Board Meeting Wednesday

November 16, 2010 at 9:36 pm 69 comments

Here ya go….

Big CPS board meeting Wednesday Nov 17.

They will be voting on the recos of the Blue Ribbon Committee in regards to policy on admission criteria for selective enrollment and magnet schools.

I endorse going to the meeting to voice your opinion (although I believe the goal was for the BRC to collect this input before this meeting and incorporate it into their reco.)  If you disagree with their recommendations, it’s certainly worth expressing that opinion at Wednesday”s meeting.

I read the entire BRC recommendation document this weekend and my personal opinion is that they did a very thorough job (especially considering they all have other full time jobs.)  I find most of recommendations to be well-discussed.  I feel like the points they made reflect that the group wasn’t biased toward one specific group and I generally agree with their report and the recommendations they’re making.  If you don’t, by all means speak up on behalf of yourself.

You can read their report here (first document BRC Report 9_22_10.)

As a disclaimer, I’m not necessarily here to be a CPS activist.  I’m happy to provide links to sites that support CPS-related activism (such as Raise Your Hand,) so if anyone wants to start one, please feel free to give me your link and I’ll post it.  But my goal is to provide a forum about the CPS experience.  All aspects of it.     Thanks for reading and especially for all the discussion.


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The Big Class Dilemma Mayoral Forum on Education

69 Comments Add your own

  • 1. mystified  |  November 17, 2010 at 8:34 am

    Hello? CPS is going AGAINST the BRC report in recommending changing the allocation of seats. CPS will be voting on changing the allocation from 40/60 (rank/tier) to 30/70 (rank/tier) So what do you think of that?
    This is NOT supported by the BRC report & NO PUBLIC INPUT has been cited to support this change.

  • 2. cpsobsessed  |  November 17, 2010 at 8:47 am

    Sorry, I’m lost now. How do we know what the board is going to vote for?

    What do I think about it? I think the board has the right to adjust that number based on their opinion and not fully on public opinion. I see opinion about the % of kids who get in on top score alone as a gray area. Some might argue 100% and some might argue 0% and I think both sides have valid points. I remember being surprised when I found out it was 40% with the new policy. It seemed high to me, personally. But that’s why it’s a gray issue.

    I think we can all agree on policies like the twin/sibling one. But this one isn’t as clear cut.

  • 3. Grace  |  November 17, 2010 at 9:12 am

    Yes, I think it is a gray issue, and, personally I would hate to see diversity decline over time at the top schools. It would erase the gains made during the federal consent decree, and I can’t think that is the right goal for our city or society.

  • 4. cpsobsessed  |  November 17, 2010 at 9:30 am

    I guess a question I have is what truly represents “public opinion.” If every family in CPS had one vote about the % of kids who get seats based on scores alone, what do we think the vote would say? I suspect it wouldn’t be 40%.
    Even if every family in the city with kids voted on it, given an even breakout of 4 tiers, I suspect “Public opinion” would not support a 40% allocation.
    I could be wrong though.

  • 5. mom2  |  November 17, 2010 at 9:44 am

    I think it all depends on the actual goal of SE high schools. That appears to not be defined universally within CPS. Is the goal to have gifted high schools for gifted students that offers challenges to them and gives them something that a regular school cannot offer and should not because it would be too much for general students? Is it to have an evenly racially diverse student body at each high school regardless of talent/merit (more like a magnet program) and therefore selective means selecting from each race (or “tier”) and talent or merit is irrelevant? Is it something in between? What was the original purpose of these schools and what is it now?

  • 6. mystified  |  November 17, 2010 at 11:45 am

    Dear LOST,
    The board will probably vote for what was in the PRESS RELEASE of Nov 4th when CPS announced its intention to change the allocation from 40/60 to 30/70!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THIS CAN BE FOUND ON THE CPS WEBSITE
    That’s how YOU can find out how the Board is likely to vote. This is in spite of the BRC report against doing so: 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 reasons for changing the allocation and adding a school performance factor (both of which CPS has announced in its PRESS RELEASE OF NOV 4TH) both seem racially motivated IF one reads the BRC report. In fact the language describing how these changes were made make it sound like the ENTIRE socio-economic diversity system is racially motivated and potentially illegal.

  • 7. good bye  |  November 17, 2010 at 11:48 am

    I suppose I’m the only one on this board who feels that admissions to academically accelerated schools should be based on merit. What an odd opinion to have.

  • 8. EJB  |  November 17, 2010 at 11:58 am

    Are mystified & good bye the same poster?

    I agree that admissions to academically accelerated schools should be based on merit alone. That said, I do struggle with the best way to accomodate very bright, but underserved students of any race. I don’t necessarily thing savnig 25 spots at Peyton or Northside is the way to do this, but think it’s important. I just don’t know the right answer. I don’t think anyone does. The policy is an attempt to address the issue, but there is no way to make everyone happy with this.

  • 9. ChicagoGawker  |  November 17, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    We need to spread around the great opportunity that are SE high schools. We need diverse SE high schools. We also need enough SE high schools to accomodate the # of students who have shown they are the type of student who should be at these schools. The only way to reach both these goals is to ESTABLISH MORE SE HIGH SCHOOLS. Why is this never up for a vote and never discussed by the board? Will we start to see an exodus of families from the city as fewer and fewer high scoring students are place in an SE, and this becomes the tipping point for families who can’t/won’t shell out 50k for Catholic HS? If this continues for very long, will the city begin to lose its tax base? Were not the SE HSs started partially to encourage middle to upper middle class families to stay in the city? Will it go back to the 70s when people left becs. they were just too ticked off that they paid property taxes, yet there were no good school their children had a prayer of getting into?
    Personally, as a tier 4 parent, even though my kid is now only a 4th grader, I see a move from the city to Evanston in our future iif the 30/70 proposal is implemented and continues. And since we rent, it will not be hard to do.

  • 10. momof4  |  November 17, 2010 at 12:06 pm

    If someone is at the meeting this morning, please post the results of the vote here before I need to read about it in the papers tomorrow.

  • 11. mom2  |  November 17, 2010 at 12:26 pm

    @good bye – I also believe that SE schools should be based on merit only. You are not alone, but I do think that cpsobsessed is more likely to represent the city than we are or at least that appears to be the case based on things I have seen or read over the last few years. I also agree that the answer is to open more of these SE schools in safe neighborhoods where those that quality don’t have to travel over 30 minutes (each direction) by multiple buses or trains each day just to go to school. But, I hear the response to this is that CPS is already broke, so that isn’t going to happen. Does anyone know if CPS has considered taking an existing high school building on the north side and converting it to a SE school? I know…what about the kids that already go there? I wish I had all the answers.

  • 12. cps Mom  |  November 17, 2010 at 1:15 pm

    CPS Obsessed – I see your view but think it’s somewhat idealistic. The BRC report does list race as a motivation for their findings and suggestions for change. The report also states that they did not come to consensus and therefore had no recommendation for the 30/70 split and the addition of the 6th tier criteria. They also had no solution to the issues with the way grades were counted. So, in effect the BRC committee simply changed the sibling lottery and NCLB to 5% (much better and equitable based upon school size). Also interesting to note that they students applying need to be tested!!!!!!

    In the meantime, another group of kids subject to unfair policies and needing to rearrange high school choices. You won’t fully understand what happens until you are there but by that time its too late and most people just move on without saying anything.

    I too am with the 100% merit group. We won’t really know how that would have affected diversity because the process was not run that way (they probably have a good guess). What exactly is it that they fear happening? Create 10,000 selective enrollment seats and have the chips fall where they fall.

  • 13. M  |  November 17, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    Hi cpsobsessed, just want to say thank you for hosting this blog and allowing us all to benefit from the interesting topics that you raise. I enjoy checking in to its free-wheeling discussion often. In the other thread, you mused about moving your son to private, but I hope you never do that because “privateschoolobsessed” would not be the same at all. 🙂

  • 14. CPSmama  |  November 17, 2010 at 1:36 pm

    Hey mystified: Did it ever occur to you that not every person on this blog has the same concerns as you regarding CPS?

    Your issue is (quite) obviously the new SE HS process and, particularly the rank score percentage. We get it. That is your hot topic. Probably because you have a 7th or 8th grader who will be affected by the revised policy. Understable.

    Well for me, my kids are already in SEHS so forgive me if I don’t storm CPS board meetings to voice my opinion about YOUR issue.

    The issue that directly affects my kids is SEHS grading scales. They are not uniform and that is not fair. Call me disillusioned, but, since CPS has made it clear that they are not going to require SEHS principals to adhere to uniform grading scales this year or in the future, my kids will just have to suck it up and try to get as many 95% A’s as they can so they can get into a decent college competing with other SEHS kids who get A’s for 90%.

    This blog is called cpsobsessed. It addresses all CPS issues, not just yours.

  • 15. Grace  |  November 17, 2010 at 1:38 pm

    We live in a diverse city and that is an attractive aspect of Chicago today. Parents may be merely trying to secure a good school for our child, but we risk being divisive here, and I don’t think that is to anyone’s benefit.

    After decades of work under cthe onsent decree, do we really want to go backwards?

    An increase in seats would be great, as would bringing more selective programs to neighborhood high schools, I think.
    I’m sure CPS is looking at these things. This budget crises won’t provide easy or fast solutions.

  • 16. cps Mom  |  November 17, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    @14 doesn’t the proposed new CPS grade scale affect grades K-12? I think you got your wish. The SE process should interest all familes K-8 as it may have an ongoing impact. I wished that someone already in an SE school would have filled me in at grade 2 or 5 about what to expect … what type of preparation to take …. what the options are…how to deal with the current school situation….on and on

  • 17. LDR  |  November 17, 2010 at 2:24 pm

    As mentioned on previous threads, the neighborhood schools should get better by default then. Not all students got into SEES or SEHS in 1989 or 1999 or 2009. Where are they? Surely, they’re not all in private/parochial schools. And I don’t think they all packed up and moved to Kenilworth. I went to neighborhood schools and I turned out just fine (although some close to me might argue otherwise!). I just dont think all kids not placed in SEES or SEHS are gonna crash and burn. Hope for the best and prepare for the worst, which in this case, would be a “regular” school.

  • 18. mom2  |  November 17, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    @16 – The parents of current SE high school students did not fully get their wish regarding the grade scale. Yes, it is recommended that all grades should now go to a 90, 80, 70 scale, BUT then they say that principals can go against this if they write up why it is better for their school if they don’t (or something like that). From what I see, with no mandate to follow this scale, nothing at all will change (or maybe it will change for a year and then slowly creep back to how it is now. I think this is terrible. No wish granted here.

    cpsobsessed, I also want to thank you for this blog. It is very much appreciated even if people don’t always agree.

  • 19. CPSmama  |  November 17, 2010 at 3:37 pm

    @14 ^ what mom2 said. My wish was not granted.

    IMO, it’s almost worse when CPS passes a revised grading scale, but then allows principals to opt out. They recongize the unfairness but permit the status quo. Nice contradiction.

  • 20. CPSmama  |  November 17, 2010 at 3:41 pm

    @16: Even if you had information about how to prepare to get into SEHS, CPS could (and did) change the rules midstream. They did it to my kid last year. And they’re doing the same thing this year. There is no way to prepare these days

  • 21. cps Mom  |  November 17, 2010 at 4:09 pm

    I know, you’re right, I was there. I guess my experience was awful because I prepped and planned and did not see that the grades varied from school to school. A little heads up would have had me all over the school. Also, kids and parents for that matter need to realistically know what to expect and shouldn’t feel that not getting into Payton or NS means failure. I think there is more information available out there now on the options.

  • 22. klm  |  November 17, 2010 at 4:09 pm

    I believe that there would be more broad support if they made of policy of 50% admissions to SE CPS schools based strictly on MERIT as a point of fact, then allowed the other 50% of admissions to be the result of social engineering that is of the legally-permitted variety (e.g. using socioeconomics as a proxy for strctly racial quotas). This would probably allow the majority of academically high-achieving kids satisfied that they’ll get a fair deal for at least HALF the spaces (plus whichever is allocated to one’s socioeconomic or underachieving elementary school group) , which is pretty good and would seem equitable to many (perhaps most) people. Who doesn’t worry that the 30/70 ratio will become 20/80 or 10/90 down the line? After the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling a few years back, I wonder if even the proposed changes in magnet schools admissions related to race are legal and will CPS face a lawsuit in the future if they are implemented? CPS had better get ready to respond to lots of FOIA requests in the future.

  • 23. smp  |  November 17, 2010 at 4:36 pm

    did anyone attend – can you tell me what passed?

  • 24. Mom of two  |  November 17, 2010 at 4:41 pm

    I think we need to be aware that “merit” is a hard thing to measure, even if it’s strictly academic merit. Does my child, who has many advantages educationally – English spoken in the household, parents with academic training, a stable home environment, food regularly every day, good health, $ to buy academic resources etc. – necessarily show more academic potential or merit if he scores better on tests and gets better grades in 7th grade than a child who overcomes disadvantages in those arenas? Maybe that other child is a really bright & shining academic star, but doesn’t get to spend time on homework because he babysits his little siblings etc. That’s real life for alot of kids, and I don’t think there’s a perfect way to account for it all. It’s really dicey.

    Somebody has the responsibility to come up with a deciding percentile or formula, and I understand why it’s in the 60/40 or 70/30 range. It’s not just about my one special child, it’s about Chicago children altogether.

    And thanks, as well, for this forum to discuss these issues and hear all sides. I think it’s important to hear from a variety of folks.

  • 25. Mayfair Dad  |  November 17, 2010 at 4:48 pm

    I think the key to understanding mystified’s angst is to ask yourself why CPS is tinkering with the percentage of merit-based admissions at all. If you belive this is an acceptable form of social engineering meant to provide equal access to education for underserved youth from poorer neighborhoods, you are probably O.K. with the decision. If, on the other hand, you see this as a politically motivated backroom deal to appease influential African American interests at the expense of your own white children, you are probably shopping for a new house in Park Ridge.

  • 26. cpsobsessed  |  November 17, 2010 at 5:17 pm

    Ah, Park Ridge — is that we decided we’re all going?

    One thing is clear that we can all agree on is the need for more spaces in safe high schools for kids who can work hard and/or work above typical CPS standards.

    When I reviewing the NYC gifted test application, I noticed that they guarantee admission to a gifted program to any kid who scores over a certain %. (maybe 98 or 99%?) I like that idea. Of course the downside was that you had to agree to be open to ANY program in the city, which I’m sure is totally unreasonable in NYC for geography alone. But if the very top scoring kids in CPS were guaranteed a spot on merit AND the top kids from each tier were given a spot, I suppose there’d be a lot less griping.

  • 27. cps Mom  |  November 17, 2010 at 5:18 pm

    Gotta love it MD

    One thing that has not been touched upon is the mention in the report that some of the underserved youth that got into the program are struggling. This is very real. How is this being addressed? I can’t even imagine how a kid must feel when he/she doesn’t have even the basic skills required for these schools. In all honesty, those spots would have been better served to merit students (of any race) and the struggling student would have gotten a real chance in a less intense program – something that is an opportunity for them outside of the neighborhood school.

  • 28. Mom2  |  November 17, 2010 at 5:25 pm

    I have a question about the “equal access to education” that people often say is needed when referring to SE high schools. Does CPS give the same amount of money (per student) to NSCP (for example) as they do to King (for example)? Isn’t that equal? Why, when discussing the whole SE high school rules, do those that want “equal access to education” think that it isn’t fair when their children cannot get into NSCP but not when their children cannot get into King? I assume the answer is because it is “the best” but what makes it the best? (I know what I think, but I am curious what others think).

  • 29. RL Julia  |  November 17, 2010 at 5:30 pm

    Nicely said Mayfair Dad. The funny thing is – is that by the time many bright kids get to high school it might be too late. The real push to keep bright but disadvantaged kids engaged/learning and on track needs to happen in Elementary school, not high school.

  • 30. M  |  November 17, 2010 at 9:00 pm

    All items on the agenda were passed except for two, one of which was the expansion of Jackson Langage Academy, and one was a vendor contract item.

  • 31. Christine  |  November 17, 2010 at 10:47 pm

    You can listen to the board meeting on WBEZ’s website. They have a recording from today’s session.

  • 32. Christine  |  November 17, 2010 at 10:55 pm

    No one from the BRC was at the meeting today. I find that very interesting

  • 33. Hawthorne mom  |  November 18, 2010 at 12:06 am

    The principals on the BRC needed to be at their schools today to either attend or prep for parent conferences. They would not have been able to leave their schools to attend.

  • 34. Mayfair Dad  |  November 18, 2010 at 10:51 am

    @ 30/31Christine: can you post the highlights? (lowlights?)

  • 35. Christine  |  November 18, 2010 at 11:44 am

    what about the others from the BRC that aren’t principals?

    Mayfair Dad, it seemed (since there’s no video just audio) that the presenter reviewed the BRC powerpoint that was posted.The legal counsel representative pointed out that CPS did a “remarkable job” of achieving social economic and therefore ethnic diversity given that they couldn’t use race as a determining factor anymore. The proposal for the 6th tier and 30/70 was approved. It remains a 1 year program. the BRC does want to come together again to review for next year.

    Huberman made some parting comments.He left 5 parting thoughts for key areas for improving outcomes for students:
    1. Maximizing learning time. We have one of the shorter school years and shorter school days compared to other districts in the US. He commented on the longer school day for the 15 schools via online technology. It’s 90 mins/day extra. If you were to add these 90 mins up from K – 12, you’d get an additional 4 years worth of education. He compared CPS to the Houston school district to get his data.
    2. Instilling culture of performance/accountability. Need management accountability tools to ask questions and get answers that help you then form a path to success for improving outcome for success for the kids. He mentioned the standardized test. He said you need more than just the test to measure the growth and success. Particularly when the tests keep changing, it’s hard to measure Y/Y growth. 3rd graders this year will take 3 tests: baseline, then mid, then final. Tests are administered online. The answer the child selects will either improve in difficulty or easiest to gauge where the child is. The teacher will get the reports, discuss data, and it will enable teachers to improve instructions for the kids and their classroom based on where their kids are in ability based on these tests. Teachers have been trained on these reports and he’s getting feedback on how it’s performing.
    3. Human Capital: How to ensure we have most talented people (teachers and principals) in front of kids. Using student performance isn’t the only variable but it is a key variable. Student data by itself doesn’t tell the entire story and Huberman agrees. Need to develop some meaningful way of evaluation and need some effective way of removing ineffective people. National board certified teachers are making recommendations of the hiring of other teachers.
    4. Charter schools matter and turnarounds are critical: If schools are failing, must be able to make changes in the school to get it back on track. He highlighted Noble Street and Chicago International/UNO programs. He said that Noble is growing their kids more academically than the SEHS. Noble has a longer school day. Every junior has AP Chem and is kept til 5 pm for extra help if they are struggling.

    I think the point he was trying to make is that everyone can’t go to a SEHS and that charter/turnaround schools need to be made viable quality options and can have some flexibility and therefore maybe able to be more successful or just as successful as our SEHS/SEES.
    5. Intervention for the high risk/at risk kids. High risk being those kids in unsafe neighborhoods and/or without caring adults able to make interventions for them. Program for mentoring and improving outcomes for these kids.

    Public comments were taken. I didn’t listen to them all.
    They did discuss University VIllage / AJLA and the agreement that was reached but has been postponed and needs to be on next month’s board meeting.

  • 36. Mom2  |  November 18, 2010 at 11:50 am

    Do you know if they discussed the new grading scale (including the opt out option for principals) for all schools for next year? Is that official? I tried to listen but didn’t hear it.
    Thanks for taking the time to summarize.

  • 37. Christine  |  November 18, 2010 at 11:57 am

    Mom2, I don’t recall it being discussed either.

  • 38. ChicagoGawker  |  November 18, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    Huberman’s observation regarding Noble Charter realizing more actual academic gains in their students than SE HSs is interesting.
    Charter schools are not discussed much on this board. Would you consider sending your kid to a Charter if they don’t get into a SE HS? Anyone have any experience with Charters? Know anyone that does?

  • 39. cpsobsessed  |  November 18, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    Thanks Christine, very interesting. I think Hub’s closing comments were good (although I feel like his emphasis on performance measurement might be too severe — and I even work in a measurement based industry… I just think it’s WAY too imperfect to measure in education.)

    Regarding charters, a parent in my son’s class just started a K-age son at one of the CICS schools. Her neighborhood is starting to use it as another neighborhood school option, so a lot of local kids go. She has been really impressed with the rigor and indivualization and high standards that are set for the kids. I admit they were off my radar and (despite my trashing performance measures!) I’d like to see more test scores for these schools. As with all CPS schools, I’m sure it varies by student population, but I’d like to see *some* sign that they’re doing better than the regular schools. Or at least the same, I suppose.

  • 40. cpsobsessed  |  November 18, 2010 at 1:07 pm

    I do remember thinking when I looked at the BRC members, that they all had “real” jobs that they probably need to attend to during the weekdays. I know from my time serving on the LSC that I never had the time to devote to it that I wanted to, so I’m sure these people have put in a ton of their own time already. It would be great to have them at the meeting, but given that it’s a volunteer position, I can understand the difficulty.

  • 41. Mayfair Dad  |  November 18, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    Thanks, Christine.

    Re: charter schools, candidly don’t know a lot about them, but I remain cautiously optimistic they could be a viable choice for families. Competition/choice is a good thing.

    Can a charter high school be “selective” in their admissions policy? I read on D299 teachers who complain charters can expel unruly students who end up back in the CPS neighborhood school, thus inflating the charter’s results. Is Kenwood Academy charter?

  • 42. Mom of 4  |  November 18, 2010 at 4:09 pm

    Where can I find the information about the grading scale? Our principal told us it was voted on at the October mtg, but nothing would change for this school year and that our school could stay at 93 and above for an A, but it can’t go lower than 90 for an A. The LSC will have to vote on it.

  • 43. cps Mom  |  November 18, 2010 at 5:34 pm

    Charter schools – I know people who have great experiences. The most coveted is Noble ST. UIC – probably about as hard to get into as Payton. They are lottery base, a friend was #798 on the wait list! They are relatively new. There are no academic qualifiers although I think there is an essay on the application. They are geared toward the health care sector with access to UIC classes and medical center. Advanced students may take classes at UIC for credit and all students are guaranteed entry into UIC upon graduation.

    Kenwood is not a charter. I do believe that it is a high school magnet.

  • 44. coonleymom  |  November 18, 2010 at 10:20 pm

    Charter Schools-I have the son in the same class as cpsobsessed’s, and also a son at CICS-Irving Park -K class. We love CICS. We did turn it into our neighborhood school, 8 kids go this year, carpooling is great:)
    Our neighborhood turned down spaces in the Gifted Programs at Edison, Coonley, Pritzker and also Skinner North (we turned this school down). My K son is thriving at school. He has had some of the same spelling words that my 2nd grader has this year. He is now reading chapter books and is working on multiplication! What I love is that his teacher is constantly changing his work to challenge him. They are fantastic at differentiating and finding time to work with each child. He is in school an hour and forty-five minutes longer every day than my 2nd grader. They use positive reinforcement to get the behavior results expected. No matter what level your child starts at the beginning of the year (low or high), they expect them to advance-so no one gets left out of learning and being challenged. I would recommend checking out Charter Schools.
    I love my 2nd grader’s school-but the reality is, it is much harder to get in, no sibling preference, and my K son (so far) has learned just as much, if not more, than my 2nd grader did in K class gifted program (which was a lot!). Hope this helps!

  • 45. Chicago Gawker  |  November 18, 2010 at 10:58 pm

    What does CICS stand for? The longer school day sounds fabulous, especially helpful for working parents. I checked out Noble Charter’s UIC Prep’s website. It looks like a great program. Does say that 75% of the kids enter there performing below grade level, but they are given alot of opportunities and with the small size could do alot of differentiating. Do they publish the ACTs of seniors?

  • 46. Christine  |  November 18, 2010 at 11:11 pm

    A family I know has a son at the Learn Charter schools and they love it.

  • 47. Coonleymom  |  November 18, 2010 at 11:29 pm

    CICS-Chicago International Charter Schools. They use a separate application from CPS, you can find it on their website.

  • 48. momof4  |  November 19, 2010 at 3:47 am

    You know, I never considered a charter school.
    I apologize for not knowing this, but where do I start?
    Is there a directory? Is there a guide for dummies like me?

  • 49. to momof4  |  November 19, 2010 at 8:20 am

    All charters do not perform as well as CICS-Irving Park. CICS has campuses all over Chicago. Some do well others don’t. There are other Charter operators as well. Catalyst-Chicago just did a wonderful article on how charters push up underperforming children and those with bad behavior. You can go to CPS’ REA website and look at the ISAT, PSAE and avg ACT of each INDIVIDUAL charter school. Just be careful which ones you apply to.

  • 50. Hawthorne mom  |  November 19, 2010 at 8:29 am

    I would look up the rankings of schools in Chicago. Very, very few (maybe 2 or 3) made it into the top 100 (that’s about 20%). CICS has one campus that is performing well….I think it is the IP one. But other than that, there really are only one or two worth considering. A longer day is great, and that might be a deciding factor if a family needs it, of course.
    For me, I ruled out any school that didn’t have at minimum 75-80% meeting standards in both reading and math across ALL grades, and had at least 30% exceeding standards in both reading and math in all grades (for the most part), that would eliminate all but 1-3 charters in the city.

  • 51. Hawthorne mom  |  November 19, 2010 at 8:30 am

    I should have said, very few CHARTER schools made it into the top 100.

  • 52. coonleymom  |  November 19, 2010 at 8:54 am

    If you are interested in charter schools, you can set up a tour. At the Irving Park Campus, the tour was extremely informative and tons of material to take home and look over. When looking over test results, I always take into account where the school started from, how long they have been around, and how have they improved. If you start with children that have very low test scores, it is going to take a few years to get the scores up-just a personal note from my few years at CPS. I think scores are very important, but not just the end result-I like to break them down. I know at the IP campus, they work with advance children, as will as middle and underperforming children. A few of our neighborhood kids are pulled out of their class for a few subjects and head to the year above so they will remain challenged.

    Good luck!

  • 53. M  |  November 19, 2010 at 8:56 am

    @45 “Do they publish the ACTs of seniors?”

    The ACT scores of Noble St Noble is 19.8. There are a number of Noble St and CICS high schools with average ACTs in the range of 19-20, which is actually very solid for Chicago public schools. These charter high schools are the next highest scoring schools after the selective enrollment high schools (range from 28.5 to 21.0) and schools like Lincoln Park and von Steuben, which have partially test-in programs. Whether 19-20 average is high enough for your own standards is another question.

  • 54. ChicagoGawker  |  November 19, 2010 at 10:03 am

    Well, if CPS doesn’t make more SE high schools in the next few years and keeps this 70/30 admissions policy, I’ll certainly be watching charters closely. If enough potential SE students start attending charters, and perhaps raising academic standards in them,it could be a really good thing in terms of providing real HS alternatives to those of us who will almost certainly be shut out of the SEs.

  • 55. Montessori mom  |  November 21, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    cics Bucktown is another successful charter school.
    some charters are doing well in Chicago, Namaste for oned.
    I for one will be looking at the Noble HS charters, especially the UiC Noble Charter Prep.
    The location is great ( for us) and it is affiliated with UIC, small class size and caring counselors and teachers.
    I went to Whitney Young as a teen and I wish I had been a small caring HS. I was totally lost in a big school.

  • 56. EDB  |  November 22, 2010 at 9:55 am

    Is there anywhere to get CICS school-specific test score or other demographic information? It looks like all CICS schools are grouped in everything I’ve looked at, and from what I understand different schools have significantly different performance results.

  • 57. klm  |  November 22, 2010 at 10:55 am

    I would like to point out a few things to anybody that may be longing for the “diversity” back when the Consent Decree was still in effect. Remember that under the old Consent Decree anbody that was not 100% “non-Hispanic white” was a “minority”. The Consent Decree was designed as a temporary (as all consent decrees are) fix to the real problem of documented discrimination against inner-city African-Americans by CPS in the 1960s and very early 1970s (some city officials kept some schools “white” in order to alleviate ‘white flight’, as horrible as that sounds). Well, in my experience with my child’s school (a CPS RGC) the “beneficiaries” are mostly (2/3) Asian and Hispanic (1/3). What’s more, probably 50% or more of these “minority” kids have at least one white parent –visually, you wouldn’t even have a clue that some are “minorities”. There are no African-Americans in my child’s grade or any in the pre- or proceeding grades. In fact, I think I could count on my fingers the number of African-American students in the entire school. Also (as the low % of kids qualifying for free lunch indicates) the vast majority of the kids come from middle-upper-middle class families –we’re talking non-primary care physicians, Ivy League graduates, white shoe law firm lawyers, etc., in some cases. Now, these kids and their families are all wonderful people and I’m glad to have them going to school with my child, but it’s pretty clear that a legal solution (the Consent Decree) designed to benefit inner-city poor kids was not working as designed. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy that educated professional families are using CPS to educate their children –this “upper-end” demographic is part of Chicago and I believe a real asset/solution to the creation of a viable CPS option for all those who want a good education for their kids. I know some civil rights-minded organisations viewed the end of the Consent Decree as something really bad in terms of “diversity”, but I can’t help believe that the use of socioeconomic data will benefit those for whom social engineering of this sort is designed to benefit –namely poor kids from the wrong side of the tracks who have done as well as they can given the circumstances of their upbringing and surroundings. I have a much easier time accepting a “hand up” for SE admissions for a poor inner-city kid than for a kid born with every advantage in life (nice house, high-income-professionals-for-parents, quality daycare, academically stimulating homelife, etc.) who happens to have some “Asian or Hispanic” blood in them. I’m not thrilled about limiting the opportunities for middle-class kids from “nice” neighborhoods, but at least the current system seems to benefit those most deserving.

  • 58. Where is the 2011/12 CPS directory?  |  November 22, 2010 at 11:02 am

    What is up with the online school directory this year. It still has not been updated

  • 59. coonleymom  |  November 22, 2010 at 1:01 pm

    #55-If you get on CICS main website, click on About Us, then click on Student Outcomes. At the bottom of the page, you can look up elementary scores, or high school scores. They break down the results for each campus.

  • 60. Chicago Gawker  |  November 22, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    When my kid was at a RGC it was populated exactly as you are saying, and I agree that socio-economic is a much better strategy for giving a leg up to those who have potential, but are in crappy schools. I question though if the RGCs are going to provide the soical supports necessary for these kids to do the work. This middle class, highly educated, WOHM, but single (not divorced) parent pulled her child because we simply did not have the time resources to do the multiple hours of 1st grade homework and bathe, have a meal together etc. My child’s academic talent was uneven and they could not have cared less that she was not ready to jump right into 2nd grade Everyday Math. If this stable, highly motivated parent could not provide the structure necessary to succeed, I just wonder how families with parents who don’t speak English and work nights will fare.

  • 61. Chicago Gawker  |  November 22, 2010 at 2:30 pm

    I meant social supports not soical!

  • 62. RL Julia  |  November 22, 2010 at 4:38 pm

    Bottom line – every school in CPS needs to work – and probably the gifted and talented system needs to be realigned so that it only serves kids SO bright that they would be unable to function in a “regular” neighborhood school. Of course that means that the neighborhood schools would have to integrate some basic gifted and talented teaching techniques (that many of your sharper neighborhood schools are doing already) – like differentiating the instruction etc…
    From what I understand right now, the RGC’s don’t really address the emotional challenges of being really gifted very well – they are just quickening the pace and keeping the same cookie cutter, inflexible mentality found in the rest of the system- and don’t even get me started on how this plays out on the other end of the spectrum with kids with IEPs.

  • 63. Mayfair Dad  |  November 22, 2010 at 4:56 pm

    No Child Left Behind “lift from the bottom” mentality >> overdependence on high stakes testing to certify NCLB compliance >> teaching to the test to avoid NCLB penalties >> no energy expended in the classroom on better-than-average students who do well on standardized tests >> my kids no longer attend the neighborhood school.

  • 64. To EDB  |  November 22, 2010 at 8:21 pm

    I mentioned earlier that the CPS REA website the individual data. Here is the link:
    Scroll down and click on the excel spreadsheets below:
    Illinois Standards Achievement Test (ISAT) Overtime, 2001-2010

    These reports exclude English Language Learner Students from 2008, 2009 and 2010 aggregates.
    ISAT Performance Level Scores
    Students who Meet or Exceed Standards excel
    Students who Exceed Standards excel

  • 65. EDB  |  November 23, 2010 at 11:11 am

    @63 – Thanks so much. Appreciate the information.

  • 66. Beth Ann  |  November 23, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    High stakes testing culture effects exposed in “Race to Nowhere,” a documentary about our culture of assessment and the impact on our children, teachers, and schools. December 7 at 6:00 pm screening sponsored by the Whitney Young LSC Parent and Community Subcommittee. Dr. Kenner, WY Principal, will begin with opening remarks. Buy tickets online at

  • 67. 32nd street Mom  |  November 23, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    #56: Exactly! My twins entered 9th grade this year, the first year to use the Tier System instead of the Consent Decree…a few of their peers were blindsided by it as they were exactly what you describe: minority or partial minority but very well off. The tier system is more fair to poor kids of every race and ethnic group. It’s not perfect, of course, and one hears stories of folks in the “wrong” tier, but guess what? People lied under the old system, too, finding long lost ancestors. At least now one has to prove one’s address.

  • 68. CPSmama  |  November 23, 2010 at 1:58 pm

    #56 & #66. Good point and a true picture of who was getting most of the the RGC, Classical and SE HS spots under the old admissions method. The Obamas’ daughters are a perfect example of minority students who are NOT disadvantaged in the least. Yet, under the old system for SE HS admissions, they would have been the type of students who would have made it to a good SE HS b/c of their race.

  • 69. cps Mom  |  November 23, 2010 at 3:22 pm

    It seems to me that the point some are making is call it consent decree or tier, should it be done. Should this type of social engineering aimed solely at 4 schools out of 9 out weigh merit? Why shouldn’t students of all races rank into schools by skill level instead of neighborhood? If your answer to this is because poor people need an extra break because they can’t afford tutoring and test prep and may need to babysit or have parents that don’t or can’t support their education – I agree. But I would also say that the school choice for this student should be aligned with their skill. This is really a question because maybe the current system does do that and I’m sure there are many exceptions. I guess I feel that telling a highly qualified student to look at other programs because of their skin color or where they live (poor or rich) is wrong.

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