Charter ISAT Performance 2012

September 1, 2012 at 10:43 pm 147 comments

I am on an ongoing quest to figure out whether charters are actually “better” than non-charter schools. The mayor and Brizard seem to think so. School Reformers definitely think so. The “Waiting for Superman” movie seems to think so.
On the other hand, I see comments a lot of about the underperforming. I’ve read more than my fair share of research reports (my fair share being fairly low number.) So far I have been left with the answer “it depends.” Some do well. Other do not. They seem to show an uneven performance that doesn’t necssarily justify large scale expansion without some serious selection efforts. Being a Charter alone doesn’t guarantee success in terms of test scores. On the other hand, perhaps the kids who attend these schools would have done worse if they had gone to their neighborhood school.

We all know the selection bias (parents willing to make the effort to apply, get their kids to the school, comply with the rules) probably plays a factor and I can’t account for that here.

But I decided to rank the schools on the new 2011 ISAT meets/exceed scores and place all the school into quintiles. For those who are bad at math, that means I divided the scores into fifths, to see which schools are in the top quintile (top 20%, and each subsequent quintile.) If charters perform the SAME as non-charters, we’d expect to see 20/20/20/20/20% across the quintiles.

In fact, the charter fare better than we’d expect by chance/natural rank. Few charters are in the bottom 2 quintiles than you’d expect.

For scores with ESL the distribution is:
18% Top Quintile
30% Middle Quintile
8% Bottom Quintile

For scores without ESL the distribution is:
18% Top Quintile
23% Middle Quintile
12% Bottom Quintile

The ranking that include ESL look slightly better than those without ESL.

I think the question we’d all like to know is how some of these charters would perform if they got a group of neighborhood kids and had to keep those kids no matter what. THAT is the test I’d like to see.

In any case, CICS Irving Park is easily on par with many of the top city schools. (It also has a fairly low % of low income kids.) CICS West Belden does very well, especially considering it is 95% low income (92% Hispanic.) UNO Torres at #3 is also mostly Hispanic. Noble Comer is almost all Af-American.

It’s hard to identify why the Bottom Quintile schools are down there without knowing more about them. Disappointing to see Quest on the list, but like CICS Hawkins, it’s harder to get good scores when you haven’t been teaching the kids for the previous 7 years.

So my next question is whether these are basically performing like magnets — succeeding because of selection bias. Or does it not matter. If I’m a Hispanic parent, I could be pretty excited about those numbers for some of the mostly Hispanic schools compared to the typical achievement gap scene in CPS.

I think the range of results, even within each operator, is interesting. Why does CICS or UNO or whoever perform really well in some locations and not others? How can CPS predict which new charters will succeed?

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147 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Paul  |  September 1, 2012 at 11:14 pm

    Interesting. It looks like mixed to slightly positive results. Does the Board publish the “value added” scores for charter schools? That’s supposed to adjust for demographic and other variation between schools so it’s more of an apples-to-apples comparison.

  • 2. cpsobsessed  |  September 1, 2012 at 11:18 pm

    Thanks paul – I’ll take a look for that.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 3. Teacher  |  September 2, 2012 at 12:02 am

    Posted from the strike section but relevant:

    “FYI MOST juvenile probation mandates as part of probation that students attend regular school. Guess what? It ain’t the charter school down the block”

  • 4. cpsobsessed  |  September 2, 2012 at 12:34 am

    The AYP stuff looks weird, which is what I was kind of expecting and I don’t know why.

    Here are the top Reading AYP schools for 2011.

    CHOPIN Fulton
    CALHOUN Garfield-Humboldt
    WILIAMS MIDDLE Burnham Park
    SHERWOOD Englewood-Gresham
    ALTGELD Englewood-Gresham
    WILLIAMS Burnham Park
    LARA Pershing
    CATHER Garfield-Humboldt
    KELLER Rock Island
    DE PRIEST Austin-North Lawndale

    Hawthorne and LaSalle are near the top. Decatur is near the bottom but was near the top in 2010. Lincoln is near the top both years. Alcott was in the 83rd percentile on year and 61st the other. Stone was at the top this year, in the middle last year. The inconsistency year to year for many schools makes it hard for me to use this to evaluate a school.

  • 5. cps alum  |  September 2, 2012 at 12:35 am

    2012 data is available on the cps website.

  • 6. cpsobsessed  |  September 2, 2012 at 12:36 am

    It is 2011/2012. Revised the heading. Thanks.

  • 7. bilingüe  |  September 2, 2012 at 1:12 am

    More often than not children who come from families with low socioeconomic status also come from a household lacking in linguistically complex interactions. To segregate children into a homogeneous classroom and expect success even in native language instruction is pernicious. Subtractive bilingual education in CPS does not work. Many Charters know it and don’t go that route. High stakes tests are given in English. It doesn’t take too far of a drive to see how successful bilingual education can be (in Evanston). Dual language programs are offered in some schools there. Children who only speak English are mixed with children who only speak Spanish. They are taught in both languages with no superiority given over the other. Perfect world. CPS can’t (won’t) fund it because it’d take twice the amount of bilingual teachers and twice the amount of bilingual resources. Caucasian parents who want their children to learn Spanish actually push hard for these programs in suburban districts. Something to think about with a looming strike.

  • 8. TeachingintheChi  |  September 2, 2012 at 7:17 am

    Considering the horrible job CPS does of educating Spanish speaking/Latino students I think these results are awesome.

  • 9. like2know  |  September 2, 2012 at 7:48 am

    where is cics northtown?

  • 10. cpsobsessed  |  September 2, 2012 at 8:25 am

    Do the uno charters cater to hispanic students? I assumed they did because of the name but I realized I have no idea.

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  • 11. Christine Whitley  |  September 2, 2012 at 8:30 am

    CICS Northtown is a high school. It’s near Pulaski & Peterson.

  • 12. EdgewaterMom  |  September 2, 2012 at 8:51 am

    Where are the AYP reports? I found the ISAT reports, and I thought that the AYP reports used to be on the same page, but can no longer find them.

    On a completely unrelated note, does anybody know how to “follow” a post on here without leaving a comment? I love getting the posts in my email so that I can easily read on my blackberry, but I have only done this by commenting and then checking the “Notify me of follow-up posts via email”.

  • 13. bilingüe  |  September 2, 2012 at 9:29 am

    Ben Joravsky has an excellent article interviewing Juan Rangel from Uno. The name is The Reader Goes To Charter School. A Visit With Uno’s Juan Rangel. He believes in English immersion.

  • 14. cpsobsessed  |  September 2, 2012 at 9:38 am
    School Level Added Value scores is what I used.

    And here is a link to a documents where I ranked 2010 and 2011 by the value-add measure (I think) for reading by Overall School.

    If someone else who is a quant geek could take a look, I’d sure love it.

  • 15. NBCT Vet  |  September 2, 2012 at 9:40 am

    I think comparing charter school to neighborhood school or all non-charter test scores is inappropriate whether in aggregate or individually. Selection processes play, in my opinion, a huge role in school success.

    I’d also like to see the experiment CPSO references – filling a charter school entirely with neighborhood school children. I’d add that I’d also like to see their ability to remove students for poor academic performance, behavioral issues, special education or ELL needs, etc. curtailed as part of the experiment.

    My instincts tell me that charters that do well do so for the same reasons that some neighborhood schools succeed: lower rates of poverty, high parental involvement, outstanding administration, a strong school wide culture, and a no-nonsense approach for troublemakers that either assists students join the positive culture or sends them packing.

    If we do feel the need to compare at this juncture, I think the best option is looking at charter elementary schools and magnet elementary schools. They both select students through an application process and lottery system. Magnets can’t remove students as easily as charters, but it’s the closest we’ve got so far.

    I wish I had time to run all those numbers for elementary charters and magnets. Anyone have time to geek out and look at that info? Has someone done it already and I’ve missed it?

  • 16. cpsobsessed  |  September 2, 2012 at 9:46 am

    NBCT Vet: Fully agree it is apples vs oranges, just as comparing magnets and neighborhoods are. Lottery matters.
    But i hear people saying that charters are not performing well and I need to understand the data as best I can to determine whether I agree that they suck or excel. I think the answer is possibly “yes” to both. 🙂

    The one difference in magnets and charters is that magnets have long been sought out by Tier 3-4 parents while charters have not. If I could see some magnets that have an economic base similar to a charter, I’d feel better about comparing. Hawthorne is 15% low income btw. That is almost unprecedented in CPS.

    Question: People talk a lot about the charters not taking IEP students. If I look at the % SpecEd for different charters, will that shed some light on it? I wasn’t sure if those refer to the same thing.

  • 17. cpsobsessed  |  September 2, 2012 at 9:48 am

    From the UNO site:
    UNO Charter Schools – UNO currently operates a network of 11 charter schools, serving over 5,500 students and families each year. UNO believes that public schools should serve as the main platform for transitioning Hispanic families into successful and civic-minded Americans.

  • 18. Mayfair Dad  |  September 2, 2012 at 10:14 am

    Interesting to see CICS at the top and bottom of the list. If the CICS approach is so successful at Belden with a low income population, why not at other CICS schools with a similar demographic? Perhaps over time the newer CICS schools will improve. I seem to recall a few CICS principals were fired last year. What innovative things are they doing at CICS Irving Park? Besides “very strict” which is what we hear from D2 parents with siblings at CICS Irving Park.

  • 19. TeachingintheChi  |  September 2, 2012 at 10:21 am

    And charters take IEP students. I don’t know where that idea comes from. Again, too much drinking the CTU Kool Aid.

  • 20. Ltwain  |  September 2, 2012 at 10:23 am

    It might be interesting to see the value proposition: student outcome per district supplied dollar, and student outcome per total student dollar (district + outside funding). Isn’t this what charters are all about, improvement for the same cost, or the same performance for a lower cost? I think that when it comes to that point, an operator will open a charter designed for students who are asked to leave conventional charters, and that there will be sped-specific charters.

  • 21. NBCT Vet  |  September 2, 2012 at 10:34 am

    @ TeachingintheChi

    Of course charters take IEP students. Has the CTU claimed anything to the contrary?

    Charter schools do not take as many special education students on a percentage basis as neighborhood schools. They do not typically take students with severe disabilities like neighborhood schools. Charters are not required to take special education students at all; neighborhood schools are. And charters may deny entrance to students with special education needs if the charter decides it cannot provide appropriate services; neighborhood schools can’t do this. Charters also enroll lower percentages of English Language Learners. See Catalyst-Chicago, among other references, for more on this type of information.

    Please note I’m not making any value judgments about charters in the paragraph above – there’s enough bashing going on from both sides on that front. I’m just pointing out a few (among many) key distinctions between charter schools and neighborhood schools – in this case relating to special education.

  • 22. JustanotherCPSparent  |  September 2, 2012 at 11:02 am

    “Hawthorne is 15% low income btw. That is almost unprecedented in CPS.” -CPSO

    Edison RGC is shockingly low at 6.7%!!! Clearly the Tier thing is really working, in terms of keeping our selective schools nicely diversified. (sarcasm)

  • 23. SoxSideIrish4  |  September 2, 2012 at 11:06 am

    My neighborhood school is 17% low income…we are diversified.

  • 24. JustanotherCPSparent  |  September 2, 2012 at 11:21 am

    ” If I could see some magnets that have an economic base similar to a charter, I’d feel better about comparing.” – CPSO

    I did a quick search for magnet elementaries. These are the highest % low income magnets I found. I think there could be some good comparisons for you to do with these:

    Sabin 83%
    Beasley 74%
    Black 76%
    Burnside 78%
    Clark magnet HS 90%
    Davis 89%
    Ericsson 84%
    Frazier prospective IB 97%
    Gallistel 87%
    Goodlow 97%
    Gunsaulus 82%
    Jensen 78%
    Kershaw 96%
    Randolph 93%
    Saucedo 88%
    Smyth 96%
    Turner-Drew 78%

  • 25. Frango Mint  |  September 2, 2012 at 11:24 am

    I am a special ed mom and have researched the charter options. From what I gather, the only school my son can apply to is Hope Institute, because they have a special lottery for kids with IEPs (I believe they are around 30% special ed). Right now he has high needs, and in CPS he is in a self-contained room with no inclusion. I see that changing in the near future, but as it is, if I apply for a charter they will just send him back to CPS.

    I would love to see more special ed focused charters – there is so much room to be really innovative with therapies and different inclusion models. It is expensive though, but there is no much money flowing into charters that there had to be a philanthropist willing to sponsor a special ed charter.

  • 26. cpsobsessed  |  September 2, 2012 at 11:42 am

    Omg, that almost laughable about edison. Ok, it is laughable.
    I think that in 5 years with the tier method (instead of race) it’ll improve.
    Hawthorne won’t because of the neighborhood proximity element.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 27. cpsobsessed  |  September 2, 2012 at 11:43 am

    Thank you @Just! I will take a look.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 28. JustanotherCPSparent  |  September 2, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    CPSO – sorry to veer off topic, but…if you look at the % Minority kids at Edison, it is trending down while % white kids is trending up. Admittedly this started before the tier system, but I think there is still an interesting correlation. Look at the jump of white kids from 2010 to 2011. I’m sorry (and disappointed), but I think the tier system will continue to wreak havoc on diversity in schools like Edison. I think most times, what happens is they get that one or two students who are clearly middle class but live in low tier. Sad.

    Have you ever looked at the school report cards here?:

    If you go to “School environments”, then “race/ethnicity”, there is a chart for 1999 to 2011. The “Student characteristics” tab will give you a break down of everything from low income to IEPs. Very interesting stuff.

    Again, sorry for the topic tangent!

    Returning to ISATS and charter/magnets now.

  • 29. JustanotherCPSparent  |  September 2, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    CPSO – btw, I included Clark magnet HS because it also serves grades 6-8. Just an FYI.

  • 30. JustanotherCPSparent  |  September 2, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    Ok, I am really avoiding doing all the things I should be doing today… So, I checked the ’12 ISAT. Rounded scores, ISAT only, no value added numbers, magnets.

    % low income. /% meets-exceeds

    Sabin 83%.                                              /77%
    Beasley 74%                                          /83%
    Black 76%.                                               /83%
    Burnside 78%.                                          /75%
    Clark magnet HS 90%.                        /82%
    Davis 89%.                                              /82%
    Ericsson 84%.                                       /72%
    Frazier prospective IB 97%.             /95%
    Gallistel 87%.                                          /73%
    Goodlow 97%.                                         /60%
    Gunsaulus 82%.                                     /77%
    Jensen 78%.                                          /84%
    Kershaw 96%.                                       /78%
    Randolph 93%.                                      /66%
    Saucedo 88%.                                        /83%
    Smyth 96%.                                             /60%
    Turner-Drew 78%.                               /88%

  • 31. JustanotherCPSparent  |  September 2, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    Frazier offers up more evidence on the side of increasing IB schools. 97% low income, 100% minority (from their website), and 95% m/e on ISATs – nice. I wonder, what are the costs involved with putting primary and middle years IB programs into neighborhood schools?

  • 32. SoxSideIrish4  |  September 2, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    3 elementary neighborhood schools around me have middle years IB program and I believe it is the best program. It’s not easy and it pushes kids to really think, but the platform is outstanding and I’m glad my son is in it.

  • 33. cpsobsessed  |  September 2, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    @Ltwain, I don’t know that CPS care *what* the outside funding for charters is. I think we just want a free piece of the pie. But obviously a valid questions. I suppose the people/corporations/foundations that donate to the charters don’t necessarily expect that the costs will be the same or lower than public school. They may feel fine knowing it costs more, but they feel it is being done the right way (whatever that way is.)

  • 34. cpsobsessed  |  September 2, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    @Just – love it. Thanks! Verrry interesting, isn’t it? So magnets that serve primarily low income kids are performing fairly well. Just like Hawthorne and LaSalle have “performed” well for higher income kids. CPS would call these good quality seats.
    Of course there are probably other factors we don’t know by looking at this. I mean many CPS schools are 90%+ low income but I imagine those vary a lot in student population (gang activity, parental/family involvement, dual parenthood,etc.) Perhaps these schools have more kids from stable families, I have no idea.

    BUT, being generous (meaning lenient) I’d say that a charter that isn’t meeting 60-65% meets/exceeds isn’t doing something right. Really we should expect 75%-ish or higher given that a magnet can do the same, right?

    It looks like 20% of the current charters have less than 70% of kids meeting/exceeding (this includes ELL.) 80% of charters DO meet 70%+ meet/exceed.

    So what do we conclude? Charters perform about the same as magnets except for a few (1/5) sucky ones? (Again, perhaps these low performers have extenuating issues I don’t know about, but I’m sure the top charter also have some benefits as well, such as CICS Irv Park with higher socio-economic base.

  • 35. cpsobsessed  |  September 2, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    Wow, so much interesting data.

    We’ve talked a lot about SpedEd.
    White students are 10% of elem students and 41% of spec ed.
    Black and Hispanic students are under-represented in SpecEd programs.

    For high school it is actually even by race.

    CHARTERS are 2% WHITE.

  • 36. anonymouse teacher  |  September 2, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    Given that CPS wants to turn 250 neighborhood schools into charters in the next few years, I would imagine that any school with scores under 70% is at risk. I wonder what the reaction will be when an “up and coming” northside school with a strong parent group is suddenly turned into a charter, losing its entire staff and administration and LSC? I can see where some people won’t care or mind. I can see where others will be very upset. Parents have the right to any kind of school they want. What happens when those who are more well off realize they aren’t going to get to keep the school they worked so hard to create?

  • 37. anonymouse teacher  |  September 2, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    @cpso, that is so interesting. For years I’ve all been told that minorities are overrepresented in sped and to try and limit the number of minority student referrals I make (yes, that is totally illegal for any administrator to suggest, but it happens regularly). So interesting.

  • 38. cpsobsessed  |  September 2, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    @A-Mouse: You and another posted have said that CPS wants to “replace schools with charters.” That isn’t my understanding, nor does it really make sense since a charter is a lottery school. You can’t replace a neighborhood school with a lottery school.

    Granted, as more charters are opened, more schools will become underenrolled and they low performers may be closed. Typically those have been VERY low performers.

  • 39. cpsobsessed  |  September 2, 2012 at 2:27 pm

    I’m sorry, you know what. I think that refers to specific SpedEd schools because the total enrollment is only n=998 (including all races.) I think I may revise that if it makes sense to you… I don’t want to mislead anyone.

  • 40. cpsobsessed  |  September 2, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    So does “IEP” and SpedEd mean the same thing?

    12% of the districts is IEP.
    85% is free lunch

  • 41. chicagodad  |  September 2, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    Those deriding Edison and other low diversity schools can’t see the forest for the trees. When you have a school that requires the students to be high performers to get in, then only those children who were able to fulfill their potential will qualify. The vast majority of African American and Hispanic kids are born with the exact same potential as whites but never fulfill it due to being born into poverty, into poorly educated families who cannot provide what much better educated middle class families can. Poverty is not and can never be an excuse, but it absolutely is a diagnosis. The lack of diversity in our top schools is evidence of this and of the obvious failure of the tier system to mitigate it to any great extent. This is why the CTU wants wrap around services to be on the table and written in stone in a contract, so that high needs kids get the additional support they need to thrive that simply is not available at home. Teachers want to own this and in so doing make CPS own it, but CPS says no. Why? It’s not just the money. Here’s a story that includes observations about some Chicago schools.

  • 42. chicagodad  |  September 2, 2012 at 2:43 pm

    As to the charter questions, here’s and example from CT on just how far some will go to fabricate a success story for charter schools. Don’t say it can’t happen here. I’ll also include a link to the NEPC, National Education Policy Center on the reality of charter spending per pupil compared to nearby public schools.

  • 43. Angie  |  September 2, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    @21. NBCT Vet : “Charter schools do not take as many special education students on a percentage basis as neighborhood schools. They do not typically take students with severe disabilities like neighborhood schools. Charters are not required to take special education students at all; neighborhood schools are. And charters may deny entrance to students with special education needs if the charter decides it cannot provide appropriate services; neighborhood schools can’t do this.”

    Are you suggesting that all neighborhood schools take all the disabled students? That could not be farther from the truth.

    Children who have severe needs or require self-contained classrooms apply to their neighborhood schools, get evaluated, and then are placed in the nearest CPS school that can provide appropriate accomodations for them. In my son’s case, there is only a handful of schools with the self-contained deaf classrooms in Chicago. Deaf children from all over the city attend these schools.

    There are no other deaf students at our neighborhood school. If they were required to accept my son, they would have had to hire teacher of the deaf just for him. If they had to accept a blind child, they would have to hire a special teacher, too, and so on. That would not be cost-effective for neighborhood schools, and it would not be cost-effective for charters.

    So why are you blaming charters for not providing accomodations for severely disabled students when neighborhood schools are not required to provide them, either?

  • 44. cpsobsessed  |  September 2, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    More CPS performance trivia:

    % who Exceed standards:
    Free lunch: 14%
    No free lunch 47%

    White 44%
    Black 12%
    Hispanic 16%
    Asian 46%

    % who Meet/Exceed:
    Free lunch 72%
    No free lunch 92%

    White 90%
    Black 68%
    Hispanic 75%
    Asian 90%

  • 45. chicagodad  |  September 2, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    Last, for your horrified amusement, the 2011 Bunkum Awards from the NEPC for “the most compellingly lousy educational research for the past year” Here’s the description of #1: “The Progressive Policy Institute deserves our top award for combining a weak analysis, agenda-driven recommendations, and the most bizarre analogy we’ve seen in a long time,” stated Kevin Welner, director of NEPC. “This report spoke to us in ways matched by no other publication.”
    Welner and the NEPC recognized the report for its almost complete lack of acceptable scientific evidence or original research supporting the policy suggestions, as well as its failure to make the case that its suggestions are relevant to school improvement.
    And, on topic and of interest to us here as Brizard is a Broad Foundation product : “If Political Propaganda Counted as Research Award,” to the Center for American Progress and the Broad Foundation, for Charting New Territory: Tapping Charter Schools to Turn around the Nation’s Dropout Factories. Drawing on mysterious backwards-engineering techniques, the authors of this report build a foundation for their findings and conclusions that mimics real evidence. (link in article)

  • 46. Angie  |  September 2, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    @36. anonymouse teacher: “Given that CPS wants to turn 250 neighborhood schools into charters in the next few years, I would imagine that any school with scores under 70% is at risk.”

    Where did you get this number? Per yesterday’s Tribune, “Union leaders said they’re worried the district might try to close as many as 100 schools to save money and to consolidate resources.”

    And even these closures are not confirmed by any reliable sources. Sounds like CTU is making things up again trying to scare the teachers.

  • 47. cpsobsessed  |  September 2, 2012 at 3:12 pm

    @ChicagoDad, interesting link. I would love to work for a place that “debunks” education research!

  • 48. NBCT Vet  |  September 2, 2012 at 3:14 pm

    @ Angie

    CPS has widely broadcast that they intend to open 100 new schools in the next five years, including 60 new charter schools.

    Obviously, the Board will not open 100 new schools without closing other schools at the same time.

    Ren2010 closed about 100 neighborhood schools over several years while opening about 100 new charters and turnarounds. The mayor’s new strategy is just a rinse and repeat.

    A quick Google search will reveal plenty of reliable sourced material. Your quick trigger attacking the CTU is wrong. Again.

  • 49. Angie  |  September 2, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    @48. NBCT Vet: anonymouse teacher said in post #36 that 250 schools are going to be turned into charters. Do you have a source for this number?

  • 50. NBCT Vet  |  September 2, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    Sorry, I may not have been clear.

    The 100 school openings/closures the Union recently cited but that you claim are not confirmed by reliable sources are, in fact well sourced and documented in the popular media.

    I have heard nothing about 250 additional school closings. Perhaps anonymouse is looking at the cumulative closures since the “reform” movement began. I don’t know.

  • 51. PortageParent  |  September 2, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    #41- chicagodad- I’m sorry if you got the idea that I was “deriding” Edison. I love Edison. I was just pointing out some data, etc that I think is useful or interesting. And, you can see in my post, that I agree with you about the tier thing.

  • 52. bookworm  |  September 2, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    Smyth is not a magnet it is a neighborhood school. Middle class parents around it wanted to avoid going so much they mobilized to create STEM in the cachement area. As far as I know no one was interested in a charter instead.

  • 53. PortageParent/JustanotherCPSparent  |  September 2, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    Whoops. I don’t know why I posted in a diff name. Sorry about that!! Two computers, I guess.

  • 54. chicagodad  |  September 2, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    Sorry for over reacting, you were correct. That being said, I did make an important point about why things are the way they are concerning poverty and SE schools and how the CTU demands better address it. Also, not only do I not trust CPS to keep class size down, I’m convinced that they won’t. Interesting that they claim they’ll cap class size at 25 at the drop off centers even though not all CPS kids will attend one. Class size is important to CPS during a strike but not during school?

  • 55. cpsobsessed  |  September 2, 2012 at 4:14 pm

    I too didn’t mean to imply that anything untoward is going on at Edison. They used the quotas and assigned the seats based on tests scores. It’s sort of an odd case because they get the top scores and there being only 28 spots year, it’s never gonna match cps’ overall demo breaks.

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  • 56. anonymouse teacher  |  September 2, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    Angie, CTU is not making things up to scare teachers. I simply got my numbers mixed up. I am sure you never make a mistake, but I actually do sometimes.

    I stand corrected about schools being “turned into” charters, although, if enrollment drops enough, the same effect happens.
    So let me rephrase, if like what happened at Casals, a neighborhood school that outperformed surrounding schools by a significant amount gets “turned around” and all staff is fired, despite the protests of the parent community, and then millions of dollars that were withheld from the school previously were now given to the new turnaround, how would invested northside middle income parents take it? Casals was at 61% meets and exceeds. They had increased scores dramatically and continuously over the past 5 years. 61% is nothing to write home about, but it is way better than many, many, many other CPS schools.
    So, let’s give, just as an example, Prescott. Let’s say CPS decided Prescott wasn’t performing well enough even if it was better than any other neighborhood option within a mile radius, and let go every single staff and admin. How would parents react? Those parents have killed themselves to make that a viable option. Then to lose all the people they have built relationships with? They’d have to start over from scratch. Who is to say what the “cut off” score for low performance is? Has the BOE ever put that criteria in writing? If so, I’d love to see it.
    And I’ve said if before and I’ll say it again, I discourage anyone from going to teach in a school with scores below 70%. Casals was not that much below 70%. Unless a school is above that line, they are at risk of closure/turnaround/whatever. I would not leave my high performing neighborhood school no matter how much “bonus” money might be offered, should that ever happen, unless it was outside of CPS. I truly believe what will happen is that teachers will leave the lower performing schools as soon as they are able for higher ones, and only least experienced people will be left in the poor performing schools. Scores will drop further and then those schools will be closed too.

  • 57. cpsobsessed  |  September 2, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    I didn’t follow that one A-Mouse. Was there any other rationale for closing it? I agree, doesn’t seem *that* bad but maybe it had really low enrollment?
    Same story as hamilton a couple years ago, right. But they proved that the scores were going up and got to stay open.

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  • 58. anonymouse teacher  |  September 2, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    I don’t believe low enrollment was the case. It was the one school that seemed to truly defy any logic in terms of “turnaround”, even if one disagrees with the logic the BOE appears to possibly be following. I do know the BOE gave the turn around management company millions of dollars that it would not give the school previously. I also know the school is being given a major overhaul/facelift that it was not given previously (and the school is not that old).

  • 59. JustanotherCPSparent  |  September 2, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    CPSO – “You can’t replace a neighborhood school with a lottery school.”
    While that’s basically true, there have been some odd situations with new buildings/charters. In a different thread, Mayfair dad helped school me on the whole ASPIRA-Haugan debacle. In a nut shell: new building funded through TIFs, public expectation of neighborhod school to relieve overcrowding, charter placed instead (in a brand new, tif funded building!). It sorta fits the situation.

    CPSO – “Of course there are probably other factors we don’t know by looking at this. I mean many CPS schools are 90%+ low income but I imagine those vary a lot in student population (gang activity, parental/family involvement, dual parenthood,etc.) Perhaps these schools have more kids from stable families, I have no idea.”

    I agree. I think what it highlights is the sort if self selection that goes along with any kind of “choice” school. Wherein, families who are involved with their kids education will sometimes (often?) choose anything but their neighborhood school. We’ve talked on here many times that the ultimate difference between a “choice” school and a neighborhood school is that the parents have the wherewithal to understand the application process and follow through.

    I love data days around here. Always so many interesting things to consider!

  • 60. JustanotherCPSparent  |  September 2, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    Bookworm -“Smyth is not a magnet it is a neighborhood school. Middle class parents around it wanted to avoid going so much they mobilized to create STEM in the cachement area. As far as I know no one was interested in a charter instead.”

    I’m sorry if I got that wrong. I’m confused, however, because Smyth is listed on CPS website as magnet as well as their own website:

    Can you clarify for me? Is is part neighborhood, part magnet or something? Thanks!

  • 61. NBCT Vet  |  September 2, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    CPSO, hasn’t CPS already replaced neighborhood schools with selective charters in communities on the south and west sides leaving no open enrollment schools in the community? Altgeld Gardens is the obvious example, but there are many others. I recall KOCO had a lengthy list of these situations.

    Part of the Derrion Albert tragedy was that there was no neighborhood school anymore. Students had to be relocated to surrounding communities and across gang territory lines. This is a common occurrence in some parts of the city.

    Closing another 100 schools in favor of opening 60 selective charter schools will leave even larger swaths of the city with no neighborhood school facilities. This, for me, is a huge problem with the privatization push. It’s not just that neighborhood schools are not supported, or lose dedicated families, or fail to receive capital investments, it’s that they actually cease to exist.

    I can’t imagine that sort of policy – which is exactly what’s coming in the next five years – would be tolerated in the more affluent parts of the city.

  • 62. chicagodad  |  September 2, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    Along the lines of inscrutable but unsurprising CPS actions against schools that don’t need or require them, Has anyone else here heard the story of SOJO, the Social Justice Highschool? CPS is trying to destroy them and they are fighting back. Personally I think both the mayor and Brizard fear a school founded on and dedicated to the ideas of social justice and activism being up and running at this particular time.

  • 63. chicagodad  |  September 2, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    “Just as the true story above reveals about the TFA-heavy faculty common in KIPP and other charter schools, “no excuses” environments are predominantly about placing affluent and privileged people in positions of authority to deliver authoritarian training to students unlike them; in other words, “no excuses” ideology is about isolating, controlling, and ultimately “fixing” “other people’s children.”

    As well, “no excuses” environments embrace school cultures, modes of teaching, and student conditions that are explicitly unlike the experiences of the privileged administrators and teachers implementing policy (similar to Bill Gates, Arne Duncan, and others endorsing school reform unlike their own experiences and the experiences they provide for their children.)”.

  • 64. Bookworm  |  September 2, 2012 at 8:00 pm

    To the best of my knowledge Smyth is a neighborhood school.
    If you click the box on the school web page for enrollment requirements it directs you to the neighborhood enrollment page asking only for proof of address.
    Few parents with other options go there. The Uv/ Taylor street area is all magnet otherwise- Jackson, Gallileo, Stem.
    I believe if you phone the school you will find there is no application required. Note the school page does not list an application date at all.
    The kindergarten and pre-school has a small –extremely small number of parents from the apartments built in the old market area but I have never heard of a parent with another option choosing Smyth.

    Neighbors are working hard to make progress there regardless of if they have kids attending. Smyth is geographically in the center of the few CHA houses left in the area. One positive of a turn to the better at Smyth is that these vulnerable kids cannot be excluded from the school as it improves.

    According to the former Office for Academic Enhancement it remained the only neighborhood school option for the area.

  • 65. JustanotherCPSparent  |  September 2, 2012 at 8:35 pm

    Thanks for the info, bookworm!

  • 66. falconergrad  |  September 3, 2012 at 10:45 am

    Regarding CICS Irving Park, the uniform code is very strict and results in high costs for uniforms. I recall the basic school fees being very high compared to our neighborhood school (which looks to be $50 this year but more information is coming this week) but I don’t remember the exact number. Is this money accounted for anywhere in any type of CPS school? Who sets these fees and why is it different at different schools? Just wondering. It is about $50,000 at our school!

  • 67. Teacher  |  September 3, 2012 at 11:20 am

    LA times report, August 2012

    “The high cost of educating students with special needs is disproportionately falling on traditional public schools as other students increasingly opt for alternatives that aren’t always readily open to those requiring special education.
    The issue is particularly acute in districts where enrollment has declined due to demographic changes such as low birth rates and population shifts combined with an influx of charter schools and voucher programs that have siphoned off students.”

  • 68. LR  |  September 3, 2012 at 11:58 am

    “I think the question we’d all like to know is how some of these charters would perform if they got a group of neighborhood kids and had to keep those kids no matter what. THAT is the test I’d like to see.”

    It would be interesting. But, I think the ability to provide a safer environment is the advantage to charters, if there is one. At least at a charter, I have the reassurance that if students aren’t playing by the rules, they are kicked out.

    Unfortunately, as the charter system expands, and creates better learning environments for some, bad neighborhood high schools may get even worse. That is the test I’d like to see – tracked over time. And then what does CPS do with the really bad neighborhood schools? Turn them into military academies? I am asking that with a bit of sarcasm, but literally, in years to come if neighborhood high schools are transformed into the place where all the “troubled teens” go, then what do you do? If CPS has plans to expand charters, I think they also need a plan for what to do with neighborhood schools – because the landscape of high schools could be a lot different 10 – 15 years from now if charter expansion continues.

  • 69. local  |  September 3, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    “I am asking that with a bit of sarcasm, but literally, in years to come if neighborhood high schools are transformed into the place where all the “troubled teens” go, then what do you do?”

    Let them evolve into prisons and mental hospitals (sans rehabilitation or treatment), I bet.

  • 70. cpsobsessed  |  September 3, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    NYTimes had a story today on the topic about parents in Harlem facing the charter vs neighborhood issue. I wouldn’t say the schools have quite devolved into prisons, but there is a sense of have- and have-not.
    NYC keeps shifting the charters and the performance varies year to year so it’s hard for parents to figure out the best options (and of course many don’t get their kids into a charter.)

  • 71. chicagodad  |  September 3, 2012 at 4:57 pm

    Hey local, that is the logical conclusion except for the fact that you forgot to imagine how even that situation would be profitized. They would have to rename the school to prison pipeline into some kind of prison industrial complex version of “The School for Wayward Girls”. “It’s just too expensive and time consuming to salvage these people, the Cost Benefit Analysis is not favorable unless we position these losers as commodities and not people.” Then there’s always Soylent Green. I wouldn’t put it past them.

  • 72. chicagodad  |  September 3, 2012 at 5:01 pm

    @68 Assuming the expansion of charters would create better learning environments for all but a very few is quite a leap based on how they’ve done so far.

  • 73. anon  |  September 3, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    Someone just mentioned school fees…at Wildwood IB this year, my fee is $450 for three kids. Wondering about reaction to this? Are others paying similar?

  • 74. SoxSideIrish4  |  September 3, 2012 at 6:33 pm

    #73~anon~that’s so pricy but I think I think it’s bc that’s a magnet school. Our hs magnet school is $420 a kid and our IB neighborhood elementary is either $75.00 or $100.00 a child depending on upper or lower grades

  • 75. kiki h.  |  September 3, 2012 at 6:41 pm

    STEM’s fee is $225 per kid, but includes all field trip fees (125). I’m kind of surprised to see it itemized. It’s used for workbooks, subscriptions, specials, and celebrations.

  • 76. SutherlandParent  |  September 3, 2012 at 6:48 pm

    Regarding school fees, ours is $100 for K-8. Used to be less for the lower grades ($75, I think?), but not this year.

    And just because I also think the demographics are cool (although maybe irrelevant in school fees) 🙂

    From the CPS website: students enrolled at SUTHERLAND. 21.1% were low income Students. 12.1% were Special Education Students. 0.3% were Limited English Learners.

    As of 2011-2012, the largest demographic at SUTHERLAND was Black. As of that time, this demographic made up 48.9% of the student population. The second greatest demographic was White at 42.8%.

    Students w/disabilities: 12.1 % English language learners: 0.3 %

    We’re a neighborhood school, BTW

  • 77. anonymouse teacher  |  September 3, 2012 at 7:05 pm

    The school I teach in charges under $50 per kid for fees, and we probably only get about 30% of families turning that in. I seem to remember an article in the paper a year or two ago about a court decision that some districts, maybe a different state, that said schools could not require those fees anymore because then the school ceases to be public. Or something like that. Can anyone confirm that or do you remember that? Am I remembering correctly?

  • 78. TeachingintheChi  |  September 3, 2012 at 7:16 pm

    California has had a big push about fees and even the idea of parents being required to purchase supplies since the schools should be public, free, equitable, etc.

  • 79. SoxSideIrish4  |  September 3, 2012 at 7:21 pm

    #77~I was told that schools can not force you pay for fees~but it’s to help alleviate the costs of educating children.

  • 80. SutherlandParent  |  September 3, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    @79, according to CPS, you can get a waiver for school fees:

    1 Participants in Community School Lunch Program.
    Students who qualify for free lunches or breakfasts under an Act authorizing school boards and
    welfare centers to sponsor community school lunch programs and free breakfast and lunch
    programs and an act authorizing and requiring free school lunch programs, providing for State
    reimbursement (the Community School Lunch Program), are eligible for waiver of school fees.
    2 Students under extenuating circumstances.
    Students who suffer extenuating circumstances are eligible for waiver of school fees.
    Extenuating circumstances include: students who are eligible to receive reduced price lunch or
    breakfast; very significant loss of income due to severe illness or injury in the family; or unusual
    expenses incurred because of a natural catastrophe. The principal shall decide waivers under
    extenuating circumstances on a case by case basis in a non-discriminatory fashion and shall
    rely upon documentation submitted by the applicant. The principal’s decision is appealable to
    the District Superintendent.
    the District Superintendent.

  • 81. anonymouse teacher  |  September 3, 2012 at 7:43 pm

    Oh, yes, SSI4, I totally get it. I was only curious about the “public” according to law stuff that has been floating about the last few years.

  • 82. chicagodad  |  September 3, 2012 at 9:31 pm

    Somehow, I don’t think that requiring fees is enough to push a school from public to private, since fee’s are not tuition. I’m also going to guess that it was more likely a case of requiring fee’s from those who truly could not pay them and then imposing sanctions when they did not pay that was the issue needing resolution. Something like denying a kid an education due to their being poor did not pass a smell test somewhere. And I am guessing here.

  • 83. LR  |  September 4, 2012 at 1:18 am

    I don’t know…$225 or $425 is an awful lot for just a “fee.” When I hear the word fee, I think under $100. It’s interesting that fees vary so much. My daughter’s school has no fees (but we end up donating a fair amount to fund raising efforts). My son’s school is $40 – which is an instructional fee, presumably to buy new books.

  • […] rank. Few charters are in the bottom 2 quintiles than you’d expect," writes cpsobsessed (Charter ISAT Performance 2012). "CICS Irving Park is easily on par with many of the top city schools. (It also has a fairly low % […]

  • 85. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  September 4, 2012 at 7:21 am


    School Level Added Value scores is what I used.

    I’m confused. Your quintile tables above show schools ranked by % meets or exceeds, but the value-added data reports standard deviations from the district mean, ranging from -6 to 6, not a percentage of meets exceeds, and has separate measures for math and reading. So how are you using the valued-added scores?

  • 86. cpsobsessed  |  September 4, 2012 at 7:24 am

    @Christopher – it is the link in post #14 and is ranked by column I (starting at cell I516.
    The Value Add range is from 3.5 to -2.8 (taking out the top and bottom outlyer.)

    I can send you the sheet directly if that’s easier. Would love if someone else took a look at it.

  • 87. cubswin  |  September 4, 2012 at 10:23 am

    There’s little in these numbers that accounts for “creaming” through parent selectivity. The real question is whether a particular child will have better outcome in a particular school. These models can be built with more detailed data.
    I don’t believe there’s good evidence of charter success beyond Noble at the high school level. But that doesn’t mean that many charters aren’t doing a good job at a lower cost to taxpayer.
    It is a fundamental truth that children from the most dysfunctional families are in traditional CPS schools. That isn’t necessarily a great argument against charters as some CTU member believe. But it must be the starting point when quantitativly comparing schools. Even making these lists adds in the concentration of children from careful parents into the “good” schools, thereby “creaming” the so-called best schools further.

  • 88. junior  |  September 4, 2012 at 10:42 am


    I would imagine that selection bias accounts for virtually all of the gains of charter schools, just like it does in our magnet schools.

    I think the pattern we see is that it schools that truly make a difference academically (negatively or positively) are the exception. The academic performance of kids is predominantly driven by their natural aptitude and their socioeconomic environment. Same can be said about teachers — only the exceptionally talented and exceptionally bad seem to have very measurably significant impact.

    So, really, CTU’s push for more wraparound services might be very justifiable — we’ve come to this question before — is it possible that social-service based, non-educational interventions are more cost-effective than putting more money into schools/teachers? If poverty is the root cause of much of the poor academic performance, then doesn’t it make more sense to shift our spending priorities to address the cause and not its effects?

  • 89. mom2  |  September 4, 2012 at 11:21 am

    @junior – I am pretty sure that I agree with this. Hard to admit since it would mean less money for my kids and their schools, but I do believe any newly found money should be directed towards the real things that could make a difference for the kids struggling in all aspects of their lives (low socioeconomic and learning disabled) rather than pouring more and more into the basic CPS school system (other than these wrap around services) and that means not more to teachers, not more for testing, and not more for administrators, too.

  • 90. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  September 4, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    @87 OK. In @14 I thought you were saying that the quintile rankings made use of the value-added scores. The Google Doc ranking looks fine. On the valued added, the charters do not perform as well. UNO-Torres has no valued added, for example, because the measure has a confidence interval that includes zero. But the value-added scores are a bit crude. The measure requires that some schools have value-added close to the mean, so long as we have variation in the data.

    To some degree, the “Are charters better or worse than neighborhood schools” question is fallacious. Some charters will be better than some neighborhood schools, and vice versa. The real question is whether, as a matter of public policy, creating more charter schools is better than an alternative approach. One charter may be excellent, but can what made it excellent be readily replicated? Would it have the same success with a different community of students?

  • 91. Mayfair Dad  |  September 4, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    @88. Well said. Public schools are a ready-made delivery mechanism to deliver the social services you refer to. Aren’t we halfway there? Aren’t we serving breakfast, lunch and dinner? We test for hearing and vision, and I know kids in some schools are receiving shots from school nurses. My concern is once we start bundling more and more social services with education, at some point are we taking even more money away from reading, writing and ‘rithmatic and asking educators to become quasi-parents. At what point do you demand the negligent parents to step up and take care of the babies they are creating rather than asking public education to become government-run parenting?

  • 92. DemNope  |  September 4, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    91. Totally agree with you. Parents need to take care of their own kids or don’t have any. amen. It is not MY job to support YOUR kids.

  • 93. chicagodad  |  September 4, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    @88 Yes it makes a lot of sense to address the cause rather than the effect since the goal is for students to show up ready, willing and able to learn. What spending priorities would you shift?

  • 94. cpsobsessed  |  September 4, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    “demand the negligent parents to step up and take care of the babies they are creating”

    Whatttttt???? How???
    Grumble grumble.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 95. chicagodad  |  September 4, 2012 at 3:15 pm

    I think the bigger picture about addressing the effects of poverty by targeted programs within the schools is to NOT divert funds from the classroom to do that, but to bring in additional funds under a separate budget mechanism. Eliminating the misuse of testing is a good way to improve the schools budgets as is cutting back on administrative overhead which has recently ballooned in some parts of 125 Clark. Some of what the teachers want on the table is a legit part of the CPS/education budget, the rest would be better outside it especially if it could then be done at an appropriate scale.

  • 96. Think89  |  September 4, 2012 at 3:20 pm

    94. Parents need to be responsible for the babies they created. Get a job, read to the kids, feed them, don’t have more than you can afford, etc. …… Show them education is a priority. It’s unbelieveable how many kids show up for kindergarten in Chicago and no one has ever read a book to them. I’m tired of handouts.., even education handouts.

  • 97. cpsobsessed  |  September 4, 2012 at 3:22 pm

    Ok, so what then? A law requiring parents to read to their kids 3 times a week? Assuming they can get to a library to get books. And that the parents have good reading skills…

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 98. 89cmon  |  September 4, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    97 getting a job, feeding them and actually paying attention/ spending time with kids would be a good start. Get off the cell while you are at the park with them, and get off the cell while you are pushing kids on on a swing. actually, spend some quality time and listen to your kids. it’s not that hard.

  • 99. mom2  |  September 4, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    97 – I think this conversation will never get to where we have an answer. If we want to make and enforce laws that require certain things before you can become a parent or else someone would, what, take your kids away, we will be accused of being immoral and having no compassion, etc. Are we going to sterilize everyone that doesn’t have the right parenting skills? Are we going to take away the kids if they don’t know X by the time they are in kindergarten or ??? How on Earth can we enforce any of this?

    I have a friend that always talks about putting people that don’t raise their kids properly (based on their opinion, I guess) on some sort of Island where they would have to become responsible or they would parish. Nothing else has worked up to this point. Hard to even type this…

  • 100. Tuesday2012  |  September 4, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    99 here is your 1st parent for the island…

    now back to CPS

  • 101. Mayfair Dad  |  September 4, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    @94: This is my concern whenever I read about “wrap-around services.” Necessary? Of course. But why are they necessary and why should this be the domain of public education instead of another method of delivery. If a head of family is already receiving federal assistance for the express purpose of purchasing groceries to feed their children, when does it become the responsibility of CPS to feed those same children? Have you seen how much breakfast food gets thrown away at school? Money earmarked for education should be spent on education. I don’t have the answer, and I am not suggesting children go to school hungry, but I see alot of waste and wonder if we have become a nation of well-intentioned enablers. (and that includes enabling Chartwells to make an obscene profit — waste cuts both ways).

  • 102. cpsobsessed  |  September 4, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    Ok, back to Charters since we’ll never solved the uninvolved parent dilemma without my head exploding…

    People have made good points here, I think. Separating the charter assessment from the policy are key. Should charters exist? Possibly? Should their test score performance be directly compared to neighborhood CPS schools? Probably not. Well, I’d want to see that a charter was doing better than the neighborhood schools they are supposed to be better than. Otherwise, apples and oranges I believe. Now if almost ALL the charters were at the top of the list, I might take notice. While they fare well, better CPS as a whole, it is still a mixed bag.

    In terms of school choice, I think I can support the good ones. If I were a hispanic parent, it could certainly seem desirable to have my child in an UNO school that caters to the needs of the Hispanic community (and as someone else pointed out, compared to the fairly dismal performance of CPS for Hispanic kids.) If I really value strict discipline, I might want a school that provided that.

  • 103. cubswin  |  September 4, 2012 at 4:14 pm

    “I think the question we’d all like to know is how some of these charters would perform if they got a group of neighborhood kids and had to keep those kids no matter what. THAT is the test I’d like to see.”

    Considering the 50% graduation rate there is no school that keeps all the kids no matter what. It’s true it’s usually unfair to compare charter to traditional in a straight up analysis. But it’s also relevant to point out that charters in Chicago are aimed at tier 1 and 2 students. Charters may not get most of the children from deep poverty, but they are very much focused on educating the disadvantaged.
    Tier 4 students have plenty of options, and not much need for charters.
    The open enrollment tier 1/2 high schools that match or beat tier 3/4 HS in student growth are Noble and Urban Prep. Despite the ISAT list above, I’m not aware of any tier 1/2 Elementary that matches up well when compared to the better tier 3/4 when judged by student growth.

  • 104. cpsobsessed  |  September 4, 2012 at 4:21 pm

    You do raise a goodpoint @Cubswin – should charters be ranked (as I did) and compared to all of CPS? Or to the schools that serve primarily the Tier 1-2 students. It would at least be a more fair comparison. If charters “outperform” non-charters (my conclusion based on the distribution I did) they would likely look even better compared to the schools that serve the most at-risk kids. Again, not to say that what they are doing is “working” better. It seems that some are working better than others. But as a whole, just like magnets, it seems that one could expect a better outcome via a charter. Less chance of falling to the bottom, at least.

  • 105. cubswin  |  September 4, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    Top 20 Chicago High Schools, ranked by student growth in years
    (2012 ACT compared to 2009 Explore)

    1) Northside – 7.2
    2) Noble Pritzker – 6.7
    3) Noble Chicago Bulls – 6.4
    3) Noble UIC – 6.4
    3) Payton – 6.4
    6) Noble Rauner – 6.3
    7) Young – 5.9
    8) Noble Rowe Clark – 5.7
    9) Noble Muchin – 5.6
    9) Noble Golder – 5.6
    11) Jones – 5.4
    12) Noble Comer – 5.2
    12) Noble Noble St. – 5.2
    14) Urban Prep West – 5.0
    15) Chicago Academy – 4.8
    16) Lane Tech- 4.7
    17) CHGO Math And Sci. – 4.5
    18) Lincoln Park – 4.4
    19) Von Stuben – 4.2
    20) Lindblom – 4.1

    To me this is an absolutely fascinating list considering the characteristics of the schools. It’s tier 1/2 “no excuses” open enrollment charters mixed with some of the best selective enrollment high schools in the state.

  • 106. Trib article  |  September 4, 2012 at 4:56 pm,0,4792318.story

    “Among the 116 charter schools in Chicago that are in our network, 10 have independent unions representing teachers in negotiations with school management. These schools have been able to reach agreements, largely by acknowledging that expenses must be in line with revenue. Management and teachers at these schools have balanced their books, extended the school day and recognized the critical contributions teachers and leaders make in creating successful schools.”

    “Once again, charter schools in Chicago are on the leading edge of innovation, this time in the field of labor relations. This sort of solutions-based teamwork should be a model of partnership for the city.”

    “Failing that, here is a modest proposal: Tie the teachers’ proposed raises in each year of the contract to the rate of funding provided to Chicago through the general state aid formula.”

  • 107. NBCT Vet  |  September 4, 2012 at 5:01 pm

    That list @105 *is* fascinating.

    Are any of the schools on the list non-selective – that is, relying on attendance boundaries (not applications, tests, grades, recommendations, etc.) for enrollment and state law (not private policies) in handling the removal of students?

  • 108. cpsobsessed  |  September 4, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    @105: Basically it is a list of the non-neighborhood schools, correct? Which is how the top elem ranking looks (only it has magnets, not charters.)
    To your point though, those charters have tradition not attracted the Tier 3/4 parent.
    While their growth looks good, I wonder what the absolute numbers are. They are likely taking kids who come in at a fairly low level (and making good progress, it appears.) Does that mean a Tier 4 kid who just missed the SE cutoff would thrive in those schools? I’m just not familiar with them.

  • 109. Todd Pytel  |  September 4, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    @105 (cubswin) – That was data originally posted by Donn at D299. It’s not clear where exactly he got it. However, it’s not accurate. I’m uncertain whether the underlying data sets are authorized for public release, so I can’t really say more than that.

    Also, accuracy aside, it’s important to understand what those EPAS (Explore->ACT) growth numbers mean. Those numbers are raw increases in scaled test scores. They most certainly do *not* represent years of instruction in the way that elementary scores are often reported. In fact, due to the way those tests are normed, a “4 point increase” could mean something very different depending on where that increase started from. In particular, for students entering HS at a very high level, a 4 point raw increase in scale score could mean a *decrease* in the student’s percentile when compared nationally.

    I do agree that EPAS growth numbers are generally useful measures of school efficacy. Unfortunately, much of the underlying data needed to understand those numbers is not publicly available.

  • 110. cubswin  |  September 4, 2012 at 5:23 pm

    The List
    Only the well known non-SE high schools in the second half of the list have attendance boundaries, as far as I know. Charters are public schools, and I believe adhere to the same state laws as traditional schools.

    Charters are open enrollment by law. If demand exceeds supply selection is by lottery.

    IMO the list doesn’t prove charters outperform public schools. The list gives strong evidence that schools highly distinct from traditional public schools can be the right answer for some students. The mechanism for creating Noble and Urban Prep was charter. Noble and Urban Prep can not exist under the CTU contract.

  • 111. cpsobsessed  |  September 4, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    @Cubswin “The list gives strong evidence that schools highly distinct from traditional public schools can be the right answer for some students.”
    Very nicely put. Not an ideal soundbyte, like people like to throw around, but I think it’s true.

  • 112. junior  |  September 4, 2012 at 5:50 pm

    @93 chicagodad

    I just ask the smart-alec questions. I don’t actually answer them.

    OK. I’ll give it a try.

    I think we have to be as skeptical about social-service interventions as we are about educational interventions. Some of the social science research out there is abysmal, and I’d only fund whatever works based only on very hard evidence.

    I’m not sure what that looks like, but I can throw out a couple of ideas. There was a Freakonomics show a while back about getting eyeglasses to kids in rural China — had great educational outcomes at a fraction of the cost of other interventions (of course, it doesn’t help the kid with perfect vision).

    Most people agree that interventions need to happen as early as possible — early childhood and even earlier interventions are likely to have the biggest payoff. Here’s my contribution — get every new mother educated about the benefits of breastfeeding for the entire first year of a child’s life. I’m sure there are groups doing this, but make that universal and you’ll see an automatic jump in children’s IQs — a jump that would be virtually impossible to achieve with school-aged kids. Take the same approach with lead abatement.

    What I heard about the Breakfast for All program was that it was based on research that showed it improved educational outcomes. I did not see that research, so I’ll remain neutral there. Let’s put that down as a ‘maybe’.

    @91 MFD

    I’m not saying any of this needs to be done at the school-based level, but for some of it, it makes sense to use the existing school infrastructure. There needs to be local discretion about where to spend the funds, so that schools that don’t need these interventions can spend it on other things. That was the problem with BfA program — middle/upper class parents objected to a social-service intervention that they had no use for, but for many schools serving low-income kids, this may very well be a cost-effective intervention to improve academic achievement (I’d say jury is still out though).

    As far as leaving kids who have little family support to fend for themselves, well, I think we already know what those results are. They become the parents who similarly neglect their kids and so on. Without some sort of intervention, we will continue these cycles. I’m not saying fund every feel-good approach out there. I think I’m consistent in saying that we always need to demand evidence, accountability, quality, cost-effectiveness and results.

  • 113. junior  |  September 4, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    @110 cubswin

    I would like to disagree with this part your post: cubswin.

  • 114. NBCT Vet  |  September 4, 2012 at 6:00 pm


    Ha ha ha ha!

    @ cubswin

    Charters operate under very different rules – state and district – than traditional schools. That’s a big part of the reason for their existence. They don’t have to follow the rules that the rest of us have to follow.

  • 115. Chris  |  September 4, 2012 at 6:05 pm

    Mayfair Dad: “Have you seen how much breakfast food gets thrown away at school? Money earmarked for education should be spent on education.”

    I had understood that the federal $$ for b’fast for all exceeded the cost of b’fast for all, which is why we got stuck with it everywhere. Was that bad information?

  • 116. cubswin  |  September 4, 2012 at 6:08 pm

    The list.

    I believe the numbers are accurate. Interpretation of numbers is more complicated. But last year the list of interest was simply open enrollment high school ACT. That list redone for 2012 would again would show Noble dominate in the top group.
    But ACT scores obviously are heavily influenced by selectivity, even if it just from parent preference.
    As far as I can tell, from available data, this best way to look at value added from a school are these available growth numbers. Urban Prep will likely never have a top ACT, but they have large growth.
    Perhaps its fair for the growth to be split by ACT range. I’m sure a school admin not liking relative placement can make a decent argument about inaccuracy due to non-linearity over a large range. But we need some means of comparing performance when discussing public policy.
    I added the descriptor “in years”, which could be inaccurate. I hate adding a unit of measurement without qualification. So I’m not sure what to call it if not “years”. I do know that is standard terminology by many teachers for ACT growth.
    I would love for Todd to take a shot at normalizing the numbers. Even if the formula was debatable, it would still provide another way to look at the data.

  • 117. cubswin  |  September 4, 2012 at 6:35 pm


    Guys, teachers on the south side used to have to bring in food to feed their hungry students. Think about that.
    At what age to you want a child to take care of feeding herself? Philosophical discussions are nice. But the realities of facing a hungry child are not philosophical. You do what needs to be done. The most important mission of 299 is to mitigate the poverty cycle to the greatest degree possible.

  • 118. cps alum  |  September 4, 2012 at 7:10 pm

    @91 and others–

    One of the big differences between the city and in the suburbs is the quality and access students have to wrap around services. Rich kids with educated parents and all the opportunities in the world have and need access to social work.

    While the details of their problems are different, the impact social problems have on student achievement is the same. A student who is going through emotional turmoil doesn’t learn as well as one who is supported.

    Let’s just use a stereotype as an example: Johnny in the the inner city lost his parent to violence and Jack in the burbs lost his parent to disease– both Jack and Johnny need help. Jack has an in school support group that meets weekly. Jack’s school has a social worker in the building that can see him on short notice if things “get tough” and he suddenly needs a shoulder to cry on. Jack get’s special tutoring to catch him up on the work he missed when he stayed home for a week to say “good-bye” to mom. What does Johnny get?

    Kids bring their problems to school. Schools that support kids in crisis can teach reading and math better than schools that ignore problems.

  • 119. chicagodad  |  September 4, 2012 at 11:25 pm

    At all the folks who are clueless about what it means to be dirt poor in the city, Your assumption that they take them to the park and all the other stuff indicating that they are middle class just like us but just neglectful and out of cash is way off. When you speak of poverty and poor parents without even a mediocre education, don’t be fooled by the fact that they are the same age as us. They’re just kids who grew old, kids who came out of the same schools and community culture that failed their parents the same way. Having lived among them and had what passes for a conversation with many of these folks, that’s the reality. They have no capability to act on the knowledge about raising kids they also don’t have. And, in spite of all this they’re not all bad people which is saying something.

  • 120. chicagodad  |  September 4, 2012 at 11:50 pm

    OFF TOPIC, but I just found out that CPS has imposed a mandatory finals schedule on all high schools. In non block program schools this means 3 days of finals. There are 3 days of attendance after finals are over, Thurs, Friday, and MONDAY!?!? The longer day/year is just so important to CPS, right? 3 days with nothing to do of any consequence for the record. I bet they blame teachers for not holding kids interest those last 3 days. Who’s gonna show up that last Monday? Don’t get me started on the combined schools bus route mess.

  • 121. Mayfair Dad  |  September 5, 2012 at 7:59 am

    @115: Thank goodness we are only wasting federal money!

  • 122. OutsideLookingIn  |  September 5, 2012 at 8:58 am

    @120 – Sounds like good news. That’s three days teachers don’t have to worry about “teaching to the test”.

  • 123. chicagodad  |  September 5, 2012 at 9:33 am

    @122 LOL, sigh. Grim irony. Schools used to set this schedule themselves. CPS doesn’t trust students not to spread around Q & A for the test, probably suggested by testing companies.

  • 124. Chris  |  September 5, 2012 at 10:09 am

    MFD: “Thank goodness we are only wasting federal money!”

    I’m presuming (dangerous, yes) the excess funding is going to something useful, so not all wasted!

  • 125. Todd Pytel  |  September 5, 2012 at 5:10 pm

    @chicagodad – This is nothing new. CPS has set a mandatory finals schedule for HS’s for years. Typically, that means neighborhood schools have to administer exams and enter final grades several days before students have been released for the summer. As you say, this makes the last several days of school rather pointless and then sets the school up to be punished by CPS for having poor attendance. Selective enrollment and other influential schools, however, have traditionally been given freedom to give exams and grades right up until the end of the year. How nice that the most privileged students in the city get that opportunity for extra instruction!

    From what I’ve seen, CPS has actually relaxed these restrictions somewhat in the last year. While they still mandate the usual schedule, there’s fine print that allows individual schools to plead for an exemption. We were able to follow a sane final exam schedule last year for the first time in the 13 years I’ve been teaching. Whether that policy will continue this year, I have no idea.

  • 126. FP  |  September 5, 2012 at 9:53 pm

    Chicago Quest lost a lot of the families that scored in the top quartile. Instead of just having to add 6th graders each year they had to make up for a the students who left and now they have reject students. The school was poorly run and the instruction was non existent due to the many MANY discipline problems.

  • 127. FP  |  September 5, 2012 at 10:09 pm

    Some of the information in these comments are inaccurate. Casals was not performing well at all. Charter School cannot turn away children with Special Needs.

    I hope people take these comments and verify them.

  • 128. chicagodad  |  September 6, 2012 at 11:01 am

    @125 All schools are now on the imposed schedule. SE schools lost that freedom, the freedom that all schools should have to set such policy. I’ll dbl ck if exemptions are still possible.

  • 129. Q Parent  |  September 6, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    As a Quest parent, I am greatly disappointed in the scores. I was wondering why the ISAT scores hadn’t been released. As a previous person noted, the school was not prepared for the students that were initially enrolled. Behavior problems were rampant. My child lost a lot of what he knew before he got there. This year they have a solid discipline procedure in place and it seems to be working. The teachers have time to teach.

  • 130. momof3boys  |  September 7, 2012 at 11:27 am

    @98 “getting a job, feeding them and actually paying attention/ spending time with kids would be a good start. Get off the cell while you are at the park with them, and get off the cell while you are pushing kids on on a swing. actually, spend some quality time and listen to your kids. it’s not that hard.”

    It may not seem hard but there are parents out there who have no clue… How about if you can’t read (there are people out there who can’t) or you’re just not mature enough to figure it out. Then it would be hard. There are parents out there who just don’t know any better…

    I had my older one when I was young and I can say that there is definitely a parenting difference between the older one and the youngest one.

  • 131. Blank  |  September 10, 2012 at 7:01 pm

    I know for a fact that one of the top Reading AYP schools for 2011 cheats openly on the ISAT scores. The principal there was worthless.

  • 132. charters  |  September 10, 2012 at 9:44 pm

    @129 my understanding is that in the first couple of years of a new charter school scores will be low for exactly the reason you site – they need to regroup and revise. Sounds like the program has a lot of potential. Good luck to you.

  • 133. Q Parent  |  October 15, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    @132. After thinking things through, I pulled my child out of ChicagoQuest. I couldn’t have him waste more of his time waiting for the school to get its act together.

  • 134. Chgojen  |  June 27, 2013 at 12:54 pm

    Anyone know when we should expect to start seeing school ISAT scores for 2013?

  • 135. cpsobsessed  |  June 27, 2013 at 1:06 pm

    Did anyone get isats sent home? We got map, but not isats.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 136. SoxSideIrish4  |  June 27, 2013 at 1:16 pm

    Every one was to get the preliminary ISATS b4 the close of the school year along w/MAP.

  • 137. SoxSideIrish4  |  June 27, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    It’s just an 8×11 piece of paper~they are preliminary…check the backpack!!

  • 138. cpsobsessed  |  June 27, 2013 at 1:30 pm

    Yes, that’s how the map results were delivered — crumpled in a pile of 1000 other papers. I don’t think anyone in our class got isats. Despite my moaning about all the testing, I kinda liked the map info.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 139. edgewatermom  |  June 27, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    I had to ask for MAP info, and we did not receive ISAT info.

    On Thu, Jun 27, 2013 at 1:30 PM, CPS Obsessed wrote:

    > ** > cpsobsessed commented: “Yes, that’s how the map results were delivered > — crumpled in a pile of 1000 other papers. I don’t think anyone in our > class got isats. Despite my moaning about all the testing, I kinda liked > the map info. Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile” >

  • 140. Momof3girls  |  June 27, 2013 at 2:17 pm

    We did not receive ISAT info either.

  • 141. cpsobsessed  |  June 27, 2013 at 2:23 pm

    So then do they mail out the details isat results later to our houses?

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 142. cpsemployee  |  June 27, 2013 at 2:52 pm

    ISAT scores are not yet out. Schools received preliminary SAT10 scores for grades 3, 6, and 8 because they are used for summer school but that is all we got. Preliminary ISAT scores for everyone usually come in late July or August and the final ISAT scores often do not come until September or October. There is no final information to give out to parents yet. The page report is usually given out with the first report card.

  • 143. cpsobsessed  |  June 27, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    Thanks for the info. That must be why we got something last day of 3rd grade last year.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 144. SoxSideIrish4  |  June 27, 2013 at 4:13 pm

    My child is NOT in 3,6, or 8th grade~All grades got preliminary ISATs at our schools and in the schools near us. Your schools has yours and you can ask for it or wait until September and they will give you the actual ISATs.

  • 145. Isat percentiles  |  June 27, 2013 at 6:39 pm

    All schools have the percentiles for all grades now BUT cps didn’t tell the principals! I had to tell the principal where they were & she gave me my sons percentiles & he is in 5th grade! The parent letters are there too but the principal has to download them!

  • 146. Celestia  |  April 16, 2014 at 12:12 pm

    I think you have to look at more than test scores in evaluating any school. A school is more than test scores it is also “culture.” It is a culture which encourages and supports education? Do the teachers have time to teach? Is the horizon of a student’s vision of themselves raised beyond the neighborhood? I think these are things we, as middle income parents take for granted. Neither a charter nor a public school can show extraordinary gains in a year, two years or even more. What it can offer is a chance that these kids may not get in an environment which may be more custodial than educational.

  • 147. Celestia  |  April 16, 2014 at 12:18 pm

    And, to continue: What opportunities are we offering kids who live in the lowest income communities and have the lowest performing schools? Wait it out till we figure out all the details? If we want to say no to charters, let’s offer a solution other than “wait it out”. The greatest resistance to charters that I see is from parents whose children go to good schools. I suspect if their kids went to a school which historically and sadly was a school to prison pipeline, their feelings would be altered.

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