amazes me that a score (87) that was a high B in all of my education would be a C at Lane. That can only hurt kids applying to colleges.

  • 62. mom2  |  November 5, 2010 at 10:22 am

    Yes, getting an A at Lane is more of an accomplishment than getting an A at Northside or Payton. Agree 100%. But no one looks at a Lane student and thinks of them as being better, smarter or working harder than someone at Northside or Payton. Right? If making it harder to get an A meant what some posters have said, then Lane would have a better reputation than those schools. It is an amazing school, but their grading scale is not helping them. The point is that Lane is hurting their students and doing them a disservice with this grading scale and I totally agree that an 87 for a C is absurd. We need a standard scale. Why do you say that a standard policy would not happen this year? Why do you say that schools will still have the ability to make their own scales? How do you know that? I don’t understand why this is so difficult for CPS to enforce.

  • 63. clarification  |  November 5, 2010 at 10:23 am

    Northside Prep has honors and AP classes–no regular classes, not even for NCLB.

  • 64. M  |  November 5, 2010 at 12:06 pm

    Re: #58 “I also resent the fact that the presentation blatantly added the neighborhood lottery limitations due to the lack of diversity in some “northside” neighborhoods.”

    If you look at the schools’ demographic data, none of the most popular northside elementary magnet schools will be affected by the new rule. The new rule of not holding a neighborhood lottery will only apply when two criteria are both met, and one of the criteria is that more than 50 percent of the current student population is of a single race. None of these schools have that situation: Disney, Franklin, Hawthorne, Jackson, LaSalle. The largest racial group in each school and the percentage of the students in it are respectively: black 40 percent, black 36 percent, white 43 percent, white 31 percent, white 35 percent.

  • 65. EJB  |  November 5, 2010 at 12:10 pm

    it may however impact majority non-white schools (LaSalle II, Drummond). There’s no way to know if the student population is more than 50% in proximity, but each of these schools is >50% hispanic.

  • 66. Grace  |  November 5, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    This forum is helpful. Do you think CPS should publish a list of all magnet schools, their majority populations, and whether they will hold a neighborhood lottery?

  • 67. CPSmama  |  November 5, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    mom2 : per lane’s principal, there was a meeting yesterday. It was decided that CPS and schools will evaluate current grading scale situation this year and implement new grading scale parameters at end of this year (to take effect next year) after input from all stakeholders. I am anticipating forums that parents can attend to voice their opinions-similar to what was done for SE admissions this past summer.

  • 68. RL Julia  |  November 5, 2010 at 1:57 pm

    It seems to me that with the SE admission policy, the kids at the bottom of the tiers (and perhaps more so in Tier 4?) will be the one’s potentially most effected – Gotta remember that even though fewer kids will be admitted on a straight merit basis, there will be more kids admitted via the tiers. I am sure that the schools will remain chock full of talented kids capable of doing the work and thrilled to be accepted.

    To #30 – Pessimistic – Let me assure you that Harvard and Yale do not admit solely on the basis of academic merit alone. There are many pools of applicants who receive extra consideration (such as children of alumni, athletes, residents of New Haven and racial minorities to name just a few). A better analogy would probably be Berkeley.

  • 69. cps Mom  |  November 5, 2010 at 2:05 pm

    @67 – grade scale policy! For all CPS? I think it’s horrific that this was not addressed for current 8th graders and now 7th graders – not to mention those graduating high school. What’s to debate? The number is not as important as the uniformity.

  • 70. mom2  |  November 5, 2010 at 2:16 pm

    @69 – I totally agree. I am more than frustrated that they have to “think about this” again and again. I’ve heard this for years how they have to look into the situation, contemplate it, review it, get feedback from all stakeholders, etc. My husband says this reply is typical of people in academics. They have to look at things so much they never make a solid decision. I am so disappointed in CPS, in Lane’s administration with no guts and everyone else that doesn’t see how simple this is. One standard for all is easy to implement. You change the grade speed, portal or whatever you call it to one standard set of rules for all and it calculates the grades. If a teacher wants to give a grade without looking at points, they write in a grade. Done.

  • 71. grade scale  |  November 5, 2010 at 2:24 pm

    Let’s face it. An honors class at Lane is probably equivalent to regular classes at Payton and NS–in fact I think all of their classes are honors. Lane is much more diverse and as a result, more interesting, imo, but that means that you really can’t compare regular classes at Lane with those at Payton and NSCP. The grades are weighted in honors classes-so a C counts as a B. I guess I think that preserving the recognition an A in an honors class at Lane is more important than equalizing a grading scale that really isn’t equal anyway.

  • 72. cpsobsessed  |  November 5, 2010 at 2:30 pm

    Regarding the grade scale, I’m going to have to concur that while I definitely think it needs to be standard within CPS, at some point it’s the curriculum that dictates academic rigor.
    I think I’ve mentioned before that my mom has subsitute taught in what are the WORST Chicago high schools. I’m sure those kids are being taught at a much lower academic level than they should be (they have to given what she reports are their reading and writing skills.) But there are still kids there getting A’s. Probably the same % as in other schools. It doesn’t matter if those schools use 90% or 93% as the cutoff, they’re not teaching with rigor or at what many of us would consider an acceptable level. It’s just an inherent difference by school. I assume that colleges somehow take that into account, but it’s frustrating with CPS for SEHS admission since it becomes so numeric, which means you end up comparing apples to oranges. The grading scale at Lane means nothing without knowing what is being taught there.

  • 73. mom2  |  November 5, 2010 at 3:28 pm

    #71 – “Lane is much more diverse and as a result, more interesting, imo, but that means that you really can’t compare regular classes at Lane with those at Payton and NSCP. ” – What does this mean? Because the school is more diverse, the academic rigor is less? You didn’t really mean that, did you? Also, I don’t think anyone was comparing regular level classes at Lane with honors classes at Payton and NSCP. They were comparing honors level at both. And, by the way, even regular level classes at Lane have this higher grading scale.

    For some of you, I suppose that you think a regular level class at Lane is equal to 8th grade at some crappy school somewhere, since honors level at Lane isn’t worth much in your minds. You do realize that kids with perfect 900 point scores are going to Lane and taking some of these classes. What are you saying about them and their education?

    You are all greatly mistaken. The school and the classes (with a few exceptions as in any school) are wonderful, challenging even for a perfect 900 point student and deserve the same recognition and reputation as any of the “top 4” so many of you mention. The school was named #10 in the state for two years in a row. Pretty impressive for a diverse school of 4000 students.

    I am tired of this. I feel as though I have lost a battle that should never have had to be fought in the first place.

    Do Harvard and Yale have a 95%=A? If not, I guess they must not have high standards.

  • 74. cpsobsessed  |  November 5, 2010 at 3:45 pm

    @73 – without reading back to the comment you mentioned, my general perception, based on almost nothing is just that Lane has slightly lower scores for acceptance and a very large size and I think I have therefore concluded that the curric might not be as rigorous as say Northside or Whitney Young. (Northside, places at the #1 school in the entire state.)
    I don’t see that as a negative. I don’t necessarily want my child to have to study 3 hours+ a night (not sure if this goes on at Lane or not, I suppose it depends on the classes.)
    Given the recent posts about Lane (made possibly by you) I have a much more positive impression of the place lately (not that my impressions were bad, just more non-existent.)

  • 75. cps Mom  |  November 5, 2010 at 3:45 pm

    It would make an impact in SEHS admissions because if you have a bunch of kids with various programs and levels of education all with A’s then the tests will determine who gets in. Which brings us back to entry based upon tests only (or substantially). Eventually that’s what it will come down to if there are no selective schools added. I think it’s safe to say that the demand is there (and will be) for free public education at a high level. CPS needs to step up to the plate. This is about serving thousands of academically advanced students. Hello–is this a bad problem?? So why all the roadblocks, obstacles and hoops to jump through for people who are paying for it in taxes and even willing to pay more to get these services?

  • 76. lane dad  |  November 5, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    I’m pretty sure all of the classes at Payton and NSCP are at an honors level. They are not at Lane. There are 4000 kids there –much less at the other schools. I’m a Lane parent with a kid in the honors track who had something like an 892 total 7th grade score and chose Lane. He’s getting a lot of C’s. I don’t know– I really just can’t get worked up about this issue. If he gets an A he will have really earned it. Incidentally, we love Lane. It was a great choice for us.

  • 77. cpsobsessed  |  November 5, 2010 at 3:54 pm

    @75 – well put, CPS mom!
    I think of all these stupid empty buildings in the city that are underutillzied… just start some more schools! Be creative! Get a task force of entrepreneurs on the case. Take the Alcott model and copy it. There’s got to be a way to expand the # of spots…

  • 78. cps Mom  |  November 5, 2010 at 3:55 pm

    PS. theses comments are being posted faster than can be addressed. Everything I’ve seen here and my own posts have been about what a great school Lane is. My husband went there and it was certainly on our radar for my son. I agree with (and am losing track of) those that say that it’s not the grade scale, it’s the curriculum that makes the school. I do believe that over ambitious grade scale is a detriment in many ways (an 8) a C!!! It seems like admissions are grade based versus points so that 87 would be a major obstacle. We have been talking a lot about A vs. B grades but what about the lower end of the spectrum?

  • 79. lane dad  |  November 5, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    Incidentally, there are at least three hours of homework a night at Lane in honors classes. Problem is my son does not spend three hours a night on homework. If you want to play sports and have friends, time management is critical. It does seem really inconsistent–I heard that different departments have different grading scales and even calculate semester grades differently. It really does not bother me although getting a C for an 87 was a little eye opening–if we had wanted a ton of consistency in all things, we would have picked NSCP. The school is definitely interesting.

  • 80. mom2  |  November 5, 2010 at 5:25 pm

    Lane Dad, thanks for calming me down. I appreciate it.

  • 81. cpsmama  |  November 5, 2010 at 7:51 pm

    The ranking of NS as # 1 in city & state is based solely on its average scores on PSAE (ACT) test taken in Jr.yr. It has absoutely nothing to do with the classes it offers or the grades its students get.

    If one were to average at the top 225 PSAE scores of Lane, NS, Payton, Jones & WY, it is likely that they would be equal or very close to equal. In fact, WY has done this analysis and its top 225 have average ACT scores HIGHER than NS & Payton. But, when you average in the additional 875 students in the Jr.class at Lane, or the additional 275 in WY’s Jr.class, guess what, the average score drops down a few points.

    One more point: there is definitely a difference in class rigor throughout the SEHS system, but to suggest, based on rankings only, that Lane’s rigor is less than NS’s, is nonsensical. There are plenty of rigorous classes at all of the SEHS.

  • 82. bob55  |  November 5, 2010 at 7:52 pm


    “WY, NS, Lane all ahve regular, honors and AP level classes. NS added them this year, I beleive to accomodate the needs of the NCLB students. NOt sure about Jones & Payton, though.”

    According to NS students themselves, none of the NCLB students are in classes with the other NS students. They are in separate classrooms, doing different remedial work.

    NS similarly segregates its special ed students.

  • 83. lauren  |  November 5, 2010 at 8:03 pm

    @47 Hawthornemom: Hawthorne ranks #1 based on ISAT scores.
    Many parents want their kids to learn more than how to take a standardized test.( e.g. foreign language, art, music and drama – curricular offerings, not after school options).

    Hawthorne’s student population has been consistently majority white, and fewer than 17% are “school lunch eligible”. Hardly representative of Chicago’s population. Random lottery? Yeah, right- welcome to Chicago!

  • 84. reya  |  November 5, 2010 at 8:07 pm

    @72 – Lack of rigor will appear in ISAT scores and SEHS entrance exam results. Their inclusion in the SEHS evaluation is designed to weed out schools teaching below grade level, and students achievements at those levels.

  • 85. lauren  |  November 5, 2010 at 8:14 pm

    If everyone posting on this site were to show up at the November CPS Board meeting where the BRC recommendations will be voted into reality, maybe we could get something done. And provide a counterpoint to the BRC politicians.

    Collectively, we make a whole lot more sense than the bureaucrats on Clark Street.

  • 86. Grace  |  November 6, 2010 at 5:08 am


    The voice here, I think, indicate the enormous pressure to get into the s.e. schools — more than 13,000 applicants for about 3,500 seats.

    In NYC, there are both stand-alone selective schools and gifted programs within neighborhood schools.

    Could something like that work here in Chicago?

  • 87. Hawthorne mom  |  November 6, 2010 at 6:40 am

    #83, Yes, our students have advantages. But we also have disadvatages when stacked against suburban schools. Even with a shorter school day and larger class sizes, we are still beating out places with even less poverty, like Winnetka, Glencoe, and Naperville.
    I wonder what data or information you are basing your insinuation on? The one where you think Hawthorne only teaches test taking skills? Have you worked at the school? Have you been a parent or sat on the LSC? Have you done extensive volunteering? Or is this more “information that was put out at your school”?
    You obviously don’t know much about the school or you’d know we have a robust arts program, where kids get 6-7 periods a week of specials. You’d know about the PTA funded arts partnership, a month long unit of study that each grade does….with a professional artist (drama, art, music) and resembles NU’s Center For Talent Development, a program for academically talented kids. And you would appreciate the 30+ after school programs available, most for free, taught by our dedicated teachers without pay on their own time. You’d know Hawthorne was one of the first CPS schools to use Lucy Calkins writing workshop, a program that now many good schools in Chicago are starting to use. You’d know that our teachers, on their own time, spent part of their summer working on curriculum mapping.
    But again, I highly doubt you’ve ever been inside Hawthorne for more than a Fall tour.

  • 88. Grace  |  November 6, 2010 at 10:36 am

    Don’t miss the Nov 17 Board of Ed meeting. Sign up early to speak for 2 minutes.

  • 89. Grace  |  November 6, 2010 at 10:38 am

    Hawthorne mom, you have an exceptional school. I could tell that simply from reading your web site and that of your PTA and LSC.

  • 90. CPS Mom of Boys  |  November 6, 2010 at 12:12 pm

    To fix the grade scale issue all CPS has do do is average the percenatge across the 4 quearters and assign a numerical value like they do the ISAT percentiles. Viola! Problem solved! Then letter grades won’t matter only percentages.

  • 91. Hawthorne mom  |  November 6, 2010 at 12:49 pm

    Grace, thanks…appreciated!

  • 92. cps Mom  |  November 6, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    @90 it does seem so simple – this could be applied to schools across the board. Why is it so difficult CPS? Seems to me that figuring this whole thing out was late and last minute, as usual so the easier thing to do was nothing. And of course there is no accountability because OOPS the head of CPS is no longer. In the meantime another group of kids suffer.

  • 93. M  |  November 6, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    Grace #86 said “In NYC, there are both stand-alone selective schools and gifted programs within neighborhood schools.”

    The trend in Chicago seems to be to start new, small standalone high schools instead. Alcott and Ogden high schools have already started up, with limited success. Audubon is now poised to take over space at Gordon Tech to start a high school that guarantees spots for Audubon grads. I think that a better use of funds is to start a selective enrollment program within a high school like the neighborhood’s Lake View High School, but the problem is that most parents in the area are afraid to send their kids to a big school with a diverse enrollment.

  • 94. M  |  November 6, 2010 at 2:25 pm

    Northwest side parents are also trying to get approval for Lane Tech to host an Academic Center for 7th and 8th grade students, like the existing one at Whitney Young. Gotta give those North Center folks credit for covering all the bases of supporting and improving the elementary schools, and planning for middle school and high school at the same time.

  • 95. Grace  |  November 6, 2010 at 4:25 pm

    In two words, more capacity but at the same quality.

    Then CPS can include more of the lower-scoring students without setting up the admissions process to toss out 7.5% of the highest-scoring kids when they cut the 40% to 30%.

    By the way, I’ve read the Blue Ribbon report, and they specifically do not recommend cutting the top-scorers to 30% because then many with top test scores will never receive an offer at a s.e. school.

    I believe that we should protest this very loudly. There are other ways to support deserving minorities so that they can achieve and succeed that doesn’t prevent so many of the top-scorers from getting heaved out.

    This is just Chicago politics, which will get nastier as the election nears.

  • 96. Fairest  |  November 6, 2010 at 5:28 pm

    I think test scores should be the only factor for enrollment at these top high schools. Grades are too variable from school to school or area to area. Income and race and other diversity measures are irrelevant; merit is everything. The best evaluation of merit is standardized test scores. Our children have worked hard to be the best, they deserve the best schools and they deserve to be among the best of their peers in return.

    There is no reason our high performing children should suffer so that less deserving or, I should say, less accomplished poor and/or minority students can have what our children have rightfully earned.

    Yes, we should protest this loudly and publicly! CPS will listen to us. The Board is made up of business people. They definitely know it would be a nightmare for CPS if we took the best of the best students out of their schools because of such a horrible policy. We must stand united!

  • 97. cps Mom  |  November 6, 2010 at 8:39 pm

    Well the BRC did not endorse Ms. Flowers proposal – that’s a good sign. They have also asked the public to comment on the policy using the “contact us”. I think we should all do that.

  • 98. ackie mom  |  November 6, 2010 at 9:12 pm

    @ #81 – CPS mama: Thank you for posting this info for the rest of the posters. Do people actually realize the variation in populations at each school? When you increase the testing population, the numbers will slightly decrease. Period. Parents need to take a realistic look at their child(ren) when choosing/ranking SE high schools. Academics, social skills, athletic interests/abilities and logistics must truly be considered. If your basis is a test score at NSCP, dig deeper. Overall, if your child would have been selected under the old plan, more than likely they will be selected under the new plan (if it’s adopted). The fallout will likely occur with the bottom of each tier. Be prepared to make a strong case with the principal discretion as a plan B.

  • 99. cps Mom  |  November 7, 2010 at 9:34 am

    Principal discretion will not get top scoring students in. It is designed to allow for special situations and is monitored by OAE. Increasing this will have an adverse effect on what you seem to want to achieve – allowing students at the bottom of the tier to get in.

  • 100. ackie mom  |  November 7, 2010 at 10:53 am

    If you read the current criteria for principal discretion, it allows for unique skills and abilities, activities demonstrating social responsibility as well as extenuating circumstances and hardships. The focus of my comment was the first two categories, which could very well apply to top scoring students that may not make the first round of offers. Your perception regarding my comment was incorrect, cps Mom. I’m for the top students getting spots, but I think CPS probably feels at fault for a lot of the sub par elementary schools throughout this city and continues to attempt to come up with some way to compensate. It’s not fair, it’s Chicago.

  • 101. fed up  |  November 7, 2010 at 11:40 am

    The tier system equally divides all of the students up into 4 groups — same number of students in each group. However the number of students qualified to take the selective enrollment exam differs dramatically from tier to tier with Tier 3 & Tier 4 having many more students that qualify to take the test. This means that students from lower tiers will have a dramatically higher percentage chance of getting in. This new change that increases the # of students coming from tiers only increases the competition that students face. Another point to be made is that students in higher tiers are not rich. In fact, only students in Tier 4 are near the median income for the state of Illinois. So this measure impacts middle class students across the city of chicago. Look at the median income breaks in the orginal Kallenberg report.

    The original recommendation from CPS’ own consultant was a 50/50. What was implemented was 40/60. Which was just changed to 30/70. What this means is that large numbers of very high scoring students with middle class backgrounds WILL be shut out of Northside, Payton, Young & Jones — with only a shot at Lane tech (no offense to LT intended) and schools on the south & west side that they have scores 100 points above the mean for.

    This will also mean that the academic level of the top schools in Chicago will be damaged.


  • 102. cps Mom  |  November 7, 2010 at 1:47 pm

    You’re right, I’m confused. Do you think that prin. discretion is good or bad? I thought that this was the big area of abuse with the alderman picks etc. I don’t think that it has ever been used to get high scoring kids in that were turned down because they either did not have the previously ethnic now “socieo economic” status to get in. Am I missing the point altogether?

  • 103. mom  |  November 7, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    wow, many of you are such elitists. assuming “our children” = white and “low scoring” = minority/black. does it occur to you that sometimes minorities actually score high enough to compete on score alone versus their north siders? the going assumption on this blog is that this can’t possibly ever be the case…you must have gotten in because you’re poor and black and don’t deserve what my child has worked harder for…there’s the assumption that minorities must be taking something away from “us”.

  • 104. cps Mom  |  November 7, 2010 at 2:27 pm

    @103 – easy term to throw around when there is a discussion on race, politics and economic. I disagree – most of what I have read on this forum acknowledges that poor does not equal black over a and over. In my post #40, I have made it a point to mention that all the tiers in selective enrollment score high. Maybe your point would be better taken up with CPS. Have you read their proposals for selective enrollment along with the BRC findings and suggestions. They blatantly state that a 30/70 split is designed to bring in more African Americans. Adding the school element to the tier system is also designed to bring in more “diversity”. Given that Hispanic is the majority the insinuation is that they want more African Americans in the top SE schools. They have the numbers. They are saying tier 1 = black. Parents of all races want their high scoring kids in these schools and they deserve it. Questions come into play when a lowering scoring student gets in because of other factors that have nothing to do with academics. Can’t blame people for being upset about that.

    Signed – another tier 2 mother

  • 105. another mom  |  November 7, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    @104 – another elitist

  • 106. cps Mom  |  November 7, 2010 at 4:04 pm

    @105 – Is that the best that you have? Nothing specific? Your personal attacks are a distraction from a discussion that parents want to have about Selective Enrollment (note the term given by CPS “selective”). Or was that the idea?

  • 107. cpsobsessed  |  November 7, 2010 at 4:15 pm

    I agree that some of the discussion may come across as “elitist”. but the numbers are what drives the discussion. Numbers are reported by socio-economic tier now and in the past by Caucasian vs Minority. I know ISATs are also reported by race in all the CPS documents.
    Unfortunately, the results indicate that tier 1 and 2 kids have lower average scores. And the scores needed to get into the top schools have been lower. This holds true for race as well.
    Are there kids in tier 1/2 or every race who break that mold? Of course! I don’t think anyone here is saying they can’t (if anyone IS saying that, I’d politely ask them to refrain from commenting.) But at an aggregate level, and for the sake of analysis and CPS policy discussion, I don’t see any other way to discuss the topic, other than to use the numbers.
    Am I missing something?

  • 108. KD  |  November 7, 2010 at 6:17 pm

    @103 really hit a nerve.

    The numbers don’t tell the whole story. Money can buy you the preparation that gets you a high test score. A kid who scores high without a lot of prep is a probably a remarkable kid. I’m not sure the Tier system really identifies the disadvantaged. There are enough people in the Tier 1 “wealth pockets” to fill those slots. And let’s not discuss the suburbanites using Tier 1 addresses this year.

    I think some of the posters in this thread suffer from a lack of perspective. I don’t think its worth the time to correct them. We’ll always have a certain percenage of people that are culture-bound. However, I don’t think they’re elitist. I think they love their kids. And,when you compare us to the East Coast elites, Chicago elitists are pretty low brow.

    I applaud mom for having the courage to speak up. Her input makes this educational site even more educational.

    @23 Despite what I said above, I would like to know the numbers. How can we force the board to publish the minimum and maximum scores by tier for elementary schools like they did for high schools?

  • 109. ackie mom  |  November 7, 2010 at 7:04 pm

    I could only find cut off scores for the academic centers and IG programs:

    For the record, my child is a minority and a student at WYAC, but part of tier 4. I checked the cutoffs for the WY academic center and my child would have made it in with or without the tier stipulation based upon the score received last year.

  • 110. Rl Julia  |  November 7, 2010 at 7:34 pm

    There is plenty of poverty to go around of every color in Chicago. However, I did think that the board’s recommendations only added fuel to simmering resentment about minority status held between African American and Latino communities. Since according to CPS’s website, the student population is 45% African American and 41% Latino, the real question CPS should be asking itself is, all things being equal (which of course they are not), why is the selective enrollment population for African Americans 34% and for Latinos it is 28% and for Caucasians is it 25% when Caucasians only comprise 9% of the total CPS population. …There’s just something wrong with that.

  • 111. Grace  |  November 8, 2010 at 8:01 am

    Would it surprise you to know that whits share of selective seats did not increase from last year?

    Or that whites make up 35% of the city’s population. If CPS had to educates all those children, they couldn’t afford it.

    Chicago isn’t perfectly diverse, but I don’t know a city that is. But Ilive in a diverse neighborhood and see the friends made and the school that have prospered.

    TI know doctors whose daughters didn’t get a seat at a top selective school, one happens to be white and one happens to be black. I know children of all races who have taken test prep but it hasn’t been the key for them. The biggest factor, it seems is the 7th level grades: gotta have 4 As and very high ISATs. ISATs in the low 90s won’t always work, and one B is a big problem.

  • 112. Grace  |  November 8, 2010 at 8:06 am

    Sorry about all those typos!

  • 113. Hawthorne mom  |  November 8, 2010 at 8:25 am

    I, too, look at the percentages of kids in the city as a whole rather than just which racial groups CPS serves. The reason why CPS is only 9% white, yet 25% of SE schools are white, is that white families are not sending their kids to neighborhood schools. It is either magnet/SE schools, private, homeschool or leave the city.
    Given the percentage of white children in the city as a whole, whites are actually under represented in SE schools and all schools.
    For most of us, the quality of our neighborhood schools would have to sky rocket to even consider them. And for me, it is less about the actual teaching quality that concerns me (although that is a concern too), it is more about the lack of skills the other students don’t come with. I’ve taught in large CPS classrooms, and those kids who are at grade level and who are well behaved often get lost in the shuffle of the dramatic needs of every one else who are years below level. And forget the kids who are 2-4 year above grade level! Most schools absolutely do not have the capacity to even begin to serve those students, even within internal gifted classrooms.

  • 114. cps Mom  |  November 8, 2010 at 9:52 am

    @108 – A $20 study guide and hours at the kitchen table. That’s our success story. Of course I do think that my son is pretty remarkable – after all, I am his mother. Lets not lose site of the fact that he went to a magnet school that did have 3 hours of homework per night (at least for us). He worked his butt off. I would think that educational experience, support at home and studying for tests would have a large impact on success. When these elements are missing might that be the cause of lower outcomes – not the fact that if you are wealthy you can afford test preparation.

    Our school was balanced equally between races and every child received the same education. The outcomes varied widely not by race but by each child’s individual situation. None of the racial stereotypes applied to this group of kids. For some, like #109 mom, a gifted child will not have any problems getting into the program of their choice – rightfully so. I empathize with the child on the cusp. Hard working A/B student and the parents trying to negotiate the system. Think about all the kids working to get into these programs and how they feel. My own son broke down in tears when he got B’s on his report card. I have seen it with the other kids too. A lot of hope on these schools.

    That’s why it’s important to have the admissions process work to where everyone has a fair and equal chance. No grade inflation, no designer tiers, no penalties to ranking kids and a legitimate process of awarding seats to those in need.

  • 115. Mayfair Dad  |  November 8, 2010 at 11:00 am

    I have been fairly silent on this board of late, as I wanted to digest these changes. Here goes:

    It is not elitist or racist to believe the vast majority of top-performing students competing for SE high school spots on the north side are white. This is fact. Many of these top-performing white students have had every advantage in life, starting with being born into affluent white families who value education and provide a stable home life for the students to succeed.

    The socio-economic admissions process was designed to offset that advantage by levelling the playing field for children who were not born into privilege. Through no fault of their own, these children were born into poverty. Whether or not you agree with the life choices made by the parents, all children are blameless and deserve a quality education. It is not elitist or racist to believe the vast majority of these students are minority. This is fact.

    Think of the merit-based portion of the admissions policy as a governor valve controlling the flow of white students into SE high schools. The smaller the percentage of merit-based students, the fewer top-performing white students admitted. The entry point for Tier 3 & 4 becomes so hyper-competitive that deserving, qualified white students are turned away to make room for less qualified minority students in the lower tiers. So without using race as a stated criteria, racial integration is achieved nonetheless.

    So the question is not whether this new process is fair to white students – it isn’t – but if society’s larger goals are served. By providing low income minority students access to superior education, will society finally break the chain of generational poverty? Because this is the real goal of the process, and the blue ribbon committee was very transparent about it.

  • 116. Dad  |  November 8, 2010 at 11:46 am

    @Mayfair Dad: Good summary. The big philosophical point here is, in America, how much can one abridge the rights of individuals for the “interests” of society? Equality of opportunities is what is guaranteed in our Constitution, not equality of outcomes (We can argue all day about the unfairly limited opportunities of low income kids, but where does one draw the line on tilting the playing field to make things fairer?).

    There are some who believe that anyone who can afford a private school education have a duty to go private; those who cannot afford private school should not be forced to compete with those who can.

  • 117. Grace  |  November 8, 2010 at 11:53 am

    But whites didn’t increase their share of overall seats. They
    stayed the same this year as last year — under the federal consent decree.

    Asians’ share actually slipped a little. Neither group took seats from black students.

    Blacks share dropped less than 3% and there were 2.6% fewer blacks who applied. HIspanics increased their share by 5%, in part because of the socio-economic factor — whether English is the native language at home — and in part because they earned a high number of seats at Lane Tech, the largest school, whose numbers sway the overall statistics.

    Part of the goal is to break generational poverty. But if that were the entire goal, then why wouldn’t the BRC suggest using individual financial data as a socio-economic factor? All sorts of schools do this, and we are talking about 3,500 freshmen seats in all.

  • 118. RL Julia  |  November 8, 2010 at 12:03 pm

    Good summary Mayfair Dad. I guess, the next step would be for those parents whose children were excluded from the SE HS’s to redirect their energies towards creating more high schools worth going to. In part, this seems to be happening -aka Alcott and Ogden and Audubon (does the school name have to begin with a vowel? :)) It seems easier to create your own high school than to take over an existing one a la Nettlehorst – but it has to be happening somewhere… Any one know where the A/B, B (or even below) students end up – besides parochial schools? They can’t all be at Von Steuben, Lincoln Park, Taft and Lane….. I am dying to know.

  • 119. Mayfair Dad  |  November 8, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    Certainly this policy will do wonders for Catholic high school admissions – I wonder if the archdiocese publicizes how many non-Catholics are enrolled in Catholic high schools? I would love to see that statistic.

    Also I think it’s possible you will see a reverse migration of bright whites from the north into SE high schools on the near south side. This will not happen overnight, but over time Westinghouse may become an acceptable option as diversity is achieved. Look at what happened to Jones over the past few years, at one time considered too far south for the Sauganash crowd. No longer.

    Will CPS ever consider a “bottom-up” governor valve approach to cap Tier 1 enrollment at 30%, to allow racial diversity to take root at SE high schools on the south side? Or is racial diversity always achieved by adding minorities to the mix, but never whites? I’m not a hater – Its a fair question, but I realize some people will think I’m a grand dragon of the KKK for even asking it!

  • 120. CPSmama  |  November 8, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    I guess I have to wonder why CPS doesn’t figure out a way of helping these disadvantaged kids prior to HS! If they are, as a group, less skilled at taking standardized tests- work with them to improve that skill during elementary school. CPS has these kids in its system for 9 years before they apply to HS. Why not address some of the gaps during those 9 years.

    @Mayfair dad: you are correct about migration from the north side to certain SE schools downtown or on the near south & west sides. As recently as 5-6 yrs ago, WY was deemed “too urban” for many white northsiders. Now, they flock there. Same for jones and I expect the same for Westinghouse in a few years, as you suggest. CPS should really pay attention to the neighborhoods it is putting these SE HS in. Westinghouse and Lindblom seem to have terrific programs, but at the end of the day, no parent of any race wants to take a chance w/ the safety of their children in unfamiliar neighborhoods.

  • 121. Mom  |  November 8, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    @115– I wonder if there is data supporting the notion that the kids who took the spots that otherwise would have been awarded strictly on merit, as opposed to tier, are in fact low-income minorities — as opposed to perfectly advantaged minorities or whites who happen to live in Tier 1 and 2. (And my question goes to both the 10% of spots this year that resulted from the rank-based admits being reduced from 50% to 40% and the 20% of spots next year that will result if the proposal is adopted to reduce rank-based admits to only 30%.) If the data show that spots are actually going to those deserving low-income kids, then the question posed in your final paragraph is important to consider. On the other hand, if equally advantaged minority and white kids who happen to live in Tier 1 and 2 are taking spots away from higher-scoring Tier 3 and 4 kids (of whatever race, but probably majority white), then I have yet to hear articulated any important policy rationale for that result. Is there data that let us know who actually is taking the spots at the expense of higher-scoring kids and their socioeconomic status? I think many, many people can get behind the notion of helping kids in need achieve a leg up. But if it’s not actually the kids in need who are getting the leg up, why is it fair to deprive higher scorers of coveted spots?

  • 122. mom2  |  November 8, 2010 at 2:05 pm

    In all these discussions, also keep in mind that some of us that live in Tier 4 actually cannot afford to send our children to private schools. We may live in a small 2 bedroom apartment in a nice neighborhood, etc. So, if our child ends up losing a spot at an SE school because they had scores just a bit too low for our very competitive tier, but still higher than other tiers, we are out in the cold and not necessarily “socioeconomic advantaged”.

  • 123. mom2  |  November 8, 2010 at 2:10 pm

    @120 – “Westinghouse and Lindblom seem to have terrific programs, but at the end of the day, no parent of any race wants to take a chance w/ the safety of their children in unfamiliar neighborhoods.” I agree!!! While I believe that they need to open a large SE high school on the north side to help with the high demand/ability in that direction, some people seem to feel that this isn’t fair. So, if that is the case, why not create some additional SE high schools in high rises downtown? Easy to get to from any direction, safer due to the number of people around during the day, plenty of existing buildings that could be converted in this manner, etc.

  • 124. westinghouse  |  November 8, 2010 at 2:56 pm

    Westinghouse is very easy to get to by the Kedzie bus and the bus stops right outside the door.

  • 125. Mayfair Dad  |  November 8, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    @123 – take a few empty floors of Willis Tower and create Sky High? Love it.

  • 126. cps Mom  |  November 8, 2010 at 3:42 pm

    mom@115 – I understand your question. Tier 1 or 2 whites aren’t necessarily there because they happen to live in a low income neighborhood. They might actually be low income or effected by the economy. Maybe a 7th tier requirement would be to look at the number of homes in foreclosure. I think that your question is about using tiers to manipulate minority entry actually being used as an advantage for whites. The question is then 2 fold. Should one be given socioeconomic advantage only if you are a minority? Pretty messed up criteria.

    CPS has not released that type of data. Obviously things didn’t fall where they wanted it. There was a discussion in the BRC findings about how they “ran the numbers” and manipulated various factors to increase the black population. Specifically looked at dropping some criteria and ended up with adding the school factor.

    I find it disquieting that all this race talk is really coming from the people making the rules. Reading the material, the gloves are off – they are tweaking the applicant pool so that it racially adds up a certain way. I would like to know what the applicant pool would look like if it were 100% rank. It might not be all that different.

  • 127. cps Mom  |  November 8, 2010 at 3:44 pm

    Mayfair dad #119 – thank you for making me laugh.

  • 128. Mom  |  November 8, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    To CPS Mom #126 — I wholeheartedly agree that there are poor desrverving white kids in Tiers 1 and 2, and it’s not just minorities. And I think it would be equally legitimate if the limitations on who gets admitted strictly based on scores benefitted low income whites as it would be if they benefitted low income minorities. However, my question is whether anyone who actually is low income is benefitting from tweaking these percentages to benefit Tiers 1 and 2 at the expense of Tiers 3 and 4. If it’s middle class or above kids (of whatever race) who just happen to live in Tiers 1 and 2, I wonder what is the rationale for benefitting them at the expense of kids who score higher (of whatever race) who just happen to live in Tiers 3 and 4. We know there are middle class and above kids who happen to live in Tiers 1 and 2. My suspicion is that its mostly those kids who are taking the SE spots that otherwise would have gone to higher scorers. My question is why is that fair?

  • 129. mom2  |  November 8, 2010 at 4:39 pm

    #128 – it isn’t fair. As Mayfair Dad said, CPS and the BRC are just doing whatever they can to try to get more African Americans into some of the “top” SE schools. They are not allowed to use race because it is now against the law. So, they are trying other ways to work around the law. They couldn’t come up with anything else except tiers and hoping that this will end up making the schools “more diverse” which means having more African Americans. They outright admit this in the BRC report. I wonder what the Supreme Court would think of all this.

  • 130. Principal at Lindblom  |  November 9, 2010 at 8:30 am

    I have enjoyed reading this blog for quite a while but have not written. I am always interested to read comments about how the systems’ policies are affecting parents…and how they are interpreted.

    I appreciate the discussion.

    I am writing now because I see a great deal written about Lindblom and the safety of those who attend. Is Lindblom in an underserved community? Yes, it is. Is it unsafe for students to attend? No, it is not.

    There are not issues within the walls and we take great care to ensure that issues do not arise outside of our walls either.

    For those of you who are concerned, or are writing about the perceived lack of safety, I welcome you to come by for a visit. I think you’ll find that Lindblom is a great option for those across the city!

    Alan Mather

  • 131. cps Mom  |  November 9, 2010 at 9:36 am

    Mr. Mather – thanks so much for writing. I have friends that have toured your school looking at the academic center. Their quote was “it was like entering the Emerald City of Oz”. They were very impressed with the program and I have seen nothing but good things about it. I hope that people will be encouraged to look at and attend your school. I think that many of the current SE problems might be solved if people truly looked at all the options.

  • 132. Mayfair Dad  |  November 9, 2010 at 10:12 am

    From the 2010 ISBE Report Card:

    Enrollment 724
    Low Income 75.6%
    White 2.6%
    Black 76.0%
    Hispanic 20.6%
    Grad Rate 81.7%
    School Avg. ACT 21.9
    State Avg. ACT 20.5

    Lane Tech
    Enrollment 4,184
    Low Income 62.5%
    White 30.5%
    Black 12.5%
    Hispanic 43.2%
    Asian 13.0%
    Grad Rate 89.2%
    School Avg. ACT 23.0
    State Avg. ACT 20.5

  • 133. Mayfair Dad  |  November 9, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    Re: Lindblom

    As you can see from my chart above, Lindblom is achieving ACT & graduation rates approaching Lane Tech, with a slightly larger percent low income population. I salute Mr. Mather for joining our conversation.

    At 76% black student body, Lindblom is not a very diverse school. On one hand, this is to be expected given the neighborhood Lindblom is located. On the other hand, Lindblom is a citywide selective enrollment high school, serving all students in the city. So I have three questions for Mr. Mather:

    1. What can he do as principal to promote racial diversity at Lindblom?
    2. What can the next CEO of CPS do to promote racial diversity at Lindblom?
    3. Why isn’t it OK for Northside College Prep to be 76% white?

    Please understand I am not being snarky (well, maybe question # 3 is a little snarky) – I’d love to hear a principal’s perspective.


  • 134. adad  |  November 9, 2010 at 12:51 pm

    @133 Mayfair Dad

    Amen. Diversity is diversity, no matter where the school is located. If that is what CPS is truly trying to achieve…

    And I’m not saying that to be snarky.

  • 135. CPSmama  |  November 9, 2010 at 2:06 pm

    No offense to Mr. Mather, but Lindblom is in West Englewood and that is NOT a safe neighborhood. The school itself may be safe (inside) but how do you get to and from the school in that kind of neighborhood? Really- I want to know how it is done.

    BTW, I looked at the shuttle service offered to/from school and it doesn’t appear that it has any stops downtown or on the north side. Maybe I’m reading it wrong.

  • 136. lindbloom  |  November 9, 2010 at 3:01 pm

    I know some families who travel to Lindbloom and use the shuttle. I think the shuttle stops at the red line which is accessible from the northside. Still, it is a long haul from far north. I think that Westinghouse will be the next favored simply because of its location. My kid goes to a northside SE school and it makes our life so much easier than if we had traveled further. Would we have traveled as far as Lindbloom if necessary and absolutely could not afford a catholic school alternative .Probably.

  • 137. Alan  |  November 9, 2010 at 7:58 pm

    Hi, again,
    To Mayfair Dad: I’m happy to answer questions about Lindblom. First of all, Lindblom is more diverse than it has been in years! We continue to welcome the diversity. What do we do? Well, we go to every high school fair to which we are invited; we invite people to come and see the school, and we have an outstanding academic program in a warm, supportive, challenging atmosphere.

    To CPSmama: West Englewood is a high crime area. When I began teaching in CPS in 1986, St. Ignatius used to be in a high crime area; yet, people paid big money to attend. However, our students have not been victims of serious crime. In fact, we see our location in this underserved community as a chance to give back, to make certain that our students understand that they have a responsibility to make things better. There are two sides to this coin.

    As “lindbloom” pointed out, the shuttle does stop at the CTA Red Line; it also stops at the Metra Line at 55th and Lake Park in Hyde Park, and the Orange Line at Midway Airport. (We also pick up at 95th and Ashland.)

    And while I believe Lindblom is an outstanding school, I think there are other great options, too. Many of you have been mentioning Westinghouse. Janice Jackson has opened up a stellar place…and the West Side was in need. You should check that out, too. King, Brooks, don’t limit yourselves. We are all different; yet all have worthwhile programs.

    I still will keep the offer out there. As a fellow obsessed person about CPS, I welcome your visit. Perhaps CPSObsessed could set up a field trip to West Englewood. You can email me at


  • 138. Christine  |  November 9, 2010 at 8:20 pm

    There’s been a lot of discussion about race in this posting. Thought I’d share an article that just came out.

  • 139. cps Mom  |  November 9, 2010 at 10:00 pm

    My understanding is that a tour of Lindblom is an educational experience (no pun intended). They did an excellent presentation at our school. It’s always a good idea to keep the options open especially with the ability to take advantage of 6 choices. We looked at Westinghouse last year and at the request of my son, it made it to our list of 4. As “lindbloom” says it’s a distance from the far north and for the open minded. I don’t really need to sell any of these selectives but one thing I noticed about high school placement last year, after the dust settled some wound up at places that they didn’t necessarily expect to be at (in a good way) and it’s too late to try and get in if you don’t apply.

    Interesting article @138. Would this support that the tier system does serve a function for society? As the author points out, high school is a little late to start changing the pattern. Maybe our elementary school system has progressed enough to take on the HS level student or at least start to. Will we be able to see progress and change fast enough. It seems like the student bar is being raised faster than the availability of programs and “good teachers” (whats needed according to the article). Not a bad problem to have. We need to run with it.

  • 140. Dear Mr. Mather  |  November 10, 2010 at 1:18 am

    Mr. Mather,
    I admire your school and at once I had a closed eye. Lindblom is now my number one choice for both of my sons who are in 3rd & 6th grade (sorry our reading is in the low 90s and math not sure what happened) so he can’t take the ackie exam as I had hoped. We are working on it so that he can attend HS at your fine insitution. I have told many parents that they should not count Lindblom out and encouraged them to attend the open house. I heard that Lindblom offers a lot of support to their students and that’s what I need. I hate to sing your praises because I don’t want the school to become so popular that I can’t get my boys in there! Keep up the good work and I hope to have my oldest there soon 🙂
    Mom of Two Boys with one at a Southside Classical & southside Magnet School! Not afraid of the neighborhood as my husband works from home and can drop/pick up my sons. However an A at the magnet school is 95-100 and he has all B’s in the major subject areas (except writing is an A–yipee!). Working on uping the ISAT math with a tutor and I heard a rumor all CPS elemntary schools have to adopt the 90-100=A scale in the next school year which would help out tremendously. He also will be prepped (I will pay) on entrance exam!

  • 141. Grace  |  November 10, 2010 at 8:21 am

    Dear Mr. Mather,
    I appreciate your open approach.

  • 142. adad  |  November 10, 2010 at 9:41 am

    Since we have discussed the NYC system here as well, I thought people might find it interesting the Bloomberg picked a non-educator to run their system. Is this a trend?

  • 143. Mayfair Dad  |  November 10, 2010 at 10:02 am

    Dear Mr. Mather:

    Thank you for your thoughtful response. From your bio I gleaned that you were part of the original team to open Northside College Prep with Dr. Lalley. You have an interesting background, sir.

    My take away from all this is to remain open-minded re: SE High Schools on the south side – you might be pleasantly surprised. To Mr. Mather’s point, think of the neighborhoods where Payton, Ignatius, Jones, Young are located; just a scant few years ago these areas would be considered unsuitable for Buffy & Jody.

    Maybe the key to living in a tolerant world is to practice tolerance. Good luck to you, Mr. Mather!

  • 144. cps Mom  |  November 10, 2010 at 10:02 am

    @133 Mayfair Dad – very interesting questions indeed. With respect to #3 – I do think that CPS thinks that 76% white at Northside is OK. CPS determines the cut off scores for each school which meant that last year anyone scoring under 850 did not get in. As you’ve pointed out, the highest scoring students in the city will get into this school and the students most likely to accept will be in the area. Keep in mind that a mega scoring minority student will also have opportunities at Latin, Parker, Ignatius – to name a few – many times with a full scholarship. I know of 2 students that got into Exeter last year – both happened to be minorities. For one young lady at our school it was Payton or Ignatius – NS was too far and Whitney and Jones were not even a consideration.

    I guess that my point is that due to primarily an 850 cut off and secondarily location, Northside will be predominately white and CPS must know that.

    I had a chance to glance over some of the comments from the school forums that took place over the summer and noticed the complaint about Northside not having enough blacks (these notes were posted briefly, I don’t think they are there anymore). What people were saying, however, is that they wanted to get their kids into Whitney and Payton. So does that mean that in theory the community wants Northside to have more minority students but of those who qualify (or not) they don’t really want to go there anyway?

  • 145. cps Mom  |  November 10, 2010 at 10:26 am

    Mom @140 – I really like your attitude.

  • 146. Mayfair Dad  |  November 10, 2010 at 11:07 am

    @ 144 cps mom: I appreciate the thought that went into your post but the chances of Northside being allowed to reach a 76% white student body is as likely as a Republican Mayor of Chicago.

    CPS will find new ways to apply quasi-scientific socio-economic fuzzy math (read: affirmative action 2.0) to regulate the flow of white students, maintaining politically acceptable proportions of minority students to appease powerful interest groups (read: Rev. Meeks & his posse) who believe “equality of public education is the biggest civil rights issue in our lifetime.” Frankly, they might be right.

    For proof of this, please refer to the Blue Ribbon Committee recommendations.

  • 147. cps Mom  |  November 10, 2010 at 11:29 am

    Point taken – If you add the current Asian and White demographics together (as everyone seems to want to do) you get your number. I still think that even CPS is not going to give up the cut off score in order to get the underrepresented minorities in. My CPS predictions have been way off as of late. It will be interesting to see how things play out this year.

  • 148. momof4  |  November 10, 2010 at 11:34 am

    Did anyone attend the Lane Tech selective enrollment meeting last night? I just heard about is today from a FOX news report, with a link either on Catalyst or District 299?

  • 149. Hawthorne mom  |  November 10, 2010 at 12:45 pm

    New York seriously hired a magazine editor to run its schools? Isn’t that what Catherine Black used to do? I mean, seriously? I am completely horrified! I am embarrassed for my profession.

  • 150. Grace  |  November 10, 2010 at 8:30 pm

    I think that R.H. is banking on very few parents — or even the Board of Ed — being able to understand the effect of the changes, and the difficulty of getting the word out to parents before Nov 17, when the Board will vote. ( I think that is why the report was released only on Nov. 4, when it is dated Sept. 22.)

    The admission policies are so complicated. Would you mind if I recap what I think are the effects of the 2 most important changes? Perhaps someone could correct me if I am missing something.

    The effect on the s.e. schools, I think, will be to toss out nearly 300 of the top-scoring students (I get 7.5% of top scoring students being ejected, which is 10% minus the 2.5% added to the “mostly” tier 4 students). This will be done to make way at the most competitive s.e. schools for minority students who are lower-scoring, from what I read in the BRC report. The BRC didn’t recommend doing this. Did anyone note whether the cut-off scores at the top schools have been changed?

    At magnet schools, the neighborhood lottery will be suspended whenever whites (or blacks, Hispanics) get to be 50% of the student population and whenever the neighborhood is more than 50% white (or black, Hispanic).

    The school will then be required to use the citywide lottery only.

    Let me know if I am missing something. Thanks.

  • 151. cps Mom  |  November 10, 2010 at 9:28 pm

    I think the biggest thing that did not change was the grade calculation. The BRC did not come to a consensus on this and it was left alone. They have recognized that the points are skewed for some. The disparity is too big to ignore and some students will be unjustly penalized.

    To clarify discussion of “cut off” scores. I have learned that CPS determines the lowest point value for any tier that will be accepted at a given school. It will vary from year to year and is partially dependent upon where they want the school to align with the pool of applicants in any given year. Last year NS cut off admissions at 850 in round 1. Not sure if other schools had to cut off admissions because that was not apparent with the data provided to the public.

  • 152. Mom2  |  November 10, 2010 at 10:06 pm

    Does anyone know why CPS feels it is proper to determine different cut off points for different schools? Why does NSCP get to deny admission to students with a score lower than 850 (even if there is room in their tier), but other SE schools might still have to take someone with that score? I don’t understand how CPS thinks it is ethical to determine “where they want a school to align”. Just curious.

  • 153. Grace  |  November 11, 2010 at 1:38 am

    DId anyone attend the meeting on these changes at Lane tech?
    Fill us all in!

  • 154. M  |  November 11, 2010 at 8:28 am

    Grace 150 wrote: “At magnet schools, the neighborhood lottery will be suspended whenever whites (or blacks, Hispanics) get to be 50% of the student population and whenever the neighborhood is more than 50% white (or black, Hispanic).

    The school will then be required to use the citywide lottery only.”

    THe above is incorrect. Reread the BRC recommendations and it is spelled out clearly: If a school reaches more than 50 percent one race AND the school’s population is more than 50 percent from within the neighborhood proximity boundary, then they won’t hold a neighborhood proximity lottery for the next school year.

  • 155. RL Julia  |  November 11, 2010 at 9:33 am

    #150/Grace – while I agree with your interpretation of the recommendations, let me assure you that I doubt CPS is so organized as to actually have a strategy to suppress information and not allow for sufficient comment from parents and other outside groups who are vested in the system. More likely than not, this 9/22 report was on someone’s desk who was not willing/capable of making a decision about how to handle it in a timely manner and they simply stalled until you ended up with this crazy time line – and then nobody internal spoke up to change it.

  • 156. Hawthorne mom  |  November 11, 2010 at 9:49 am

    Yep, CPS is not organized enough to do much of anything on purpose! Most things are accidental due to incompetency and workers affected by other workers incompetency.

  • 157. cps Mom  |  November 11, 2010 at 10:20 am

    In the BRC report, they stated that reviewing the data and comments and the analysis and discussion with the clock ticking took a long time on their end.

    I don’t even think the schools know how the cut off is determined and applied, my understanding is that it is handed down to them. I do know that it has something to do with the number of qualified applicants – for example the SE test may be tougher one year vs another (most agreed that the math was very hard last year) and that would effect whether the cut off went up or down. Is it ethical? Not really. Just another example of designer outcomes.

  • 158. cps Mom  |  November 11, 2010 at 5:50 pm

    Grace – I think the Lane meeting as well as the other locations were strictly informative – school options and filling out applications. I don’t believe there was a public forum. I don’t know anyone who attended.

  • […] teachers is geared to an 8th-grade level — and applicants get five attempts to pass… Magnet/Selective Enrollment Admission Changes CPS Obsessed:  Why does NSCP get to deny admission to students with a score lower than 850 (even […]

  • 160. Disgusted  |  November 11, 2010 at 11:43 pm

    Heads up. CPS just posted ( They plan to evenly weigh the grading scale but not this year. That means current 8th graders are out in the cold. I am so disgusted with CPS. How dare they string us along, stress us out and play with our children’s future. As much as I hate to thought, I too will be seriously looking into Catholic schools.

  • 161. Grace  |  November 12, 2010 at 5:19 am

    CPS doesn’t mind if you just stop bothering them and go away. Has anyone emailed or visited the Mayor’s office?

    Really, how can the BRC make decisions in the best interests of all CPS students, with ity clerk and mayoral candidate Miguel De Valle, and 2 aldermen sitting on it?

  • 162. Disgusted  |  November 12, 2010 at 8:45 am

    #161/Grace- Believe me , I know. In fact, they probably want all verbally parents to go away.
    I immediately emailed CPS and the Mayor’s office. I will also be attending the board meeting on November 17, 2010. It may not matter in terms of resulst but I would not feel right if I did not at least try to fight for my child.

  • 163. Grace  |  November 12, 2010 at 9:45 am

    Do you have the Mayor’s email?

  • 164. momof4  |  November 12, 2010 at 9:50 am

    Disgusted #160-

    Where do I specifically find this posting?

    Thank you.

  • 165. cps Mom  |  November 12, 2010 at 10:47 am

    @164 under the selective enrollment changes, there is now a document pertaining to grade scale proposal.

    This will also negatively impact current 7th graders.

  • 166. cpsobsessed  |  November 12, 2010 at 10:47 am

    160 – are you referring to the Draft Grading Policy document on the site?
    So it says the CEO recommends a consistent grading policy that will be put into place next school year.
    Does this mean Ron H recommended this, I wonder? Or is it standard wording? So this will be voted on by the school board at the Nov 17th meeting, I take it?
    Assuming this is correct, I think it’s great (of course not helpful at ALL for anyone with a child who misses the benefits of it.)
    Despite the problems of the giant bureaucracy, I do like to see small moments of sanity.

  • 167. mom2  |  November 12, 2010 at 10:53 am

    @cpsobsessed – I agree that this shows some sanity, but I have a large concern. In that policy, it allows principals to override the policy and use a higher grading scale for their school (after following some sort of procedure that sounded a bit vague). Doesn’t that sound like we will be back in this same situation after a short period of time (or even right away)? If some principals still feel that having a higher grade scale somehow makes their school seem to have higher standards (which is exactly the opposite of how some people will view their school – classes to easy, so they have to make it hard to get an A), then by allowing them to change the scale, we will still have different scales for different schools, parents upset, etc. etc.

  • 168. cpsobsessed  |  November 12, 2010 at 11:00 am

    True, but I do think that in a giant school system like CPS there probably needs to be room for exceptions to be made if a (well qualified and well-intentioned) principal sees a reason to do so. I guess I’m assuming that if CPS makes the reco and schools have to choose to override it, that it sends a message out about it….I guess we’ll see if they comply but at least parents have a formal reco to refer to, which is a step in the right direction.

  • 169. Grace  |  November 12, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    Anyone hearing that with R.H. resigning on the 29th, many aldermen will get their projects — school additions, new schools in old buildings — okayed at the Nov. 17 Board meeting.


  • 170. RL Julia  |  November 12, 2010 at 1:35 pm

    Just figured out that Taft is considering becoming a Track E school – I am assuming that this includes the academic center. I am not liking this (since insanely enough I have already put down a camp deposit for part of August). Also – the reasons (that effect students) given don’t really apply to the AC kid population in my opinion:

    Eliminate summer learning loss for students;
    Increase student and staff attendance;
    Increase opportunities for remediation.

    Anyone know anything more about this? Nothing was sent home and the notice wasn’t readily findable on the Taft website.

  • 171. Uptown Mom  |  November 12, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    @170 – I heard from a reliable source who attended the Taft Academic Center Open House last month: the Principal adamently said he’s pushing for the Track E schedule starting next fall (for the entire school).

  • 172. anon  |  November 12, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    Grace — interesting, as I just received an email from a local group in regard to the proposed expansion of LaSalle. I had wondered if it was on hold due to budget constraints. When I toured last year, it sounded like it was a done deal. Then we heard nothing more. Now it’s back. Interesting thought.

  • 173. cps Mom  |  November 12, 2010 at 3:30 pm

    OK – now I’m going to say something. Jackson is also looking at expansion. What the heck is going on? Now we’re rich!!

  • 174. Hawthorne mom  |  November 12, 2010 at 4:40 pm

    There is already a 700 million dollar shortfall being projected for next school year and CPS still hasn’t gotten some of the funds it was owed by the state for last year. Track E shouldn’t really cost anything, but expansions of any kind will. My money is on these rumors being just that, or that alderman and others may push for them, but I can’t imagine them happening.

  • 175. Grace  |  November 12, 2010 at 5:11 pm

    Hi Hawthorne mom,
    I know that this sounds all too absurd, but it is true that CPS and Chicago politics are as bad as it has ever been made out to be.

    Right now, the aldermen are unhappy with the prospect of Rahm. They had to toe the line under Daley, and they will have to under Rahm, too. And they don’t like that. That’s why they think Alexi G. has a chance, since the president and he play basketball.

    So, right now, while the Mayor is distracted, they are lining up to grab everything they can at R.H.’s last Board meeting, Nov. 17. Everything!

    Budget crisis be damned.

    IL RYH should be paying attention to this right now!!! It will dig us into an abyss and the Republicans in D.C. don’t want to give Duncan any more Race to the Top-type billions. So that way out is gone.

  • 176. Grace  |  November 12, 2010 at 5:18 pm

    I heared that alderman Solis is taking over Andrew jackson elementary for a middle school and expanding Jefferson school.
    To be voted upon Nov 17.

  • 177. RL Julia  |  November 12, 2010 at 5:41 pm

    That will cause an uproar.

  • 178. cps Mom  |  November 12, 2010 at 6:05 pm

    Is there an agenda posted?

  • 179. cps Mom  |  November 12, 2010 at 6:06 pm

    BTW Alexi just bowed out

  • 180. parent  |  November 12, 2010 at 7:11 pm

    Uh- we live down the street from Jackson. The proposal is to expand Jackson elementary school by re-opening the long closed Jefferson school as an annex neighborhood only school of Jackson. No middle school included. Jackson itself would remain magnet without a change in the neighborhood numbers. Not saying I think it’s a good idea or not but there’s the neighborhood info.
    I think maybe the proposal is on Solis’s website.

  • 181. parent  |  November 12, 2010 at 7:41 pm

    Sorry! It’s not on Solis’s site but there is chatter about it in the Chicago Journal.

  • 182. rosel  |  November 13, 2010 at 1:00 am

    Hey, #118, some of them are at Kenwood.

  • 183. Grace  |  November 13, 2010 at 6:49 am

    151 M
    Okay, I guess it’s getting clearer.

    If it student population hits 50% and the neighborhood is 50% or more of the same race, then no neighborhood proximity lottery the next year. What takes its place? How will CPS fill the entry-grade seats?

    Could you give an example with a few real world schools: north, south sides?

    What happens if a school starts off at 43% same race — school/neighborhood and midway through admissions it hits 50%?

    Thanks so much, M

  • 184. Grace  |  November 13, 2010 at 6:58 am

    What this all comes down to is this:

    Although whites’ share of selective seats stayed the same at 17% this year, if CPS cuts top students to 30% from 40%, it will cut the number of whites by at least 5% to 12%.
    Asians may be cut 2% to 8%. White make up 35% of the city.

    This is a purely political decision. Politicians sat on the Blue Ribbon Committee: city clerk and mayoral candidate, Miquel De Valle, and Ald. Thomas and Lyle.

    This shouldn’t be allowed.

  • 185. to #183  |  November 13, 2010 at 9:35 am

    Siblings get all available seats then there would be a general lottery. You will see less children from the nieghborhood get the remaining seats. There will be an increase in bussing more than likely. I doubt the racial make up of most schools will change unless the surrounding neighborhoods are diverse. I am only talking about magnet/no testing schools, though.

  • 186. Grace  |  November 13, 2010 at 10:07 am

    If the neighborhood is diverse enough — no race makes up 50% of residents — then the neighborhood lottery will remain in place.

    But if a school is in a neighborhood that is not diverse enough — i.e. there is one race that makes up 50% or more of the neighborhood — and the school hits 50% of that same race — then after siblings are in, the general, citywide lottery is put back in.

    So, for example, a school that is 70% African American in a neighborhood that is 70% white will still have a neighborhood lottery, until the student population reaches 50% white.

    Is that how you see it?

  • 187. cps Mom  |  November 13, 2010 at 12:49 pm

    180 – I believe they are talking middle school as 1 scenario. The presentation was first made known to parents and teachers at last weeks LSC meeting and they are not happy with the plan. Bottom line, the powers that be want to add a neighborhood component since only 12 seats went to the neighborhood last year and it was from “across the highway” (whatever that means).

    Many politically connected families attend and want to attend that school. With the new rules – not so easy. Instead of putting efforts into the neighborhood school, they want to be part of Jackson. Some are saying that they want the neighborhood but not all of it. There is a connection to LaSalle as well.

    So while the northsiders and other areas as well are putting their blood sweat and tears into resurrecting existing neighborhood schools and adding high schools to their successful programs, some communities are swooping in for a quick fix funded by the state. This can’t be a good thing.

  • 188. chicago parent  |  November 13, 2010 at 6:11 pm

    The CPS’ own Blue Ribbon Panel observes that: “…increasing the tier percentage GREATLY increases the number of high scoring students who would not likely receive an offer to attend any SEHS (Selective Enrollment High School).”(p 9, BRC Final Report, emphasis added)
    The Chicago Board of Education will be meeting next Wednesday, November 17th at 10:30 am at the CPS Central Administration Building, 125 South Clark Street, 5th Floor to vote on this change.

  • 189. parent  |  November 14, 2010 at 12:40 am

    @187 I find it hard to believe if you are at Jackson that changes to Jefferson are a surprise. Most of the little neighborhood papers have been covering the story since August at least. Playground denizen have been talking about it for months.
    I’m not so on with the blood sweat and tears thing either. Most schools that improve here north or south have some hefty connections to help-ie renovation for Pulaski. or 2 million dollar desegregation magnet grant for Oscar Mayer anyone?
    Every part of the city works it’s clout to the best advantage.
    I’d watch the folks in the West Loop for tips. Skinner School was just an appetizer. How long before Whitney Young goes neighborhood?
    As far as the Jackson thing goes I do find it curious that CPS sees a need to reopen Jefferson for the folks in the former Maxwell Street corner of the neighborhood when there are plenty of schools for them to attend from Pilsen on north to Smyth. I think they should have done some homework before they bought their houses. If the money is on the table somewhere to grow schools within a mile of the new U Village there is just no excuse to not desegregate Smyth somehow in the process.

  • 190. Hawthorne mom  |  November 14, 2010 at 9:15 am

    The parents at Peirce, Waters, Prescott, Pritzker, Hamilton, etc… don’t have connections as far as I know and they have killed themselves working to make their schools desirable. Noone gave them anything. No multimillion dollar improvements unless they fundraised themselves or won grants. While other schools may or may not have connections, there are quite a few schools where parents simply committed themselves to years and years of work, giving tons of time and money and resources. Some of them quit their full time jobs to devote that time to the school. I believe that is what previous posters are referring to.

  • 191. cps Mom  |  November 14, 2010 at 9:44 am

    Yes it was! Thank you. And for whatever was made know about the Jackson plans, it was not announced and the parents did not know.

  • 192. parent  |  November 14, 2010 at 11:43 am

    I think my point is that there are plenty of schools north and south that grow their schools. Lots up north with major connections and grants as well. It’s unfair to parents all over the city to say that only parents on the Northside do the work because it isn’t true. Evinced by the growth of Jackson over decades much of the early work done by what is now a group of funny retired ladies with children long grown up.

  • 193. parent  |  November 14, 2010 at 11:43 am

    I think my point is that there are plenty of schools north and south that grow their schools. Lots up north with major connections and grants as well. It’s unfair to parents all over the city to say that only parents on the Northside do the work because it isn’t true.

  • 194. cps Mom  |  November 14, 2010 at 5:55 pm

    I understand. It’s not just the northside turning schools around. My point, in addition to adding to a comment on the “rush to push plans with this upcoming meeting” is exacting something that you mentioned at the end of your post. “if the money is on the table why not desegregate Smyth” . I’m not aware of any money on the table and the cupboard is bare. Why aren’t they looking to grow/help the existing neighborhood school? This is not a case of a school with problems looking to make changes, they are not even looking to grow. They are a success doing what they’re doing. It’s a political agenda over getting only certain neighborhood kids into the school now that there is no principals discretion available.

  • 195. parent  |  November 14, 2010 at 10:04 pm

    I agree that changing Jackson is beyond what seems practical especially to parents who have grown a school. This has been in the little papers around us since late summer so I think it is less about the principal selection and more about the u village area seeing other schools get neighborified by powerful impatient neighbors with the leverage to make it happen unwilling to accept that they bought houses where they don’t have access to what they want. Jefferson is not their neighborhood school Smyth is.This part of the city has been really hands off in terms of the magnets in the past and most here see this as an overreach for sure. SadlyI think there is always money in Chicago when the mayor or alderman want to make something happen. Doing nothing to create equity at Smyh is deplorable- a gifted center is not an answer to what is not working there.

  • 196. another se mom2  |  November 15, 2010 at 9:03 am

    @195 – we’re in agreement. Good information. Looks like the meeting on the 17th will be chock full of agendas. I hope this does not take away from the SE application issues.

  • 197. Mayfair Dad  |  November 15, 2010 at 6:19 pm

    @ 171: Principal of Taft announced the move to Track E was approved at the last LSC Meeting. He also indicated all CPS schools will be compelled to change to Track E schedule, starting with the newer, air-conditioned schools. Not sure how the Huberteam departure affects this, but a potentially huge cost to air condition all of those 1930s era school buildings.

    Would the benefit outweigh the cost? Is there another city that tried this? I thought Illinois, Chicago and CPS are all broke.

  • 198. Mom2  |  November 15, 2010 at 7:52 pm

    @197 – I think that some parents would hate a Track E schedule because they send their kids to summer camps or their kids have summer jobs that end after Track E schools begin. Do you know if that was discussed? CPS might lose even more students.

  • 199. cps Mom  |  November 15, 2010 at 9:06 pm

    Not many camps offer programs in August. Wouldn’t the camps and after school programs change their schedules to meet the majority of kids? Think about those extra long breaks in between. Cheap fares and one of those drinks with the umbrella in it – I’m there.

  • 200. Mom2  |  November 15, 2010 at 10:17 pm

    Most summer camps I know about end after the second week of August. When does Track E start?

  • 201. Hawthorne mom  |  November 15, 2010 at 11:25 pm

    CPS is NEVER going to retrofit all those old buildings to give them AC. If they say they are, you can assume they are lying through their teeth.
    They wouldn’t even buy me a $20 FAN when my classroom was 100+ degrees everyday in September and May and June with windows that would not open. They *might* put window units in classrooms, which won’t have hardly any effect and will blow out the electrical systems.

  • 202. CPSmama  |  November 16, 2010 at 10:18 am

    Mom2: Track E started August 9 this year. Chicago Park District day camp ended August 6

    I think it is a disgrace that Dr. Tardvardian forced Taft into Track E- LONG AFTER 7th & 9th graders had committed to Taft and couldn’t select another academic center or HS. If I had a kid there, I would have been furious. I also find it bard to believe that ALL CPS schools will be mandated to switch to Track E. When my oldest started in CPS, school started around Aug 20. Arne Duncan changed it to the Tuesday after Labor day to boost first day attendance. If it is moved to 2nd Mon of August, first day attendance will plummet- even if they hire rap stars to promote it (don’t get me started on the colossal waste of money by CPS on those “back to school” campaigns/concerts etc)

  • 203. cps mom 5  |  November 16, 2010 at 10:46 am

    Don’t get me started on all the reasons why Track E schedules are awful for working parents. It will never happen city-wide!

    If CPS wants to increase the amount of hours students are in the classromm, how about extending the school day or eliminating some of the frivolous professional service and other days that students are out of school?

  • 204. mom2  |  November 16, 2010 at 10:52 am

    Thank you for the information about when Track E started last year. When I mentioned camps, I wasn’t referring to park district camps. I meant day camps such as Hi-Five, Fred’s Camp, and many overnight camps. that are open for 8 weeks and their last day this year is August 13th. I can see a City of Chicago specific camp changing their dates to fit this new schedule, but camps that cater to more than just CPS or even more than just Chicago may not be willing to switch everything around. I guess it would just be another CPS change that will force people that can afford camps like these to reconsider CPS and take their money elsewhere. Not real good for CPS in my opinion. (However, I do agree that an umbrella drink during off season where the prices are lower and the crowds are less would be wonderful!)

  • 205. mom2  |  November 16, 2010 at 10:54 am

    @203 – I agree on extending the school day for everyone. I think CPS has one of the shortest school days in the country, doesn’t it?

  • 206. cps Mom  |  November 16, 2010 at 11:16 am

    My experience with these camps – at least Hi 5 – is that you can purchase time in increments and design it to suit your situation. Many people schedule around vacation, why not school? I do agree that there are way too many days off during the school year. Maybe CPS could have a 2 week August session for teachers to further their professional development with the money that is saved by not cooling the buildings.

    BTW – the Jackson thing is heating up. The proposal is making Jackson K-3 with 4 classes each and 4-8 in the old Jefferson building @ 4 classes. Parents and teachers are in an uproar and be assured that the pot will boil over tomorrow. So 2 things –

    1 – How do these distractions effect anything that could possibly be done to salvage the SE admissions that many are concerned about.

    2 – With CPS jumping in to restructure a very successful magnet school, will this be a template of things to come as someone pointed out above?

  • 207. RL Julia  |  November 16, 2010 at 11:47 am

    I’ll believe it when I see it. I am annoyed about the track E change at Taft and I already know that my son will be missing the first week of school. Since he often watches my daughter who is not in a track E school, this puts a major crimp in our summer plans – especially since as it was noted, pretty much EVERYTHING winds down after August 15 or so. So now, I have one kid who will screw up on his attendance (but he’ll be in 8th grade, so really who cares) and another kid who I have to figure out (and pay for, most likely) what to do with during a time when nothing is going on.

    I don’t believe for one minute that the rest of the system is going to go to Track E either.

  • 208. mom2  |  November 16, 2010 at 1:19 pm

    @206, I am glad it would work out for you. It would not work out for my family or for many other families that we know. Many camps are 4 or 8 weeks period. And even if you decided to only go for 4 weeks, some teenagers actually get summer jobs with these camps and they are required to be there for the entire summer. They could no longer have these summer jobs.

  • 209. Track E  |  November 16, 2010 at 9:53 pm

    I removed my child from a school that went Track E becuase I had another child in a different school that wasn’t going Track E. I think either we should all be Track or not. CPS has no consideration for parents who have kids in different schools. Also, I think it is inhumane for Track E to be forced upon the students and staff at schools that DO NOT have air conditioning. Also, the school I removed my child from had their ISAT scores plummet significantly. I thought Track E was suppose to prevent that from happening. Why should all schools be punished because some parents don’t do academic things with their children over the summer. I’ve heard at Track E schools that during the intercession when the children are supposed to be on break the teachers give homework and projects so the children don’t get ANY down time. As a parent who checks all homework assignments for BOTH kids EVERY night I NEED a break. All track E does is stress the parents and the children.

    Teachers also need to realize that Track E is a ploy so that CPS can save money on teacher’s pensions. CPS DOES NOT make contributions to their pension when they don’t work more than 5 days in a pay period which happens quite a bit on the track E schedule. CPS can easily fix this by going to the Illinois General Assembly but they choose not to. The teacher’s union is supposedly going to address this situation but meanwhile staff, students and parents all suffer the consequences. I hope our new CEO makes schools revert back to their original schedules which was the day after labor day. The majority of track E schools have only shown miniscule gains on the ISAT. Is this really worth it?

    Also, CPS doesn’t suffer any attendance consequences because a child isn’t considered absent until they al least show up for school. So a school is not penalized if a Track E student shows up in September vs, August. CPS spins the 1st day attendance by saying we had 100% attendance when in fact many students DO NOT show up on the first day of track E.

  • 210. two cents  |  November 21, 2010 at 7:14 pm

    WELL, DD (3rd grade) was scheduled for gifted test yesterday. We did buy the books ($125 worth) from Think Tonight and practiced many of the exercises. I received some excellent advice from people ‘in the know’. The one thing you can’t plan for…. DD flat out refused to take the test. “I’m going to answer all the questions wrong on purpose.” “I don’t want to go to a new school.” etc, etc. Just to warn all of the hazards of trying to have an older child tested. Darn!

  • 211. momof4  |  November 23, 2010 at 10:46 am

    Sorry two cents. Not pretty at all.
    My first grader tested Saturday. I told him to do his best and that I would by him lunch and a small toy. Bribery works over here at our house. He said the test was very easy.
    Good luck for next year two cents.

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