Easing overcrowding at Lincoln with a possible phase-out of LaSalle

December 14, 2011 at 4:42 pm 310 comments

Thank you from one of our best field obsessers who tipped me off on this interesting story about the possible phase-out of LaSalle, one of the coveted north side Magnet schools.   I didn’t realize that Lincoln Elementary was overcrowded.  People are still moving into Lincoln Park? Everyone I meet these days lives in the Ukranian Village.  I think we can foretell where the school problems will be occuring 10-15 years from now when all the UK Village young people procreate….

In any case, while I admire CPS’ willingness to problem-solve, ouch, it hurts a bit to lose South Loop RGC and now a well-regarded magnet school.

From WBEZ.org by Linda Lutton:

Chicago Public Schools is floating a plan to phase out one of its most popular magnet schools.

LaSalle Language Academy magnet school in Old Town gets 1,500 applications a year for around 70 openings.

Now, CPS wants to slowly convert the magnet to a neighborhood school that draws from the immediate area, one of the ritziest in the city. The school would take no new magnet school kindergartners in the fall, unless they already had a sibling enrolled in the school. Instead, the kindergarten would be filled with neighborhood children.

The change would relieve overcrowding at nearby Lincoln Elementary, where rising test scores have made the school a popular option for Lincoln Park families.

But LaSalle parents say the change would also dismantle their school’s diversity, achieved from 30 years as a desegregation school.

“You’re dramatically going to alter the nature and the demographics of the school,” says Tom Brennan, parent of two children at LaSalle and co-chair of the local school council.

Brennan says the proposal would be a particular loss to families from neighborhoods without great schools. He said families come from as far away as 85th and Escanaba and the Montclare neighborhood to attend LaSalle.

“They will not have diversity, a strong academic tradition, and other cultural, positive things that are not available to them in their current local school area.”

Observers and even some CPS estimates show enrollment at high-performing Lincoln and LaSalle schools would become overwhelmingly white. An internal CPS document obtained by WBEZ shows the district estimates LaSalle could shift from its current racial makeup of 33 percent white students to 63 percent white students.

The document estimates Lincoln Elementary would also educate a greater percentage of white students. Currently, 63 percent of students at Lincoln are white; 69 percent of students in what would be Lincoln’s new attendance area are white.

The plan would have violated Chicago’s desegregation agreement, which a judge ended two years ago. Since then, six more schools have become majority white, bringing the total to 25. The district overall is 92 percent minority.

CPS wants to add more magnet school seats at a school in West Town, LaSalle Language II, to compensate for those the city will lose at LaSalle.

CPS is presenting its plan to schools Tuesday evening. It wants the Board of Education to vote on the proposal in January or February.

Alderman’s Letter to the Community

Dear Lincoln Park community,
As many of you know, over the past few years, Lincoln Elementary has become intolerably overcrowded, leading this year to the cutback of some educational programs (art, music and French have been decreased) because every available room has had to be converted into a grade classroom. There are 809 students enrolled, which is, according to CPS guidelines, 21% over capacity. Since I’ve been in office, Lincoln’s principal, the local school council and I have been trying to get answers.
Last night, CPS officials told parents at Lincoln Elementary that they are proposing to handle the problem by limiting the enrollment boundaries of Lincoln Elementary to north of Armitage, and by directing new kindergarten families who live south of Armitage to LaSalle Language Academy. CPS’s theory behind this move is that LaSalle has a similar excellent academic record to Lincoln (which is certainly true), and further, that CPS lacks the money to build any additions to schools in our area.
Here’s how CPS said it would work (and here is the factsheet handed out at the meeting):
  • Students currently enrolled at Lincoln would remain at Lincoln.
  • Students currently enrolled at LaSalle would remain at LaSalle.
  • The new southern attendance boundary for Lincoln would be Armitage Ave. All the Lincoln attendance area below Armitage Avenue would become LaSalle’s boundary, beginning with incoming Kindergarten students in Fall 2012.  Here is a map: Proposed Lincoln-LaSalle area.
  • For families living north of Armitage, there would be no change.
  • For families living south of Armitage, Lincoln would no longer be their neighborhood school – it would be LaSalle. CPS will do a study to determine the number of siblings of current Lincoln families who live south of Armitage to decide whether such siblings will be allowed to enroll at Lincoln. If there are not too many, the siblings will be able to attend Lincoln. If there are too many, there may have to be a lottery among the siblings. CPS agreed that if any parents south of Armitage do NOT want to consider LaSalle as a potential school for a new kindergartener, they should get an application in elsewhere immediately.
  • LaSalle would not have a new magnet enrollment for Fall of 2012.   Instead, the Fall 2012 Kindergarten would be composed of siblings of those already enrolled and neighborhood children living south of Armitage. With each passing year, LaSalle would become less of a magnet school and more of a neighborhood school. CPS would make NO commitment to siblings of out of area children beyond next year’s class.
  • CPS would make NO guarantee that LaSalle’s existing magnet resources, meaning its language program, would continue. A group of LaSalle parents have been trying for years to have a modest addition built to the school to offer ancillary space.  Under the CPS’ proposal, this addition would not be built – but worse, as LaSalle becomes more of a neighborhood school, the very program that made it great would likely end.
I disagree with this plan. First, it does not solve Lincoln’s immediate problem: there will still be overcrowding for 8+ years. Second, it continues to diminish the educational experience at Lincoln – art and music classes have been cut back, and classroom sizes have increased. Third, while many neighborhood parents would like to attend LaSalle, it makes no sense to threaten to destroy a very valuable and successful program.
This proposal is not a plan for the future. Five new preschools have been opened in the 43rd Ward in the last year. There could be as many as 800 new units of housing built due to developments at Children’s Memorial and Lincoln Park Hospital, and at least the Lincoln Park Hospital units are squarely within the school boundaries. These should be welcome developments: that means that more families are choosing to stay in the city, pay taxes, and send their kids to excellent public schools. CPS’s reaction is that, because there are a large number of out-of-area kids at Alcott, Newberry, LaSalle and Oscar Mayer, that these schools should eventually become neighborhood schools before adding capacity.
Finally, this plan gives no thought about what to do with Lincoln Park High. I’ve been asking for more resources at the high school to make it the school of choice for all of our students – with no response other than a promise to “look at it.”
This is a tough issue in these times. The proposed modest addition to LaSalle has been estimated at almost $3 million dollars. An addition to Lincoln, or the renovation an old school (located on Sheffield Ave.) as a middle school could cost at least $5 million. A new school would cost twenty million dollars (we hear the new Ogden Elementary cost $60 million). Having just been through the budget process, I know the city is overextended.
But we are the people who have made a bet on our city, who have invested thousands of dollars into our homes and our local schools to make them both thrive. Lincoln Park today represents the investment of thousands of people in their community over 40 years to improve our schools. I will fight to have a solution that works for us and our children. Please send me your feedback. I look forward to hearing your thoughts.
           Your alderman, Michelle Smith

Entry filed under: Uncategorized. Tags: , .

Get involved with Raise Your Hand! QuestChicago update and some other stuff…

310 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Mayfair Dad  |  December 14, 2011 at 6:46 pm

    There is a certain indignant anger that boils within a parent who resides in an upscale neighborhood, looking out their window every morning at one of the top magnet schools in the city and seething that their little Buffy and Jody did not win the lottery to attend. Eventually those angry and affluent parents organize and get their neighborhood school back. That’s what happened to Edison Regional Gifted and what is happening in Old Irving as the locals look out their windows at Disney II (already seeking an addition).

    At least the LaSalle magnet program will live on in the new building. The alderman is right – the move makes no sense long-term and doesn’t address overcrowding at Lincoln in a meaningful way or lack of resources at LPHS. But the city is broke and Buffy and Jody are only young once so hopefully a quick-fix solution will appease the angry locals.

  • 2. cpsobsessed  |  December 14, 2011 at 7:08 pm

    I pulled out my handy CPS directory from last year (that isn’t being printed any more) to see if I could find clues to a plot to keep gentrified kids a “nice” school such as LaSalle. But looking at the map, Lincoln’s boundary schools are LaSalle, Alcott, Mayer, and Newberry. There really is sort of a black hole of nieghborhood schools where Newberry and LaSalle sit and one *could* argue that having 2 good magnet schools side by side in that area is maybe a little bit unfair?

  • 3. cps Mom  |  December 14, 2011 at 8:07 pm

    3 good magnets – Franklin is only blocks away. While those same parents are seething about not being able to attend the good school right outside their door, others are seething because there are no good magnets or otherwise as far as the eye can see.

    It actually makes sense to me and I’m wondering why the Alderman is against it. If diversity is truly desired shift that boundary line a little bit further south. Manierre school is about 5 blocks away and has a diversity issue as well.

  • 4. Mom  |  December 14, 2011 at 8:10 pm

    It’s the unpredictability that makes me crazy. Just when I think we can stay with CPS, they come up with a new way to shift things around to make me nervous about the future and consider a move out of the city.

  • 5. kate  |  December 14, 2011 at 9:01 pm

    Really? These are “champagne” problems. Some LP kiddos will be now have their neighborhood school much closer to home, class sizes will be less than the current Lincoln. I don’t get the alderman’s stance. Given the current overcrowding challenges, this will provide some relief in Sept. If Ald. thinks LPHS also needs some current or future plan for resources then it’s time to start making that happen.

    As a parent who supports my neighborhood school, I’m very happy that the status quo is getting a little shakin’ up. It’s about time.

  • 6. Y  |  December 14, 2011 at 9:15 pm

    This is a problem 30 years in the making with the development of Newberry, Franklin, and LaSalle as magnets, which left Lincoln, Mayer, and Ogden with huge attendance areas. There are parts of Lincoln’s attendance area that are over a mile away. I’m trying to imagine if you can get a kindergarten student to walk that each day. It’s actually surprising that it has taken this long to force a change.

    It’ll be interesting to see if this process of converting magnets to neighborhood programs will continue to other magnet locations with crowded schools nearby. I guess one can argue that it has started with the proximity lottery already in place. It seems like Hawthorne would be a possible future candidate since they are bounded by Nettelhorst, Blaine, Burley, Hamilton, and Aggasiz. I know the first three are pretty full or getting there, not sure about the later two.

    It’s too bad about the unsettled future of the language program at LaSalle. CPS should find a way to keep a successful program going.

  • 7. far northside parent who commutes her child EVERY day, AND volunteers, AND is on multiple committees. Are you ready for that level of time commitment?  |  December 14, 2011 at 10:01 pm

    As a parent who has a child at LaSalle, I find it more than a little disturbing that the majority of the comments above are insinuating that it is unfair the proximity of “good” magnet schools. I’m sorry, but I believe ALL of us fill out the SAME form, and hope for the best results, in regards to OUR OPTION of which school we would like our children to attend. If its NOT a neighborhood school, WE are responsible for getting our child to and from school every day. I challange anyone to find a kindergartener at LaSalle that walks a mile or more each way to school. We drive them and/or make arrangements accordingly. MAYBE, if the “neighborhood” schools werent so unimpressive in MOST of the chicago neighborhoods, parents wouldn’t feel the need to research magnet schools and commit to MUCH MORE TIME & EFFORT in regards to their childrens education.

    One of the secondary reasonons I applied to LaSalle, in addition to their obvious success with foreign languages, is the diversity that the school provides. My child is of mixed race, and I feel it is invaluable that she is surrounded with as many demographic and social economic situations as possible. I DO NOT beleive that going back to an economically segregated school system is best for ANY child in the long run.

    For the record, I am a college educated single parent who owns her own business. I choose to live in a more culturally/economically diverse neighborhood than Lincoln Park. This is MY choice. Just as which magnet school I thought would be best for my child (vs our neighborhood school) is my choice. CPS needs to quit taking our choices away from us. And my advice for anyone who wants their child in a “good” magnet school? Apply. Cross your fingers. Hope for the best. If you dont get in the first year, apply again. And then be ready to commit to your childs education AND SCHOOL when they are accepted.

  • 8. anonymous  |  December 14, 2011 at 10:07 pm

    I’d also guess Bell, which is very overcrowded, will lose its RGC next year. And Decatur is surrounded by schools that are overcrowded too. West Ridge was built partly to relieve that, but Boone, Armstrong, Rogers and Solomon still have too many kids. Wonder if they’ll take that building over too?
    I feel sorry for the LaSalle families who partly chose that school because of the extra funding and extra positions that magnets get. If it becomes a neighborhood school, it loses all of that. The high income levels in Lincoln Park may sustain the high scores anyways, but the perks (don’t they offer foreign languages?) will disappear.

    My kids’ magnet will suffer through loss of teaching positions if it reverted to a neighborhood school. There’d be no more reading groups of 15 kids in them. (instead of 30+) Scores will go down because you simply can’t differentiate like you need to in classes that large with no help. I am trying not to care too much because we are trying so hard to leave the city this year.

    @3, if Manierre kids went to LaSalle, that would be very interesting. I subbed there and ended up walking out (after I called the office and secured another adult to supervise) because I was afraid for my safety. The kids had a violent mob mentality and I felt so sorry for the staff there. They all needed armed security guards in their rooms. I only wish I was kidding. Manierre kids at LaSalle would empty that building out in a few days flat.

  • 9. sskcorn  |  December 14, 2011 at 10:24 pm

    Maybe the answer is that when a magnet school or RGC gets to a certain level of success it should be phased out and those programs moved to a different school. One of the reasons these programs exist is to attract students to under-enrolled schools and many become overcrowded because the neighborhood then finds it acceptable for their children. So maybe this is the secret to making under-performing and under-enrolled neighborhood schools better, move in a RGC or Magnet program then attract neighborhood students and then phase it out. Of course CPS has to also admit that these RGC and magnet schools get additional resources that help them thrive and reason that it may work at neighborhood schools too. (not just my idea, was discussing it with a friend.)

  • 10. Y  |  December 14, 2011 at 10:34 pm

    My comments weren’t about the fairness of the locations. I was pointing out the short-sightedness of CPS to put the programs in such close proximity, which takes away a neighborhood school and creates the large attendance areas. I want to see the successful LaSalle program continue. It just isn’t good planning. However, if we go back to the late 70s and early 80s when those programs were created, they may have been underused schools needing students.

    Similarly, one could wonder why CPS would put two RGCs (Bell and Coonley) within a half-mile of each other. Something will have to give at Coonley before it happens at Bell. With a declining deaf population at Bell, they still have enough classrooms to accommodate all of the programs to date. Coonley is a tighter fit.

    Wonder if Mulligan (1800 block of Sheffield) or Near North (1400 block of Larrabee) will be opened again?

  • 11. kate  |  December 14, 2011 at 10:50 pm

    Far Northside Parent – yes, you won a lottery… which has allowed your kid an entitlement. That entitlement has nothing to do with how HARD, FAR, COMMITTED, TIME & EFFORT you expend. The entitlements are coming to an end. And FYI, there are plenty of “lottery loser” parents in neighborhood schools that are putting in equal effort. Diversity not – LLA is 19% low-income…really?

  • 12. far northside parent who commutes her child EVERY day, AND volunteers, AND is on multiple committees. Are you ready for that level of time commitment?  |  December 14, 2011 at 11:04 pm

    yes, Kate…19% sounds right. But I guess thats something you wouldnt know, since you feel its an ENTITLEMENT, not a right, to have a child go to more than a “neighborhood school”. And FYI, Kate? I would be putting in the SAME amount of effort in a neighborhood school as well. I would LOVE to know exactly WHICH neighborhood school your kids attend…I’m sure its a pretty nice one. Come hang out at some of the others once. Hope you’ve taken self defense classes, or own a bullet proof vest. You will need it.

  • 13. Working mommy of 2  |  December 14, 2011 at 11:07 pm

    From what I hear (from a parent of a current Coonley preschooler), Coonley will cut from two preschool classrooms in 2011-12 to one in 2012-13 and none in 2013-14. So that will buy them another year or two before they run out of space.

    I also heard that Coonley is going to request money to build an addition to the school, but I can’t imagine with our city’s current financial status that CPS will come up with the $$$ for that.

    My boys will likely start in K at Coonley in 2013 and 2014. So I’m really interested to see how things shake out there over the next few years.

  • 14. far northside parent who commutes her child EVERY day, AND volunteers, AND is on multiple committees. Are you ready for that level of time commitment?  |  December 14, 2011 at 11:48 pm

    oh, and Kate? Winning the lottery ISNT entitlement. The best schools in affluent neighborhoods only catering to THAT particular neighborhood is entitlement. Winning the lottery is luck.

  • 15. Working Drone  |  December 14, 2011 at 11:57 pm

    Yes luck is the key to magnets. Oh, unless you get in through the new proximity lottery, in which case, living in the zone of Newberry and LaSalle must feel pretty lucky, unlike my neighborhood which is in the proximity of zero magnet schools.

    Aside from the luck, some wistful parents might feel that there is a certain sense of “entitlement” that comes along with being able to have a schedule that allows one to drive their child to and from school each day, no matter how far that is and to be a highly active volunteer at the school. Not everyone can get in on that luck.

  • 16. Mom  |  December 14, 2011 at 11:59 pm

    @12, it is kinda gross to hear someone who won the lottery and got into a good school to go on and on about their “rights” when so many others lost that lottery and are stuck where they are. I’m sure many of the losers would love to put in the time and effort to make a magnet like LaSalle work as well. Sure, there are some that wouldn’t, but that is exactly why many try to escape their neighborhood schools for a parent body more committed to education who will “lift all boats” for everyone’s kids. You sound completely “entitled,” yet not really realizing how lucky you are.

  • 17. Nervous at SLS  |  December 15, 2011 at 12:44 am

    Look, schools like LaSalle, and South Loop, and Edison and Coonley, and any of the other magnets and selective enrollments that are highly sought after are a little like a beacon of hope to parents. This is especially true when you live in a neighborhood with a poorly performing school, or an unsafe one. When you address the (very real) concerns of overcrowding in the neighborhood classes in these areas by closing the school off to the people who look to it as a source of hope, it really stinks. For all of the new CPS administration’s talk of focusing on making neighborhood schools a school of choice, it looks like they have a three tiered system for that: if you live on the south or west side, we’ll “turn your school around” – for whatever that is worth. If you live in one of the most exclusive areas of the city, we’ll kick everyone else out so you can have a high performing school to yourself. If you live in the rest of the city, you are SOL (like us…).

    We realize we are lucky that our child got into an RGC, and we were exceedingly grateful for the opportunity. We are very disheartened that CPS is willing to brush such programs aside. We have no hope of even getting a chance of putting our children together should we choose to stay at South Loop (even we are even allowed to).

    So now we wait, while we watch the higher ups take away that hope for something better for so many families in the city. We wait to see if any help arrives for neighborhood schools in areas that are not uber-well off but not failing.

  • 18. LR  |  December 15, 2011 at 3:03 am

    #10: I think the reason Bell and Coonley are so close together has more to do with politics than anything. Rahm flexed his political muscles back when he was our Rep (remember those days?).

    I guess in my mind this just raises the question of what is the plan for all these RGC/Classical/magnet programs? Does CPS have a master plan besides constantly displacing them as schools become over-crowded? Or phasing them out? Quite frankly, neither makes sense to me when what they ought to be doing is opening more seats because there would certainly be students to fill them.

    By the way, someone above mentioned moving out of the city. Just something to think about…the burbs struggle with growing pains, too. I saw a mobile classroom in Glenview that was standing for about 4 years while they waited for an addition. And it’s not like those families had the option to go anywhere else like you do in the city. I understand our “options” seem to be growing slimmer in the city, but we still have them. At least for now.

  • 19. SuJe  |  December 15, 2011 at 7:08 am

    Reading some of these comments is sickening. My son was fortunate enough to get into a great lottery school this year. Our neighborhood school is one of the “turnaround” schools and the surrounding others seem just as bad. We do not feel “entitled” to a seat at this school; we feel quite fortunate that he is there. But shouldn’t every family in the city feel ENTITLED to a good, if not great, education in the city? The fact that parents are desperately scrambling to find acceptable public schools for their children and fighting over the good ones is a testament to how broken our system is and how far we have to go. Further, when a child is enrolled in a magnet or SE school, it is not unreasonable for a family to believe that the school will remain as promised throughout the child’s matriculation. Even if you get to keep your seat, there is an understanding that the resources just won’t be what they were and you’ve now that CPS’s commitment is openly in question. This is unsettling for

  • 20. SuJe  |  December 15, 2011 at 7:10 am

    … parents on all sides of the problem. It is not helpful to bicker over “rights” and “entitlement”.

  • 21. SuJe  |  December 15, 2011 at 7:12 am

    Sorry for the errors. Should not type on the phone early and in the dark! You guys have me fired up 🙂

  • […] I admire CPS’ willingness to problem-solve, ouch, it hurts a bit to lose South Loop RGC and now a well-regarded magnet school," says CPS Obsessed, which posted Smith's letter and has nearly two dozen comments on the […]

  • 23. klm  |  December 15, 2011 at 10:11 am

    OK, I’m a Lincoln Elementary person, luckily a NOA (north of Armitage), so we won’t have to change our neighborhood school like the SOAs.

    I was at the Lincoln LSC meeting on Tues. Yes, it’s sad that a school like Lincoln has become a victim of its own success. Ask anybody in the neighborhood with kids why they moved there and they’ll tell you it was for Lincoln Elementary (even neighborhood people I know that send their kids to Latin, Parker, Sacred Heart, City Day, etc., wanted a good “safety school” as a backup plan). Wouldn’t it be great to have a new, larger building or maybe an annex for the middle school grade at the closed Lincoln Park Hospital or accross the street at Children’s Hospital which will move Downtown this summer? Yes, obviously.

    BUT DREAM ON –CPS HAS NO MONEY TO BUILD in order to solve this problem. Period.

    Not to mention the almost criminal overcrowding in some (mainly Hispanic, working and low-income) neighborhoods. How can anybody in Lincoln Park expect CPS to build them a new school facility when so many other CPS schools are even more seriously overcrowded?

    It seems to me that given the financial contraints currently facing CPS (and virtually every other public school system in this country today –yes, including the suburbs of Chicago [the grass is NOT always greener]) this is the least bad solution in the painful decison to FINALLY solve this problem.

    CPS is keeping familes in the Lincoln School district in “good” schools. LaSalle will be another quasi-Lincoln Elementary (great ISATs and all), just with a different name. Imagine if the boundaries for Maniere (a no-way-in hell school by anybody’s consideration) were moved north of North Avenue (which from a purely business point of view probably makes most sense for CPS, in term of finances and filling extra capity, etc.). Talk about howling and For Sale signs galore, combined with an almost immediate 10-15% reduction in real estate value for “family” homes. LaSalle will no longer be a lottery magnet starting next year, but LaSalle II will be adding an extra class for K.

    It is a genuine shame that LaSalle will no longer be a magnet and provide opportunity for kids from all over the city, but these really are desperate times for CPS, financially.

    CPS officals at the Lincoln LSC meeting more or less let it be know that if there was the money, they’s gladly build and spend their way out of this problem, but there isn’t so they’ve tried to come up with the best deal that they can in order keep families in “good” schools. I have to appreciate that, as should any parent.

    Change sucks in this case, but considering the dire CPS finances, I challenge anybody to come up with a solution that’s more fair and equitable.

  • 24. cps Mom  |  December 15, 2011 at 10:25 am

    @ 8 there was a note of sarcasm in my comment about Manierre school. I am familiar with the school. Children from the surrounding low income housing already go to LaSalle, Newberry and Franklin (they even walk!). That’s why the alderman’s comments about maintaining diversity having what is already a small low income percentage of 19.9 – Lincoln Park is 15.2% without a lottery – were kind of bogus in my opinion. I do understand the desire to keep a foreign language program. Doesn’t Lincoln Park have foreign languages, an IB program and the ability to fund raise for extra funding that they miss because they are not a magnet? I thought that many more schools would get foreign language with the extra time that’s coming (yes, I know it’s all up in the air).

    I am also a far northside mom that had to commute to a southside magnet. I do understand the luck and the value of the opportunity. I am also one who has commented on the unfairness of the magnet locations (considering that there is a proximity preference). Looking at the OAE map of magnet and selective schools, there are huge gaps all over the city with Lincoln Park and the west loop having a plethora of options while others have not one. If there are 1500 applications for 70 kindergarten spaces – say 20 spaces to siblings then 20 to proximity that leaves 7 spaces for tier (7 out of 1,460) not much of a chance. Not much peace of mind to rely on those kind of odds to get into a good school. We all know this. The point being is that we all need good schools close to home. The conversions to accommodate overcrowding make sense to me as long as they can also provide better opportunities for those displaced outside of the community. The better question that the alderman should be asking is why are these people coming from 85th and Escanaba and what can be done to help them.

  • 25. MamaK  |  December 15, 2011 at 11:45 am

    so annoying this crap happens after i submitted my apps. i know i had a microscopic chance at lasalle, but just another option gone from my app!

  • 26. FrustratedLincolnMom  |  December 15, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    As a Lincoln School mom south of Armitage, I am struggling with whether or not to separate my kids … one of whom will not be at Lincoln for a few more years.

    I think the plan is fair … or at least a good start … only if LaSalle siblings are also guaranteed.

    There are so many kids in the neighborhood. There is a line of cars driving up to the school. Meanwhile, Lincoln is bursting and truly has nowhere else to go.

    I wish they’d just move LaSalle. Why is that not a possibility? I know. Money. But, if people want more magnets (which it seems they do), why don’t they move it to a neighborhood that needs the help? But give kids already there an option to stay in that building, if it’s more about location for them.

    I’m thinking CPS cares more about charters than about magnets if they’re willing to give up one of the best and most-desired magnets.

    And just so you know, Lincoln parents did not ask for this solution. Neither did LaSalle. We were BOTH blindsided. And, if you were in our shoes here, you’d come to the same conclusion.

    MayFair Dad:
    “There is a certain indignant anger that boils within a parent who resides in an upscale neighborhood, looking out their window every morning at one of the top magnet schools in the city and seething that their little Buffy and Jody did not win the lottery to attend.”

    It’s not that we’re indignant. LaSalle used to be a neighborhood school. Then kids moved away. Now they’re back — in huge numbers. It’s called change. We should corral them ALL into a space until we’re out in the streets? You’d feel the same way, too, if you saw just how many kids live in the neighborhood. The estimate 50% of Lincoln kids live south of Armitage. Plus, it will not be a magnet school in just a few years, my bet. That means, it will be up to the neighborhood and parents and students and faculty to continue to make it a great school … just like Lincoln. Oh, and there is plenty of diversity south of Armitage, I’d like to add.

    I wish they’d find $$ to move LaSalle — but only if that’s what that the LaSalle community wants.

    Both Lincoln and LaSalle parents’ hearts are heavy right now. We both love our schools.

  • 27. another mom  |  December 15, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    Unrelated to Lincoln/LaSalle, but related to people’s speculations about RCGs…

    I just got an email blast from Alderman Pawar’s office that Bell has been approved for $10 million from CPS for a building expansion. And Coonley will be getting $10-13 million in TIF funds for a building expansion.

    As someone who will be trying to get a sibling into Coonley in a few years, this makes me happy. But I have to wonder if this is another example of the “rich” (in terms of good neighborhood schools) getting richer at the expense of other neighborhoods. I know Pawar has been proactive in using TIF money to support the schools in the 47th ward – I hope other neighborhoods, including mine, will do the same.

  • 28. Gunnery Sgt Hartman  |  December 15, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    I do love the class warfare aspect to so many of these posts. as noted, there are plenty of schools in the CPS system that have capacity below 30% (yes, 30%) that are being kept open, yet when a public school in a well to do area gets overcrowded, some people feel a need for an odd “schadenfreude”.

    The real question is why it isn’t Newberry that’s being coverted to a neighborhood school.

    Further, it’s impossible to expand Lincoln. There’s no available adjacent land, and finding a site for a new school would be prohbitive cost-wise in the neighborhhood. It’s odd that many talk about educational opportunities for poorer students, but kids from wealhtier families should suck it up and suffer. it’s an odd way of thinking.

    Oh, and VIVA CHE!!!!!

  • 29. Mayfair Dad  |  December 15, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    From our friend Rod Estvan on a District299 thread:

    “What is left of the CPS magnet school elementary program is likely to be shut down, LaSalle is just the start with others to follow I suspect. The reason being with busing costs these programs are too expensive for a fiscally broken school district.

    CPS is like the proverbial drunken sailor and totally lacks fiscal discipline. Given the fiscal projections for CPS and the fiscal collapse of our state government CPS should not be spending money on turnarounds and new programs. Capital spending should be very controlled and based on very pessimistic long run projections for the credit ratings of all state supported entities. CPS does not need ever more schools, and ever more options for its students. It needs to survive the long-term decline in public funding for education that we have entered.”

    Wow, that was cheerful. Now where did I put the Park Ridge real estate agent’s business card…

  • 30. Y  |  December 15, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    Pewar’s announcement about Bell and Coonley

    Press release From Alderman Ameya Pawar:

    GROW 47 Update – GREAT NEWS!!!
    My office is extraordinarily pleased to announce that Bell Elementary School is officially on the CPS 2012 Capital Plan. This means that Bell School will receive the desperately needed $10 million expansion and the work will begin in 2012! As a result of this expansion Bell will not be forced to cut programming or turn students away. It will continue to serve as a strong neighborhood school – keeping families at CPS, in the 47th Ward and in the City.
    There are many people to thank for this expansion.
    First, we would like to thank Senate President John Cullerton for allocating $10 million toward the Bell Elementary School expansion. We also thank Senator Cullerton for his tireless advocacy on behalf Bell.
    Second, we would like to thank Mayor Emanuel, Superintendent Brizard, and their teams, for an extraordinary commitment in time and resources to getting this done so quickly — a special thank you for being constantly available, flexible and responsive to our community.
    We would also like to thank and congratulate the entire Bell School community – this is your victory! Principal Sandra Caudill, the Bell Local School Council, and the Friends of Bell have worked together over the years to build a community around the school. Your collective leadership is why Bell is one of the best schools in the City.
    Finally, we would like to thank Paul Rosenfeld and Dan Hynes, co-chairs of our GROW 47 school initiative, for working countless hours on this project and all the GROW 47 schools. They are great partners and our ward is better today because of their leadership.
    This is a victory for the Bell community and I am going to continue working hard to get things done at all of our schools.
    My office will be holding a community meeting on the Bell expansion in early 2012.
    MORE GREAT NEWS…Coonley Expansion is Next!
    My office recently committed TIF funding for a Coonley Elementary School expansion. This expansion is estimated to be a $10 – 13 million project. The project will be 100% TIF funded and we have received commitments from CPS leadership that the expansion will take place in order to support the growing needs of all the programs at Coonley. We will be working closely with the Mayor’s office, CPS, Principal Zurawski, the Coonley community, and our GROW 47 Chairs to get Coonley added to the CPS Capital Plan. In the coming months we will develop a time-frame for this expansion so this great neighborhood school can continue to serve the needs of all its families. Finally, we would like to extend an enormous thank you to Principal Greg Zurawski for his tireless advocacy on behalf of Coonley School.

    Other Grow 47 Updates
    – $2million in TIF funding for Amundsen High School, Chappell Elementary and McPherson Elementary

    – $62,000 in menu funding for Ravenswood Elementary

    – $50,000 in menu funding for Audubon Elementary

    – Courtenay and Waters Elementary will be receiving menu funding next

    We will continue to update you on our progress. Thank you.

  • 31. Maybe?  |  December 15, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    Could the plan be to eventually phase out all the magnet schools and perhaps add or expand some RGC and Classical dedicated schools? There are too many kids in the city that have scored very high on the test but have not gotten any offers. If the magnet schools are phased out, parents will have no choice but to become active in their neighborhood schools for their kids sake.

  • 32. Y  |  December 15, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    Here’s the CPS announcement with all of the approved capital projects.


  • 33. NotCPSfan  |  December 15, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    What a bunch of BS. Wildwood IB has been on the “expansion” list for so long the paper is moldy. Good grief.

  • 34. CPSno  |  December 15, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    Adding on to Jones for 1200 students. BS. How about building a great school for 4000? That would make sense.

  • 35. Looking at private school now  |  December 15, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    I think CPS should give parents who listed LaSalle as one of their choices and who already submitted their applications a chance to pick another magnet. Nice of them to spring this on parents the week the application is due. Really nice.

  • 36. Nope  |  December 15, 2011 at 3:52 pm

    35 – totally agree. CPS has a long history of nonsense. If they didn’t waste so much money over the years, they would not be in the position they find themselves in now. No money except for things that don’t make sense. Yes, we are in private school now. Sometimes the adage “you get what you pay for” is correct.

  • 37. momof3boys  |  December 15, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    IMO… neighborhood parents want to take over the magnet or gifted schools in their neighborhood, which i can understand… who wouldn’t want their kid to be able to walk to school and get a pretty good education, right? but then they expect that the school will be the same. but, it wont be because it is now a neighborhood school. that’s what happened with edison. people wanted edison to be a neighborhood school and it became one, it’s just not the same. i’m not saying the new Edison is terrible but obviously it won’t have the same curriculum a gifted or a magnet school. duh… anyway, i think we should keep lasalle (and the other magent/gifted for that matter) the way it is and give the minorities a chance… my kids go to selective enrollment schools (HS/Elementary) and I consider them lucky. but they work their butts off to maintain their grades because I constantly remind them that there are kids who would do anything to have their spots and if they cant appreciate it, then we should give up their spots…

  • 38. momof3boys  |  December 15, 2011 at 5:44 pm

    @28.. the wealthier kids “suck it up and suffer???” give me a break… if they’re wealthy, they’re not even suffering…. they obviously have more opportunities than poorer children.

  • 39. Esmom  |  December 15, 2011 at 6:06 pm

    @37 I know every school is different but I have to respectfully disagree that a school can retain its quality/character even if it drops its RGC. My kids attended the neighborhood program of a school with a RGC (there was always talk about dropping it because of overcrowding, it may still happen). While well integrated into the school community as a whole, it was a fairly separate entity, especially in regards to curriculum.

    And truly it was the neighborhood parents who supported the school the most. I’m not saying the RGC parents didn’t, but many of them didn’t live in the community so they simply didn’t have quite as much invested in the school as a neighborhood asset.

    I’m sure a big part of administration’s reluctance to drop the RGC was because those students were a big factor in the school’s high test scores. It definitely would be interesting to see what would happen but my sense is things would remain fairly steady.

  • 40. Other Mom  |  December 15, 2011 at 7:41 pm

    Getting rid of the magnets is a great idea in my opinion. Like someone above said, it forces parents to get more involved in making positive changes in their own neighborhood schools.

    The luck of the draw for the coveted magnet spots is so unfair (and no, this isn’t sour grapes, my child got a spot at one of the “great” magnets but I didn’t accept it in favor of a wonderful neighborhood school) when efforts can me made toward all neighborhood schools.

    And the money going to Coonley is a slap in the face to South Loop. Racist much, City of Chicago??

  • 41. Therealness  |  December 15, 2011 at 7:51 pm

    @40 “…it forces parents to get more involved in making positive changes in their own neighborhood schools.”. How utterly out of touch you are. On the south side where I live, CPS doesn’t give parents a chance to effect change in our schools, they close the schools, do “turnarounds” or give the sorely needed resources to charter schools. Magnet schools are needed because there is no equity in the school system for south side neighborhood schools.

  • 42. chicago taxpayer  |  December 15, 2011 at 8:35 pm

    SURE. LET’S DISMANTLE THE BEST SCHOOLS IN THE CITY. FIRST, SOUTH LOOP ELMENTARY. THEN LET’S CHOP OFF LASALLE LANGAUAGE ACADEMY. EDISON — YEAH — WHO NEEDS IT. Well us folks who attend these magnet schools live in the city and pay those enormous taxes and are committed to our schools and our childrens’ education. When I read these comments, I can only think what are you folks thinking????? When a school is thriving and sucessful academically & otherwise, how can you support ANY effort to dismantle it? WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?? Neighborhood schools are measured on their ability to meet a minimal standard. Unless this is changed, they will never effectively serve students that can handle greater academic challenge. TAKE APART THE BEST SCHOOLS IN THE CITY — AT LEAST DALEY UNDERSTOOD THAT IS A RECIPE FOR DISASTER. It seems that the current leadership of CPS has no understanding that excellent educational alternatives — schools of choice are VITAL to the economic well-being of the City of Chicago.

  • 43. Other Mom  |  December 15, 2011 at 8:55 pm

    Schools of choice = schools of luck. Let’s make more schools better rather than concentrating resources on the few that people luck into.

  • 44. Anonymous  |  December 15, 2011 at 9:06 pm

    The alderwoman’s letter at the top of this thread groups Alcott with magnets Newberry, LaSalle and Oscar Mayer. Alcott is a neighborhood school – which, by the way, took on a lot of Lincoln kids in another recent boundary change. Many families have older kids at Lincoln and younger at Alcott.

    Would be nice if the Alderwoman at least knew what kind of schools she’s talking about before blabbering in.

  • 45. cpsobsessed  |  December 15, 2011 at 9:10 pm

    @42: I mean yeah, it does suck and seems crazy in some ways to close a successful school, but what is the option for schools like Lincoln that people flock to and get filled up, and there are no neigbhoring neighborhood schools with capacity AND supposedly there is no room for an addition.

    JCB’s map showed me that people move towards the good schools and away from the bad ones. It’s creating vast inefficiencies throughout the city. Schools sitting under enrolled in some parts, schools in a clusters over enrolled in others.

    What should CPS do to balance it out? First we ask them to solve the city’s segregation and now the city’s population skews. It’s a lot to ask. Someone’s gotta make some tough decisions, I’m thinking.

  • 46. anonymous  |  December 15, 2011 at 9:18 pm

    The whole idea of “forces parents to get involved in their neighborhood school” is baloney. Reality is 99% of parents will pull their kids out of the system entirely and go private or will leave the city, including letting their homes foreclose, before sending their kid to a poorly performing neighborhood school.

  • 47. Anonymous  |  December 15, 2011 at 9:31 pm

    @46 “99% of parents will pull their kids out of the system entirely and go private or will leave the city” is such a huge overstatement.

    – Most people can’t just up and leave. Yeah, allow forclosure and then how do you even rent an apartment with ruined credit? Checked the prices of suburban rentals/homes lately? Who can afford a rental in a good suburban school district?

    – Face it, people who can afford private schools already have their kids in them.

    Stay and work on your schools, don’t bail out of the city like a bunch of wussies.

  • 48. chicago taxpayer  |  December 15, 2011 at 9:43 pm

    To all those folks saying stay & work on your schools — I say GET REAL. What if your principal has a 4 year contract & could care less? What if there is a cadre of mediocre teachers with tenure. What should a parent do? Picket? PLEASE……………. School choice in the form of magnets, gifted/classical, charters and even private schools EMPOWER PARENTS. NO choice — means that parents who do not feel that their local school is serving their child’s educational needs — well then they can go whistle. Or move. When I read comments like “work on your school” — yes- been there done that. CHOICE EMPOWERS PARENTS!!!! Then parents can vote with their feet. It’s pretty basic. CHOICE = GOOD. NO CHOICE = BAD.

  • 49. Anonymous  |  December 15, 2011 at 9:59 pm

    #48 – Unfortunately, magnet choice = luck.

    “Winning the lottery” is how I’ve heard more than a few people refer to getting a magnet placement.

    At least you have to test into gifted and classical.

    Who is advocating for “no choice”, anyway? Sorry your winning ticket isn’t what you thought it was.

    By the way, lottery losers pay the same high taxes.

  • 50. chicago taxpayer  |  December 15, 2011 at 10:13 pm

    HELLO??? Magnets, gifted/classical, charter & private schools all provide choice. Just because you did not win the “lottery” does not mean that it is not a good idea to have a chance to play!! The commentators on this board (including 49) are advocating no choice by supporting moves that eliminate magnets (LaSalle II) and gifted programs (South Loop). Choice empowers parents, by the way. More choice is a good thing since it forces schools to compete for good students. CHOICE = GOOD, NO CHOICE = BAD. It’s pretty simple.

  • 51. cps Mom  |  December 15, 2011 at 10:25 pm

    @49 – you are right. Magnets are not gifted programs with advanced curriculum. They get more funding for programs like language, STEM, additional teachers for reading and thus better outcomes in general. Otherwise, they are no different than neighborhood schools. Many neighborhood schools have proven that they can perform just as well as a magnet. It’s a collaboration between parents, teachers, community and funding helps. My guess is that LaSalle or any other magnet is not going “down hill” if it becomes a neighborhood school as long as they maintain their teachers, curriculum and have parental support . There are a lot more choices available than 10 years ago and that includes numerous neighborhood schools that are real options.

  • 52. Nervous at SLS  |  December 15, 2011 at 10:26 pm

    Why do Bell and Coonley get funding so they don’t have to limit enrollment, while South Loop was left out in the cold? I guess the good luck that got us in stopped there?

    I live in a neighborhood where we have found *young* kids playing at the park, during school hours, with no supervision. The first time I encountered this, we finally coaxed out of the kid that he was late for school so he decided just to not go. We walked him to the school, where the office staff proceeded to berate *us* for getting involved. Really? Between the parents who don’t care and a school that cares about the wrong things, why would I have any desire to make the kind of investment you are talking about? The school didn’t want to give tours to neighborhood parents, or answer questions. It is far more complex than just having involved parents, or CPS waiving a wand to make the school “better”…

    And, not to be a kill joy, but in relative terms, city taxes are *not* high. I paid (proportionately) far more in taxes when I lived in a small southwest suburb with mediocre schools than I do here in the city. If I had a comparable home in a good suburban school district, I would have a larger lot and a tax bill *at least* twice what I’m paying here. I know it is still a significant chunk of change, but it is not an apples-to-apples comparison to compare city and suburban schools/taxes.

  • 53. Looking at private school now  |  December 15, 2011 at 11:04 pm

    Re: 37, are you talking about Edison Park? Because I thought Edison RGC was just that–a standalone RGC.

  • 54. Looking at private school now  |  December 15, 2011 at 11:24 pm

    From a Trib story:

    “Another concern that might be raised by the capital improvements list is that the dollars are invested in schools serving more affluent students: Jones College Prep, a selective enrollment high school downtown will get a new $96 million building thanks to funds from a tax increment financing district. Bell Elementary, which houses a neighborhood school with a coveted gifted program, will receive $10 million for an annex constructed with state funds. Edison Park Elementary on the Northwest Side, which has 15.6 percent low-income students, will be getting a new, $15 million facility.”


  • 55. LR  |  December 15, 2011 at 11:30 pm

    Why would they be using TIF funds for a school? Aren’t TIF funds supposed to be used for things that will generate future tax revenue? So, usually they go into underdeveloped or underutilized areas and build strip malls or other things that promise future tax gains. And they use the promise of future gains to finance (and justify) the building of the project, right? So…I’m really not understanding. North Center is not really in need of development. And certainly Coonley is not going to generate tax revenue that will pay for the project. I’m not saying Coonley couldn’t use an addition, I just think using TIF funds to finance it is questionable.

  • 56. cpsobsessed  |  December 15, 2011 at 11:39 pm

    I don’t know what the TIF money is and every time I try to read an article about it, I end up wishing someone would just explain it to me.
    Do “richer” neighborhoods with a bigger tax base have more TIF money?
    Pawar’s area, which used to have Ald Schulter already used TIF money 4 years ago to fix up Coonley and Waters. So this is a lot more TIF money going to the schools. Which seems awesome, being a parent in the area. But what are other areas using their TIF money for?

    @LR, while the schools don’t provide a clear return on investment, my assumption has been that Schulter and now Pawar see that having good schools draws more upscale families, which builds the tax base, attracts more businesses, improves property values, which help grow the tax base. But that’s just my speculation. So far it has proven true in both the Bell and Coonley areas.

  • 57. mil mom  |  December 16, 2011 at 12:06 am

    School choice keeps many middle class families in the city. Period. The best attendance area schools are predominantly housed in extremely expensive neighborhoods (as are many of the magnets), while the west, northwest and south sides are left with schools that are completely under-resourced, severely overcrowded or both. I am almost certain that my family would not be in the city were it not for school choice. Our neighborhood school is not the very worst, but not a quality option and the administration has no interest in changing the status quo. It would not keep us here if it were our only option. Even though our mortgage is likely underwater. And we would not be able to afford to live in a “good” CPS attendance area even though we are not poor. So we’d be in the suburbs somewhere. I’m 100% sure we’re not the only ones. If everyone in this boat left the neighborhoods with hopeless seeming schools there goes with it much of the economic integration in many areas.

    And yes we have been very lucky to get into good schools, but persistence, research, flexibility, and willingness to jump at a good opportunity at the very last minute (for two of three kids) were also key in the kids’ placement in CPS schools that we have been very happy with. I understand that the application process is utter hell, every time, but I do believe that, at least on the north side, there are enough acceptable options that MOST applicants will get a placement that they can live with for a year if they apply to the maximum # of schools (including some less popular ones) and follow up with all the schools about wait list status. And choice doesn’t end with the entry year, so if you can try again the next year.

    I don’t know as much about the south side but looking at the magnet school map it appears that that area of the city is severely under served for magnet programs, so there are likely some parts of the city where you can apply for 26 schools and get in nowhere within 10 miles of home But the neighborhoods near LaSalle are not such places.

    I also like about choice that kids can go to school with kids from all over the city, and often do, especially for high school, which I think is a great life learning opportunity. I’m all for opening more centrally located high quality high schools.

    To the extent they do have to close magnet schools I would hope they would move them instead and am very disheartened that two choice schools are slated for phaseout with no plans for any replacement. Only charters, which I instinctively trust less than CPS as they seem even less transparent.

  • 58. LLA Parent  |  December 16, 2011 at 12:12 am

    This is a very stressful time for us parents at LaSalle. I have 2 kids at LLA and another that should attend in 2014. Due to the changes the younger will not be able to attend since we live south. So many people here are complaining. My Neighborhood school has a ranking of an F. The magnets gives a tax payer like myself the chance to have my kids attend a better school. Let’s face it, you are stupid if you let your child walk to school alone. Everyone that lives in the city has a drive or some type of commute.

  • 59. Disney II PK mom  |  December 16, 2011 at 12:43 am

    Mayfair Dad, I can relate.

    I have some “anger” (really, jealousy) about the slim chances of getting into Disney II–a mere 2 blocks from my house. The school is fantastic (my eldest child is in TBPK there). And, it’s sad that it’s only one of two magnet schools on the entire NW side, compared to the concentration of magnet schools elsewhere in the City (yes, the LaSalle, Newberry and Franklin cluster is one example.) But, I am not interested in “taking over” or dismantling any of the magnets (including Disney II). Instead, we need more “options” on the NW Side. Nearly all of the schools in this area are either overcrowded (and not accepting any KG apps through Options for Knowledge), poor-performing, or both. For me, and many of my neighbors, that means either winning the lottery, or traveling quite a distance to find any viable “options.”

    I’m sure the Lincoln and LaSalle families have concerns about this plan, but, to me, the bigger issue is the impact eliminating magnets has on families who reside in failing/overcrowded school districts.

    I am actually part of a small group of NW side parents who are interested in trying to improve elementary school CPS options in our area. We are still getting geared up at this point. However, if there are any parents living on the Northwest side (anywhere NW of Western & Belmont), PLEASE take our survey–it’s short!


    Oh, and here is our site: https://sites.google.com/site/optionsfornorthwestchicago/


  • 60. anonymous  |  December 16, 2011 at 7:44 am

    #47, you find a rental, sign the lease and then let your home go into foreclosure.
    Or, you rent a tiny 1-2 bedroom apartment in a good school district wherever. Immigrant families do it all the time. Some will rent a studio in a good district and their whole family lives in it. There are ways. Put it this way, I would walk away from my home and go live with my in laws rather than attend my neighborhood school. Or, I’d get a second job at minimum wage if need be to pay the 5-8K for Catholic school.
    I tried working on my neighborhood school. After several years of that, I realized it wasn’t ever going to be close to what my kids needed. If someone wants to put in that kind of time and effort and hope it pays off in time for their own kids to benefit, more power to them. I am just unwilling to do it and got lucky in the lottery. If CPS takes away our lottery “win” however, we’ll move no matter what the consequences.

  • 61. cps Mom  |  December 16, 2011 at 9:21 am

    @54 and the Sun Times – “the dollars are invested in schools serving more affluent students: Jones College Prep, a selective enrollment high school downtown” –

    What exactly is your definition of “more affluent”. Jones has a low income population of 54.9% – is that too low to warrant a building suitable for a high school. They also are one of the top schools in the city with some of the smartest kids. I guess “more affluent” is supposed to be synonymous smart and high performing.

  • 62. Mike  |  December 16, 2011 at 9:26 am

    Feeling a lot of Schadenfreude here. I’m an LLA parent with a potential sibling entering in 2013. We passed up a seat at Skinner North in part because of the sibling preference (and because of the language and focus on culture.) I realize we were really lucky and there are many people that didn’t have their number come up and have been left out in the cold. Killing one of the most successful programs in CPS is not the way to improve the system, however. If you remove the possibility that a kid can get into a great school without living in a very expensive neighborhood, people with means are going leave the city. Those who stay will for the most part stick to already gentrified neighborhoods with good schools, resulting in de facto segregation and the city will be spending the dollars they should be devoting to capital improvements on defending itself from lawsuits.

  • 63. Gunnery Sgt Hartman  |  December 16, 2011 at 10:24 am

    It’s funny, it’s as if no one realizes what projects are actually underway in terms of funding, but you only pull out the ones you’d like to criticize. oh god, how are they spendiing money at Coonley!!! Totally unfair!!!

    Oh, and just recall that people who aren’t poor (and pay a big property tax bill) have a right to send their kids to a good public school every bit as much as someone poorer. Sorry, we can’t afford to send our kids to private school, but we’re not poor either.

    Here’s a list of actual projects underway. If you can see a bias, let me know – and the city also recently finished new buildings at Powell on the south shore, Azulea, North Grand High school and so on.

  • 64. Gunnery Sgt Hartman  |  December 16, 2011 at 10:25 am

    @38 “wealthier” does not necessarily mean “rich”. We cannot afford private school for our three kids. Simple as that, so please keep your class warfare to yourself. VIVA HUGO!!!

  • 65. klm  |  December 16, 2011 at 10:28 am

    Sometimes change is not bad.

    When Edison RGC was moved to Albany Park to fill in some underutilised space at a newer middle school (and help alleviate crowding of local neighborhood schools), most of its parents were totally upset and concerned that their kids were going to be in a building shared by older kids in a rough neighborhood at Alabany Park Mulitcultural Academy (APMA) –there are neighborhood gang problems and metal detectors (!!) as a security precaution.

    Cut to now –it ended up being a great move. The newer building is a better facility (separate new science, art, etc. facilities, clean, modern, etc.) and safety is not an issue. Any Edison parent that visits will tell you that the APMA kids are by and large well-behaved, great kids and in no way a threat to the littler ones at Edison. To the extent that the 2 schools work together on projects and activities, it’s actually a very nice thing. Also, security is good enough that’s a “non-issue”.

    Since LaSalle is a magnet, why couldn’t it move to one of the underutilised buildings elsewhere in the city, opening up its building to the “new” neighborhood school in the southern half of the Lincoln School district?

    CPS officials remark how in certain (mainly African-American) neighborhoods there is declining enrollment and a problem of UNDERutilisation. Couldn’t some of these neighborhood schools enlarge their enrollment districts/combine, thereby filling up more efficiently in order to provide space for a new location for LaSalle?

    I don’t know exactly about the enrollment underutilisation rates at schools like Jenner and Manniere (God knows 99% of the parents on this site would rather share a 400 s.f. trailer home with another family in Elk Grove rather than send their kids to either one of those schools, me pehaps most of all), but those are 2 schools that may even benefit by combining with other neighborhood schools that are less low-performing.

  • 66. Who are we mad at?  |  December 16, 2011 at 10:39 am

    I can see why there is resentment against schools that are getting additions. It is not a fair or equitable system but lets not turn on each other. Even the “best” CPS schools lack basics that many suburban and private schools take for granted and many have become successful in spite of CPS not because of CPS. Parents frantically fund-raise and then fund-raising becomes a necessary part of the annual budget. Yes some of these schools have wealthier communities but at least they are supporting their public school and not moving out and giving their money to private schools or the suburbs.

    These schools did not happen overnight, I am in the Coonley district and I can tell you that 7 years ago they had less than 300 kids enrolled and was in danger of closing. There was about 10% attendance by neighborhood children. The community fought to save it by badgering our politicians to help turn it around and it worked. Now people are flocking to the neighborhood and it is in danger of losing their special needs program and starting to be overcrowded because the people who are flocking all have lots of young children. They have had to open 4 kindergarten classes this year and even if no one moves in they will add 28 RGC kids each year. That is why they need to work on an addition now.

    We lived in the neighborhood a long time (13+ yrs) before having kids when our friends thought North Center was the suburbs and so uncool compared to bucktowm, roscoe village etc. A lot of the parents at the school are like us, we bought what we could afford closest to downtown. It was people like us who started having kids that finally realized we have to work to make our neighborhood school a good one and we did it by persistence and hard work not just luck. If you look around that is the same story at most good schools. They are usually not overnight successes.

    i guess the question is shouldn’t schools that are doing well be supported? What would happen if schools like Bell and Coonley just kept adding students, they would start going down in ranking because after a certain capacity teachers can not effectively teach. A neighborhood of wealthy families can more easily move or send their kids to private schools and would people find the RGC programs here so attractive if they didn’t have a strong neighborhood school within it that have parents financially and physically support the school? (not to say the RGC parents don’t help too, they certainly are part of the hardwork)

    I do realize that inequity is key and a school system that is partly based on a “lottery” is always going to produce a feeling of being a ‘winner” or ‘loser”. MANY schools have involved parents and a great community but are not getting an addition. Not a fair or equitable.

    Don’t get mad at each other take it on CPS and get after your alderman and legislators. That’s what most of the “successes” did, ask why your TIF dollars aren’t going in to your school and vote them out if they don’t listen. Or ask the Mayor why we keep a TIF system if it’s not equitable to different neighborhoods.

    Answer to why Coonley got TIF money the former alderman made it a TIF district. The new alderman sees the economic value and stability of supporting a local public school. Families flock into the neighborhood, businesses come where the customers are, not because they get a tax incentive. Property values hold and increase. A good neighborhood school is economic development.

  • 67. Ravenswood Mom  |  December 16, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    CPSO and others – if you want to know more about using TIF for schools check out these two links from Alderman Pawar & GROW 47 (his education initiative).



    Yes indeed – good schools = economic development. And it’s not just Bell & Coonley. McPherson, Chappell, Amundsen, Waters, and Ravenswood should eventually get $$$ as well. Maybe not tomorrow, or next month, but sometime in the next year or two.

    @66 is right on – call your alderman. Where is the TIF money getting spent in your neighborhood? Perhaps spending it on the schools is a better idea than another strip center.

  • 68. Gunnery Sgt Hartman  |  December 16, 2011 at 1:36 pm

    #65 & 66 are both very reasoned and interesting.

  • 69. anonymous  |  December 16, 2011 at 1:44 pm

    Did Emanuel get Coonley the funding for an RGC when he was state congressman?

  • 70. anonymous  |  December 16, 2011 at 1:48 pm

    63 — did you notice the new high schools under way are being built for 1,200 students?

    Why are the schools so small when the need is so great?

  • 71. chicago taxpayer  |  December 16, 2011 at 1:49 pm

    There are schools nearby that are underutilized right under LaSalle Academy’s nose — hello? Why not move to schools such as Hamilton or Prescott — both of which were slated for closing recently due to low utilization instead of shuttering one of the best schools in the city??? DUH. Why not move South Loop RGC to another school that is under utilized???? There is way more demand for magnets of high quality and accelerated programs and these programs are SUCCESSFUL among a sea of mediocrity and slush. Choice empowers parents. CHOICE = GOOD; NO CHOICE = BAD. It’s pretty simple.

  • 72. chicago taxpayer  |  December 16, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    I live in the “new alderman’s district” and I find his stance — not in support of LaSalle Language Academy to be rather short sighted — or more plainly idiotic. Where does he think that the parents who send their kids to these benighted magnet, gifted/classical, or even private schools live? In the middle of Lake Michigan???

  • 73. Mayfair Dad  |  December 16, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    Am I misinformed to believe the highly-regarded LaSalle Language Academy’s successful methods and cherished curriculum will live on at the new LaSalle II facility at 1148 N. Honore Street? So the program is not disappearing from the face of the earth, it is being relocated (phased out over time) to create neighborhood school seats in a neighborhood with a soaring population.

    The neighborhood in question is predominantly white. I would imagine the neighborhood children who attend the newly reclaimed neighborhood school will be predominantly white, too. I don’t have a problem with neighborhood schools reflecting the demographic profile of the neighborhood. It makes sense.

    The Old Diversity meant that less affluent children of color travelled from their crummy neighborhood to receiving schools in more affluent neighborhoods to have access to a quality education. The receiving schools were known as Magnets. This solution was in response to a mandate from a federal judge forcing CPS to desegregate. CPS provided bussing, which was very expensive.

    The New Diversity means that less affluent children of color have access to a quality education in their own neighborhood. The receiving schools are known as Charters, and there’s a boatload of new ones being built and taking over under-performing CPS schools. This creates “access” – the key operative word. The Feds want to ensure that every child across the socioeconomic spectrum has access to a quality education; they are less concerned that every classroom in Chicago looks like a Benetton ad.

    This is the strategy that is playing out. Magnet schools took a big step in this direction when they increased the neighborhood component of their student mix. CPS can no longer afford to provide citywide bussing for an outdated Magnet school solution that was always a band-aid at best.

    Say good bye to Magnets and hello to Charters.

  • 74. susan  |  December 16, 2011 at 2:04 pm

    Now we know why Rahm doesn’t send his kids to public school.

  • 75. HSObsessed  |  December 16, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    Hi obsessers, can any of you help me locate the source of a table I downloaded from a link that one of you provided in one of your answers, in the last year or so? I can’t find the source or the thread. The table is called “School Enrollment by Community” and it shows for each of Chicago’s 77 community areas how many public school kids there are v. how many private school kids, for 2009, and how much it’s changed since 2000. Does this ring a bell for any of you? Can you remember the source, or the thread it came from? Thanks.

  • 76. susan  |  December 16, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    LaSalle is one of the oldest and most successful Magnet programs in the city. Why would CPS want to $%^&* with it? I know because they are unbelievably short sighted. My son started last year and is now in 7th grade. We were hoping to send him to China next year on an exchange program. He has been taking Mandarin since Kindergarten. And now to pull the program seems so ridiculous and again short sighted. What can an average parent do to stop this from happening?

  • 77. chicago taxpayer  |  December 16, 2011 at 2:27 pm

    The amount of money spent on busing as a percentage of the total CPS budget is almost a rounding error. To say that Magnets or other schools of choice are a bandaid — ignores the fact that they are successful. To dismantle successful schools in a system that has hundreds of poorly performing and failing schools is idiotic. It also diminishes the choices of parents. This takes away power from parents. If ANY of the charters that currently exist or are proposed are aimed at students that are in the meets or exceeds rather than the remediation category, then an argument could be made that they could be alternatives. But they DO NOT have the same academic goals. So they are NOT viable alternaives. So in other words — the arguments for dismantling LaSalle II make no sense. Here’s a re-cap:
    It’s successful academically in a city that reeks of poorly performance.
    It provides choice for parents which empowers them to vote with their feet to choose the most attractive schools. Charters as currently directed are not aimed at high academic achievers but at mopping up CPS underperformers.
    It costs CPS relative little to maintain these programs since busing is not a major cost driver within the CPS budget.

  • 78. susan  |  December 16, 2011 at 2:41 pm

    I spend 2-3 hours of my day dropping off and picking up my son from LaSalle. We are beyond the bus routes, but since Lasalle is such a great school, we are committed to driving him there and back everyday. I bet many of the parents would do the same if the buses were discontinued, but the school remained the same.

  • 79. Mayfair Dad  |  December 16, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    “To say that Magnets or other schools of choice are a bandaid — ignores the fact that they are successful.”

    Successful at what, exactly? Successful at creating isolated islands of excellence within an impoverished urban school system that fails to graduate 50% of high school students?

    The Magnet school solution, as originally conceived, was designed to provide access to quality education for less fortunate children; it was never intended as an academic upgrade for yuppies wishing to remain in the city. This fact is hard to fathom for CPS newcomers but historically accurate.

    Many CPS parents hold the opinion that Magnet schools triggered the steep decline in the quality of neighborhood schools by luring the best and brightest students – and their fund-raising, PTA-joining, LSC-leading parents – away from the neighborhood. I happen to believe this is true. I’ve seen it with my own eyes and lived it with my own kids.

    The goal should be excellence at the end of the block for every child in Chicago, not excellence 45 minutes away for the fortunate few.

    Full disclosure: all three of my Tier 4 children attend wonderful Magnet programs. But CPS isn’t concerned with keeping Tier 4 happy – CPS is concerned with closing the Tier 1 achievement gap while dealing with a financial crisis, and it seems clear that dismantling the Magnet solution is part of the plan. I don’t relish the idea, but I can read the writing on the wall.

  • 81. XcpsX  |  December 16, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    78 – amen.

  • 82. Xcps2  |  December 16, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    78 — The goal should be excellence at the end of the block for every child in Chicago, not excellence 45 minutes away for the fortunate few. Exactly.

  • 83. cps Mom  |  December 16, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    Well put Mayfair Dad

    @80 congratulations to Coonley. I now need to retract my statement about no proximity magnets in my area. There are still many more blanks on the map that I hope will fill in. Interesting format – magnet and RGC combined. Nice idea. Great opportunities for kids now including good charters and neighborhood schools.

    @77 – I can appreciate many different opinions but cannot tolerate children referred to as “mopping up CPS underperformers”.

    Are there any trailer parks in Winnetka or Hinsdale?

  • 84. cpsobsessed  |  December 16, 2011 at 3:52 pm

    The problem with dropping busing it the Magnet do, in essence become the “academic upgrade for yuppies” as Mayfair Dad pointed out. Not saying yuppies don’t deserve a choice too, but the diversity is going to go down if driving is required.
    Families who have a stay at home parent and a car will get to take advantage of the Magnet spots.

    I think the busing costs may be a dot on the bottom line, but I think that dot is something like $60 million a year, no?

    Isn’t the concept of choice to provide a better option than your local horrendous school? What if CPS said that only kids from neighborhoods with underperforming schools could utilize magnets? That would be kind of interesting….

  • 85. cpsobsessed  |  December 16, 2011 at 3:53 pm

    FYI, I’m going to be discussing the LaSalle closing issue on WGN Monday evening on the show “Politics Tonight” at 6pm.

    I plan to represents the different points of view, so keep them coming…

  • 86. cpsobsessed  |  December 16, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    One thing I haven’t mentioned, I AM surprised that LaSalle siblings are not grandfathered into the school? Did I miss that? That would certainly make sense to me in the effort not to split families.

  • 87. cps Mom  |  December 16, 2011 at 4:16 pm

    It does say that LaSalle siblings would be enrolled along with families living south of Armitage.

  • 88. cps Mom  |  December 16, 2011 at 4:29 pm

    Talking one year only on siblings?? – that’s weird. That definitely needs to be addressed. Example above of parents choosing LaSalle to get both kids into same school.

  • 89. cpsobsessed  |  December 16, 2011 at 4:45 pm

    I put a bigger map up at the top of this post. The CPS map cuts off at the north end shows above, unfortunately.

  • 90. kate  |  December 16, 2011 at 5:02 pm

    Amen, Mayfair Dad.

    Chicago Taxpayer@77 – If the $60M worth of busing is a rounding error so is the elimination of the tutoring program, reduction in enrichment offerings, non-offering of a language, discontinuation of art (or music – can’t have both) in my neighborhood school. For every “rounding error” sized program somebody pays the price and in the past it’s been neighborhood schools.

    Wonder what would have happened if LaSalle had to make similar choices as the neighborhood schools – busing vs. language offering?

  • 91. susan  |  December 16, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    I’d take the language offerings any day over the busing. Also, if CPS plans to eliminate art, music, gym, language; what will they fill they extra 90 minutes with next year?

  • 92. kate  |  December 16, 2011 at 6:33 pm

    Dear Susan,

    If you remove busing from the magnet schools then they no longer serve the very students they were designed to educate. At LLA that particular demographic is rather underrepresented anyway, so of course you would make the easy decision.

    As for the discontinued and reduced programs, LLA parents will now be exposed to neighborhood budget standards of: ‘art or music’ and no language. If you want it, fundraise for it. (With LLA’s low-income rate fundraising won’t be hard.)

    Welcome to the Neighborhood !

  • 93. Pondering  |  December 16, 2011 at 6:34 pm

    All of this discussion has me wondering if the lottery Magnet schools have outlived their usefulness. Considering the consent decree that was put aside, the move to the tier system and gauranteed sibling and proximity slots, are the magnets really serving their purpose anymore? Perhaps this is the question CPS wants us to be asking? My family certainly benefits from a magnet school, but as I look around my Edgewater neighborhood at the many, many families who are attending various magnet programs or parochial schools (there are many who are not Catholic but choose the parochial schools because they did not win a coveted lottery slot and felt that the parochial school was a better alternative to our neighborhood school), I have to wonder if our neighborhood school would be in a better position if it had the energy, enthusiasm, financial support that we all pour into our various schools outside the neighborhood. My neighborhood school is Pierce and it has been making huge strides, but 6 years ago when our family was faced with the school selection decision it was not quite there and we did not see the level of neighborhood support that it has now. Just makes me wonder about schools in neighborhoods that are gentrifying rapidly. If Charter schools are offering choice, and there certainly seem to be many of them opening up in underserved communities, do we really need the magnet system? Could the funding that goes toward the magnet programs be better used in supporting neighborhood schools so that most of our children have a great school down the block?

  • 94. chicago taxpayer  |  December 16, 2011 at 6:39 pm

    The CPS budget is $4.9 Billion so the $60 million is about 1% — essentially a rounding error. The aim of the charters is to fix the students in the underperforming regular CPS schools — not to address the needs of the top achievers in the system. These are just facts folks. While you are of course entitled to your own opinions, you are not entitled to a separate set of facts. There is a huge amount of money spent on remediation — hundreds of millions of dollars and very little for top performers. Busing is a dot on the bottom line and its total elimination (even if) will save very little money.

  • 95. chicago taxpayer  |  December 16, 2011 at 6:40 pm

    One last point to the “great neighborhood school” argument. When a school is measured on its ability to get students over some minimal hurdle it will never achieve greatness. The contradiction is inherent.

  • 96. anonymous  |  December 16, 2011 at 7:32 pm

    Actually, it is hard to believe CPS would close magnets due to bussing when it has to provide bussing now for all the kids whose neighborhood schools have been replaced by charters. Those kids, who don’t get in or who don’t want to attend the charter have to have a neighborhood school. And if it is too far, CPS has to pay to bus them, I think. There are so many charters with many more to come, so I don’t buy the bussing is too expensive argument.

  • 97. anonymous  |  December 16, 2011 at 9:49 pm

    @Susan, I teach in a neighborhood school. I can tell you that our principal has been asked to speak with teachers about how to schedule the longer day. We have been told to PLAN on having no extra funding and no extra staff. Not to say that couldn’t possibly happen, but as of now, there are no plans to provide it.

    We have been asked to decide how to use extra minutes to meet the needs of at risk kids. We have been asked to discuss how to meet the new testing mandates. We’ve been given possible numbers of minutes to spend on each subject and “enrichment” is one of the categories, but again, no funding for it. So basically the plan is more reading, more math and more test prep!

  • 98. susan  |  December 16, 2011 at 10:31 pm

    @97….so sorry that you’ll be challenged even more. This is where the parent community needs to step in and raise funds for the schools, even volunteer to offer arts and music education. My husband is a professional musician and I’m an art consultant and there are many more talented parents out there who need to get involved. Test Prep is not an education. I can’t stand that so many schools teach towards the ISATS and that’s it. Well, we all need to gather together and do something about this…..Instead of Occupy Wall street, we need to Occupy CPS…

  • 99. Mark Sneathen  |  December 16, 2011 at 11:26 pm

    To restate the basic facts:

    1) Lincoln is overcrowded by ~20%, this will increase in future years
    2) There are ~1,200 seats available at Lincoln & LaSalle combined
    3) There are only ~940 K-8 CPS students living in the boundaries of Lincoln & LaSalle
    4) CPS will not spend capital $ in the neighborhood because there are more seats than students

    Many families in the neighborhood moved here for a great public elementary school, specifically Lincoln. Private schools are not an affordable option for many neighborhood families.

    With the dire financial situation of CPS, low cost options are in high demand. The lowest cost option in this case is to make LaSalle a neighborhood school. Additional magnet slots will be added at LaSalle II to make up for some of the loss at LaSalle.

    We didn’t ask for this boundary change. We want current families of students at Lincoln and LaSalle to be able to send all of their kids to the same school. We recognize the value that diversity brings to children’s educational experience. And if there is no longer room for our children at Lincoln, we want them to be able to attend a school that is comparable to Lincoln. This is the most realistic solution that CPS can afford under the circumstances.

    As a neighborhood school, LaSalle will continue to be a great school. The language program will continue with parental support. Having great neighborhood schools keeps families in the City – this is good for the vibrancy of our community.

    To ensure that the voice of the neighborhood residents, families, and property owners is heard in support of this CPS proposal, we need to get organized. Please support this proposal by:

    1) signing this petition of support for the Board of Education:

    2) liking this facebook page in support:

    3) sending an email of support to:

  • 100. CityMom  |  December 16, 2011 at 11:30 pm

    As a former LaSalle II parent, I can attest to the fact that the only thing shared between the two schools is the name. There is no connection, no partnership, no bridge at all between the two schools. The curriculum, languages, programs, etc offered at LaSalle II are their own. The school was “modeled” after the LLA program, much like Disney and Disney II but the schools are separate. Similar yes, but very separate.

    LaSalle II is also a relatively young school (this is year 4), so they’re still getting their legs under them…LLA has the history of a program that is (somewhere around??) 20 years old and that is very hard to replicate in a new school.

  • 101. cpsobsessed  |  December 17, 2011 at 8:38 am

    @99, thanks for the info.

    So just to be clear, I believe one group of parents in the Lincoln/LaSalle area has organized in FAVOR of the CPS proposal (the group mentioned in 99) and another group against it (who want to keep Lincoln boundaries as they are and keep LaSalle as an ongoing magnet.

    I’m just trying to get a lay of the land to summarize for Monday and I wanted to see if anyone felt the closing-LaSalle option was a good one. Mark, if you want to elaborate, feel free.

  • 102. LLA parent Adam  |  December 17, 2011 at 10:41 am

    The loss of LaSalle Language Academy in its proven form as a city-wide magnet school with a fully-funded magnet curriculum with World Language Program would be a travesty and a mistake on the part of CPS. LaSalle Language Academy is a beacon of hope and success in a stormy sea of disparate school options. CPS should be ashamed their utter lack of planning and management that has lead to this horrible fire-drill where at best the decision will limit options for aspiring students, pits family against family and delivers a temporary band-aid fix that will need additional fixing again in very short order.

    @ Lincoln families: The “LaSalle” neighborhood school that boundary residents would get would not be LaSalle Language Academy. It would likely become a clone of what Lincoln families have AT LINCOLN. So please leave it AT LINCOLN. Make room for your neighborhood children by eliminating attendance by non-boundary families and by relocating the non-boundary-based IB program and the non-CPS French program. OR, transfer your great school program to schools with vacant seats who are looking to expand their program and enrollment. Please do not promote CPS’s eviction of the existing LaSalle and it’s successful World Language magnet program by way of a plan that fixes on a one-school victim instead of multiple school winners. And my best wishes to you in working with CPS on a long-term plan that appropriately addresses the need for more and larger quality schools throughout Chicago.

    @ 73 Mayfair Dad: LaSalle Language Academy and LaSalle II share no common link other than they are both CPS magnets and share “LaSalle” in their name. They have no common academic administration a the school-level, no cross-over lesson plans, no cross-over staff, no cross-over PTA and LSA, no (i believe) International Exchange Program, etc. To suggest the teacher/student/parent institution that is LaSalle Language Academy is readily available in the empty seats at LaSalle II is baseless and naive. LaSalle II does not match the success of LaSalle Language Academy in producing top-ranked CPS students.

    @79 Mayfair Dad: That’s right, “producing”, not “luring away the best and brightest” as you suggest in #79. LaSalle Language Academy currently provides enrollment under a city-wide lottery available to children of all Chicago, of all race, of all socio-economic status WITHOUT regard to academic ability or testing status. LaSalle Language Academy then BUILDS these students into top performers, a fact that is shown in its testing and grade standards and in it’s graduates’ success in obtaining, via testing and academic review, placement into Chicago’s best high schools. There is not cherry-picking of “smart” or “wealthy” applicants as you elude.

    Converting LaSalle to a neighborhood school immediately eliminates availability to existing families past 2012 and all families not in the proposed “LaSalle boundary”. Along with the change would go the fabric and character that makes LaSalle so special and successful, and likely the magnet-funded World Language Program that defines it.

    Adding 30 magnet seats at LaSalle II does not compensate for the demise of 571 magnet seats at LaSalle Language Academy. LaSalle Language Academy would be lost. Period. School options would remain unchanged (before dismantling LaSalle): send your kid to CPS neighborhood, magnet or SES schools or private schools. Vacant seats would remain in nearby schools Newberry, Alcott & Mayer. It makes no sense to me. So why promote this disruption?

  • 103. cpsobsessed  |  December 17, 2011 at 11:08 am

    @102, I so want to buy into your Beacon of Hope idea about LaSalle and I can’t quite put my finger on why I can’t.
    I think it has something to do with the idea that calling a school a huge success when it is located in one of the most long-standing affluent areas of the city AND it gets extra funding for special program which likely contribute to it’s “success.” Not to shortchange the admin, who I have heard rave reviews about for years. I still cant understand why CPS can’t aim to replicate the success there elsewhere.

    But looking at the demos of LaSalle erodes the argument that the magnet is there for all students citywide (especially those poor disadvantaged ones) to benefit from.

    LaSalle is 20% low income. 20%!
    There is clearly some kind of bias either in term of people selecting the school because they live nearby or making the effort to drive there, etc or some other variable that makes this pretty much the opposite of CPS as a whole.

    White 35% (vs 9% CPS-wide)
    Black 26%
    Hispanic around 20%
    Asian around 15%

    Granted, for CPS this is a pretty nice demo mix, I’ll given them that. But apparently not the “poor” varieties of these demo groups, necessarily.

    CPS has added LaSalle 2, Disney 2, and STEM in the past few year. Is it such a travesty that a magnet will be phased out over the course of 9 years? That one school will convert from an extra-funded Magnet to a likely-to-be-successful neighborhood school? LaSalle is very likely to follow in the footsteps of the other northside gentrified area schools and be a “success” without getting extra funding from CPS. I have trouble seeing the downside of that, I think.

  • 104. kate  |  December 17, 2011 at 11:36 am

    CPS O – fully agree with your statements. Look forward to the broadcast on Monday.

  • 105. LLA parent Adam  |  December 17, 2011 at 11:37 am

    @101 cpsobsessed: those against CPS’s plan to “de-magnet” LaSalle Language Academy don’t necessarily want Lincoln boundaries to remain unchanged. They just don’t want the magnet school they have nourished, where they have their children enrolled (and for some, where they expected younger offspring to also attend), to be converted to neighborhood school status. Such a change would eliminate LaSalle Language Academy as it exists today and would eliminate it as an option for excellent education available to children throughout all Chicago.

    LaSalle families encourage a comprehensive review of potential alternate solutions:

    1) Utilize existing capacity at other nearby schools (Newberry, Alcott, Mayer, etc

    2) Relocation of auxiliary programs at Lincoln that utilize Lincoln school facilities in order to open-up “new” needed space for neighborhood children traditional school attendance:
    a) The tuition-supported (i.e. private) French-American School of Chicago (K-8 @ Lincoln, http://www.efachicago.org/
    b) The CPS International Gifted Program/IB-Prep for 6-8 graders (93 seats, http://www.efachicago.org/).
    Relocation of these smaller programs would be far-less disruptive than elimination of 571 magnet seats at LaSalle Language Academy.

    Many LaSalle families also admonish CPS for the lack of forward communication and transparency in discussing this issue and for its preparation and distribution of a formal written recommendation to eliminate the magnate program at LaSalle without benefit of a single meeting with the LaSalle community: teachers, parents, students & neighborhood.

  • 106. Mark Sneathen  |  December 17, 2011 at 11:41 am

    cpsobsessed @101:

    To provide a little more background, at the Dec 13th meeting at Lincoln school, CPS administrators clearly stated that Lincoln is overcrowded (by 21%) and they project that the overcrowding will increase in the coming years if nothing is done. The source of overcrowding is a result of more and more neighborhood families choosing to move into the Lincoln School boundaries (not because of population growth in Lincoln Park). CPS is going to implement a solution to address Lincoln overcrowding early in 2012.

    CPS considered a number of options to address Lincoln overcrowding, but any option that requires capital $ is a non-starter for CPS. Because as mentioned in @99, there are more seats than students in the neighborhood, CPS cannot justify spending scarce funds to add seats in the neighborhood.

    Other options that require no capital $ and were considered included splitting the Lincoln boundaries and assigning some homes currently in the Lincoln boundaries to Newberry or Mayer.

    We support that current Lincoln and LaSalle families should be able to send all of their children to the same school, as splitting up kids would be a hardship on those families. We also support the creation of 30 additional magnet school spots at LaSalle II to compensate for the loss of seats at LaSalle.

    For families like ours who have a child that isn’t in school yet, we don’t want our voice to be lost. We don’t want the boundaries of Lincoln to change. But if CPS is going to make a change, we support this proposal because it assigns us to a school that performs comparably to Lincoln and is literally around the corner from where we live.

    Also, for everyone living in the Lincoln boundaries between North Avenue and Armitage, no longer having a great neighborhood school could have very negative impacts on the vitality of the neighborhood. People move to this neighborhood, often at a big financial sacrifice, because of the certainty that their child will be able to attend a high-performing neighborhood school. The lack of that type of school certainty is a key reason for many families to leave the city for the suburbs. In addition, property values will drop significantly for many homes removed from the Lincoln boundaries if they are not assigned to another high performing school. By very conservative estimates, there are at least 300 family homes and townhomes in the affected area (not to mention condos). The values of those homes stand to drop by at least $100,000 and most likely more if children in this area can no longer attend a high-performing neighborhood school. And when families leave and home values fall, the neighborhood suffers. High-performing neighborhood schools bring neighbors together. They take away the anonymity of urban neighborhoods, giving people a very personal shared common interest. And they attract families who stay in the neighborhood, not just for five or seven years, but for life.

    In the case of our family, we owned a condo in the Lincoln School boundary north of Armitage for eight years. For two of those years, we searched for a larger home that we could afford in the Lincoln School area. Last month, we moved into our new home within the Lincoln School boundaries south of Armitage — a home that will most likely lose significant value if it is no longer within the bounds of a high-performing school. If we can no longer send our child to a high-performing neighborhood school (the reason that we moved to our new home within the district), we – like many families of young children – will choose to leave in search of a better one outside the city. But it will be with a heavy heart, as we were looking forward to making Old Town our neighborhood for life.

    One final thing: in the public discussion about this issue (e.g.. on WBEZ’s website), some people have said that families currently in Lincoln boundaries are so well off that we can simply send our children to one of the elite private schools in the area if we lose our high-performing neighborhood school. For many families living in the area, like ours, that isn’t the case. We can’t afford to pay our mortgage and pay the tuition to send our son to a school like that, even if we wanted to. My wife and I both work full-time in order to pay for our home, which needs a lot of work, compared to comparably priced homes in other northside neighborhoods, we drive a 14-year-old car with a dent in the side, and we rent the second floor of our home to a tenant to help offset the costs of our home. We could have bought a nicer family home in another neighborhood. Instead, we chose to be here, because it would guarantee us access to a high-performing school like Lincoln. Hope that helps add some personal context to what’s at stake for some of us in the neighborhood.

  • 107. LLA parent Adam  |  December 17, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    @103 CPSObsessed: I will celebrate the day that CPS replicates the success of LLA magnet elsewhere. But if CPS takes LLA magnet away, there will be nothing to replicate, right? Success at other magnets is wonderful. Improving existing neighborhood schools is admirable and the ideal; a no-brainer in this circumstance. But dismantling a proven success such as LaSalle in favor of focusing on underutilized and/or underperforming neighborhood schools nearby is the travesty here. CPS and its community partners should investigate the options. I’m sure all the adjoining neighborhoods would like schools like Lincoln and LaSalle in their areas.

    Admission opportunity to LLA is open to all K-8 students city-wide. Bussing is available to families residing between 1.5 and 6 miles from school. No bussing is available for those outside that radius band.

    I can’t explain why the low-income ratio is what it is. I can say that income has no priority influence on admission. The only influence may be that a “proximity” priority is given to residents with 1.5 miles, favoring, I believe, 40% of the available admission slots, behind sibling priority. Both proximity and sibling priority are recent or brand-new factors in enrollment. Historically there was no sibling preference and I’m not certain on when proximity was introduced.

    I will tell you that LaSalle parents from far and wide participate in the success of LaSalle, working with their children, supporting the school, participating in school events and being active in volunteering, the LSC and PTA.

  • 108. LLA parent Adam  |  December 17, 2011 at 12:45 pm

    @103 CPSO & @104 Kate: You made judgement on LaSalle’s low-income %. If LaSalle became local boundary school, it is expected that the low-income % would decrease from current 19.9% reported. Lincoln has 15.2% low-income. If low-income were to decrease, would you not consider a “neighborhood” LaSalle even more “elite” than it is today? Same tax pool pays for the school either way, right? Seems in contrast with your passionate statement above.

    An important clarification is needed. You suggest the magnet school will be phased-out over 9 years. I don’t believe that is the proposal. Current enrollment will be phased-out over 9 years. The magnet status would cease in Fall-2012 and there is NO promise made for continued funding of the school-defining World Language Program. If the program isn’t extended, the school curriculum would change immediately, not be phased-out, not over time. It would represent an academic loss.

    Dismantling the successful magnet LaSalle Language Academy now for a “likely-to-be-succesfull” neighborhood LaSalle is what rubs me wrong. What alternative CPS options were fully investigated with the community? Those who face losing the LaSalle they know and trust are asking for further, comprehensive and transparent consideration.

  • 109. BuenaParkMom  |  December 17, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    A TIF’s purpose in theory is supposed to be to spur development in a “blighted” area. According to much of what I’ve read a large percentage of TIF dollars have been invested in areas that do not really qualify as “blighted” with the largest percentage of funds having been spent downtown. This has been a huge one of contention in my ward (46) where TIF funds were used to build the Target and low-income housing units that wound up costing about $400,000 per unit. Many things were promised in that particular project that never surfaced – movie theater, market rate housing, ect. So in Uptown TIF’s understandably have a bad reputation be, because those funds go to a private developer and not towards local schools, police presence (which given the 13 shootings over the past couple of months we are in sore need of), and other city services. The latest TIF project in our ward may be (pending approval from our zoning and planning board that is in part composed of residents pissed off about the last TIF project) would be a private developer putting up a high-rise at Montrose and Clarendon. The $6 million in TIF money would then be used to partially fix the Clarendon Park Fieldhouse (only the current code violations), it really needs $40 million of work in total. Without the $6 million of work it has been implied that they will have to shutter the Fieldhouse completely. I would guess the Coonley/Bell TIF money will
    be likewise coming from some private developer’s building project in the 47th ward. As much as looking in from the wrong side of Clark this makes me feel even more like one of the “have nots” of public education, I at least highly appreciate an alderman who is willing to make serious investments in their local schools with TIF money since otherwise the schools get the same tax revenue for the duration of the TIF. For example, if $100 goes to the school now the school will get $100 for the next 20 years. If the taxes go up as they always do the school does not get the portion of the increase they otherwise would have. And we all know that the school’s expenses won’t increase at all in that 20 years, right? Same goes for police, library, or any other city services in that TIF area. And before everyone is angry because “their” tax dollars are being used it is ONLY the tax dollars collected in the boundary area of the TIF. However, it is probable and likely that everyone’s taxes are increased to compensate since the costs of city services do rise and the city does have to pay for those services or eliminate them.

  • 110. cpsobsessed  |  December 17, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    @107: I think the low-income point is moot when it switches to neighborhood. Nobody can fault a neighborhood school in a high income area for having 12-20% low income levels.

    What I cannot agree with is using the argument that LaSalle serves a cross section of CPS families so it shouldn’t be closed. That is not a cross section of CPS families. Obviously that’s not the only reason people want to keep the school open, but I personally wouldn’t use that as a key argument. Yes, poor kids all over the city COULD go to LaSalle if they got in. But they aren’t, for whatever reason, proximity being the likely culprit.

    IN terms of the language program being phased out, I agree — LAME. Just as the gifted program will stay in place even when it is down to one 8th grade class at South Loop, I (personally) think it is only fair to let enrolled students have the language program until they complete the school program.

    I sucks. I can’t deny it. The expensive private preK my son attended experienced an over-enrollment issue so they kicked out 30 families. We were allowed to stay through K but then had to leave. AND they kept our $2000 building fund to as insult to injury. Some people had purchased homes near the school, only to be kicked out. When you get in, you expect to stay in. Their response was “read the fine print, it doesn’t say you’re guaranteed enrollment anywhere.”
    I can’t even express the rage I had, we all had — in part which caused me to start this blog. I had to let it all out — the CPS search, the angst of finding a good place for my kid in the city.

    I think in this case, CPS is basically saying “read the fine print. No promises.” And I get it, it feels really unfair. And they don’t even have to state it outright. I guess it’s just implied as part of being in CPS. No guarantees.

  • 111. LLA Parent Adam  |  December 17, 2011 at 2:09 pm

    @109: CPS HQ conducts the magnet school lottery in an objective process with random computer selection outside of sibling enrollment. The school has no influence on any portion of the lottery. I cannot see where your argurment that affluence influences the general lottery has any valid basis other than an applicants ability to get transportation to the school. Bussing mitigates this issue in great extent. And you can check with the school; students come from far away addresses, not just local to Sedgwick & Eugenie.

    The general lottery provides the greatest # of openings after sibling enrollment, which is a standard policy across all CPS lottery-enrollment schools. The existence of the “proximity” lottery is, by nature, absolutely influenced by proximiety demographic, which at LLA I’m certain leans affluent. But there are also census tracts south of North Ave that are within 1.5 mile proximity that are far from “affluent”. This is visible on http://www.census.gov if you are intersted.

    If you take issue with CPS regulation and the tiered lottery enrollment process, please address that issue head-on with CPS and on your blog. Please don’t associate LLA student body make-up as uniquely unfair if based on process that is consistent with every other CPS lottery-based school. Perhaps your process angst is fodder for a seperate thread. On this thread I believe we’re focusted on the issue of overcrowding at Lincoln and the blind-siding attempt by CPS to terminate the successful academic program and community that is and defines LaSalle Language Academy.

  • 112. Mark Sneathen  |  December 17, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    cpsobsessed @102:
    Here are some additional data showing that LaSalle is currently available to a very small number of out of neighborhood families.

    Annual lottery applications to LaSalle: 1,500
    Lottery spots assigned to siblings of current LaSalle students: ~40
    Lottery spots assigned to new LaSalle families: ~30

    This works out to an acceptance rate of 2% (30 / (1,500 -40) = 30 / 1460 = 2%)

    Acceptance rates for reference:
    Harvard: 6.2%
    Stanford: 7.1%
    Yale: 7.4%
    University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: 67%

    For reference, applicants are 3 times more likely to be admitted to Harvard than to win an out of area lottery slot at LaSalle, and over 30 times more likely to be admitted to the University of Illinois (at U-C).

    Note: the LaSalle lottery data above are from data in the WBEZ article and stated by CPS administrators. If someone has more accurate CPS lottery data that would be helpful for this discussion.

  • 113. LLA parent Adam  |  December 17, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    @112: Ridiculous! I guess you should send your kids to Harvard then; it’s apparently easier to get in.

    CPS policy sets the admission process, not any single school, not LaSalle. Argue for a change in CPS policy, not a closure of a proven academic program.

    If there are 1500 applications to LaSalle, then CPS should be reviewing that academic model and DUPLICATING it elsewhere, not eliminating it! Don’t paint LaSalle as the offender! The school has no say over who or how many apply. Application is a very simple one-page form or online at no expense to and with little effort by the applicant. There is no interviewing, no testing, no essay, no academic review, etc.

    If the acceptance rate is only 3%, then shame on CPS for not creating more, equally-desirable schools for the populous to apply to. Or shame on them for not ENLARGING LaSalle Language Academy so that more applicants can be accepted and enrolled into the LaSalle Language Academy MAGNET school academic program. Don’t limit the option entirely by converting LaSalle to a neighborhood school that will at best educate the same number of students (571), likely even less (per your statistics: 2 schools, 1200 seats, 940 CPS students.; 50% to LaSalle would suggest then only 470 students, and if existing proportional attendance is applied, even less at LaSalle).

    We all want good schools, this is clear. But let’s not be PIRATES about it!

  • 114. LR  |  December 17, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    Going back a bit, #66/67 and others: When I was asking about TIF’s, I didn’t say I was mad. My daughter goes to Bell. I own a lot in the Coonley district, which hopefully we will be able to build on one of these days. So this is a win-win for me. But, I get it…investing TIF money in schools helps gentrification. I would just argue that North Center is not in need of gentrification…at least not as much as the vast majority of Chicago. But, I have to look closer to understand exactly how the TIFs work/are allocated. Thanks for the links.

  • 115. cpsobsessed  |  December 17, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    Nobody is saying lasalle did anything wrong. The lottery is what it is. Everyone has a fair shot within their application pool.
    But some schools “shake out” unevenly in demos for a range of reasons, likely geographical.
    But the facts are the facts. The school has a low share of “poor” kids. Based on what you say about the neighborhood demos, more “poor” kids could have what JCB calls a Quality Seat if the school turns neighborhood.
    Again, no judgement, just reading what cps.edu says about the school demos and it makes me want a better reason to keep it open besides “serving poor kids.”. If it feels unfair to the families who enrolled there and now get the rug pulled out from under them, just say so.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 116. LLA parent Adam  |  December 17, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    @115: Please review and reconsider your statement above: “more “poor” kids could have what JCB calls a Quality Seat if the school turns neighborhood”. If you’re referring to my indication of lower income census tracts that exist within the 1.5-mile proximity lottery, this population is SOUTH of North Ave and would not be eligible for a neighborhood LaSalle. The only way these kids have a change on attending LaSalle is if it remains a magnet school with lottery. Their chances improve with proximity lottery. Happy to explain further if helpful.

  • 117. LLA parent Adam  |  December 17, 2011 at 3:00 pm

    @115: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

  • 118. Nervous at SLS  |  December 17, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    CPS Obsessed – You can’t really believe the gifted program will be in place when the current K kids are 8th graders… They are not accepting new children to fill vacancies due to attrition. There is no way all 28 of those kids will still be at the school in 8 or so years. I predict at least a 1/3 leave this year – the environment is downright toxic towards out of neighborhood families. There is no way CPS or South Loop is going to tolerate gifted classes of 15 or fewer kids given the current class size problems there, and since they aren’t taking in new kids, the neighborhood and gifted classrooms will merge. Neither CPS nor OAE have promised continued support for the gifted program at South Loop. It is currently only the principal’s “good will” that is making that promise. At least LaSalle and Lincoln are being given the dignity of a presentation to the Board of Ed and a vote. South Loop got an email at 6pm on a Friday. No discussion – any dissenters were told to get over it and get in line behind the administration.

  • 119. cpsobsessed  |  December 17, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    I didn’t look at the demos of other magnets. Who knows – maybe they’re all similar, although I did see that newberry is like 53 percent low income.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 120. Mayfair Dad  |  December 17, 2011 at 4:00 pm

    The LaSalle debate

  • 121. Mayfair Dad  |  December 17, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    Dumb iPad -starting over.

    The LaSalle debate is starting to remind me of the NFL lockout – millionaire players arguing with billionaire owners over who gets a bigger slice of the pie. Worried about the language program going away? Plan a fundraiser and pay for it yourselves.

    Of all of the corrupt and wasteful things TIF money has been spent on, schools aren’t one of them. I’m actually glad when I hear about TIF money being used for schools and not stuffing some politically connected developers pocket.

  • 122. anonymous  |  December 17, 2011 at 4:13 pm

    @117, I think it is likely that at SL, as it eliminates one grade level per year, will eventually either have to go to split grade classes (ie, 7th-8th combo, 5th-6th combo), or kids will be quietly counseled into other RGC’s if possible, or just merging with neighborhood kids, or could be in another 2-3 years, they simply say, “too bad, we’re closing, find another spot and good luck!” This is what CPS does all the time. Though usually they do it in low income, high minority populations and replace the school with a charter. Regardless of intent, it happens all the time, we just don’t usually see it in better schools.

  • 123. LLA parent Adam  |  December 17, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    @121: iPad? Nice luxury. Wish I had one.

    Fundraising: you may have read that our fundraising efforts already support auxiliary curriculum and we’ve saved and continue to fundraise for a building expansion. A bit crazy we have to pay for a CPS expansion, right? But we accept the challenge. And then CPS tells us “never mind”, and that young siblings won’t now be able to attend the school after 2012. We’re trying to grow the program. CPS is trying to shut it down.

    I agree with you on TIF; so often little apparent benefit to general population. It makes you wonder if there are better uses of the stimulus monies collected and spent under TIF.

  • 124. Who are we mad at?  |  December 17, 2011 at 5:23 pm

    @120 Once again you hit the nail on the head.

    LLA Adam- if it makes you feel better you have a 3.3% more lower income population than Hawthorn’s 16.7% low income population, which means you have 20 extra poor kids at LaSalle. So you are not the magnet school with the least low income families. But pretty darn close. And you are right LLA II isn’t the same as LLA they have 65% low income. If you want your school to stay open as a magnet with the extra resources that’s fine we can understand it but to say it in anyway supports/represents a cross-section of the city is really embarrassing. You have a right to fight for your school but that argument won’t fly. Maybe Hawthorne and LaSalle have a different lottery system we don’t know about.

    Just an observation:
    Why is it that when people talk about diversity they always want the home-court advantage, they want the poor kids to come travel to their school. I don’t see too many kids taking the school bus and going to Pilsen, Kenwood, bronzeville. etc. to get the diversity they so crave and need.

  • 125. Therealness  |  December 17, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    @LLA parent Adam, you arguments for saving LaSalle in it’s present state make good sense to me, I wish CPS would listen.

  • 126. LLA parent Adam  |  December 17, 2011 at 5:56 pm

    @123: You have moved away from the issue: why LLA should be dismantled to make way for a neighborhood boundary school to ease overcrowding at Lincoln. It appears you are angry over racial and socio-economic balance at magnet schools, and also their location.

    If you review my comments, I have NEVER indicated that LLA “suports/represents a cross-section of the city”. It would be prepostorous to suggest such based on the demographic report for the school. I have said that the enrollment lottery is wide-open to the public in the following order as mandated by CPS policy: siblings; proximity lottery; general lottery. No other filtering for the applicant pool is applied except, I believe, gender. This is true for EVERY magnet school, regardless of school rank, term age, location, etc. I’m sorry if you are embarrassed by that policy fact. Please take your concerns to CPS, including location. It is CPS who opened LLA in its geographic placement. And contrary to your statement, SES, magnet and magnet-cluster schools exist throughout Chicago. If you believe they should be in certain neighborhoods, please pursue that endeavor.

    Yes, I do want LLA to stay open as a magnet school w/ a World Language Program. It’s a winner that deserves attention. But not for the reason it’s gained attention here.

    Nowhere have I seen a proposal to move LaSalle Language Academy magnet school intact. Only a proposal to shut it down.

  • 127. Who are we mad at?  |  December 17, 2011 at 6:26 pm

    @125 Sorry to take it out on you. I think I am more upset that we say we want strong neighborhood schools but do we really. It seems like strong RGC and Magnets always fight when there is a chance of it sustaining itself as a neighborhood school. I don’t think LLA’s strength is just the curriculum, it’s the principal, teachers and the community and you aren’t going to lose all that, some yes . I feel like the program can thrive somewhere else. As I said before nothing is an overnight success.
    If we are not ever going to free up good magnet or RGC schools to standalone as a neighborhood school then as a district maybe we need to admit it and plan accordingly.. Let’s face it if this website is an indication parents have become so competitive about schools that even if they live near a good school they would hop over to a magnet or RGC. It’s not all our fault, the system inherently makes you that way. After-all shouldn’t we all have world language, art and be scholastic academies.

    I did mean it about the “diversity” and home-court:)

  • 128. cps Mom  |  December 17, 2011 at 6:34 pm

    @115 – now we’re concerned about the kids south of North Avenue when PP are talking posting “For Sale” signs. Without LaSalle these kids will still have the ability to be in proximity lotteries for Newberry and Franklin. There is also a new charter – Quest – in the neighborhood. What other area of the city has those opportunities??

    As for the lottery, to clarify, there is and has always been a proximity lottery. We have only 2 years under our belt of the new system so the population at LaSalle mainly reflects old race and gender based system. BTW – gender is no longer a consideration for lottery. So as to not cloud up the issue I will not go into the political posturing that went on at LaSalle. I will not even touch on why 2 schools in the same area have 65% vs 19% low income.

    Yes, please, lets not talk losing “diversity” as the Alderwomen points out because race cannot be considered and socioeconomic tiers do not have the same impact in the way of race diversification. I agree, siblings should stay together and believe that CPS should address that. The school will still remain top notch and this debate is really about the small number of outsiders that will no longer get in. I feel for you but on the other hand I really do like seeing an excellent neighborhood school restored. It’s really good for the community and sets an example to spread to other communities.

  • 129. Who are we mad at?  |  December 17, 2011 at 6:34 pm

    I do think there should be a push to open the program somewhere else if it is not going to be at LLA.

  • 130. cpsobsessed  |  December 17, 2011 at 7:05 pm

    @125: I did re-read your post and I confess I probably read too much into some of the words. I interpreted that you implied a key purpose of the school was providing hope for disadvantaged kids, but I realize that was my momentary interpretation. (** indicated the portions I took to refer to that.) I may have read “disparate” as “desperate.”
    Ok, now to move on to the next part of the argument. Why is it a bandaid fix? I’m contemplating whether it would make sense to move the whole school, but that then leaves the new neighborhood LaSalle school to be enrolled as just K, adding a grade each year? Also, the factor of needing an empty building. And again, say CPS said “yeah, we are moving LaSalle to the south side.” That wouldn’t raise any objections at all…..

    The loss of LaSalle Language Academy in its proven form as a city-wide magnet school with a fully-funded magnet curriculum with World Language Program would be a travesty and a mistake on the part of CPS. **LaSalle Language Academy is a beacon of hope and success in a stormy sea of disparate school options.** CPS should be ashamed their utter lack of planning and management that has lead to this horrible fire-drill where at best the decision **will limit options for aspiring students**, pits family against family and delivers a temporary band-aid fix that will need additional fixing again in very short order.

  • 131. Anonymous  |  December 17, 2011 at 7:12 pm

    Love hearing single family dwelling old towners & lincoln parkers say they’ll pack up and leave the city if they don’t get their way.

    Opens more spots for the rest of us low-rent pluggers barely making it.

  • 132. LLA parent Adam  |  December 17, 2011 at 7:12 pm

    @128: So your are saying that Newberry, Franklin and Quest should be good enough for “these kids” (south of North) while simultaneously advocating that LaSalle should be “restored” for the Lincoln boundary families btwn North Ave and Armitage? These same other schools are not good enough for your family and your neighbors, so much so that you want to displace the current LaSalle community? Seriously, you wrote that down in a blog? I suspect, if you live south of North, that you bought there after LLA opened as a magnet school 30 years ago.

    I wish you could so easily get what you’d like to have. I’m working to preserve what we already have, the school we agreed with CPS to adopt while our children attended and that we have nurtured lovingly since day #1. Imagine the hurt when someone you’ve never met tries to take that away.

    I can’t say it enought times: if you’re upset with policy, work to change it uniformly, not by neighborhood district. If you’ve witnessed a violation of policy enforcement, call HQ. Our family was offered a seat at LLA under the rules with no funny business. We happily accepted and passed on admission to other magnet, one RGC and one Classical school in favor of the LLA magnet program. And it’s been threatened. I’m angry. I’m sure you can empathize.

    You have attempted to minimalize the impact CPS’s decision might have on a “small number of outsiders that will not get in”. As I see it, it is your camp that are the outsiders working to force your way in. I wish you would apply your time at making your current neighborhood schools the best they can be and would focus on finding excess enrollment where capacity exists instead of bullying out a long-standing magnet school academic institution that likely opened long before you called the area your neighborhood.

  • 133. LLA parent Adam  |  December 17, 2011 at 7:22 pm

    Moderator CPSObsessed: It seems my thread my numbers are one-off those replying to my comments. I see that one of my posts, #105, is “awaiting moderation”. I wonder if that is the root of the numbering discrepency. Please check. I’m reposting here. Post #105 has not received a direct reply:

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    @101 cpsobsessed: those against CPS’s plan to “de-magnet” LaSalle Language Academy don’t necessarily want Lincoln boundaries to remain unchanged. They just don’t want the magnet school they have nourished, where they have their children enrolled (and for some, where they expected younger offspring to also attend), to be converted to neighborhood school status. Such a change would eliminate LaSalle Language Academy as it exists today and would eliminate it as an option for excellent education available to children throughout all Chicago.

    LaSalle families encourage a comprehensive review of potential alternate solutions:

    1) Utilize existing capacity at other nearby schools (Newberry, Alcott, Mayer, etc

    2) Relocation of auxiliary programs at Lincoln that utilize Lincoln school facilities in order to open-up “new” needed space for neighborhood children traditional school attendance:
    a) The tuition-supported (i.e. private) French-American School of Chicago (K-8 @ Lincoln, http://www.efachicago.org/
    b) The CPS International Gifted Program/IB-Prep for 6-8 graders (93 seats, http://www.lincoln.cps.k12.il.us/departments/IG/index.html).
    Relocation of these smaller programs would be far-less disruptive than elimination of 571 magnet seats at LaSalle Language Academy.

    Many LaSalle families also admonish CPS for the lack of forward communication and transparency in discussing this issue and for its preparation and distribution of a formal written recommendation to eliminate the magnate program at LaSalle without benefit of a single meeting with the LaSalle community: teachers, parents, students & neighborhood

  • 134. LLA parent Adam  |  December 17, 2011 at 7:23 pm

    Moderator CPSObsessed: It seems my thread my numbers are one-off those replying to my comments. I see that one of my posts, #105, is “awaiting moderation”. I wonder if that is the root of the numbering discrepency. Please check. I’m reposting here. Post #105 has not received a direct reply. This time I’ve left-out the suspect hyperlinks to Lincoln programs:

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    @101 cpsobsessed: those against CPS’s plan to “de-magnet” LaSalle Language Academy don’t necessarily want Lincoln boundaries to remain unchanged. They just don’t want the magnet school they have nourished, where they have their children enrolled (and for some, where they expected younger offspring to also attend), to be converted to neighborhood school status. Such a change would eliminate LaSalle Language Academy as it exists today and would eliminate it as an option for excellent education available to children throughout all Chicago.

    LaSalle families encourage a comprehensive review of potential alternate solutions:

    1) Utilize existing capacity at other nearby schools (Newberry, Alcott, Mayer, etc

    2) Relocation of auxiliary programs at Lincoln that utilize Lincoln school facilities in order to open-up “new” needed space for neighborhood children traditional school attendance:
    a) The tuition-supported (i.e. private) French-American School of Chicago (K-8 @ Lincoln)
    b) The CPS International Gifted Program/IB-Prep for 6-8 graders (93 seats).
    Relocation of these smaller programs would be far-less disruptive than elimination of 571 magnet seats at LaSalle Language Academy.

    Many LaSalle families also admonish CPS for the lack of forward communication and transparency in discussing this issue and for its preparation and distribution of a formal written recommendation to eliminate the magnate program at LaSalle without benefit of a single meeting with the LaSalle community: teachers, parents, students & neighborhood

  • 135. cpsobsessed  |  December 17, 2011 at 7:36 pm

    I think the point about newberry, franklin, and (possibly) Quest is that these are well-regarded options that most city familes would be pleased with, now as proximity/lottery options for the south-of-north families.

    I have to ask, based on the emphasis on the school community, would LaSalle parents be ok if the school relocated at a location of CPS’ choosing to keep the program intact?

    I just feel like the “fabric of the school” will still be excellent at lasalle as it transitions, taking in Lincoln kids. The school will lose its magnet perks, but if it’s as lovingly nurtured as you say, and will draw in families who chose to live in a great school district, how bad can it be? It’s bait and switch, but somebody somewhere in this puzzle is going to get baited and switched.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 136. cps Mom  |  December 17, 2011 at 8:00 pm

    Thanks CPSO, that is the point and I share your thoughts in @134.

    I also wonder why there would be seats at Newberry, a well regarded magnet that also has applications in excess of seats available.

  • 137. LLA parent Adam  |  December 17, 2011 at 8:56 pm

    @CPSO: You’ve raised a root issue: how would LaSalle administration, teachers, parents, students and community respond if asked by CPS for their thoughts if…..

    I suggest CPS put the brakes on this process and start anew. A thoughful, respectful and appropriate approach by CPS would be forward, open and transparent. It would have included the Lincoln school community. And Lincoln’s dealings with CPS would have included LaSalle. This didn’t happen. Most of us at LaSalle didn’t hear about this new until this week. And then, only because of a leaked document on the plan.

    If your blog, CPSObsessed, can help to stimulate a re-start, then kudos to you and your followers and the power of communication. It would be a shining example of why it is reasonable and important to have an academic and political discussion on a difficult topic that is viewed by those invested with contrasting perspectives but a unanimous base goal: quality education in Chicago Public Schools.

  • 138. LLA parent Adam  |  December 17, 2011 at 9:09 pm

    @CPSO: btw, you’d be good if Coonley converted to neighborhood boundary school and the acedemic curriculum and resources were adjusted from RGC to standard-level and a new offspring of yours was restricted from any chance to get the same opportunity there as your #1? Just asking.

  • 139. cpsobsessed  |  December 17, 2011 at 9:21 pm

    I would be totally fine with that. In fact as the building has grown full and I can sense tension I’ve told people I don’t see why they don’t stop admitting to the rgc and move it to a new school.
    I feel the neighborhood has priority. If they actually displaced the current rgc kids or my son’s class slowly shifted to non-accelerated , as people have suggested would occur at south loop, that would disappoint me. But I trust the current admin to keeps kids working at the right level, rgc or not.

    I think rgc’s are a little different though because there is no guarantee (or it seems liklihood) or younger siblings testing in, unlike magnets where siblings get the same program. If I had another child my assumption is that they’d be in the neighborhood program IF there was room.

    I guess as I examine my views here, I lean pro-neighborhood. I feel that families in a given neighborhood have a right to not have an overcrowded school (so I agree with some of the recos to consider moving the non-neighborhood programs at lincoln.)
    I greatly respect Bell for making it work so long with the rgc and deaf programs while the school was bursting at the seams.

    So yeah, I’d be fine, but obviously not everyone shares that opinion. I have a nice neighborhood school though, so that makes it easier to fathom.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 140. LLA parent Adam  |  December 17, 2011 at 9:28 pm

    Your candor is appreciated. And it’s great you have the options you do.

  • 141. cpsobsessed  |  December 17, 2011 at 9:36 pm

    I am lucky. Although I should note that I was part of a group of parents who worked our asses off to make that neighborhood school a thriving place. (My role so minimal compared to other people who are still doing it.)
    I think that is part of why I have empathy for the neighborhood schools.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 142. cps mom  |  December 17, 2011 at 9:49 pm

    I am a very happy current parent at LL2. In 4 short years this school has made impressive inroads. I am very happy with the curriculum and the language selection, just added this year is French, so now we have 5 languages with excellent teachers and leaders.
    The school has had some bumps such as the Anderson Kids being fazed out but then absorbed into the upper grades. This was a decision made by CPS last minute at the end of the school year. last June. one thing I was wondering was the busing issue because Lasalle 2 does not have busing. I wonder what the plan will be?

  • 143. Gayfair Dad  |  December 17, 2011 at 10:00 pm

    Silver and Gold/Magnet and Charter. Happy Holidays to all:

  • 144. cpsobsessed  |  December 17, 2011 at 10:05 pm

    Gayfair Dad! I was just looking for a link in old posts and wondered where you’d been!

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 145. anonymous  |  December 18, 2011 at 3:14 am

    Imho, and no offense, cps-o, but it seems that since you are not part of the LLA community, you don’t hae quite the same insight of others here, like Mark Sneatham.

    It would seem best if parent reps like Mark were to join you on WGN. Your viewpoints may not accurately reflect either side.

  • 146. anonymous  |  December 18, 2011 at 3:16 am

    cps-o, you may lean toward neighborhood schools, but you moved your child to an rgc this fall, didn’t you? And you feel that is the right place for him, right?

  • 147. anonymous  |  December 18, 2011 at 6:50 am

    anonymous, Mark Sneatham is not part of the LLA parent community. He is part of the current Lincoln boundary community and lives in the area that would become the LaSalle boundary under the proposed CPS plan. He is an advocate for the plan to convert LLA magnet to a neighborhood school in great part on concern for his real estate value, believing strongly that the presence of LLA, if available by boundary right, adds $100K of value to his property. He has expressed no regard for LLA as a magnet school.

  • 148. Bookworm  |  December 18, 2011 at 9:39 am

    My son’s magnet school has been built up from the bottom by the teachers first, then the families from all over the city for years who have taken a school that would have been closed because the neighborhood shunned it even in the earliest years after it was created. These are real city resources- money being given to the mostly.
    gentrified and affluent neighborhoods that in some cases the nearby magnet schools created with the improvements made by tax payers from around the city.
    Parents who feel that magnet parents have less of a stake in the success of schools they live far from either do not attend a magnet and watch the investment that takes place across the whole school or look to make these schools their own by turning it into a neighborhood school to increase their property values.
    If this is the logical conclusion of the Mayor’s decision to ” give La Salle back” to the neighborhood this should be done with real equity. Deliver these school totally empty ready to be built from the ground up by the the neighborhoods around them. Parents vested in the magnet from around the city including the neighborhood attendees will be glad to have their school anywhere. The current magnets should be moved lock stock and barrel out of the their current buildings and into unused schools in less crowded communities so that the resources imbedded in them for decades remain available to the whole city.
    If the Mayor intends to dismantle the system he should do it across the board. All SEES and magnets should be ” returned” to their neighborhoods. All high schools included. Let the property rush begin if this is all that it’s about really. The SEES are based on ridiculous tests that really in the end are meaningless- just as meaningless as desegregation is to some of the parents on this blog.

  • 149. Mark Sneathen  |  December 18, 2011 at 10:04 am

    @146, I do live in the current Lincoln school boundary and the proposed boundary for LaSalle (we live less than a 5 minute walk from LaSalle).

    CPS proposed this boundary change to address the overcrowded situation at Lincoln. I did not ask for or advocate for this change. Of the proposals that CPS considered, this boundary change is the best one for my family because it would assure a seat for my child at neighborhood school that performs comparably (slightly better to be accurate) than Lincoln. As many of the other parents posting on this site, the education of my child is far and away my biggest concern.

    Along those lines, I also believe that current families of Lincoln & LaSalle be able to send all of their children to the same school.

    In addition, I also want to be sure that everyone in the neighborhood, parents and non-parents, is aware of this change for two reasons because assigning homes in our neighborhood to a school that is not comparable to Lincoln:
    1) Because assigning homes in our neighborhood to school that is not in the neighborhood or is nor comparable to Lincoln will reduce the cohesiveness and stability of the neighborhood. This neighborhood is attracting more and more parents because it has had a strong neighborhood school and center of gravity for community building
    2) Property values in the neighborhood will be best protected by this proposal. This is an issue for me as well as everyone who made a commitment to this neighborhood by purchasing property here. So yes, I also support this CPS proposal because of the options considered, this proposal best protects private property interests.

  • 150. Anonymous  |  December 18, 2011 at 10:49 am

    What about the families with kids at Lincoln who are forced to send younger kids to Alcott?

  • 151. CPS alum-- was Cps grad but I noticed there was another Cps grad  |  December 18, 2011 at 11:42 am


    CPS should keep Lasalle’s Magnet program intact—funding, administration and teachers—BUT move it to another facility just as it did with Edison Regional Gifted a few years back. The situation was very similar: the neighborhood schools were bursting at the seams because a special program drawing students from all over the city was using a building that was originally intended to be neighborhood school. Once LLA has a new location, CPS should hire a new administration and new teachers to reopen the current Lasalle building as a neighborhood school.

    We need to remember, that Lasalle Language was opened as a magnet school in the age before charters, turnarounds and before schools were closed for low performance. CPS opened magnet programs in schools that were underutilized because neighborhood families were not sending their children to CPS schools. That is why Lincoln was able to accommodate families from a larger geographical area. When demographics change the neighborhoods should get their original school back. Any program that draws from the entire city can be located anywhere. While it may be inconvenient for families who happen to live relatively close to the current location, and while it is sad for LLA students and families who picture the facility when they think of their school, we should remember that it is the school COMMUNITY that makes the school – not the building structure.

    On another note I have a comment about demographics:

    While it is true that CPS system is currently 91% minority and 86% low income, these percentages do not reflect the actual numbers of school age children eligible to attend CPS. I don’t know what the current numbers are, but I found that approx 59% of children are low income in Chicago and the population is approx 68% minority. While geography will skew numbers, I don’t have a problem with a Magnet school being 32% white and only 60% low income, because it reflects the true population in the city. Ideally and in a perfect world, if you added up all of the SE and magnet slots in the city, it whould reflect the demographics children eligible to attend CPS, not the demographics of the system. Clearly the CPS demographics show that many families opt out.

  • 152. Sad but what is the solution?  |  December 18, 2011 at 8:33 pm

    The bottom line is that the move is away from magnet schools and back to neighborhood schools. There are many reasons for this – some good some bad – but that is where things are going. If we think about it, that is what we all want.

    HOWEVER, this move means that the gap between the haves(those in nice neighborhoods) and the have nots (those in terrible neighborhoods where the only option for a good education is to go to another school) is going to be even greater.

    There is a naive part of me that likes to think this will help diversify the city because people will leave one neighborhood to go to another. The reality is just that things are going to get worse for some folks.

    Sad but what is the solution?

  • 153. Gayfair Dad  |  December 18, 2011 at 8:54 pm

    @150: “CPS should keep Lasalle’s Magnet program intact—funding, administration and teachers—BUT move it to another facility just as it did with Edison Regional Gifted a few years back.”

    Right On. Why not?

  • 154. anonymous  |  December 18, 2011 at 9:14 pm

    Speak for yourself #151. You are entitled to your opinion, but I do not want a move away from magnets. I want all schools to get the financial funding and resource support (read, staffing) they need. But since that will probably never happen, I at least want my kids surrounded by other kids whose families really care about their education and who perform at high levels. I don’t want my kids attending our neighborhood school where most kids are so far below grade level.

  • 155. Old Town Neighbor  |  December 18, 2011 at 9:45 pm

    I think that the discussion so far reflects the complexity of this issue. I would like to chime in with some additional points. I understand that CPS needs to find a solution to the overcrowding problem at Lincoln, but to do so by dismantling one of its FEW success stories is shortsighted. This is especially shortsighted given that converting LaSalle to a neighborhood school will not solve the overcrowding problem and may usher in even larger problems. At the end of the day, this comes down to trade-offs. Let me explain.

    LaSalle represents one of the few successful schools in CPS. LaSalle’s model is made even more laudable by the fact that LaSalle consistently scores at the top of the city, and does so without selective enrollment. Children at LaSalle come from every corner of the city and represent every demographic group. Two-thirds of the school population is non-white. Although not all of LLA’s students are classified as “low-income” many do come from neighborhoods with underperforming or failing schools. Magnet schools like LaSalle offer their only chance for a quality education. Because CPS has yet to provide these communities with viable neighborhood options, CPS is MORALLY OBLIGATED to maintain the only avenues for a quality education that these families have–the magnet schools.

    Some of you mentioned that charter schools are the solution for these communities. Do your research. The charter school venture that CPS is selling the farm over (and dismantling successful magnets to support) has been a failure up to this point. Charter schools in Chicago are performing no better overall than the schools they are replacing. All data suggest that they may never fulfill this promise. Decades of research shows that, nationally, charter schools do not perform any better than non-charter public schools. The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior–don’t hold your breath waiting for charter schools to herald a new dawn for CPS. Magnet schools provide families in neighborhoods with underperforming schools with the ONLY access to a quality education.

    It seems that every day we are hearing about another colossal CPS failure…another school falling below standards, getting on the probation list, or being slated for closure. I imagine that in a few years, its many underperforming charter schools will start making these lists. CPS CANNOT AFFORD TO UNDO ITS FEW SUCCESS STORIES!!!! LaSalle stands as one of the few schools in CPS that can provide a quality education for students of color. Lincoln cannot make this promise. Unfortunately, few neighborhood schools can. They are simply not as diverse and/or as successful as LaSalle and other magnets.

    So here is where the trade-off comes in. CPS says that it will not invest in expansion or new construction because there is excess capacity at surrounding schools (Allcott, Mayer, and Newberry…note that LaSalle is not on their list…we are bursting at the seams as well). What provides a greater value to the city? To CPS? To their image and their political careers (let’s face it…that matters). So here are the options:

    1) CPS could choose to solve the overcrowding at Lincoln problem with a temporary fix by converting LaSalle into a neighborhood school. As many have already pointed out, with the massive developments slated for north of Armitage (and thus not serviced by this plan), with LaSalle remaining mostly non-residential for many years to come, and with already limited capacity at LaSalle, this solution will NOT solve the problem.

    2) CPS could continue to support one of its few successful, demographically diverse schools and demonstrate that it actually does have some successful models to work with. CPS is facing an even larger crisis. If the current trends continue, they could be staring down a massive class-action lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of its policies. Schools in neighborhoods of color continue to struggle, charters are not working, and the few successful schools that service these communities (namely the magnet schools) will be dismantled and converted into neighborhood schools that service mostly white communities. If you think this isn’t about race, you just wait. CPS is on a crash course with the Constitution of the United States.

    So here we are. CPS could pick the expedient, short-term, band-aid and take a giant leap towards a constitutional show-down, OR they can preserve and even grow their model programs like LaSalle, and make a modest capital investment to provide relief for their overcrowded neighborhood schools. It will be interesting to see which option CPS chooses.

  • 156. Lovie  |  December 18, 2011 at 10:01 pm

    @151 – Even that has its complexities. For example, why is the neighborhood school Kellogg Elem mostly black and the Catholic school across the street from it mostly white in this black-and-white neighborhood of north Beverly? Then, the neighborhood high school (Morgan Park H.S.) is almost fully black? Very odd, this “voting” with the feet. Very Chicago.

  • 157. Sad but what is the solution?  |  December 18, 2011 at 10:28 pm

    Help me out here. Are there more possibilities than these:

    Choice 1 – Do nothing. Let Lincoln (or South Loop or wherever) stay overcrowded

    Choice 2 – Build a new school to alleviate overcrowding (NOT POSSIBLE)

    Choice 3 – Turn an existing school into a neighborhood school

    Choice 4 – Change the boundaries to alleviate overcrowding and let the people fend for themselves.

    Choice 5 – Use something other than a school building as a school.

  • 158. Mark Sneathen  |  December 18, 2011 at 10:56 pm

    @154 Old Town Neighbor
    In the spirit of a data-driven discussion, CPS officials stated at the Dec 13th meeting at Lincoln that their forecasting model does include the proposed residential development north of Armitage, factoring in the ~800 residential units currently slated for development.

    Can you provide some additional data to support the capacity assertions and student forecasts stated in option #1?

    Based on the facts & analysis provided by CPS, the proposed boundary change does address overcrowding at Lincoln, albeit slowly, over the course of the 9 year implementation. While I’m sure we all agree that demand forecasting is a mix of art & science, why would we automatically assume that analysis and forecasts made by paid, experienced professionals is wrong?

    Also, CPS officials stated that LaSalle is included in their neighborhood capacity analysis. As stated by CPS, there are 1,200 seats at Lincoln & LaSalle combined, with ~940 K-8 CPS students in the Lincoln/LaSalle boundaries. Because there are more seats than students, CPS sees excess capacity in the neighborhood. Thinking about this another way, if LaSalle wasn’t included in their neighborhood capacity analysis, why would they propose reallocating LaSalle seats?

  • 159. Working mom  |  December 19, 2011 at 6:57 am

    @54-old town neighbor: If this trend continues (dismantling Magnets), then a “class action lawsuit/constitutional show down” is EXACTLY what CPS should prepare for!

    @157-Mark: Do you trust all the data presented to you just because it’s prepared by paid, experienced professionals?

  • 160. Working mom  |  December 19, 2011 at 7:01 am

    ^^@154, not 54.

  • 161. cpsobsessed  |  December 19, 2011 at 8:36 am

    I don’t follow – what is the basis for a class action lawsuit?

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 162. Mom  |  December 19, 2011 at 9:37 am

    Basis for class action lawsuit: laid-off former big law LaSalle dad has too much time on his hands. For the first time feeling the unfairness of life himself, he must sue someone.

  • 163. cpsobsessed  |  December 19, 2011 at 9:39 am

    C”mon guys. A little snark is ok, but please let’s not get too personal.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 164. Mom  |  December 19, 2011 at 9:45 am

    I actually have no idea if lawsuit man is a lawyer, I know nothing about him. But suing CPS because Buffy can’t have five languages anymore makes me sick.

  • 165. Mayfair Dad  |  December 19, 2011 at 10:12 am

    I told myself I was going to refrain from further comment on this thread, but I am compelled to respond to these pearls of wisdom from Old Town Neighbor:

    “CPS could continue to support one of its few successful, demographically diverse schools and demonstrate that it actually does have some successful models to work with. CPS is facing an even larger crisis. If the current trends continue, they could be staring down a massive class-action lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of its policies. Schools in neighborhoods of color continue to struggle, charters are not working, and the few successful schools that service these communities (namely the magnet schools) will be dismantled and converted into neighborhood schools that service mostly white communities. If you think this isn’t about race, you just wait. CPS is on a crash course with the Constitution of the United States.”

    1. LaSalle Language Academy is anything but economically diverse. Compare 22% low income at LLA vs. 86% across CPS.

    2. Recent reports of charter performance showed inconsistencies; some were doing well, many were not. Perhaps this tells us that the resources currently devoted to magnets would be better utilized helping charters and neighborhood schools realize their mission.

    3. Schools in neighborhoods of color continue to struggle because the best and brightest students continue to leave, lured away by magnet schools in predominantly white neighborhoods. What is the underlying messge for these children of color who have to leave their neighborhood and travel great distances to a white neighborhood to receive a quality education? How does this square with your pious concern for the black community?

    4. You did receive the memo that the Supreme Court of the United States has deemed using race as a determining factor for school admissions was unconstitutional, right? Socioeconomics is the new Affirmative Action – get with the program. And good luck with the Class Action Suit.

    5. Today the magnet school LaSalle Language Academy is filled with bright, enthusiastic, mostly affluent learners that exceed state standards and go on to be successful in high school, college and life.

    6. In the future, the neighborhood school Maggie Daley Elementary (formerly LaSalle Language Academy) will be filled with bright, enthusiastic, mostly affluent learners that exceed state standards and go on to be successful in high school, college and life.

    Look, we all know you love your school and want it to stay just the way it is, just don’t use your concern for children of color as some sort of Harry Potter cloak of invisibility that conceals your own selfish interests. It sounds silly and you come across as a bunch of pouty rich people.

  • 166. Anonymous  |  December 19, 2011 at 10:31 am

    I think that the dialog above is spirited and healthy. But I would like to refocus it on the big picture, since it is easy to get buried in the details of proposals, counter-proposals, overcrowding percentages, etc.

    The big picture is this: CPS is proposing to dismantle two of its highest performing K-8 schools. Rather than reward these programs for their success by supporting their physical plant needs, CPS would rather wait until a school fails to spend money on it. Ask any investor or business manager which is easier and less expensive, growing a healthy business or turning around a failing one. The answer is clear: supporting healthy institutions in their growth is infinitely cheaper and easier over the long term, and that is just looking at the dollars. When you factor in the true mission of CPS, serving and educating Chicago’s youth, the outcome is even more lopsided.

    The whole discussion of how many seats are available versus used in this neighborhood doesn’t matter. Under that logic, CPS shouldn’t make any capital expenditures for years, since I’m pretty sure CPS as a whole has more capacity than students (couldn’t find any official numbers on capacity). But CPS is supposed to do more than rationalize capacity. It is supposed to educate the children of Chicago. When two schools are doing that better than almost all of their peers, they shouldn’t be shut down, re-districted, re-curriculumed, or re-anythinged. They should be nurtured and used a model for use in other communities. CPS hasn’t made any significant capital investment in K-8 schools in Lincoln Park for decades, but now that frugality threatens the successes that these schools have achieved through the hard work and donations of community members, without the support of (and sometimes in spite of) CPS. I fundamentally disagree that there can’t be a solution here that involves spending some money to get these schools what they need.

    CPS needs to nurture and support excellence, not punish and dismantle it. And that is the big picture.

  • 167. anonymous  |  December 19, 2011 at 10:44 am

    cpso — if you get a chance to ask CPS — if anyone gets a chance to ask CPS, the question is simply this:

    Are you or are you not planning on supporting magnet schools in the future — and by future, meaning 10+ years?

    Because, if not, then this is a moot discussion and LaSalle should begin its transition to a neighborhood school today. And end the discussion as the school would be dissolved either way.

    If so, then LaSalle should consider a move to a neighborhood that would benefit from its great program attracting motivated parents in its new proximity lottery.

    Let’s face it. With a proximity lottery of 1.5 miles and Lincoln about 1 mile away, we’re not talking a vastly different demographic of people here. Nothing really changes. So, if LaSalle wants to keep its magnet program AND, IF CPS WILL SUPPORT IT, I can’t see why LaSalle shouldn’t be asking to move.

    Instead, LaSalle proposes Lincoln families get shipped out of their own neighborhoods to other schools. I don’t even know why LaSalle is making part of its proposal what another school should do, btw.

    Finally, Lincoln parents keep asking to keep diversity by maintaining the boundaries. LaSalle parents keep advocating for their diversity (which is disappearing every year since the consent decree was overturned). Has anyone from Lincoln OR LaSalle asked the low-income families along North Avenue and in the subsidized housing that encompasses the south of Armitage/southern Lincoln boundaries what THEY want?

    My guess is that they want to be able to walk to school, too. And that school would be LaSalle — or the LaSalle facility, rather.

    Believe it or not, I think CPS is right on this one.

  • 168. Anonymous  |  December 19, 2011 at 11:43 am

    @166: The “low-income families” to which you refer are part of the Lincoln Elementary community, and are part of the effort to beat back this misguided CPS proposal. They can walk to Lincoln school, and do so every morning. They care more about being able to go to Lincoln than they do about being able to go to another school that is a few blocks closer to their house.

    Today, LaSalle is a great school. But what will it become when it loses its magnet status, loses its special magnet funding, loses the support of 80% of its families (who will feel that they have been disenfranchised), has its fundraising abilities compromised when current families feel disconnected immediately but new families enter over 9 years, loses the focus of its curriculum, and spends 9 years in a “transition” phase from magnet to neighborhood school? If you were given the choice between a stable neighborhood elementary school with an exceptional track record and a school facing that kind of transition, which would you choose?

    My guess is that you would choose Lincoln. And that is what the vast majority of current residents of the Lincoln district choose too. You can’t blame them. They and their predecessors worked tirelessly to build Lincoln. Many people moved into the neighborhood specifically to get into Lincoln (and made the economic sacrifices associated with trying to live in that neighborhood). They don’t want to wake up in February to find out that they are no longer in the Lincoln district. They don’t want to find out that their children now need to attend two different neighborhood schools. And they certainly don’t want any of this when it comes as part of a misguided plan that doesn’t solve the problem at which it is directed (overcrowding at Lincoln) and was formed without any input from the communities it directly affects.

  • 169. tm  |  December 19, 2011 at 11:55 am

    @166: Exactly!
    @165: Do you have kids at Lincoln? Doesn’t it stop being the same school if it’s overcrowded, with kids stuffed in the basement? When there’s 100 1st graders? Have you been there at lunch time?

    We need help. Lasalle, please help your neighbors.

  • 170. cpsobsessed  |  December 19, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    The show tonight is Politics Tonight on CLTV (comcast channel 40.)
    I believe it also streams at 6pm and 9:30 at:

    I asked the producer last week whether she wanted my opinions (no) or “what Chicago parents are saying” (yes) about LaSalle, so as I said I plan to represent the range. I gave her Adam’s contact info so she can get in touch if they want to dig deeper.

    Live TV is kinda weird. I feel like I should shout out a political statement like they do on the Academy Awards. 🙂
    I guess when it comes down to it “MORE FUNDING FOR ILLINOIS EDUCATION” is something we could all agree on.

  • 171. cpsobsessed  |  December 19, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    Just a head’s up that there is another call-in show this Wednesday. Always interesting to listen to! Not sure if they will be discussion LaSalle or not, but I’m sure parents will be calling in, so we will see…

    Dear CPS Parents/Guardians:

    First, if you are among the hundreds of parents that joined our last two parent tele-townhalls, thank you! I thoroughly enjoyed taking your questions and engaging with you on issues facing our students and the district. I want to keep the conversation going as we head into the holidays, and would like to invite you back to our final tele-townhall of 2011.

    Please join me this Wednesday, Dec. 21, at 6:30 p.m., for another hour-long discussion about the series of actions CPS has proposed to create higher performing school options for children currently attending some of the lowest performing schools in the district. So much has been reported on the actions we are taking to turn them around and our plans to help students at these schools get a fresh start at achieving academic success in the classroom. I hope to engage with you again on these issues so you can hear directly from me on what we are doing to change the status quo and why.

    To access the call on Wednesday, please call 1-877-229-8493 toll-free from any phone, and, when prompted, enter the access code 18528.

    I again look forward to answering your questions, and hope you will join me and other members of my team this Wednesday. Thanks again!

    JC Brizard
    Chicago Public Schools CEO

  • 172. LLA parent Adam  |  December 19, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    a) You’ve suggested that LaSalle should and should want to move but without stating any purpose.
    b) Proximity Lottery accounts for only 40% of available slots after sibling lottery. The remaining 60% is city-wide lottery.
    c) CPS says it has no money for capital, which would include moving a school I suspect
    d) Your references to racial diversity don’t appear to have substance and you have not supported w/ a presentation of stats. What are you saying exactly?
    e) Why would LaSalle ask to move when it is proud and pleased with it’s successful program, in place in this building as a magnet program for 30 years already.
    f) You suggest LaSalle proposes that Lincoln families get “shipped out of their own neighborhoods”. No, we suggest that CPS finds capacity within Lincoln and neighboring schools to handle the in-boundary students. Meanwhile, CPS and Lincoln/LaSalle redistrict supporters propose that LaSalle families with kids entering after 2012 get shipped out of the school entirely. Why don’t you take issue with that?
    g) racial diversity, cultural diversity and economic diversity are three separate topics with related threads but uniquely different.
    h) you have not considered all the building options available to Lincoln district students, and those also south of North Ave. You have for some reason only fixed on LaSalle as the sole physical plant solution. It is now. Perhaps you live very near by and would like your child to attend. Yes?

  • 173. LLA parent Adam  |  December 19, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    #171: Thanks for the heads-up!

  • 174. cpsobsessed  |  December 19, 2011 at 1:41 pm

    @146: never got a chance to reply to your post.
    Yes, my son is in a RGC. I’m not sure it’s the best fit for him, frankly but if he were really gifted I would.

    I don’t deny the allure of magnets/gifted/classical schools. That was the genesis for this blog: My obsession with navigating the process and trying to get the best option for my child. I started that 6 years ago when he was 2.5 years old and I was applying for pre-school.

    Just for a little history, the CPS landspace was SO different then! You could use tuition-based Pre-K as an “in” at several good schools (Alcott, Burley, Blaine.) You could use what we now call Principal Discretion to get into elementary schools by buttering up the principal or making a case for what you could “bring” to the school (effort mainly.) The application process required sending a form to EACH friggin school. There were only a handful of northside schools that were considered acceptable. And there were fewer Magnet options because LLLA2, Disney2, and STEM didn’t exist. Also, at that time, the general consensus among people I met with kids was “you don’t send your kids to CPS.” I don’t think one of my neighbors had a child in CPS at that time.

    Luckily a lot has improved since then, notably, a lot of neighborhoods working to improve their schools, which has opened spots for kids outside those neighborhoods as the schools grow (ie Pierce has done this for a few years.) And more of an acceptance of CPS as a good option (to the point of us all fighting for spaces.)

    I do feel like a jerk every day as I drive my son to his RGC school and I pass many of my neighbors walking their kids to the local school. It’s a great thing to be a part of. At this point, frankly, they are full and don’t need my son, but a few years ago they needed to build enrollment and I left for a “better” chance. The school was still in transition then and one of the 2 Kindergarten teachers felt unacceptable to me, so I decided to take the RGC spot. I didn’t want to take the chance of getting that teacher. It was a lot of factors coming into the mix, but I figured I’d take the RGC spot, knowing we had a good fallback.

    I’m certainly not opposed to magnets and selective enrollment programs. (However in the past few years I’ve learned more about the extra funding these programs get and I don’t really agree with that. It seems unfair to me.)

    Anyone who reads here regularly knows that I’ve said more than once “why all the charters, why not open more magnets in those neighborhoods?”

    From a purely logistical/geographical standpoint, the closing (or relocating) of LLA looks to make sense. That certainly doesn’t mean it makes sense on other levels.

    I don’t think CPS has a MORAL obligation to do anything. They are an under-funded government institution so that can’t be their strategic mission. Catholic Church maybe, not CPS. However being the socialist/bleeding heart liberal that I sometimes am, I could seriously support moving LLA to a pocket of underperformance on the south or west side. Wouldn’t that area love to get a school with a great principal and teachers, 5 languages, and a group of families who are very committed to the school?

    Phew, that was a lot to get out in one post….

  • 175. Wavering on CPS  |  December 19, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    Re: a PP’s suggestion to move the Ecole Franco-Américaine out of Lincoln, don’t those students already have to live within the Lincoln boundary? That was my understanding. I wonder how many kids are in that program. I suspect that if you moved them out, you still wouldn’t make a dent in the 700-plus population.

  • 176. cpsobsessed  |  December 19, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    Ok, I’ve been staring at the map up above for a while, in prep for the show tonight and I have the answer:

    Lincoln and LLS switch buildings. The lower half of the current Lincoln districts gets Lincoln School and the upper half is re-districted to Alcott and Mayer. Mayer loses Montessori (ha, nobody would complain, right?)

    I guess this is the problem. Somebody is always gonna be pissed off…

    Another fanciful thought I had is that in these full neighborhoods, you basically have first come, first serve for the schools, with registration starting at birth. If you move into a full zone when your child is 5, too bad, you don’t have a seat. I mean really, what if 400 more families all move into the Bell district this year? Is CPS obligated to give them all seats in THAT school because they live there? It can’t work, people. I’d always thought that if I bought in Bell, I’d never do it near the out edges of the zone for that reason. Looks like they dodged a bullet with TIF money, but you have to realize that now everyone is gonna fit in one school building. I know NY City is having the same problem in Manhattan and I think Brooklyn. I need to re-read how they’re handling it….

  • 177. Mom  |  December 19, 2011 at 2:16 pm

    I would also be interested to hear if the long-term plan is to phase out all magnets and if there is a timeline for it. It would have been nice if the LLA plan had been announced earlier so parents could have had a chance to apply for other programs before the application deadline. I know there are many families that turn down gifted/classical spots in favor of magnets because they want siblings together and this development might change that approach.

  • 178. cpsobsessed  |  December 19, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    @177: You are SO right about the applications timing! When was this announced, the 14th? And the cutoff was on Friday? That gave LLA families 2 days to figure out the application process, and possibly not enough time to get a PIN to apply online.

    This was the same at the private PreK was got kicked out of. I found out the board knew about the problem for 8 months before they told us their solution (no solution, kick out 30 families.) I really think that is almost the most anger-inducing part of the whole thing. Or at least adds insult to injury.

    I am trying to find out about CPS’s current POV on magnets. I’ll report back when/if I find out.

  • 179. anonymous  |  December 19, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    Converting a magnet school back to a neighborhood school has been done before in Chicago. Sayre on the Northwest side began phasing out the magnet program with the kindergarten class of ’02. It is now listed as a World Language Magnet Cluster school. I don’t have details about performance or former racial and socioeconomic demographics. I’m simply saying that phasing out a magnet when the surrounding neighborhood is in need of those facilities is not new.

  • 180. Esmom  |  December 19, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    @176, CPO, I am a former Bell parent and I can’t speak for the current principal but the old principal always said he would accommodate ALL new families into the attendance area, no matter how many and no matter what it took.

    It was a huge deal for a while when a developer proposed building a bunch of new housing units in an area within the boundaries that had previously been zoned as commercial. That idea was successfully beat down by residents but still it did precipitate the proposed expansion, which now looks to have gotten the green light.

    Any talk at the time of changing the attendance boundaries did set off a firestorm among the families who would potentially be displaced. So your instinct to buy “safely” in the inside boundaries is correct. However, given how proposed boundaries can change on a whim (at one point, one half of a single bordering block was added into the boundaries thanks to an apparently very well-connected homeowner) it seems like no area is truly safe, unless you can literally see the school from your house. 🙂

  • 181. Esmom  |  December 19, 2011 at 2:59 pm

    Just to add one more thing…I’m having flashbacks about how ugly things got a couple years ago when the Bell community was first faced with the overcrowding issue. One parent actually proposed (informally, thankfully) that homeowners should get priority over renters. Yes it was indeed an ugly time.

  • 182. cps Mom  |  December 19, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    @172 – lottery rules since 2010, Siblings, 40% proximity then split by tier.

    The feeling at the magnet school we attended was that this arrangement would over time create a neighborhood school and was not necessarily a bad thing. Siblings accounted for anywhere from 25-45% of available spaces. After siblings there is an allotment of 40% of spaces to the neighborhood. Over time, those siblings will become primarily neighborhood siblings and each tier would account for only a handful of kids.

    The conditions described by CPSO in @174 existed when we applied (only worse no Coonley gifted, no Beaubien gifted unestablished magnet clusters). At that time principals discretion allowed students to be “hand picked” for entry into magnets.

    Looking at LaSalle’s demographics, if the 15% Asian population comes from outside neighborhoods such as China Town, those students will compete for the same tier 4 seats as the majority of the northside of Chicago. The low income housing kids attending Manierre down the street easily fall within proximity along with the predominately “white population” that have Lincoln Park as their neighborhood school.

    It will be interesting over time to see if the magnets keep their “exclusivity” – whether it’s the kids, the parents, the income level, the teachers, the funding or a combination of these factors that make the school a success.

    CPS is required to provide public schooling within walking distance (1.5 miles). Most of the kids living south of Armitage would not be close enough to Mayer or Alcott.

  • 183. jack  |  December 19, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    168: “But what will [Lasalle] become when it…loses its special magnet funding.”

    Funding is not an insignificant issue. But can someone explain to me in simple terms why magnet schools do (or should) receive special funding that neighborhood schools do not? I hope this isn’t off topic.

  • 184. anonymous  |  December 19, 2011 at 6:10 pm

    @183, Every school should, at bare minimum, get the “extra” positions that magnets get.
    Sometimes, neighborhood schools get extra funding through title one (due to high risk populations, I believe) and through poverty funding (something like $1K per kid living in poverty) and once in a while they end up with more funds than magnets do because there is simply such a huge percentage of high risk and poverty kids. At my old school, we had a full time art teacher, a full time music teacher, several additional reading staff, several ESL teachers and several coordinators.(all in a community that did zero fundraising and 100% of our kids were on free lunch) As hard as it is to believe, we didn’t come close to the number of staff we really needed because the needs of our students were massive.

  • 185. cpsmomof2  |  December 19, 2011 at 6:29 pm

    I’m not sure where all this capacity for adding seats is coming from at Alcott and Mayer. It seems like you’re shifting overcrowding at Lincoln to overcrowding at other schools. Most, if not all of our classrooms are 26-30 kids. I’m not saying that doesn’t sound great to some, but the classrooms aren’t exactly under-enrolled.

  • 186. anonymous  |  December 19, 2011 at 7:35 pm

    @185 I agree, Alcott and Osar Mayer are not known to be under enrolled. I just finished watching the piece on CLTV. Great job by CPS obsessed and the LaSalle representative. What I did not agree with however is the LaSalle reps representation that there are 1,000 seats available between Mayer and Alcott. I also did not agree with her charachterization that LaSalle is open to the whole city…..technically yes, the whole city is welcome to apply, but with the new sibling preference and proximity lotteries it is only going to be a matter of a few years before the general lottery number dwindles to nearly nothing unless another policy change is put into effect. As things stand right now those that get in through the neighborhood lottery will then have younger siblings that come in so the sibling pool gets larger, the neighborhood still takes 40% of the available slots and the slots left for everyone else who applies are diluted even further.

    CPS Obsessed, I completely agree that Lincoln needs a short and a long term plan. If you look at Lincoln’s numbers, the really serious overcrowding is in grades k-2 where my guess is that there are many families enrolling young children who perhaps did not plan to be in the City for school at all, but they cannot sell their condos. Who knows if enrollment in the Lincon Park area schools will continue on the same growth trajectory if and when the economy improves. The system’s resources are limited and we need creative solutions to work within those limitations.

    If nothing else, I am happy to see this debate take place and the equity/value of the magnet system questioned.

  • 187. cpsobsessed  |  December 19, 2011 at 7:42 pm

    Yeah, I was wondering about that Alcott and Mayer number too. I was making a “that’s crazy” face but nobody saw me off camera.

    If they have it, it wouldn’t be so impossible to get into those schools, ya know? Plus, you’re gonna make kids on the south side of the zone travel north past lincoln to get to their new neighborhood school? Seems weird. But hey, if the space is there, let’s use it!

    FYI, I was staring at a blank camera the whole time, didn’t even get to see the guy interviewing me who was at another building!

    I did love how he acted like there is a conspiracy theory with “what’s REALLY going on here?!?!”. Heh heh. If only it were that exciting instead of just an overcrowded neighborhood.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 188. WestSidePops  |  December 19, 2011 at 8:43 pm

    I would think that the PTA parent was referring to the total enrollment at Alcott and Mayer. The fact that the 500+ LLA seats are currently occupied isn’t stopping the Lincoln folks from “taking them”… why should Alcott and Mayer be exempt from this process/piracy?

    Since you have a good neighborhood school, it doesn’t seem to concern you but the fact that a citywide resource is being taken off the market is something worthy of a conspiracy.

    I guess it’s a matter of perspective… kate (several posts above) thinks magnet schools are an “entitlement” but that neighborhood schools aren’t.

  • 189. LR  |  December 19, 2011 at 8:46 pm

    Good job on Politics Tonight, CPSO! I finally glanced through this entire thread. I really agree with #151/153. I think this is all an issue of geography. If LaSalle Language Academy is a magnet, theoretically it should be able to exist anywhere, shouldn’t it? I think it is nice that LLA has been able to exist in such a nice location for as long as they have, but a change in geography shouldn’t dismantle the whole program. This city is so vast…there has to be somewhere where they can relocate. And I’m sure the neighborhood school they open at the old LLA facility will be a good one. Am I missing something here? This issue seems like a no-brainer to me.

  • 190. cpsobsessed  |  December 19, 2011 at 9:08 pm

    I actually got to speak to someone from CPS today who told me that magnets are still definitely a part of the mix (magnets, charters, turnarounds.). She claims that CPS added something like 2000+ magnets seats last year. I inquired about what other then STEM but that info wasn’t readily available (conspiracy!)

    I don’t know that phasing out one magnet is a sign that CPS is plotting to phase them out. But the proof will be in the pudding, as they say.

    The more I think about this neighborhood proximity thing, where magnets will be 40 percent neighborhood (granted a wide geo neighborhood) and possibly even higher as neighborhood sibling enter, I can’t see how to justify giving these schools extra perks for a school that is only 55-60 percent open to outsiders. I’m curious what the one most advantageous spot is in the city for magnet application. Some blocks must have 3 in the vicinity, no?

    Anyhow, Alcott is theoretically neighborhood although I bet they have a lot of out of district. Mayer could lose the Montessori magnet but then they’ll scream bloody murder. The locations make sense short term, not long term.

    CPS says that LaSalle sint a done deal. But something is gonna have to give in that area. Some group is going to lose out or feel screwed over and I hate that everyone ends up pitted against each other when in the end, we’re all very like minded in terms of education!

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 191. Angie  |  December 19, 2011 at 9:23 pm

    190. cpsobsessed: Are they going to at least make an effort to admit the LaSalle siblings, if there is available space? I can understand people being upset if they thought they won a golden ticket for the entire family, only to be told that younger kids are out of luck.

  • 192. Nervous at SLS  |  December 19, 2011 at 9:29 pm

    190 – Maybe University Village? If you live in the right part of it, you are proximity for Andrew Jackson, STEM, Galileo, and Sheridan.

  • 193. Who are we mad at?  |  December 19, 2011 at 10:17 pm

    I really think this is about inadequate funding and how CPS doles out resources. Magnets, SE and RGC get more positions and the schools can then use the positions to offer students a more concentrated and well-rounded curriculum. And that parents at LLA want to protect and not lose those precious positions and programs should be understandable to other CPS parents, it may not be fair but since when has CPS been fair. LLA certainly didn’t create the inequity.

    The question is would there be such a visceral reaction if the LLA parents were told you need to share with Lincoln and be a neighborhood school but you get to keep the principal, staff, and language programs. The only thing you will lose is the magnet status and the lottery of new students from outside of the boundaries.

    As someone said above income is the new diversity not race. Stop using diversity as a one of the reasons for keeping the school open because that’s what’s really pissing every one off and will turn people against your cause. Between proximity and sibling preference you are probably more of a neighborhood school anyway.

  • 194. Melissa Howard  |  December 19, 2011 at 10:55 pm

    CPS should leave the LLA program in tact and move it to the Jenner Academy building. Jenner is a failing school and has not made annual progress in over 4 years. Students who attend Jenner are eligible for a transfer out of that school under NCLB. CPS should move the program to Jenner to preserve the program and to give kids who live south of North Avenue more opportunity to attend a good school

  • 195. John  |  December 19, 2011 at 11:07 pm

    @194. So you want to displace the 400+ poor, black kids at Jenner and bus them away from their home school?

    Maybe they could move Lasalle to Jenner and then all of the Jenner kids could enroll there?

  • 196. anonymous  |  December 19, 2011 at 11:09 pm

    Do you mean and allow Jenner kids an automatic “in” to LaSalle? I don’t think anyone currently at LaSalle would stay in that case. Too much like Manierre’s population. I’d check on the # of police incidents at Jenner and how many times a month they are called to the school.

  • 197. cpsobsessed  |  December 19, 2011 at 11:22 pm

    I’m trying to envision how that will sound to the Jenner parents: “Hi, we need your building, ok? See, there’s a school that’s 20% low income (unlike your 99%) income and the kids get 5 language options and some other funding perks and they really need your building because a lot of people have moved into Lincoln Park lately and if we switch their assigned school their houses will lose like $100K each in value. So I’m sure you can see where we’re coming from.”

    I know it wasn’t meant like that and from a numbers standpoint those kids DO deserve a better school. But I believe they would argue that instead of being sent elsewhere, CPS should just improve *their* school. I’m basing this on an interview I heard on the radio today with a parent from one of the schools that CPS is closing (probably much worse scores than Jenner) made that exact point. Right or wrong, that’s how it comes across. “You failed us, now you’re shutting us down.” Nobody likes change.

    I think from all the talk, I really would like to see LaSalle moved elsewhere. As LR suggested above, it seems like a no-brainer in a system where CPS says there is some excess real estate.

  • 198. Paul  |  December 19, 2011 at 11:33 pm

    I think that part of the idea for making LaSalle a neighborhood school is that some of the families from Lincoln’s current boundaries would go to LaSalle, which is comparable in terms of performance with Lincoln. If LaSalle’s principal, teachers, programming, and students are all moved to another building, then a completely new school would have to be created in the old LaSalle building. Nobody would know what level of performance that new neighborhood school would have.

  • 199. LLA parent Adam  |  December 19, 2011 at 11:51 pm

    @197: To clear any potential confusion, LaSalle leadership has not made any proposal re: Jenner Academy building. And I don’t believe CPS or Lincoln have either.

  • 200. cpsobsessed  |  December 20, 2011 at 12:27 am

    I think the key takeaway I had after talking to CPS is that something (meaning someone) is going to have to give up some space in this neighborhood. Not just the Lincoln boundary, but the large zone that is somehow defined by CPS. The one they say has 4000 seats but only 1500 students. Someone should get clarification on that.

    What they’re saying is that 2500 seats are being taken by non-neighborhood kids in special programs of one sort or another. And CPS isn’t going to build new space when all those seats are sitting there. So either short term and/or long term, I suspect something will have to go. Could be LaSalle, could be something else or findings schools with out of boundary kids, who knows. Call it a “conspiracy” or call it tactical planning.

  • 201. Old Town Neighbor  |  December 20, 2011 at 12:35 am

    Reply to #164 Mayfair Dad: Since when was public education affirmative action? Affirmative Action in admissions refers to COLLEGE admissions, not equal access to quality public education. Brown vs. Board of Ed was referring to segregation, and later, related cases successfully challenged de facto segregation, which is exactly what is happening in Chicago. So yes, I did get the Supreme Court’s memo–both the one about Affirmative Action AND the one about segregation! When it comes to public education, racial segregation still matters. The fact that CPS has moved to an income-based rubric is simply an experiment. If income based lotteries fail to properly integrate the school district, they could eventually face legal troubles (I did not say that I was launching the suit, I am just pointing out a fact). De facto segregation has been successfully challenged in the courts so precedent exists. I just don’t think that CPS needs that headache.

    What surprises me is that so many people are focusing exclusively on income diversity as the only diversity that matters in this discussion. LLA is a WORLD LANGUAGE AND CULTURE magnet. The families at LLA care deeply about racial, cultural, religious, and economic diversity. This is what makes this school special. This is that quality of education–education of open-mindedness, tolerance, acceptance of diversity–that you cannot get out of a book or a lecture filled with liberal platitudes about valuing diversity while every day of your life is spent in a culturally homogenous environment.

    Parents at LaSalle say that this is one of the qualities that makes it such a great school. Students don’t just get a quality education in the subjects they learn, but they are better prepared to be citizens in a global and diverse world. Their days are spent recognizing and valuing diversity. Why is this a bad thing? Why is discussing “race” so aversive for some people? We care about the world languages, but we care just as much about the magnet status. You cannot separate the two. To genuinely promote a multi-cultural awareness (a REAL one not a book-learned one), you need to immerse yourself in diversity and you need to be comfortable exploring it, discussing it, and celebrating it. I encourage everyone in this dialog to see this as a GOOD thing.

    The LaSalle model works on so many levels. As Chicago strives to become a more “global city,” schools like LaSalle, with its world-language and cultural programs, contribute to this vision. Why dismantle something that benefits the city so much?

    Like I said, this comes down to seeing LaSalle as a solution to a local need (overcrowding at Lincoln) vs. seeing LaSalle as a solution to a city-wide need (providing quality education to diverse communities, serving as a model program for schools throughout the city, promoting global and cultural awareness, and so on). I just think we need to look past short-term solutions and look at the big picture.

  • 202. Near West View  |  December 20, 2011 at 7:14 am

    God speed to those wanting to convert Lasalle to a neighborhood school.

    I definitely have sour grapes and feel the magnet system and my neighborhood school have completely failed my family. I have lost the lottery every year for four years now, applying to 20 schools for each of my children in the past couple years and more than that in prior years. Call me lucky because I live in the proximity area for three desirable magnet schools (Jackson, Galileo, STEM) but call me unlucky because I have never won a spot in any lottery, including for these three schools. Call me unlucky because my neighborhood school is not in my neighborhood and is on the NCLB list.

    I want one of these magnets near me to be converted to a neighborhood school and I wish Lasalle all the best
    in accomplishing the same. My experience with my neighbors who have won the lottery is they have no idea how lucky they are and it creates a destabilizing tension in the neighborhood.

  • 203. cps Mom  |  December 20, 2011 at 9:19 am

    @202 I hope you’re not suggesting that LaSalle is the only school that celebrates cultural diversity within the city of Chicago and that World Language in and of itself is the only vehicle.

    I’m confused by your statement that CPS is required to integrate schools without using race as a factor.

    The emphasis on income diversity stems from admission rules being based upon income. We didn’t create them.

    In talking about moving LaSalle – which is an interesting idea – consider the neighborhood will have a large play in the make up of that school. When STEM opened, 40% of the seats automatically went to the neighborhood. Notice on CPS map that the neighborhood school, Smyth, at the center of controversy because it was underutilized and those kids were being excluded from “magnet fever” on the west side is now a magnet. @202 don’t know how you were left out.

  • 204. cps Mom  |  December 20, 2011 at 9:20 am

    The above should be @201

  • 205. klm  |  December 20, 2011 at 9:54 am

    OK, I don’t understand why it would be so awful to close down a failing school and move its current student population to a school that’s “better”, even if by a slight margin, especially in light of the fact that so much space in CPS is UNDERUTILISED? .

    Again and again and again, year after year, decade after decade, kids that go to “ghetto” schools are held hostage by grand plans to “improve” them. Teachers and administrators get to keep their paychecks, benefits and retirement plans, but the kids are stuck in crappy schools that fail them by just about any measure. When will this “improvement” happen?!! Maybe when He** freezes over.

    Accordingly, moving LaSalle to Manierre or Jenner would hardly be an example of screwing over poor black people, although CTU representatives and “Community Leaders” are sure to spin it that way. “CPS needs to spend more to IMPROVE our school (that no middle-class person in their right mind would ever dream of sending their OWN kids, of course) not shut it down! Blah, blah, blah –and the kids at those schools will overwhelmingly suffer the fate of their parents –lack of skills for decent employment, crime (both as victim and ‘perp’), prison/jail/parole/unemployment, welfare, teenage single parenthood, almost complete lack of father-figures, lack of role-models, intergenerational failure again and again (Gee, why would anybody want to move kids out of an environment like THAT?!) –all the while their local school is promising to “improve” if only it would get yet even more money to do so (“..look at how much they spend per student at New Trier –MONEY’s the problem keeping this school from achieving!” [not the dysfuntional business model that’s lasted decades and has been protected by unions and bureaucratic ‘educational expert’]), along with protections for keeping its current employees collecting paychecks. We all know this, but we have the money, acumen and ability to keep our own kids away from schools like these.

    I, for one, will never argue to keep open a school that I would almost cut off my right arm rather than send my own kids. Nobody’s doing anybody a favor by keeping these schools open and UNDERENROLLED, just for the sake of sensitivity/gult towards people that are less fortunate, even if a few of them are vocal enough to want it to stay open. (If those poor, disadvantaged people want to keep their neighborhood school, who am I to deny them this, what with my privilege and related gult and all?, etc.).

    If a school is underutilized because nobody wants to send their kids there, except for poor, minority kids that more often than not have no other choice, shouldn’t CPS do everthing in its power to reward success with more space?

    4 schools with 80-90% enrollment capacity each makes a lot more sense than 4 schools with, 45%, 60%, 55% and 120% (so we’ll close down the successful overcrowded 120% capacity one, which is overcrowded in the first place because it is so successful). Reward success with more capacity and reduce failure with less capacity, not the other way around!

    Nobody is doing poor black inner-city kids any favor by warehousing them in certain schools that are more close to their homes. Getting away from an evironment of failure is not a bad thing, even if it means only a tiny improvement –at least that’s something.

    OK, I get that in practice this means moving kids from one crappy to to another, but keeping LaSalle open means that lots of kids that would be sent to crappy schools have an opprtunity for a good/great education –yes to that!

  • 206. Mayfair Dad  |  December 20, 2011 at 9:58 am

    @ 201 Old Town Neighbor. I appreciate your well thought-out comments and the passion behind them. If my earlier comments were pointed, please know my frustration is with CPS not you.

    Diversity is a loaded word. Diversity is a long con perpetrated by CPS, a smokescreen of high-minded idealism meant to obscure their ineptitude. As long as there are successful magnet schools (multiracial, multilingual, diverse!) to point to, it provides CPS with political cover for their failures.

    Access to excellence should be the goal, not diversity. Excellence belongs in black neighborhoods, hispanic neighborhoods, poor neighborhoods, rich neighborhoods. Excellence should be the birth right of every child in Chicago, not just lottery winners.

    Another poster stated “Excellence should be rewarded, not dismantled” and I agree. I’m hopeful that a charter operator will replicate the LLA model in dozens of schools all over the city. This would be a fitting tribute to the well-loved idea incubator known as LLA.

  • 207. CPS alum-- was Cps grad but I noticed there was another Cps grad  |  December 20, 2011 at 11:03 am

    CPS has a policy for severely overcrowded schools. Sadly this is in place in some schools already, and I don’t many Lincoln Park families would be happy if it came to this: Basically the school stops enrollment of new students in grades other than kindergarten (even those who live in the attendance boundary but with a few exceptions) and convert to track A-D. In other words the kids school year is staggered so that there aren’t too many kids in the building at one time. A family with 4 kids could have 4 different schedules.


  • 208. Bookworm  |  December 20, 2011 at 11:16 am

    @202 I agree that living on the Near West Side south of the Eisenhower has created a difficult situation for many families. Living on the Near West side south of the highway means searching for schools everywhere in the city as early as three years before your kid might enter even a pre-school. Conversely we are one of the most hospitable and welcoming neighborhoods to magnets and they are successful here for many reasons including that the neighborhood has never created a tensed situation in any of these schools. I see why 202 would like to see a change but I think we would benefit more from a major grant or other magic wand to help build Smyth if possible. STEM just put off the inevitable reckoning that Smyth requires. ( my child attends a magnet out of the neighborhood)
    I am surprised that parents in the West Loop who have a neighborhood school in at Skinner are also in the proximity for the three magnets. Many of these families do choose to enter the magnet across the highway.
    The Skinner boundary is also very tight allowing for lots of room in a brand new building. Perhaps the best thing to do would be to add the families south of the highway into the neighborhood boundary for Skinner as many of the families that get into the magnets on the other side of the highway go. Fioretti really knows how to deliver to his ward. If you are concerned about the safety of a school boundary including a sure shot good school I’d look at his record with the West Loop on schools.
    Smyth is not a magnet school at all. It is still a for intents and purposes for parents on this site a failing school with an IB designation. The pocket of intense poverty around Smyth will never be closed out of this school-as it was out of the STEM program-because these children live next door to the school in two very large housing projects.
    Being in a school that is mixed both economically and racially is a huge bonus for children who get this opportunity. My child does attend a school that is though losing some mix since the decree was vacated extremely mixed. I do think magnets are a huge city investment embedded over time and that they should remain intact- moved in total to new schools in uncrowded places as I mentioned before. Neighborhoods wishing to ” own” already established magnets should build their own neighborhood schools in a freed up building on their own. Many of us have built magnets in other neighborhoods and know the work this takes. If a building is sitting in an extremely gentrified neighborhood thanks to the Magnet school half the work is already done for them.

  • 209. CPS alum-- was Cps grad but I noticed there was another Cps grad  |  December 20, 2011 at 11:38 am

    @198–When Edison RGC moved, and Edison Park Neighborhood School opened in its place no one knew what the new school performance would be. That was 3 years ago, and if you look at the ISATs 91.8% meets/exceeds doesn’t look so bad. I wouldn’t be surprised if a 100% neighborhood Lasalle would post similar #s.

  • 210. watcher  |  December 20, 2011 at 11:57 am

    How does LLA magnet school do now with students with disabilities? Anyone know?

  • 211. Mom  |  December 20, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    Can someone on this blog explain to me why CPS spends money to fix up schools that they intend to get rid of? Thank you.

  • 212. cpsobsessed  |  December 20, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    Is there an example of the schools they fixed up to get rid of? I don’t know about that. I’d assume a change in mayor and CEO could lead to something like that….

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 213. Mom  |  December 20, 2011 at 1:41 pm

    This article talks about it: CPS Touts Cosmetic Changes For Schools Facing Turnarounds, Closures And Consolidations


  • 214. Esmom  |  December 20, 2011 at 1:41 pm

    @206, “Access to excellence should be the goal, not diversity. Excellence belongs in black neighborhoods, hispanic neighborhoods, poor neighborhoods, rich neighborhoods. Excellence should be the birth right of every child in Chicago, not just lottery winners.”

    Hear, hear. Having fought numerous battles with CPS for over a decade, one day I realized that excellence was the most important goal for my family, too, and that nothing else mattered. Kind of a lightbulb moment for me after hearing the diversity mantra (con) for so long.

  • 215. cpsobsessed  |  December 20, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    I don’t know – sounds to me like the schools being rehabbed after closing will likely become charters….

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 216. UniqueSituation  |  December 20, 2011 at 4:23 pm

    I don’t have a solution, but I’d like to emphasize that this is one particularly unique situation. The area in question is full of parents who proudly and with loaded pocketbooks back public schools. If this were not the case, there would not be a Lincoln.

    So, it makes the situation unique because LLA is not a geographically tied school (as no magnet truly is) sitting atop a unique location where, it would be difficult to argue, a neighborhood school has a chance to succeed and reach Lincoln/Blaine levels of success very quickly, whether or not it receives magnet funding.

    In other words, Lincoln is a success on its own, just like LLA. Neither one is a success because of the other.

    You’d be hard-pressed to find another similar location where turning a school back to the neighborhood (it began as a neighborhood school, we seem to forget) is in the best interests of CPS and parents alike. However, it is only in the best interests in the long-run, as in the short-run, it creates heartache for TWO school communities.

    Will CPS continue funding the world language program or can parents continue funding it on their own, if it transitions to a neighborhood school? Can Lincoln continue its strong funding while losing half its district, half its families, half its identity? It’s a dilemma for both. Will LLA stay LLA? Can Lincoln stay Lincoln?

    I don’t think siblings at either school should be left out in the cold, in any case. But if I were in the district, I’d have faith that in the long run, all students and parents would be happy and in strong schools. It’s just that that is a long time down the road … a sad road for so many.

    Again, I don’t know the answers. And it truly is heartbreaking for those in the middle in both schools. But, I can see why CPS made this proposal — because of the unique situation where a mostly wealthy neighborhood (with a fair amount of socio economic diversity) has parents who have already proven they support public neighborhood schools.

    Boy do I feel for those caught in the middle of this.

  • 217. cpsobsessed  |  December 20, 2011 at 5:52 pm

    Thanks to a reader for sending in this update. So LaSalle is still a Magnet for now and CPS’ logistic dudes are going to keep looking for ideas. I’m very curious to see how it shakes out for a feasible solution that is the the best interest of the whole community (which mean possibly not the best interest of certain individuals in the community…. but maybe I’m cynical.) 🙂 Good luck to CPS. It ain’t easy.

    December 20, 2011
    Dear LaSalle Parent/Guardian,
    Thank you again for affording representatives of my office with the opportunity to meet with you at last week’s Local School Council meeting. The purpose of the presentation was to explain the enrollment challenges at nearby Lincoln Elementary and to continue to gather community feedback on possible solutions to the challenges Lincoln faces.
    While one possible solution included changing LaSalle’s status as a magnet school, that option will not be pursued and LaSalle’s status as a magnet school remains in place.
    In the coming weeks my team will continue to examine all alternative possible options, both short and long-term, to accommodate the challenges facing Lincoln and the community, which must be addressed. I have every confidence that we will identify a feasible resolution that will be in the best interest of all students and families in the community.
    Thank you for your continued dedication to your child’s education and all that you have done to support LaSalle. I wish you and your families the happiest of holidays.
    Yours truly,
    Jean-Claude Brizard
    CEO, Chicago Public Schools

  • 218. South Side LLA Parent  |  December 20, 2011 at 5:57 pm

    To all of those who say that people from other areas whose children attend LLA should try to improve the schools in their area. I say that Lincoln Park/Old Town residents should try it with Manierre and let us know how that goes.

  • 219. Mark Sneathen  |  December 20, 2011 at 5:58 pm

    So where does this leave families who live in the Lincoln school boundary and south of Armitage who don’t win the golden lottery ticket to LaSalle?

  • 220. cpsobsessed  |  December 20, 2011 at 6:04 pm

    Thinking back, I was at the tail of the baby boom and my kindergarten class was held in a room in the local temple that was not near the school. It was a nice big room and was probably half day (yet we still had nap time and lots of art.).
    Wonder if a short term solution like that could work without people going ballistic. Why do I think that in this day and age we parents raise a stink a lot more than our parents did.
    My bus driver got lost the first dat (kindergarteners on a bus, omg!!) And I had to direct him to the temple. Actually I remember my mom drove in the car behind the bus so I wouldn’t be scared. I think I’ll have to thank her for that tonight.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 221. Mayfair Dad  |  December 20, 2011 at 6:20 pm

    My hats off to the LLA Local Student Council, the Alderman, concerned parents and community activists who turned up the heat and forced CPS to change course. Wow. I am gobsmacked. You don’t see that very often. “Excellence should be rewarded not dismantled” carried the day.

    Mulligan (1800 block of Sheffield) still empty. Maybe the Alderman can find a way to port TIF funds and open this as a new neighborhood school. Realign attendance boundaries to take pressure off Lincoln Elementary.

  • 222. Mark Sneathen  |  December 20, 2011 at 6:29 pm

    @221 Mayfair Dad
    Mulligan has been closed for 15 years. It would have to be torn down & completely rebuilt. Unless someone finds $20-$30 million, I don’t see how this is a viable solution.

  • 223. SOA Lincoln Dad  |  December 20, 2011 at 6:38 pm

    The “Lincoln” letter from CPS is below:

    December 20,2011
    Dear Lincoln Parent/Guardian,

    I would like to thank you for permitting members of my senior leadership team to present at your last Local School Council meeting regarding overcrowding at Lincoln Elementary. The purpose
    of our presentation last week was to explain the enrollment challenges at Lincoln and to continue gathering feedback from parents and the community on possible solutions.

    As you are aware, Lincoln is currently over-enrolled and is projected
    to increase in the next school year. The ideal capacity of Lincoln is 635 students. Lincoln’s current enrollment is 809 students (88% live within the boundary, 98% of the Kindergarten through second graders live within the boundary) and the enrollment for 2012-2013 is projected to be 860 students.

    To address the enrollment challenges at Lincoln, my team is continuing to examine all possible options, including both short and long-term solutions. However, as part of that solution, I will
    not recommend any changes to LaSalle’s magnet status.

    We look forward to continue working with you as we fully vet alternative solutions to the enrollment challenges facing Lincoln. With our combined efforts, I expect to identify a feasible
    resolution that provides the best solution for the students and families of Lincoln, the community
    and the District.

    Thank you for your commitment to your child’s school. Your involvement and support, coupled with the leadership of Principal Armendariz, has made Lincoln Elementary a jewel in our
    portfolio of schools. I wish you and your families the happiest of holidays.

    Yours truly,
    Jean Claude Brizard
    CEO ,Chicago Public Schools

    A bit of revisionist history on the “The purpose
    of our presentation last week was to explain the enrollment challenges at Lincoln and to continue gathering feedback from parents and the community on possible solutions.” but there you have it — Good news for LLA; back to square one @ Lincoln.

  • 224. Mark Sneathen  |  December 20, 2011 at 6:44 pm

    Does anyone want to buy my house in the ? elementary school boundary

  • 225. SOA Lincoln Dad  |  December 20, 2011 at 7:11 pm

    FWIW, I believe the maximum legal capacity (fire code) of Lincoln is 820, so 860 is not just ‘overcrowded’ it’s ‘unsafe’. I think something will happen soon. Very surprised that CPS backpedaled on this…

  • 226. cps mom  |  December 20, 2011 at 8:13 pm

    Why dont they just get those portable classrooms that are all over the school district. They look nice and clean, AC/ Heated! Are they not good enough for Lincoln School. Put a few in the on the playground just like they did in Albany Park and elsewhere.
    BAM problem solved!!! Oh also get all the connected kids out of the IB program! BAM problem solved.

  • 227. cps Mom  |  December 20, 2011 at 8:31 pm

    good for LaSalle, I’m sure familes are happy to keep their school. I think that families at Manierre have opportunities with the magnets and Charters in the area. What about Near North on Larrabee now that Jones will not be using it after next year?

  • 228. anonymous  |  December 20, 2011 at 8:35 pm

    I have wondered the same thing. Schools all over the city use mobiles. Is there no room on the property?

  • 229. Mark Sneathen  |  December 20, 2011 at 8:58 pm

    “Portable” classrooms are $1-$2 million each (last week, CPS emphatically said they would not spend capital $ in the neighborhood because there are many more CPS seats at Lincoln/LaSalle combined than CPS kids) and there is very little room on the playground to install them – other than those two minor issues, a great solution for Lincoln overcrowding

  • 230. Mark Sneathen  |  December 20, 2011 at 9:04 pm

    @225, SOA Lincoln Dad
    It would be great to get your contact info as my reading of the tea leaves suggests that folks like us that are south of Armitage Lincoln families are likely to draw the short straw when new solutions get proposed.

    If you send an email to the address below we can rally support for options that are in the best interest for SOA Lincoln families:

  • 231. anonymous  |  December 20, 2011 at 9:42 pm

    @229, 1-2 million dollars????!!!!! I teach in a mobile and they aren’t that nice. My 2 bedroom condo, which would sell for less than $140K, is about a third of the size of the 4 classroom mobile I teach in, and I’ve got hardwood floors. I think CPS is getting ripped off.

    Course, CPS also requires schools to use particular vendors so the very paper that one could purchase at store A for $3, can only be purchased by the school through vendor B for $8 a package. It makes me wonder if this same situation applies to mobiles. CPS has never figured out a way to buy things at a good rate.

  • 232. Mark Sneathen  |  December 20, 2011 at 9:46 pm

    $1-$2 million per mobile unit was the cost that CPS administrators shared on Dec 13th at the Lincoln LSC meeting. Seems higher than I expected too, but that’s what they said the going rate was…

  • 233. Therealness  |  December 20, 2011 at 10:50 pm

    @208, Skinner does not have lots of room in a brand new building. That is simply not true.

  • 234. LR  |  December 21, 2011 at 1:28 am

    CPS is not getting ripped off. $1-2 million for a mobile classroom is right. And it has nothing to do with the space or interior finishes. The expensive part is hooking up to sewer and equipping the building to have things like potable water. They also need to be hooked up to electric and gas. And have things like handicapped accessible bathrooms. The number that cannot be right is $30 million to renovate Mulligan. I know someone who works on school renovations and they said a very intensive renovation that would need almost everything would be about $10 million. You could knock Mulligan down and build a new building (assuming 20 classrooms or so) from the ground up for $20-30 million.

  • 235. LR  |  December 21, 2011 at 1:31 am

    Sorry, I misunderstood. Yes, $20-30 million to rebuild Mulligan is right.

  • 236. Mayfair Dad  |  December 21, 2011 at 9:24 am

    @ 232: If the occupancy of your school building has truly reached an unsafe level per the fire code, perhaps you should alert the local Fire Department Commander and have him write a citation to CPS every day until the problem is solved. I have a feeling a few mobile units would pop up pretty quickly.

    The Illinois State Board of Education should be made aware of this unsafe situation as well. Plus the City Building Commissioner, hmmm…who else? Can you get an investigative reporter to do a piece while the story is still hot? The Brizard flip-flop is newsworthy.

  • 237. klm  |  December 21, 2011 at 9:30 am

    OK, so let’s be clear here about a couple of things, per CPS officials at the Lincoln LSC on Dec. 13 (and confirmed by Lincoln’s Principal):

    There’s room for 1 or 2 (maximum) mobile classrooms. There’s no money for the $800k-$1m cost for EACH one, plus Lincoln needs much, much more classroom space than that, so that even if the money were there, it would solve nothing.

    Many of the enrollees in the IG 6-8 grade programs actually come from Lincoln, so that the overall effect on the Lincoln overpopulation problem is minimal –eliminating it would do virtually nothing to solve this problem. Also, (and this is me) why get rid of a very successful, highly regarded CPS program so eagerly?

  • 238. irritated parent  |  December 21, 2011 at 9:34 am

    How is there no money for two mobile classrooms when CPS approved 12 new charter schools last week? That makes no sense.

  • 239. HS Mom Advocate (formerly cps Mom)  |  December 21, 2011 at 11:02 am

    Changing my name since there are multiples. Usually in agreement with the others but it was not me that suggested removal of IB. I think it’s a great program.

    Considering that a school is spending 74 million on new roof and renovation to existing premises 20 to 30 sounds low. The new schools are built with “green” and ADA requirements with appropriate space for classrooms, cafeterias, gyms and librarys. I’m sure the price tag on Brighton Park or any of the other new elementary schools far exceeds that.

    There must be a plan B. I still wonder about Near North on Larrabee used by Jones and others. Does it need rehab? What was spent to rehab STEM?

  • 240. SOA Lincoln Dad  |  December 21, 2011 at 11:46 am

    @236, it’s not over capacity today, but the projections for next year are.

  • 241. Mayfair Dad  |  December 21, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    I thought I read the new Ogden Elementary cost $70M+.

    Leave the IG program alone – those kids aren’t the problem, the blockheads running CPS who wouldn’t recognize long-term planning if it bit them on the nose are.

    Squeaky wheel gets the grease. Easier said than done, I know, but now is the ideal time to squeak. Somebody from Lincoln must know Pam Zeckman.

  • 242. RL Julia  |  December 21, 2011 at 5:53 pm

    I do find it interesting that the solution to Lincoln’s overcrowding is to takeover another highly functioning school. In my NW neck of the woods, the solution to overcrowding is to bus (eek- the b word) kids to an undercrowded school often several miles away – which is how my neighborhood’s middle school ended up wtih a huge gang/discipline problem when five (count ’em) five different schools from about three different neighborhoods were jammed into one school . Eventually all the local neighborhood schools that fed to it pulled out and expanded back to include 7th and 8th grades (since they were underenrolled and all). Sounds like Manierre isn’t fully utilized yet the school tapped to relieve Lincoln’s overcrowding isn’t it or any number of other schools. Maybe the folks at the Central Office aren’t as asleep at the switch as everyone likes to think they are.

  • 243. cps mom  |  December 21, 2011 at 6:44 pm

    As a LaSalle II Parent I am breathing a sigh of relief. We too have been watching what is going on and the Lincoln school issue would have affected us greatly. We do not have room for another kindergarten classroom and then add on one grade each, it is just not possible, talk about overcrowding. LL2 does not have extra seats!!! This was all just psycho babble to me and other parents.
    Up until last year we had language classes 5 days a week. Now because of the popularity of LL2 language had to be reduced to 4 days a week because of the volume of children.
    So in the end, LL2 parents are happy and LLA parents are happy.

    I am sorry for Lincoln school’s problems but hey when I went to lincoln school back in the 1970’s we had split grade classrooms and 40 kids in a classroom, with really crabby awful teachers and no updates, no new playground, teachers smoked in the teachers lounge, smoke billowed down the hallway. Kids got beat up, bullies everywhere… It was just paradise. I think the only good thing about that time was the old fashioned lunch room and the CPS cookies:)

    Kids that had money in the neighborhood went to Parker. All the kids on my block went to Parker. I was the one with the cheap parents!

    I dont really know what my point is but I just wanted to tell my little story.

  • 244. Working mom  |  December 21, 2011 at 7:47 pm

    @239 HS mom advocate, formerly CPS mom: I’ve heard rumors that the initial investment to renovate the bldg that currently houses STEM was roughly $5 million dollars, but have not been able to confirm this. Since we’re on the topic of overcrowding, I’m curious to know how STEM will be able to accommodate grades K-8 in the future at its current site. Very little space in the cafeteria for the existing K-3 students and they’re just little people now. They will grow and take up more space. At school events, the gymnasium is standing room only. It’s difficult for me to visualize how the school will be able to accommodate K-8 over the next several years. I guess CPS will cross that bridge…

  • 245. anonymous  |  December 21, 2011 at 9:15 pm

    @236, I don’t really have faith that CPS would follow fire code. There are schools all over the city where the MAIN OFFICE is housed in the hallway, where sped and ESL classrooms are held in the auditorium (4-5 groups at a time in there), and where other small groups of kids are held in closets. I remember Hayt school had a leaky ceiling up on the third floor that didn’t get fixed for YEARS and the teachers had to cluster the desks around the leaks. I have seen schools with OPEN asbestos. Maybe CPS would respond to some schools in some areas if they had fire code violations, but not to others. In my school, wanna know where “speech” services are held? In the hallway, on the floor. Yes, really. In the middle of passing periods and the whole bit.

  • 246. cps mom  |  December 21, 2011 at 10:05 pm

    It sounds like Lincoln School is going back to it’s original boundary, which was north south Fullerton to Armitage and east west was Halsted to Lakeview. A matter of fact those are the original boundary’s for Lincoln Park!
    I guess Ziggy Marley was right ” If you don’t know your past you don’t know your future”
    Anything South of Armitage was Old Town and anything North of Fullerton was Lakeview…..and anything west of Halsted was Depaul.

  • 247. CPS alum-- was Cps grad but I noticed there was another Cps grad  |  December 21, 2011 at 11:27 pm

    @243–CPS cookies–My mouth is watering! I can just taste one of those butter cookies…sooooooo good. One of the best things CPS had to offer in the 80’s.

  • 248. cpsobsessed  |  December 21, 2011 at 11:28 pm

    Yeah, I love how the cookies were the best thing. Now the food is the worst thing about the schools and the bar is set very low!!

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 249. Ogden Dad  |  December 22, 2011 at 2:00 am

    I noticed a couple of posts mentioned the cost of building or rebuilding a school. Here is a link to a list on the WBEZ site with the costs of some recent schools:


  • 250. BuenaParkMom  |  December 22, 2011 at 11:43 am

    A patient told me this morning that the news reported that LaSalle would not be closing. (How bad is it that my patients know I’m obsessed about CPS?) Anyone hear the same or see the story. I’m curious if they came up with a better solution than closing a good performing school that all city residents are eligible to apply to.

  • 251. HSObsessed  |  December 22, 2011 at 11:53 am

    Buena Park Mom, see #223 above. CPS announced on Tuesday that LaSalle’s status as a magnet will not change. In yesterday’s teleconference, JC Brizard said that the plan to de-magnetize LaSalle was only one option they were considering but it’s now off the table. They are considering other short- and long-term solutions to Lincoln’s current and future overcrowding (the school ideally has 630 students but currently has 809 and is projected to go to 860 next year) and will return with different ideas in January.

  • 252. cpsobsessed  |  December 22, 2011 at 12:05 pm

    Here is the link from Monday night.
    It was interesting to watch it again. The LaSalle lady did a nice job of speaking clearly and directly and without the need to constantly raise her eyebrows, as I did. 🙂

    Watching it again, the key point made by the LaSalle group is that the school should be kept open to serve the WHOLE CITY. I guess end up agreeing with that, but then it seems that the location shouldn’t matter to anyone. People won’t lose property value and the school will still benefit the WHOLE CITY no matter where it’s located.

    And LaSalles – you guys dodged a major bullet here. Maybe a little beyond-community outreach to get that 20% low income number up so it better represents the WHOLE CITY? Just for good karma?

  • 253. Mayfair Dad  |  December 22, 2011 at 1:03 pm

    # 252: I found the dancing eyebrows endearing – I was mesmerized.

    Why do I suspect the new and improved cure for Lincoln Elementary’s overcrowding will involve a charter operator? I’m still looking at the empty Mulligan building and thinking, “sure, it will cost $30M to fix up, but UNO’s got lots of money. So does AUSL.”

    Also the Sojourner Truth building was being used by Ogden last year while the finishing touches were being put on their new building. What’s happening with the Sojourner Truth building?

    While these existing buildings may not be in the very epicenter of the congested area in question, with a little creative gerrymandering of attendance boundaries, either or both of these facilities could provide relief.

  • 254. klm  |  December 22, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    cps mom

    It’s interesting to hear your experience at Lincoln back in the day. People sometimes forget about how some things really are better than when they were kids –except maybe for the CPS cookies.

    BTW, I know plenty of people that would have happily paid tution at Parker, but they never got in (WHO does?) –such is demand for the few places left after taking siblings, legacies, children of faculty, etc. Same for Latin, Lab, City Day…. It drives me crazy when people say things like “People in Lincoln Park can just send their their kids to Parker”. NO they can’t! Not to mention the $. How many people (even among the proverbial ‘doctors and lawyers’) have $90-120k of annual AFTER-TAX income to send 3 or 4 kids to a school like that? That’s why many of those “rejects” and just other regular parents have sent their kids to Lincoln and mostly been very happy with an excellent education (core academics-wise) with a $0.00 price tag. It’s also why so many people are devastated about the prospect of their kids forced to go somewhere else –they’ve planned their family’s entire life and have invested (sometimes at great sacrifice) in real-estate for being “in the Lincoln School district”. It feels like there’s been a bait and switch among those people and who could blame them?

  • 255. frackie mom  |  December 22, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    CPSO: You may want to start a new thread for this subject:


    High school day will be lengthened next year.

  • 256. cpsobsessed  |  December 22, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    Thanks MFD. I assume part 2 will look the same, eyebrow-wise.
    I went to the actual WGN studios last night which was fun. Saw the studio where I saw Bozo circus many many years ago. I was chose for the Grand Prize Game at age 13, lied and said I was 12. Got mocked at school the next day. Think I only made it to bucket number 3, but left with a carload of look. It was fun.

  • 257. CPSDepressed  |  December 22, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    FWIW, it used to be easier to send your kids to Parker and Latin when there were fewer kids in the city. There’s a huge cohort of people in my church who have kids in their 30s now who can’t understand why more of us parents who are stressed out by CPS don’t consider Latin. Apparently, there was a moment in our lifetimes when Latin had trouble filling a class!

    How things change. And who knows? Maybe some day, they will change back.

  • 258. cpsobsessed  |  December 22, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    @257: I’d also be curious to see how the tuition of Latin compared back then to the cost now in real dollars or as a % of income. It seems really out of the ballpark for most families.

    But I agree, I have some friends with in-laws who would have paid for any private school in the city and they couldn’t get in. Finally got into a private Montessori for 1st grade but Latin and Parker seen totally unattainable.

    My understanding is that if you are just filthy rich and say that you are very committed to supporting the school financially in any way you can, that may give you an edge. The CEO of my old company got his kids into one of those schools and I asked his SIL about how she thought it happened and that was her speculation.

  • 259. Mayfair Dad  |  December 22, 2011 at 1:50 pm

    WBEZ breaking the story of an internal CPS document which discusses the LaSalle/Lincoln situation here:


    Rod Estvan comments on the implications on D299 thread here:


    Big changes in store for magnet school funding, based on Brizard’s track record in Rochester.

  • 260. SOA Lincoln Dad  |  December 22, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    @251; While Mr. Brizard said demagnetizing LLA was only one option, no one in CPS has yet to communicate any other ideas, or options — short or long term. At the Lincoln meeting last week it was pretty much presented, as “this is what we’re going to recommend, we’re making this public now so anyone applying to LLA kindergarten for next year can make other plans”, not “here’s one option, what do you think”.

    I really think CPS didn’t consider any other ideas, and now is scrambling to try to put something together. In the end, I’m not going to be surprised if this involves busing kids to one or more different schools around the area to fill some of those “1,000 empty seats in the area”.

    But that’s just guessing, CPS appears they won’t communicate any other ideas until they meet with us again in January.

  • 261. Esmom  |  December 22, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    @254, same with St. Ignatius. My son’t first pre-school teacher had 8 brothers who all went there. She wanted to send her daughter there and was hoping the legacy connection would help. It did.

  • 262. Chris  |  December 22, 2011 at 6:38 pm

    “Also the Sojourner Truth building was being used by Ogden last year while the finishing touches were being put on their new building. What’s happening with the Sojourner Truth building?”

    ChicagoQuest charter school.

    Of course.

  • 263. CPS momma  |  December 22, 2011 at 8:36 pm

    About how far south is the most-southern student at LaSalle? Really? Where does the “whole city” really end for LaSalle? I remember one commenter saying they drove their child from the southside. Are we talking 130th south?

  • 264. BuenaParkMom  |  December 22, 2011 at 9:30 pm

    Well, that’s what happens when I don’t read the very long thread before posting. I think the residents of Uptown would absolutely LOVE to welcome LLA to our neighborhood. I know I would. We have fairly low class sizes in most of the schools, and I know one is on the underutilized list. I think we could redraw some boundaries (which could help with the gang problem possibly after school and shift some of our homeless children around so they aren’t concentrated all at one school. I think most people in the neighborhood would love to have a shot at that proximity lottery. But alas, Uptown does not have that type of political clout 🙂 Flame away…….

  • 265. anonymous  |  December 22, 2011 at 10:25 pm

    I’m with you Buena Park Mom, looking at the map of CPS magnet elementary schools, there is nothing, not one magnet elementary school north of Hawthorne or Disney (so approximately 4200 North), and east of Ridge Avenue. Once you get above Disney the only magnet elementary is Stone which is west of Ridge. So not one magnet school anywhere near Uptown, Andersonville, Edgewater and Edgewater Glen and all of Rogers Park. Neighborhoods that are truly diverse racially, culturally and socioeconomically. Now that the magnet policies regarding siblings and proximity lotteries have changed, moving LLA to a more diverse neighborhood would go a long way to maintaining the diversity the LLA community values so greatly.

  • 266. Melissa Howard  |  December 22, 2011 at 11:54 pm

    To 194.-“So you want to displace the 400+ poor, black kids at Jenner and bus them away from their home school?”

    No, I indicated that CPS should consider moving the LLA program to Jenner if they are closing the program at the current location to transform it to a neighborhood school. CPS could add it to Jenner as a separate program much like the gifted/classical programs in other schools. Alternatively, the students at Jenner could be divided between the new Lasalle neighborhood school, Ogden, and other local schools (still close but actually better schools) to improve economic and racial diversity in these schools and allow the current Jenner students the opportunity to attend better schools in the Near North neighborhood that are not on the NCLB failing list. Many of these students live just as close to Ogden or other Near North schools (and would prefer to attend them b/c they are higher performing). To offset the increase in Ogden, Lasalle, etc… many students from these schools would probably attend a new magnet program at the Jenner building b/c they prefer the World Languages approach. I think it is short sighted of CPS to look at the Lincoln Park overcrowding in isolation. The entire Near North area needs to be reexamined b/c the neighborhood is growing given the demolition of Cabrini and new buildings in this area and River North. CPS should look at the entire area and improve diversity and performance of all schools for the whole area, not just create pockets of successful schools (Lincoln, Ogden, current LaSalle) and unsuccessful ones (Jenner, Manierre).

  • 267. old irving preschool mom  |  December 23, 2011 at 10:24 am

    Following up on 266’s comment . . .

    Before this debate, I had never heard of Jenner or Manierre. Looking at the demographics, I think the fact that 2 schools that are 99% black (and low performing) are in such close proximity to a bunch of schools that are predominantly white (and high performing) is horrifying, especially in light of the termination of CPS’s desegreation order.

  • 268. cpsobsessed  |  December 23, 2011 at 10:35 am

    @267, I agree…. looking at that area and the contrast is pretty stark and depressing. Obviously when you have the upscale lincoln park area next to what-used-to-be-the-projects, you have 2 entirely different populations.

    I guess the question is what to do about Jenner and Manierre to boost their performance. From the viewpoint of the parents there, I would guess they feel that CPS is giving them the very raw end of the deal by providing a good school in lincoln park and crummy schools in their areas. It’s not that simple but one can see why parents would feel angry, especially if CPS came in and closed their schools for underperformance.

    It *seems* like CPS is taking a zone-portfolio approach, looking at wider areas to find better solutions for kids. But it really makes me wonder – how many families in the Jenner/Manierre area even apply to the magnets or know that they are in proximity for LaSalle and Newberry?

    I keep trying to figure out what this topic is getting me so riled up and maybe that has something to do with it. I’m not sure.

  • 269. HS Mom Advocate (formerly cps Mom)  |  December 23, 2011 at 11:04 am

    @ 243 – your story is making me smile. Yes we had 40+ kids. My 4th grade class was actually 1 row of 4th graders (we had the old wooden desks with chairs attached in a row) and the rest 3rd graders. They put the “smart” kids that could work independently in that class. We had some instruction combined so I had the same history of Chicago class twice. So, ask me anything you need to know about Chicago. The Prudential building is the tallest building, great flea market shopping at Maxwell street, Olde Town is a spot for kiosks and boutiques selling toilet seats with fluorescent colored flowers and an opportunity to see the world renown Ripley’s museum, traffic jams are impacted by the “S” curve and the “Spaghetti Bowl”. What…2 years of Chicago study and none of this is relevant anymore!!!

  • 270. RL Julia  |  December 23, 2011 at 11:10 am

    I totally agree….. and can barely wait to read the comments about how LLA at Jenner or Manierre couldn’t possibly be the same, how the neighborhood isn’t possibly safe enough to drop off their kids, how they are pretty sure those schools are chock full of drugs and gangs, etc…

  • 271. klm  |  December 23, 2011 at 11:14 am


    OK, maybe it’s because I have black kids of my own, but I feel like I can address what some might feel like is the Elephant in the Room.

    I agree with what you have to say in spirit, about changing boundaries around to increase diversity, which in a perfect world is how things would be. That said, the reality is (and this is, I believe a 98-100% socioeconomic issue rather than a racial one, no matter what some people will say) lots of parents that want a “diverse” school for their kids want diversity that means a certain number of black kids from families that are also looking for a good school, but NOT lots of Cabrini Green/housing project-type diversity.

    Anybody at the Lincoln LSC meeting last week will likely agree that they’ve never seen so many pi**ed-off (almost all white) people –mad because there won’t be enough black kids at the newly redistricted Lincoln. There were white parents going on about “racial genocide”, the importance of “diversity” for their family (that’s why we didn’t move to the suburbs, etc.), the central role diversity played in Lincoln’s mission, etc. However, even these kinds of Diversity-loving white/asian/hispanic and yes, BLACK people aren’t going to be thrilled with having large number of kids from violence-prone/intergenerational failure neighborhoods.

    I have black children of my own, but having spent most of my childhood in urban housing projects and its related public schools, I have genuine misgivings about my kids going to school with kids from this environment, despite the fact that most are decent kids. It’s the 15-30% that are living embodiment of every negative Ghetto stereotype that scare me to death. I know it sounds horrible, but I’m being honest. People want regular black people diversity, not violent-dysfuntional-behavior-Cabrini-Green/need-to-wear-a-kevlar-vest-to-school/reading-at-2nd-grade-level-in-middle-school/thugging-and-gangbanging style diversity.

    There’s no way people from Old Town are going to send their kids to Jenner or Manierre. Many people want Diversity for their kids but not at any cost.

  • 272. HS Mom Advocate (formerly cps Mom)  |  December 23, 2011 at 11:15 am

    @268 – there are a number of kids that actually apply. If you take a closer look at the demographics of the 3 nearby magnets, Newberry and Franklin show a much larger % of low income, minority students.

  • 273. HS Mom Advocate (formerly cps Mom)  |  December 23, 2011 at 12:29 pm

    to expand my comment based upon 271 – being very familiar with the “south of north” neighborhood, there is a big difference between Cabrini Green (no longer there) and the Marshall Field Garden Apartments that stretch along Sedgwick. Many of the residents in MFGA are working in businesses in the area and elsewhere and are living there because they are not gang bangers. The complex houses the Alderman’s office and the Jesse White tumblers and is surrounded on all four sides by upscale development and business. These families do receive assistance from Jesse White (who also lives in the area), his organization and other groups in applying to and reaching out for school choice. Where many families prefer to send their kids across the street to school, there are also many that look at getting their kids into a decent school trying to better their lot in life. The magnet buses pull up to the door picking up kids just like any other neighborhood. Why shouldn’t these kids be included in a discussion of local school issues.
    Why is it that Lincoln Park is the only “victim” needing “appropriate” accommodations for an overcrowded school . What about the families between Sedgwick and LaSalle that have Manierre as their neighborhood school?

  • 274. Melissa Howard  |  December 23, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    It *seems* like CPS is taking a zone-portfolio approach, looking at wider areas to find better solutions for kids. But it really makes me wonder – how many families in the Jenner/Manierre area even apply to the magnets or know that they are in proximity for LaSalle and Newberry?

    The Jenner area is supposed to be mixed income but really is comprised of middle/high income in a few new buildings and low income (many from outside the neighborhood). I live in a new building that is middle class to upper class but zoned into Jenner (missed Ogden by 1 block). All of the parents apply to magnet/gifted. Several kids go to LaSalle and Franklin. If their child does not get into a magnet/gifted, they send their kids to private school (British, Catherine Cook, Latin, Lab). Lots of kids in the new buildings that have been built where Cabrini once stands, go to private school or move to the burbs. Parents here would actively support neighborhood school program in the Near North that is integrated by SES, particularly since they bought into the mixed income neighborhood concept, but won’t send their kids to schools that underperform to the extent of Jenner. If there was a reasonable option, many of these parents would not choose private school.

    It seems that the kids at Jenner and Manierre would be better off if integrated into LaSalle, Ogden, Franklin, Lincoln, and new schools started at Jenner/Manierre that are mixed income and not all low SES. Don’t “take their buildings” but change the program and zoning so that the kids who currently attend these schools can be integrated into several higher performing schools. CPS could increase socio-economic diversity at all schools and also increase performance at all schools. I think its very possible with some changes to zoning b/c the low income population is small compared to the upper/middle class population in the Near North. None of the schools would be predominately low income, especially if many of the kids in private school begin to attend public schools rather than opting out.

  • 275. anonymous  |  December 23, 2011 at 10:31 pm

    CPSO, you said, “I would guess they feel that CPS is giving them the very raw end of the deal by providing a good school in lincoln park and crummy schools in their areas.”
    I think the way I see it is that yes, CPS has responsibility to do better by the lower performing schools, CPS can’t be the sole party responsible to better those schools.
    I love my kids’ magnet school, but I also know, if our magnet and our neighborhood school switched student populations (kind like “wife swap”) but the teaching staff and funding remained the same, the scores and performance would follow the students. The staff at my kids’ school is awesome, but they aren’t miracle workers. They do wonders with the kids they do have, but that has as much to do with the kids who come to them (ready to listen, ready to learn, not caught up in serious issues like daddy being in jail and mommy working the street) than it has to do with their skill set.
    Before someone says I am giving up on kindergarteners, I am not. With a completely different kind of school (a therapeutic kind of environment, costing 10 times what a normal school costs), kids with horrific issues and horrible behaviors can be taught.
    Sometimes, schools are crummy because the parents who send them there don’t teach them basic things like not to stab each other in the classroom.

  • 276. LLA parent Adam  |  December 23, 2011 at 10:39 pm

    @263: Current LaSalle students come from, approximately, as far south as 138th St, west as Harlem and north as Touhy. The details are posted on the school website: http://www.lasallechicago.com/index.php/about

  • 277. Mom  |  December 26, 2011 at 10:29 pm

    I am not responding to anyone in particular but just to the general sentiment that Jenner students are stuck in a “crappy” underperforming school and if only they were “allowed” to go to a good school like Lincoln, everything would turn out great for them — this is so naive. I volunteer at Jenner. There is nothing crappy about the physical building or the teachers I have seen. But, unfortunately, these kids have SO many problems besides learning the three Rs that just sending them to Lincoln would make (in my humble prediction) zero bit of difference. The kids that are willing and able to learn already are. Others have bigger fish to fry (like the 7 year old who could not concentrate on learning to read because his teeth were literally rotting and he was in so much pain). These kids are not stuck in a bad school. They are stuck in unfortunate life circumstances that no amount of “diversity” or plopping them into schools with better performing students is going to fix. We need a more wholistic approach. Sending them to Lincoln or combining them with Lincoln students is not going to cut it.

  • 278. Mother Pear  |  December 27, 2011 at 8:27 pm

    276. LLA parent Adam

    Thanks for that link. By the looks of it, LLA is a northside school.

  • 279. SoWA Mom  |  December 28, 2011 at 9:20 am

    I think it’s important to recognize that CPS has not “given” Lincoln Park families a great school. Decades of commitment and work done by the families in the neighborhood created a great school. Those of us who choose to move into the neighborhood do so, at least in part, because we want to be part of a community that cares so much about our kids’ education. We owe a great debt to those that came before us.

    The turn around at Lincoln started forty years ago. The school was mediocre and much of the neighborhood not overwhelmingly nice.

    One of the “old timers” at the LSC meeting said that in those forty years CPS has not made a meaningful capital investment in the school. The community feels a sense of ownership for what it has accomplished at Lincoln. It was disappointing that CPS did not recognize that and did not seek community input on how to resolve the overcrowding before presenting a recommendation.

  • 280. RL Julia  |  December 28, 2011 at 9:54 am

    @277 Mom.
    Thank you. One thing to note is that if there were only a handful of kids with the sort of problems you (and other’s who posted before you) described, it would be manageable – and the school could take care of that one extreme case but when you get a whole school of kids who are in need in a myriad of ways, the system can’t possibly respond.

    So what’s the solution? CPS would and has historically sort of mumbled – we are doing our job – if you bring us a kid ready to learn, While there are exceptions obviously, I do think this is true – its just that so many kids are brought to school not ready to learn for reasons both within and out of their parent’s control. Then what? We blame the schools for not doing an impossible job? People whose children are more ready to learn than not clump together in certain schools? None of these solutions actually help the children brought to school not ready to learn – and who we eventually blame for not being able to participate in the education being provided to them.

    While I don’t hold CPS completely innocent in this scenario, I will say that solving these problems exceeds their mission and the monies that they are given are not earmarked to be used to solve these kinds of issues that definitely impact a child’s ability to be educated but are not educational in nature (like dental and vision care issues for instance).

    Ultimately, it is a case of the general society failing its children.

  • 281. Melissa Howard  |  December 28, 2011 at 12:05 pm

    277 and 280 — No one expects CPS to be miracle workers. But it makes sense to have socioeconomic integration so that children with extreme needs (often correlated with SES) are not all located in the same school. If they are spread out among several schools, then its easier for schools/teachers to intervene. Having a few students with serious problems is difficult but manageable, but a large number of students is not. Its also unfair to those students at Jenner who are achieving on average to have to attend a school that has such low achievement. The peer effect impacts achievement over time. Its not just the system, teachers, and school that matter but the other students in the class. Moreover, there is a whole group of middle income, high achieving kids who live in the new townhouses and condos zoned into Jenner who now attend private school. These kids should have the option of a good public school and, if there were reasonable options, then it might increase socioeconomic integration naturally as some parents might choose public over private school.

  • 282. RLJulia  |  December 28, 2011 at 5:02 pm

    The basic problem is that by CPS’s estimation, 85% of its students are children might qualify as potentially having extreme needs – quite simply, there are too many students with too many needs. I think most people are o.k. with socioeconomic integration as long as:
    1. their children are the “poor” ones in need of extra services and/or
    2. it is that most everyone at the school is middle class or above with a few richer and a few poorer kids.

    What happens at places like Jenner is that when the first group of higher earning people moved into the neighborhood they didn’t send their kids there because they didn’t want to be the rich outliers. As more people who were more affluent moved in, they didn’t consider Jenner because the early adapters who moved the neighborhood before didn’t send their kids there.

    Until the community surrounding Jenner who are committed to good public education decide to “own” the place and start Nettlehorsting it up, it will continue to be a place that its affluent neighbors find undesirable/unappealing and opt out of because they have the ability to and everyone else just tries their best to avoid except for the families with absolutely no other options, the ones who believe in the school and the kids whose parents have so many other issues to deal with that school quality is low on the list.

    Basically it is a problem of economics – as much as everyone in Tier 4 complains – there is a disproportionate number of poor kids in the CPS system and that means that by default the predominant culture is going to reflect those children – and our collective biases, assumptions and realities – for better or worse about need and poverty and (oh why not) culture/race.

  • 283. Mom  |  December 28, 2011 at 10:10 pm

    I’m just going to say this. Sorry to whom it may offend. It is literally not the school’s fault in the case of Jenner. (Probably the same thing in other schools like it.) The teachers are not bad. The school facility is beautiful. The class sizes are amazing (20 or so) — because lots of people are moving out of the projects as they get shut down. So, the notion of “Nettlehorsting” the school can mean only replacing the poor children who attend with richer ones who will perform better on the tests.

    @280– This is interesting to me. Would it be better to have only a few needy kids in a school or a whole school filled with the needy? Hard for me to say. The reason I am volunteering at Jenner is because our temple has “adopted” the whole school. So, all of our members are asked to volunteer our time there (of course not everyone does, but many do). If it were a school with just a handful of poor kids, we would not be spending our time there. On the other hand, the school’s staff would be able to focus better on the fewer kids with these needs. So, toss up I guess what is better (so long as you have volunteers ready and willing to help in the case of the needier school).

    @281 — I guess I take issue with the notion that it is unfair to the normal learners at Jenner that they are at Jenner. There is nothing wrong with the education they are receiving from what I have seen. The only reason the school is “underperforming” is because the other students are, for lack of non-PC words, not performing due to their life circumstances. Also, the notion that the local rich folks should have access to good public schools is, well, all well and good. This is harsh to say, but Jenner would be a good public school if only rich folks would send their kids there. In my view, what makes a “good” school is the kids that attend — ready and able to learn. Don’t much care about their race or socioeconomic status. Although this surely impacts on the above. I’m sure this is controversial. But, I believe it is the truth. You have to catch the kids at the beginning. Otherwise, it is too late.

    @282 — I think I agree with you about a lot of stuff. However, I think what you seem to be saying is just a version of getting rid of the bad kids and replacing them; with the better kids. This will surely have an effect on Jenner (or whatever school we are talking about with sucky performance). The community around Jenner can “own” the place, but that unfortunately, will not help the poor performers already there.

    This is what sucks about the Nettlehorst story. It looks brilliant on paper because they kicked all the poor performers out.

    What will we do about the poor kids left behind? We are creating an underclass. This is not about your kids’ education. They are surely getting a better education somewhere other than Jenner. This is about what we, as a society, can do to help the Jenner kids turn into functioning members of society. Who will help? Who will contribute money? This really will impact us all if we don’t help.

  • 284. CPSDepressed  |  December 29, 2011 at 9:48 am

    Thank you. Mom @283. Thank you.

  • 285. RL Julia  |  December 29, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    283- ditto – thank you. Exactly.

  • 286. HS Mom was cps Mom  |  December 29, 2011 at 6:26 pm

    I like that this conversation has really expanded.

    I don’t think that there are major differences from what Melissa is pointing out. Looking at the map above this area is in a unique position to support great CPS neighborhood schools. There are (2) neighborhood schools (Ogden and LP) that families flock to and (2) neighborhood schools relegated to the “under-served”. Schiller no longer exists and I count 4 magnet schools.

    My guess would be that the populations of Manierre and Jenner are overstated in view of recent neighborhood changes. Judging by the small class sizes and the existing % of students that already do perform adequately enough, wouldn’t a plan like Melissa’s help everyone in the neighborhood?

    Given that JCB has already withdrawn his support to challenge the existing magnet structure this discussion is moot. The magnets are predominately serving their communities and not the “whole” city of Chicago. There just are not enough seats to serve the whole city and the neighborhood. I just think that addressing the needs of any neighborhood should come first. I wouldn’t mind a “makeover” in my own area.

  • 287. Melissa Howard  |  December 29, 2011 at 9:21 pm

    286 — Your correct. I think the unique demographics in Near North make socioeconomic (SES) integration possible. I understand there are other areas of the city that are predominately lower SES and integration absent busing from a far is not possible. Again, my comments are limited to the Near North community where SES integration is feasible b/c the entire area is not predominately lower SES. It would benefit the children educationally but also socially. Lower SES students would have access to some of the extras that middle class parents often provide to schools (i.e., Lincoln, Nettlehorst parents fundraise and provide after school activities (music, art, etc..) and higher SES students could learn a lot from children who are not as fortunate and learn to appreciate what they have been given.

  • 288. Denise K.  |  January 3, 2012 at 8:47 am

    @287…”and higher SES students could learn a lot from children who are not as fortunate and learn to appreciate what they have been given.”

    How do you see this occurring?

  • 289. Mark Sneathen  |  January 4, 2012 at 11:02 pm

    As someone living in the current Lincoln boundaries, and south of Armitage, I was very encouraged to get the flyer today from http://www.chicagowale.com

    If you live in the current Lincoln Elementary school boundaries, please join WALE IWe Are Lincoln Elementary) and make sure our voices are heard.

    Join the FB page too:

  • 290. Gunnery Sgt Hartman  |  January 5, 2012 at 11:13 am

    Looks like the media finally picked up on what I’ve been screaming about for some time:


  • 291. LSC Momma  |  January 6, 2012 at 8:49 am

    @290 GIGO – garbage in, garbage out. The formula is flawed. It’s based on 30 kids in a classroom, and some of the rooms CPS is “counting” as classrooms cannot even fit 30 children. Plus the screaming headline doesn’t balance out the number of schools that are overcrowded such as the one mentioned by @289.

  • 292. HS Mom Advocate (formerly cps Mom)  |  January 6, 2012 at 10:28 am

    What does ring true in the article is that property taxes are supporting multiple underused school facilities while we are in a financial crisis unable to accommodate the overcrowded schools.
    It seems that whenever talk about closing or reconsidering boundaries comes up there is an uproar in the community.

  • 293. cpsobsessed  |  January 18, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    As an update, I see that the Lincoln community has completed their
    ideas for alternative plans. I haven’t had a chance to read through it yet, but here it is….


  • 294. Michelle Sampson  |  January 24, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    We live three houses South of Armitage and now have the worry about where we are going to send our dear little boy to school in 2 years time. Please think about all the families in the community who are now going to be impacted by the CPS decision through no fault of their own. This may result in us being forced out of our homes in search of finding a better place to educate our boy. We are your neighbours and this does not feel like we are working together to find a solution to help all the young children within the community.

  • 295. cpsobsessed  |  January 24, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    If you look for the facebook group called WALE: we are lincoln elementary you can follow the neighborhood efforts to come up with a solution for the whole lincoln district. Lots of hard work going on by a parent group there.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 296. SoWA Mom  |  January 24, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    Skyline published an update on the 18th:


  • 297. ari  |  February 9, 2012 at 8:03 am

    @65- I disagree about the Edison moving part of what you said. I have a child that goes to Edison RGC. Two weeks ago wile his class was walking down to 1st Period (they walk from class to class), pushed him and his friend down the stairs and the security guard standing by did nothing. Two months ago they took his ipod right out of his back pocket and the teachers were too scared to say anything. Whenever an APMA student goes through a metal detector is ALWAYS goes off. That’s not all, every morning and afternoon often multiple times a day he and his friends get called names and bad words. I’m talking F***, and this like “you white *****.” I don’t want to discriminate but it is just the truth

  • 298. jp  |  April 22, 2012 at 10:32 am

    What about the Mulligan School building that is mentioned in this article about Ogden?


  • 299. Mois  |  April 22, 2012 at 11:23 am

    We’ve been told that Lincoln moving into Alcott is not an option. Why when Alcott takes most all students from city-wide lottery?

  • 300. New school at Childrens Hosp site?  |  October 10, 2012 at 10:23 am



    School overcrowding is one of the more contentious issues in Lincoln Park these days, and it has ensnared the developer who wants to build on the old Children’s Memorial Hospital site.

    Lincoln Elementary School, 615 W. Kemper Pl., is overcrowded, although by how much is a matter of opinion. Several people involved with Lincoln want the developer to provide space for a new school somewhere on the six-acre Children’s site, which runs south from the Lincoln-Fullerton-Halsted intersection.

    It could be a suitable answer for a wealthy area that wants to protect its highly regarded neighborhood school. But that would require money from a deficit-addled school district and cooperation from the developer, McCaffery Interests Inc., and Lurie Children’s Hospital, the property owner.

    The McCaffery plan would have added about 900 apartments to the site, perhaps generating hundreds of additional children in Lincoln’s attendance area. In August, Ald. Michele Smith, whose 43rd Ward includes Lincoln Park, came out against the redevelopment, citing its impact on the school. She also said its 21- and 25-story buildings were too tall.

    Others are worried that by pressing for a school at Children’s, the developer will gain negotiating leverage to build a dense project.

    Smith said he’s unwilling to get into bargaining with McCaffery over a school. She said the Lincoln school council, in advocating for a facility at the Children’s site, would be open to other solutions as well. “We are looking at all the funding options we can get,” Smith said.

    Other residents have proposed different ideas, such as redrawing attendance boundaries so more Lincoln Park children can attend a magnet school, LaSalle Language Academy at 1734 N. Orleans.

    Daniel McCaffery, chairman of McCaffery Interests, wouldn’t rule out putting a school on the site and characterized the idea as a part of a long neighborhood vetting. “I don’t own the land,” he said. “I’ve pledged to the children’s hospital to work as hard as I can to make things right with the community.”

    Asked if the school issue is gumming up the approval process for his deal, McCaffery said it’s too soon to draw that conclusion.

    But he knows that just as some Lincoln Parkers want a school on the land, others don’t want to give him license to get tall buildings in return. Community groups have pushed for zoning that would let him build nothing taller than 65 feet.

  • 301. Adreana  |  November 28, 2012 at 9:50 pm

    Magnet Schools. Great Concept but I M P O S S I B L E to get in…….This will be our 4 year trying to get into a Magnet School in Chicago. Our waiting list #’s are in the 100’s…………..every year

  • 302. cpsobsessed  |  February 22, 2013 at 1:35 am

    Update on Lincoln. Short term solution: some kids will be going to school in …. luxury condos??? Actually not a bad solution for utilizing empty real estate. But the area clearly still needs a longer term plan.


  • 303. HSObsessed  |  February 22, 2013 at 9:27 am

    Ha, the building doesn’t contain luxury condos. it used to be adminsitrative offices for Children’s Memorial. Last I heard the classrooms were at the basement level, but there were fire code issues. It’s definitely not an ideal situation.

  • 304. lpteach  |  February 22, 2013 at 3:08 pm

    The building is being converted into the DePaul school of education building. They will be losing an entire floor of classrooms during the day so Lincoln can take over. This is supposedly a favor for Rahm which clearly means some other plan is already in the works for the future. In the meantime, the school of education will have major inconveniences for next year, including the loss of classroom space during school hours and the DePaul staff having to go through greater security. Plus, I can’t imagine that the Lincoln teachers will be happy about sharing their classrooms with DePaul in the evening. Seems like a pretty weak solution to me.

  • 305. PositiveThinking  |  February 23, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    I was curious as to how this building (somewhat far away) was even put into play. Thanks for the insight that it could be some kind of “favor.”

    However, given that it is the school of education, could future teachers and the Lincoln students there not benefit from having real classrooms taught by wonderful, experienced teachers there for a year or two? DePaul students could observe and help out in classrooms? Students could have more help? Just a thought. Trying to stay positive as no one believes it’s ideal. I only wish that the short-term solution were offered in conjunction with a long-term solution. It’s hard to get excited about could be less than ideal with no future in sight. But if there were a good future, then maybe this inconvenience could be easier to accept?

  • 306. CarolA  |  February 23, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    Not sure if this helps the conversation or not, but there were a lot of questions on the teacher survey My Voice, My School or whatever the title was that relate to what college I attended and what kind of student teaching program I had, etc. Too many questions about it if you ask me. Something is up. Maybe something with DePaul? Maybe Chicago teachers will only be hired if they graduate from DePaul? Who knows what’s going to happen, but the line of questioning had nothing to do with the school I teach at.

  • 307. lpteach  |  February 28, 2013 at 11:04 pm

    @PositiveThinking- I think it is a possibility that the DePaul students will have an opportunity to do some clinical hours in the Lincoln classrooms. @CarolA- I wonder if CPS is going to partner with DePaul in some way like AUSL has with National Louis? Or maybe the survey is just trying to get a handle on how many of their teacher attended schools in the city, out of state, etc. It’s hard to know what CPS is thinking most of the time so I can’t even begin to predict why they would have questions like that on the surveys.

  • 308. Alisa  |  April 9, 2013 at 11:40 pm

    Maybe the mayor promised Depaul a favor to house the Lincoln School children. Maybe he promised Depaul the Marshall Field Housing Complex (it has been rumored for years that Depaul has wanted this space) for years for dorms. Maybe this is why Manierre is closing (Almost all the students that attend live in the Marshall Field Housing). Take away the school and people will move out and scatter because there is no schools available for their kids to attend. Currently, Manierre students will go to Jenner and there are safety concerns with the huge intersection to cross and possible gang activity. Why couldn’t Lincoln take the Cleveland side of Manierre (Manierre is underutilized) and be bused in temporarily instead of going to Depaul?

  • 309. Chris  |  August 23, 2013 at 7:49 pm

    Maybe this is why DePaul is getting TIF $$ for a stadium.

  • 310. outdoor knife needs  |  July 7, 2014 at 8:02 pm

    Hi there, i read your blog from time to time and i
    own a similar one and i was just wondering if you get a lot of spam responses?
    If so how do you protect against it, any plugin or anything you can recommend?
    I get so much lately it’s driving me insane so any support is very much appreciated.

What do you think?

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed




Blog Stats

  • 6,163,503 hits

%d bloggers like this: