Good News! School Closings!

December 1, 2011 at 12:58 am 63 comments

I don’t mean to make light of the closings, but I to had to laugh when I received an email whose content I knew would be about school closings (CPS had to announce them by today) and it was cheerfully titled “CPS Proposes Providing 7,800 Students with Access to Higher Quality School Options.”   Now that is a positive spin on something we know that families hate – school closings.

I think it is certainly justified, as CPS makes a compelling case in this nice PowerPoint document.  (This document has the really depressing graphs of performance by race.)   Something has to change in this city and if there are under-performing, under-enrolled schools, closing them seems the way to go.  I can’t seem to find a list of the actual schools though.  I also wonder how some schools made it as turnaround and others were closed?  I get the sense that these closing are the tip of the iceberg.  I think there a lot more “low-quality seats” that are on the line in the city and many under-enrolled schools on the south and west side that may be closed over the next year or two.

In the comments section, I’ve included a thought-provoking point from a reader from another thread that is relevant here.

http://www.cps.edu/About_CPS/The_Board_of_Education/Documents/BoardMeeting_October.pdf

FROM CPS:

Dear Friends,

Our goal at the Chicago Public Schools is to provide a high quality education for every student in every community so they can graduate college- and career-ready.  However, we have fallen far short of that goal for too long. The facts are undeniable:

  • Only 7.9 percent of our 11th graders last year tested college-ready.
  • Despite some progress in the past decade, only 57 percent of our students graduated last year.
  • There is a 44 point gap in achievement between African American and white high school students, while the achievement gap for white and Latino elementary students is 33 percentage points –123,000 students are in underperforming schools.
  • More than half of all schools are on probation.

As the CEO of CPS and a parent, I find this simply unacceptable.

That’s why I’m making a promise to all parents and children in our school system that I will not allow this failure to continue. We can no longer accept a status quo that hasn’t pre­pared our students for college, career and life. We have no choice but to make the difficult decisions to boost student achievement throughout the district.

To that end, on Tuesday we announced the list of schools the district is proposing for turnaround to the Chicago Board of Education, and today we are releasing the list of schools (see www.cps.edu/qualityschools for list) being recommended for actions to help increase higher quality school options for our students. The schools on this list represent some of the lowest performing schools in the system and are being recommended for action in order to provide their students with the opportunity to attend higher performing schools in their communities.

Not only will these students have access to better schools, but we will also make investments in these schools to help make them even better to support student achievement. Additionally, CPS will take every necessary step to ensure the safety and security of students in all schools – paying particular attention to students moving into new schools. From art and music classes to afterschool and school safety programs to social-emotional supports, our investments will go above and beyond what’s been offered in the past to provide a solid foundation for a smooth and safe transition for all students affected by these actions.

We are announcing these actions after a lengthy and thorough process. Since releasing the guidelines that were used to determine these proposed actions, my team and I have hosted more than 40 community meetings with various groups of people, including parents, faith leaders, community organizations and local elected officials to get their input and guidance. We also conducted multiple walk-throughs of the schools proposed for actions to observe their climate and culture first-hand.

We recognize that for many in our community, the actions we are proposing may be difficult because of the deep, personal connections they have with these schools. However, we must be willing to accept that some schools simply cannot be turned around.

Every day we wait to provide our children with opportunities for higher quality schools, our kids fall further behind. In fact, some communities with historically low performing schools have seen little or no growth in student achievement for two decades.

The ultimate decision on each school action will be made by the Chicago Board of Education in the new year. In the meantime, over the next few months we will continue the dialogue on these proposed actions by engaging the community through multiple venues as part of our commitment to having an open and transparent process.

We thank you for your support as we work to provide every student in this city with access to a quality school in their community – and help future generations of CPS graduates prepare to thrive in their college and career.

Jean-Claude Brizard

Chicago Public Schools I CEO

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Re-Invigorating a Neighborhood School – Hyde Park School board member in Florida flubs standardized test

63 Comments Add your own

  • 1. cpsobsessed  |  December 1, 2011 at 1:04 am

    Posted by Anonymous on a previous thread, I suppose credit should also be given to Rod Estvan for bringing up these points.

    Completely off topic, but Rod Estvan brought up a good point on catalyst chicago. When Crane HS closes, those kids will be sent to Wells. Except, Wells isn’t really much better than Crane. (and I say this despite my very fond affection for the principal at Wells who just might be the single finest individual I have ever had the chance to know) Estvan says that the best place to send Crane students would be to Ogden International HS. He remarked how that (I am paraphrasing here) would never happen. (There have been studies done about schools closed for poor performance and how those kids are nearly always displaced to schools that are just as low or lower than the original school….wasn’t it Huberman who promised to end this practice?)
    Okay, so here are my words now, not Estvan’s. The reason Crane kids will never be sent to Ogden is that Crane is a high school with a very large low income, minority, strong gang affiliated, dismally low achieving student population. If Crane kids went to Ogden, that school would be left empty. Every single person would pull their kids out. CPS knows this. So, instead Crane kids will go to Wells, bring their gang crap with them, create a ton of violence, bring down the school even more and CPS will likely have to close Wells then at some point.
    When will our system and our city realize that kids living in poverty, in crime ridden and violent areas, with families who can’t give them support educationally need a very, very different kind of school? Class sizes of 8-10, tons of psychologists and social workers and reading specialists, mentors, one-to-one daily tutoring and ESL teachers and sped aides and much more might work over the long haul. There is no quick fix, no “Dangerous Minds” set of superstar teachers that can do it in some schools that we now have. Our kids are dying, failing, losing out and yet we keep assuming that the worst urban schools can be fixed with simplistic solutions. If we keep doing what we’ve always done we are going to keep getting what we’ve always gotten.
    Please feel free to move this post to any other thread that might be more appropriate. I couldn’t figure out where to put it.

  • 2. cpsobsessed  |  December 1, 2011 at 1:13 am

    Here is the Catalyst article. I didn’t realize it is only 4 schools that are closing. But wow, 4 schools total 7800 kids?

    http://www.catalyst-chicago.org/notebook/2011/11/30/19679/four-schools-close-cps-wanted-more

    On the list of schools Brizard wants to close are Price Elementary in Grand Boulevard and Guggenheim Elementary in Englewood; Dyett High School in Washington Park and Crane High School in East Garfield Park will be phased out—which means, in effect, closing down, since they will no longer take freshmen and will be shuttered when current students graduate.

  • 3. Anonymous  |  December 1, 2011 at 6:17 am

    Plenty of experienced ed professionals dispute the U. of C. data used in the CPS Power Point charts to show that incremental ISAT gains over time are “misleading.”

    They say that the U of C can’t go back and ad hoc create an accurate comparison of the Iowa and ISAT scores. It is apples and oranges. This data isn’t accurate, but it is needed to make a case for closing schools.

    That is not to say that poverty, crime and family issues don’t hurt CPS students and create a gap in scores. It does. But the SES issues are need to be addressed.

  • […] Good News! School Closings! CPSObsessed: I don’t mean to make light of the closings, but I to had to laugh when I received an email whose content I knew would be about school closings (CPS had to announce them by today) and it was cheerfully titled “CPS Proposes Providing 7,800 Students with Access to Higher Quality School Options.”   Now that is a positive spin on something we know that families hate – school closings. […]

  • 5. cps Mom  |  December 1, 2011 at 9:06 am

    @1 – my take from reading the link above to CPS plans for each school is that Crane is being consolidated with a school called “Talent Development”. I don’t see mention of Wells school. Is there something more to the plan than shown?

  • 6. cps Mom  |  December 1, 2011 at 9:32 am

    The Ogden HS building is quite small. It is a former grade school building. Class sizes per grade were about 150 students when it first opened as they were sharing the space with Odgen middle school grades. A consolidation, if possible, would completely displace the entire program.

  • 7. Mayfair Dad  |  December 1, 2011 at 9:57 am

    The Ogden International School of Chicago is a K-12 experiment patterned after Lab School, Parker, the British School, etc. No way in hell will CPS spoil this little Gold Coast gem by importing Crane HS gangbangers into the student body. Never gonna happen.

    More likely scenario: a charter operator will be handed the keys to the Crane HS building.

  • 8. CPSDepressed  |  December 1, 2011 at 9:59 am

    Whitney Young is just down the road from Crane . . .

  • 9. Southie  |  December 1, 2011 at 11:27 am

    See Rod Estvan’s comment here: http://www.catalyst-chicago.org/notebook/2011/11/30/19679/four-schools-close-cps-wanted-more

  • 10. RL Julia  |  December 1, 2011 at 11:38 am

    I too thought this latest missive from Brizard was just sad. Yeah its unacceptable but guess what, no one is going to make it any easier for those kids to get anything better than what they’ve already gotten from CPS which is probably a whole lot of nothing. No one is going to let them subvert the precious SEHS system and give them carte blanche to go to any HS in the city (which in all equity is probably what they sort of deserve) – can you imagine the uproar? No one is going to even suggest that Odgen should possibly be a solution for even some of the kids – could you imagine the uproar at that school if it was even suggested? The parent group at Odgen didn’t work their butts off to create the Odgen HS in order to welcome Crane kids to it – they did so specifically in order their kids to avoid knowing Crane kids. So in the end, Crane kids will be shuttled to another cruddy school where they will be similarly underserved and undereducated and the SEHS crowd can go back to talking about how the current lottery system is completely unfair to their kid and being vaguely worried that their children might one day meet an actual gangbanger.
    This is exactly why ultimately the SE system should be dismantled.

  • 11. Tracy  |  December 1, 2011 at 11:42 am

    School closings are heart-breaking. They are closing buildings that are gathering places of hope–hope for the future, hope for our city and nation. No more squeals of laughter and playing–no more activity. Just another empty building in a blighted neighborhood. If you were a child living there, what would you think? What do the parents say? “Sorry honey, you can’t go to your school anymore because we can’t fix it. We are going to go to a school 4 miles away now.”

    Driving through the neighborhoods is like no man’s land already–boarded up and vacant homes, stores, businesses and now schools–probably one of the few rays of light in these communities. Why are we giving up on them? Why are some schools not able to be turned around (as Brizard says in his letter)? We as a city have failed them. We need to do more. This isn’t a place of business, this is a centerpiece of a community. We need better solutions.

  • 12. anonymous  |  December 1, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    10 — Do you know the Crane teachers and administrators? Has CPS interviewed and observed Crane staff and found them all failures? Have they putting their findings in a detailed report?
    Will this change the way CPS hires for those schools?

    We have seen school closings more than a few times. But have we seen it make a difference for the kids? Is there data on this?

    (If we follow Emanuel’s new school performance data, there have been no improvements over the past decade for the system. Recently charters have been shown to do no better than regular schools. So school closings / turnarounds would appear to have changed little, right?)

    What if CPS blames teachers b/c it is just too expensive to address SES?

  • 13. anon mom  |  December 1, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    Crane (which is east of Western and NOT in East Garfield Park) is going to be handed over to a charter. Which is a way is too bad, because they have an auto shop and other infrastructure not available at Welles. Both schools have experienced declining enrollment–Welles because of the gentrification of the neighborhood; Crane because of the demolition of the Horner Homes and resultant decrease in population.

    I predict you’ll see an escalation of violence similar to that experienced when Austin HS was shut down and kids were put on the Chicago Avenue Bus to Welles. I don’t imagine the 4-corner hustlers and Latin Kings are going to be doing trust falls anytime soon. So much for Safe Passage being more a way of life than a program, Rahm.

    As for Crane being down the street from Whitney Young–I fail to see what this has to do with the price of tea in China. Jackson is down the street from Smyth. Suder is down the street from Dett.There are good and bad schools in relative proximity all over the city, so why the juxtaposition here, where it’s not at all valid?

  • 14. CPS Dad To Be  |  December 1, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    Are people confusing closing and sending existing Crane students to Wells with phasing out and only sending next years freshman to Wells? It seems like we are jumping to conclusions

    Reading the release and the Tribune article, I got the impression that Wells would not immediately get all of the Crane HS students (that would definitely cause a lot of tension and problems) but will get each new freshman class for the next 4 years while the exising classes in Crane graduate. Is this not the case?

  • 16. Angie  |  December 1, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    @8.CPSDepressed: “Whitney Young is just down the road from Crane . . .”

    Yeah, why settle for Ogden when these kids can be given a free ride to an even better school? Lets just move them over to Northside College Prep while we are at it. Surely they will be able to keep up with the rigorous study program that other kids had to bust their butts to get into.

  • 17. anon mom  |  December 1, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    CPS Dad to Be:
    No confusion. Racial differences and gang affiliation begin before Freshamn year. It’s naive to thik that an “us” vs “them” mentality won’t emerge in the situation, given the forced nature.

    These are neighborhood schools–it’s not like Payton where everyone is equally new to the situation. Many of the kids will have gone to school together for 8+ years.

  • 18. cpsmama  |  December 1, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    @14- you are correct- Crane will stop taking incoming Freshman and the kids that are already there will be allowed to graduate. That is a little better than shipping 100% of Crane’s student body to Wells.

    From the Catalyst article:

    “….Dyett High School in Washington Park and Crane High School in East Garfield Park will be phased out—which means, in effect, closing down, since they will no longer take freshmen and will be shuttered when current students graduate.”

    I personally fear for the safety of the students who will be forced to attend Wells though. Don’t wanna see another Derrion Albert ;(

  • 19. cpsobsessed  |  December 1, 2011 at 2:36 pm

    I had to look up some data on these 2 schools. The numbers for Crane made me just want to cry. Wells’ scores are not a TON higher, but there seems to be a more “committed” student body in that attendance and graduation rates are higher (which I’m sure explains their better test scores, in part.) If both schools are underenrolled (I’m assuming that based on what CPS has said about closures) then in theory one could argue that Crane students are getting “better” seats, at the very least in that the Crane kids are now among families with higher expectations of the kids?

    School CPS/Crane/Wells
    Size na/720/665
    % Meet/Exc PSAE 29/5/11
    % ACT 20+ 25/2/7
    %Daily Attendance 84/58/74
    %One yr dropout rate 7/29/14
    %Freshmen on track to graduate 73/41/61
    %Freshmen 5 yr grad rate 58/48/59

  • 20. cpsobsessed  |  December 1, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    I agree it’s sad for the families in the area to have these schools shut down when I’m sure they’re asking “why can’t CPS just make them better?”

    One could also ask the families why 42% of the student body doesn’t show up for school every day. It would be interested to see the test scores of kids who make it to school most days of the year. They must be experiencing small class sizes given the low attendance rate! (I’m kidding, obviously these are schools with major challenges.)

    If you look at the CPS map of Performance x Enrollment, you can see areas in the city with huge pockets of under-enrolled schools. It just doesn’t make sense for a cash-strapped district to be keeping these schools open when they can start merging. The efficiency of consolidation seems highly sensible (taking out the emotion factor.) There has been a serious migration out of the south side so by a numbers standpoint, there doesn’t need to be as many schools.

    Of course the trouble is that it doesn’t all work out evenly and efficiently in that many families will be stuck with a school that isn’t very close to home. If 42% of the Crane students don’t show up daily, what is the effort they’ll make to travel farther to get to school?

    I think the phase-out approach is a pretty good one. It is certainly less efficient monetarily than just moving a whole school, but at least it makes the transition easier for students and the neighborhoods.
    I’ll say it a million times. I don’t envy Brizard and his job.

  • 21. cpsobsessed  |  December 1, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    FYI, Brizard is on WBEZ again tonight at 6:45. Them tonight is “share your ideas for CPS.” Shall we all call in with the SkyScraper High School idea?

    Groupon High?

    Did we have any other good ones?

  • 22. CPS Dad To Be  |  December 1, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    I’m hoping that some of the freshman that would go to Wells get a chance to go to the charter that will be setting up in Crane — they deserve to remain in the neighborhood and have options (hopefully better than what caused Crane to fail) open to them.

    There will be tension no doubt and the incoming freshman from Crane will be at a disadvantage socially (especially with siblings still in Crane) but it is much better than forcing all existing students to go to Wells. Hopefully there is lots of work and support during the transition especially the first year since that will pave the next years.

    Wells is our neighborhood high school and at this point I would not send my child there today if she were entering HS.

    However, we’ve been in the neighborhood for ten years and have seen a lot of positive changes in the elementary schools around us. Ten years ago I would not have sent my child to our neighborhood elementary school and today it is an option for us for kindergarten — a warm and positive environment based on the open house we did recently. We’re still exploring SEES due to our daughter being able to read at a third grade level and the neighborhood school not having any programs or much support for advanced learners.

    Things do change for the better at times and I’m hoping that CPS invests good time and resources into Wells so it improves. Given the student background, it is not an easy task but to leave things they way they are is not the way to go either. Given the low performance of each, it seems like both schools should be closed and reopened anew to try to improve things but with all the budget constraints, something must give.

  • 23. JD  |  December 1, 2011 at 4:23 pm

    “I personally fear for the safety of the students who will be forced to attend Wells though”

    8th grade students who reside in the Crane boundary will not be “forced” to go to Wells, or any other school for that matter.

  • 24. cpsmama  |  December 1, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    @23 If they can’t get into a charter, SEHS or magnet HS, their only option will be their neighborhood HS…. which will be Wells.

  • 25. CPSDepressed  |  December 1, 2011 at 4:41 pm

    Well, I was joking about Whitney Young.

    I don’t think that the Crane and Dyett closings shows the evils of SEHS so much as the failure of CPS – and the American educational system in general – to deal with the kids who have the greatest problems. I don’t believe the “your children will do fine anywhere” theory, nor do I believe that we just write off huge numbers of kids starting in kindergarten.

    I have no idea how to do this, but I can’t believe it’s impossible. We need to keep trying, and maybe it is with something more intense than a 5 hour 45 minute school day 170 days a year. And, yeah, that probably means different forms of family support.

    And if there are kids who are not interested or willing to go to school, let them drop out. It’s foolish to spend resources to force attendance for kids that were de-facto written off at kindergarten.

  • 26. xCPS  |  December 1, 2011 at 5:07 pm

    25 – And if there are kids who are not interested or willing to go to school, let them drop out. It’s foolish to spend resources to force attendance for kids that were de-facto written off at kindergarten. And do what besides rob me?

  • 27. cpsobsessed  |  December 1, 2011 at 5:15 pm

    @25: ha ha, yep indeed.
    There was a woman at my Brizard meeting (yep, still milking that line…) who works in some field with youth correctional services. She was one of those people who has stories about teens in this city that we don’t even want to know about.

    But she made a strong point about the kids who drop out of the CPS schools winding up in her universe – in trouble and committing crimes.

    At the Brizard/Lewis debate/discussion I attended last month, Karen Lewis made the point repeatedly that if as a society we don’t take a real look at what needs to be done to help and educate kids like that, and actually CHANGE THINGS to make it happen, then nothing will ever improve.

    I feel she used this argument as a way of avoiding making suggestions about what teachers should do within CPS NOW, but she makes a very valid point. Unfortunately, the state of IL has made it clear that they are NOT willing to fund education to do this, so the question becomes “now what?”

  • 28. CPSDepressed  |  December 1, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    @26: Maybe it’s vocational education, or a service corps, or military service, or something. I don’t know what it is. It shouldn’t be prison. There has to be some sort of accommodation.

    And it doesn’t have to be permanent. Lots of people start college or skip it at 18 and go back when they are older. Maybe we do that at high school, too – let kids leave, but set up resources so they can come back when they are ready.

    Finally, we really need to stop writing kids off at kindergarten. I want to scream every time I hear that there is nothing we can do for kids who show up at school without knowing their colors and numbers and if there are no books in their houses. There’s got to be something we can do!

    American re-education needs to be completely reworked because too many kids are getting screwed. We’re in a global economy now, and America can’t keep up if it sticks to the status quo for schooling.

  • 29. Mayfair Dad  |  December 1, 2011 at 5:29 pm

    Can the pursuit of excellence in education include removing the bad element from the classroom? Have we tried this yet?

    Why not open charter high schools exclusively for the chronically absent, drug dealing, gang-banging lowlife troublemakers that are ruining public education for everyone else.

    We already have SE high schools for the smart kids. What about SS (scared straight) High Schools for the troublemakers.

  • 30. xCPSmom  |  December 1, 2011 at 5:53 pm

    29 – we have those — they are called “alternative high schools”. I have a friend who teaches at one. She said a few of those kids are “round hole, square peg” types who basically are smart but don’t fit in a regular hs. Most of the others belong in jail.

  • 31. xCPSmom  |  December 1, 2011 at 5:55 pm

    Mayfair dad — I know the economy is bad, but who would sign up to teach at a SS high school?

  • 32. Southie  |  December 1, 2011 at 6:19 pm

    I thought the big demand in the global economy is for low-wage labor, in the main.

  • 33. Southie  |  December 1, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    @27: Wouldn’t that be fudning and offering Head Start?

  • 34. Southie  |  December 1, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    funding

  • 35. Angie  |  December 1, 2011 at 6:31 pm

    @31.xCPSmom: Same people who sign up to guard them in jail later.

  • 36. WK  |  December 2, 2011 at 8:21 am

    @Mayfair Day – instead of this idea, how about offering quality pre-k, small class sizes, social workers, mentors, PE and recess to kids from the start instead of waiting until they are in high school and it’s beyond too late. How about creating community schools in neighbhorhoods without hope, offering GED and other programs for parents, job training and vocational programs instead of one-curriculum for all. You know the Harlem Children’s Zone which gets all that press attention offers these kinds of resources and has good outcomes, but of course the cost is huge and no one in IL wants to pay for kids that they deem not worth it. Kids need this attention and care from early on. We can blame parents all we want but it’s not going to change anything. And we pay way more in taxes when we don’t pay at the front end. Politicians won’t do it because there are no short-term gains and the results take too long and miss election cycles.

  • 37. Mayfair Dad  |  December 2, 2011 at 10:04 am

    @ WK – I like your list very much, I’m just not sure the public school system is or should be designed to cure all of society’s ills. Already some schools in our cash-strapped system are feeding kids three meals a day, and with a longer school day this will likely be the case at more schools. Early childhood education is a great idea: wrest control of at-risk toddlers away from unfit parents so the public school system can potty-train them and teach them shapes, sounds and colors. Sadly, its necessary and would probably yield significant results if implemented. Research supports this. I like the idea of vocational/job training programs – just not sure how CPS determines who is or isn’t college material and slots them into a lower lifetime earning trajectory. Isn’t everyone entitled to the very best? Still, the world needs talented plumbers, electricians and carpenters, so maybe the trade unions can partner with CPS to create high school-to-apprenticeship progams. I’m guessing the labor unions won’t want the gangbangers in their programs either.

    At what point (age) is a publicly funded education a privilege, not a right? When should compulsory attendance end?

  • 38. Don'tHaveCleverName  |  December 2, 2011 at 10:26 am

    #31. I have a friend who would LOVE to teach in a South Side school. In fact, she’s leaving town (which is breaking my heart) to teach at a similarly low-income neighborhood in another state because she can’t find a job here.

    So, if you know of any jobs at really bad schools anywhere in the city, do let me know. The economy is that bad.

    And, even if it weren’t, she would want to do it. Because she’s a great teacher.

  • 39. Angie  |  December 2, 2011 at 10:28 am

    @37. Mayfair Dad: ” I like the idea of vocational/job training programs – just not sure how CPS determines who is or isn’t college material and slots them into a lower lifetime earning trajectory. Isn’t everyone entitled to the very best? ”

    I think by the time kids reach the high school age it becomes obvious which students are interested in academic achievement, and which are going to school just to “chill” and cause trouble. And it’s not like the kids on vocational track will be barred from college for life. I’m pretty sure that at least some colleges accept GED for entrance, so they can get the higher education later in life if they really want it.

  • 40. anon  |  December 2, 2011 at 10:46 am

    Sadly, there are just not enough vocational jobs to go around. Look at data of current unemployment – vocational jobs were hit hard. Furthermore, we don’t even have factory jobs left in this country. This is not just a “city” problem, but a national one.

  • 41. careergurl  |  December 2, 2011 at 11:30 am

    Maybe a “survivalist skills” school would be a good idea. No, seriously!

  • 42. cps Mom  |  December 2, 2011 at 11:58 am

    skilled and licensed electricians and plumbers have billable rates higher than many attorneys. Hot or cold those HVAC vans are out making calls. Avoid recession plagued trades like carpentry, masonry, tile setting, design, project management 😦

    We used to have trade schools like Washburne but that whole venue has since died out. Have you noticed that this concept has been renewed and already in play? Some CPS high schools offer auto shop, trade and tech training schools even culinary programs. Are they filling the need or at least helping out the schools that have these programs?

  • 43. WK  |  December 2, 2011 at 12:30 pm

    @37 – Other states are creating dual programs for vocational and college readiness.My brother works as a hs teacher in Nevada where they recently opened 7 vocational high schools and work to prepare kids for both. I’m not saying the public school system can cure all of societies ills but it is one place where it can and often doesn’t make a huge impact.

  • 44. CPSDepressed  |  December 2, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    Really, you have to be capable of doing college-level work for the elite trades. The plumbing, electrical, and carpentry apprentice programs include classroom work and have rigorous exams. That’s one reason those jobs pay so well! Also, a lot of people in the trades plan to run their own businesses some day. Hence, it makes perfect sense to have dual college and vocational programs.

    Vocational education is a serious thing, not a lesser track.

  • 45. CPS Dad To Be  |  December 2, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    @37 Mayfair Dad
    “At what point (age) is a publicly funded education a privilege, not a right? When should compulsory attendance end?”

    Compulsory attendance would end when we have a generation of kids go through such an early education system and become adults that invest more in their own kids and value education and learning more. The cycle needs to fully complete for the foundation to be there for the future generation. Otherwise, we will continue to have the eroding foundation we have today.

    While this would not end poverty and other societal problems entirely it should significantly improve things. A better educated population would demand more from our systems and would be better equipped to provide and be involved in more (just like some of us are doing on this blog and in our own neighborhoods).

    Our current systems are where they are at due to many factors but the declining unskilled/lower skilled work demographic is probably the biggest one. As some other commenters have stated, lower skilled and manufacturing jobs are not as plentiful as they used to be so we have a larger proportion of the population now unable to make a good living (even with both parents working) or work at all and contribute to a good family structure and good tax base that funds good schools and better neighborhoods. People generally do well when they can contribute and be independent and when something happens to erode that, things break down. This cycle has been ongoing for many decades and we are starting to see more and more results of it in the education level of kids entering elementary school — it does not seem to be getting better.

    I do not forsee an industrial revolution like in the past to absorb a lot of the unskilled lower educated workpool that is graduating year by year. We do have an ongoing information and technology revolution that can absorb a lot of this workpool but the workpool needs to have the education level to fit in.

    I’m not suggesting that everyone needs to have a college or advanced degree to get a job but the job demographic in the US has shifted significantly in the past four decades and the parental/educational systems need to shift accordingly to rebalance things.

    Early education and enrichment along with focused vocational programs would be a good start to lay a better foundation. The big question as always is how does one pay for it?

  • 46. Mayfair Dad  |  December 2, 2011 at 3:24 pm

    “Juan Rangel please”

    “Speaking. Who’s this and why are you calling me on my private line?”

    “Relax you paranoid piece of shit — it’s me, Rahm.”

    “Rahm! What’s going on little buddy? Did you get the birthday flan I sent over?”

    “Yeah, the flan was {expletive} great, but that’s not why I’m calling. Me and the Brizmeister have been talking and there’s a slight change of plan.”

    “Go on.”

    “Remember that buttload of taxpayer money I promised you to open up more for-profit high schools? Still gonna happen, only now you get the bottom third of students, not the top third.”

    “Whoa…back up the truck. What exactly are you telling me?”

    “I’m telling you that instead of skimming the cream off the top, you own the mess. Every unwed teenage mother, every disruptive gangbanger, every violent crackhead in the CPS system is now your problem. Only way you get the money. My pal Mikey M is going to ride herd on the legislation personally. Still interested?”

    Dial tone.

  • 47. cpsobsessed  |  December 2, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    Omg, I am dying of laughter at my desk.
    It’s just like having fake-Twitter Rahm around.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 48. MarketingMom  |  December 2, 2011 at 6:06 pm

    Mayfair dad – There is a huge misperception that Charter schools can select the cream of the crop, but this is not true. They are lottery, just like Hawthorne, Jackson and other magnets. It just so happens that kids who attend charter schools and high performing magnets have parents that care enough to pull them out of the neighborhood school. Why not beat up on all of the lottery schools for taking the best, more motivated students that have parental support? The whole system supports the cycle of the worst kids, whose parents don’t care enough about them, being left in the neighborhood school to rot.

    On another note, I am sick of hearing parents on the news whine and complain about the fact that their poor performing neighborhood school is being closed. Where were these parents before? We they attending the LSC meeting, going to parent/teacher night? One of my friends teaches at a poor performing school and she said she lucky if she got one parent out of an entire class show up for report card pick up.

  • 49. swede  |  December 2, 2011 at 6:07 pm

    Mayfair Rahm – Mayfair Dad’s (expletive) evil twin! More please…

  • 50. cpsobsessed  |  December 2, 2011 at 6:22 pm

    @WK: We’ve talked a lot here about what it would take to get the “at-risk” population in CPS educated at a level that is on par with the Tier 3-4 kids. I think people agree on the list and also, that those things occur at the SAME TIME. Not trying out one program, letting it fall by the wayside, trying another, etc.

    The problem is, even if magic happened and IL found funding for all that, it would take about a decade until those kids started showing up in the high schools. What on earth can we do until then with the kids who cause the problems in the high schools? I feel like nobody has cracked that yet, except the charters who seem to be able to kick out the bad seeds.

    It really does depress me, thinking about job opportunities for the kids who come out of CPS wayyy under-educated. Really, what do they say they want to be when they grow up? My son told me this week he thinks it would be fun to be an architect. Of course it’s possible (well, not if his slacker ways continue but at least I know it’s feasible if he works hard.) What jobs do these kids even face without the manufacturing sector or other decent middle class jobs to aspire to?

  • 51. anonymous  |  December 2, 2011 at 7:06 pm

    #38, There will be thousands of jobs this fall in CPS due to retirements because of the new contract, particularly in the lowest performing schools. I talked to a friend down at the board of ed and he told me they are concerned that in some schools, sped and bilingual classrooms will have to be staffed with subs. Regular ed rooms won’t be hard to fill, but I feel so sorry for kids in shortage area classrooms.

  • 52. sskcorn  |  December 2, 2011 at 8:03 pm

    @48
    “On another note, I am sick of hearing parents on the news whine and complain about the fact that their poor performing neighborhood school is being closed. Where were these parents before? We they attending the LSC meeting, going to parent/teacher night? One of my friends teaches at a poor performing school and she said she lucky if she got one parent out of an entire class show up for report card pick up.”

    I may complain about my house, leak in the roof, no insulation, etc, but I would still not want to be kicked out and told to go to another neighborhood to live in a house with a smaller leak and a couple of extra storm windows.

    These schools might be doing poorly but the students are not getting an ‘Option’ or ‘Selectively enrolled’ in much better schools. It’s the powerlessness of the community/parent voice that is so frustrating. And the knowledge that they are being fended off to a not so good school that is further away.

    When did this idea of punishing children because of the quality of their parents come about? I went to CPS and I don’t remember parent involvement being an education issue. Parents were not expected to fund-raise or chaperon field trips, etc. And we were not told that our schools deserve to be closed because my parents did not show up to LSC meetings.

    Without rhyme or reason CPS chooses to leave some schools on probation forever or pick them to be ‘turned around’ while others are simply closed, I would whine too if I were those parents.

  • 53. Gayfair Dad  |  December 3, 2011 at 12:42 am

    @WK-Your calling has just begun. You are spot-on and a leader. Thank you in advance of the gargantuan battles you will be taking on.

  • 54. WK  |  December 3, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    @53 – Haha, thanks Gayfair Dad. I know these are uphill and seemingly impossible fights to fight, but I helped start a group last year to at least address them. It’s better than doing nothing. You should join us – http://www.ilraiseyourhand.org.

  • 55. WK  |  December 3, 2011 at 1:50 pm

    @50- No clue. Warehousing troublemakers doesn’t seem to be a great solution. I wish there were some easy answer.

  • 56. Esmom  |  December 3, 2011 at 7:30 pm

    @50, re “Really, what do they say they want to be when they grow up?” Sadly this brings to mind the book “There Are No Children Here,” where one of the boys says “If I grow up I want to be x.” That’s the difference between your son and many of the kids in CPS. The question doesn’t begin with “When I grow up,” but with “If.” So incredibly sad…the line has haunted me for years.

  • 57. det3mom  |  December 6, 2011 at 7:53 am

    My neighborhood schools are Smyth and Crane. These are terrible schools that need to be closed to start over. They are not merely mediocre schools that involved parents from surrounding neighborhoods could turn-around. Only 17% of neighborhood kids are going to Crane and I would guess the Smyth numbers are similar. They are too far gone and not physically located close enough for a parent group to take interest (unlike South Loop or Skinner West). Neither has been able to attract new residents from gentrifying areas because their test scores and other measures are at the bottom of all CPS schools, not just in the middle, and this has been going on for decades.

    The regional gifted program from South Loop should be moved to Smyth. As for Crane, remember 2008? The mix of ABLA students with students from points west resulted in murder. I am worried that this will be the same fate of sending kids up to Welles. We need a neighborhood high school more centrally located in the current Crane boundary – for example one of the lots near Smyth or along Roosevelt. The new school would draw from Smyth, Jackson, Galileo, STEM, Skinner West.

  • 58. Gunnery Sgt Hartman  |  December 6, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    I scanned through many of these posts, and no one brought up a simple fact:many CPS schools are running grossly under capacity, student-wise. There are schools that are utilized at 25-30% of capacity – many in the same neighborhood – and each one of those schools has a separate prinicapl, vice principal, lunch rooms attendants, security, custodial staff, and so on. They need to pay for basic upkeep, heating, electricity for each of these buildings. Now, that’s money that could be going to programs to pay for teachers, technology, and so on. It’s time to shrink and shut down in the neighborhoods where the schools are no longer viable, and not from an academic standpoint, but from a resources one. My daughter will be looking at class sizes of 30 kids throghout elementary school because there isn’t the political will to shut down more of these “ghost schools”.

  • 59. Mayfair Dad  |  December 6, 2011 at 6:27 pm

    @ 58. Agreed. CPS historically has done a piss poor job of increasing “bandwidth” in neighborhoods where demand is rising, and reducing bandwidth in neighborhoods where demand is shrinking. There is so much emotion attached to a school closing but it really is a matter of managing resources appropriately. I suppose I’d feel differently if it was happening to my neighborhood school. Then there’s the whole re-purposing CPS neighborhood schools as charter schools debate, union labor implications, etc. etc. No easy answers.

  • 60. anonymous  |  December 6, 2011 at 7:07 pm

    #58, I agree with closing schools that are seriously under capacity, but class sizes won’t go down if that happens. Class size is related to one thing: what the BOE and the city is able and willing to pay for. Even if all the schools operating at or under 50% were closed or consolidated it wouldn’t change class size. The board has it set in stone that they’ll only fund 1 teacher to every 28 K-3rd graders and 1 teacher to every 31 4-8th graders. Even if closings cut the budget down, there are so many other dire needs to be funded, class sizes (as important as they are) are kind of low on the list.

  • 61. cpsobsessed  |  December 13, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    To resurrect this topic, it looks like 12 new Charters will open on the West and South side, I assume in the same areas where schools are being closed?

    I’m not opposed to them conceptually (although I still question why CPS can’t open magnets or something similar to charters) but I question how this will affect the already-under enrolled West and South side schools if the charters come in to skim off a lot more kids?

    http://www.chicagonewscoop.org/chicago-plans-12-new-charter-schools/

  • 62. Bella  |  February 28, 2012 at 7:35 pm

    ok ik tht these kids need and deserve a better education, but how do u exspect them to get on a bus for an hour and be shifted from school to school, when they are all droping out and clearly dont wanna go to school? I think getting them a better education is manitory, but it would be better if the board just made huge changes in the schools they go to rather then a fresh new start. these kids probably feel offended by being a failur and marked by race. they go home to foster homes and drop out, in gangs, living in poverty. life is hard enough on them, yet your gonna make it harder for them by making them travel to a far school that they dont even want to go? there own parents don’t care. THESE STUDENTS NEED SOMEONE WHO CARES! Closing schools due to them failing is horrible cuz thts highly offending and it really shows that no one cares, they just wanna move them to a higher ranking school to make themselves look better, rather then dramitic changes of improvment in what they got.

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