New HS Application Process / School Closures

November 17, 2011 at 10:57 am 13 comments

Mayfair Dad sent a link to the article below that is interesting in the news about high school applications.  Brizard talked about the need to streamline the application process.  Apparently there are a lot of top people in CPS now with little kids who are having that “Are you F-ing kidding me?” reaction that we all did when we found out about the convoluted application processes in CPS.  And it seems they want to fix it.  He DID explicitly mention the inclusion of Charter schools in the process (and why would they not if the current admin and Rahm seem very pro-charter.)  It is a positive mark of sanity, in my opinion.

As for the school closings, I got a glimpse of a chart at CPS headquarters that showed a huge number of schools that are both under-enrolled AND underperforming.  There was a number that said that something like 100,000 seats need to be eliminated in the system.  Or maybe that was just elem school.  In any case, difficult choices will have to be made.  And we know how people hate having their schools closed, even if they are underenrolled and underperforming.  I believe that part of the new data initiation is to help some of these parents understand that their schools ARE underperforming.

Now I just need to figure out how to interpret that school report card we got last week….

From Catalyst Chicago, by Sarah Karp:

New high school application process

Board members gave an okay to a $390,000 contract to develop a singular high school application process with the Institute for Innovation in Public School Choice, an organization that has worked with New York and Boston.

Ever since Arne Duncan’s tenure there has been talk of streamlining the process of applying to schools. Not only is it hard for students to navigate, but also neighborhood schools are stuck waiting to see who will end up on their rolls as students try to get into other schools.

But the big questions that remains is whether CPS leaders want to move to a system of total high school choice in which students must apply even to their neighborhood school or keep the current mixed system of some neighborhood schools and some choice schools.

Dependent on what leaders are thinking, a host of other questions will come up. For example, does every eighth grader have to fill out an application, even if they want to go to a neighborhood high school?  And what if a student fails to fill out an application? Surely, they will still be allowed to attend high school.

Also, will charter schools be part of the process? Right now, students must fill out an application for each charter school they are interested in attending, even ones that are part of the same network. However, charter schools, with autonomy as a basis for their existence, might be reluctant to join into CPS’ application process.

Then, there’s the question of what if a student doesn’t get into any of their choices.

According to the contract, the first phase for the Institute for Innovation in Public School Choice is to help the district think through these questions. After that, they will develop the software and hardware needed to implement the process.

Update on portfolio process

Also at the school board meeting Wednesday, Chief Portfolio Officer Oliver Sicat updated board members on the feedback to school closing guidelines, which will be finalized next week. He said that at the community hearing on Monday evening, many attendees asked CPS officials to reconsider closing schools all together and instead focus on putting resources into neighborhood schools.

“What do you say to them?” asked Board Member Jesse Ruiz.

“I tell them that we all agree we need better schools for students, we just disagree on how to get there,” Sicat said. Wednesday night is the final hearings on the proposed guidelines.

Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

Talk to the Man Thurs 11/17 at 6:10pm Where do Charters rank in the city?

13 Comments Add your own

  • 1. goingtogermany0693  |  November 17, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    Sometimes it seems like CPS is trying to solve these problems on their own. Is it known whether or not they have communicated with other large, urban districts in the nation to see if they can implement solutions that have been successful in say NYC or Houston, etc?

  • 2. Mayfair Dad  |  November 17, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    From past experience, when CPS says “we are looking into” what they really mean is “look out, here it comes”. A streamlined, efficient, easy-to-understand high school application process that encompasses all CPS offerings (neighborhood, magnet programs, selective enrollment, charter, STEM, military academy, fine arts focus, etc.) would be a welcome improvement to the overly complicated process that currently exists. It would also shine a light on some of the decent non-SE programs that are out there.

    Now if they would just roll-out the standardized grading scale with the new application process…

  • 3. anonymous  |  November 17, 2011 at 6:57 pm

    I can’t believe they are spending 390K to create a new application. A few of us on this board could have sat down over 2 different nights and gotten something well designed written up for free. CPS is stupid.

  • 4. bookworm  |  November 17, 2011 at 8:09 pm

    what is this “STEM” high school thing? Despite Lakeview’s call to create on there It doesn’t exist yet.

  • 5. cpsobsessed  |  November 17, 2011 at 8:31 pm

    Or a few of us could have done it for $200k and then gone on vacation…..

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 6. HSObsessed  |  November 17, 2011 at 10:07 pm

    On one hand, a common app would be good because it would streamline things, OTOH, it may limit a kid’s choices. That is, if it’s a matter of listing up to 10 choices in order of preference, and then a human “matches” the kid to a program (as is done in New York and Boston) based on academics and other factors like geographic location and sibling enrollment, then a kid might just get one offer and that’s it. As it stands, it’s a PIA to apply to 5-6 options, but then it’s nice if the kids gets 2 or more offers to actually have a choice. The ranking and choosing couldn’t be done by a computer program alone, if schools are still allowed to require a written component, which many do. It sounds very complicated to me, actually.

  • 7. Anonymous  |  November 18, 2011 at 4:31 am

    The school closings — shutting down 100,000 seats — is far bigger news than the application process. The data sheets given to parents on report card pick up is junk data.

    Including charters into the app process is about trying to get the top students and their parents to believe that a charter is the same quality as an s.e. or IB school.

    And if enough good students show up, then the test scores will go up, and if that is all a school is measured by, then you have a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    But does that mean the quality of education is comparable to an s.e or IB school?

    The answer will be no. But it will be too late by then.

  • 8. HSObsessed  |  November 18, 2011 at 9:25 am

    I thought about this common-application idea more overnight. I’m not sure how it would work, given that some high schools or programs within a school require essays/written components, some require interviews (IB, military academies), some auditions (Chi Arts, LP performing arts). Plus, the SEHS have the tier system that must be factored in, whereas none of the other high schools have that as an element. How exactly could all that be boiled down to a common application?

  • 9. Mayfair Dad  |  November 18, 2011 at 9:43 am

    @ 8 and others: CPS is spending $390K to find out the answers to these questions, but post # 7 is onto something. On the face of it, it looks like a plan to populate charter high schools – maybe with the not quite SE kids – as a way to raise test scores and profile. Blending charters into the mix will blur the uninon/non-union distinction and further the cause of making CTU irrelevant to parents.

  • 10. Mayfair Dad  |  November 18, 2011 at 10:30 am

    Coming soon: CPSObsessed Caribbean Cruise, January 2012. Informative workshops, including “How to navigate the NEWEST NEW CPS High School Application process” plus the late night comedic stylings of K-Rock Lewis. Get self-medicated with your fellow obsessives! Special performance by “Rage Against the Machine.”

  • 11. cps Mom  |  November 18, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    @10 sign me up!

  • 12. Coonleymom  |  November 18, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    #7-You seem pretty sure that Charters cannot give the same education as a selective school, do you have first hand experience? I believe that every school is different and parents needs to research a school before deciding what that school can and cannot do, maybe you have done this?
    I have a 3rd grader in a gifted program and a 1st grader at CICS-Irving Park. My 1st grader is doing 5th grade math and 5th grade reading and they are making sure he gets that level of school work. They have given him everything my 3rd grader gets at the gifted program, so I will have to disagree with you. I am very happy with both programs and urge parents to do their own research. CPS can be such a mess, but in this mess, there are good schools. Unfortunately, just not enough.

  • 13. cpsobsessed  |  November 18, 2011 at 5:43 pm

    HA HA! I am SO there on the Cruise. Middle of February, I’d say.
    See, CPS could have just paid for all of us to go on a cruise together and we’d have their answers at the end of the trip….
    Or we’d all just have serious hangovers.

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