CPS to open more Selective Enrollment High Schools, says Brizard

April 6, 2012 at 2:30 pm 59 comments

Well, this sure is interesting.  And you have to hand it to the Jones HS students for putting old JCB on the spot and protesting in favor of their fellow CPS students!   You know I have mixed feelings about this – I’d rather see the neighborhood schools “get good” but maybe both those things can happen.  We know there are plenty of “best and brighest” kids who scored really well and didn’t get their top choice school.  This still aint gonna get them into Northside, but hopefully by offering more seats, there will be less fierce competition at each school. 

From WBEZ:  http://www.wbez.org/news/education/brizard-chicago-will-open-more-selective-enrollment-high-schools-97981

Brizard: Chicago will open more selective enrollment high schools

April 5, 2012


Chicago schools CEO Jean Claude Brizard said Thursday evening the city will create more selective enrollment high schools.

“Short answer is yes. We have demand,” Brizard said, when students from Jones College Prep High School asked whether the city would expand the number of selective enrollment high schools. Brizard made his comments on WBEZ’s monthly Schools on the Line program.

“The city cannot only have selectives, but at the same time, when you look at 24,000, 25,000, 30,000 people applying for 5,000 seats across the city, clearly there is a need and there is a want and there is a demand for that kind of school,” Brizard said.

This was the first time the schools chief has said publicly the city would create more of the coveted schools.

In late January, Brizard said at a school fair that Chicago was “a bit too obsessed with selective enrollment.” Both he and Mayor Rahm Emanuel have emphasized expansion of other types of schools, including charter schools, International Baccalaureate programs and STEM schools focusing on science, technology, engineering and math.

Brizard said the district was responding to demands from parents to open more selective schools. This year, competition to get into the city’s selective high schools ramped up, with near-perfect scores required for admission to some.

Brizard reiterated his commitment to neighborhood schools as the city’s primary education strategy, saying the city needs a “huge focus” on improving them.

Jones College Prep is one of nine selective enrollment high schools in Chicago. The students who asked Brizard the question said it seems unfair to have so few selective enrollment schools in a district with 400,000 students.

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The Kindergarten Full-Day / Half-Day Discussion CPS attending community meeting to discussing making change at neighborhood schools

59 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Kelly  |  April 6, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    I don’t believe Brizard. He says things and then later retracts them. Case in point. Vouchers…

    Copy Paste from Seth Lavin’s March 9 Chicago School Wonks.

    Brizard gaffed this week on vouchers. Noreen Ahmed-Ullah’s headline and subhead say it all: “CPS chief backs federal dollars ‘following’ students to private schools: District spokeswoman later says Brizard doesn’t support voucher program”
    At a panel with Noble head Mike Milkie and Catholic schools leader Sister McCaughey, Brizard said: “If 500 traditional CPS (students) would go to the parochial schools … the proportional share (of dollars) should go to the school actually educating those children.”

    Moderator Tim Knowles, making me love him, pointed out that this is called vouchers and is a controversial thing for a big-city superintendent to say. A CPS spokesperson later told Ahmed-Ullah that Brizard actually opposes vouchers.

    One of the knocks on Brizard, that’s occasionally put forward as an attribute, is that he agrees with everyone. They say he’s very good at saying he supports exactly what whatever constituency he’s talking to wants to hear. It’s certainly non-confrontational but it occasionally gets him and CPS into trouble. In the same forum he told the head of Chicago’s catholic schools that he supports charter schools built in partnership with the church. That’s crazy. Right?

  • 2. Southside mom  |  April 6, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    I don’t believe it. The plan is to open more charters, not CPS schools.

  • 3. kate  |  April 6, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    maybe in his mind “SE” is a broad definition. It seems like charter schools could also be categorized as Selective Enrollment. It has long been pointed out that charters have an ability to provide enrollment requirements that could be construed as selective. At least more selective than a neighborhood school. There’s no guarantee that those STEM HS couldn’t become selective over time. Not sure its a gaffe as much as its an unknown…only time can tell.

  • 4. IB&RGC Mom  |  April 6, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    I hope it is true. Really, there are so few seats for a city with so many kids in its public school system.

  • 5. Marketing Mom  |  April 6, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    I will believe it when I see it. In order to do this, more neighborhood schools will have to close. Gee…where will all of the non-college bound students end up?

  • 6. wy mom  |  April 6, 2012 at 6:09 pm

    More SEHS, 5 new stem schools, 5 new IB wall 2 wall schools, new infrastructure, Cultural Arts plan 2012…I’ll believe it when it happens!

  • 7. HS Mom  |  April 6, 2012 at 7:22 pm

    Thank you Jones for stepping out on this issue. Really great group of kids and I’m sure they are illustrative of other CPS HS students in special programs and otherwise.

    I wonder if this question has been officially posed to JCB in the past and if so, what was his answer? I guess the follow up to this question would be to pin point to a specific time frame. It sounds like there are many interesting plans in the making that will provide serious students with a serious school. We will see how this unfolds.

    I hope that some of the parents new to SEHS will have an opportunity to volunteer at the open house events at your school. One thing that you will encounter is the multitude of really great kids with various talents. They all love the opportunity and are overwhelmed about the possibility of getting in. One girl from a neighborhood school confident that she did “really well” but was scoring in the 7th stanine. Another boy who does well in school, worried about tests but is an excellent jazz drummer wondering if he can get in. It’s heartbreaking to hear the stories involved. They all need and deserve a good place that will be encouraging and build on their talents.

  • 8. Southside mom  |  April 6, 2012 at 9:39 pm

    if more SEs are built…. hopefully one will be far southside.

  • 9. SW Side Momma  |  April 6, 2012 at 11:07 pm

    Southside Mom- I totally agree and will personally be contacting my alderman about having one closer to us on the near South Side.
    It wouldn’t hurt to have one near Midway, one near Bronzeville, and I am sure folks on the West side would appreciate a few as well.

  • 10. to SW Side Momma  |  April 7, 2012 at 9:44 am

    There is a SE HS in Bronzeville called King. Isn’t Westinghouse sort of near Midway??? For far southside there is Brooks. I think maybe everyone would like TWO SE HS in each zone. Now that would be ideal 🙂

  • 11. westsidemom  |  April 7, 2012 at 10:33 am

    Westinghouse is not near Midway, it’s close to the Garfield Park Conservatory, due west of downtown.

  • 12. Mayfair Dad  |  April 7, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    @ 3: Your observation rings true to me. Going forward, I believe the expression Selective Enrollment will expand to encompass SE, STEM, IB, Charter, International, World Language, Performing Arts and whatever other edu-buzzword that will halt the white flight to the suburbs.

    Now let’s see where the money comes from to pay for it…

  • 13. Greg McClain  |  April 7, 2012 at 7:30 pm

    Chicago’s “Selective Enrollment High Schools (SEHS)”: Are they really as good academically as you think? Have you evaluated the raw data and then based your conclusion on empirical data; not anecdotal? Are you believing what the media, CPS, and/or school-building principals are telling you about academic achievement or are finding out for yourself?

    Have you conducted your own research to understand for yourself the significant difference between standardized test scores, and GPAs and/or Class Ranks for HS seniors? With that understanding, have you evaluated the above data for Chicago’s SEHS?

    (Note: standardized test scores are easy to find in the public domain because public school systems are required to share the data with the public. However, it’s VERY DIFFICULT to get the data that REALLY tells the true story about how well students are doing academically and being prepared for the next phase of their lives, whatever that might be: disaggregated GPA data gives you a much better picture of what’s really happening academically.)

    Comment: Standardized test scores get way too much attention and emphasis. Yes, they’re important in our current public education system because most higher ed institutions and some Scholarships use these scores to HELP make acceptance and granting decisions. However, standardized test scores alone are not a reliable indicator of a student’s ability to be successful in higher ed. In fact, I believe they are a POOR indicator. Keep in mind that a standardized test score only gives you a snapshot in time, i.e, it only tells you how well a student did on one test. Personally, I really don’t care how well a student scores on a ACT, SAT, NAEP, etc test. (Especially since I know that students can and have been taught how to take various tests to improve their scores.) I believe that a student’s GPA, class rank, and transcript are far better indicators of their academic achievement and ability to be successful in higher ed.

    Do you know the accurate disaggregated GPA data for each SEHS in Chicago? Do you know it for the school that your child attends?

    Do you know the Dropout rate for each SEHS? Retention rate? Graduation rate?

    Of the students that graduate from a SEHS and are accepted into Higher Ed schools, what % actually attend for at least 1-year?

    Do all SEHS require successful completion of rigorous and relevant core courses, e.g., 3-4 years of math, 3 years of lab sciences (biology, chemistry, and physics), 4 years of language arts, 2 years of a foreign language, 2-3 years of history/social studies, etc?

    Do all SEHS in Chicago, especially those with “Math & Science Academy” in their names, offer rigorous “Math” and “Science” courses that would support their main focus, i.e., “Math” and “Science”?

    Do all SEHS in Chicago with majority minority student enrollment, have proportionate qualified, certified, and experienced minority classroom teachers; especially in low-performing schools?

    In summary,

    Does/will providing more and/or attending a SEHS in Chicago add value to and/or enhance the academic educational experience of students?

    Which would you rather have:

    Students attending and graduating from a SEHS or the BEST SEHS in Chicago (whatever that means)


    Students attending and graduating from a HS in Chicago that have been taught by competent and experienced teachers, have successfully completed rigorous and relevant courses, and have demonstrated that they have mastered what they are supposed to know and able to do so that they are prepared to be successful in the next phase of their life?

    Greg McClain
    Lindblom Tech HS (now Lindblom Math & Science Academy) – Class of 1968
    BS Engineering Management/Mechanical Engineering
    PD Engineering Management
    Former member of the Iowa State Board of Education (14 years)

  • 14. RL Julia  |  April 8, 2012 at 6:45 am

    The SEHS model doesn’t well accommodate kids who don’t find their academic stride later (since currently everything is based on 7th grade scores etc…). I would rather see an effort made to invest in/and improve the existing neighborhood schools to the point where everyone will be better served as a first step – rather than this, personally.

  • 15. donna  |  April 8, 2012 at 8:46 am

    @14- I totally agree. Creating more schools that separate, why not just offer more at the schools that already exist? Provide schools with budget lines to offer more classes…Honors/Gifted or support classes to cover the wide range of students. If a school is only allocated so many teachers, than there can be only so many classes. It would be heaven to create a program where the classes offered genuinely reflect the choices or needs of the student body. Right now, programmers can only create classes that they know will fill up. So if there are 18 kids in a potential honors class, a programmer will create the class, instead of maximizing the workload of the teacher by creating a regular level class that 29 kids can be in.

  • 16. HS Mom  |  April 8, 2012 at 9:36 am

    Seems that no matter what the neighborhood school does program wise there is a huge resistance to attending. People take one look at the scores and go elsewhere. They also interpret this to mean that the school is not academic and unsafe. I think that the only way to take back our neighborhood schools is to make them “selective”. Allow all neighborhood kids regular classes and career training and admit out of neighborhood kids on a selective basis with a separate college prep program. The selective school would have the same SE requirements and be on the SE application as a choice to rank with the others. Similar to the IB programs and to what Senn is doing now. They also need to report regular/IB/selective scores separately. The school needs to be ranked separately Senn, Senn IB, Senn Selective.

  • 17. Mom2  |  April 8, 2012 at 9:45 am

    @16 I agree with you on all points except I think there should be priority given to neighborhood kids that meet the minimum score requirements for the SE portion of their neighborhood school. To finally get that neighborhood feel and get kids to give their neighborhood school a try, you need that incentive.

  • 18. HS Mom  |  April 8, 2012 at 10:43 am

    Totally agree on that Mom2. It would be nice to see and I think a good solution.

  • 19. southie  |  April 8, 2012 at 10:55 am

    Any ideas how this could work to reintegrate Morgan Park HS?

  • 20. RL Julia  |  April 8, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    The downside is that anything selective ultimately means that kids who are late bloomers academically and those who are smart but underachieving are allowed to be ignored or not educated to their potential because they didn’t produce at key points in time. Everyone wants a school to be safe and function – but what about a school that doesn’t waste talent. I am sure everyone on this board knows a perfectly smart kid who is not working up to their potential in school for a variety of reasons – that kid represents wasted/undeveloped talent when excluded from educational opportunities that he/she might ultimately benefit from. I know a number of smart kids whose personalities are more “show me the money” and then I’ll work – and boy do they lose out in the current system which favors kids who are willing to jump through hoops first and ask questions later. While its understandable why the system favors this type of student, this kind of creaming ends up shortchanging us all in the long run.

  • 21. sosidemom  |  April 8, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    Expanding the IB program at MPHS would be great, further advertising the selective enrollment program already in existence there, and getting a really community oriented principal would be amazing things for Morgan Park.

  • 22. mom  |  April 8, 2012 at 7:22 pm

    @20 – If there were selective college prep programs inside neighborhood high schools, I would think that a “late bloomer” might be able to transfer into the selective program if they showed the potential during their first semester or first year of high school. Just like those in LPIB move into double honors if they can’t quite make it in the IB program – but the reverse.

  • 23. Gunnery Sgt. Hartman  |  April 9, 2012 at 10:37 am

    More selective enrollment High Schools are a good thing. Sorry for everyone who has a late achiever, or who doesn’t do well on standardized tests, but them’s the breaks.

    Does ot solve the problem of horrible neighborhood High Schools? Maybe not, but the more people who decide to send their kids to CPS, the better off we are, because it means more invovled parents and bringing in kids who would otherwise go to private school – and then send their kids to private school, and so on.

  • 24. Greg McClain  |  April 9, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    More SEHS is not a good thing if they are not educating students so that they are adequately prepared to be productive/successful citizens is society. Just because we have a SEHS doesn’t automatically mean it’s a good thing or is better than school A, etc.

    All of you that are seriously interested in this SEHS issue (Pro or Con), I strongly encourage you to research and evaluate the important data that tells the true story about how “good” SEHSs are or are not. And I’m not talking about standardized test scores; they don’t tell the true story AT ALL; they are way overrated. The important data that should be evaluated and decisions based upon are: 1) Disaggregated GPAs for all grade levels, 2) Graduation Rates, 3) Retention Rates, 4) Class Ranks for Seniors, 4) Rigorous and Relevant Curriculum, 5) Certified, Qualified, Competent, Experienced, and Teachers, 6) Racially-balanced faculty proportionate to student enrollment, 7) Dropout rates, etc.

    The type of school – SEHS, Private, Neighborhood, Charter, etc. – doesn’t necessarily make it a good school for teaching, learning, academic achievement, and academic performance.

    Viewing these anecdotal comments from all of you is encouraging and provides interesting reading. Encouraging because it’s nice to see that we have people in Chicago concerned about the SEHS issue. However, I would strongly suggest that if you are genuinely concerned – Pro or Con, take time to research and evaluate the important data for yourself and then make your decisions. If you do this, your position – Pro or Con – will be more credible and you will have made decisions based on facts; not anecdotal comments.

    Greg McClain
    Lindblom Tech HS Class of 1968

  • 25. Gunnery Sgt. Hartman  |  April 9, 2012 at 1:16 pm

    I think the kids from the SEHS are doing just fine, thanks.

  • 26. HS Mom  |  April 9, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    @24 you have some interesting points. I will add a couple more anecdotal comments to the pile because though “anecdotal” they do illustrate the thought process and typical concerns of parents.

    Since I’m living it (my teen goes to one of the top SE schools) I do see that you are right – it is a challange and not an easy task to keep up/stay up. We choose the challange. We were fortuanate. There are many smart kids with the same skill sets that do not have the opportunity. We would like to see them have it.

    The SE schools do have graduation rates in the 90% versus 60% for neighborhood schools. Check. I’m pretty impressed by the teachers. Have not researched them even though they all freely offer bios. I know that they are getting through to my kid so that works for me.

    Racially balanced faculty – sounds good, as much as possible. I see this to be true. I am most concerned that they have the best person for the job no matter what their race.

    Looks like you went to Lindblom. This school has an excellent reputation. Did you benefit from your SE experience? Is this something that you would like to see replicated on the south side or do you feel there is no need?

  • 27. Greg McClain  |  April 9, 2012 at 7:12 pm

    Gunnery Sgt. Hartman, how do you know the SEHS students are doing just fine? Are you basing your thinking on what you’re being told or have you reviewed the data for yourself? What specifically do you think they’re doing “just fine” in? Please explain. Do you know the Graduation Rates? Do you know the Retention Rates? Do you know the Dropout Rates? Do you know the disaggregated GPAs for each SEHS and/or all SEHS combined?

  • 28. Greg McClain  |  April 9, 2012 at 8:29 pm

    HS Mom,

    When it comes to evaluating schools and the educatoin of students, there is no room for anecdotal comments; especially in a public forum such as this. They only serve as WMD’s (Weapons of Mass Distraction); misinformation and distracting key stakeholders, such as yourself, from accuracy and the truth. If you and others are going to be concerned about something in Chicago Public Schools (SEHS et al), shouldn’t the concerns be based on accurate data? Why waste your energy on anecdotal or “he-said-she-said” or media data?

    I really get concerned when I see people using the term “top school” or “best school” or “world class school”. “Top”, “Best”, and “World Class” are “feel good” words. Do you want your teen to go to a “top school” or “the best school” or a “world-class school” OR do you want them going to a school where 1) they are being taught by certified, qualified, competent, and experienced teachers with a track record of high-performing students, 2) they are being challenged with a rigorous and relevent curriculum, 3) the disaggegated GPA’s are high, 4) the historical graduation rates are high, 5) the historical retention rates are high, 6) the historical dropout rates are low, 7) before graduation, students are able to demonstrate that they have mastered what they are suppose to know and be able to do, and 8) the historical track record for successful and productive graudates after HS graduation is high?

    I know it’s very difficult for every school to have a racially-balanced faculty, proportionate to student enrollment. However, it’s still a very important component of a student’s learning and achievement, especially our Black students, and something we should continue to advocate. All credentials and competences being equal, I would prefer to have my Black child being taught by a Black teacher; from a self-esteem and confidence perspective. (For the record, the majority of my, my daughter’s, and my wife’s teachers were White throughout our years in school – pre k -20 – and I think we all turned out ok.)

    Yes, I’m a proud graduate of Lindblom Tech HS (LTHS), Class of 1968. And yes I benefited immensely from the rigorous SE curriculum: 4-years of math, 3-years of lab science (biology, chemistry, and physics), 4-years of English, 3-years of history/social studies, 2 years of foreign language, 2 years of Industrial Tech (Wood Shop and Machine Shop), 2 years of Drafting (1-Mechanical and 1-Architectual), etc. In addition, I was very active in many extra-curricular activities, Football, Swimming, Bowling, Concert Band, Math Club just to name a few. I lived on 74th & Union and had to take 2 CTA buses to get to school everday. Around 1100 students entered LTHS in 1964. Around 570 graduated in 1968. I graduated in the top 10% of my class. I received academic and Football scholarships; attended the University of Missouri-Rolla; majored in Engineering Management & Mechanical Enginnering; graduated in 1972; received a MBA from the University of Dayton in 1976, received a PD in Engineering Management in 1993. I worked for General Motors and John Deere. I’ve been retired since 2004. So YES, my experience at LTHS was OUTSTANDING: the rigorous curriculum and extra-curriculr activities prepared me very well for higher education and beyond.

    However, based on what I have been able to learn about Lindblom (now Lindblom Math & Science Academy) since 2007, I would not send my child there. From my seat in the ballpark, it appears they have serious problems with leadership, teaching, learning, and academic achievement (not talking about standarized test scores; they are meaningless).

    The only thing that I would want replicated on the Southside re Lindblom, is the building; it’s awesome! Beyond that, I would have to see a bunch of accurate and historical data before l would change my position. We used to have a saying in the corporate world that I believe is applicable re Lindblom and the entire SEHS issue in CPS: “In God we trust, everybody else must show me data”.

    Hang in there HS Mom,

  • 29. Mom  |  April 9, 2012 at 9:35 pm

    Wow, Greg. Thanks so much for your perspective. I really feel it is valuable for parents who are so engrossed in “rankings” and such. As you say, there is so much more to consider than test scores. And you seem to have turned out to be so amazing with your CPS education, so perhaps there is hope for the rest of Chicago’s kids?!

    That said, I would not be as concerned as you about the proportion of same-race teachers to students, but that may just be me. I want the best teachers for my kids, no matter their race. (That said, if ther were discrimination against a teacher such that he/she was not hired due to race, religion, gender, disability, etc., I would not be happy.) I just don’t care as much about the “face value” of what teachers look like. I understand others might feel differently.

  • 30. Gunnery Sgt. Hartman  |  April 10, 2012 at 10:46 am

    Greg, you’re the one making a broad-based claim, how about you provide the data? You seem to have plenty of free time.

    90% of northside kids go on to college, 62% of Lake View kids, 31% Farrgut, and so on. It’s pretty easy.

  • 31. ChicagoGawker  |  April 10, 2012 at 11:36 am

    Actually Sgt. there was some surprising data released about how the SEHS kids perform in college. It’s not what you would expect considering they are thought of as the academic cream. Additionally, the academic gains made at SEHS are not what you would expect considering that these are the top top scorers. I’m searching the archives here for this data. Anyone remember what month this stuff was posted?

  • 32. mom2  |  April 10, 2012 at 11:41 am

    @31, I’d like to see that data and have it broken down by the particular school. Greg’s posts seem to imply issues with Lindbloom, but not sure that you can apply blanket statements about all SEHS into one. There is a big difference between some of them.
    Also, keep in mind that many parents find value in the SEHS’s not only because of academics, but also because of safety and value placed on education. This last point (value) is hard to measure with data – safety might be measurable.

  • 33. cpsobsessed  |  April 10, 2012 at 12:13 pm

    I don’t think I’d made a special post — it was woven into a comment thread. I think it was january when there was a trib article on it.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 34. kiki h.  |  April 10, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    Did anyone see the news about Chi Arts taking over the Malcolm X building? I think it’s kind of exciting. I feel like the West Side is getting a lot of good schools, between STEM, Westinghouse, and now Chi Arts.

  • 35. cpsobsessed  |  April 10, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    I saw that but wasn’t sure where malcolm x was. Is it on an el line? I did like the idea of a nice big building – wonder if the school will expand in size.
    Now if I can just gear my son there. I am a thwarted stage mother. 🙂

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 36. kiki h.  |  April 10, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    It’s right by the old Cook County Hospital and United center. (Damen and the Eisenhower) There’s a blue line stop right there. And sorry, it might be too late for you to be a stage mother. Haven’t you seen Toddlers and Tiaras? They start real young.

  • 37. cpsobsessed  |  April 10, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    Haha, I’ve been trying for a while. Maybe I should try the Go-Go juice.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 38. Gunnery Sgt. Hartman  |  April 10, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    #31 do you honestly think the kids who attend farragut or Clemente do better in college than those who went to Whitney young?

  • 39. RL Julia  |  April 10, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    I think that the worst Whitney Young student probably does no better and most likely worse than the best Clemente student…. However, I think the most ambitious Clemente or Farragut student might have the potential and tools to do better in college than the best Whitney Young student – depending on the college. Ivy League – maybe not – large state university? Most definitely. This is starting to sound like the makings of a reality show.

  • 40. ChicagoGawker  |  April 10, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    Sgt. ” the kids who attend farragut or Clemente do better in college than those who went to Whitney young?” was not at issue. “SEHS do just fine” was. Depends on what you mean by “fine”. If getting into college=fine, can probably concede this. But fine means a whole lot more to me. How do they perform once they get there? How well do the SEHSs do in getting them to reach their high potential? Fair questions, instead of just assuming every thing is rosy if you get in to an SEHS. Still searching for that data post. Not in the Jan 2012 comments.

  • 41. HS Mom  |  April 10, 2012 at 8:45 pm

    Greg – thanks for an interesting and eloquent perspective. Yes, I’m guilty of going for the hype and taking the “feel good” route. We selected our school based upon our perception of curriculum compatibility with personal goals, “feel” for the school and the teachers, reputation of school in the academic field and potential for personal growth socially, academically and as a citizen of the world. In retrospect, I would consider more of the concepts that you discuss. We are not driven by class ranks and GPA although I understand that many are. Not to say my kid won’t give it his best shot. Selectives do tend to have high graduation rates and concentrate on college readiness and are relatively successful with this. I believe that their students experience success because they come in as high achievers.

    What a prize to have a teaching staff that inspires and are leaders of lively relevant discussion. I want my child to find his niche or to feel empowered to create his own. I would like the teacher to relate to my child. All credentials equal race would be important to some to us it’s variety in both race and personality. To some degree we have this at our school so overall I’m happy.

    In depth research that you mention is valid. I wonder about decisions made on gut call and hype. I certainly wonder if we would have gone a different, better? route. One thing I would certainly do now would be to look very closely at IB.

    Greg, very jealous of that academic schedule that you had at Lindblom. Sounds like the perfect mix of scholastic, personal fitness and real life training. What a great story you have. Your child is in for the ride of his/her life.

  • 42. Greg McClain  |  April 11, 2012 at 10:50 pm

    Gunnery Sgt. Hartman, it appears that you’ve been duped by the SEHS hype. I don’t have all of the critical empirical data that I have referenced several times in this thread, ergo, THAT BE D’PROBLEM: Chicagoans don’t have the REAL story. I have tried to get the empirical data from CPS HQ and even offered to pay the $75 research fee plus the hourly fee to conduct and report the data. My request was denied. i tried several times to ge the historical empirical data from Lindblom’s principal but got nothing but lies, in my opinion, and excuses. I tried to get the Lindblom Alumni Association to support my efforts to get the real story – empirical data – to no avail; they were more concerned about Lindblom politics and pumping their egos. It’s really a crying shame that we have a lot of Black folks on the Southside being duped by anecdotal data and data that don’t mean didley-squat and even have the nerve to argue with you about what they really don’t know. Our people have a bad habit of believing what they’re told or thinking the way they’re told to think instead of taking the time and energy to find out stuff for themselves based on accurate data and learning how to think for themselves. For example, Gunnery Sgt., you quoted some graduation rates, yet you didn’t cite the source of your information. I don’t believe data unless I can see the raw data myself and do my own analysis. Folks have a tendency to tell you the story that they want you to know, thinking that the average person is not going to check it out to verify the accuracy. Yep, it takes extra time and effort, but for me, when it comes to education – especially educating our Black youth – i don’t believe ANYTHING that folks tell me without seeing the empirical data.

  • 43. Greg McClain  |  April 11, 2012 at 11:49 pm

    HS Mom, thanks for the nice comments. My wife (went home to be with the Lord about 2 years ago) and I had only 1 child: daughter; she just turned 34 the other day. And yes, we were and are extremely proud of her. She far exceeded ALL of our expectations and our expectations were very high. Yet she didn’t have any problems meeting and exceeding those expectations. Because we supported and encouraged her and held her accountable. When she saw that we were serious and was not going to let up, she kicked-butt. She didn’t give us ANY trouble; we kept her busy studying, participating in math, science, string, and sports camps, college prep programs, etc. She participated in a bunch of extra curricular stuff: swimming, volleyball, softball, basketball, track, choir, cheerleader, orchestra, etc. We told her that as long as she made at least a B in every class, she could participate in as much stuff as she wanted to. But if she dropped below a B, she would have to quit everything. I’m very proud to say that she never had to quit anything due to grades. Even though she didn’t like it, we made her take a full-load all four years in high school; we didn’t ever let her take a Study-Hall or what we called “skate classes”. Poor thang, we made her take all of the technical and language arts coursed that were offere. She tried her best to wiggle her way out of the 2-hour Advanced Math & Physics class that we made her take her Senior year in HS, to no avail. After 3-4 weeks, she began to really enjoy the class; primarily due to the Math and Physics teachers that team-taught the class. She really made me proud Super Bowl Sunday, Jan 1996. She had started a tradition of inviting a bunch of her girfriends over to our house to watch the Super Bowl every year. This particular Sunday, she had all of the girls come over around noon. I thought it was kind of strange since the game didn’t start until several hours later. To my surprise, she had invited the girls over early so they could work on a few Physics problems. Wow! I was one happy Daddy. To make it even better, they got stuck on one problem and my daughter ask me to help. That made my day. She graduated from the Malcolm Price Laboratory School. She attended the University of Minnesota where she received a BS in Speech Pathology & Audiology and minored in Linguistices. She completed her graduate work in Audiology at the University of Northern Iowa where my wife taught courses in Curriculum & Instruction in the College of Education and was the Director of the Multicultural Initiatives in Teaching program. She’s doing very well now and we are so proud of her; it’s hard for me to keep buttons on my shirt. We know that we were really blessed to have such a daugher; and we don’t take it granted.

  • 44. HS Mom  |  April 12, 2012 at 9:13 am

    @42 – information is quite the delema here in Chicago. Much easier to be spoon fed, google and hope for the best. I also believe that our standards have eroded over time.

    @43 Greg – quite an accomplishment. I like your “you can do whatever you want with a B” policy. I am definitely going to use that one. Dealing with teens and their stuborness – now that they are 16 and know absolutely everything there is to know – keeping on goal is a challenge. The day physics homework equals superbowl fun becomes the day I stop worrying about college. Thanks for your wisdom.

    Please keep us posted on any information that you acquire. I’m encouraged by the fact that more and more people throughout the city are searching for excellence in education. We need to keep CPS on task to provide that.

  • 45. Greg McClain  |  April 12, 2012 at 10:56 am

    HS Mom – Young people want to be challenged, disciplined, and held to high standards; even the ones that act like they don’t. However, to get the positive outcomes that we want, key stakeholders (parents, teachers, administrators, etc.) have to demonstrate that they believe that young people can meet and exceed high expectations; they have to hold young people accountable; they have to support and encourage them in a positive manner. When young people see that they have this type of support, they will surprise you beyound measure. One of the major problems with some parents is that they want to be friends with their children and cut them some slack to help them feel good. The parents primary and most important job is to parent; not to be their friend. When parents and children understand this line of demarcation, wonderful things happen, eventually. It takes a lot of time and tough love but the ROI (return on investment) is well-worth it.

    Hang in there, HS Mom, you can do it.

  • 46. Greg McClain  |  April 12, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    @32 Mom2 – I was not making a blanket statement; I was asking blanket questions, i.e., do all of you participating in this great dialogue really know the true status, based on empirical data, of each SEHS in Chicago? If you do, GREAT! Please cite the source(s) and share them with the rest of us. Most of the data (mentioned several times in this thread) is not reported in the public domain by CPS or building principals. In Lindblom’s case, the building principal is holding the data close to his vest because 1) he’s not required to share the data, 2) if the general public and Alumni knew the true story re Lindblom’s academic status, he would have to answer some tough questions, and 3) he appears to be a very controlling and dictatorial administrator and appears to have a problem manipulating the truth to cover-his-butt and impress Alumni and the public. Perhaps some of you that live in Chicago and have connections with one or more SEHS and/or CPS HQ can obtain the important disaggregated academic achievement data (NOT STANDARDIZED TEST SCORES) and share it with the rest of us. And by the way, I know that each school building and CPS HQ retains the data that I’ve been talking about. (According to the Lindblom principal during a phone conversation with him 2-3 years ago, the data is reviewed each week during his staff meeting.)

    I agree that safety and a safe environment are important re teaching, learning, academic achievement, and academic performance. But not as important as quality teaching and academic success. I would not send my child to a safe school with a history of poor quality teaching and poor academic success.

  • 47. cpsobsessed  |  April 12, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    What is the big deal about disaggregation? I mean more detail is always better but why the emphasis on that measure?

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 48. oldtown  |  April 12, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    Greg, I too applaud you in your attempt to obtain the results. Back on April 10, there was discussion about ChiArts. I have posted several times that although ChiArts holds an audition, the school has yet to prove that their model works.

    With respect to ChiArts dance program, I can emphatically state that the program is subpar in producing professional dancers or even close to college level dancing. I see these dancers frequently during the annual Summer program auditions that takes place during the winter. Just a small number of their students are accepted to the nationally recognized programs and well behind in training in comparison to the local dance programs (Joffrey and Ballet Chicago). If a child is searching for a career in dance, do not waste the valuable teen years training at ChiArts.

  • 49. Greg McClain  |  April 12, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    Gunnery Sgt and Chicago Gawker – Please cite the source of your data that shows that graduates of SEHS A do better in college than graduates of SEHS B? What is your definition of “better”?

    Two of the many metrics tracked by every accredited higher ed institution in the country and reported by the US Dept of Ed are 1st-year retention rates and 6-year graduation rates. 1st-year retention rate is determined by the % of 1st-year students (cohort group) that re-enroll and actually took classes their 2nd year. 6-year graduation rate is determined by the % of students (cohort group) that graduated from a 4-year higher ed institution within 6-years.

    To substantiate the claims that you’re making (pro or con) you would have to know empirical data as follows: 1) For SEHS A and B, what were the respective graduation rates for each school (cohort group)? 2) Of the students (cohort groups) that graduated from each SEHS, what % of each cohort group were accepted into a higher ed institution? 3) Of the students from each cohort group that were accepted, what % of each group actually enrolled and took classes? 4) Of the students of each cohort group that actually enrolled and took classes, what % of each group actually re-enrolled and took classes the 2nd year? and 5) Of the students that actually re-enrolled and took classes the 2nd-year, what % of the cohort group graduated within 6-years?

    I know from experience that accurately tracking student cohort group data from a particular HS through college matriulation is extremely difficult unless you have dedicated resources and students that are willing to share their personal information.

    Looking forward to seeing the source(s) of your data and your definition of “better”?

  • 50. Greg McClain  |  April 12, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    @47 – cpsobsessed: Disaggregated data is a HUGE deal; it gives you a true picture of what’s realing happening a various levels. For example, take GPA; GPA can be disaggregated by grade level, by gender, by ethnicity, by school building, By just looking at composite data, you may overloook a serious problem that needs more attention, resources, etc.

    It’s been my experience that school districts and/or building principals that refuse to share disaggregated data with the public, are hiding something that they don’t want the public to know and don’t want the public to ask challenging questions and offer ideas to improve the educational process. (These people have their head in the sand and are more concerned about their selfish ambition than the academic success of the students.)

    On the other hand, I have worked with school disticts and building principals that are very transparent and enthusiasticly share their disaggregated data with all stakeholders including posting the data on websites; they want their stakeholders to know what’s going on and solicit their input to help them get better. (These are the type of people we need more of in our public education system. They are genuinely concerned about the academic success of students and are not afraid to take on tough questions and challenges from the public.)

    Those of you that have students enrolled in CPS and are paying city and state taxes used for public education, you have a right to know the true story as to how well your schools are doing.

  • 51. cpsobsessed  |  April 12, 2012 at 4:46 pm

    @greg – that disagg stuff is available for isats scores for elem schools so it’s not hidden there. Gpa seems so subjective to me. Not sure I’d want to look at that necessarily — but I never have. What do you think it might reveal? Can we assume test scores and grade are correlated?

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 52. PortageParent  |  April 12, 2012 at 9:04 pm

    There was a community meeting for the 38th Ward on Wednesday to discuss development of the Reed/Dunning parcel of land at Irving & Narraganset. CPS, CPD, Wright, and housing all had reps there. Nothing is final, but from the looks of things a new school or even schools are being considered for the lot. I think it’s 42 acres…lots of potential! If you live on the far NW side and would like to push for schools, please reach out to your alder person and get your voice heard now before planning gets any further! Schools are needed just to deal with overcrowding, but it wouldn’t hurt to start a dialogue about a SEHS or something in the area.

  • 53. a dad  |  April 13, 2012 at 1:22 pm

    For those of you who are calling for better neighborhood high schools on the northside, here’s your chance to show how much you want them.


    Let’s face it – if we want to get something done, we’re going to have to do it ourselves!

  • 54. Chicago mom  |  April 14, 2012 at 7:43 pm

    I don’t believe opening more SE is the answer . It just added to the problem. Spend money on PR and intelligent people to make neighborhood school safe and good.

  • 55. ChicagoGawker  |  April 17, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    http://iirc.niu.edu/Default.aspx contains some interesting HS stats. click on the red link above the county map for HS to college success stats

    For example: Whitney Young 96% meets or exceeds on the PSAE
    25.3 av. Core ACT

    “Persisters” who returned to Champaign


    for sophomore year

    had an average HS GPA of 3.39 which fell to 2.95 in college. (This seems low for a group of the highest achieving Chicago HS students)These Whitney alums had av. ACTs of 26.6. How well are the SeHSs preparing students to be the high acheivers in college that they were when they entered HS? I would love to see college success stats for IB diploma students

  • 56. Gunnery Sgt Hartman  |  April 17, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    #49 I would say the fact that more of the SE high school students actually GO to college as compared with other High Schools shows that, well, they’re doing something right. Or do you feel that the small % of kids from neighborhood schools who go to High School are somehow better prepared? And which colleges do they attend?

    greg, you’re the one who keeps saying conclusively that the SE schools are not up to snuff, but You’ve basically done no more than filibuster. The burden of proof is on you.

  • 57. kate  |  April 18, 2012 at 10:58 am

    Posting this recent announcement from Principal Lofton regarding the IB program at Senn HS :

    Senn is in consideration to become a wall to wall IB school. Senn would remain a boutique neighborhood high school with Senn AVID and Senn Magnet Fine Arts remaining within the school. However there would be a major expansion of the IB program and the creation of a new option for community students. Community involvement is vital.

    ** An emergency Senn IB Wall to Wall Expansion Community Forum is being held this Thursday, April 19 at 6:30 p.m. in Senn Hall to give an overview of what the change might entail. ** A significant partnership with Loyola University is on the table and would provide unique opportunities for Senn programs and would redirect the education and field experience of education majors, including future IB teachers.

    We hope to see parents and community members this Thursday, 6:30 p.m., in Senn Hall to share and provide input.

  • 58. Greg McClain  |  April 21, 2012 at 1:03 pm

    Check out some of the interesting articles, empirical and disaggregated data re College Completion on the Chronicle of Higher Education’s website at http://collegecompletion.chronicle.com/. You can search and drill-down by State, College, Gender, Race, etc. Enjoy!

  • 59. HS Mom  |  April 25, 2012 at 10:58 am

    Interesting article. Starts out saying that middle class not interested in neighborhood programs but puts a very positive spin on the IB programs. First I’ve seen of IB scores broken out. Pretty phenominal. Greg McClain is quoted.


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