Northside parents staying in city. Yay. Yikes.

July 19, 2011 at 10:04 am 310 comments

Kids frolicking happily, unaware of 7th grade "hell year" looming ahead...

So the big story in my mailbox and on Facebook today is about the increase in kids in both CPS and catholic schools on the North side of the city.  Our suspicions have been confirmed. 
 This article reports that:
In CPS overall, enrollment declined -1.5% in the past 5 years.
On the North side, enrollment increased +2.4% in the past 2 years.
In Catholic school prek and K, enrollment increase +9% in the past 4 years.
Anecdotely, I probably expected those North side numbers to be even higher.  It seems like SO many people are hanging around and the north side schools
I’m familiar with are ballooning (when many were on the brink of possible closures a few years ago.)
Obviously the writing is on the wall for high school.  Tier 3 and Tier 4 – welcome to Lincoln Park and Lake View High School.  Of course there are several other north side high schools that may (need to) become viable alternatives as well.
By Tara Malone, Tribune reporter

July 19, 2011

Claire Wapole grew up riding city buses to school and studying in city classrooms, where she took creative writing and even dissected a shark.But multimillion-dollar deficits and the academic inequities in Chicago Public Schoolshad her agonizing over the choice she and her husband had made to raise their own children in the city.When her son turned 5, she toured private schools but cringed at the expense. She tried to enroll him in one of Chicago’s top public magnet schools, but “he wasn’t reading ‘War and Peace’ so he didn’t get in,” she said with a laugh. So the couple selected a neighborhood school on a hunch that a new principal and committed parents would spur improvement.The decision put the Wapoles among the vanguard of an enrollment boom unfolding in public and private schools alike on the northern stretch of the city. Whether lured by burgeoning efforts to improve urban education or locked into a home they cannot sell, the tide of middle-class city residents moving to the suburbs as their children reach kindergarten may be slowing, enrollment records and demographic data suggest.

Schools on the North and Northwest sides enrolled more students even as enrollment slipped across the city’s school system to 404,589 last year, down 1.5 percent from five years ago, state records show.

Student attendance in the northern stretch of the city climbed 2.4 percent during the last two years from 121,897 to 124,836 students in 2010-11, according to district enrollment records. The growth, while slight, came as attendance slipped in every other city zone — the West, Southwest, South and Far South sides.

And citywide, residents who had children were more likely to stay more years in their city residence in 2009 than they were in 1990, according to a preliminary analysis of census data by Jim Lewis, a demographer and senior program officer at the Chicago Community Trust.

Come Labor Day, Amy Smolensky will enroll her children for another year at Burley Elementary School. On Monday, with an eye to the upcoming year, she and her husband, Dan, coaxed their second- and third-grade sons to write in their summer journals for a few minutes.

Smolensky volunteers with the parent group, fundraises for the Lakeview school known for its literature and technology programs and volunteers with Raise Your Hand, a coalition of CPS parents.

Still, the to-stay-or-to-leave-Chicago question remains a perennial conversation topic among her friends, one fueled by every budget cut, unpopular district policy or competitive turn in the admissions required for the city’s top schools. Many parents now eye high school and the long odds of acceptance to a selective enrollment school as the new pressure point that could drive them from Chicago.

“I feel like we are here to stay … yet it’s a roller-coaster ride,” Smolensky said. “It’s a constant struggle.”

Former Mayor Richard Daley took control of the city’s school system in 1995, seeking to stabilize CPS, once dubbed the worst school system in America, and keep middle class parents in the city by scattering magnet and gifted programs like gems. His successor, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, focused early on improving public education offerings as a lifeblood for economic growth.

The pull of city living also may play into an enrollment boom in parochial schools, which are less expensive than other private schools. City preschool and kindergarten enrollment in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago schools outpaced the rate of growth recently seen across the archdiocese that spans Cook and Lake counties, records show.

Preschool and kindergarten enrollment in the city’s archdiocese schools climbed 9 percent from 2006 to 2010 as compared with a 2.4 percent drop recorded among suburban schools during the same span, according to archdiocese enrollment figures. Systemwide, preschool and kindergarten enrollment notched up 3.2 percent from 2006 to 2010.

“We think what we’re seeing is more families who may have bought a one- or two-bedroom condo with the intent to be there for a limited number of years. … Those families are staying longer,” said Ryan Blackburn, a spokesman for archdiocese schools.

Surrounded by brick bungalows and towering trees, St Matthias Transfiguration Elementary School sits in the city’s Lincoln Square neighborhood. The school’s enrollment ballooned 92 percent during the last seven years to reach 332 students registered for fall, according to school officials.

St. Matthias Pastor John Sanaghan said he sees more young families in the church pews as well. Last year, Sanaghan said he baptized eight children for every funeral held at the church, whereas the church recorded 1.5 baptisms for every funeral in 2000.

“I looked out my window one day last spring and there was a traffic jam of baby buggies,” Sanaghan said. “It’s like a town square.”

Traci Failla and her husband settled in their Lincoln Square home seven years ago, planning for an urban life where their children could take the city bus and walk to nearby parks. Living a half block from St. Matthias, whose intimacy she liked, made the decision easier.

“With someone in third grade and someone in first grade, I don’t see any reason to move,” Failla said.

Demographers said Failla reflects a new mold of urban dweller.

“We’re gradually moving in a generation of people that are in their 20s and 30s who are a lot more urban in their basic orientation,” said Lewis, of the Chicago Community Trust. “They like living in the city and they are trying to find a way to stay as opposed to having the ideal of living on a corner lot.”

The trend varies, however, by neighborhood.

During recent years, from 2008 to 2010, the number of students residing in North and Northwest side communities grew by a slight 3.5 percent even as fewer students reported living in every other zone, district enrollment records show. CPS officials say the growth plateaued in recent years.

School enrollment in many cases climbed as parent-led campaigns spread to add academic programs and raise funds to supplement everything from arts education to classroom iPads.

Wapole volunteers in the library at Waters Elementary School, tends to the school birds during break and judges the school’s science fair. She also sits on the local school council of the Ravenswood school.

While she likes the grade school, Wapole already worries about high school even though her oldest child is only 10.

CPS students submitted 63,267 applications for entry to the city’s nine selective enrollment high schools for the coming school year, district records show. Of those, 8 percent — or 5,196 — were accepted. Northside College Prep High School, one of the state’s top schools by any measure, accepted 296 of the 7,419 applications submitted.

“In the city, there’s this anxiety of at 13 or 14, where is my kid going to go? … That’s the part where I look enviously at my suburban sisters,” Wapole said.

Grade schools were no different. Acceptance rates to Chicago’s magnet grade schools spanned 21 percent to 2 percent for the coming school year, according to district records. In kindergarten, competition was worse.

Drummond Montessori Elementary School, for instance, received 703 applications for three available spots in kindergarten this fall. Because the public school’s Montessori program begins in preschool, most spots fill and make the competition for kindergarten seats more difficult. Drummond received 400 applications for 36 spots in the preschool program for 3-year-olds, district records show.

Recent changes to the admissions rules further fray parents’ nerves.

With a federal order banning race as a key admissions factor, district officials now group students into four tiers based on social and economic characteristics of an applicant’s neighborhood, accounting for everything from median income and adult education to the performance of local schools.

Confronted with these facts, some CPS parents recruit tutors for their children as early as age 3 and scour the Internet for age-appropriate questions used by other urban districts to help prep their kids.

That wasn’t the route Deirdre Levine wanted to take.

“I couldn’t figure out how to get into those schools, and I didn’t want to have to negotiate that at kindergarten,” said Levine, who focused instead on improving the school just steps from her North Center home — Coonley Elementary.

In the end, Levine and her husband decided to enroll their son in a private Montessori school when he begins kindergarten this fall. The philosophy fits him, and Levine couldn’t shake her concerns about CPS’ short academic day and the recent decision to serve breakfast in all classrooms, which further cuts class time.

The couple, both of whom were raised in the north suburbs, plan to remain in Chicago.

Brandy Isaac thought she’d stay in Chicago when she and her husband bought a duplex in the city’s Southport Corridor in 2004. They liked the neighborhood school and the magnet school down the road.

“We thought this would buy us seven years. Then we would probably go to the suburbs,” Isaac recalled.

But deterred by the magnet admissions process, intrigued by anecdotes from friends in the suburbs and lured by the idea of a lawn where her kids could play, Isaac spent a year researching different towns and school systems that might suit her family. They settled on Glenview and enrolled their oldest child in kindergarten at Lyon Elementary School last fall.

“It still is emotional, but there’s no remorse. That went away quickly,” Isaac said. “We joke about when the kids are off to college, we may move back to the city.”

Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

The Charter School Post Learn about Classical Schools (and Decatur and Skinner North)

310 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Stuck in the city whether I like it or not  |  July 19, 2011 at 10:21 am

    The reason is that we are all underwater on our mortgages and cannot leave.

  • 2. MarketingMom  |  July 19, 2011 at 10:23 am

    Good article. However, this may indeed be a trend because folks are unable to sell their condos. I believe when the housing market improves, the percentages of those who leave will increase again.

  • 3. cpsobsessed  |  July 19, 2011 at 10:30 am

    That’ll be interesting to see, and again, anecdotely, I know plenty of people stuck in their homes. Although how does that explain the enrollment decline in the rest of the city?

  • 4. CPSDepressed (was copyeditor)  |  July 19, 2011 at 10:30 am

    I’m pretty committed to the city, but that could change come high-school time.

  • 5. cpsobsessed  |  July 19, 2011 at 10:33 am

    I don’t know why I always get kind of annoyed at those stats about the ratio of applications-to-acceptances.
    Ok, so Drummond only has 3 K spots open and a ton of parents applies. Sorry, enrollment happens before K at that school. That’s the way it is and you need to apply before K. Fact of life.
    And the numbers on the high schools make it sound like thousands of kids were highly qualified for 200 spots.
    I don’t think all 63K+ kids (really?) who applied to the SE high school actually thought they had a shot.

  • 6. Uptown Mom  |  July 19, 2011 at 10:54 am

    @5: good point. To qualify to sit for the SEHS entrance exam, students need a minimum stanine of 5 in reading and math on 7th grade ISAT. Per ISBE website about stanines on the ISAT, stanines are scores that range from a low of 1 to a high of 9, with 5 designating average performance. By contrast, in order to sit for the SEES entrance exams, kids in 4-7th grades have to have at least 90th percentile in reading and math to test for RGCs, 80th %-ile in both for classicals, and 70th in both for academic centers. It would be interesting to know how many applicants would qualify if the standard were raised to the stanine equivalent of 70th %-ile and how many students accepted to the SEHS scored below that level.

  • 7. Grace  |  July 19, 2011 at 10:56 am

    I’m also wondering about the stats, cps obsessed. Katie Ellis of OAE said at the Westinghouse meeting that 16,500 CPS students took the test and that 2,500 freshmen were accepted last year.

    I thought that a student is eligible to sit for the test if he has ISAT scores of 90 and above in reading and math. The requirements are a little different for students with an IEP.

    Would 63k students apply, but only 16,500 be able to sit?

  • 8. Grace  |  July 19, 2011 at 10:57 am

    Oh, Uptown mom, was I confused!

  • 9. cjlane  |  July 19, 2011 at 11:28 am

    “Would 63k students apply, but only 16,500 be able to sit?”

    Article sez “CPS students submitted 63,267 applications” which is MUCH different from “63,267 *students* applied”, especially when one considers that *many* of the total applications came from non-CPS students (private-, home-, suburban-school kids).

    Bet that 63,000 number is the number of ranked schools–which is *totally* meaningless since each applicant can only get one admission. Indeed, there are only about 30,000 CPS student per grade in elementary school, so something has to explain it.

  • 10. Grace  |  July 19, 2011 at 11:32 am

    Transparency … : )

  • 11. HSObsessed  |  July 19, 2011 at 11:43 am

    I think part of the uptick of kids in publics are from those who have left private schools (or didn’t enroll) because of the economy, and partly those stuck in 2BR condos who would have left for the suburbs by now. However, a biggish portion is also simply due to people choosing public schools. That is a trend that began 10+ years ago on the north side. The housing bust only began in mid-2008, three years ago.

    The Blue Ribbon Commission discussed whether to raise the cut off point higher from 5th stanine on the ISATs for kids to take the SEHS entrance exam but decided to leave it where it is, since they saw that a certain number of kids from that stanine were eventually accepted into SEHS (likely those schools with the lowest cut offs for admissions), so they didn’t want to shut those kids out of the process.

  • 12. cityMom2  |  July 19, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    9. cjlane – I believe you need to live in the city to take the SEHS test. Also, a student with an IEP needs a total “10” to sit for the test.

  • 13. CPSmama  |  July 19, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    “CPS students submitted 63,267 applications for entry to the city’s nine selective enrollment high schools for the coming school year, district records show”

    ^ This is very misleading. 63,267 is the total number of schools applied to by all applicants – NOT the actual number of applicants. So, if each applicant applied to 6 SEHS, they are counting each as a separate application.

    16,500 also seems like an overstated number. 14,000 applicants for approx 3,000 seats is the number that is referenced in the BRC transcript from Lane Tech

  • 14. cpsobsessed  |  July 19, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    Honestly, I can’t tell if they like to use the numbers to sensationalize the story or if the Trib is just loose on fact-checking (although I guess the “# of applications” is correct, just misleading.) I noticed that they also misreport the school where Claire W is on the LSC.

    I think I recall the 14,000 applicants – it is roughly half of the kids enterting high school. Still seems high to me, but I get their point about wanting to allow kids to give it a try….

  • 15. cps Mom  |  July 19, 2011 at 12:20 pm

    Here are the roundhouse #’s – approximately 14,000 applied AND took the entrance exam for approximately 6,000 freshman seats at all nine selective high schools. You can not apply and sit for the exam unless you meet the 5 stanine requirement (9 stanine is for LP IB only).

    The housing market will take years (talking 10 right now) to ever rebound so not a passing fad.

  • 16. HSObsessed  |  July 19, 2011 at 12:30 pm

    I agree that the stats given in the article are misleading.

    The CPS website says that there are 239,000 CPS students enrolled in 1-8 grade, so we can guess that there are about 30,000 CPS 8th graders. Maybe about one third of the CPS 8th graders are qualified to apply (scoring at or above the 5th stanine on 7th grade ISATs), or about 10,000. I would guess that CPS gets another 2K-5K in applications from private school 8th graders as well. Thses numbers seem to be in line with the numbers I get in the next part….

    The article said that the SEHS got about 63K applications. I’m going to assume that this means that each of the maximum six preference slots that a qualified student could list was counted as an “application”. So assuming that applicants included an average of five choices, there were about 12,600 students applying to SEHS (63K/5). Then the article reports that 5,200 of the students got offers, so the acceptance rate for qualified 8th graders is not 8% as reported, but actually around 41% (5,200 acceptances/12,600 applicants). Anyone agree with that rough reasoning?

    I question the number of 5,200 offers, though. I think there are only about 3,000 SEHS freshman slots available. Maybe that meant that 5,200 offers went out before all 3,000 slots were taken? People do turn down offers in order to go to other HS programs, charters, private schools, etc.

  • 17. HSObsessed  |  July 19, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    I think there are about 3,000 seats for freshman, if the following is accurate (2010 numbers):

    Lane 1,000
    Whitney Young 550
    Northside 250
    King 225
    Payton 225
    Jones 200
    Brooks 175
    Lindblom 175
    Westinghouse 150

  • 18. sped mom  |  July 19, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    Saw Rod Estvan’s comments on this story over on the Dist 299 blog on ChicagoNow:
    Rodestvan said 22 minutes ago

    Alexander linked an interesting Tribune article to the blog and as I read Tara Malone’s article “More families sticking with city and private schools on North and Northwest sides,” I thought something was missing – but what? At last I figured it out. The article focused on apparently middle class families on the north and near northwest side (really only as far west as Lincoln Square) who were staying in the city rather than moving to the suburbs. So had their children attending private schools and some CPS schools. Several CPS schools where these middle class parents had children attending or at least planning on attending next year were referenced by name, Burley, Waters, and Drummond Elementary School. What unique common feature do these three schools have?

    All three have experienced a statistically significant increase in white students from 2003 to 2010, and based on the numbers of low income students attending these three schools it is also apparent the families of these white children are above the poverty line which qualifies for free/reduced lunch. Amazingly the Tribune article never mentions even in passing either race or social class.

    The data for these schools are:
    Burley – 2003- 99 white students by 2010 -208 white students – growth in white students 110%
    Waters – 2003- 134 white students by 2010 -183 white students – growth in white students 36.8%
    Drummond- 2003-38 white students by 2010 -111 white students-growth in white students 192%

    Compared to the city as a whole these increases are exceptional. In 2003 CPS had 39,622 white students and in 2010 CPS had 36,818 white students representing a decline of 7%. Overall CPS lost white students but as Ms. Malone has noted indirectly in her article, not on all sides of town.

    There is no reason at all to be in the least critical of the families depicted in Ms. Malone’s article, they all seem to be very descent people who want to live in a diverse community. But each of our own perspectives do not offset the social economic reality of what is ubiquitously called “gentrification.” In fact when my white family moved into Uptown twenty-nine years ago we were the harbinger of a white resurgence on the block we own a home on. Since we moved to Uptown property values on our block and several nearby blocks have increased by about 800%, yes amazingly over 29 years that is the increase. Very few of the poorer families that were renters when we came are left, many minority home owners cashed in and left, and many of the nearby apartment buildings have long since been converted to condos.

    I think the Tribune article shows the pain our media goes though not to publicly discuss very obvious race and social class issues related to education in Chicago. The media, in particular white reporters suppress the discussion with great effort. Isn’t it time we got beyond this?

    Rod Estvan

  • 19. CPSDepressed (was copyeditor)  |  July 19, 2011 at 12:58 pm

    Yeah, Rod’s got a point.

    As for kids out of Chicago taking the test, a lot of children with divorced parents who have one parent in the suburbs and one in the city will sit for the SEHS test, and I’m sure at least a few kids lie about their address for the chance to go to North Side over, say, ETHS. And do we even want to get into the allegations about Whitney Young and its basketball team?

    I think not.

  • 20. cjlane  |  July 19, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    “I believe you need to live in the city to take the SEHS test”

    Then how did Rahm’s eldest sit for the exam?

    Whatever the rules are, I *guarantee* that dozens, if not hundreds, of kids who are attending 8th grade at suburban schools take the SEHS exam every year.

  • 21. HappyNow?  |  July 19, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    20 cjane – Rahm’s kid took the test because he is Rahm’s kid. Some of us play by the rules. Others happily flaunt their nonsense. As a result, we are going to private $ high $ school. So long CPS and your 7th grade stress and 8th grade waste of time.

  • 22. northsider  |  July 19, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    One point (when discussing the increase in white students) that is sometimes missed, and yet very true for northside elementary schools, is that there is a larger white population whose first language is not English. I know that Waters has been a haven for Bosnian students in the past. While “on the face” of things there appear to be many white students, this segment of the population is not the same as the perceived upper-middle class white student who they would be lumped with when viewed by race. Often these “nonminority” students face some of the same challenges as “minority” students.

  • 23. cps Mom  |  July 19, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    @17 thanks for the correction 3000 freshman not 6,000 sounds about right.

  • 24. cjlane  |  July 19, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    “Rahm’s kid took the test because he is Rahm’s kid. Some of us play by the rules. Others happily flaunt their nonsense.”

    No, it’s because there is no requirement: note that the application for the test has a section titled “CURRENT SCHOOL: COMPLETE SECTION BELOW ONLY IF THE STUDENT ATTENDED A CHARTER SCHOOL OR NON-CPS SCHOOL IN 2009-2010”.

    The requirement does NOT exist. Find *one* reference to it on the CPS website.

  • 25. cpsobsessed  |  July 19, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    I was thinking there was no requirement as well. How would any family ever move into chicago if their kid didn’t have a chance to get in the selective schools? Granted, if when you apply you don’t have a city address, its harder because you don’t have a tier and I believe you just get put in the merit pool.
    I thought rahm’s family had a residence. Wasn’t that what all the hoopla was about in regards to him being eligible to run? They rented their house out, but they kept enough personal items in storage there to qualify as residents. Of course all my info came from the fake rahm twitter account…..
    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 26. klm  |  July 19, 2011 at 2:31 pm


    Yes, things change. Would you rather live in Detroit? I did growing up. You can buy a great house for next to nothing (or NOTHING at all, literally..just a few back taxes). But how many people want to live there? Really, if you miss all the poverty, low housing values, crime and higher poverty levels of your “old” neighborhood then you really should move to Detoit because it’s now paradise for all those (Adult) people that love the griity, raw, “urban” experience of a socioeconiomic implosion as living tableau for hip, urban people that crave this sort of thing. However, as a child I can tell you it was hell –lousy schools, thugs, gangbangers, crazed drug addicts, violence and lawlessness everywhere –what’s not to love? You’re honestly complaining about gentrification? In Uptown? In 2011?

    I do have to mention that if Uptown is now “gentrified”, God knows how it was when you moved there. I guess all the children in the neighborhood were happier when they were more likely to be mugged, shot or abused by strangers back in the 1970s and 1980s–the “Good Ole Days”. Maybe you should try Lawndale?

    OK, I’m going off the deep end. I’m sorry. I don’t mean to belittle your message (at least not too much). My point is: COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS if this is what you have to complain about in terms of your neighborhood. You have a pretty charmed life if your bigger worry is that your ‘hood is moving UP socioeconomically, instead of DOWN.

    the other hand, the above story and from what I’ve read and heard seems to point out the fact that Chiicago still more than ever a TALE OF TWO CITIES: The Northside is doing better and attracting (and keeping) more middle-class families than anytime in decades (for whatever reason and I’m not convinced that it’s all the housing bubble), probably. Chicago’s not unique in this –the same goes for NYC, SF, Portland, DC, …… Peole like urban living and don’t want to leave just because they have kids.

    However, the Southside is (mostly) hurting badly and seems to be suffering a downward spiral (although not as fast as in the 60s and 70s, but a downward direction, nontheless). My AA family members on the Southside (even the ones in the traditionally middle-class enclaves like Chatham/Pill Hill) are really worried and genuinely frightened by all the violence/crime and are tired of struggling to educate their children well. Many are moving to the suburbs. I read recently that there’s been a 30%+ reduction in the number of AA children in Chicago since the 2000 Census. Things are becoming so toxic in many Southside neighborhoods that peiople are doing whatever needs to be done (moving to Atlanta, Oak Park, Matteson, Houston,..anywhere but HERE!, etc.), for better schools and less violence.

    My fear is that the Southside and Northside are becoming MORE polarised instead of less so as time goes by. This is not good for anybody in Chicago. Sadly, I believe this reflects our long discussions on this blog about the importance of skills/education in the modern American and global economic spere, the Achivement Gap, etc.

    There are some great CPS schools out there, including many neighborhood ones that no middle-class family in their right mind would consider a generation ago (Nellethorst, Bell, Burley,…et al,), but when will the neighborhood schools on the Southside turn around?

  • 27. CPSmama  |  July 19, 2011 at 2:45 pm

    ^ @26 – poster of #18 (Sped mom) simply quoted Rod Estvan’s comments from another blog. He is not on this board and Sped mom didn’t “adopt” his comment. Just want to make sure you realize who your response should be directed at (not Sped Mom)

  • 28. Northsider  |  July 19, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    You do not have to live in the city to be eligible to take the SEHS exam. If a child is accepted, they have to move into the city before school begins.

  • 29. cjlane  |  July 19, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    “I thought rahm’s family had a residence. Wasn’t that what all the hoopla was about in regards to him being eligible to run?”

    Rahm qualified as a resident. His kids were *definitely* attending school in DC. If the *kid* must be a resident of Chicago, that is, they cannot rely on the non-custodial parent having a city address while attending 8th grade in Hinsdale (or whatever), then Rahm’s kids wouldn’t have qualifies either.

    There isn’t a requirement. But I do believe you are correct that they have no tier eligibility.

  • 30. klm  |  July 19, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    @25 (and others)

    Why wouldn’t the Emanuel family have used their house in Ravenswood as a vailid in-city address? Wasn’t that the whole basis of the “residency” election legal dispute a while back? Ok, they were “temporarily” living in DC for his work, but they did own a house, pay city taxes, etc., but according to the Court he’s a legal resident He was LEGALLY ABLE TO RUN FOR MAYOR of the city, so why wouldn’t his child be allowed to sit for the SE exam for a public school in that city? Where did (either) Mayor Daley’s kids go to school? Not CPS.

  • 31. Northsider  |  July 19, 2011 at 2:59 pm

    Correction: You would have to move into the city by July 1st.

  • 32. cpsobsessed  |  July 19, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    There was a point where they said rahm was ineligible to run based on residency. Maybe it was just political b.s. ?

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 33. klm  |  July 19, 2011 at 3:04 pm


    Thank-you. I should have properly whined to the proper/direct owner of the words that garnered my overly snide comments. Sorry.

  • 34. CPSDepressed (was copyeditor)  |  July 19, 2011 at 3:04 pm

    I’m pretty sure the Daley kids all went to De La Salle, just like their old man!

  • 35. cps Mom  |  July 19, 2011 at 3:08 pm

    You must have a Chicago address to apply and thereby be assigned a tier. If Rahm owns a building in Chicago he has a Chicago address, no? I also believe he was renting during the whole tenant issue. There is no rule that the student needs to reside at the address – too difficult to monitor. A suburban resident cannot apply. Any student found to live in or move to the suburbs will be removed from the school. I have seen kids on the blue line riding from Oak Lawn to Whitney – a definite no-no – which they encourage you to report.

  • 36. mom2  |  July 19, 2011 at 3:16 pm

    If you want to talk about race and Rod Estvan appears to want to discuss this…to me, his comments and statistics show how more white families are willing to send their children to CPS elementary schools as long as they are in safe neighborhoods. The decline from 2003, but the huge increase on the north side must show that they are not willing to send their kids to schools at just any CPS school in any neighborhood. But, give them a solid school in a safe neighborhood near their house, and they are giving it a shot and improving the schools each step of the way. Not sure if he was implying there is something wrong here or racist or if he just wanted to spur on conversation.

  • 37. HSObsessed  |  July 19, 2011 at 3:17 pm

    @26 klm – ITA. I was going to respond to Estvan on D299 but I can’t find the thread. I usually respect his opinions but I don’t get what his point is here. So northside areas are gentrifying. Many gentrifiers are white. Many of them are sending their kids to public schools. What is the point? What exactly should the Tribune have covered on that issue? Total enrollment for CPS is down citywide, so white kids aren’t pushing anyone out. I don’t get it.

  • 38. JKR  |  July 19, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    No matter what the post, we always go back to the SE High school rat race discussion. The article is interesting and misleading to people outside of the process. I’ve read that 8% acceptance rate in previous articles about NSCP and Walter Payton going back a few years (comparing their acceptance rates to Ivy leagues) I guess that all 7000+ kids who applied for NSCP for 2011-12 would have had to have placed NSCP as their number 1 choice in order for that 8% acceptance rate to NSCP to be true, yes? It gets tricky with rank, tier, order of choice, etc in the algorithm, But if just over 14000 kids applied, (as stated in the meeting minutes of BRC summer meetings) than 1/2 put NSCP down somewhere on their application ranking. I would love to see how many applications each of the 9 got. The 41% High School obsessed stated is that 41% of kids who applied got an offer to one of the nine. They “overbook” because many families will not accept an offer to their 3rd, 4th or 5th choice.

  • 39. cpsobsessed  |  July 19, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    Well, if there are 3000 seats, and I’m guessing a max of 30,000 kids, in the simplest terms, 10-11% of kids get a spot at a SE high school.

    Who’s to say whether that is high or low? It depends on what % of kids we think should qualify for accelerated learning. I could argue that 10% sounds about right.

    The trouble, as pointed out, is the rat race. When the remaining 90% are basically left with No-Way-in-Hell schools, the 10% seems too low. I suppose if you could the private school kids in the application pool, the 10% drops down to 8% or so….

  • 40. cps Mom  |  July 19, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    KLM – great insights. I wonder too about this “polarization” issue. That’s one of the reasons that I like to praise the Charters for taking on this enormous problem. In addition, difficulties getting into quality northside CPS schools is compounded by south siders also looking to get into those schools.

    I know what you mean, my AA friends living in South Shore and in Lawndale talk about moving to the suburbs every time I see them. They go directly from house to car to destination (a dynamic that would not change moving to most suburbs).

  • 41. cjlane  |  July 19, 2011 at 3:34 pm

    “I’m pretty sure the Daley kids all went to De La Salle”

    Nora and Lally went to Ignatius, Patrick to Ignatius and Mt Carmel.

  • 42. cjlane  |  July 19, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    “You must have a Chicago address to apply”

    Show me the rule.

  • 43. cjlane  |  July 19, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    “I’ve read that 8% acceptance rate in previous articles about NSCP and Walter Payton going back a few years (comparing their acceptance rates to Ivy leagues) I guess that all 7000+ kids who applied for NSCP for 2011-12 would have had to have placed NSCP as their number 1 choice in order for that 8% acceptance rate to NSCP to be true, yes?”

    250 is 8% of 3125. So, if basically every kid who had grades and ISATs that put them somewhat in the running to get into NSCP (basically, about the top 10%) ranked it #1, then ~8% would get seats. Of course, it’s not really the exact top 10%, but a reasonable proxy for headcount.

  • 44. JKR  |  July 19, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    #39. Agreed! SEHS are a great opportunity for the upper 10% , but we have to have better options for all kids who want a shot at a good safe HS education, whether college prep or not. Which is what you (and HSobsessed) have been stressing with the Charter and Lakeview posts.

  • 45. cpsobsessed  |  July 19, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    Thank you, my geeky friends, for caring enough to do these calculations.

    I just flipped through the application guide for this school year and it doesn’t state anywhere that a child must be a resident to apply. It doesn’t say they *can’t* be either, so it implies that anyone can apply. Plus, the application leaves room for city and state (which I take to mean that you can live anywhere.

  • 46. CPSDepressed (was copyeditor)  |  July 19, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    And thank you, CJLane, for correcting my faulty impression. I do like to be correct!

  • 47. cpsobsessed  |  July 19, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    Who is this Rod person? A reader/commenter on 299? If he wants to hear about race and CPS, clearly we’ve got a forum for him. 🙂

    I also do not see the point of pulling race/socio-ec into that article. Perhaps it would have been interesting to point out that white/upper-mid-class parents are part of the increase in enrollment. But as others have said, I’m not sure what that means/proves other than stating a (possible) fact.

  • 48. HSObsessed  |  July 19, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    Rod Estvan is the director of Access Living and a frequent poster on D299, usually taking on the angle of how any development works for or against students with disabilities. He’s a great resource on any issue involving IEPs and provides lots of good overall insight into CPS and its developments.

  • 49. cjlane  |  July 19, 2011 at 4:50 pm


    You’re welcome! I especially like to be correct when I am (directly or by implication) casting aspersions, so I find facts about our city, county and state politicians invaluable.

  • 50. mom2  |  July 19, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    Just as you said, cpsobsessed, what this really shows is that CPS needs to get on the ball if they want to keep all these kids for high school rather than losing them at high school time. Improving Lakeview and LPHS is a good start, but they have got to have more college prep options for all these kids.

    I think one of the reasons north side parents started giving those neighborhood elementary schools a chance is that they offered the tuition based preschools for a while. Those preschools only attracted those that could pay and therefore, more of the middle class north side families ended up there. Once families were there at the school, they spoke with other parents from the classroom and they all discussed how they liked the location and the school and they all decided to keep their kids at the school for kindergarten and they would see how it goes after that. I don’t think that has been mentioned recently and I think it played a large role in some of the schools changing their demographics/enrollment data.

  • 51. sped mom  |  July 19, 2011 at 5:05 pm

    I believe Rod’s point was this, his final paragraph: “I think the Tribune article shows the pain our media goes though not to publicly discuss very obvious race and social class issues related to education in Chicago. The media, in particular white reporters suppress the discussion with great effort. Isn’t it time we got beyond this?” — So, perhaps the press is leaving it to the blogs?

  • 52. cjlane  |  July 19, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    “they have got to have more college prep options for all these kids”

    A lot of these kids need something *other* than “college prep”. We need programs that get “all” (90%+) of the kids to finish HS, while learning life skills. It just is not (nor, imo, should it) be the case that everyone goes to college, and for most who do not “college prep” is largely a waste of time.

    Don’t have an answer for how, or what programs would help, but a focus on “college prep” for everyone is going to be a failure for something north of 40% of the kids–as of 2009, only ~55% of Americans over 25 had attended *some* college. Focusing on “college prep” is a luxury for the “middle class north side families”, who are mainly in the upper two quintiles of income and mainly white (yes, my family, too), and aren’t going to make up more than ~20% of CPS for the foreseeable future no matter what changes are made.

  • 53. IB&RGC Mom  |  July 19, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    CPS needs to have better high school options period. For the kids that want to go to college they should have a high school option that adequately prepares them. Even some of the college prep schools are turning out kids who are not adequately prepared. The top SEHS schools are doing something right and their graduation rates are high. We need more schools like this especially if there are kids that would normally qualify, but are ruled out because of their neighborhood.

    I was born and raised in Chicago. The first time I ever thought I should consider the suburbs is when I saw the near perfect scores my daughters will need to get coming from what is considered a tier 4 neighborhood. Especially when neighborhoods like parts of Lincoln Square are considered Tier 3. I grew up there and my family still lives there, but I couldn’t afford to buy a home there. I don’t think I am moving any time soon, but the fact that my kids could only get a few points off to get into NS or Payton when kids just have to live in the neighborhood of New Trier to gain acceptance definitely makes you think. At least it finally opens my eyes to one of the main reasons people leave the city.

  • 54. magnet mom  |  July 19, 2011 at 7:47 pm

    I think that Rod E’s excellent point is that the article misses out on who is getting what kind of access to acceptable options in the city. Relevant only to those who care. Maybe this blog isn’t really for people who are getting gentrified out of their neighborhoods per se. School improvement in the way of Nettlehorst works largely by initially limiting access to lower income families when all busing is discontinued.
    Rod has been talking about education in Chicago longer than many of the folks on this blog have had kids.
    I’ve watched the culture at my child’s school change drastically in the last seven years. I guess that makes me part of the solution and the problem all at once. I think it’s interesting that this happened largely without new teachers for the most part. Most of the amazing teachers were there when it was a “failing” school of 99% lower income families.
    Living in the city is much about taking care of our own kids first as best we can. Getting into a school that works no matter how this has come about is essential to staying here for anyone that has a choice.

  • 55. cpsobsessed  |  July 19, 2011 at 7:58 pm

    @54: Ah, that is an interesting angle, thanks for pointing it out. I do agree, that is exactly what is going to happen at Lake View if the school is “taken over” by neighborhood families. But I believe that at many of the elem schools, nobody was forced out of the school. Many of those schools were experiencing limited enrollment and on the verge of closing. I think spaces we just added over time. I don’t know – I guess Nettelhorst and now several others take only neighborhood kids and anyone who was bussed in or came from outside the hood is out of luck.
    But it was sort of chicken/egg for Waters. As the neighborhood turned, I recall the principal saying “a building goes condo and I lose 30 kids.” The families would move and go to a different school.
    Also, to your point about not changing teachers much, that is TRUE (from what I know.) So in theory, we’re saying Nettelhorst etc was good before it became “Nettelhorst.” Doesn’t that mean that the kids who get displace to other schools that are considered crummy (like Nettelhorst etc used to be) are probably going to another school that is halfway decent but just needs some TLC (and an upscale student base to boost test scores?)

    Hmm, I can barely even follow my own logic at this point….

    I guess I’m saying if Nettelhorst etc was considered a “bad” school, why would anyone care about being displaced from it back then anyhow? I guess since Lake View HS is the best of the neighborhood schools, I feel more angst about displacing kids who are bussed in.

  • 56. mom2  |  July 19, 2011 at 8:59 pm

    @cjlane – your #52 response frustrates me quite a bit. This particular blog/post was about how there are many more north side families sending their kids to north side cps elementary schools. The topic goes on into the fact that many of these families are exactly those families that DO plan to send their kids to college. They pay taxes like everyone else and those taxes are supposed to provide public schools for their kids that fit their needs. To say that just because you believe that the vast majority of cps high schoolers are not going to college that therefore cps should not focus on college prep on the north side of the city where the need is urgent and wanted by this growing population makes zero sense and is the reason why people leave this city. If cps cannot multi-task and balance providing what all their students need (which is quite different from one location to another or even within a school), then it should be broken into smaller more manageable pieces.

  • 57. Christine  |  July 19, 2011 at 9:20 pm

    What about Ogden and Alcott as viable HS options? Why don’t I ever hear anyone mention those? Because they are new or because they’re just as bad as the other non-SEHS?

  • 58. Hawthorne mom  |  July 19, 2011 at 9:28 pm

    #56, I agree. We need more specialized “trades” programs (among others) and we need more college prep programs.
    The vast majority of CPS (and suburban systems too) will not make it to or in college. But we need to meet ALL their needs. All of them.
    On a side note, as a teacher who is beyond THRILLED to be returning to CPS (even with the craziness that comes with working for such a messy system), I’d encourage everyone who cares about social justice on this board to go to Look up a zipcode that isn’t gentrifying and if you are able, provide part of the grant money needed to fill a need in a poorer school. It is easy to do! There is at least 50 schools dying for basic supply needs for every Nettelhorst or Hawthorne (that have every thing they need and more).

  • 59. JD  |  July 20, 2011 at 5:46 am

    “Here are the roundhouse #’s – approximately 14,000 applied AND took the entrance exam for approximately 6,000 freshman seats at all nine selective high schools.”

    More folks should take issue with the low bar CPS establishes to sit for the exam, the 5 + 5 stanine (reading and math). I have heard that of the 14,000 exam-taking applicants as many as 50% have exactly 5 + 5. Here’s the kicker: Of those 6,000+ applicants LESS THAN TEN are admitted to ANY of the SE high schools in any given year.

    Now, I don’t know what’s worse, the fact that CPS is willing to perpetuate the mass illusion to this many students every year or the huge expense associated with testing that many students for no good reason.

    The cynic in me thinks that some staff within CPS feel that it’s better to conflate SE/Magnet high schools with Harvard-like applicant-to-seat ratios than it is to be more concise with the reporting and more rationale with the exam requirements.

  • 60. mom2  |  July 20, 2011 at 7:11 am

    Just an fyi, my child scored in the upper 90’s in one subject and upper 80’s in the other, had one subject with a 5 stanine, but had straight A’s going into Lane and now, based on class rank, is in the top 18% at Lane. So, as I keep saying, test scores are not everything. I think NCP and Payton do their own decent job of keep out all those “non-gifted” kids that might score something other than perfect on tests. For other SE schools, I agree with the BRC on this one (and I don’t agree with them on much).

  • 61. cps Mom  |  July 20, 2011 at 8:07 am

    You must live in Chicago to attend any CPS school including SE. If it does not say so in the rules, it is assumed and you will find out when you go to apply. I also believe that if you are moving in from out of state you need an address to apply.

    @59 the reason the stanines are so low, according to CPS, is that there are some kids getting into SE with a 5 stanine. The final score is unknown until after the SE test.

  • 62. JKR  |  July 20, 2011 at 8:23 am

    I guess white middle class parents are damned if they do, damned if they don’t: i.e. if they send their kids to private or parochial and abandon their neighborhood school, they’re selfish and if they revitalize their neighborhood school, they’re kicking out bussed kids and are also selfish. I remember when the argument was that the problem with CPS was that these families (and their volunteer time and resources) had left the system. The article, while a bit challenged numerically, is about how these families are coming back and not just to magnets. Yes, it would be nice to see some accurate reporting on other demographics as well.

  • 63. JKR  |  July 20, 2011 at 8:35 am

    #61- yes, I think the SEHS application system is in place for all 9, not just the top 2 or 3. OAE also tries to make it clear how fierce the competition is for any particular school by giving previous years’ scores. They know that they have many successful graduates who may have had a B! or C! in 7th grade or 5 stanine in one area, and they also have perfect or near perfect-scoring students who dropped out (yes even at nscp and payton!). I believe they are trying to open the process to as many kids as possible. The 4% acceptance rates to the top 2 are a result of the choices the parents/applicants make.

  • 64. cps grad  |  July 20, 2011 at 9:35 am

    I think the 5 &5 stanine thing actually is good because it can account for a very high scoring kid that just had a bad year on standardized tests. Maybe he/she just happened to be sick that day. At least if he or she would normally score in the 8 or 9s but gets a 5 due to sickness, she or she can still take the SEHS exam. Also an ELL student might have a 9 in math and only a 5 in Reading, but in the year between the 7th grade ISATs and the SEHS exam, his/her English might improved enough to do well on the SEHS exam.

  • 65. CPSDepressed (was copyeditor)  |  July 20, 2011 at 9:44 am

    Certainly, not all kids go to college, or should go to college, but CPS has created a system that assumes that about 15% of high school kids go to college and should get a special college-prep education, and the rest should maybe have college as a dream but really concentrate on getting their diploma, staying out of gangs, and maybe getting a great job at Wal-Mart after graduation.

    Also, many kids who do not go on to college could still benefit from a college-prep high-school education. There was actually a good study about this that was written up in the New York Times a few weeks ago. In Europe, they’ve found that pushing people on vocational tracks at early ages holds them back forever, whereas a US style “college for all!” education helps people keep their options open for things like starting businesses, trying for promotions, or going back to school years later, if they don’t go to college now.

    There’s something in the middle, between Walter Payton and Crane. This bifurcated CPS system is hurting an awful lot of kids. It hurts the kids with the 85-percentile scores in Tier 4 who can’t get into an SEHS, and it hurts the high-achieving kids in Tier 1 whose parents don’t know how the system works, so they go to their sub-standard neighborhood high school.

  • 66. CPSDepressed (was copyeditor)  |  July 20, 2011 at 9:48 am

    Here’s the story:

  • 67. Northsider  |  July 20, 2011 at 9:53 am

    cjlane and cps Mom:

    In order to apply to an SEHS you only need to meet all the academic requirements. If you get in, you then need to move into the city by July 1st. I work at an SEHS, and I know there are many students from suburban communities that apply. Many of them are trying to get into NSCP or WP. You can call OAE and confirm that you do not have to live in the city to be eligible for the SEHS entrance exam. The competition to get into our top schools not only comes from CPS and private schools in the city, but also comes from many of the surrounding suburbs. I do not think those numbers are too high because many people do not know of this policy. During our freshmen orientation, I met a young lady who was accepted from Schaumburg.

  • 68. cps Mom  |  July 20, 2011 at 10:07 am

    @67 – didn’t that rule change just this year. Supposedly, you had to have a verifiable address by the application deadline. How else would they determine your tier? You still need to live in the city to go to a CPS school.

  • 69. Northsider  |  July 20, 2011 at 10:19 am

    According to OAE the rule has not changed. Your tier is still based by your zip code. Yes, you do need to live in the city by July 1st.

  • 70. HSObsessed  |  July 20, 2011 at 10:39 am

    I hope that with time, but very soon, there is a sea change in the mind set of parents that for high school, it’s either the “top five” SEHS, or it’s private schools or the suburbs. That happens to be the EXACT way it was for elementary schools 10-12 years ago: Edison/Decatur/Hawthorne/LaSalle/Lincoln, or private/suburbs, and now there are so many more viable options. After school starts again, I’ll submit a guest post about all the current best candidates for high schools beyond the “top five” SEHS. I’m planning/hoping to check out many of these other programs/schools in person this fall during open houses. Maybe you’ll join me. I wish CPS would hire me to be a full time PR person for their high schools. They don’t need to open more schools; they need to improve visibility and gain confidence in their current schools/programs with the most potential.

  • 71. Mayfair Dad  |  July 20, 2011 at 11:25 am

    A few years back, Newsweek came out with a cover story on “The New Ivies”, a portfolio of non-Ivy League universities that were equally rigorous and just as desireable; maybe your report could follow a similar format. May I suggest a few candidates for inclusion?

    – Lincoln Park High School (IB, Double Honors, Performing Arts magnet programs)
    – Von Steuben Scholars Program
    – Ogden International High School
    – Alcott High School for the Humanities
    – Kenwood Academy
    – Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences
    – And to be fair, the top performing charter high schools (admittedly not my area of expertise)

    To take the idea a step further, devise a rubric to quantify excellence, i.e. average ACT scores higher than the state average, graduation rates in excess of XX%, college placement in excess of XX%, relative safety of campus (crime info from police department), noteworth special programs or awards, etc.

    To take the idea even further, organize recruitment fairs in different neighborhoods of the city. High Schools will be willing to pay a modest fee to reach the obsessive parents on CPSObsessed.

    Time to monetize the obsession?

  • 72. IB&RGC Mom  |  July 20, 2011 at 11:25 am

    I can’t wait to see your guest post on that HSO. Next year my oldest daughter will be in 7th grade and we will be looking at her options. I will go to all open houses that I can with her to help her to make her decisions about ranking these school. I will even go to the one at Taft where she is starting at the AC in the fall and Schurz which is our designated neighborhood high school because posts on this site have opened my eyes that NS isn’t the only school to consider. Though honestly I don’t think Schurz will be a consideration, but I do want to keep an open mind and see what they have to offer and if there is anything that can be improved with the help of the community.

    Posts that have especially opened my eyes were the ones where parents regretted going to NS or other top SEHS’s because their child would have been at the top of their class if they stayed at Taft or elsewhere.

    I still think since she has been in an RGC since 1st and is continuing to an AC that an SEHS may be the best path for her, but I have a more open mind about which ones that would be and know if not SEHS there are options other then Private or moving to burbs.

  • 73. cps Mom  |  July 20, 2011 at 11:38 am

    @69 – not to beat this to death – your tier is NOT determined by zip code, it is determined by census tract. The same zip code across the street can be tier 1 or tier 4. There is an address in Chicago needed to determine that. I think we can agree that you need to live in Chicago to attend CPS. I am sure there are many situations where parents live separately and can take advantage of having both suburban and Chicago addresses.

  • 74. Esmom  |  July 20, 2011 at 11:42 am

    Sigh. I’ve seen/heard a suggestions from numerous people (in this post as well as other recent ones and from friends looking for decent alternatives for their kids) as to viable alternatives to the SEHSs and the same few names always come up — LPHS, Ogden, Von Steuben, Alcott. Even Audubon has come up as a “decent HS option” and as far as I know it’s not even a done deal yet. The list is depressingly short.

  • 75. mom2  |  July 20, 2011 at 11:43 am

    I wonder if CPS would share any statistics about the number of students that applied to the SE high schools, were above the BRC 650 point cut off, but were still not accepted to a SE high school within 5 miles of their home. It would be a very interesting statistic. I’m sure some people think that number would be quite high and others would believe it to be small. If it is high for a certain area of the city, that is where the college prep focus should be placed.

    HSObsessed, thank you for planning to take the time to research and help market current high schools and programs. That is wonderful and needed. I do agree that marketing is half the battle. But, it will take more than marketing to convince some parents to give it a try when it is only 4 years. They want real programs, real change, real focus on the needs of their college bound students.

  • 76. CPSDepressed (was copyeditor)  |  July 20, 2011 at 11:54 am

    It’s not that hard to use to the address of a friend or relative, if you need to have one on the application form. (Seriously? Some of you think this living out of the city is an impediment?) And I’m guessing that many of the suburban applicants are either hoping to get in on that first merit cut, where tier would not be an issue, or are being recruiting to play sports, so the principal or whomever really doesn’t care where the child lives as long as his free-throw percentage is good.

    Believe me, I’ve considered having my kid live with his grandparents during the week as an alternative for high school, as my in-laws live in a suburb with great schools.

  • 77. CPSDepressed (was copyeditor)  |  July 20, 2011 at 11:55 am

    Whoa, that’s some strange grammar on that post. It’s time for lunch.

  • 78. northsider  |  July 20, 2011 at 11:57 am

    There is a child in my child’s class at an RGC who came from out of state. The family applied without a chicago address and flew in to test. Once the child was accepted they moved into the city. Maybe CPS places the application in the merit pile only and it is not eligible for the tier choices. This child (I’m almost sure) was accepted by merit due to his extremely high score, so tier probably did not come into play anyway. So, it is possible to apply from outside Chicago.

  • 79. Mayfair Dad  |  July 20, 2011 at 12:12 pm

    @ 74 Esmom – I feel your pain.

    Let’s take a glass half full look at the situation. Your bright, college bound student can apply to eight (8) public selective enrollment high schools through one process, and apply to 8-10 more public high schools through independent application processes. Granted, not all are geographically desirable, and luck-of-the-magnet-draw won’t always work out in your favor, but that is a lot of choice. And this doesn’t even factor in tuition-based Catholic high schools.

    One high school program I forgot to mention above: Rickover Naval Academy located at Senn High School. Maybe not the right fit for every student, but for a kid who dreams of becoming a Top Gun and learning how to fly jets courtesy of Uncle Sam, might be a great fit.

  • 80. cps Mom  |  July 20, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    You cannot apply for rank only positions – must have a Chicago address for SE HS. No doubt there are many games being played. There is nothing that prevents you from living with “great Aunt Sally”. Any address will do as long as you can get the mail.

  • 81. JKR  |  July 20, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    MFD: also Chi-ARts…not for every kid, but maybe a great fit for a budding picasso or yo-yo ma.

  • 82. HSObsessed  |  July 20, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    OK, I’m going to share with you my working list since the demand is so high. 🙂 There are positives and negatives to each one of these. Site visits are imperative for each kid to check the “fit”. For the full post later this year, I’ll have stats and comments. I know less about the southside schools except for the valhalla-like Chi Arts that my kid has her sights on, but I’m determined not to overlook that huge part of our city. But for now, to whet your appetetite:


    Alcott High School
    Amundsen IB
    Chicago Academy
    Chicago Math and Science
    CICS Northtown
    Lake View STEM
    Rickover (at Senn)
    Taft IB
    Von Steuben

    Central /West (2000N – 2000S)

    Lincoln Park High School IB and Performing Arts
    Michele Clark Magnet
    Noble Street Noble
    Noble Street Pritzker
    Ogden International IB
    Phoenix Military
    Westinghouse SEHS


    Brooks SEHS
    Chi Arts
    Chicago Ag
    Curie IB and others
    Hyde Park IB
    Kenwood Magnet
    King SEHS
    Lindblom SEHS
    South Shore HS?

  • 83. cjlane  |  July 20, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    Mom2: “To say that just because you believe that the vast majority of cps high schoolers are not going to college that therefore cps should not focus on college prep on the north side of the city where the need is urgent and wanted by this growing population makes zero sense and is the reason why people leave this city.”

    You’re misunderstanding me. I’m saying that a focus *only* on “college prep” for the northside is not a sustainable system. You’re frustrated that there aren’t enough seat in good enough schools to serve your family–but if they expanded those seats enough to serve your family, but did *nothing* to make things better for the family one “slot” below yours, how is that *actually* better? The problem is the total focus on the top, with very little between it and the broad swath of the generally unacceptable rest. Need to fix it at all levels, not just the “college prep” level.

    CPSD: “many kids who do not go on to college could still benefit from a college-prep high-school education”

    Absolutely. But, without doublechecking, I believe there are *more* in Chicago who would benefit from finishing HS period. And there is no reason to not mix “college prep” with “trade” education–everyone (really! truly!) is better off with a level of cultural literacy and “academic” knowledge that is generally associated with “college prep”. But perhaps the “trades” track involves more applied math (econ/finance type) rather than calculus and general science over bio/physics/chem as separate courses, and Spanish over French and German–in other words, more practical, more general-application knowledge rather than classes creating a framework for tertiary educational success. I think we’re close to saying the same thing, tho, really.

  • 84. cjlane  |  July 20, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    “must have a Chicago address for SE HS”

    But NOT to take the exam. Which is all I said.

  • 85. Mayfair Dad  |  July 20, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    @ 83 & others: we may need to arrive at a working definition of college prep. To me, college prep means preparing high school age students to proceed to (and succeed at) the next level of instruction. I believe most people could agree with that.

    In our day the next level of instruction often meant college or university. Some kids opted not to go to college and instead went into the trades – this route still involved classroom work and an apprenticeship. Some kids opted for the armed forces and received the next level of instruction from Uncle Sam. The common thread is
    “next level of instruction.”

    Going forward, that next level of instruction might look alot different than is does today, so prepping kids for college may be an antiquated term. Many of the jobs our kids will perform as adults don’t exist yet, so creating an educational system that is both specialized and flexible enough to meet this need is a tall order.

    But imparting the message that high school alone is not enough is important. Perhaps if the stuff we ask (some) high school kids to learn was more directly tied to real world application and future employment they would be less likely to drop out.

  • 86. cps Mom  |  July 20, 2011 at 4:06 pm

    @84 – need to qualify and apply in order to take the SE exam. Need an address in order to apply. Applications due by end of November.

    UIC – Noble
    Someone also mentioned U of C charter
    Senn IB?
    The new Quest

    You will need to put together a posse to get to all these open houses. Great project – thank you!

  • 87. RL Julia  |  July 20, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    Here are some others you might consider:

    UIC College Prep
    Ag. High School in Mt. Greenwood

  • 88. mom2  |  July 20, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    cjlane – I never said that CPS should focus ONLY on college prep. I am saying they need to put a lot more focus on it, on the north side. They need to work on adding more than they currently do in order to accomodate the increasing number of CPS elementary students on the north side (or other places if the statistics show that need) that do appear to be bound for college or other more technical trades (good points Mayfair Dad).

    I of course agree that CPS is not doing a good enough job for their vast majority of students in getting them prepared for the outside world and that they should continue to focus on this. But, that is all I ever hear from them in terms of goals – to try to keep kids safe and help prepare them to go out in the world after high school and to make sure they graduate. That will obviously continue to be a goal, but I want them to ADD a goal for this new group of kids that they never used to have so they can keep them and not let good families leave this great city. That’s all. Maybe we are saying the same thing, but it just sounded like the blanket CPS answer I always get about how we have so many more students that need this or that that we just don’t have the time or money to focus on this smaller group. Bothers me to no end. They should be able to multitask.

  • 89. Mayfair Dad  |  July 20, 2011 at 4:22 pm

    @ HSObsessed, you really struck a nerve. Remember the crazy traffic this blog was getting during the SE high school process?

    Check this site out (for formatting ideas):

    Give serious consideration to how you are going to present this very worthwhile information. Maybe a tab at the top of this site that takes you to a separate CPS High School Survival Guide. Is there a way to attach a .pdf file to this blog? You just might become the patron saint of high school parents in Chicago.

    If you need extra parents to attend open houses, I’m in.

  • 90. cjlane  |  July 20, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    “need to qualify and apply in order to take the SE exam.”

    Show me the cite. If it’s so written in stone, and so obviouis, it *must* be written somewhere, but you keep just saying it, with no back-up, as several others say “no, not required”. Excuse me if I don’t take your unsubstantiated word for it.

  • 91. Anonymous  |  July 20, 2011 at 4:47 pm

    Cjlane, I’m with you!

    I think the “college prep” idea IS antiquated. In other countries, a high school education is, sadly, almost similar to a college education here. The point is that education should continue. K-8 is not enough years of education. It’s just a beginning, especially as kids themselves are evolving so much during that age.

    And I also think we have ENOUGH SE schools already. Yes, even on the north side. As I’ve said before, what are we supposed to do? Give every 7th grader a test and then just drop them into schools according to their test scores? That is what we’ll ultimately be doing if we continue down this path.

    We need to strengthen neighborhood schools with gifted programs that are strong — for the kids who are truly gifted. I have a friend in Hinsdale who says that every parent thinks their child should be in all AP and gifted classes. It’s hard for them to accept the fact that their child may not be gifted.

    But, in the end, I bet even the child at the bottom of the class rankings at a Hinsdale Central can compete with a lot of the top students in an average CPS school (and, yes, I’m talking about the truly average CPS school — not Whitney Young). That should be the city’s goal: to have every child have a truly good EDUCATION that can be more than enough to help them succeed and be, well, educated! And that means whether or not they continue on to college.

    I’ll get off my soapbox, but I do get concerned about the push for more and more and more and more skimming off the “top” of the so-called brightest students. Skim too much, and at some point, you’re going to have to reach the bottom!!

  • 92. CPSDepressed (was copyeditor)  |  July 20, 2011 at 4:47 pm

    Sheesh, You just need to lie. Get a box at MailBoxesEtc. and use the box number as an apartment number. Get a friend to put your name on her mail box. (I’ve accepted a lot of mail over the years for transient friends and relatives.) CPS isn’t going to start an investigation over attendance until after the student has enrolled, and possibly never if the student plays basketball.

    A friend in San Francisco tells me that parents denied slots in desirable but overcrowded neighborhood schools would hire private investigators to find kids who had lied about their residence. It was cheaper than private school tuition. Maybe we need to set up a fund to do that at NSCP and Whitney Young?

  • 93. cjlane  |  July 20, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    Mom2: “I never said that CPS should focus ONLY on college prep. I am saying they need to put a lot more focus on it, on the north side.”

    Okay, read a little fast and missed nuance.

    Still, focusing on serving ~10% (more) of the CPS population without doing something significant for the other 80% (I think we all can agree that the effort w/r/t the ~10% in the SEHS is at least reasonably sufficient for them), just perpetuates a fundamental problem of the two tier system, simply with a somewhat larger group of “haves”. Yes, some incrementalism is realistically necessary, but if you frustrate 80% of a population too much, there’s a big political problem. I’m trying to be realistic, but maybe I’m actually being pessimistic.

    How the next ~4 years goes with LVHS, and Ogden/Audubon/Alcott HSs is going to have a major, long-term effect. Which, unfortunately, means that a lot of current 5/6/7 graders are going to be subjected to a bit of an experiment.

  • 94. cps Mom  |  July 20, 2011 at 5:16 pm

    @90 – You don’t need to take my word or get defensive. There are certain qualifications (ISAT stanine) that need to be obtained and you need to apply with a Chicago address by the end of November….only then will they mail (to the address given) notification that you can take the SE exam which is in December/January. Unless they change the process, this is how its been done. Will not be saying anything further on this – by all means give OAE a call.

    @92 – agreed, you can give any address and it would be impossible to check up on even after you enroll – which is a major problem with using address as criteria. I totally disagree with tiers and they are not achieving the desired CPS results – we’ve talked a lot about this.

  • 95. magnet mom  |  July 20, 2011 at 5:39 pm

    I’m confused about Lakeview STEM? Is this real or just conjecture? Also when looking through the HS stuff I never see where the kids actually go to college. If you visit Parker, Latin etc. they tell you exactly how many students have been accepted where for the last four years before you might send your kid. Does anyone know where to find this info for CPS schools?
    Also it’s important for people who go to places like Rickover to understand that kids who only go to high school don’t fly anything. Ever.You get the same fast food style military job a diploma gets you in the private sector. The U. S. service academies don’t look for their students at this kind of school. Appointments, as there as so few, are given to ivy league level applicants. If you want to fly anything get a high honors math focused four year degree at an excellent college and good ROTC appointment. ( then forget about it and get a job in finance instead)

  • 96. cjlane  |  July 20, 2011 at 5:46 pm

    “If you want to fly anything get a high honors math focused four year degree at an excellent college and good ROTC appointment.”

    That’s unduly negative about the opportunity to fly. Know Navy pilots (yes, post-Vietnam) who were not Academy, not ROTC, not math/science majors at not “excellent” universities.

    But, yeah, 4-year degree to get into OCS is necessary.

  • 97. magnet mom  |  July 20, 2011 at 6:08 pm

    I come from an academy and flying family for three generations. The best way to get up in the air is to work really hard. I’d be surprised if you know a Navy pilot who flies that doesn’t have a solid vs. mediocre college back ground- especially if it is anything beyond a helicopter. ( though my Dad would tease that if anyone did it would be Navy)
    As the budgets for these jobs sharpen in the nest few years the best path in the future is to be the best applicant on the list.

    Just to clarify I did not say you had to go to a service academy to fly but that if you wish to attend one of the three academies a h.s. military academy is absolutely not your best goal at all. That said I’m hoping my kids choose any different path if possible for the next decade. Both the armed and diplomatic service professionals that we know are beyond very tapped out.

  • 98. cps Mom  |  July 20, 2011 at 7:09 pm

    These military schools are supposed to be college prep (or at least the goal is to get kids to college). It would be interesting to hear where their students do go after HS.

  • 99. cps Mom  |  July 20, 2011 at 7:15 pm

    Hawthorne mom – sounds like you’re teaching again. CPS could sure use your vision.

  • 100. cjlane  |  July 20, 2011 at 7:34 pm

    “if you wish to attend one of the three academies a h.s. military academy is absolutely not your best goal at all”

    Can’t disagree with that, at all.

    “I’d be surprised if you know a Navy pilot who flies that doesn’t have a solid vs. mediocre college back ground- especially if it is anything beyond a helicopter.”

    Mediocre college (directional state U type places–fine but not hardly “ivy”), non-tech degree, uncertain re: performance, but certainly not magna/summa type. And definitely not helos. But also definitely lotso hard, hard work to get it done.

  • 101. Hawthorne mom  |  July 20, 2011 at 8:19 pm

    @99, Yes! I am! You should have heard me screaming when I got the call (after I hung up with the principal of course). You’d a thought I’d won the lottery or something.
    So grateful for the chance to do what I love!

  • 102. HSObsessed  |  July 20, 2011 at 8:59 pm

    @Mayfair Dad – Thanks for the link to that site. I’ll have to start thinking about how to organize for the HS data. It’s a huge task but so much needed. I will definitely recruit for others to join me on tours in fall, whether your kids are already in high school or are only in preschool!

    I have to say that I’m always surprised at how much emphasis people put on “placement rates” for the next level of schools. I first heard of this when looking into preschools, when people asked where the kids from a preschool went on to elementary school. I remember thinking, doesn’t that depend on the kid? and the parents? Same with elementary schools. Private schools especially always throw into their ads how 100% of their graduates were accepted to “top” high school programs.

    And now it seems that people want to know specifics about which colleges accept graduates of which high schools? @95 magnet mom, I’m not picking on you — many people bring this up, so it’s a common concern, it seems. I can see wanting to know what percentage of kids go on to colleges, because it gives you a feel for whether your kids’ peers will be college bound. I guess I’m just not that interested in knowing that 3 kids each went to Yale, Harvard and Princeton last year from X school, because that means squat as to whether my child has any chance, or interest in going there, frankly. That’s really up to her. My big criteria for high schools are: safety, academic programs that are challenging but not overwhelming, variety of activities/sports/groups, and convenience. That’s really it.

    Having said that, there is a spreadsheet somewhere that shows college enrollment rates for each CPS high school (although not lists of which colleges they enrolled in). If you’re interested, I can dig it up again.

  • 103. magnet mom  |  July 21, 2011 at 12:06 am

    Thank you HSO. I’m not too hooked on where everyone is going so much as kind of curious about why everyone gets so worked up about which se high school is “the best”. For instance, we have a young friend at Northside whose Dad was sure his son must go to WY… until they found NS might be a better fit size wise. If he had known where kids were going in his son’s cohort at all schools and for how long his inner chartmaster would have kicked in. It would have changed the Dad’s idea of the best place to go in many ways.

    I guess as I read posts I wonder how anyone can know which one of the SEHS is “the best” when no one seems to know in studied ways where the kids are ultimately going. Sometimes I think that kind of information can indicate other factors like how terrific the guidance department is. For instance, what if say the top 1% kids at Lane are actually getting into more of the most selective colleges overall over time but no one knew. What might that tell about the writing or interview skills students are developing there. Or if the middle of the cohort at one tends to get into the Oberlin/ Reed / Carnegie Mellon type school more often than at another it might give an interesting skew to the scores only info that doesn’t really give the whole picture. The writing/interview/diversity/ legacy factors have such an impact on the total choice a kid has in the end. I wonder how it all fits together sometimes when I read the hs posts.
    I also sometimes wonder which schools have more subtle hard to figure strengths for each kind of student and how that might work out for my children in time mostly because of how I want each kid to be in a place where the school has the knack to teach my kids how to play to their strengths and develop their weaknesses well.
    I don’t have specific colleges in mind I want my kids to go to but I want to help them get to where they want to be. The Tiger Mother would obviously kick my……

  • 104. CPSDepressed (was copyeditor)  |  July 21, 2011 at 6:51 am

    I’m more concerned with how the kids do when the go to college. If a school sends a lot of kids to UIC, but then they all flunk out freshman year because the work is to hard for them, then that’s bad. Sending them to UIC and having them graduate: good!

    If kids are getting into fancy colleges, that means that those schools think they can do the work, because the fancy colleges don’t tolerate high drop-out rates. Nor do they have a lot of remedial programs.

  • 105. HSObsessed  |  July 21, 2011 at 7:48 am

    I know what you’re both saying about how acceptance/placement rates to colleges are in themselves and indication of how good the guidance dept is as well as how much confidence the admissions boards have in the school’s graduates. Maybe if enough parents ask for those statistics during open house sessions, more principals will provide the information.

    I read a CCSR report a few years ago that examined whether graduates of rigorous CPS HS programs (SEHS, IB, etc) enrolled in colleges that were appropriate for their level of achievement, and it was depressing in that it showed that many graduates “underenrolled” (that is, they could have gone to “very selective” or “highly selective” colleges/universities but instead went to City Colleges), largely due to perceived inability to pay for tuition and/or lack of guidance by teachers and high school counselors. It’s so crucial that each high school provide kids whose parents have no college experience the confidence and specific direction on how to set their sights high! Most children of CPSObsessers probably have parent(s) with college degrees and beyond who can help them, but so many CPS students aren’t that lucky.

  • 106. HSObsessed  |  July 21, 2011 at 8:13 am

    Here are some thought-provoking and pessimistic opinions from a poster named “Architect” on a discussion on this same Trib article on the Chicago real estate blog —

    Increased white-collar presence at northside public schools won’t turn around the CPS neighborhood HS inadequacies.

    1) Budget Cuts: Chicago and Illinois budget face drastic cuts; neither governmental entity has seriously addressed its budget shortfall. Those resulting budget cuts will bring larger HS classroom enrollments, fewer yet supplies and equipment, less upkeep, etc. The several CPS neighborhood HSs I’ve toured were significantly less equipped (books, labs, etc) than suburban schools. Ok, so parents might fund-raise, but many of those same parents won’t financially contribute significant dollars to create a suburban-like HS physical environment.

    2) Demographics: All the while some north-side neighborhood HSs may see a hypothetical increase in upper-middle class neighborhood student enrollment, the vast majority of the remaining students at those specific HSs will still be low-income, minority and/or immigrant students of non-college grad parents. I’m not arguing against diversity; I’m noting “diversity” accompanied by low parental expectations for student achievement and school performance. I know a counselor at south-side reconstituted CPS HS; she says parent attendance at report-card reviews is minimal, for instance, and parent participation/interest in individual student’s performance near non-existent.

    3) Student Attitude: With low parental participation/expectations, comes lax student performance. Students may still be relatively polite and attentive in elementary school, but by HS, many CPS HS students view school as a social event rather than a disciplined academic effort. HS can seem like street theater. Kids acting out in classroom disrupt learning experience for all students. Your kid needs to be self-motivated and well-disciplined to truly thrive in that kind of environment – parents of young children often haven’t made an honest assessment yet.

    4) Bad Influences: HS students are often lemmings, following trends and bad social examples, admiring or emulating kids who are poor role models. SEHS have self-sorted students to cherry-pick the high-achievers; neighborhood HSs accept all-comers, at least until students fail or are expelled. Atmosphere is far rowdier, classrooms far less disciplined, teaching process far less effective. Not every upper-middle class kid is a disciplined self-starter student who will thrive in a chaotic environment, no matter how strong the parents’ wishful thinking. Many of us thought our kids were brilliant when they were younger; wait until they’re teenagers and reality is exposed.

    Parents who plan on “taking over” their local HS are admirable for their spunk, but the task is herculean. It’s hard to steer teenagers even at a well-run, well-funded HS.

  • 107. cps Mom  |  July 21, 2011 at 8:21 am

    Some people are all about priming their kids for certain colleges. That strategy has led to decisions that may not get the desired results – eg forgoing NSCP for Lane just so that your child can be in the top 10%. The trick about channeling kids for certain colleges is that you need to have a predictable child willing to do what it takes. I am finding that the 8th grade goals and ideals are changing rapidly in HS. My child’s strength has always been in math. He has a real feel for numbers. In spite of the tape recorded messages left by his pillow at night “doctor….mechanical engineer….physicist” he is flourishing in writing and social studies and actually enjoys this aspect of school. Where he’ll go and what he does with it is very much up in the air. I’m OK as long as he puts his best efforts forth (which sounds easy except that there are a lot of distractions in HS).

    To me, the quality of the programing and the teachers make all the difference. My teen is very fortunate to have an inspiring history teacher interested in what the kids have to say and offer. He is excited about his classes in general and this factor alone will go a long way toward success. Something I’ve heard about the larger schools is that they have a greater variety of classes and options. Maybe more languages, more AP classes, advanced art and more specialty classes. These are things that I look at.

  • 108. CPSDepressed (was copyeditor)  |  July 21, 2011 at 8:33 am

    Well, someone on the waiting list for NSCP will be happy:,0,5219385.story

  • 109. cps Mom  |  July 21, 2011 at 8:37 am

    Wow – so nice of Architect to point out what we already know to be the conundrum of CPS. Things have changed a bit since 2000. We have involved parents and families struggling to find a good place for their kids. Even on the south side (specifically pointed out) charters require parents by contract to get involved and attend conferences etc. Much of our “minority, non-English speaking” population has migrated to the suburbs according to the last census.

  • 110. Jennifer  |  July 21, 2011 at 8:41 am

    We applied for selective elem this year, not HS, from outside of Chicago. Used my suburban address, listed the suburban school she currently attends. CPS told us we had to meet residency requirements by July 1 if we wanted to accept any offered place (which never came).

    And why not? Any of you can simply move into my town tomorrow and have your child attend the school I’m paying about 3x as much tax for as you currently do.

  • 111. HSObsessed  |  July 21, 2011 at 9:00 am

    So all three Emanuel kids will be attending Lab. That’s disappointing. I do understand his reasoning. It must be very nice to have the connections and money to send three kids to Lab. It would have been great to have a city leader give a vote of confidence to CPS for a change, though, especially when the opportunity was there for attending high school at Whitney Young or Northside.

    This highly convuluted quote from the normally articulate Emanuel reflects his level of discomfort with the decision:

    “Over the years, the boundary between private and public. . .constantly gets eroded, erased, knocked down. And unless Amy (his wife) and I are vigilant about it, there’s nothing that’s gonna – not meanly – nothing’s gonna stop you because rules are different.

    “And, in fact, I don’t think any of us really know anymore,” Emanuel added.

  • 112. cjlane  |  July 21, 2011 at 9:08 am

    “it was depressing in that it showed that many graduates “underenrolled” (that is, they could have gone to “very selective” or “highly selective” colleges/universities but instead went to City Colleges), largely due to perceived inability to pay for tuition and/or lack of guidance by teachers and high school counselors.”

    HUGE issue. I went to HS in a smaller city at a HS that would be roughly comparable to an above-average, but not exceptional, suburban school (maybe Maine East/West, but basically all white) and the counselors college presentation to the “gifted” kids was about “what to do if you don’t graduate in the top half of the class”. So there were consequently lots of kids who had *very* low expectations about what their college options were.

  • 113. cjlane  |  July 21, 2011 at 9:09 am

    “We applied for selective elem this year, not HS, from outside of Chicago. Used my suburban address, listed the suburban school she currently attends. CPS told us we had to meet residency requirements by July 1 if we wanted to accept any offered place (which never came).”

    Well, Jennifer, it’s not for HS, so it must be different.

  • 114. cjlane  |  July 21, 2011 at 9:14 am

    “It would have been great to have a city leader give a vote of confidence to CPS for a change, though, especially when the opportunity was there for attending high school at Whitney Young or Northside.”

    1. They didn’t go to CPS when they lived here before–they went to Anshe.

    2. There is NO WAY they could have gone to NSCP or WY or Payton without a cloud of “your dad got you in” hanging over them.

    3. The *huge* benefits of having them all at one school cannot be underestimated.

    4. If that’s where the kids *wanted* to go–which we won’t hear about directly for a long time, if ever–HAS to trump what we, the voters, think. And I’ll have that argument with anyone, anytime, anywhere.

  • 115. cpsobsessed  |  July 21, 2011 at 9:39 am

    @114 cjlane: I do totally agree – it’s his choice and as I thought about the logistics — they move to the north side so child 1 can go to NSCP (which is not necessarily easy to access from their old Lakeview neighborhood) and then when child 2 and 3 apply to HS, the chances of them ALSO getting are probably slim. Likely one would get in Lane, one in say WP or WY etc. Who knows. He knows it’s a crapshoot and maybe not even all of them seem destined for SE? Definitely easier to know that all the kids will go to the same school and they can live close by it, surrounded by other academic-minded families. Ultimately he has the choice, because he’s rich. And the mayor.

    I do agree with HSObsessed though – the Trib also has an article today about how Rahm is a great communicator but that blurb about his family’s school choice is indecipherable. I’d rather he just say, “we’re rich, we can afford for all our kids to go to the same very well regarded school, so that’s how it’s gonna be.” Ha, obviously not gonna happen.

  • 116. cjlane  |  July 21, 2011 at 9:46 am

    “Definitely easier to know that all the kids will go to the same school and they can live close by it”

    They’re moving to Hyde Park? Really?

  • 117. cpsobsessed  |  July 21, 2011 at 9:51 am

    I don’t know – I assumed. Who’d want to make that haul both ways everyday? I figured maybe living down there feels befitting of being mayor for him. I guess we will see…..

  • 118. James  |  July 21, 2011 at 10:02 am

    Two quick points.

    First, why does everyone on here assume that Rahm’s oldest kid got into Northside? (WY and Payton were also mentioned here, though not as often.) I haven’t seen that published or heard that the mayor acknowledged that. Did he? If not, then why do we all assume that the kid not only took the SEHS exam, but was admitted at Northside and turned it down?

    Second, I think it is a relevant factor to know what colleges the kids from a particular high school are going to. Just as with high schools, there is a huge difference between the Ivy League and, say, Truman College. Knowing where graduating kids are going to college does, in fact, tell you something about the academic rigor of the high school from which they are graduating. It isn’t the whole story by any means, but it is a relevant piece of information. Simply knowing that X% of graduates went to some four year college is substantially less useful. I’ve found that this information is often provided at the high school open houses, at least for the frequently-assailed “top five” SEHSs. It also can be found with a little digging. For example, Payton’s student newspaper published a map that listed colleges, by state, where this year’s graduates were going. No names and no numbers, but if at least one Payton kid was going to a college, that college was listed. I don’t know if other schools do this.

  • 119. CPSDepressed (was copyeditor)  |  July 21, 2011 at 10:08 am

    Heh! I’m pretty sure Amy Rule doesn’t work, so she could drive the kid to and from Hyde Park. If not, the Emanuels may have a nanny who does the driving. (Maybe they even have security detail who can do it? The Secret Service takes the Obama girls to their schooi.)

    This gets back to the “why don’t north side kids consider south side SEHS” discussion. Because they don’t have parents or nannies to handle the commute!

  • 120. cjlane  |  July 21, 2011 at 10:11 am

    “why do we all assume that the kid not only took the SEHS exam”

    Pretty sure that this was reported at the time. But that may have been a repeated rumor rather than fact.

    That one of Zeke Emanuel’s kids went to NSCP played into the thought.

  • 121. CPSmama  |  July 21, 2011 at 10:18 am

    @107- NSCP doesn’t rank and none of its graduates have any trouble getting into college. And until this coming year, Lane’s grading scale was higher than NSCP’s, so that would not have been a great plan.

    IMO, Lane goes overboard w/ posting the top 100 students by GPA and posting ACT scores over 30 publicly in the school hallway. No one besides the student and parent needs to see that information. I wonder if the kids are given a change to decline to be listed?

  • 122. cjlane  |  July 21, 2011 at 10:19 am

    “Heh! I’m pretty sure Amy Rule doesn’t work, so she could drive the kid to and from Hyde Park.”

    Lab also has a Lakeshore bus service for the northside–10 northside stops from Grace down to 680 LSD.

  • 123. cpsobsessed  |  July 21, 2011 at 10:25 am

    Well, there ya go. See what money gets you?
    Actually, what is the deal with the Lab School. Do the kids of UofC professors get free tuition or something?

  • 124. CPSDepressed (was copyeditor)  |  July 21, 2011 at 10:27 am

    “College” as a general concept isn’t hard to get into. Chicago State, Northeastern, and the City Colleges have more or less open admissions. I’ve never heard of SIU, NIU, or ISU turning anyone down, either. Not everyone lasts at those schools; there’s a huge difference between getting into NIU and graduating from NIU. That’s why the percentage of students going to “college” is only marginally relevant, or why I’m not impressed that none of NSCP’s graduates have trouble getting into “college”. Big whoop. I’ll bet none of Crane’s students have trouble getting into “college”, either. They go to Chicago State and flunk out.

    The six-year graduation rate at Chicago State is 21%. At UIUC, it’s 84%, so even people who get into a more selective school often have trouble once they get there, for whatever reason.

    That’s why the names of the colleges matter, as does information about what the students do when they get there. Many people get fine educations at NIU or SIU, but it’s not like getting in is all that hard. About 60% of SIU students wash out, you know?

  • 125. CPSDepressed (was copyeditor)  |  July 21, 2011 at 10:32 am

    Oh, and as for Lab, there is a big discount for children of faculty and staff. I’m not sure how much it is – it’s not free, but it might be a sliding scale. I know a family with kids who go there; the mother is a nurse at U of Chicago hospital.

  • 126. HPMom  |  July 21, 2011 at 10:34 am

    @116- Hyde Park is lovely and his family would definately be welcomed there. Why not Hyde Park?

  • 127. mother  |  July 21, 2011 at 10:35 am

    I wanted to add something about college choice. I am currently trying to convince my selective enrollment high school son with good grades to go to a community college and then to a public university. The cost of a university level degree does not seem to outweigh the benefits anymore, especially when coupled with the horror stories of wild drinking and drug use and overly pressured kids at more competetive schools. Success will follow if my son remains a happy, balanced, and alert person no matter where he goes and I would rather he enter adulthood debt free.

  • 128. cjlane  |  July 21, 2011 at 10:38 am

    “Hyde Park is lovely and his family would definately be welcomed there. Why not Hyde Park?”

    Because they already own a very nice home elsewhere, in a neighborhood they’ve lived in for ~15+ years?

    It’s not a “why HP?”, it’s a “why move?”

  • 129. Mayfair Dad  |  July 21, 2011 at 10:38 am

    Rahm is rich. Rich people can afford to send their kids to private schools. Daley sent his kids to Ignatius, so what? If I could afford it, I’d send my kids to private schools, too. Or move to Wilmette.

    Don’t we all want the very best for our children?

  • 130. CPSDepressed (was copyeditor)  |  July 21, 2011 at 10:41 am

    Mother: DO NOT DO IT!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I have a friend who teaches UIC who complains about how the community college students are not prepared for the competition when they transfer there. A lot of community college is “high school after high school”, and a lot of the students are not serious about their studies. They are going to community college because it was easy to get in and their parents told them to go to school or get a job. Those who manage to transfer often think college is easy because they didn’t have to study when they were at Harold Washington.

    I’d wager your son would find more wild drinking and drug use in a suburban community college than at UIC or DePaul.

    And, the research shows that especially in this recession, college graduates are doing better. There’s still value to four-year college degree.

  • 131. Screwed by Rahm  |  July 21, 2011 at 10:42 am

    Rahm (by putting all his kids in private school) just told all of us trying to make schools better in Chicago to eff ourselves.

    That plus hiring the under qualified Brizzie tells us to double eff ourselves.

    This tells us exactly what he thinks of the schools and what he hopes/dreams for the schools.

    I now hate you Rahm and I’m sorry for supporting you against all the haters.

  • 132. Screwed by Rahm  |  July 21, 2011 at 10:44 am

    This comment from the trib says it all:

    Duh….people. He desperately wanted the job and was subsequently ‘hired’ to promote the City of Chicago and ALL OF ITS PRODUCTS AND SERVICES! The press should be scorching him on this one.

    I just got the top job at Ford; but only allow my kids to drive GM cars.

    I just got the top job at UPS; but only allow my kids to use FedEx.

    I just got the top job at AT&T; but only allow my kids to use Verizon.

    I just got the top job at Dell; but only allow my kids to use Macs.

    I just got the top job at McDonalds; I forbid my kids to eat fast food.

    I just got the top job at CocaCola; but won’t allow my kids to have any soft drinks.

    Be honest….. if you were a SHAREHOLDER in any of the above companies, and your CEO publicly came out with any of those statements, how would you react? How would you expect the board of directors to react? The other shareholders? The stock price?
    Maybe I’m processing this wrong. I’d welcome some comments.

  • 133. HPMom  |  July 21, 2011 at 10:45 am

    I understand that UofC faculty pay a discounted 50% tuition fee at Lab and Lab staff pay about $500 per year for tuition (nice!). Unless you have a UofC connection or have been lucky enough to make it into the pre-k program (with it’s long waiting lists), it’s extremely difficult to get into the school as an non-UofC family. I suppose there are exceptions like a family moves away or you happen to be the Mayor, etc.

  • 134. CPSmama  |  July 21, 2011 at 10:51 am

    CPSdepressed- I disagree that kids from Crane have no trouble getting into college. Most don’t get into or attend any college- not even Chicago State. (only 34% accepted to college per CPS report cars) NSCP, on the other hand, has nearly accepted to college.

    @127 – Mother: many CPS students attend city colleges or local community colleges for a year or 2 for financial reasons. This is also true for students of SEHS-their families simply don’t have $50k per year to send them away to a “name school”.

    The difference for a kid coming from a school like NSCP (or WP or WY or Lane) is that whether they start out at community college, or a 4 year selecive university, they are more likely to graduate from college rather than just be accepted.

  • 135. cpsobsessed  |  July 21, 2011 at 10:54 am

    @132 Screwed: I don’t see it that way. It’s not like he became mayor because chicago has awesome schools. He fully acknowledged coming in that CPS needs some major overhauling. We here all agree that CPS has some pockets of greatness but generally needs some serious overhauling. I am a big supporter of CPS but *I* don’t even feel like the middle school grades are a proven commodity at many of the best elem schools.

    They are a family who believes strongly in education. I can see how for them, the education of their 3 kids is a bigger deal than selecting AT&T service every year. Honestly, if a family is mega-rich, how can you justify classrooms of 30 kids, minimal gym, no foriegn language, etc. that they’d get in CPS? Rahm and his wife have been intense go-getters. I can see why they’d want the best education they can afford. (I say this assuming the Lab School is really all that. I have no idea.)

  • 136. CPSDepressed (was copyeditor)  |  July 21, 2011 at 10:57 am

    CPSMama, how many kids from Crane *applied* to college? That’s the metric. Chicago State is an open admissions school. You may be impressed that someone “got into” college. I’m more impressed if they actually go and succeed there. There’s a reason that only 20% of Chicago State’s students graduate.

    That’s my point. A lot of CPS school have been pushing “college” without adequate preparation for it.

  • 137. cjlane  |  July 21, 2011 at 11:01 am

    “Maybe I’m processing this wrong.”

    You are.

    Like I said above, even if they *all* got into NSCP (or Payton or Young) on their own merits, there would be regular comments (maybe not by students, but certainly by the public) about how they only got in b/c their father is Mayor. This isn’t what any of us would want for our kids.

    Also, the “all kids at one school thing” is *huge*.

    As to Rahm’s inarticulate comments, I suspect he was, for the first time, really processing how often he’s going to get questions related to this. It’s going to come up all.the.time. and that’s both to be expected and somewhat unfair at the same time–b/c, the basic truth is, it’s about what’s best for the kids, not what’s best for Rahm as Mayor. If any of us choose to send our kids to private school or move to the ‘burbs, should *we* have to deal with “why not LVHS?” because of any prior efforts to support CPS?

  • 138. cpsobsessed  |  July 21, 2011 at 11:07 am

    Ok, despite my support of Rahm’s decision, if any of you guys move to the suburbs, I will think the same thing I always do when someone leaves: “Wuss” and “Traitor.” But I will support your decision publicly. 🙂

  • 139. Esmom  |  July 21, 2011 at 11:09 am

    @127 and 130…I like your idea, Mother, for the same reasons you mention. It seems smart and rational in this day and age. CPSD, the 4-year degree will still be the end result, whether or not the student actually attended for all four years, right?

    And aren’t the first 2 years or so mostly prerequisites anyway?

    Also, a student who has that goal in mind will most likely be more engaged and motivated than a student who enrolled just to get his/her parents off his/her back, don’t you think? (I am sure, like anything, not all CCs are equal. Wish I knew which ones were the better choices, must do some research.)

    Or am I completely naive?

  • 140. CPSDepressed (was copyeditor)  |  July 21, 2011 at 11:21 am

    I think the community college and transfer plan is a nice idea in theory, but it works for very few students because their classmates are not serious and they don’t get a taste of how rigorous college is.

    A lot of kids who go that route get distracted, or they get to college and get a rude awakening that sets them behind.

    Obviously, people have done it successfully, but you really need to be careful and make sure the kid is signed on. Your choice isn’t Truman College or $50,000 for Yale. There are an incredible number of colleges out there, at a range of price points, with differing levels of scholarship and financial aid beyond loans, so make sure you think it through. Why would two years at Truman College with a plan to transfer to UIC be a better option than four years at UIC? Why would it be better for a motivated kid from a SEHS to go to Wright College and turn down a scholarship and small student loan from DePaul?

    Yes, there are kids at Harvard who drink and do drugs. But guess what? There are kids at Lake County College who drink and do drugs, too.

  • 141. CPSmama  |  July 21, 2011 at 11:23 am

    #130 – “I’d wager your son would find more wild drinking and drug use in a suburban community college than at UIC or DePaul. ”

    Really? You must have young kids and a short memory of your own college days. There’s partying at all 4 year colleges. Excessive partying at many. And, yes, also at community colleges. That alone is not a reason to take out $200k in loans to send little Johnny to a 4 year college.

    Mother- don’t listen to the “advice” of CPSdepressed (aptly named, I’d say). Unless she’s offering to foot the bill for your kid to go to a 4 year school, do what you think is best. Many kids across the country do well w/ the 2yr community college/2 yr university route.

  • 142. CPSmama  |  July 21, 2011 at 11:26 am

    #141: “I think the community college and transfer plan is a nice idea in theory, but it works for very few students because their classmates are not serious and they don’t get a taste of how rigorous college is”

    “A lot of kids who go that route get distracted, or they get to college and get a rude awakening that sets them behind.”

    ^ How do you know this? Are you a former CC student?

    The same exact quotes can be used to described experiences at many, if not ALL 4 year universities

  • 143. CPSDepressed (was copyeditor)  |  July 21, 2011 at 11:27 am

    Hey, I’m just offering an opinion, with a little perspective from a friend who teaches at UIC. I don’t give a damn what your kids do.

    CPSMama, what did you do for college?

  • 144. CPSDepressed (was copyeditor)  |  July 21, 2011 at 11:34 am

    I don’t to turn this into a big fight, but I guess I don’t understand why people would worry about the quality of elementary school and high school, then go with the bargain basement option simply because it was cheap.

  • 145. Esmom  |  July 21, 2011 at 11:54 am

    @140-144…I don’t want to turn this into a fight either, I appreciate any and all perspectives.

    But, beyond keeping costs down, what about kids who can’t/don’t get into UIUC, for example, because their ACT scores weren’t high enough? I would hope that if the student really has his/her heart set on going there they wouldn’t have to feel like they had only one shot immediately after high school and missed it.

    I went to UIUC and made friends with a couple people who transferred in, one for sophomore year and one for junior year. They didn’t come from community colleges, however, but from other, smaller four-year schools. They knew they wanted their degrees from U of I even though they couldn’t get in right out of hs.

  • 146. CPSmama  |  July 21, 2011 at 11:55 am

    ^ #143: 4 year university plus 3 years of grad school. My oldest graduated from an SEHS and is starting at a 4 year university this fall. Many of my classmates didn’t last all 4 years. And I knew many who started at CC and transferred to the 4 year school quite successfully.

    Many of my child’s classmates from her SEHS are starting at CC. Many are attending UIC, DePaul, Loyola and are living at home. Many have to work to earn enough $$ beforeo even think about going to college.

    The bottom line is that each kid and each family is different and I don’t any of us should scare a parent who may have a different set of values and circumstances than ours.

  • 147. Grace  |  July 21, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    Interesting comments on the upcoming worries of college … I hope that this blog will be around to support us in that endeavor, too.

    About the Trib reporter Tara Malone’s numbers of applications — 63K — which started off this thread — a big thank you to whomever figured out that she had apparently multiplied the number of applicants by the number of school options to come up with that crazy high number.

    Does anyone think the numbers could be interpreted as scare mongering? Perhaps with the aim of motivating parents to focus on supporting and fundraising for their neighborhood high schools?
    Something that the Emmanuels needn’t worry about. ; )

    Does anyone else think the Trib should run a clarification here?

  • 148. Mayfair Dad  |  July 21, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    Community College/Transfer vs. Four Years at University

    Every student is different, and every household’s financial situation is different — I could argue both sides of this debate.

    Part of the going away to school experience is learning to live on your own, manage time on your own, get yourself in and out of bed on your own, etc. I feel the students who remain home at community college are extending adolesence and it becomes high school 2.0

    On the other hand, racking up tens of thousands of dollars in debt just so Junior can learn how to do beer bongs wearing an ISU Redbirds sweatshirt (go Redbirds!) seems pointless and expensive.

    Mother, have you looked at private, smaller liberal arts colleges? Many of these offer merit-based as well as need-based scholarships. Also many have a religious affilliation so tend to be a little less rowdy than the big state schools. Just off the top of my head, check out Eureka, Monmouth, Ripon, Lawrence, Carthage, Drake…there are dozens more.

    Also many college websites have “cost calculators” to help you determine what you might be expected to pay. What advice are you receiving from the high school guidance counselor?

    I believe there is alot of personal growth for the student who goes away to school, but I will be looking for private liberal arts colleges – not big state party schools – when Mayfair Son is ready to leave the nest.

  • 149. cps Mom  |  July 21, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    Money is a consideration. To be frank, white/average to good performing /low income will not bring in any scholarship money. Someone also needs to guarantee a student loan. Loans are not even widely available anymore. Lots of people have foreclosures and not able to borrow against the house. The jobs students get (or not), out of college do not support the loans they take out. Lots of considerations -my hair getting grayer thinking about it.

    I do agree with CPSD that there are many options to consider carefully. A school like UIC is local eliminating boarding expense, 4 yr university and well regarded. I’m sure there are others. I do think it’s more about the proper fit than the label.

  • 150. CPSDepressed (was copyeditor)  |  July 21, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    I’d argue that if a guidance office isn’t helping kids figure out how to find an affordable college, then it’s not preparing kids for college. It’s my concern: the measure is “getting into college”, not succeeding once you get in – and yes, part of that is figuring out how to pay for it. Harvard, Yale, and Princeton are basically free to anyone with a family income below $150,000, you just have to get in.

    CPS is a mostly low income district, so most kids qualify for Pell Grants. CPS is a mostly minority district, so many kids qualify for scholarships and programs aimed at improving diversity. But is anyone taking the time to explain how this works?

    Few kids NEED to work before they can go to college. Some should, because maybe they aren’t mature enough at 18. I suspect that some of these kids are undocumented and thus can’t get financial aid.

    There are good reasons to go to community college, but if money is the only reason, maybe there are alternatives that you don’t know about and that you should look into first.

    And if your concern is drinking and drugs, why not see if you can financial aid to Wheaton College?

    I went to a Catholic high school that sent a lot of graduates on to private college. I have a friend who went to public school who couldn’t figure out why all her friends at the Catholic school were going to fancy colleges, and her guidance counselor told her that she had to go to the local state university because that was all her family could afford. She was really upset when I and her other friends from my school explained how financial aid worked. Her guidance counselor had no idea, because hardly anyone at her school went away to college.

    And yes, CPS Mom, it is white middle-class kids who get most screwed in the financial aid game these days. But they are a minority in CPS!

  • 151. CPSDepressed (was copyeditor)  |  July 21, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    For that matter, Francis Parker and Chicago Latin buy their diversity, so if you are black or Latino, you can probably get your kids into those schools for free . . .

  • 152. JKR  |  July 21, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    It’s still easier to get your child into college than a SE High school.

  • 153. CPSmama  |  July 21, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    JKR- having “survived” SEES & SEHS admissions twice and college admissions once- I couldn’t agree more with your statement!

    I think there is a misconception among some of us parents in CPS that CPS’ SEES & SEHS are the be-all end-all of public education and that they are the “golden ticket” to an ivy league education. They are good, solid schools that will, in most cases, prepare our kids to attend college. There are hundreds of elementary and high schools throughout the suburbs and non-urban areas of the state and country that are as good or better than Decatur, Edison, Bell, Keller, NSCP, LP, WY, Lane, etc, who compete with our kids for college admission.

  • 154. cps Mom  |  July 21, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    153 – If you give some credence to those lists of the “top 100” schools they include the entire state of Illinois. I believe all the schools you mentioned – many at the very top – out rank suburban schools. So – there are not hundreds of schools doing better than these schools.

  • 155. cpsobsessed  |  July 21, 2011 at 1:59 pm

    If we’d known the Lab School announcement was coming, we could have had someone waiting with a pie in the face for Rahm! With the words CPS on the bottom of the pie tin….

  • 156. bagg  |  July 21, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    @151, not even diversity will get your kids into Latin and Parker this year. At both schools, approx 90% incoming freshman are legacy kids (siblings, alum, staff). Friend told me that only 8 freshman (of 80 freshman) were new Parker families.

    I would have bet money that the Rahm kids would have chosen Parker. 40% of Anshe 8th graders are going to Parker. BTW, Parker has very large Jewish population.

  • 157. XcpsMom  |  July 21, 2011 at 3:08 pm

    155 cpsobsessed – All this time you sounded so open minded. . . .pie?

  • 158. cpsobsessed  |  July 21, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    I was just watching the clip of someone trying to get Rupert Murdoch in the face with a pie while his wife (an ex volleyball player, apparently) jumped in front of him and slapped the pie thrower. What reflexes!

    I love the pie-in-the face a form of non-violent protest.

  • 159. cjlane  |  July 21, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    “I love the pie-in-the face a form of non-violent protest.”

    Is punching someone in the face also “non-violent”.

  • 160. cpsobsessed  |  July 21, 2011 at 3:45 pm

    I would consider a punch violent.

  • 161. cjlane  |  July 21, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    “I would consider a punch violent.”

    But if I place a pie between my fist and a face, it’s okay? Huh.

    Not that I don’t appreciate a good pieing, but it’s still battery.

  • 162. cpsobsessed  |  July 21, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    I guess I imagine the pie being delivered more delicately than a punch, otherwise the person would have just punched, right?

    My sister wanted us to surprise her with a pie in the face when we were kids. She never asked us to surprise her with a punch. I’m using that as the basis for my logic.

  • 163. cjlane  |  July 21, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    “I guess I imagine the pie being delivered more delicately than a punch, otherwise the person would have just punched, right?

    My sister wanted us to surprise her with a pie in the face when we were kids.”

    Definitely different if the pie-er is a friend of the pie-ee.

    I don’t believe that the typical “PITF as protest” is delivered with the minimum force necessary to smush the meringue. Perhaps not a punch, but certainly at least a slap.

  • 164. LPDad  |  July 21, 2011 at 4:30 pm

    My family has experience with virtually every private/independent school in Chicago –with all our kids. We’ve applied to Latin, Lab, Parker, FXW, Catherine Cook, Sacred Heart, City Day…. All my kids were wait-listed at all these schools EVERY time we applied (although we did get off some wait-lists at ‘less desirable’ schools during the summer, but chose to ‘make do’ with then-current plans). Also, my kids are bright, well-behaved “good” kids (one attends a RGC, “off the charts” test scores, perfect behavior, 3-4 grades above in math AND language, plays violin, great at sports, too, etc.), no negative issues at all and we never applied for financial aid. Several times I was ready to pick up and move to Wilmette, but my spose prevailed and we stuck it out. I live on the North Side. We used to live in the Gold Coast but now Lincoln Park (Lincoln Elementary was the magnetic “safety school” that prompted our [and many others’] move to 60614). I cannot tell you how difficult it is to get into these kinds of schools (especially Lab, Latin and Parker [the TRIFECTA] –they all go ’til 12th grade and once one kid’s in, the other kids get in). It was all my friends with kids would talk about for a while. IT”S SIMPLE MATH: By the time alumni kids, siblings and faculty children are given offers, there’s not much in terms of spaces for other/”new” people.

    Sometimes I hear/read people on this and other blogs talk about how “people that can afford it can just send their kids to Latin or Parker…”. Oh no, they can NOT! If only it were so easy!

    Lab was always THE school that was virtually impossible to get into unless one was a professor at U-C or something –nobody ever got into that that school, apart from a (very) few really wealthy people I know of through friends (people that live in their building that have second homes in St. Bart, co-ops in NYC, third homes in Greenwich for tax purposes, etc –so they probably dangled the promise of a large ‘gift’ or at least their name was bleeding money when their name was Googled). There were years when we were (politely) told not to even bother (after sending in an application and paying a fee, touring, arranging meetings, etc.) because there was simply no space, so don’t wast your time. etc.



    And some wonder why so many people hate politicians.

  • 165. CPSmama  |  July 21, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    I can’t stay mad a Rahm no matter where he sends his kids to school. This is from Stella Foster’s column in today’s Sun Times:

    MAYOR RAHM EMANUEL spoke to Tony McCoy , father of Tony McCoy , 20, who was shot and killed Saturday at 47th and Woodlawn. He told the distraught father that, “I say this to parents, especially as a father, that there are no words that I can say to replace the loss of a son or daughter to senseless violence, but I want you and [parents] to know in this moment that they do not stand alone and their city is with them as many days and as many tomorrows as it takes as they try to heal from a level of pain that none of us, none of us, want to ever, ever experience.”

    What kind words. (Mind you this happened about 4 blocks from Obama’s house)

  • 166. Mayfair Dad  |  July 21, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    @ cpsobsessed: if the pie was from Chartwells, it would be filled with a mysterious non-fruit substance and be completely devoid of any nutritional value. But cjlane makes a good point, pie-ing is violent. Maybe we could cajole some students from Chicago Math and Science Academy to hold up posters of the pi symbol instead.

    Rahm gets a pass on this from me. He did the best he could for his kids and that’s his job as a parent. Who am I to second-guess his decision? Its not a political issue for me, its a parenting issue.

  • 167. another cps mom  |  July 21, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    Have your kids take CLEP tests for cheep credits along with aAP tests (score. =/>) if target college acceptsc these credits. Cwll phone typos.

  • 168. cjlane  |  July 21, 2011 at 4:53 pm



    As you noted, once one gets in, they all get in. Why is it surprising that “all” of them got in?

  • 169. magnet mom  |  July 21, 2011 at 5:18 pm

    I’d go with Mayfair Dad on the 2vs. 4yr college thing. Many of the strong smaller liberal arts colleges help with plenty of aid if they accept you. Why not invest in the application process and see what choices your son has. Then go from there. The 2yrs will still be there.
    A more engaging curriculum and great professors/ grad students might offset your party worried because the kids around your son will be working harder too.
    Why not try and get your son in a place where he is challenged to the edge of his abilities if you can to give him room to grow and he has the financial aid to get there! He might meet some amazing friends he will always have as well. .

  • 170. cps Mom  |  July 21, 2011 at 5:29 pm

    @169 – as mentioned, the need based scholarships are not there for non-minorities. Always worth a try to go after.

  • 171. cps Mom  |  July 21, 2011 at 5:42 pm

    There was an interesting post by KLM #39 in Lakeview thread on this.

  • 172. IB&RGC Mom  |  July 21, 2011 at 8:09 pm

    To weigh in on the community college thing, I also agree with Mayfair Dad if going straight to the desired 4 year school is too expensive. I went to Wright after going to a catholic high school. Out of about 5 of my closest friends who also went there I am the only one who eventually graduated with my Associates or went on to a 4 year school (not that I finished, but that was due to other circumstances). We did have guidance counselors, but honestly if I didn’t myself through a lot of it I wouldn’t have graduated. Many of my high school classes were equally hard or harder then the classes I took there. If your child does end up going with a cc try to research it well, make sure the courses transfer, and get the transfer guide for the school and major they are looking at and register for courses accordingly. Good luck!

  • 173. Hawthorne mom  |  July 21, 2011 at 8:20 pm

    I can’t say what is good for anyone else’s family…..but for me, I went to community college. (I thought I was going to do humanitarian aid work overseas and couldn’t figure out how to do that….leaving me paralyzed in my decision making process…..)
    For me, it was a good thing. I went to school, on full academic scholarship (tuition, books, fees, they even gave me gas money), worked full time, saved my salary for the other 2 years, got more academic scholarship $$ and graduated debt free….grad school included.
    I’ve seen so many friends struggle under the weight of enormous debt. People with 100K worth of college loans making 30-40K a year!!!! Crazy, foolish. I’d strongly discourage my children from large loans. And since my husband and I don’t make enough to pay for their higher education, or much of it anyway, they’ll be pretty much on their own for school. (Personally, I push them now to excel academically, partly with the thought of future scholarship $$. They are 1st and 2nd graders. I know, I am nuts. We even talk about scholarships with our kids here and there.)

    I think everyone, though, has to make their own choice. But just because community college is cheap, doesn’t make it bad. Sometimes, people just pay for brand names.

  • 174. cps grad  |  July 21, 2011 at 10:49 pm

    I find it interesting that so many parents will pay for 13 years of parochial school for their kids, but when those same kids graduate and go to college they need to take out student loans. Saving $5000 a year for 13 years will give you $65000 towards college, not even counting the compound interest.

  • 175. LPDad  |  July 22, 2011 at 6:09 am


    What I meant by that was that if 1 child starts in the 1st yr of the school (N3 at Lab), then subsequent siblings will usually be offered a space when their turn comes for N3. I didn’t mean that when 3 kids apply to 3 different “non-entry” years, it all works out for all 3 kids in different grades.

    When we applied to Lab it was such an ordeal. There was the application, Then a required tour. Then a “parent meeting”. Then there was the “child observation”, etc.,…

    We never got in. OK, it happens. But NOBODY among the 30-50 (unaffiliated with U-C) familiies I’ve know from preschool, the playground, etc., ever was admitted to the school. It’s been literally years since a child from my kids’ preschool was admitted to Lab, so I’ve been told. I know lots of families have been really upset that they tour, pay an aplliccation fee, rearrange schedules for meetings, etc., to be told in the end: there’s no way your kid’s getting in here no matter how smart they are or how great your family is. Look at the Lab Admissions web site. They more or less tell you not to bother applying except for N3 and HS, which is at least more honest than making hundreds of families apply for nothing. At least this comes accross more honestly than having hundreds of people applying that were never going to have a chance, which was the situation when we were applying.

    OK, I understand the irony of be bemoaning the Mayor for sending his kids to Lab when I tried to get my own kids in there (I’m the “pot” in this situation, clearly).

    It’s just that as mayor his actions represent so much the spirit and direction of our public institutions. If even the mayor won’t send his kids to the public schools here, what does it say about Chicago?

    It’s not that Rahm’s 3 kids all got into Lab (it’s a great school, good for them) in a way that would never work for the rest of us. It’s the symbolism. And that does matter.

  • 176. Angie  |  July 22, 2011 at 7:39 am

    @175. LPDad: So, if you were a mayor, and got an offer from a great private school, you would turn it down and send your children to a nearest CPS High? Really? Come on, be honest now.

    Rich and famous people have an access to things that are not available to mere mortals. That’s just a fact of life.

    As for Rahm, he seems to be interested in improving public schools and is not afraid to stand up to unions. That’s what I want to see in a mayor, so I don’t mind him getting some perks here and there, especially when taxpayer money is not involved. If he succeeds, it will be better for all of us.

  • 177. CPSDepressed (was copyeditor)  |  July 22, 2011 at 7:47 am

    CPS Mom, there is most definitely need-based financial aid for non-minorities. The begin with, the Pell Grant and Federal Work Study programs do not discriminate based on skin color, so there are two programs right there that your family might be able to benefit from.

  • 178. CPSDepressed (was copyeditor)  |  July 22, 2011 at 7:50 am

    And CPS Grad, I know a few families who were in the “nothing is good for my little snookums” mode when they were looking at preschool, who are now paying for private school, who now regret it because they have not been able to save much for college. (There isn’t a lot of need-based financial aid for families with high incomes who haven’t saved anything!)

    Of course, many of these families are now sparing no expense to tutor their children for SEHS admission, so that they start saving for college!

  • 179. XcpsMom  |  July 22, 2011 at 7:52 am

    175 Quick, name the last mayor who sent his kids to public school in Chicago? People do what they want and what is best for thier familites. Since CPS schools in general are not too good, why bother if you can afford private?

  • 180. cps Mom  |  July 22, 2011 at 8:13 am

    CPSD – thanks for that info. I will explore everything.

    Regarding Rahms kids – no one knows how well he did on ISAT, SE test or grades or what his options were based upon tier. Many say that he could go to whatever school they want because he’s mayor but then think about the next scandal – “awarded A’s because of clout”, “letter to the principal to get in”, “he’s allowed a pass in but my poor child is not”, “bought his way in”. I’d say private or public he would be condemned so might as well pick the way they want to go.

  • 181. CPSDepressed (was copyeditor)  |  July 22, 2011 at 8:22 am

    CPS Mom, I think you’re right. If anything, there was a greater risk to perceptions from staying in CPS than sending his kids to Lab, and he knew that. Emanuel is not stupid.

  • 182. Donna at CPS  |  July 22, 2011 at 9:59 am

    I think Rahm’s job as a parent is to send his children to the best school that he can afford. We all do what we can to provide the BEST for our children. That being said, I wonder why he doesn’t promote the Lab School model in Chicago? It’s strange to me, as a CPS teacher, that we are constantly being told to do things “this way” or “that way” and not successful ways. If the Lab School is so fabulous (and we all know it is) doesn’t it make sense to mimic their methods?

  • 183. cjlane  |  July 22, 2011 at 10:08 am

    “If even the mayor won’t send his kids to the public schools here”

    C’mon, be serious. What would you say if the eldest were going to NSCP and the younger two to [Insert SEES you want your kids to go to]?

    Like cps Mom at 180 and CPSD at 181 note, it would have been WORSE as far as people questioning things. Much, MUCH worse.

    Were Rahm still “just” the Congressman from the 5th, his younger kids would still be at Anshe and his eldest would be going to his choice of NSCP, Payton or Young (most likely NSCP, as his cousins have gone there, but who knows?). And if anyone said anything about “clout”, Rahm would have gone off on them without a second thought. CPS is plenty “good enough” for Emanuel children (see the referenced cousins who went to NSCP, one of whom is a current Rhodes Scholar, the other at Yale), but there are too many interconnected issues for Rahm’s kids.

    And, whether you think it’s okay or not, or fair or not, the Mayor of Chicago counts as “affiliated with” the U-of-C from the perspective of the U-of-C.

  • 184. cjlane  |  July 22, 2011 at 10:18 am

    “If the Lab School is so fabulous (and we all know it is) doesn’t it make sense to mimic their methods?”

    If Rahm proposes Lab-based charter schools (I would bet on it, and give you odds), as a CPS teacher, would you support that?

    I believe that Rahm is open to trying about anything that (1) doesn’t require raising property taxes and (2) won’t embroil him in too big of a fight (esp with CTU). Do you think that a Lab-based program could be implemented in CPS without additional $$ and without CTU (and, yes, I am very aware that what leadership makes a stink about is not the same a individual teachers’ priorities, so it’s not intended as a criticism of anyone here’s motives) making a stink?

  • 185. cps grad  |  July 22, 2011 at 10:27 am

    If Rahm didn’t want to send his kids to CPS, he shouldn’t have run for mayor. That’s what I think. I felt the same about Daley. The mayor wants control of the schools, wants to hand pick the CBOE to his liking, and disenfranchise the citizens of Chicago, “privatize” public education in the form of charters, but then lowly CPS isn’t good enough for his kids? I don’t buy the “I have to do what is best for my children as a parent excuse.” The fact of the matter is that to some people, an urban public school is always going to be inferior to the affluent suburban public school; it doesn’t matter how good the test scores are, it is the perception. Likewise there are people out there who will always find feel that any public education is inferior to their privates like Latin, Lab or the boards Exeter and Andover. It is all about the type of people their kids will rub elbows with. It’s about who you know vs. what you know.

    I also think the same should be true of all CBOE members. It should be a prerequisite for the job. Do all of them send their children to CPS, or are the programs, that they implement on the rest of us not good enough for their children? I might be mistaken, but I think that only one has a child in CPS.

  • 186. CPSDepressed (was copyeditor)  |  July 22, 2011 at 10:33 am

    Emanuel’s neighborhood high school is Lake View. Quick show of hands here, how many people think Lake View is the best choice for their children right now? Is good enough for their children right now?

    For me? No, and No. Maybe in a few years, as there seems to be some good energy there, but as far as I can tell, it’s not where I want a HS to be.

  • 187. cjlane  |  July 22, 2011 at 10:37 am

    “If Rahm didn’t want to send his kids to CPS, he shouldn’t have run for mayor.”

    So, no one with school-aged children (or who might have school-aged children while mayor) should run for mayor. Got it. I suppose the same should apply to aldermen, and CPS employees, right?

    Do governors have to send their kids to state universities? Should the presidents kids have to go to military academies?

    “all CBOE members”

    CBOE has a pretty well established, Chicago-related, meaning, and it ain’t what you mean by using it. Chicago Board Options Exchange.

    Always with this, I go back to this question: How would you feel if his kids all went to NSCP and [whatever is most sought after SEES]?

  • 188. Mayfair Dad  |  July 22, 2011 at 10:46 am

    @ 185: to follow your logic, does this mean Forrest Claypool has to sell both of his cars and his entire family must travel exclusively on the CTA, never to take a taxi cab again?

    I wonder if the CEO of Coke forbids his children from drinking milk?

  • 189. cps Mom  |  July 22, 2011 at 10:48 am

    185-186 – I was going to say the same thing. Does this mean that we should take the argument one step further and say that Rahm should send his kids to Lakeview instead of NSCP to prove that an urban school is not inferior to private or suburban schools. We all know that NSCP has a stellar reputation with suburbans trying to get in so nothing to prove there. Another thing that would be scrutinized – his choice of public schools, if he were to go CPS.

  • 190. cps grad  |  July 22, 2011 at 11:07 am

    @188 — apples and oranges. How about CEO of Coke serving Pepsi at Board Meetings?

    @187–I think it was pretty clear what I meant in the context of this blog.

    @187 and others– you miss my point. The mayor CONTROLS the schools. Citizens cannot vote in Board members like they do in suburbs, yet the product the mayor controls isn’t good enough for his kids. It just sends the wrong message. If we had an elected school board out of the control of the mayor, then I wouldn’t care where the mayor sends his kids.

  • 191. LPDad  |  July 22, 2011 at 11:11 am


    No, I do not think that he should have just sent his kids to just any ‘ol CPS school, but he could have done what the rest of us have done: research, apply, test, etc….

    I’m not for a moment saying anybody should NOT send their kids to Lab, Latin, …wherever –do it, great for you, really! One of my own kids will go to an independent school in the fall (we just got off a wait-list) –it’s their business, totally 100%. We live in a free country, etc. –what business if it of ours?

    I’m just saying that he’s not “anybody” –he’s MAYOR of the city of Chicago, so yeah people (including myself) will judge.

    He’s obviously being defensive. If Rahm (of all people) is being defensive about something, then even he must know how this makes him look in the eyes of some fellow Chicagoans.

    If somebody wants to run for mayor of a town and they act as cheerleader to keep people there, they won’t get the same lack of judgment others get. He’s Mayor NOT “Rahm Emanuel private citizen.” He’s a politician, by definition a “public” person wether he likes it or not.

    He wants people to stay in Chicago, use/imprive CPS. Maybe he should put his money where his mouth is and think what a powerful statement his sending his own kids to CPS would be.

    At least Obama came out and admitted that the reason he chose Sidwell to educate his daughters was because he thought D.C. public schools were not all that (I understand, completely).

  • 192. cjlane  |  July 22, 2011 at 11:17 am

    “If we had an elected school board out of the control of the mayor,”

    So, what you’re really saying is that you want Rahm to ask the legislature to change the law. Okay, fair enough view.

    But saying that, because the law is what it is, parents of school-aged kids who don’t send their kids to neighborhood CPS shouldn’t be Mayor (or, really aldermen) is just wrong-headed.

  • 193. CPSDepressed (was copyeditor)  |  July 22, 2011 at 11:18 am

    Emanuel doesn’t think all CPS schools are good enough for his kids. And you know what? We don’t think they are, either. He’s controlled the schools for two months, and he’s been pushing for changes. I don’t think anyone could have made all CPS schools great options in just two months.
    Miguel del Valle? A nice guy, a great administrator, but a superhero? Could he have turned CPS around in two months?

    Gery Chico, who had an excellent high school built in his neighborhood and who sent his kids there rather than deal with the regular schools? Is that a better way for a politician to behave? (NSCP may not be close to the el, but that doesn’t mean it’s not convenient for some families.)

    Carol Moseley Braun, who sent her son to Lab?

    James Meeks, who wanted vouchers?

    Emanuel was damned politically either way, unless he send his kids to Lake View. So instead, he did what was best for his kids, and I do not fault him.

  • 194. cpsobsessed  |  July 22, 2011 at 11:20 am

    @190: “The mayor CONTROLS the schools. Citizens cannot vote in Board members like they do in suburbs, yet the product the mayor controls isn’t good enough for his kids. It just sends the wrong message.”

    I think I would buy this after Rahm was given 10 years to improve CPS (or even 5.) He hasn’t had any input into CPS yet, nor can he be expected to “fix” it in a year. There’s no reason he should think it’s good enough for his kids based on his control over it. Yet. he could outright say CPS sucks since he had not input into any of it.

  • 195. cps grad  |  July 22, 2011 at 11:20 am

    @191– I totally agree. Also Obama isn’t the mayor DC, and he doesn’t have direct control of the leadership in DC schools. I never thought the criticism of him sending his kids to private was fair.

    Let’s look at it from another angle. How would it look if the Head of Latin sent her kids to Francis Parker? I’m not talking about the teachers, the janitors or the secretaries, I’m talking about the person in charge.

  • 196. cjlane  |  July 22, 2011 at 11:23 am

    “No, I do not think that he should have just sent his kids to just any ‘ol CPS school, but he could have done what the rest of us have done: research, apply, test, etc…”

    Okay, and if the eldest got into NSCP, you wouldn’t question whether the kid was qualified (rather than clouted in) AT ALL? If you say “no, not at all, totally fine with it”–I do NOT believe you (the generic you, not just you specifically)!

    Totally damned if he did, damned if he didn’t in the eyes of everyone complaining about this. He had NO way to win, so they–as a family–chose the best path for the kids, and he’ll take the heat for that. No choice would have satisfied everyone–if they went to Ravenswood and LVHS, people would complain that every perceived improvement in those schools was a result of preferential treatment for the schools the mayor’s kids go to.

  • 197. cpsobsessed  |  July 22, 2011 at 11:23 am

    I’ve worked in advertising/marketing for 20 years now and yes, CEO’s (down to pions) in a company often are loyal to the company products. No GM exec would drive a Mercedes, even if they could afford it. No Pepsi is served at the homes of Coke execs. But this is all different than a child’s 12 year education. There are no do-overs on that. It’s not a matter of complaining that your GM car needs too many repairs or you’d really like a good Pepsi once in a while (which you can still drink secretly.) Education is a BIG deal (as we all know.)

  • 198. CPSDepressed (was copyeditor)  |  July 22, 2011 at 11:24 am

    The head of Latin may choose to send her child to Parker in order to avoid any appearance of impropriety or favoritism.

    My SIL is a teacher (not in CPS) who requested a transfer of schools as soon as her daughter was enrolling in kindergarten, because she did not want to cause any problems for her.

  • 199. CPSDepressed (was copyeditor)  |  July 22, 2011 at 11:26 am

    Although, CLJane, as someone living in the Lake View attendance area, I was hoping that Emanuel sent his son there for that very reason – it would instantly improve!

    And everyone in the Senn attendance area would complain bitterly, wouldn’t they?

  • 200. cps Mom  |  July 22, 2011 at 11:33 am

    @195 – apples to oranges. I don’t think that it would be ethical for the headmasters child to attend the same school due to preferential treatment.

  • 201. cjlane  |  July 22, 2011 at 11:37 am

    CPSD: “And everyone in the Senn attendance area would complain bitterly, wouldn’t they?”


  • 202. CPSDepressed (was copyeditor)  |  July 22, 2011 at 11:39 am

    Look what just happened at SIU: the granddaughter of the president, who was a standout high-school student and who wanted to go to the same college as everyone else in her family, applied for an SIU honors program that came with scholarship funds. She was accepted. Everyone said that it was wrong and was just an example of clout in the university system, even though all sorts of firewalls had been set up to keep her application fair. Then, her grandfather said he would pay her scholarship out of his own pocket. But some people still complained.

    So she decided to accept a merit scholarship to Xavier in Ohio instead.

    What’s the best option here?

  • 203. cjlane  |  July 22, 2011 at 11:43 am

    “I don’t think that it would be ethical for the headmasters child to attend the same school due to preferential treatment.”

    I wouldn’t go *quite* that far.

    And it’s not apples and oranges–it’s really much the same thing.

    Perhaps (and we will NEVER know) the kids didn’t want to go to CPS because they didn’t want to deal with going to schools their father is the CEO of–Should Rahm have said “no, you must, because otherwise I will look like a hypocrite”? Of course not.

  • 204. cjlane  |  July 22, 2011 at 11:45 am

    “What’s the best option here?”

    Accepting that some people will complain no matter what the facts are?

  • 205. IB&RGC Mom  |  July 22, 2011 at 11:51 am

    I see both sides of this one, but think of it this way. If the CEO of Coke took the job and wanted to make it a more healthy drink should he really make his kids drink it knowing he has not yet had the chance to improve it?

    Now I know there are plenty of great schools in CPS which I would guess his kids would be able to get in based on merit alone, but do we really want to pay our taxes for his kids to take spots in schools that we are dying for when he has millions and can afford to send them all to Lab?

    And maybe he will see a model of a really good school and try to implement things into CPS.

  • 206. Pot, meet kettle. Kettle, meet pot.  |  July 22, 2011 at 11:52 am

    This is not about Rahm making the best choice for his family.

    It’s about the choices he’s already made in the first two months of leading CPS and the policy platform announced during his campaign.

    Those choices are contrary to the personal choices he makes in the how (not where, how) his own children are educated.

    That’s the hypocrisy. And throwing a hissy instead of staying on message (a la Obama Sidwells) is inflaming the issue and highlighting that he unwilling to own up to and/or doesn’t get there’s cognitive dissonance in this (understandable) decision.

    Also hypocritical: giving Tim Cawley, who lives in Winnetka, a free pass to work for CPS for two years when everyone else has to live in the city (after 1987). He should move to Chicago to do so.

    Also hypocritical: diving head first into more charter schools. A new bill I never heard of was signed into law this week allowing charters to be approved another way, by an alternative commission.

    Hypocrisy is do as I say, not as I do. To paraphrase Spiderman, with mayoral control over the public schools comes great responsibility. Rahm is not stepping up to the plate in this respect. What’s good enough for his kids will philosophically and $ remain out of reach for you, you, you and you.

  • 207. Mom  |  July 22, 2011 at 11:52 am

    The notion that Rahm had to send his kids to public school to show he cares about CPS makes zero sense to me. It’s a logical fallacy that you can only care about CPS if you have kids in the system. On that logic no one who is childless or whose kids have grown should be working for CPS. Nonsensical! Rahm has to make the best decision for his family. We all know that not every school — even the schools regarded as the “best” — is going to be right for every kid, and we have no idea what the needs of Rahm’s kids are. Having chosen private says absolutely nothing about what Rahm can do, wants to do, or will do for CPS. Just shows that he’s not an idiot for sacrificing his kids for political purposes and that he cares more for his family than about making the rest of us “feel” good about CPS.

  • 208. cjlane  |  July 22, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    “Hypocrisy is do as I say, not as I do.”

    Where/when has Rahm suggested that Chicago parents who have the option of sending their kids to private schools should not and should send them to CPS instead?

    If he hasn’t said “don’t do what I’m doing”, how is it a “do as I say, not as I do” situation?

    Or are all rich politicians inherently hypocritical whenever they choose to do something that “normal” people can’t afford to do?

  • 209. CPSDepressed (was copyeditor)  |  July 22, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    That’s always been the argument for vouchers: rich people don’t send their kids to urban public schools, so why should anyone else?

    And I see the point. My family can afford private school or to move, but most families in Chicago can’t do those things. Their choices are limited, and that’s why I’m in favor of charters and vouchers, at least in principle.

  • 210. cps grad  |  July 22, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    Everyone is driving themselves crazy about what is “BEST.” Is NSCP better than Payton? Is Edison better than Decatur? Fact of the matter is you can never tell which school will be the best choice until you actually get into it and try it out, and sometimes a school isn’t the “best choice” but it is “good enough.” There are lots of people move to certain suburbs for their good schools, and then end up putting their kids into privates because the public school didn’t work for their family. I don’t have any problem with that. I have a problem with all the prejudice out there about a CPS education. My parents could well afford to send us to privates. But we went to public school because my parents believed in public education. They saw the benefits of attending school with kids from varied backgrounds. When I excelled, I stayed. When my brother needed more structure (not that his test scores were low, just he was causing discipline issues- Mr. Class clown), they made the decision to send him to one of those fancy prep schools with blazers and ties. The major difference between his education and mine, was my brother met a whole lot more of the kids who’d say “My daddy is the CEO of ______. Do you want an internship?”

    Do I think that CPS is the best school system out there? No. Are there things I would change at CPS? Most definitely! Do I think my kids will be harmed by going to our neighborhood school? No. Will I send my kids to public before I decide it isn’t a good fit? Certainly! I lived a CPS education, and it didn’t hold me back one bit.

  • 211. HSObsessed  |  July 22, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    The always-amusing John Kass makes the argument that Rahm’s sending the kids to Lab is proof that we need to have vouchers so that everyone can benefit from private school education.

    He doesn’t mention that the proposed voucher amount is $3,800 and the current tuition at Lab is $20,000 to $25,000.,0,6512124.column

  • 212. cjlane  |  July 22, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    “He doesn’t mention that the proposed voucher amount is $3,800 and the current tuition at Lab is $20,000 to $25,000.”

    Are you suggesting that Lab/Parker/Latin/etc wouldn’t take all comers with a voucher, even if the voucher were the full amount of CPS’s spending per student (~$11,000) or the (more likely) same amount the charters get ($6-7k)? I’m shocked!

  • 213. cjlane  |  July 22, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    ps: What’s the functional (for the school options) difference between vouchers and a typical charter school program, except that with a voucher you can take it to your religious school, too?

  • 214. CPSDepressed (was copyeditor)  |  July 22, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    In Cleveland, you can take your vouchers to suburban schools. The suburban schools have all refused to accept them, however.

    But, yeah, that’s the big difference: you can take your vouchers to existing schools, often including religious schools, depending on how the voucher is set up. $3,800 would go pretty far toward elementary Catholic school tuition, not far at all toward Parker.

  • 215. cps Mom  |  July 22, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    Sounds like Medicaid – free services for those in need but no legitimate provider will deal with it or if they do you get “back of the bus” treatment.

  • 216. magnet mom  |  July 22, 2011 at 5:11 pm

    I think schools like Latin, Lab, Parker et al offer students accepted to foster economic diversity far more support than a voucher provides at this point. They aren’t going to be accepting more mixed income students because of vouchers. They don’t work on a public school model. Supported by endowments and large donations they work in a different sphere. Telling anyone in Chicago that a voucher is going to help get their child into one of these schools would be unfair at best.

  • 217. bagg  |  July 22, 2011 at 6:51 pm

    Hate to be the doom and gloom, but…

    Acceptance into LPL (Latin Parker Lab) from legacy and non-legacy families will be worse next yr. Last year, Parker sent out a letter mid-through the application season advising all families that the legacy applicants well exceeded the available total freshman slots.

    Eventually, freshman year will no longer be the entry year into LPL. Non-legacy families considering LPL should transfer at 5th or 6th grades. This, coupled with the 7th grade CPS rigmarole, parents will really need to start the HS discussion at around 5th grade.

    In addition, look at the private elem feeder schools to LPL. Yes, they exist and most private elem schools do publish a list of 8th graders and the selected HS. Feel free to correct me here …very few catholic school 8th graders are accepted to LPL.

  • 218. Grace  |  July 23, 2011 at 9:29 am

    Btw, the voucher bill which Meeks sponsored was aimed at the 30,000 poorest CPS students, no one else. And $3,800 is a huge drop in CPS per-pupil costs, and probably not a realistic amount.
    We had a good, long discussion about vouchers at the time… if John Kass had read it before he wrote his column, he might have a different view.

    Btw (2) Anyone else remember Jimmy Carter sending his daughter to a public elementary school in D.C.? She went to Brown for college, and seemed to have worked for social justice issues.

    A member of the elite, privileged class who would want to give their children a view of life that includes how most of the rest of us live — that would be something.

  • 219. cpsobsessed  |  July 23, 2011 at 11:27 am

    @HSObsessed: I like the title of that article:
    Chicago needs school vouchers. And Rahm needs to meditate.

    How could he have been shocked/angered by a reporter asking about it? I mean c’mon? He HAD to have been expecting that question at SOME point! I agree with the meditation comment!

  • 220. Grace  |  July 23, 2011 at 11:35 am

    Posted at 01:46 PM ET, 07/21/2011
    Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel chooses private school for kids
    By Valerie Strauss

    Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who strongly supports school reform that centers on standardized test-based accountability for students, schools and teachers, has decided to send his children to a private school that doesn’t obsess on standardized tests … the prestigious University of Chicago Laboratory Schools in Hyde Park.

    It’s the same school that President Obama’s daughters attended when they lived in Chicago.

    The decision where to send your children to school is certainly a personal one, even for public officials. But it is worth publicly noting what public officials who support test-based school reform — including Obama’s main education initiative, Race to the Top — choose to do with their own children when given the chance.

    Continue reading this post »
    By Valerie Strauss | 01:46 PM ET, 07/21/2011 | Permalink | Comments ( 37)

  • 221. Hawthorne mom  |  July 23, 2011 at 11:39 am

    So, in general, I pretty much disagree with what and how Karen Lewis speaks to the media. But this statement below, and the way it is stated, I think was awesome.

    quoted from July 22nd, Tribune
    Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis, who has objected to Emanuel’s plans to withhold teacher pay raises and change work rules, issued a less-than-subtle statement about the mayor’s decision.

    “We understand why he would choose a school with small class sizes; a broad, rich curriculum that offers world languages, the arts and physical education; a focus on critical thinking, not test-taking; a teacher and an assistant in every elementary classroom; and paid, high-quality professional development for their teacher,” Lewis said. “It’s wonderful that he has that option available to him.”

    Back to my own words here:
    I think Emmanuel has the right to send his kids where he wants. I agree with him that he has to make his decisions for his kids as a father, and most of us really do understand that most CPS schools are not ones we’d send our own kids to.
    But wow, wouldn’t it be terrific if every public school student did have those things available to Emmanuel’s kids? Small class sizes, quick responding modifications for kids having trouble, teacher aides in each room…..real help for the neediest kids instead of this test prep baloney that most “after school tutoring” programs offer. (and they don’t help!!!)

  • 222. Grace  |  July 23, 2011 at 11:39 am

    Interesting comment on Valerie Strauss’s story, by efavorite

    “Perhaps the question to Rahm should be honed to exclude anything personal about his children and to simply focus on his attitude about standardized testing.

    Does he think it’s good for all kids or just some kids? How did he come to that conclusion? What does he think kids who go to schools without standardized testing are missing out on or gaining? How will they be better/worse off than kids who do a lot of testing?

    What does he think about the quality of teachers whose salaries are not tied to the students’ test results? How concerned is he about all children having access to high quality teachers. How does he foresee the future of public education.

    Don’t let him corner you with the “private life” line. These questions are legitimate for the Mayor irrespective of his personal family situation. How dare he use his children as a shield to avoid difficult issues.”

  • 223. Grace  |  July 23, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    “Harry, it’s not your abilities but your decisions which define you.”
    Albus Dumbedore

  • 224. CPSDepressed (was copyeditor)  |  July 23, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    Schools with small class sizes; a broad, rich curriculum that offers world languages, the arts and physical education; a focus on critical thinking, not test-taking; a teacher and an assistant in every elementary classroom; and paid, high-quality professional development for their teacher are incredibly expensive. People in Glencoe will pay huge property taxes to have that. How much do we want to pay in taxes?

    Our country is about to go bankrupt because many people believe that any and all tax increases are wrong. There is never going to be money to give every kid in this country a Lab-school like education, so we have to figure out how to give kids a good education that we are willing to pay for.

    As for Amy Carter, I read a story about her DC schooling at the time the Obama girls arrived in Washington. Apparently, her school was on a busy street, so she was not able to go outside for recess for security reasons; and she had few friends because her classmates were embarrassed to invite her to parties or didn’t feel comfortable around her because her life was so very different from theirs.

    I think it’s dangerous to ask your kids to fight your political battles. The Emanuel kids have relocated twice in three years; that alone would be really destabilizing.

    I notice that no one answered my question. Grace, is Lake View High School the best choice for your kids? Is it acceptable for your kids?

  • 225. HSObsessed  |  July 23, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    I was on the fence about the Emanuel kids/Lab School thing until I saw this video. The day before Emanuel came out and said they were going to Lab, NBC’s Mary Ann Ahern asked him the question and he refused to even say where they were going. She pressed him on it and he then got angry, although he forced himself to respond coolly, but then he cut off the interview.

    IMHO, when Ahern said something like “your kids are public figures”, she made her fatal error because he is absolutely correct in clarifying that HE is the public figure, not his kids, and they are completely off limits to the media. The way he responded shows how fiercely he will act to protect his family and it made me respect him more. Anyway, my suspicion is that his son himself chose to go to Lab because his friends were all going there as well, and would I really expect the Emanuels to deny their kid that, if they have the money to pay for it? No way. “Would have been nice” if CPS had been a good fit, but I totally understand.

  • 226. onthefence  |  July 23, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    I find it interesting that everyone is talking about “Rahm’s” decision to send “his” kids to private school. Anyone wonder what Amy’s take on all this might have been? Presumably, she has opinions of her own about the best school choices for “her” children…

    I don’t agree that the children and families of political figures should be required to fight their parent’s political fights with them / for them. Maybe the kids wanted to go to the Latin School? Maybe their mama wanted them there? And, really, who could blame them?

  • 227. Parent  |  July 23, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    When someone chooses to live a public, political life, their families, by default become part of the decision. The mayor’s children are part of his persona and there really is nothing that can be done about that, short of leaving the political arena.

  • 228. HomeFree  |  July 23, 2011 at 5:52 pm

    Will the Emanuel’s use their home as a tax shelter (HQ for NFP) that’s single purpose is to donate only to their children’s private school as they did last time they lived in Chicago, as I heard-tell? Nice trick, if true. I wonder if I could make much of a dent in my tax bill with my school donations. Probably not, as I received gift wrap and fall mums for the $. 😉

  • 229. HomeFree  |  July 23, 2011 at 5:53 pm

    make that “Emanuels”

  • 230. HomeFree  |  July 23, 2011 at 5:57 pm

    Hawthorne Mom – I wish you were chief education officer. Your solutions are so sound.

  • 231. HomeFree  |  July 23, 2011 at 6:00 pm

    Arne Duncan’s wife worked at Lab School, and I’m guessing his kids would have eventually wound up there if they did access SE in CPS had they been in town long enough. Just a hunch. Duncan was tied through his parents to UofC, too, FWIW.

  • 232. HomeFree  |  July 23, 2011 at 6:01 pm

    make that “did NOT access” (typo city)

  • 233. HSObsessed  |  July 23, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    The Duncans enrolled their child in Ray Elementary, a Hyde Park CPS.

  • 234. Grace  |  July 23, 2011 at 8:10 pm

    Personally, I don’t care where the mayor’s children go to school.
    I think it is valid to point out that the ed-reform policies the government — Obama, Duncan and Emmanuel — have devised for the rest of us are the opposite of what their families experience.

    Under Bush’s NCLB, high-stakes testing led to a narrowing of the curriculum at public schools. Matt Damon called it “mechanistic, not critical thinking.”

    Under Obama’s RTTT, which Diane Ravitch calls NCLB on steroids, it will get much worse because teachers’ performances will now be tied to students’ test scores.

    Sidwell, Lab and the suburban Virginia school don’t overtest and don’t tie teacher performance to students’ test scores.

    We could save money if we didn’t overtest. Maybe we’d have something for other priorities.

  • 235. HomeFree  |  July 23, 2011 at 11:12 pm

    Yes, Ray for primary. Would they stay for middle school? I wonder.

  • 236. Another Rogers Park Mama!  |  July 24, 2011 at 7:21 am

    cjlane says:
    July 19, 2011 at 3:34 pm
    “I’m pretty sure the Daley kids all went to De La Salle”

    Nora and Lally went to Ignatius, Patrick to Ignatius and Mt Carmel.

    ^^^ This!!! Very true; Nora and I even wore the same dress to Junior Ring in ’89, lol!

    As for residency: there IS NO REQUIREMENT TO EVEN LIVE IN ILLINOIS, much less Chicago, to apply or test for SEES. You do have to move into the city by July 1st, though I’d suspect for later summer offers, there is some flexibility post-offer/acceptance to find residence.

  • 237. Grace  |  July 24, 2011 at 8:19 am

    Home Free,
    Very interesting comment! But could you pls. explain how using your personal residence as a tax shelter works?
    And what is NFP?
    The Duncan kids started at Ray then went to Lab.

  • 238. karet  |  July 24, 2011 at 1:42 pm

    Very surprised to hear how many parents think Rahm’s choice to send his kids to a private school is a conflict. He is not the CEO of CPS — he’s the mayor of Chicago. He and his wife looked at the options in the city of Chicago and made the best choice for them. If he sent his kids to a private school in the suburbs, that would be a scandal — it would send the message that there are no good school choices in the city. As it is, all the decision shows is that there are many good options in Chicago. End of story.

  • 239. HomeFree  |  July 24, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    NFP = not-for-profit organization

    From what I heard, he and his wife created a philanthropic NFP and the only donations it made were to their kids’ religious school. Registered his home as the headquarters of the the NFP. Then wrote off the real estate taxes.

    If true, how creative! I’m fairly far down the “telephone game” chain, so who knows.

  • 240. Another Rogers Park Mama!  |  July 24, 2011 at 6:59 pm

    “For that matter, Francis Parker and Chicago Latin buy their diversity, so if you are black or Latino, you can probably get your kids into those schools for free . . .”

    Wow. Truthfully… Scholarship kids at these schools ate socially ostracized from their “elite” peers. My ds and dd are legacies at Parker and Lab; we were given admission and significant tuition reduction because of our connections. However, I nannied Parker kids thru college, and got the inside scoop from my charges cousins. They were very frank, and while shocking initially… When I started watching more closely, it was quite obvious.

    We declined. Just because our families are wealthy and sit on the board of these schools does not mean our little family can afford them; we are very barely upper-middle class, live in a 2bd 2ba condo we cannot sell or rent out due to HOA… and my kids will not be that scholarship kid. Oh… We are Jewish. Not ‘minority’.

    Then again, ds goes to Decatur, and dd will attend Coonley RGC this fall. If we’d not gotten these options… Well, let’s not go there.

  • 241. also obsessed  |  July 24, 2011 at 10:00 pm

    Decatur and Coonley RGC and any gifted school…are not the only options. Why so many people think that about just the gifted school….wow. Wow.

  • 242. cjlane  |  July 25, 2011 at 8:48 am

    “I find it interesting that everyone is talking about “Rahm’s” decision to send “his” kids to private school.”

    Not “everyone” here, at least, nor “everyone” I hear talking about it. I consider it a family decision, which was made with Rahm knowing he’d get questions about it.

    I agree completely with HSO that Ahern went off the rails claiming that Rham’s kids are “public figures”. They aren’t and should not be; BUT if someone makes such a claim, and it lays there unrefuted, it can become true enough–Rahm is doubtless (at least vaguely) aware of this and his reaction has to include that as a backdrop. I would REALLY lose it in similar circumstances, defending my kids privacy against that sort of intrusion.

  • 243. CPSDepressed (was copyeditor)  |  July 25, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    In re the Emanuels and taxes, the rumor is NOT true. I found this on

    BTW, everyone who itemizes can write their property taxes off of their federal income taxes.

  • 244. CPSDepressed (was copyeditor)  |  July 25, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    Also, private school tuition is not deductible, and if tuition is received as a benefit for a donation, then the tuition is a taxable benefit that reduces the size of the deduction. Illinois has a small tuition tax credit, too.

    That being said, many private schools have a minimum required parental contribution over and above the tuition that is deductible, often on a sliding scale based on parental income. Many Catholic schools require a minimum contribution to the parish in order to receive the parishioner tuition rate, for example.

    Of course, we can either pay for after school enrichment programs ourselves, which are not deductible, or we can make deductible contributions to the different CPS “friends of” charities so that they can offer after-school enrichment programs that way. Or, it can be written off as a child-care expense.

  • 245. CPSDepressed (was copyeditor)  |  July 25, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    Finally, I was pretty stunned that Mary Ann Ahern said that Emanuel’s children were public figures. She is a public figure who has kids (who attended Catholic school in WIlmette), so you’d think she’s be sensitive to it.

    His children attend only a handful of political events, like his inauguration. He does not trot them out to the media, nor does he claim that being a parent makes him especially qualified to be a leader. His children have not been arrested, have not appeared on Dancing with the Stars, and do not brag about balancing their work as abstinence advocates while raising their children as single parents.

    As far as I’m concerned, they are not public figures, and I’ll keep up my end of the bargain as long as they keep up their end. I would have liked it if his kids had gone to Lake View, as that would have made high school admission much easier for my family, but if we had the money and the connections to get into Lab, we’d jump.

  • 246. cps Mom  |  July 25, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    The buzz around our office after the release of the video is that Ahern was completely out of line – this coming from people with no kids.

  • 247. Stuck in the city whether I like it or not  |  July 25, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    @241, I agree, why do people think Coonley and Edison are so great? Because they teach one year ahead? Big deal. That’s not even the definition of gifted education. Most people who test in actually reject the gifted spaces offered to them in favor of better neighborhood schools (and privates of course).

    Pritzker for example had so many people reject spaces that they had to accept children with much lower scores and Coonley lowered it’s ideal numbers, too.

    People are catching on to the fact that the curriculum and teachers of many neighborhood schools are far better than the “gifted” schools.

  • 248. Grace  |  July 25, 2011 at 4:46 pm

    @247. Stuck — Do you have children who went to either or both gifted and neighborhood schools?

  • 249. HomeFree  |  July 25, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    @243 – Good to know, thanks for clearing that up.

  • 250. Chicago Gawker-  |  July 25, 2011 at 6:57 pm

    Grace, I do and I agree with @247, except her last line, “the curriculum and teachers of many neighborhood schools are far better than the “gifted” schools”. Don’t think I can agree with “many”. So much depends on the individual classroom teacher. But definitely agree that accelerated curriculum is not equivalent to gifted education.

  • 251. also obsessed  |  July 25, 2011 at 10:56 pm

    GIfted schools do not make gifted kids.
    I have one in gifted and one in neighborhood.
    Yes, the gifted moves faster, but not so extravagantly different from my neighborhod school curriculum.

    My “gifted” kid ( and by the way last year my :”normal” kid scored the same as he did and I didn’t even test this year) stresses because it’s ALOT, and bums because of the C’s he sometimes gets.. My “normal” kid is learning, getting straght A’s, feeling great about self, has great confidence.

    Because of who we are as parents, they will learn the same stuff, because we care that they do.

    “Gifted” has had some pretty bad tantrums because of workload. “Normal” has not. Could be because of sex (not that they are having it…but because of their gender). Could be their personalities…but both in my opinion are very smart, really smart. Both are. and both are doing fine in both of their schools. And they love their schools.

    My comment (I was 241) was because I marvel at how many parents think if they don’t get into a gifted school they are screwed. That is just NOT the case, in my opinion. I have had a wonderful experience in both, and might I stress that the stress in much LESS , and so much more manageable, in the “normal” environment.

    And I am not naive. I realize that all neighborhood schools may not have what mine has. AND i realize that there are some kids out there who NEED the accelerated curriculum,,but fewer than you think…and in those cases …those parents that must keep up with it as a necessity…i do not know if would have the energy, but i so admire those that do, because that in itself is stressful,

    But here is my motto:
    Community embraces school, school embraces community…and its needs.

    And FAMILIES and PARENTS have a TON to do with it, no matter WHAT kind of school it is.

    I guess that was my unsaid point before.

  • 252. also obsessed  |  July 25, 2011 at 10:57 pm

    And, one more point, I am not “dissing” gifted. I am just saying it is not the end-all be all.

  • 253. LR  |  July 26, 2011 at 2:24 am

    I completely understand Rahm’s decision not to send his kids to CPS (if I were him, security would be the number one factor). And I don’t take it as any reflection that he isn’t invested in improving CPS (e.g. the whole analogy about working for Coke and giving your kids Pepsi). That makes no sense. In Chicago, I would have to guess that schools and crime are the top things that people care about…and maybe property taxes a close second. Rahm is not dumb. I don’t think that he is going to make improving schools any less of a priority just because his kids aren’t part of CPS. I’m sure he understands that his success as mayor largely hinges on improving CPS. And so far, I would say he’s given it a lot of attention. Anyhow…getting back to the original point of the post. Our family is part of both CPS and St. Matthias, which I am so glad that they featured in the article. Up until recently it was an often overlooked school. If they build the proposed addition, it is going to be unbelievable…in my opinion enough to rival the best private schools in Chicago. Just an fyi for anyone who is still shopping around for schools and may be leaning towards a private school.

  • 254. RLJulia  |  July 26, 2011 at 7:08 am

    253 – I am with you and other posters. I think Rahm’s kid’s lives at a CPS school would be a nightmare for them socially. No one would be their friend, CPS schools aren’t really set up to handle the security necessary or expected, there would be constant whispering about them and if they got in legitimately (just the kind of attention the middle and high school students thrive on ….not!).

    If I was Rahm, If for no other reason than social ones, I would send my kids to Lab or whatever private school offered to take all three of them. They are more…well, private and exclusive, there will be no public outcry if they got in through legitimate reasons or not and the other kids at the school – like it or not – are economically and socially more like the Emanuel’s kids than not (this is both good and bad).

    Its probably bad enough to have your dad be Mayor (never mind his previous jobs and all the moving over the past three years) -Lab (or any other private school) will give those kids the privacy that they need – because they are kids -not spokespeople or icons for Rahm – even if they are related to him.

  • 255. LPDad  |  July 26, 2011 at 8:49 am

    I’m not sure why people think security would be such an issue for Rahm’s kids at a CPS school. Edison, for example, shares space with the neighborhood middle school. There’s security galore –even metal-detection machines. It’s not like Rahm’s President of the USA or something. Where does the idea that Lab’s security is somehow so much greater come from? I’ve toured Lab 3 times (for each time we applied with a different child) and nowhere was there a “lock-down” type security sytem (which is good and fair–it’s a school NOT a jail, so why would there?).

    I’ve also been to both Payton and NSCP. There’s security equal to or surpassing Lab’s.

    Also, where’s idea that kids at a school like NSCP, Payton, Edison, Hawthorne, etc., would be really horrible or at least somehow negative towards the Emanuel kids, but at Lab, their fellow students will be just swell and “above it all”. I know a family (I don’t know all the details, but they do seem ‘normal’ and not a nutty drama-loving bunch) that took a child out of Lab because of unresolved issues of bullying and put her in a CPS RGC (where she’s apparently thriving and loving school). One of my mother-in-law’s friends said that her granddaughter was so unhappy with Lab (again because of the way other kids were behaving towards her) that her parents took her out and enrolled her in a Northside parochial school –and now she’s loving school. Again, I don’t know 100% the details (there’s always another side to these things), but the bottom line is no school’s immune immune to these types of issues simply because it’s great academically or because the kids’ families are more educated and have higher incomes, on average. Manners, repect and common decency are not necessarily the domain of exclusivity.

    I’ve done the field trips, after school activities, during-school volunteering at Edison and Lincoln. I’m happy to say that the kids I’ve been exposed to were really impressive. There’s no real “bullying” issues at these schools, there’s a real effort to get all kids involved in different activites, “Queen Bees” and “Mean Girls” don’t rule these schools, etc. I’m not saying all’s perfect, obviously, but I can’t imagine kids at these 2 CPS schools I’m familiar with being jerks to kids just because their father’s mayor.

    Also, I’d like to mention that not all CPS kids are so socioeconomically “deprived” that they’d feel the Emanuel kids are from another planet. My family’s middle-class, but (I don’t care about this sort of thing, but I’m mentioning it for purposes of this discussion) these are some of the colleges some of my kids’ fellow CPS classmates parents’ have attended: Princeton, Dartmouth, Caltech, Stanford, Northwestern, Williams, …. Some of their parents are partners at law firms Downtown (the kind where partners makes literally millions a year), some are surgeons, some work in philanthrapy, some are involved in the Chicago Junior Leaugue, some “summer” in Harbor Springs or “back East” (‘the Vineyard’, the Cape’, etc.). Some live in 8,000 s.f. manions that cost millions and have full-time help, etc. These are obviously not typical, but the point is Rahm’s kids wouldn’t necessarily feel like “pearls before swine” at a good CPS school. Many kids have eaten at fine-dining restaurants and have “correct” manners. One billionaire Chicago family even sent their kids to Lincoln (their neighborhood school) for a while some years ago. It’s not like U-C professors (the largest group with kids at Lab) are necessarily wealthy –most aren’t.

    I would have been happier if Rahm would have sent 1 or 2 of his kids to Lab and tried to make things work at Northside (which has an average ACT score about equal to Lab’s) or Payton or a RGC, Hawthorne, etc. as long as his kid/kids got in fair and square to the CPS school. (all he’d have to do is say, ‘look my kid’s smart he/she tested well’, or ‘yes, we won the magnet lottery’ –it’s not my fault if you don’t believe me).

    The way he did things –so far removed from anything anybody but a well-connected rich guy that buys his way in life would be able to do– is what has left a bad tase in the mouths of some people.

  • 256. Grace  |  July 26, 2011 at 9:29 am

    From Rutgers professor Bruce D. Baker

    Private Choices, Public Policy & Other People’s Children

    Posted on July 8, 2011 by schoolfinance101

    I don’t spend much if any time talking about my personal decisions and preferences on this blog. It’s mostly about data and policy. There’s been much talk lately about whether a Governor’s or President’s choice to send their children to elite private schools, or where Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg or prominent “ed reformers” attended school are at all relevant to the current policy conversation around “reforming” public schools. When those choices have been questioned publicly, they’ve often been met with the backlash that those are personal choices of no relevance to the current policy debate – just dirty personal attacks about personal, rational choices.

    I have no problem with these personal choices. But, these personal choices may, in fact be relevant to the current policy debate. I do keep in mind my own personal choices and preferences as I evaluate what I believe to be good policy for the children of others. And, I try to keep in mind what I know from my background in research and policy when I make my personal choices. Like these prominent politicos and pundits, I too choose private independent schools – relatively expensive ones – for my children, and I have my reasons for doing so.

    There is more on his site, and he’s very much worth reading.

  • 257. Grace  |  July 26, 2011 at 9:31 am

    Btw, RLJulia, other powerful folks have sent their children to CPS schools. For example, a Pritzker graduated from Payton not long ago. Seemed to fit in just fine and the student gave great parties.
    : )

  • 258. cps Mom  |  July 26, 2011 at 9:57 am

    It’s OK though if the decision revolves around religion?? Daley sends his kids to catholic school sidestepping CPS like 90% of the south side population and that’s OK? He made a statement that typical Chicago polarization is SOP and no one blinked.

  • 259. LPDad  |  July 26, 2011 at 10:07 am

    As somebody already mentioned, Rahm’s niece graduated from Northside and became a Rhodes scholar.

    Nobody here’s saying Rahm should have settled for mediocrity for the sake of appearing like more of a “man of the people” at the expense of his kids’ education and future life direction. However, the fact is CPS has some of the best schools in the state with academic outcomes comparable to the best private schools. These are the kinds of CPS schools people would have liked to have the mayor send at least 1 of his kids.

    One of my friend’s younger siblings went to a suburban Chicago public HS with a Pritzker (who inherited nearly $1billion individually a few years later) who went on to an Ivy Leaugue college. OK, not a CPS HS, but Northside and Payton have average ACT scores higher than New Trier, for example. It’s not like ALL public schools are by definition much (if any) worse than a school like Lab, at least in terms of producing Ivy-caliber graduates.

  • 260. CPSDepressed (was copyeditor)  |  July 26, 2011 at 10:23 am

    The issue is that if any or all of the Emanuel kids got into the “best” elementary schools or high schools, everyone would scream clout.

    And so that goes back to my questions, which I notice no one seems interested in answering: Is Lake View (the Emanuel neighborhood high school) the best high school for your child? Is it an acceptable high school for your child?

  • 261. cps Mom  |  July 26, 2011 at 10:39 am

    Does anyone know that Rahm’s son actually got into Northside or Payton? I don’t think that was made public. I also heard he got into Jones and Whitney. I don’t think we can assume that it’s a choice of Northside or Lab. Meaning, Rahms family knows the true choice and they made it…..up to them. Just like we all look for the best fit based upon our options.

  • 262. James  |  July 26, 2011 at 11:03 am

    #261 cps Mom —

    Exactly. I asked that question — how do we know that Rahm’s kid got into Northside? — a while back, and never did get an answer. As you said, maybe the kid simply didn’t get into Payton or Northside, and so was deciding between Lab and Whitney or Jones or Lane, or maybe not even one of those SEHSs. The fact is, we don’t know to which CPS schools the kid applied or to which he was admitted. So we have no idea what his choices were. If his choice was Lab or a perceived lesser SEHS or Lakeview HS, it’s lots easier to understand the family’s choice to send him to Lab.

  • 263. LPDad  |  July 26, 2011 at 11:10 am


    I think there IS a diiference with Mayor Daley. First, yes, one could could argue that he sent his kids to a parochial school because he wanted a Catholic education for his kids. His IS a Catholic family, after all. Second, the kinds of parochial schools the Daley kids went (parish schools, DelaSalle) to were the ones where anybody that wanted to enroll pretty much was admitted as long as there’s space, plus they weren’t crazy expensive. Lots of working-class Chicagoans (including many AA and Latino ones) go to these schools. He didn’t “buy” or “clout” his way into these schools. Almost any regular Chicago family could afford the tuition at these schools and could be admitted fairly easily. Rahm sent his kids to a really expensive private school that all of us parents that tried for our own kids know (and were told by the school in many cases) is next to impossible for people unaffiliated with U-C.

    And it’s the WAY he did it that some people don’t like. He didn’t go through the normal, admission ordeal like other people, etc. –he just used money and power to get what he wanted and acts like it’s nobody else’s business to question his use of “clout”. Well, people will look twice when an elected official uses their “clout” to get something no other person would be able to attain (here, admission to Lab for all his kids).

    It’s ironic that Rahm’s a Democrat. Isn’t that the party that’s normally against the idea that of people in America get ahead with money and connections, rather than their own merit and hard work? As much as people didn’t like the last President Bush (me neither) his twins did go to public HS. OK, I know that way off topic to CPS and Rahm, but it’s true.

    Even if people did did cry “clout” when his kids got (fairly) admitted to a good CPS school, he’s just have to say, “no they didn’t, what can I do if you don’t believe me. I’m telling the truth”. He’d be investigated by journalists, etc., and they’s find nothing.

    Speaking of “clout”, this entire discussion of the Mayor is about his own use of clout to get something (admission to Lab for all 3 of his kids) that no “regular” people would ever get. That’s the reason people some kinda’ went “Huh?”.

  • 264. CPSmom2  |  July 26, 2011 at 11:51 am

    @263 You should check your facts. Some of the Daley kids went to Ignatius — a very expensive school that discriminates against public grammar school kids in a big way regarding admissions.

  • 265. LPDad  |  July 26, 2011 at 12:27 pm

    Well, OK. St. Ignatius. I’m not really sure how much they discriminate against public school kids, per se. Yes, Catholic HSs tend to attract kids from other Catholic schools, but St. Ignatius is hardly a traditionally elitist type of school where a family needs to buy one’s way in. It’s a great school and it’s become tough admissions-wise over the last 1 or 2 decades, but it IS a Catholic school (with a mission of educating Catholic kids) nonetheless, not an elite private school in the traditional sense. There are kids from Lincoln that have gone there, I know for fact.

    In other words, it’s not (like Lab) the kind of school that’s normally virtually impossible to get into without an official affiliation of some sort (one that Rahm did NOT have, by the way), especially outside of the N3 and 9th grades. Look at the Lab Admissions website if you don’t believe me –it pretty much states just that. No matter how anybody spins this, Rahm still looks like a well-connected rich guy that used power and connections (as an elected public official) to get something none of us would be able to obtain. I’m sorry, but that’s the fact as it appears to many of us. And I’m sorry that some people don’t understand why some of us Chicagoan would like something more from the mayor that we elected. If he didn’t want the public examination of his actions, then he should not have run for mayor.

    Again, if he were not mayor, this discussion would not even be happening. He could (legally) buy or clout his way into any private institution and it would be nobody’s business.

  • 266. LPDad  |  July 26, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    I’d also like to mention that if Mayor Daley got his kids into St. Igatius because of clout (which considering the family’s long history of Catholic education and how smart some of his kids are, I doubt), I’d be as equally critical as I am of Mayor Emanuel. Nobody should get something for being mayor or the mayor’s relative that they would not get otherwise. Am I just being naive ot idealistic? Maybe.

  • 267. cps Mom  |  July 26, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    So considering how smart the Daley kids are – SE isn’t good enough? They chose a Catholic school with no questions asked – that’s fine with me. Rahms family is also deeply religious. Many of the kids from Anshe Emet go to lab. They would find a religious community, already be familiar with their peers etc that they would not get in CPS. I’m OK with that. Let’s face it, as you mentioned, connections and clout are perfectly legit at any private school – and is part of the whole process. Blago sent his kids to private school the list goes on. Not offended by Rahms choice even though I agree, a CPS choice would have been a major endorsement.

  • 268. ChicagoGawker  |  July 26, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    @264 St. Ignatius is up front about the fact that they give preference in admissions to Catholics. Since it is a Catholic school, it’s pretty much of a stretch to say this is discriminatory in an unfair way. Why should they give an equal shot to families who only apply becs. Sonny didn’t get into an SEHS and who would prefer if Sonny didn’t have to take the religion classes when the Catholic identity is the whole reason the school exists? St. Ignatius is not cheap, but is at least 6k less than Latin, Parker, Lab

  • 269. Hawthorne mom  |  July 26, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    @263, you said, “Almost any regular Chicago family could afford the tuition at these schools and could be admitted fairly easily.”

    You are kidding, right? Most “regular” Chicago families have trouble paying their bills. Paying tuition is not an option even if it is “only” 5-8K a year.
    Maybe you meant to say that more families could afford a Catholic school than an education at the big independent private schools which run double to triple the cost? (Yes, Catholic schools will usually take anyone who can pay and they do give some good financial aid, but for many, many families even having to pay $50 a month towards tuition is completely out of reach. )

    I don’t care where Daley sent his kids, but let’s not kid ourselves….private school of any kind is impossible, as in not even a consideration, for the great majority of Chicago families.

  • 270. CPSDepressed (was copyeditor)  |  July 26, 2011 at 2:50 pm

    Heh. Ignatius doesn’t just favor Catholics, but specifically Catholics with Jesuit connections. And they are upfront about it, more so than, say, the principal at Whitney Young was about who got in under her discretionary picks.

    The difference is this, LPDad: Lab is a private accommodation. The CPS schools are public accommodations. When I first heard the rumor that Emanuel’s kid got into NSCP, my reaction wasn’t “Oh, he must be really smart” (my usual reaction when I hear that news). It was, “It figures.” And it’s not fair to the children to ask Emanuel to publish their scores, etc., to “prove” that they deserved to get in. Will we split hairs about whether his As were 90 and up or 92 and up? About whether his school’s standardized exam was easier or harder than the ISAT? Suppose one of the kids has an IEP – would that be open for public scrutiny, too, to prove that no taxpayer-funded accommodations were abused?

    Emanuel had only one way to “win”: to send his kids to Ravenswood and Lake View, and then make sure that those schools received absolutely no extra funding or assistance. STEM at Lake View? Everyone would say, oh, that’s because Emanuel’s kid goes there. It would have to go to Senn to be “fair”.

    And everyone here has already acknowledged that they want something better than Lake View for their kids. But, you want the mayor to shortchange his kids just to prove he’s a Man of the People?

    Please. He was a partner at Goldman, Sachs. He never was a Man of the People – and he never pretended to be, either.

  • 271. CPSmom2  |  July 26, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    270. Amen.

  • 272. cjlane  |  July 26, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    CPS Mom: “I also heard he got into Jones and Whitney.”

    He couldn’t have “gotten into” both, could he? Did you mean “or”?

    CPSD–LPDad seems to have moved past the more general “going to Lab is a diss to CPS”, to his specific gripe that the Mayor–rather than a random rich dude–got spots at Lab his kids couldn’t get. Totally different issue, that I might be exercised about myself had I invested anything in tryin gto get my kids into Lab.

    Also, “He was a partner at Goldman, Sachs” is incorrect. He was a managing director at Wasserstein Perella.

  • 273. CPSDepressed (was copyeditor)  |  July 26, 2011 at 3:57 pm

    CJLane, thanks for the correction! it does no good for my addled brain to stay addled . . .

  • 274. cjlane  |  July 26, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    CPSD: No worries, just always like to have facts straight, as it avoids the distraction of “but it’s really X” in lieu of discussion of the real issues. I’ve seen it too, too much everywhere for the past decade, and I’m tired of it.

  • 275. magnet mom  |  July 26, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    I’m confused. I keep seeing STEM at Lakeview. Is this real? How long can we talk about Emanuel’s kids?

  • 276. CPSDepressed (was copyeditor)  |  July 26, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    Here’s what is happening, as far as I can tell. Lake View has a math, science, and technology program that is more or less the College Prep track. Many people affiliated with the school are trying really hard to expand that and get federal funding for a full-fledged STEM program.That would be exciting, but it’s not there yet. (Right?)

    Anyone can correct me – I may be wrong! It’s happened before.

  • 277. cps Mom  |  July 26, 2011 at 7:08 pm

    @272 – right – I keep hearing that he got into X school (different depending on who you talk to, including a Trib reporter). We all know that you only get 1 SE offer and 4 schools did not have a 2nd round so…..was it Northside? Not necessary to know now.

    @275 – I do appreciate hearing all the views and people need to have their say. I hope to see Lakeview become a school of choice. Some have said that it needs more than a STEM program – but it would sure be a step in the right direction. At the HS level, they need to be big steps. I guess if we’ve agreed that there is in fact a Northside expansion of CPS upon us, Lakeview would be the next logical school to evolve.

  • 278. Chicago Gawker-  |  July 26, 2011 at 7:20 pm

    Off topic-Any Edison parent’s on? Can you speak to the amount of homework? Have a friend whose son got an offer for 5th grade, but she hears that Edison is a bear on homework, more so than other RGCs.

  • 279. Curious  |  July 26, 2011 at 10:20 pm

    Does anyone know how rigourous the curriculum is at clemente and kelvyn park high schools? What’s the average ACT scores for both schools?

  • 280. LR  |  July 26, 2011 at 11:01 pm

    I do think security is an issue for a high profile family at many CPS schools; although, it seems as though security varies by school. I am surprised to hear Edison has metal detectors. We don’t have those at the CPS where my daughter goes. And I am surprised by how unsupervised the kids are at times. For instance, kids can arrive early and play on the grounds in the morning. There are a couple parent volunteer supervisors, but I certainly don’t feel safe leaving my child on a playground with 600-800 other kids and trust that 2 parent supervisors are going to “watch” her. Anyway…I didn’t mean to turn this into a discussion about security at CPS vs. high-cost private schools or bullying at high-cost private schools. I have never even set foot in the Lab school, Latin, Parker and I don’t care to. I guess the more important point is, where Rahm sends his kids isn’t all that relevant. Regardless of where he sends his kids, he still has a job to do with CPS. And I don’t think that job is less important to him because his kids go elsewhere.

  • 281. jklm  |  July 27, 2011 at 5:39 am


    Edison has metal detectors for no other reason than it shares physical space with a middle school in Albany Park (an area with a history of gang activity), although this is more precationary than reactionary from my experience.


    Yes, there is definitely lots of homework at Edison, but from my experience, it’s not overkill. The fact is, kids at many schools (I have one at Lincoln, too) get lots of homework these days.

    As for Mayor Emanuel: Well, yes, it would have great to see 1 or more of his kids go to CPS, but who know what the story is there: maybe not one of his kids got into a good SE or magnet. I know that I would not send my kids to Ravenswood or LVHS.

    I also went through the whole Lab admissions trip only to find out that it was probably a waste of time in the first place Lab figured out a few years ago that the hundreds of families that were applying and not getting in were a little upset when they were told “We have to take all U-C professors’ kids, so there’s no space and you’ll never be admitted”, after the tours, meetings, application fees, etc., so it now is letting people know upfront in order to avoid the “bad blood” that was brewing a few yeards ago related to this “wast of time” admissions ordeal. Lab knows that there are many families that want to go there, so it is planning on growing to accomodate some of those those unaffiliated with U-C or without money and/or clout.

    Yes, it’s obvious that Mayor Emanuel’s kids got in because of who their father is and almost certainly for no other reason. But maybe it’s a good thing for Lab to have the mayor’s kids go there, so who am I to judge a private institution? I also have a certain part of me that disdains the bifurcated aspect of modern America where the rich and powerful buy their kids way in life while the rest of us have to make do with public schools or try to get admiited to privated schools the “regular” way (e.g. without clout). However, if my own kids were admitted to Lab, I’d send them there in a heartbeat, so I can’t judge too harshly.

  • 282. K parent  |  July 27, 2011 at 10:27 am

    Speaking of Mayor Emanuel’s neighborhood school options, any thoughts about Ravenswood? My child is slated to start K there in the fall. Many thanks.

  • 283. edu options  |  July 27, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    If there is pent up demand for very pricey private schools in Chicago, could an entrepreneur open a very attractive private school and charge enough tuition to make a profit and absorb the overspill from the Labs of the city? How’s the relatively new British School doing?

  • 284. Grace  |  July 27, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    From, here are the first few paragraphs of a new study on voucher programs entitled, Keeping Informed about School Vouchers: A Review of Major Developments and Research.”. Published Online: July 27, 2011

    Voucher Advocacy Shifting Focus, Report Says
    By Christina A. Samuels

    Voucher proponents have shifted their advocacy efforts from extolling the academic achievement of voucher participants to focusing on the value of school choice as a virtue in itself, according to a report from the Center on Education Policy, in Washington.
    The education research and advocacy group reviewed and synthesized a selection of a decade’s worth of research and policy moves in vouchers and school choice for the report, released today. In it, the researchers note that studies generally have shown that vouchers have “no clear positive impact” on student academic achievement and mixed results overall. In response to those studies, the CEP suggests, voucher advocates have started talking more about other perceived benefits of vouchers, including more parental choice and satisfaction, and higher graduation rates.
    “It’s not to say that people don’t make an achievement argument, but we found more emphasis on some of these other areas, such as choice as a right and value in itself,” said Nancy Kober, a consultant to the CEP and a co-author of the report, called “Keeping Informed about School Vouchers: A Review of Major Developments and Research.”
    But organizations that support vouchers criticized the CEP review, suggesting that the authors chose which studies they wanted to review and shaded responses to make academic achievement of voucher recipients look weaker than it really is.
    The CEP does not have an official view on vouchers, Ms. Kober said. However, the organization wants lawmakers to have the latest information before considering such policies, particularly in light of the revenue shortfalls that many states are experiencing.
    “What is the best use of public tax dollars when about 90 percent of students in the U.S. go to public schools?” Ms. Kober asked. “When you have limited money, what’s the best use of that money to reform the schools where most of the children will be? That’s a critical question for the state legislatures to be looking at.”
    Publicly Funded Programs
    Publicly funded school vouchers allow parents to receive money from the government that they can then use to pay tuition at a private school of their choice. The CEP review focused on those programs. It did not examine studies of privately funded vouchers; tax credits to families or corporations for payments made for children’s private school tuition, such as in Arizona; or voucher programs intended solely for students with disabilities or students in foster care.
    After reviewing 27 studies, the researchers found some general trends:
    • Several recent studies show gains in achievement are about the same for low-income students receiving vouchers as they are for comparable public school students. For example, students in grades 3-8 who participated in the Milwaukee voucher program had rates of achievement growth over three years that were similar to those of a random sample of Milwaukee public school students with similar characteristics.
    • Voucher programs are moving beyond their traditional base of serving low-income students to broader-based programs that would be available to middle-class families, such as new programs in Indiana and Douglas County, Colo.
    • Many of the studies that have been done on vouchers have been conducted or sponsored by groups that support that particular educational reform effort, such as the Foundation for Educational Choice, based in Indianapolis, and School Choice Wisconsin, located in Milwaukee. Ms. Kober hypothesized that other groups may be turning their attention to different public school reform issues.
    Groups that support vouchers are fully capable of conducting rigorous research, Ms. Kober said. However, those studies should be peer-reviewed and the funding sources made clear, she said.

    Google Ed Week to read more.

  • 285. CPSDepressed (was copyeditor)  |  July 27, 2011 at 4:09 pm

    @284: The Lycee Francais is adding programs for English-speaking students, including an intensive bilingual program in the early grades and an English international baccalaureate high-school program. They’re moving to the old Ravenswood Hospital, or so I’m told. So there’s one private school trying to meet the demand.

  • 286. cpsobsessed  |  July 27, 2011 at 4:09 pm

    @283 edu options:

    Check out this story on an uber-high-end private school opening in NYC. $40K tuition per year. This is when I laugh about people complaining that Charters are unproven. Parents don’t necessarily care about proof, as evidenced by families wanting to pay such steep tuition with no “proof” of results. I think there is an “I know it when I see it” mentalitity in education.

  • 287. cpsobsessed  |  July 27, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    As also evidenced by Grace’s article post about parents wanting “choice” even though vouchers show no academic advantage.

  • 288. edu options  |  July 27, 2011 at 5:50 pm

    Thanks, @286: (snippet) The same cannot be said of Mr. Whittle, whose last venture, Edison Schools, did not revolutionize public education as he had envisioned or make the money he had thought he could.

    None of that may matter, thanks to the brute reality of the Manhattan private-school admissions race: There is a serious supply-demand imbalance between school seats and children, especially downtown. The population of children under age 5 in Manhattan has risen 32 percent in five years, while the number of seats at top independent schools has inched up by 400 in the past decade, Mr. Whittle said. And, he said, those spots are going to siblings and legacies.

    But Avenues is not just about offering new private-school seats. It also proposes to educate children differently. The world has changed, Team Avenues says, and the way private schools educate has not.

  • 289. klm  |  July 27, 2011 at 9:20 pm


    From what I understand, the British School is doing well among the early grade demographic (although the HS is advertising for students on billboards). When we applied to independent schools with one kids we thought for sure that the British School would be a sure bet (our “safety’ school), but no such luck. We were wait-listed even there (same tune: Your kid’s great we just don’t have the space, blah, blah, blah). This is the kids that’s in a RCG (top 1% on tests, very social, well-behaved, etc.). I’m always annoyed when people talk like anybody who’s williang and able can just send their kids to Lab, Latin, City Day, etc. –nothing could be further from the truth! Even well qualified kids from financially OK families are denied very, very often unless there’s some legacy/sibling/faculty/Diversity connection or “hook”. It’s simple supply and demand I guess.

  • 290. Mom of 3  |  July 27, 2011 at 10:31 pm

    Rahm did not want to go through all the stress (or put his family through the stress) that we have to go through every year to get our kids in a decent CPS school. Because he has money, he has options that we don’t have. Frankly, I would do the same. Let’s face it, Lab provides Rahm’s children with exclusivity they wouldn’t get at CPS. Lab can pick and choose who they want to attend their school. Parents that send their kids to Lab do not want them affiliating with every Tom, Dick and Harry anyway. They want them to be around other like-minded students who are focused on getting a quality education vs. being babysat. Isn’t this why some of us want our children to go to SEHS? We want them to be around other high achieving peers.

  • 291. bagg  |  July 27, 2011 at 10:46 pm

    @289, @ british school, Although a handful of kids did transfer to a SEHS for freshman yr, many of the 8th graders returned to their home country (primarily Europe). These intl families are living in Chgo for only 2-3 yrs. I believe this fall’s freshman class totals 18 students…which is the highest thus far.

  • 292. CPSDepressed (was copyeditor)  |  July 28, 2011 at 6:49 am

    I heard a story yesterday that Emanuel’s first choice was Latin, but Latin turned them down because it didn’t have room for all three kids. Who knows if it is true.

  • 293. klm  |  July 28, 2011 at 8:26 am

    Also, let’s not forget that Lab IS a private institution, so it’s up to them to pick and choose their. I could see how having the mayor’s kids as students could be perceived as positive for ANY school, public, private, parochial, etc. It’s not very egalitarian, but it’s understandable why the people at Lab may have gone out of their way to accomodate the Mayor.

  • 294. HSObsessed  |  July 28, 2011 at 8:55 am

    @279 – I’m late responding here, but I think Clemente and Kelvyn Park high schools both face big challenges, like most CPS high schools. Average ACTs are 15.3 for KP and 15.5 for Clemente.

  • 295. Mayfair Dad  |  July 28, 2011 at 10:15 am

    @282: I have friends on the Ravenswood LSC – they are very pleased with the principal and the direction the school is headed. A very dedicated core group of parents is making a big difference. My advice — get involved!

  • 296. Mayfair Dad  |  July 28, 2011 at 10:22 am

    @ 279: Clemente is a disaster. Chicago Police tactical officers assigned to all four corners of the campus to address the open gang warfare every day at departure time. Do not send your child to this gangbanger training center. You have options.

  • 297. JKR  |  July 28, 2011 at 5:21 pm

    Sadly, you are correct MFD. Northside families are not staying in CPS for Clemente. A friend has a neighbor boy who lives next door who goes there and is scared for his life everyday…he had no one to help him navigate the system…I believe I read that Clemente is on the list for more protection this year?

  • 298. LR  |  July 29, 2011 at 9:03 am

    @290: You may be correct. We can all sit here guessing about Rahm’s real reason(s) for sending his kids to Lab, but the truth is we don’t know. So, it is what it is. I have to say, based on a couple people I knew who went to Parker, I am not at all willing to invest in that type of education even if I had the money (which I definitely do not). These Parker girls worked at the same ad agency I used to work at, in the same mid-level positions, and were no more successful than I was – just a girl with a decent public school education. I remember when they told me they knew each other from Parker, I thought, “Wow…their parents spent all that money for them to work in advertising?” And believe me, neither was in line for a top management position. Anyhow…I ramble, but the point is I really have to question what it gets you in the end, except perhaps affiliations with other well-connected families.

  • 299. Ravenswood question  |  July 29, 2011 at 9:38 am

    Dear Mayfair Dad –

    Do you happen to have any more specifics on Ravenswood or could you possibly solicit comments from your LSC friends?

    Specifically, I’m worried about the very low test scores.

  • 300. Mayfair Dad  |  July 29, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    @ 299: Holy smokes, you are right to be concerned about the ISAT scores. ISBE report card does not paint a pretty picture. What I know about the history at Ravenswood:

    Ravenswood is located in a rapidly gentrifying area. A few years back, the LSC at the time hired Erin Roche and tasked him with “nettlehorsting” the school to attract more yuppy families from the neighborhood. His efforts – and arrogance – alienated many of the lower income Hispanic families. The school community was divided along socioeconomic lines which resulted in a newly reconstituted LSC firing Roche.

    Fast forward: Principal Heather Connolly has made great strides healing the rifts created by her predecessor. Her collaborative management style has won over the seasoned teachers and parents. The Friends Of and LSC are very engaged. Still, those ISAT results are disappointing.

    My guess is Ravenswood is a snapshot of many neighborhood schools – the best and brightest are going to gifted, magnet, private or parochial schools. Somewhere (this thread?) I read a very expensive private school is moving into the empty Ravenswood Hospital building, so look for the monied crowd to send their offspring there.

  • 301. Mom  |  July 29, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    I think Ravenswood has an especially hard time attracting neighborhood students because there are so many nearby options. When I took a tour i think they said that 2/3 of the student body came from outside the enrollment area. The test scores are troubling, especially when compared to other schools in the vicinity that are on the upswing or to those that are off most people’s radar. I have heard many good things about the school, so hopefully the scores will show an increase soon.

  • 302. cpsobsessed  |  July 29, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    I checked the CPS research site to see if perhaps the test scores at Ravenswood are better in the lower grades (which can be a sign of an improving school.) Among non-ELL kids (non English lang learners) the scores are for Meets/Exceeds:
    Reading grades 3-8 74% 3rd grade 74%
    Math grades 3-8 82% 3rd grade 90%
    Science grades 4&7 69%

    So math looks decent, reading could be better.

  • 303. cpsobsessed  |  July 29, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    I’ve known a few people at Ravenswood over the years. They did get thrown off course with the principal replacement, which I believe caused 2 factions to evolve at the school (pro versus opposed to the then-principal.) I think they have moved to a better place under the new leader, but in my own opinion I think it is a school you need to check out for yourself and try to talk to some parents there about. Maybe even non-LSC parents. They have been so close to the principal issue – sometimes it’s better to just find out how the actual school experience there is. I would put it on my short list for north side schools if I were looking right now.

  • 304. LR  |  July 29, 2011 at 4:16 pm

    I lived in the Ravenswood district for 10 years before we moved over two years ago. All the neighbors I knew on our block of Paulina and on nearby streets had their kids at parochial or gifted/magnet schools. At the time I had considered sending my daughter to Pre-K there, but ultimately decided against it. The teacher seemed decent, but I couldn’t get over how cluttered the room was! And I had other concerns about lack of differentiation there, but admittedly had not explored the upper grades at all. When we left a couple years ago, it seemed like they had really good momentum and lots of parent involvement. I am thinking the test scores are possibly just a hiccup as they got tripped up with the principal change, and hopefully they will go in the right direction again. I am seeing an old neighbor tomorrow who always seems to have the inside scoop so I will see if she has heard anything about the school under its new leadership and what is going on there that might explain the decline in test scores (Has there been a mass exodus? Has the previous enthusiasm died down? And if so, why?).

  • 305. North Center Mom  |  July 31, 2011 at 8:21 pm

    @300 re: school in Ravenswood Hospital Building

    As I understand, what is proposed is a high school for the Alliance Francaise. Not a competitor to a neighborhood public school, or neighborhood private schools for that matter.

  • 306. North Center Mom  |  July 31, 2011 at 8:25 pm

    correction, Lycee Francaise.

  • 307. Ravenswood Mom  |  October 25, 2011 at 4:39 pm

    It’s my understanding that Ravenswood has a higher-than-usual population of English Language Learners & Special Ed students, which skew the test scores — and will continue to do so in future years.

    Classroom instruction & class sizes are great (eg. 24-25 students in 2nd grade). Fine arts offerings expanded this year to include drama. For people who care about more than test scores, it’s a great community and a great school!

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