Blue Ribbon Committee Presentation from the forums

August 7, 2011 at 11:58 pm 49 comments

I was alerted to a new post on that has the presentation from the BRC forums as well as the transcripts (over 400 pages in total.)  I hope to skim them soon.

But here is the content of the information that the BRC presented at each of the three forums.  I think we’ve discussed much of this already, but it’s interesting to see it all laid out. It doesn’t mention the rank % seats being an area of consideration.  Does this mean it remains at 30%? Am I crazy or did we think it was changing to 40%?

The example of the sample admission numbers for magnet schools is kind of interesting (and depressing, if you have your eye on a magnet elem school.)  6 seats per tier, most likely.

I don’t know that I ever heard/saw the rationale for adding proximity to the magnet schools.  I still don’t really get that one.

As a note, it sounds like the Westinghouse forum was the least attended, so they didn’t enforce the 2 minutes speaking limit (something to keep in mind if you have something lengthy to say in the future).

Also, the Westinghouse notes specifically state that the BRC is aiming for diversity.  They don’t clarify whether this means racial or not.

History of the Blue Ribbon Committee

The Desegregation Consent Decree was vacated in September 2009

  • New policy using SES variables adopted in December 2009
  • BRC was convened in 2010 to review the 2010‐2011 admissions policy
  • BRC recommendations were adopted for the 2011‐2012 admissions policy
  • BRC has reconvened to evaluate results and make recommendations for the admissions policy going forward

What were the BRC Recommendations?

  • Allow multiples to apply together to ensure best chance of dual/triple admittance & adopt preference for non‐entry level siblings
  • Align NCLB process with general education application process
  • Eliminate the proximity lottery if 50% of students at a school reside within the proximity, AND more than 50% belong to any one race
  • Increase the number of SEHS to which students can apply to 6

Additional changes made by CPS driven by BRC goals:

  • Add a 6th factor based on the performance of the attendance area schools in each tract
  • SEES & SEHS: 30% rank order, 70% tier

Issues under review for 2011‐2012 include:

  • Principal discretion for magnet schools
  • Magnet school re‐enrollment (say you leave the school for a year to study abroad, can you get back in?)
  • Redefine proximity percentage for magnet high schools
  • Reduce qualifications for special education students in magnet high schools
  • Redefine magnet school boundaries (people who live near the city borders have a disadvantage)


Why Socio‐Economic Factors for Admissions?

  • Students who live in poverty and attend economically isolated schools generally experience lower educational outcomes
  • However, students who live in poverty and attend schools with socially and economically diverse student populations, experience higher educational outcomes than their peers who attend isolated schools.
  • Diverse learning communities benefit all students by better preparing them to live in a diverse society and to compete in the global economy.
  • Focusing on economic diversity will help prevent select schools from becoming accessible only to children from wealthier families and neighborhoods.
  • Economic diversity will also promote equitable and fair outcomes across all communities in Chicago.

2011 2012 Timeline

  • Oct 1 Application Period Begins
  • Options for Knowledge Elementary Fair
  • @Malcolm X College
  • Oct‐Nov Explore schools, attend open houses, high school informational sessions
  • Nov SEES Testing begins
  • Dec 16 Application Deadline
  • Jan SEHS Testing
  • Feb High School Notifications Sent
  • Mar Elementary School Notifications Sent

What every parent needs to know

  • Cast a wide net.
  • Do your homework BEFORE you submit your application.
  • Do not apply to schools that you wouldn’t actually send your child to if he/she is accepted.
  • Do not wait until the last day to submit your application.

Selective Enrollment Example:

200 Seats Total

Citywide Rank Order: 60 seats

Tier Rank, Order in Tier: 35 seats per tier

Magnet School Process:

#1 Siblings admitted

#2 Of remaining, up to 40% admitted by proximity

#3 Remaining admitted by lottery from 4 tiers

XYZ Magnet School example:

56 open seats

Siblings: 16 seats

Remaining admission: 40 seats

Proximity 16 seats + 6 seats per tier

Here’s the link with the transcripts from the forums:

Entry filed under: Applying to schools.

Brizard’s initial changes to CPS The ABC’s of CPS Bootcamp Time!

49 Comments Add your own

  • 1. cpsobsessed  |  August 8, 2011 at 1:06 am

    Just noting some stuff I’m reading in the Westinghouse transcripts.

    Austin area parents feel a distinct lack of magnet schools and noted that STEM was put into an area that already has quite a few magnets

    The principal of a magnet school showed up to emphasize the importance of bussing to maintain diversity (I thought this was an impressive gesture on the part of a principal)

    CPS says that they’re more interested in tweaking the tier system than in scrapping it for something different – they’ve looked at other districts and haven’t seen a better way.

    The chair of the North Side College Prep LSC asked to allow SE high schools to once again, set a cut off (or minimum) score for admission. Apparently this was eliminated last year?

    Before these recent changes, the SEHS principals could balance race as they chose to. NSCP went more by straight scores, rather than aiming to balance by race whereas Peyton aimed more for a 30/30/30 split (Cauc/Hisp/AA).

    Love this quote from a parent: in order to find these schools,
    in order to find out what the process is, you need to become obsessive, which, thank goodness, I did. (you said it, sister!)

    CPS does “audits” of the schools who are the “front lines” for making those waiting list calls.

    Key point made: There are an equal number of STUDENTS in each tier, but not necessarily and equal number of APPLICANTS. (I know that is no big secret, but seeing it in writing makes it hit home.) I don’t know that they have divulged those numbers…. They point out that King has more Tier 1 and 2 kids applying, whereas NSCP has more 3 and 4 kids.

    There is a discussion of the tie breaker process for SE scores (that is supposedly also on somewhere.)

    And finally, this Katie Ellis sure knows her sh*t.

  • 2. Grace  |  August 8, 2011 at 10:26 am

    I have looked but never found the tie breaker information for SE scores.

  • 3. cpsobsessed  |  August 8, 2011 at 10:37 am

    I’ll try to find it in the westinghouse transcript, although even the highly knowledgable katie ellis didn’t know the exact details by heart.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 4. cpsobsessed  |  August 8, 2011 at 10:51 am

    Tie breaker info from the Westinghouse transcripts:

    MS. ELLIS: So, what I can tell you is that the way that the process works, because as you can imagine, with 14,000 kids taking the test, there are a lot of kids with the same score.
    So the way that you put kids in order is through a series of tie breakers. So the
    way the tie breakers work, and I’m going to speak off the top of my head, so I hope I’m remembering the right order. Is selective enrollment exam course scores, and then I think it’s reading, language, or maybe it’s reading, math, language, so basically different parts of the test that go in order. This information is actually on the website, that tells you which way the tie breakers go, but so we parse the scores in that, to rank order kids when you have got like ten kids with the same score, but that’s, other than that, that’s
    really the only piece that digs a little bit deeper.

    MS. COHEN: Are there about 3,000 seats?

    MS. ELLIS: There’s about 3,000 seats, yeah. On any given year, a big class graduating, if all the seniors are graduating, sometimes it might be as much as 3,500. This year there’s about 3,200.

  • 5. RL Julia  |  August 8, 2011 at 11:37 am

    I think that is interesting that while there are the same number of kids in each tier, that the number of applications per tier vary throughout the city.

  • 6. magnet mom  |  August 8, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    I’d be so happy if they would readmit magnet kids who study abroad for a year. That said I can see why parents trying to get into magnet would resent that being allowed.

  • 7. HSObsessed  |  August 8, 2011 at 12:12 pm

    I’m surprised there are only a handful of BRC members remaining. I remember there were more like a dozen before, and now there are half as many. I wonder what the story is there.

    @5, I think the lower number of applicants is brought about by the smaller number of kids in Tier 1 and 2 who qualify to take the SEHS entrance exam, as determined by the minimum cut scores from 7th grade ISATs. I haven’t seen actual stats, but am assuming that from the published cut off scores for those offered admission to the SEHS.

  • 8. CPSDepressed (was copyeditor)  |  August 8, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    Also, Tier 3 and Tier 4 have a lot of private school kids who apply to the SEHS, and who will go to CPS only if they get in. That skews the application ratio a little bit.

  • 9. CPSDepressed (was copyeditor)  |  August 8, 2011 at 12:27 pm

    And wait, Magnet Mom: are you saying that the exchange-student option is off for kids in SEHS high schools? Surely there are some Rotarians who can whip some sense into The Powers That Be at CPS.

  • 10. cps Mom  |  August 8, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    @6 – readmission would be nice but if you give up your space, you give it up. I mean, come on, there is a line a mile long waiting to get in. This point is so miniscule compared to other changes that need to be made that it is almost annoying that treatment of applicants that leave the system is even an issue for the committee.

    – Principal discretion – at the elementary level, this has been a way for the principal to handpick virtually all applicants coming into the upper grades. I can see why they want it because this really stacks the deck but is it really appropriate at a lottery school? I have heard rumor that the HS SE’s want to increase PD to 10% in order to achieve diversity. I think 10% handpicked students at the SE HS level is an awful lot – depleting seats available to merit even further.
    – Tier system – by now (round 2) it’s been shown to be ineffective in creating diversity at an academic level. This element is beyond tweaking and needs to be overhauled or removed altogether in my opinion.
    – still no word on standardizing grades.
    – Proximity lottery is unfair to many neighborhoods (not just the perimeter) and benefits certain neighborhoods.

  • 11. Anonymous  |  August 8, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    CPS mom I agree with you on the whole PD issue. Living near a very popular magnet, I can’t tell you how many parents would volunteer for the school in the year or two leading up to their acceptance year — just to get in the principal’s face and on their radar.

    Another would “casually mention” he was a doctor and would offer to set up some kind of seminar on healthy eating habits for kids or something ridiculous.

    Principal discretion really irked me, and I found the elimination of PD to be a welcome change.

    If a school is lottery-based, that is exactly what it should be. Why should parents who may work at home and have more time to volunteer BEFORE their child is school-age have preference? Why should a doctor have preference over a delivery person?

    Private schools can have all the discretion they want. They’re private. But getting into a magnet is difficult enough and I see absolutely NO reason why it should be based on anything else except a strict lottery.

    Now that siblings are automatically let in (which I always supported), I have no tolerance for PD.

  • 12. CPSnoMore  |  August 8, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    11. Anonymous – I understand that you have no tolerance for PD, I usually don’t…. but this year a truly deserving student was cut out of the SEHS she deserved to be in until the PD letter actually worked. But I also have a problem with the sibling stuff since I have 1 child who doesn’t benefit.

  • 13. mom2  |  August 8, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    I think some discussion on PD was so a principal could allow entrance for a child of a teacher from their school. This would only be for non-SE schools. So, that is a small number and would still eliminate the brown nosing that you are concerned about.

  • 14. mom2  |  August 8, 2011 at 2:30 pm

    On another subject, I found it interesting that the discussion at both North and South side meetings was concern that there were not enough SE high schools near their location. Ms. Ellis even mentioned to someone complaining on the south side that the parents at a north side meeting felt the same way. HOWEVER, the big difference was the wording about the concern. The parents at Lane wanted more SE high schools near their location to fit the number of qualified applicants from their area. The parents at the south side school wanted BETTER schools, like NSCP and Payton to be near their location. Big difference and not really noted by Ms. Ellis.
    My question – why are NSCP and Payton better? What got them to that position? How could their be a better SE high school near them? What would have to happen? Besides just taking all the students from those schools and forcing them to go to school in a building on the south side, what would they want?

  • 15. CPSDepressed (was copyeditor)  |  August 8, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    If I were a Power That Was at CPS, I think I’d convert Lake View to SEHS. Hardly anyone from the attendance area goes there anyway, so it wouldn’t be harming neighborhood families.That would be a big relief valve in the system.

    Then I’d find its twin on the south side and do the same.

    The real issue is the huge shortage of safe, college-prep high schools. Everyone in the city wants those!

    As for Payton and NSCP, I’ll bet some of the notion that they are better is because they are newer – spiffy new buildings, good teachers hired specifically for college prep.

    Of course, I live in the Lake View attendance area, so I have a vested interest. I admit it!

  • 16. mom2  |  August 8, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    @15 – I sort of like your idea about Lake View becoming SEHS, but I think I’d rather see it maybe 60-70% SE and then the rest neighborhood. My reasoning is that if all neighborhood parents knew that 60-70% of the high school were SE students/parents, those from the neighborhood that don’t get in might still consider the school for their college bound child. The draw would be that their child wouldn’t have to travel over 45 minutes each way to get to school each day. I know it works this way at Lincoln Park HS where, due to the IB and double honors students, other parents from the neighborhood are more willing to send a college bound child there – even if they didn’t get in to the double honors or IB program. Also possibly, with hopes that their child will excel once in school and be allowed to also take courses with those SE students or become part of that program. Once this happens, the school gets a better reputation (better scores, etc.) and therefore more local/neighborhood college bound students decide to go to their local HS since it looks good on college applications, etc. etc. (I, too, have a vested interest!)

  • 17. Sure  |  August 8, 2011 at 7:50 pm

    NPR is having a show right now with Brizard . . . apparently every Monday night beginning tonight. He is starting off with the usual canned CPS answers.

  • 18. Grace  |  August 8, 2011 at 8:20 pm

    I agree @ 17. I was looking for more detailed responses, perhaps he took notes for follow-up! I would love it if they could make those monthly Board meetings run better.

  • 19. Beverly Mom  |  August 8, 2011 at 10:11 pm

    I, for one, am a little annoyed by the whole sibling preference thing. Why not call it what it is, sibling automatic entry?

    I get that if you have multiple kids, you want them at the same school, but those of us with only one child are at a real disadvantage in the whole lottery application process.

    I could go on, but the bottom line is that there needs to be more really good school options on the south and west sides…..and not just schools where 60-70% of the students are “meeting expectations.” IMHO, those numbers are not good enough for schools to be considered “good.”

    And that is my little rant.

  • 20. another cps mom  |  August 9, 2011 at 8:35 am

    Ditto, Bev Mom.

  • 21. another cps mom  |  August 9, 2011 at 8:37 am

    Th BEZ Brizard show is monthy and is named Schools on the Line.

  • 22. cps Mom  |  August 9, 2011 at 9:35 am

    @12 – the PD discussion was with regard to elementary magnet schools. These are lottery schools with no testing requirements. I also mentioned that 10% PD in HS SE seems to be high to me vs the current 5% (if that’s on the table).

    It was not my understanding that the magnet elementary school principals wanted PD just for teachers kids. If these schools gain back the option of PD it will go back to what it was before – hand picked – relatives, political connections, the list goes on.

  • 23. Mayfair Dad  |  August 9, 2011 at 9:51 am

    I would hope that PD would be governed by a strict set of guidelines and that meaningful penalties would be applied to those principals who did not adhere to the guidelines.

    PD could be a powerful tool for the social good – imagine some deserving child from horrible life circumstances and as a principal you can change this child’s life with your signature on a form.

    Nah, who am I fooling? This is Chicago. PD will be bestowed upon the alderman’s idiot nephew, Board of Trade hotshots who promise large donations to the Friends Of fundraiser, sons of famous athletes and assorted other principal butt-kissers.

  • 24. cps Mom  |  August 9, 2011 at 10:11 am

    Absolutely – question being, why would you need PD in a lottery situation other than to achieve paragraph #3. Principals are pushing for it because it’s also a way to maintain or raise their ranking.

  • 25. mom2  |  August 9, 2011 at 11:15 am

    Beverly Mom, “I could go on, but the bottom line is that there needs to be more really good school options on the south and west sides…” What could/should CPS do to give you what you want?

  • 26. cpsobsessed  |  August 9, 2011 at 11:33 am

    What do you guys think about principal discretion at the neighborhood schools?

    I am in agreement about it not having a place at a lottery school. I would like to see it re-instituted for neighborhood schools though. The issue that came up at my local school has been with the families from tuition-based preK. Many of them worked very hard to help the school flourish, only to lose their spots for Kindergarten because the principal has to adhere to the lottery. I suppose one could argue that using TBPK to get into a school is “buying your way in” to some degree. But I feel like the neighborhood schools need all the help they can get. If the principal can find families to contribute (time, money, energy, etc) I’m in favor of letting them give out 5% of the seats.

  • 27. CPSDepressed (was copyeditor)  |  August 9, 2011 at 11:46 am

    I dunno. I’ve seen it abused. At our school, the office gave us a really hard time about enrolling because we lived in the attendance area, and it didn’t seem fair that we were taking the seats of these other families. I’ve also heard that principals at some of the less-desirable schools hate it, because they went these families with time, energy, and money to go to their school. I don’t blame these families for wanting the best school for their kids, but I also hate to see people who play by the rules get shut out because they didn’t suck up to the principal.

    I have seen a lot of abuse of principal discretion over the years, and I don’t like it.

  • 28. mom2  |  August 9, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    Just curious about something…has any pure neighborhood elementary school (no special programs at the school) drastically improved over the last 10 years that did not have a tuition based preschool (where, at least for a time, the kids that went to the preschool had a good chance of getting into the kindergarten)?

  • 29. Curious  |  August 9, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    The PD discretion did not work for my kid. Since we live in Wicker Park, we turned down seats from Lincoln Park & Clemente,and instead we accepted Westinghouse College Preps( SEHS)offer.

  • 30. MarketingMom  |  August 9, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    This is Chicago. PD Discretion will always have the potential to be abused. Who are we kidding? I agree there needs to be more SEES options on the south and west sides. There are way too many on the north and central parts of town.

  • 31. Grace  |  August 9, 2011 at 7:43 pm

    If anyone else is interested — could we use another thread, perhaps, on the big announcement Duncan made Friday regarding waivers for US schools that will not reach 100% proficiency under NCLB in 2014?

  • 32. cpsobsessed  |  August 9, 2011 at 7:47 pm

    Grace, do you have a handy link?

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 33. cps grad  |  August 10, 2011 at 8:36 am

    Grace, this was entirely expected. My department head has been talking about how this was inevitable since the inception of NCLB. Just goes to show you how innumerate Congress is. The law is a mathematical impossibility destined to fail and eventually every school (perhaps with the exception of some entirely SE schools) will eventually fail to make AYP.

  • 34. klm  |  August 10, 2011 at 10:34 am


    Lincoln Elementry does not have a paid preschool program (heck,
    there’s not even enough space for a full-day kindergarten). By almost any test score measure, it’s “improved” over the last decade. But then again, it was always one of the few CPS neighborhood schools considered “good”, so there was no miraculous transformation a la Nettelhorst, Blaine, Alcott, etc.

    As per your previous (@14) question as to why there aren’t more “really good” SE HSs, are Payton, NSCP really all that?, etc.
    Well, I think it all comes down to “supply and demand” in terms of who gets in. NSCP and Payton are “really good” because the kids that get in are “really good” students to begin with –kids with bad (or even just ‘good’) grades or tests scores that are not really high are just not admitted. Period. Rightly or wrongly, people will always judge a school by “average” ACT scores, ISATs, etc. Obviously, the “good” ones have really high ACT scores, the “bad” ones low scores.

    Sadly, I don’t believe that there are enough Chicago students in 7th and 8th grade that are capable of scoring ABOVE 25 on the ACT a few years later. By middle school, kids tend to get “stuck” in their capacity to do well or poorly on standardised tests, from what I understand and have read many times –which is why early childhood programs as so important, especially to socioeconomically disadvanted kids. Look at average ISAT and ACT scores for CPS students and the cold hard facts are just plain sad (especially when race and poverty are used as a subgroup).

    Just like colleges are judged as “good”, “bad” or “just OK” by how tough admissions is by average freshman HS GPA, SATs, ACTs, etc., the same will always be true of CPS HSs (or any HS for that matter). Think Northwestern vs. Northeastern Illinois –which (be honest) would make you be happier if your kids got in? It’s easy to think “test scores aren’t the way to judge a school”, but when it comes down to it, we almost all do sooner or later.

    As it is now, there are CPS SE HSs that many parents won’t consider, not because of their location or student body makeup (as some would argue), but because their average ACTs are not even AVERAGE for Illinois. On the othher hand, if they had the kinds of average test scores of Payton or Northside, people would be running to get their kids enrolled in those schools, too.

    In short, the reason Payton and Northside so so desirable is because admissions is so difficult and the resultant academic atmosphere maked them “good”. And yes, I’ll going to say “better” than other schools. Sorry, roll your eyes if you must. These “better” HSs can’t be replicated very easily, if at all, when the number of high-scoring, high-performing kids is finite. There simply are not enough kids capable of scoring 27-30 (on average) to fill many more SE HSs.

    On a personal note, I started college at a “less competetive” school, admissions-wise before I transferred to a “highly competetive” institution. The difference in academic atmosphere was night and day (not that there weren’t smart people at both schools, just that the ‘average’ is what any institution fundamentally presents to the world and its current and future student body). I can’t imagine HS is all that different, especially considering the types of classes (AP, etc.) kids are taking now days and what it takes to succeed in our current knowledge-based economy.

  • 35. Beverly Mom  |  August 10, 2011 at 10:39 am

    @mom2 (#25)…..I would like to see CPS have more stringent guidelines about AYP (60% of kids simply meeting expectations is most certainly NOT adequate yearly progress. It means that 4 out of every 10 kids are behind! That’s a LOT). I would also like to see more magnet options for the south side as a whole. And increased ability for those of us on the south side to apply to the few good neighborhood schools we do have. If that means using PD to get it, why not?

  • 36. cpsobsessed  |  August 10, 2011 at 10:51 am

    Here is a list of TBPKs.
    Definitely a correlation between these and the “up and coming” list. Or at this point the “can’t get into them any more” list. There certainly seems to be a compelling point to offering TBPK as a way to help attract families to a school. (Or course as we’ve discussed, tuition was considerably lower when many of these schools were building momentum. Also, some of these schools used to promise a K spot to TBPK families, which was a big draw.) That pretty much doesn’t exist any more, as far as I know.

    Agassiz 2851 N. Seminary Ave. 773-534-5725
    Alcott 2625 N. Orchard St. 773-534-5899
    Audubon 3500 N. Hoyne Ave. 773-534-5470
    Blaine 1420 W. Grace St. 773-534-5750
    Burley 1630 W. Barry Ave. 773-534-5475
    Burr 1621 W. Wabansia Ave. 773-534-4090
    Disney 4140 N. Marine Dr. 773-534-5840
    Disney II 3815 N. Kedvale Ave. 773-534-3750
    Hamilton 1650 W. Cornelia Ave. 773-534-5484
    Nettelhorst 3252 N. Broadway St. 773-534-5810
    Newberry 700 W. Willow St. 773-534-8000
    Ogden 1443 N. Ogden Ave. 773-534-8180
    Ray 5631 S. Kimbark Ave. 773-535-0970
    Ravenswood 4332 N. Paulina St. 773-534-5525
    Skinner 225 S. Aberdeen St. 773-534-7790
    South Loop 1915 S. Federal St. 773-534-9066
    Waters 4540 N. Campbell Ave. 773-534-5090

    More info here:

  • 37. RL Julia  |  August 10, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    The problem as I see it with school improvement and the TBPS is the same as what klm talked about with the SEHS in post 34. Its not that the school is necessarily getting better -its just that its attracting the kinds of kids/families who are going to test better overall. And there are finite number of these families naturally occurring.

    I’d love to see a list of schools with 85% and above poverty levels who are also meeting/exceeding NCLB or look at the list of value-added schools – those are the schools with the great prinicipals, teachers, pedogogy etc… because they are actually adding value rather then just steering what probably would happen anyway.

    Also – just when is CPS going to come to terms with the idea that this kind of kid it the “average” CPS kid- not the ones with parents who can afford the TBPK etc…?

  • 38. CPSDepressed (was copyeditor)  |  August 10, 2011 at 1:13 pm

    Yes, RL Julia, yes, As a taxpayer, the “we’d be a great school if we could just get the right kids of kids, you can’t possibly expect us to do well with the kid we now have” line gets really old.

  • 39. mom2  |  August 10, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    cpsobsessed – thank you for the list of pre-k schools. I totally agree that there is/was a correlation between schools that improved and the fact that they had this tuition based pre-k. It got parents to find the school, give it a try and decide to stay (when that was part of the admission plan).

    I asked about it because parents on the south and west sides want more/better school options. If CPS added some tuition based pre-k programs on the south and west side (with guaranteed admission to those families for kindergarten), could that improve some of the neighborhood schools? I know that is counter to this new plan where you cannot guarantee admission, but it really did seem to work on these north side and centrally located schools.

    Too bad they can’t offer tuition based middle school at some of the high schools lol.

  • 40. Anonymous  |  August 10, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    At some point they just cannot offer guaranteed kindergarten spaces as that truly IS buying your way into a good school. And then it’s no longer public. I’m sorry, but that’s the truth. I’m sorry for the parents who got caught in the middle when promises were made and the schools became too popular.

    But that was the reason they introduced TBPS — to help parents reconsider CPS. And it worked. I’m glad it did.

    But how can it continue? It can’t. You should never be allowed to buy a seat in a CPS school. That’s not what public school is about, in my opinion.

    Again, I truly do feel sorry for those who got caught when the rules changed. I truly do feel for them as they worked hard and loved their schools.

    But from now on, I see no reason to feel upset if you can’t get your child into the school after preschool. If CPS could just be CLEAR with their rules (which change every two seconds), then there would not be these hard feelings.

    CPS needs to stick with something for more than half a year, for God’s sake. They’re frustrating parents to extremes by their wishy-washy rules.

  • 41. Beverly Mom  |  August 10, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    Anyone notice that out of the entire list of TBPS, there are only 2 on the ENTIRE south side?

    And they are located in 1) the South Loop and 2) Hyde Park.

    This is another example of how CPS’s initiatives focus primarily on the north side and ignore the thousands of middle class families that live on the south side.

  • 42. cpsobsessed  |  August 10, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    Regarding the TBPK’s I know that in several of these schools it’s been the parents basically begging CPS to open the program. CPS has seemed sort of semi-interested in it. At my local school, 5 years ago we asked for a TBPK and were told that if we found 18 families to enroll (and put down their money) that we could do it. It’s not like CPS decided to open it and waited for people to come.

    However I do agree — it is certainly a northside-heavy list. if I were a southside or westside parents, I’m sure I’d be raising an eyebrow.

    I do think the programs are demanded more in areas where there are families with 2 working parents who need full day pre-school and can afford the tuition of TBPK, which people have noted isn’t super cheap (although still in line with most north side day care centers.)

    So I guess my answer to any neighborhood school who wants a TBPK is to work with the principal and CPS, find 18 families, and you got yourself a program….

  • 43. A Convenient Truth  |  August 10, 2011 at 3:45 pm

    This is the way PD has worked in the past for some 100% magnet schools
    – A lottery is held at all grade levels but really open only to K since the few seats available in the upper grades wind up filled by PD.
    – Some K spots turned down and filled by a mystery list
    – Families leave (move, change schools etc) – space filled by magic wand
    – k-2 kids scrutinized for their ability to perform on the upcoming 3rd grade ISAT. Those deemed at risk of not performing are nudged out. More openings that may or may not coincide with the lottery (usually try to fill spots before the end of the year is out)
    – 3-7 kids unable to meet standards are nudged out – same process as K-2
    – by the time 6,7,8 grade rolls around there are maybe 50% of those original kindergarten students left and the % of those that entered by lottery is unknown.

    The end result, a large % of kids in these top magnet schools did not get in by lottery at all. Many families looking to place their child in the upper grades come from schools that are under performing making them a risk for the “good school”. PD allows the school to have spots for the politically connected, extended family/relatives of connected individuals and CPS employees, financially connected, those that volunteer and do fundraising, family’s of doctors/university personnel moving into the city …..etc

  • 44. mom2  |  August 10, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    “So I guess my answer to any neighborhood school who wants a TBPK is to work with the principal and CPS, find 18 families, and you got yourself a program….”. Exactly. Looks like we need a few more “obsessed” parents on the south and west sides! Go for it.

  • 45. Anonymous  |  August 10, 2011 at 3:57 pm

    A Convenient Truth — Very much agree. That is exactly how I saw it happening all around me until PD was eliminated.

    There is still no transparency, and I’m not at all sure why — except to hide the fact that the practice likely continues to a lesser extend. Otherwise, I see no reason at all why a person’s place on a waiting list should not be public — and trackable. Is there any good reason?

  • 46. CPSDepressed (was copyeditor)  |  August 10, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    Not to mention: making sure neighborhood families know they are not quite welcome and better provide more proof of address than the law requires; telling families with kids who have learning disabilities, no matter how mild, that they really need to go to their neighborhood school because this school is just not set up for them; cutting deals with families in the attendance area with LD children and access to lawyers.

    I do not like it. Not at all.

  • 47. Grace  |  August 11, 2011 at 8:17 am

    @ 37 RL Julia — You might want to look at Frazier Int’l. It is a 90/90/90 traditional CPS school. Don’t know of any others, but i hope there are more.
    Don’t know which charters would meet, or come close to that performance. Maybe someone else does?

  • 48. klm  |  August 11, 2011 at 8:38 am

    Beverly Mom:

    I agree that it’s so sad that most/almost all “new and improved” CPS schools are in the Northside. However, I don’t believe that this is by design. It is caused by all the problems many areas of the Southside are facing: poverty, crime, middle-class fight, blight, etc. On this blog we have discussed this “Tale of Two Cities” situation in Chicago (the Northside improving socioeconomically, the Southside struggling –a simplication, but there’s truth in thist).

    My middle-class AA family and friends that live on the Southside (except for the few with kids in ‘good’ CPS schools like Skinner, WY, etc.) don’t even consider their local CPS school, so bad are their reputations. They eventually move or go private/parochial. One AA middle-class friend that lives in Chatham literally took her daughter out of her CPS school after just a few days, she was so shocked, upset and in her words “disgusted” by the dysfunctional atmosphere of the school (some kids were were already ridiculing her daughter for being “smart” and talking “proper” [God forbid]). Nothing new about these kind of stories: many/most education-minded middle-class Chicagoans have been avoiding public schools for generations.

    While the Northside is “gentrifying” and having more middle-class and upper-middle class people staying and giving CPS a chance, the Southside is bleeding middle-class people and the ones that stay often avoid their neighborhood CPS elementary –not a good recipe for improved CPS local elementaries, no matter how much CPS should try.

    Don’t get me wrong, the Southside has lots of great neighborhoods (you’re lucky to live one –Beverly is wonderful!), but the corresponding surge of the kinds of kids that score well/achieve (the ones that would be in middle-class suburban schools a generation ago, but now live in Lincoln Park, Lakeview, Lincoln Square, North Central, Edgewater, Roscoe Village, Wicker Park, ….etc) is not happening on the Southside. If anything the reverse seems to be true.

    Until these kinds of trends change, I’m not sure that there’s much CPS can do, although I obviously think CPS should always try harder.

  • 49. Jen  |  August 11, 2011 at 6:55 pm

    Make that “generation” down in Beverly. Many folks have been avoiding the CPS neighborhood schools for just one generation.

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