Tier Changes and Q&A with OAE
Okay, I know I’m coming in late with a post about the change in tiers. I got to sit in a call with Katie Ellis from OAE last week to talk about the Tier Changes. As usual, she is very forthcoming with information. Some of the questions that came up (I was late to the call) which were sort-of Tier related included:
Why doesn’t CPS guarantee anyone with 90% up on the gifted test a spot in a program like NYC does?
Katie: We simply don’t have the resources.
Me: (Jumping in like a loudmouth) 90% isn’t gifted. 98% is. Should all bright kids be given a special school to attend?! (okay, I wasn’t that rude, but I did mention that 90% is “bright” and not “gifted.” I didn’t get around to mentioning that most 90%+ kids could probably have a spot in a gifted program if they were actually open to every school.)
If a family is white and live in Lincoln Park, should they even bother testing for a classical school?
Katie: (I need to point out she is always so diplomatic!) Yes, you should definitely test! Kids from all Tiers have a chance to get into the programs and race is not a factor in selection.
Me: (butting in again) 30% of the spots are given out on rank, so for a kid who scores well there are plenty of chances.
Can kids apply to Academic Centers in 8th grade?
Katie: Yes, via the regular application
Me: Thank you (this was my question so I didn’t butt in.)
How about getting into high school after freshman entry year?
Katie: High school transfers can be taken. Applications are accepted in the spring. Different schools have different philosophies on whether they’ll take kids and what their criteria is. Contact the schools directly.
What was done differently in the application process this year?
Katie: Kids were informed of which schools they are eligible for and what data, if any, is missing so they can provide that to apply to certain schools.
Was this done for kids in 7th and 8th grade?
Katie: No, we don’t like to “poach” from existing schools (ie, steal kids from one program for another.) Also there are very few seats, so the schools promote themselves.
Me: (I didn’t say this during the call, but this anti-poaching is sort of a beef of mine. If a kid is really smart and their parent doesn’t know about the whole gifted-testing thing, I wish someone would clue them in….)
How many tracts changed in Tier ranking this year?
Katie: 97 went up 1 tier. 88 went down 1 tier. 2 went up 2 Tiers.
Are Tiers here to stay?
Katie: We’re keeping our eyes on what other cities are doing as well as a few court cases to make sure we’re in compliance. We don’t want to get challenged in court for any reason so we will continue to examine our policy. There is currently no impetus to change. We are currently maintaining socio economic diversity without using race. We’ll continue to monitor what goes on outside Chicago though.
This is the document I saw that shows the Tier changes.
Here is the Sun Times’ article on it. It says that Logan Square is the neighborhood that went up in tier ranking the most and the Sun Times and Trib both have articles about people complaining about it (2 Tiers… that is pretty harsh and residents complain that their schools there are 95% low income.)
Julia made a cool spreadsheet that shows the change in minimum cutoffs for the SE High Schools over the past 2 years. For Tier 3 and 4 Lane (previously a “back-up” school for many Tier 3-4ish kids) and Lindblom had very big increases in score minimums. Other schools ranged from +7 to +23 point rise over 2 years. Perhaps not as big as expected?
So I guess we wait to see whether the SEHS cutoff scores go up any more this year…..
CPS’ Tier Calc info is here: