New CPS Calendar for 2013-2014

January 18, 2013 at 8:23 pm 457 comments

Calendar

So the new calendar is out, sooner than was expected given CPS’ usual decision-making schedule. So hats off to them for getting it done so quickly.  Hats back on because it had some incorrect dates the first time it was issued.

One calendar will certainly help families with kids in multiple schools.   I was a little surprised by the lack of anything resembling the Track E schedule.  Seems like we’re just now on the schedule with the rest of the country which leaves me feeling sadly suburban.  I kind of liked having the oddball schedule.

This new one makes more sense than Track E from a climate perspective as no additional summertime in class is added to the Track R schedule.

I like the Wednesday off before Thanksgiving, but why 3 days off right before that?

Lack of half days is a good sign of sanity.

The board still needs to approve it, but I would imagine given that it’s been distributed, it would take quite a bit of nerve to over-turn it.

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

As we move ahead into the second semester of a new year, we know our families are anxious to find out what lies ahead for next year’s academic calendar. Chicago Public Schools (CPS) has been working collaboratively with the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) to build a new, single calendar for school year 2013-2014 and we are excited to share the newly designed calendar with you.

This proposed calendar does away with the District’s two-track schedule and gives all students the same start and end dates and days off.  The new unified calendar also provides a balance of uninterrupted student learning days and reflects input gathered from parents, students, teachers and principals in order for families to easily plan work, childcare and vacation schedules.

To design the calendar, representatives from CPS and CTU discussed parameters and CPS launched an online survey to gain your feedback on what you would like the calendar to look like.  More than 13,000 parents, students, teachers and principals completed our survey and the results were invaluable.

Some highlights from the survey results include:

·         First Day of School: 51 percent of parents and students and 80 percent of teachers preferred a calendar that started sometime in August. All students will now begin school before Labor Day on August 26, 2013. In the past, Track E schools started in early August, while Track R schools began the day after Labor Day.

·         Three-Day Thanksgiving Holiday: Many stakeholders responded that they wanted a fall break. The best way to offer a fall break with minimal disruption to student learning was to lengthen the Thanksgiving holiday, accommodating travel plans and allowing more time with family. In SY 13-14, schools will be closed for three days during the week of Thanksgiving starting Wednesday, November 27, 2013.

·         Removal of Half Days: 62 percent of parents and students and 61 percent of teachers preferred that professional development occur on full days of non-student attendance instead of half days. To make planning easier for work and childcare, there are no scheduled half days in the SY 13-14 calendar.

In addition to aligning all schools with start and end dates as well as vacation time, a unified calendar will allow for far better planning among principals, teachers and families and support a better structure for implementing a more rigorous curriculum and supports for students in need.

More specific changes to the new calendar include:

·         First and Last Days of School: The first day of school for all students will be August 26, 2013 and the last day of school will be June 10, 2014.

·         Holidays: Schools will be closed to observe Labor Day, September 2, 2013, Columbus Day, October 14, 2013, Veteran’s Day, November 11, 2013, Thanksgiving, November 27-29, 2013, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, January 20, 2014, Lincoln’s Birthday, February 12, 2014 and Memorial Day, May 26, 2014.

·         Parent-Teacher Conferences: Formerly known as Report Card Pick-Up, Parent Teacher Conferences will occur on the same day for elementary and high school students and will occur on November 12 and April 7. Parent-Teacher Conferences are days of non-student attendance.

·         Winter Break: December 23, 2013 to January 3, 2014.

·         Spring Break: Schools will be closed for Spring Break from April 14 to April 18, 2014.

The proposed calendar is being released today, but will go before the Chicago Board of Education for approval on Wednesday, January 23.

I would like to thank all of our parents and our stakeholders for taking the time to complete our online survey. Your feedback was central to the design of the new calendar. Attached is a copy of the new single-track calendar for school year 2013-2014.  We look forward to beginning the next school year together, on one unified calendar.


Sincerely,
Barbara Byrd-Bennett
CEO, Chicago Public Schools

Full calendar is here:

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B0vKad7UbFEiVU8wZDZuRFVDd2c/edit

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IB Letters have left the building WBEZ visits 2 Under-Enrolled schools

457 Comments Add your own

  • 1. SoxSideIrish4  |  January 18, 2013 at 8:32 pm

    There’s not enough days off between in Feb and Spring Break. But I’ll be pulling my kids out on Mondays and Tuesdays for a few 4 day weekends~that’s when we go away and they ski.

    LOVE 3 days off for Thanksgiving.

  • 2. CarolA  |  January 18, 2013 at 8:57 pm

    I guess I’m fine with it. You’re never going to please everyone and this has a lot of positives. The best thing is no more half-days and 3 days at Thanksgiving (even though we don’t get paid for Wednesday). I did notice that each school will have 3 flexible days for professional development. That could be a problem for parents with students at different schools since each school gets to pick its own days off (or so it seems). Teachers will start one week prior in August.

  • 3. Anon  |  January 18, 2013 at 8:59 pm

    I hate the idea of starting before Labor Day. And I dislike so many of the specific days off – most parents get Presidents’ Day off if anything – not Lincoln’s Birthday. I also think they don’t need Columbus Day off – so politically charged!

  • 4. Christine D  |  January 18, 2013 at 9:46 pm

    I’m glad they moved the professional days off to Fridays so we get long weekends. I hate the random days off in the middle of the week. I hope the schools keep their descretionary days off consistent with that as well and offer it on a Friday or Monday.

  • 5. Inchicago  |  January 18, 2013 at 9:48 pm

    Great. We had booked our overseas trip to come back on Labor Day and dropped thousands on the flight tickets. Great for our 3rd grader to miss a week of school.

  • 6. cpsobsessed  |  January 18, 2013 at 9:51 pm

    Well if what they’ve been speculating for years is true, this first year there will be plenty of kids out this first week because there parents won’t realize it’s changed. Or people had vacations booked already.
    I still find it remarkable that people make unchangeable travel plans that far in advance. I’m such a last minute person. I can’t think that far ahead.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 7. Marketing Mom  |  January 19, 2013 at 1:29 am

    I don’t understand why CPS insists on giving kids Lincoln’s birthday off as a holiday, when most parents are off on Presidents Day. Am I the only one that thinks that since Lincoln was a president that he could be celebrated on Presidents Day?

  • 8. CarolA  |  January 19, 2013 at 7:14 am

    After reading the above comments, I can see the problems from a parents point of view. You’re right….skip Lincoln’s, group him in President’s Day. As far as starting before Labor Day…again, you’re right, it will be a mess. However, it has not been a secret that next year’s calendar would be changing, so anyone who went ahead and made plans anyway should be able to live with the results without complaining.

  • 9. Christine Whitley  |  January 19, 2013 at 8:28 am

    I think Lincoln’s Birthday is a State mandate or something. I’m not sure but I think I did hear that…

  • 10. ccc  |  January 19, 2013 at 8:45 am

    I also don’t understand why Lincoln gets his own day. He is a president, lets just celebrate all of them. I also wish we would get the whole week of Thanksgiving instead of random Columbus day type holidays.

  • 11. teacher in Englewood  |  January 19, 2013 at 8:50 am

    Of course it is impossible to please everyone. I see a strong possibility for teacher burnout with this calendar. I anticipate with the new calendar AND the new Board rules for teacher sick days (you use them or you lose them) there will be a lot more teacher absences in the future. A foolish decision, in my opinion [which I always say, no one asked for ;)] to condense school days in the fall and spring.

  • 12. cpsobsessed  |  January 19, 2013 at 9:16 am

    @Teacher in englewood: what’s th change in the new calendar that would lead to teacher burnout? It looks fairly similar to me to the current one – (from an untrained parent eye.)

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 13. cpsobsessed  |  January 19, 2013 at 9:17 am

    So if you don’t want lincoln’s bday off, what day would you rather have instead?

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 14. Ivana  |  January 19, 2013 at 9:18 am

    Not bad .

  • 15. Y  |  January 19, 2013 at 9:30 am

    I’m disappointed that the new calendar is effectively a Track R schedule starting a week earlier. I was hoping the earlier start would be a trade-off for an intersession in either October or February, or both. I suspect schools and families currently in Track E ar the most disappointed with the new schedule. I also don’t understand why Columbus Day is back as a day off.

  • 16. motherwell  |  January 19, 2013 at 11:26 am

    Honestly, as a single mom who works full time, the earlier start is a blessing for me. The last two weeks in August were always a scramble to find childcare. Camps are all done by then and other options were always financially out of reach. I used to have to beg my boss to work from home (while I tried to keep the kids occupied.) Not fun. Or productive.

  • 17. ca  |  January 19, 2013 at 11:36 am

    Why can’t the school year end on a Friday? Coming back on Monday and an hour on Tuesday is the worst!

  • 18. Gobemouche  |  January 19, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    The last day of school (June 10, 2014) is a Tuesday? Huh? I wonder if the kids will have that Monday off, as they have had the day before the last day off in the past. So, basically two lost days.

    I think in the email I got from CPS, that this calendar provides 178 days of instruction. I thought that the law was 180. Does anybody know?

    The August start date wont affect our school much, we’re lucky- we have air conditioning. But I really feel for the students and teachers that don’t. It seems to me that what needs to change are the testing dates. Why are ISATs given in March? Why is that the way it is? If that were to change, kids could start later when the weather is cooler and stay longer in June when the weather is all over the place (but not as brutal as August). Of course, as parents, our lives our dictated by the school calendar, in that their dictated by testing.

  • 19. HS Mom  |  January 19, 2013 at 12:51 pm

    As a reminder… CTU negotiated to replace Columbus day that was taken away (along with Pulaski day) with Presidents day. That’s how Presidents day became a school day.

    New calendar looks great. I prefer the earlier start and earlier release.

  • 20. cpsobsessed  |  January 19, 2013 at 12:53 pm

    So really, Track E has been scrapped.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 21. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  January 19, 2013 at 1:00 pm

    BBB said that she wanted to increase trust w/ the parents. This was not the way to do it. Releasing this on a Friday with the board vote on Wed. shows how rushed the process is. I was asked to join a focus group less than 48 hours before the group was to meet on 18 Dec.

    The survey results were not presented in anything approaching a reasonable manner: student and parent replies were lumped together; there were no cross-tabs of question replies, and they designed this calendar *before* the on-line survey was completed. This calendar was presented at an 11 Jan. meeting w/ CTU that used survey data as of 9 Jan., two days before the survey actually closed: see http://ilraiseyourhand.org/node/2340#disqus_thread

    Those incomplete, data showed this (again with parents lumped with students)

    Mid Aug – late May/early June 27
    Late Aug – Mid June 25
    Sep – Mid June/late June 41
    No pref. 3
    write in 4

    The plurality favored Sep-June, and the majority of two of the parent focus groups did too. I cannot make out the numbers of the 3rd. What was more salient, the start date or the end date in replies? Did people focus on “late May” or “late June”? Who knows, because CPS conflated the two in the questions. Xmas break could be only 7 or 8 school days (24 Dec. off, back on 2 Jan), depending on the year.

    Is the 27% mostly made up of current track E respondents, who accounted for 23.3% of the respondents. The answer rests within the Survey Monkey results, and you can do cross-tabs in SM. But CPS doesn’t care.

    People keep saying that CPS is data-driven, but I have yet to see CPS present complete data in an understandable and manipulable fashion.

    I spoke with board member Henry Bienen on Thursday, and complained about the process. He said that the board is unlikely to change the calendar.

    As for Lincoln’s birthday, it is state holiday, and schools are supposed to close *unless* they apply for a waiver, which CPS does for many, more substantive state requirements. Evanston schools have President’s Day off, not Lincoln’s BsDay.

    I still find it remarkable that people make unchangeable travel plans that far in advance. I’m such a last minute person.

    Because it is the only affordable or possible way to schedule some vacations, especially those overseas or in some US and Canadian national parks.

  • 22. HS Mom  |  January 19, 2013 at 1:42 pm

    @21 – Calendar change to unified calendar starting with 2013-14 was announced as part of the strike agreement back in September/October. People knew there was going to be a change and more than likely an earlier start. How much notice do you feel is acceptable for people to make plans?

    The request for input was publicized like…everywhere. The survey – that CPS did not have to do – was e-mailed to families, posted here and on other websites, announced and posted at schools. If the response level was low, its because of parents not responding. I’m glad they didn’t wait around for uninterested parties to respond. That would have delayed things even further and you’re right, people do need notice to make plans.

  • 23. CarolA  |  January 19, 2013 at 1:45 pm

    @21: “People keep saying that CPS is data-driven, but I have yet to see CPS present complete data in an understandable and manipulable fashion.”

    We never said the data was accurate, just that there was a lot of it! LOL

  • 24. Stanley j wozniak  |  January 19, 2013 at 1:51 pm

    This new calendar is a joke! Track e was a great idea and it worked well. Why am I not surprised that a great idea was dropped and a useless calendar was adopted anyway. Cut what were you thinking to go with this joke!

  • 25. Stanley j wozniak  |  January 19, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    Delete the word cut on the last sentence in my post. I guess the new schedule did me in on my post. Lol

  • 26. Anonymous  |  January 19, 2013 at 2:19 pm

    I liked starting after Labor Day. We got really low rates at our favorite getaway and it was EMPTY in town. Oh, well.

  • 27. cpsobsessed  |  January 19, 2013 at 2:37 pm

    @Stanley – what do you think worked well about Track E?

    I couldn’t decide which was better. My assumption was that Track E was better so kids don’t lose that summer learning time so I am a little surprised that CPS totally walked away from it, after making a big deal about longer days and mandatory breakfast being done to help kids succeed.

  • 28. cpsobsessed  |  January 19, 2013 at 2:37 pm

    So back to airfares – if I want to fly to say London with my son I am better off booking a fare almost a year in advance because they go up as you get closer? Or is it that if you start early you can watch for when the fares go down?

  • 29. IB&AC Mom (formerly IB&RGC)  |  January 19, 2013 at 3:09 pm

    @26 I agree, I liked started after Labor day as we took that last week off and took advantage of going places and doing things with most kids being back in school. Like vacations or even just a couple days in Wisconsin Dells. The rates are much higher the rest of the summer. Also, I thought a fall break might not be bad as another time to take a vacation with good rates, but an extra day before Thanksgiving is not going to help with that. All that said we really don’t travel as much as I would like to.

  • 30. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  January 19, 2013 at 4:43 pm

    @22 The trouble was that the survey was badly designed, and you needed a student ID # to answer it. Despite what CPS letters said, the number is NOT on progress reports; only on report cards.

    CPS never laid out the parameters — how many days of school (I had assumed 180 but now it’s 178)? How many PD days were needed? How many days per quarter (43, 44, 45?) How would standardized test schedules affect quarters?

    I had assumed that school would not start in Aug because one reason CTU disliked track-E was that many schools did not have AC, and there are many 90+ days in August (10 last year), even in the last week. I called CPS in late Oct. to get more information and was told that nothing would be out until Jan. If it was so important to have a unified calendar, didn’t have CPS have some idea of what it wanted in the calendar when it went into talks? Why did it take until December?

    @24 I have not seen the data, but there was a Tribune report that while many parents might have liked track-E, the test scores weren’t good enough (because that’s how we measure progress in Chicago). Unfortunately, few school districts actually adopt year-round-school — they simply spread out the 180 days more uniformly. A 45 on/ 15 off is most common, but I was not sure what track E was. Studies of these set-ups are mixed; most find no effect.

    @28 On airfare, 21 to 22 weeks out for summer flights to Europe, but if you need specific days (not everyone can get Tues out, Wed back time-off from work) further out might be ready. See http://travel.nytimes.com/2012/04/15/travel/book-well-ahead-to-save-money-on-airfare.html

  • 31. SoxSideIrish4  |  January 19, 2013 at 5:03 pm

    #28~I think you can start planning w/air fare a trip to Europe 11 months from the date you want to be there. The problem w/last minute to Europe is that it so much more costly to fly.

    #30~The survey was so poorly designed~obviously no person w/an education designed it. CPS said you needed your kids ID#s but you didn’t ~ I used the survey and didn’t include my kids ID#s.

  • 32. SoxSideIrish4  |  January 19, 2013 at 5:12 pm

    On the ill-planned survey~2063 kids took it, 4600 parents and the rest was teachers. Not a lot of parent input for 403,000 students.

  • 33. HS Mom  |  January 19, 2013 at 5:24 pm

    Yes, I get it that people may be unhappy with design of a survey. I guess that I was just happy to be asked.

    I agree with CPSO that it seemed like CPS was favoring a year round schedule geared toward combating loss of learning. I personally could have gone either way on this. It does not surprise me that they went with only 1 week early start because of the A/C issue that many expressed concern about. The interesting point being that some view it as only 1 week early while others view any early start as an encroachment into summer. I think people are very divided on this.

    The issue about student ID’s – Other than getting the number from your child’s school, the number can be found in the “manage students” section of the Parent Portal. Also, every high school student has their student number on their ID. If you are not registered under the parent portal, I highly recommend it because there is detailed information about your child’s classes and grades and it enables you to be on top of what is going on in school.

  • 34. cpsobsessed  |  January 19, 2013 at 5:35 pm

    I also have to point out (being a marketing research person) that taking a sample isn’t the same as taking a census. There’s no way that CPS needed the input of 400 families. Which is probably only 250,000 or so given so many people have multiple kids.

    If you notice, political polls etc often survey 1000 people out of the whole U.S. population and those results are considered fairly valid because they use representative sampling and balancing techniques. That to me was the issue of using the SurveyMonkey data. Did enough Tier 1-2 families give input? Enough Track E parents? No idea. In any case, the forum was there if people chose to use it and got the news about it. I found the questions a little odd (as we’ve discussed, didn’t really lay out the calendar options.)

  • 35. anonymouse teacher  |  January 19, 2013 at 7:09 pm

    @18, I think ISATs are given in March because they take so long to score and schools need the preliminary data early enough to know which kids must attend summer school. (partly, as I understand it, based on ISATs, though ISATs will never be seen again after this spring) Personally, I think ISATs should be given the end of May.

  • 36. local  |  January 20, 2013 at 12:05 am

    I’ve always been shocked at how poorly any survey coming from CPS (even via UofC) has been constructed. Double-barreled questions, etc., etc., etc. Horrible.

  • 37. CarolA  |  January 20, 2013 at 11:37 am

    You’re right. A student ID wasn’t needed. I was forwarded a link to fill out as a teacher and it also asked for student ID (go figure). Since I am a teacher, I just typed TEACHER in that spot. I didn’t expect that it would send, but guess what….it did!

  • 38. Teacher4321  |  January 20, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    In regards to Columbus Day and Lincoln and Presidents’.

    Columbus and Presidents’ were switched I believe because there are several days off in Jan/Feb and without Columbus there was a stretch from September (now August) to November without a day off.

    Lincoln is part of the Illinois school code. I think the majority of us would rather have a three day weekend than a random Tuesday or Wednesday or wherever it falls. We already have that in November with Vereran’s day.

    I am really happy for the three day Thanksgiving, I might be able to justify traveling to see my family for the holiday for the first time since I’ve become a teacher for CPS. I was hoping for a three week winter break and an intercession as well for the same reason.

    I’m sure in a few years all will change and be different again anyways.

    I’m not sure if any parents have noticed this or if it matters, but 4th of July is no longer marked as a holiday. Every year there is a big bru ha ha about if they are going to pay for that holiday or not for those who work summer school. I find it interesting that it is no longer marked as a holiday.

    I am so glad the 1/2 days are gone. They are more of a nightmare for 1/2 day preschool and kindergarten than you can imagine unless you have children in one of those grades or teach children in one of those grades.

  • 39. Dropping By  |  January 20, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    “But I’ll be pulling my kids out on Mondays and Tuesdays for a few 4 day weekends~that’s when we go away and they ski.”

    I Love the commitment to education. Ironic-if CPS had written in days off on Monday or Tuesday there would be hell to pay about teachers not caring about education, etc. blah.blah.. But, I guess it’s a parent’s right. interesting

  • 40. Dropping By  |  January 20, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    “Great. We had booked our overseas trip to come back on Labor Day and dropped thousands on the flight tickets. Great for our 3rd grader to miss a week of school.”

    Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. SIGH

  • 41. SoxSideIrish4  |  January 20, 2013 at 2:03 pm

    #39~Dropping By~I have a commitment to education but I have a commitment to my kids’ mental health as well. The stretch is too long from Feb to Spring Break~my kids will be just fine. And you are RIGHT~it’s a parent’s right!

  • 42. Casey T  |  January 20, 2013 at 2:29 pm

    What I am wondering is how is CPS going to deal with the massive absences of students, especially Latinos, who go to Mexico for the summer and not return until after labor day ? The CPS tried this before and had to cancel it because Latino’s protested so much about it, AND, CPS lost a lot of money due to the high absentee rate, primarily from Latino’s, because of the start date before Labor Day.

  • 43. HS Mom  |  January 20, 2013 at 2:58 pm

    @38 – I would have preferred Presidents day off and Columbus day in school. October comes at the beginning of the school year right after summer break. I think we can make it a whole month without a holiday and a glorious 5 day weekend looming for Thanksgiving. Ideally, I would have kept the June end date the same (or close to) for some of those extended breaks we were tantalized with in the survey.
    Overall, I’m pretty happy with the schedule and it’s probably a good compromise with all the concerns that people have.

    @42 – there are plenty of Latinos in the suburbs and in the city on track E or at Charters. Why would the labor day cut off be only an issue for Latinos in CPS neighborhood schools? Better believe that Latinos in selective schools will be able to make it. My understanding was that the problem was broader than Latinos going to Mexico. Truancy crisis in CPS is here now due to parents/guardians not sending their children to school. You’re right, its a problem with or without the earlier start date.

  • 44. Casey T  |  January 20, 2013 at 3:01 pm

    I I distinctly remember the usual cast of characters (Guiterrez, Munoz, etc. ) making a big deal about this when the date was before Labor the last time.

  • 45. HS Mom  |  January 20, 2013 at 3:15 pm

    Lets hope times have changed.

  • 46. Southside Daddi-o  |  January 20, 2013 at 4:03 pm

    Dumb. CPS starts a week before Labor Day. Then they stop for a 3-day weekend. They keep Columbus Day (which is like 6 weeks after school starts for the year) and Martin Luther King day (about 3 weeks after school starts after Winter Break), but dump Pulaski Day which is in March. Also, time to re-think the MLK Day as a whole; Obama as President renders it kind of unnecessary, no?

  • 47. anonymouse teacher  |  January 20, 2013 at 6:02 pm

    @46, MLK is one of our few true national heroes. Imo, more important than President’s Day, Columbus day and Pulaski day combined. I can’t imagine a school year without it. I mean, Columbus didn’t even discover America, so that is a fake holiday anyways!

  • 48. Southside Daddi-o  |  January 20, 2013 at 6:20 pm

    @47 Sorry, I wrote that in a very insensitive manner. My point is that the US doesn’t have a Federal Holiday for Cesar Chavez, a great Mexican-American, nor does it have one for Susan B. Anthony or Bella Abzug, two leaders of women’s rights in the US, nor one for Harvey Milk, a groundbreaking gay politician.

    Since there are so many people deserving a holiday, why make it so there’s a day that celebrates a leader of black civil rights gets a Federal holiday on par with presidents, veterans and Independence Day, but all other social leaders receive nothing close to that type of recognition? I’m a big believer in the concept of a paid “floating” holiday, where you can celebrate as you’d like.

  • 49. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  January 20, 2013 at 6:23 pm

    @34 We seem to have gotten the worst of both worlds in this case: insufficient participation for a census and a survey with improper sampling.

  • 50. DZV  |  January 20, 2013 at 6:34 pm

    I don’t get what CPS does, is doing or will do. None of it makes sense. I live in the suburbs and none of my children, my relatives or friends’ children (about eight different school districts) take Lincoln’s birthday off. Presidents’ Day is one of the few holidays that most people get off. My husband gets it off, my children get it off, I’ll have to go to work or take a PB day. I guess that’s OK, because if I don’t use them, I’ll lose them.
    The burn out this year is unbelievable. I don’t know how your kids are doing, but my students are burnt out, the teachers are burnt out (including me), and so is the administration. We’re all doing lunch and recess duty, prep periods are being skipped or we’re being asked to give them up. The flu has his our school and there are no subs. Auxillary staff are being asked to sub, which means classes are cancelled, sped students aren’t receiving services because the special ed teachers are subbing at least once a week. It’s crazy at our school.
    Did you know the custodial and engineer staff have President’s Day off? I wonder how that’s going to work with the strike make up day and the next few years?
    I worked at a predominantly Hispanic school in the 90s and starting before Labor Day was a major mess. Half the students in our school were gone for days. We lost lots in funding. Don’t forget state funding is based on attendance. We’ll see what happens this coming year.

  • 51. Sped Mom  |  January 20, 2013 at 8:01 pm

    @ 50. DZV | January 20, 2013 at 6:34 pm
    “…sped students aren’t receiving services because the special ed teachers are subbing at least once a week…”

    We suspect this of a child’s situation. How can parents confirm that the minutes are not being delivered?

  • 52. Sped Mom  |  January 20, 2013 at 8:04 pm

    I actually rallied back in the day to make a national MLK day. It’s very precious and I don’t want to loose it. Next to Labor Day, it’s my favorite and most meaningful. Just hope the kids feel that too.

  • 53. Teacher9  |  January 20, 2013 at 8:12 pm

    “Also, time to re-think the MLK Day as a whole; Obama as President renders it kind of unnecessary, no?”

    WOW.

  • 54. anonymouse teacher  |  January 20, 2013 at 8:54 pm

    @51, you could ask for it in writing and see if you get it.

  • 55. Southside Daddi-o  |  January 20, 2013 at 9:16 pm

    @52 I agreed with it back in the 80s, however there are so many civil rights pioneers who will never get the recognition that MLK has with a Federal holiday that it almost seems insulting, that their contributions “aren’t in the same league” as MLK’s.

    We used to have Washington’s Birthday but now it’s “Presidents Day”. Maybe time to re-constitute MLK Day as “Civil Rights Day” and move it to August, where there are no other Federal holidays.

  • 56. For Shame  |  January 20, 2013 at 11:59 pm

    Gad….if my grandmother could read the post that “we need to rethink” MLK day. SMH…what in the world?

  • 57. CarolA  |  January 21, 2013 at 7:50 am

    @51 You can also ask the child if they saw that particular teacher that day. Record how often the child says he/she didn’t see the sped teacher and then ask (in writing) which days that teacher was used for substitute purposes. Our school is very pro-active with it because the contract states that sped teachers CANNOT be used for that purpose, so our PPC (Professional Problems Committee) was on it right away. At first, we were told they had no choice because there weren’t any subs. Funny how that changed when we said we were moving forward with a grievance. Never happened again. Be proactive!

  • 58. anonymouse teacher  |  January 21, 2013 at 8:21 am

    Carol, love the activism for children–the kind of behind the scenes stuff that most non-teachers will ever see, let alone be aware of. Your students are lucky to have teachers willing to face the backlash that grievances can sometimes create just to protect their needs!

  • 59. DZV  |  January 21, 2013 at 8:30 am

    @ Sped Mom
    One way you can check is ask to see the teacher’s schedule of minutes. Ask the teacher herself, she might be honest. I can tell you this: what is legally written on my students’ IEPs and that actual minutes I service them are completely different. With schedules and other duties I do, there is no way I can meet my minutes, even if I cut myself in half.
    Don’t forget: the Board also loves to take sped positions away and not give them back. They base everything for the following year on how many eighth graders are graduating, but they don’t think of the student coming into the special education program or kids that might transfer in.
    We’ve had nine kids come into our program from the lower grades and seven students transfer in this year, but we still only have three teachers. We average about 20 plus kids per caseload. We’re across so many grade levels that it’s impossible to meet the minutes.There are conflicts with departmentalized grades and self-contained grade levels, sped teachers doing recess duty when their students are in class and so on. I think this is district wide, not just at my school.

  • 60. Esmom  |  January 21, 2013 at 9:21 am

    You feel “sadly suburban” with the new calendar. There are worse fates, lol. And indeed, aren’t many of the changes that people want in CPS aligned with what many schools/districts in the suburbs are doing? Seems that people want a suburban type school experience without the “stigma” of actually moving to the suburbs. Just an observation.

  • 61. cpsobsessed  |  January 21, 2013 at 9:30 am

    @Esmom – haha, that observation is totally correct!

    I’m a little bit sad about living in the city right now as summer approaches and I’m seeing my son’s friends sign up for a range of week-long camps. He wants to go to a couple but he’s rather have an unsctructured summer of hanging out like I did as a child.
    Does anyone know if suburban kids do this – just play with neighborhood kids all summer. Or are the suburbs like this too with every kid going off to camps? Or maybe they all go to the same local park district camp?

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 62. DZV  |  January 21, 2013 at 10:02 am

    I think kids in the ‘burbs do both. I’ve seen the kids in my neighborhood just hang and play, while some spend time in camps.
    My kids will do both: they finish school the end of May and as you know CPS is in school until June 25, so camp for them.
    Though CPS is trying to mimic a suburban calendar, I think the suburbs take into account parental/familial needs more. I know that not everyone celebrates Easter, but when it falls during a non-spring break week, they utilize Pulaski day and Veteran’s Day as holidays the Friday and Monday of Easter. My kids, my relatives kids, and friends in surrounding suburbs are in school 176 days and they only have 6.5 hour days. But the goal at CPS is going to be the longest day and year in hopes of making everyone succeed. But we all know, that’s not going to happen.
    Just like Track E, it was pushed and pushed because some study showed that kids did better. Now CPS has given it up because that didn’t happen. Mark my words, this LSD/FSD school year will eventually phase out too. Results won’t be any better, it will just take a few years.
    I don’t like this going back earlier and earlier and ending earlier and earlier. The weather can still be cold in late May and June, it’s not condusive to pools,beaches,or outdoor fun. Then the kids are sitting in August staring out the window dying to play and be wet outside. The waterparks are abandoned in May and August. Tourist destinations, park disctricts, and everyone in my opinion are losing out. Atleast our school district forked out for AC in ALL it’s classrooms last year, which you know CPS will never do.

    In my opinion lots of things should happen: ISATs should be given at the end of May, the school year should end later and start later, and lastly: CPS should be broken up into smaller and independent districts! It’s way too big to think that “one size fits all”.

  • 63. LR  |  January 21, 2013 at 10:21 am

    On the calendar it says, “School Improvement Days are strategically placed.” Strategically placed??? I think not! Why not combine the November 1st one with Columbus day so we have more of a mini-fall break? Sorry, but Thanksgiving is not a “fall” break. I was hoping for one in October when the weather is nicer and we can still do things like go camping. And then again in January, there is one on the 24th, right after MLK day on the 20th. Could they not have put the School Improvement day on the 21st so we have a 4 day weekend? And then, I just wish the one on March 28th was a bit earlier to break things up more. The 28th is a bit close to all the time we have off in April. I am fine with the rest of the calendar, other than I will not be sending my kids to school at the beginning of the year if it is 90 degrees or above.

  • 64. cpsobsessed  |  January 21, 2013 at 10:35 am

    It *would* be nice if they put this final version in front of a couple focus groups that contain parents, admin, and teachers before finalizing it to make small tweaks.
    Curious if anyone on the calendar committee has kids in CPS.
    I also inquired about the CPS privacy policy and never heard back on that (regarding whether names, phone numbers are being sold.)

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 65. DZV  |  January 21, 2013 at 10:55 am

    Yes, I agree with you on those “strategically” placed days. They make no sense. In the ‘burbs that’s what they do: teacher institute days are placed on Fridays and Mondays around a holiday. This way, there’s a four day weekend and parents can take mini-vacations if they choose. Leave it to CPS to put it somewhere right around a holiday, but not close enough for anything.
    I doubt CPS would ask anyone what they think of a calendar before they vote on it. And I wouldn’t hold my breath on this one either: they’ve changed it last minute like this year because of the strike.

  • 66. karet  |  January 21, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    @28 — CPSO, here’s a little article about the best time to book flights.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/18/the-best-time-to-book-airfare_n_1978346.html
    As you can see, it says that the “sweet spot” is 34 days in advance for international flights, 21 days for domestic flights.
    I’m also surprised by people who book tickets so far in advance — but perhaps they are using frequent flyer miles or something.

  • 67. CPS Parent  |  January 21, 2013 at 2:17 pm

    CPS is 86% low income and then there is probably another 10-13% who are very close to barely making ends meet above that. The people complaining about airline tickets, ski vacations, “mini” vacations, etc are the remaining 1% to 4%. The reality is that CPS will not shape policy for you…..sorry.

  • 68. Mayfair Dad  |  January 21, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    @ 61 – our kids have always done Chicago Park District day camp at Gompers + Gompers Park Athletic Association baseball at night and on weekends. As a bonus, they swim at Gompers during day camp. I think they would be bored to tears or playing video games all summer if they didn’t have organized things to keep them occupied. All of the neighborhood kids participate, so they get to hang out with their pals. We plan vacation in August after day camp and baseball is over.

  • 69. Sped Mom  |  January 21, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    Thanks for the advice on tracking sped minutes. It’s a surreal effort.

    I’m trying to enjoy the Inauguration coverage (on MLK Day, no less), but I keep thinking that Arne Duncan — the Chainsaw Al of CPS sped — was tapped to serve as the Dept of Ed secretary, and I just die a little inside.

  • 70. Esmom  |  January 21, 2013 at 4:02 pm

    We’ve been in the ‘burbs for two years now and so far I’ve seen a mix of camps/structured summer time and unstructured time. I know I personally allow my kids more independent, unstructured time, which they have loved.

    For example, in between a couple camps and regular music lessons, last summer my 11 and 13 year old sons regularly walked about 4 blocks to the local pool with friends, swam for a while and then walked home. Or they’d go to the park to shoot hoops. Once they even went to a local street fest for lunch with a group of friends. I would never have allowed that in our city neighborhood (I would never leave them at either of the city pools we regularly visited — which is why I think so many affluent city families join the Lincolnwood and Wilmette pools).

    Overall I think my kids are enjoying a greater degree of freedom earlier here in the suburbs than I would have allowed in the city. It helps that their friends all live within about a half to one-mile radius, which is dramatically different from the CPS schools they attended where kids came from various neighborhoods.

  • 71. Casey T  |  January 21, 2013 at 4:42 pm

    A couple of things:

    1. Why so many comments here by suburbanites ? You people left the City (white flight, etc.) so who really cares what you people think. I hope the residency requirement for teachers gets more vigorously enforced.

    2. It seems like, from many of the comments here, that people are more concerned about their vacation plans as it pertains to the school schedule as opposed to the value to the student’s education.

  • 72. Casey T  |  January 21, 2013 at 4:47 pm

    #67 – well said.. however I think the concern about the schedule and the fancy vacations is coming from the highly paid teachers and central office staff, not parents trying to make ends meet.

  • 73. reason99  |  January 21, 2013 at 4:59 pm

    72. Casey you make a lot of sense. Thanks.

  • 74. Edmonds  |  January 21, 2013 at 5:12 pm

    Pardon me for weighing in. CPS was a huge part of our lives that it’s hard to walk away completely. My city friends and I still talk and compare notes, I guess I was mistaken in thinking it might be the same here in this forum. Geez. Message received loud and clear.

  • 75. cpsobsessed  |  January 21, 2013 at 5:17 pm

    Ahem, can we remember that each post here represents one person’s opinion?

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 76. CarolA  |  January 21, 2013 at 5:45 pm

    Casey: I consider myself one of those “highly paid teachers” and I don’t make MY plans until calendars are determined. In fact, knowing that the possibility of a strike existed, I didn’t plan my Christmas break until after all was settled. I knew that if we had a strike, we’d be making up days at some time. That’s what most teachers do…we anticipate. So please don’t lump us all together in the same pot. That would be like me lumping parents together in the same pot.

  • 77. anonymouse teacher  |  January 21, 2013 at 5:50 pm

    @72, good luck leaving that bait. You might be waiting a while.

  • 78. Southside Daddi-o  |  January 21, 2013 at 5:53 pm

    @71 Why does it have to be “White Flight”? Home values are higher in areas with better schools, lots of companies in the suburbs (Walgreen’s in Deerfield, Allstate in Northbrook, McD’s is in Oak Brook), but you start flinging around racism as to why families have left Chicago for the suburbs. Just curious: When a black family moves to Naperville mainly because of a better school system, are they all of a sudden “Uncle Toms”? Of course not.

  • 79. Casey T  |  January 21, 2013 at 5:57 pm

    77. – well, you were not the first, but you did respond.

    76. – ok, here we go…next we will read about the summer as the time for teachers to do all that professional development; the extraordinary hours spent grading papers and doing lesson plans; the misnomer about all the paid holidays, vacation days, sick days, personal days, spring break, christmas break et. al. and the job still being so back breaking – a job that is literally impossible to get fired from for performance reasons….bring out the old saw….now add to it the imposition of a schedule that is not convenient for planning trips, while your neighbors, who pay your salaries, watch their hours being reduced, jobs cut and taxes raised to the legal limit this past year.
    Cry me a river.

  • 80. Casey T  |  January 21, 2013 at 5:58 pm

    78 – they are part of the problem though…instead of hunkering down and being part of the solution, they break camp, chasing other’s people’s ice that they think is colder and water is wetter.

  • 81. SutherlandParent  |  January 21, 2013 at 6:15 pm

    #67 CPS Parent, in the last thread we discussed how the CPS Inspector General believes that the number of CPS students living in poverty or low income is probably closer to 67%. By relying on self-reported income levels for those who apply for free or reduced lunches, the system is widely open to fraud.

    The IG’s report can be found here. http://www.cps.edu/About_CPS/Departments/Documents/OIG_FY_2012_AnnualReport.pdf
    Just curious where your figures that 1%-4% of students are middle class to upper class come from?

  • 82. Casey T  |  January 21, 2013 at 6:25 pm

    81. – People come to this conclusion based on the admission, by the central office, that on days that most districts are closed for snow or heat days, CPS is open to ensure that the kids will get at least two good meals. And during the summer, several schools are open for free meals. That leads us to believe that the system is overwhelmingly comprised of students from poor “families”. Or else there is a massive gaming of the system going on.

  • 83. SutherlandParent  |  January 21, 2013 at 6:46 pm

    @82, The IG believes there is a massive gaming of the system going on–I won’t rehash it here, because we discussed this very issue extensively in the last post. But Sullivan provided some compelling figures to back up his claim. I haven’t seen anyone else to provide statistics to contradict that, expect what is self-reported by either parents or principals.

    And even if “only” two-thirds of CPS students live in poverty or are low-income, that’s still hundreds of thousands of students. But it’s a far cry from 1% – 4% of the student population.

  • 84. Hyde Park Mom  |  January 21, 2013 at 6:47 pm

    Casey,I agree with your points about teachers jobs ,privrleges in the last few posts here.Makes me wish I had become one instead if a nurse,teachers have it pretty good in comparison.Better salaries,hours,benefits.As a nurse,one needs a masters just to land a plush 9-5 ,cubicle or desk job instead of working the floor.But back to the calendar,resuming school on Jan 3, a Friday ,is stupid.I will probably keep my child home,what are they going to do on a Friday that couldn’t wait till Monday?

  • 85. Casey T  |  January 21, 2013 at 6:49 pm

    83 – The inspector makes flashy waves to get headlines. He extrapolates the abuse by high level administrators who cheated the system by getting lunches for their children, in order to make the news. He is living proof of the adage “you see every problem as a nail, when the only tool in your toolbox is a hammer”

  • 86. Hyde Park Mom  |  January 21, 2013 at 6:50 pm

    Excuse the cell typos

  • 87. Casey T  |  January 21, 2013 at 6:51 pm

    84 – look for Rahm’s new favorite company, Walgreens, to bribe parents with more gift cards to get them into school the first week and other ill timed re-start days on the calendar.
    Part of the payoff for the no-bid $700,000 city wellness contract.

  • 88. Casey T  |  January 21, 2013 at 6:53 pm

    84 – oh boy, look out for the -ish storm your comment will start. don’t you know that every teacher is a cross between Mother Theresa and Joan of Arc ?
    For all the complaining, you ever take a look at the teachers’ parking lot at a school ? No beater cars there. And they are not wearing sack-cloth and ashes to work either.

  • 89. SutherlandParent  |  January 21, 2013 at 6:55 pm

    @85–well, he’s extrapolating from census data, not abuse by high-level administrators. But I think we’ll have to agree to disagree on this one, since neither one of us will change the other’s mind on this blog. You don’t trust his data and I’m not swayed by what the “people” you know presume.

  • 90. DZV  |  January 21, 2013 at 7:13 pm

    I do live in the suburbs and I don’t hide it. I’m exempt from the residency requirements at two levels: started before September 1996 and I teach special ed, it’s a waivered position. There are lots of waivered positions: math, science, library, special ed., reading, and so on. So I don’t need to hide the fact that I don’t live in the city.
    Yes, a majority of parents are low-income, but there are neighborhoods where parents are well-to-do or middle income that send their children to CPS.
    In my experience, even my students who claim to be low-income wear better clothes and shoes than I or my family do, not to mention take better vacations than I do. A lot of them come back from Disney World or spend their vacations in Mexico (by airplane). They also go to Six Flags, which isn’t a cheap day trip for any family. So yes, they have money, but they also know how to work the system.
    I live in the ‘burbs and I send my kids to a public school. Is it the best? No, but I have faith that my kids are getting a decent education. My district also gives out free breakfasts to children during the summer and you don’t have to be low-income to receive it. It’s open to all. It’s a federal initiative and I’m sure CPS takes advantage of it also.

    My district isn’t so big, that I’m unheard. If I actually call the district headquarters and voice my concerns, the superintendent actually calls back. Something that CPS will never do! As I stated earlier, this district is just too big to deal with or attend to all the needs of the diverse population that lives in it.

    CPS can’t figure out what it needs to do and it will never solve the problems of all its population either. All it does is try to keep reinventing the wheel, so to speak.
    Years ago as a newbie teacher, CPS pushed and pushed for Track E schools, thinking that it would solve the problems in neighborhoods that were poor. If you notice, the overwhelming majority of Track E schools were in low-income, gang related neighborhoods. CPS reasoned that the kids would be in school, they wouldn’t be out on the streets. They wouldn’t be missing as much school (taking off to Mexico for months on end) and scores would go up.
    Ten years later, nothing’s changed except for the fact that CPS NOW has only one vision, as BBB quotes, “We are one District, with one vision…” Brizzard pulled that one too, attempting to make all schools start at the same time. No one up there takes into account the diversity, the needs, or the wants of it’s broad population base.

  • 91. CPS Parent  |  January 21, 2013 at 7:14 pm

    81. SutherlandParent, yes there is abuse but there are aslo kids who qualify who’s parents can’t get it together to fill out the forms – teachers have mentioned this here. Also, there must be significant group of parents just above the poverty level for whom airplane trips, ski vacations and weekend getaways is far from reality.The vast, vast, majority of students are poor and poverty is the single biggest negative impact on student performance. CPS policy has to be 99% focussed on overcoming this deficit within the economic reality of its revenue stream.

    Casey T – I like your presence here! My own thoughts on Mother Theresa – given her stance on birth control she probably did more damage than she did good for India’s women. Not my hero.

  • 92. anonymouse teacher  |  January 21, 2013 at 7:21 pm

    @84, you could not pay me all the money in the world to be a nurse—kudos to you for doing that kind of work. The nurses who assisted me during and after the birth of my children were top notch. Nurses deserve far more pay and recognition than they get. I was curious about your comment about plush desk jobs, though. I guess I wasn’t aware that existed in nursing at all. It certainly doesn’t exist in teaching. (I have a desk and have not sat down at it once in the last 2 years.) I wouldn’t even describe central office as plush (honestly, the idea of working for central office is my worst nightmare!)
    My best friend is an oncology nurse who does research in both a clinic and the office. She doesn’t have a master’s, but she’s known throughout the system as one of the best of the best, so perhaps that is why she has the position she does. She earned that position by fixing entire offices worth of screwed up studies that were in danger of losing their federal funding because of mismanagement by other research nurses and hospital personnel. I admire her work. She would never refer to her job as plush though and would laugh at that idea! She makes more money than I do (30K more and I’d say she deserves every penny) but I have less expensive benefits. We both love our work and neither of us could do the other’s job. I’d be terrified of screwing up someone’s meds and she couldn’t manage a classroom to save her life.

    You could always go back to school for teaching. It would only take you a few years. There are still jobs to be had in sped and bilingual. Teaching is a great profession, I highly recommend it.

  • 93. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  January 21, 2013 at 7:36 pm

    @89 It was not just census data. CPS was required by law to take a random sample of 1000 school lunch forms to gather more info to verify their accuracy. 582 had incorrect info that meant they did not qualify for a free lunch. Another 125 people never replied to the request.

    He extrapolates the abuse by high level administrators who cheated the system by getting lunches for their children, in order to make the news.

    Nope. False. Try reading the report rather than making stuff up.

  • 94. SoxSideIrish4  |  January 21, 2013 at 7:57 pm

    #84~HPM~Jan 3rd is a day off of school~they do not resume school on that day

    There’s already been a study done for middle class in CPS and it isn’t 1-4% ~ it’s much higher. I’ll take my kids out anytime I want for them to ski. We won’t be bound by a schedule that has hardly has time off between Feb & Spring break. Obviously CPS is 2 big 2 be a one-size-fits all and should be broken into districts. What works in one neighborhood may not work in another.

  • 95. DZV  |  January 21, 2013 at 7:57 pm

    @ Hyde Park Mom
    I don’t think classes resume on January 3rd of next year, they just don’t count weekends as student attendence. The kids go back to school on the 6th.

  • 96. cpsobsessed  |  January 21, 2013 at 7:57 pm

    What’s the objection to walgreens getting kids to school the first week? (Assuming this were to happen.).

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 97. SoxSideIrish4  |  January 21, 2013 at 7:59 pm

    #96~CPSO, if that were to happen, would that be for every school?

  • 98. cpsobsessed  |  January 21, 2013 at 8:02 pm

    Certainly wouldn’t make sense for all schools. I’d say those with the lowest overall attendance? But someone would raise a stink if their school didn’t get them.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 99. CarolA  |  January 21, 2013 at 8:09 pm

    Let’s not get into a debate over who has a job that’s harder or more time consuming than another. I’ll tell you what…I was just at Elston Ave to get a new pic for my license and you couldn’t pay me enough to be the guy who takes the pictures. People can be crazy. I had to laugh. I gave him kudos!

  • 100. cpsobsessed  |  January 21, 2013 at 8:11 pm

    Carol, I just got a license and I thought “what an awesome cushy job that would be” ! Lol. I must have been there at a sane time.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 101. DZV  |  January 21, 2013 at 8:12 pm

    Casey,
    Your presence here is interesting. Yes, sometimes teachers are not only teachers: they are parents, social workers, mediators, and a whole large list of other things. Working with children is draining, but rewarding.
    When I decided to become a teacher, I did not also decide to take a vow of poverty. I did not work hard on my bachelor’s degree or master’s degree to live poor, let alone not be able to payback my schooling debt.
    As this has been hashed and rehashed over and over again: we don’t get paid during the summer, we only get two weeks vacation, and yes we do have holidays off. Would it make you happier to see us making 25,000 a year? I can tell you, I would probably put little effort into educating your children since I’d be working a second job to make ends meet.

    @Sox
    Kudos to YOU! I agree. Take your children on vacation! Childhood goes by too quickly and memories of being a family mean a lot. Missed school will NEVER make up for that time. Our children are being forced to become adults earlier: Maybe we should make school eight hours a day, with only two weeks off?? Maybe our children should bring more work home, stuff they don’t finish at school, like a job??? It’s sad that we’re taking our children’s childhoods away.
    As a teacher, I have no beef with parents pulling their children out to go on vacation. Trust me, I’ll be taking a few PDs off to be with my kids GUILT-FREE this school year and next year also.

  • 102. Another CPS parent  |  January 21, 2013 at 8:48 pm

    To each his own. Yes, same thing once they start calling in sick for work. The tone is set early. There are plenty of legitimate days off.

    Is it part of the “burn out” when teachers endorse this practice?

  • 103. DZV  |  January 21, 2013 at 9:46 pm

    I don’t get what you mean by endorsing what kind of practice. I have plenty of friends who are professionals in all sorts of fields. They leave work early to go to the doctor, to take care of a sick child, or take care of business, I don’t have that luxury (hard to find a sub for a half day, let alone any subs this year). There are days that my friends take off to play catch up around the house or just to take a mental health kind of day.
    I’m sure your doctor has put off a surgery or two to play golf or your dentist has had to cancel appointments to take care of a sick child also.
    Yes, there are legitimate days off, but there are also times where family or personal needs take precedence. I can’t give my all to my students if I feel like I’m neglecting my own children.
    I don’t take vacations during the school year, I even planned my wedding around a long weekend and only took three days off from work.
    If a family can only take a vacation when school is in, or if the parent feels they need quality time and don’t want their child to burn out, I’m for it. There’s nothing wrong with that.

  • 104. SutherlandParent  |  January 21, 2013 at 10:23 pm

    @91, CPS Parent, I completely agree with you about the negative impact of poverty on students. And I don’t question that most of the kids in CPS are very poor or have a low income. I also agree that CPS should focus policy on combating the effects of poverty–but that means we have to know the true income levels of students.

    When you say “the vast, vast majority” of students in CPS come from homes that are low/poverty/barely clinging to the middle class, I would just like to know where you are getting that.

    Casey T may be right that the IG has an agenda or a bias–I don’t know. But I believe CPS has a very strong incentive through Title I funding to keep those free and reduced lunch rates high, combined with an inability to collect and parse the most basic data and use it strategically.

    To quote CarolA way back @23: “We never said the data was accurate, just that there was a lot of it! LOL”

  • 105. Another CPS parent  |  January 21, 2013 at 10:36 pm

    “As a teacher, I have no beef with parents pulling their children out to go on vacation.”

    “I don’t get what you mean by endorsing what kind of practice.”

    103 – parents pulling their kids out of school when it’s not necessary.

  • 106. Casey T  |  January 22, 2013 at 1:11 am

    I knew that they didn’t care, but for a teacher to come out on public forum and admit that its ok to take a kid out of school for some time on the slopes or to visit the Mouse-Ears is quite an indictment and gives us a look into the low level of expectations many teachers have for our students.
    That they would, themselves take time off for that instead of being in the class room indicates they should have probably found a line of work where their daily attendance is not so important. Or are teachers just like any other government worker ?

  • 107. Practical Mama  |  January 22, 2013 at 5:17 am

    After all these discussions, my point will sound petty. We have a very short summer in Chicago. Even though it is one week, just when the weather is almost perfect for kids to play outside, they have to go back indoors (Aug 26). I think it feels more like summer at the end of August than the first weeks of June. Children need enough time to play outdoors, stretch their limbs and strengthen their muscles, absorb some vit. D during the summer before getting back to their classes for another 9 months.

  • 108. Casey T  |  January 22, 2013 at 7:14 am

    The comments about kids missing out on play time and vacation seems to be a contridiction of desires. We want litle johnnie to compete on the world stage, academically, yet are not willing to do and commit to what is necessary and is being done by other ethic groups who have surpassed the majority of us.

    Look at the academic success of the Asian (“Tiger Mom”). They even sacrifice P.E. classes to get more classroom time and extracurricular activies are those that expand the mind, such as violin an piano lessons.
    Yet we feel our little angels are not complete without a three day weekend of Alpine skiing.

  • 109. SoxSideIrish4  |  January 22, 2013 at 8:39 am

    #107~Practical Mama~you’re point doesn’t sound petty~I feel the same~that’s one week we take full advantage of the suburban kids being back in class!

    #108~Casey~I don’t know what you’re talking abt. My kids take private violin and piano, play sports, are on academic teams and charitable clubs AND maintain a very good gpa. But when they need a mental health day bc the school district doesn’t have the foresight to realize kids need a break between Feb & Spring break, that’s when a parent’s right comes into the equation~and I will do what I think is best bc that’s my right.

    As for the other groups passing us by~you have a limited scope~Asian/Findland~do not have more instruction time than US kids. It’s been documented. They may be at the school longer, but not for instruction time~Probably the ancillary subjects I PAY for my kids.

  • 110. Southside Daddi-o  |  January 22, 2013 at 9:01 am

    @103 Some parents do a ton of academic enrichment (tutoring, after-school classes, visits to museums), some don’t. So if a parent takes their kids to Orlando for a week and they continue to get good marks, who cares what you think?

    @108 LOL Casey T is a troll.

  • 111. reason909  |  January 22, 2013 at 9:06 am

    108 – Casey, I agree with your statements. CPS parents — you can’t have it all your way. The kids belong in school at a certain date, no matter the weather. They need to attend and focus every attendance day, unless they are sick. Seriously, you people who need to control every aspect, consider home schooling.

  • 112. WRP Mom  |  January 22, 2013 at 9:09 am

    I personally would not keep my child out of school unless she was sick. Never had her take a “mental health” day. It’s not the way I was brought up. If she’s not in school, she’s missing stuff.

  • 113. DarrylJD  |  January 22, 2013 at 9:33 am

    110 – troll because he has a different opinion ?
    OK.

  • 114. DarrylJD  |  January 22, 2013 at 9:34 am

    @110 – I guess if you were a coach of a team, you would be fine with a player taking a week off of practice as long as he produced in the game ?

  • 115. moyface@msn.com  |  January 22, 2013 at 9:36 am

    Children learn from their parents and if the parents don’t think school is important (pull them out for vacation), then the kids won’t either. Summer is long enough for kids and it is proven that they lose academic ground and the first month back to school is reviewing. Yes, it is your right to pull them out of school. Don’t complain when they don’t think school is important or if they don’t get into your choice of a top school. For the teachers, they have to try to get the child who missed a week of classes caught up – that’s not fair either.

  • 116. moyface@msn.com  |  January 22, 2013 at 9:39 am

    #109. Maybe your kids need a mental health break because you have signed them up for so many things. Don’t they have Sat and Sun for mental health breaks all year long? There are great weekend getaways and fun things to do. Perhaps, it may be your need for a mental health break and not the kids.

  • 117. HS Mom  |  January 22, 2013 at 9:46 am

    WRP Mom – I’m with you. There is no way my parents would have ever “called us in”. It is against the rules. For a teacher to say that it’s “OK ” is not justifiable. Teachers should enforce the rules – whether they agree or not.

    Vacations are unexcused absences. An unexcused absence will mean that a child takes a 0 for any quizzes, tests or homework they miss. A number of absences has other consequences. Not to mention the instruction that is missed. Option B – a parent has to call in the absence (from the water park or ski resort) every day and send a note. This would involve lying. Not something I want to teach my kid.

  • 118. Mayfair Dad  |  January 22, 2013 at 9:56 am

    @ Casey – nice job stirring the pot.

    The schedule will not please everyone, but we are OK with it. Expect alot of bellyaching re: the lack of air conditioning in August – maybe CPS will relax the dress code to allow students to wear shorts and flip flops? As a rule we never pull our kids out of school for vacation, but I suppose if there was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to accompany Mayfair Dad on a conference in Paris, we might make an exception. A very rare exception. Kids belong in school.

  • 119. Casey T  |  January 22, 2013 at 9:56 am

    I agree with HS Mom and WRP Mom….the kid that thinks its o.k. to “decompress” from school during scheduled school time will grow up with the same habits on the job – and then wonder why they did not get a promotion.

    Furthermore, attendance is one of the criteria for admittance to selective enrollment high schools, I thought. How many parents will cry to holy heaven if their darling misses out on Payton, Young or Northside because they spent a week with the Mouse in Florida ?

    This all goes to show that for many, CPS is basically a taxpayer provided babysiting service with the following priorities:
    1. Provide well paying jobs that it is practically impossible to get fired from.
    2. Baby sitting service so that people can go to work (but given the stats of the high number of poor families in CPS, may have to re-think that one)
    3. A pinstripe patronage haven of over $1,000,000,000 for connected companies to get contracts for goods and services
    4. Educating the next generation (if educating the kids were a high priority, you would see more elected officials, teachers and administrators have their kids in CPS schools)

    Think I am wrong – then why is the highest paid person in most school buildings not the educational leader (the principal), but instead the union member Building engineer ?

  • 120. anonymous  |  January 22, 2013 at 9:57 am

    Y’know, I’d more inclined to adhere to the letter of the school schedule if the school itself took education seriously. Two years ago, after the February blizzard, CPS urged us to get the kids back to school on Friday (after being off the previous three days). Being raised myself to ‘follow the rules,’ I drove in hazardous conditions to get them there. I was not happy to learn that DC’s 6th grade teacher took education so seriously that he showed the class “Ferris Bueller” that day. That is, he ran the movie until he discovered that the language in the movie was harsher than he remembered. This was not the first time something like this happened. When the school system begins to take my kids’ time in school more seriously, perhaps then I’ll take it a little more seriously, too.

  • 121. withinReason  |  January 22, 2013 at 9:57 am

    117. Yes, that is the responsible way to look at this. We teach our kids to follow the rules, and those rules apply to all. Thanks.

  • 122. Casey T  |  January 22, 2013 at 10:00 am

    @Mayfair – didn’t know this was supposed to be the Saturday evening sewing circle. Forgive me for not leading with a verse of Kum-by-yah.

    I might give a slight exception for something with an educational/historical component, with school pre-approval, such as attending an event surrounding the Presidential Inauguration in DC.

  • 123. Paul  |  January 22, 2013 at 10:15 am

    @64 cpsobsessed. I’m pretty sure CPS did hold focus groups on the new calendar. One of the CPS parents who attended one of the meetings posted her notes on the Raise Your Hand facebook page and it sounds exactly like what suggested. “…put this final version in front of a couple focus groups that contain parents, admin, and teachers before finalizing it to make small tweaks.”

  • 124. SutherlandParent  |  January 22, 2013 at 10:24 am

    In terms of calendar, hours of the school day, etc., someone above mentioned Finland. There was a fascinating article in the New Yorker in December where the author, Louis Menand, looked at the top two performing nations in the world when it comes to educational outcomes–Finland and S. Korea. According to the author, in Finland students “are assigned virtually no homework; they don’t start school until age seven; and the school day is short…The No. 2 country in the world, on the other hand, is South Korea, whose schools are notorious for their backbreaking rigidity…

    …Yet both systems are successful, and the reason is that Finnish schools are doing what Finns want them to do, which is to bring everyone up to the same level and instill a commitment to equality, and South Korean schools are doing what South Koreans want, which is to enable hard workers to get ahead.”

    So maybe we should figure out what we want our schools to do first, and then view the calendar through that lens? But we’re Americans, and I imagin we want both equality and to enable hard workers to get ahead? 🙂

    http://www.newyorker.com/talk/comment/2012/12/17/121217taco_talk_menand

  • 125. teacher in Englewood  |  January 22, 2013 at 10:27 am

    As I read Casey T’s comment this morning questioning the commitment of teachers and parents I instantly knew his/her purpose… to bait us, the readers of this blog and incite anger. It was an obvious attack method – one that pits good people against each other.

    As intelligent, well spoken adults we are all certainly entitled to our opinions. My opinion is no more important nor “correct” than the next. One can be educated and still be ignorant.

    This blog has always been one for knowledge and one where others’ opinions can be aired so that we can come together to either “agree to disagree” or “open our eyes to see a new perspective.” I am choosing to ignore ignorance… especially educated ignorance.

  • 126. withinReason  |  January 22, 2013 at 10:31 am

    125 – i thought this blog for was opinions.

  • 127. withinReason  |  January 22, 2013 at 10:32 am

    125 — (sorry for the typo) i thought this was an opinion blog.

  • 128. anon  |  January 22, 2013 at 10:35 am

    Ignorance is believing that if you can afford to go skiing and are excelling in school, it’s OK to take a mental health day. But the majority that are not excelling and can’t afford ski trips and spend the day with video games are truants.

  • 129. anonymous  |  January 22, 2013 at 10:45 am

    This is a regular track schedule starting earlier. The survey slanted it’s questions to obtain the results CPS wanted. Track E is the most civilized and pleasant calendar. There is plenty of childcare available as well. It is a myth that there isn’t and you can travel for MUCH LESS than during peak holiday times which is when CPS has us all off. CPS is a monster that must be destroyed.

  • 130. Casey T  |  January 22, 2013 at 10:47 am

    The comments of the “Teacher in Englewood” speaks volumes about the lack of performance of the schools in that part of town. Heaven help the child who has an extended school day in your classroom – and thank God, as a resident of Englewood, my children tested out of having to attend school in here.

  • 131. SoxSideIrish4  |  January 22, 2013 at 11:05 am

    #125~Teacher in Engelwood~I agree w/you.

    #129~Anonymous~true, the survey was poorly designed and slanted for track R. I have to say, I like it except for starting b4 Labor Day~I really don’t know how many kids will show up. But I love, love the 3 day Thanksgiving Day Holiday!

  • 132. Inchicago  |  January 22, 2013 at 11:07 am

    For those of you asking why plan a Europe trip in advance, it is a difference of $3000 vs $5200 for a family of four to fly back. Good luck doing a last minute booking, that will cost you upwards of $7000. And we have to do it every year. Know why? Because our kids’ grandparents live there and can’t come over here. To be a strong family, we feel that our kids have to spend time with their grandparents, and their grandparents love to spend time with their grandkids. Two weeks in 12 months is not enough, but that’s the best we can do. Now, wouldn’t you do the same thing if you were on a fixed income and did not want to pay almost double?

  • 133. Mayfair Dad  |  January 22, 2013 at 11:09 am

    @ 122. Casey, take deep breath. I was agreeing with you. Why do you assume “stirring the pot” was meant as a dig? You might want to dial down the snark just a tad, though, if you want people to engage with you on this board. Plenty of anti-CTU sentiment among the regulars here.

  • 134. Southside Daddi-o  |  January 22, 2013 at 11:09 am

    @125 Yeah, sums it up. Casey’s a troll, try not to feed him.

  • 135. SoxSideIrish4  |  January 22, 2013 at 11:17 am

    #132~Inchicago~I completely understand. You have to do what’s best for your family.

    #134~SSD-0~yeah, Casey is prolly Chris/Juan…just a troll.

  • 136. teacher in Englewood  |  January 22, 2013 at 11:19 am

    Which was also my point, Mayfair Dad and Southside Daddi-o. Ignorance also makes assumptions. My Englewood school and classroom performs far better than other areas around the city. Sad that we assume that because of WHERE I teach my students are incapable. But I have “fed him.” I’m through.

  • 137. Question67+68  |  January 22, 2013 at 11:21 am

    134 – 135 Why is someone a troll just because you disagree with them? Thought this was an open, opinion blog.

  • 138. Casey T  |  January 22, 2013 at 11:26 am

    I always find it interesting on message boards that people feel they have to proclaim from the rooftops that they are ignoring someone, while by the very act, they are doing the opposite. In Pavlovian fashion, they will continue to kneejerk respond, like a moth to the flame – with all the sanctimony as exhibited by the August (and annonymous) molder of young minds in Englewood – who claims unverifiable academic success in her classroom.

  • 139. Casey T  |  January 22, 2013 at 11:30 am

    137 – It is same Mau-Mau tactic that CTU and its henchpeople use – straight from their playbook.

    134 – 135: Sorry, did’nt know I stumbled into a circle-jerk. Groupthink and conformity rules the day here ?

  • 140. SoxSideIrish4  |  January 22, 2013 at 11:35 am

    Love, the 3day break for Thanksgiving~makes it so much easier for traveling.

  • 141. Mom A  |  January 22, 2013 at 12:07 pm

    Casey T, please keep posting. Don’t let the resident bullies shut you up.

  • 142. RL Julia  |  January 22, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    I feel like a total slacker for having no strong opinion about the new calendar. I’d just like them to commit to a calendar sooner rather than later.

    Even though I thought the poorly written survey pandered to those households with the internet and interested parents, I thought it was a nice gesture. It certainly the first time someone at CPS has asked me for my opinion about something that actually effects me in the ten years I’ve had kids at there.

    As for the rest of it? Well nothing in this life is guranteed and CPS is no exception to that rule.

  • 143. Casey T  |  January 22, 2013 at 12:18 pm

    141 – it would take more than some wanna-beInternet tough guys or psuedo-intellectual CPS/CTU knuckle draggers to bully me. I am born, raised and still live in Englewood (refused to be run out of my community or go chasing greener pastures even though I can well financially afford to do otherwise).

  • 144. SoxSideIrish4  |  January 22, 2013 at 12:18 pm

    #124~RLJulia~I think BOE is voting on the calendar 2moro.

    I like that the calendar was made available this soon~hopefully, after it’s accepted since BOE is just a rubberstamp, they need to amend it down the road. They couldn’t even get the Thanksgiving Day holiday correct on the first calendar.

  • 145. SoxSideIrish4  |  January 22, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    *won’t need to amend

  • 146. cpsobsessed  |  January 22, 2013 at 12:33 pm

    @paul – thanks. I guess I thought those were held before this final version but I could be wrong…

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 147. Southside Daddi-o  |  January 22, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    @141 Hey, that’s great. TYSM for letting us know.

    Re: Calendar: It’s aggravating, because CPS seems to be like the Wile E. Coyote of calendars. First CPS starts after Labor Day. Wait, that didn’t work — let’s start it BEFORE Labor Day. We need Track E. No, wait, didn’t work, let’s get everyone back on the same schedule. It’d be nice if there was one schedule that you could rely on — hasn’t happened yet.

  • 148. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  January 22, 2013 at 12:36 pm

    Now I realize why so much of my child’s school-day and homework is filled with insipid two-paragraph “reading comprehension” multiple choice questions — it’s because so many adults can’t comprehend paragraph-length statements. How a day off for a burned-out kid turns into an Alpine vacation is beyond me.

    There’s a massive difference between an extra day off once a quarter and serial absences. It is the serially absent students that perform poorly and contribute to low average daily attendance; if someone doesn’t know this or can’t figure it out, then all those days attending school diligently did not matter in the end. If it were true that a day off had damaging effects, then children who were sick and missed three days of school for the year would have horrid performance. They don’t.

    CPS cares about attendance so much because state aid is linked to average daily attendance.

    As for job success, unless you’re working a time-clock job, in the real world, no one gives a shit whether you were at the office for 6 hours or 10 hours. They care whether the work is done well and done on schedule. That you see someone golfing on Thursday afternoons doesn’t mean that they aren’t working 55-hour weeks. That I see someone at his desk from 8-6 doesn’t tell me he’s getting his work done.

    @120: “When the school system begins to take my kids’ time in school more seriously, perhaps then I’ll take it a little more seriously, too.”

    Amen. I’m at a level-one school, and the workbooks used for homework are awful. They questions are written illogically because the writers don’t want to use the words “add” or “divide.” Instead, they write sentences that give misleading instructions. Answered literally, the correct answer is often absent: a picture of two plates, with three apples on each plate, and the question “How many apples are on both plates?” The answer they want is 6, but the question can be correctly answered as 3 (both plates have 3 apples on them) or 0 (it is impossible for apples to be on both plates simultaneously). Had they said “add the number of apples on the plates” then 6 would be correct.

  • 149. cpsobsessed  |  January 22, 2013 at 12:48 pm

    For the record, this is an *opinion* blog in the loose sense of the word. I don’t think anyone reads my postings because they’re pure opinion though. I aim to combine my opinions with rationale. It may be data or it may be observations, but you’ll notice that I never make big logic leaps (slipper slopes, using one observation of something to conclude that “all teachers must be xyz,” etc.) Opinion is only worth debating when there is something to back it up. Otherwise, it’s not really debatable, you know?

    For me personally (whether here, Facebook, or other message boards) inflammatory comments are even more vital for needing rationale or backup, otherwise I just see their purpose as intending to provoke. Sometimes I’m in the mood to respond to that type of post because arguing with strangers can be fun and can actually help me think through my beliefs. Over the years I’ve learned to tune it out (although it can be entertaining to read) because it ends up feeling like banging your head against the wall. It happens on every message board I’ve been on, no matter what the topic.

    In conclusion (this is how my son ended every paper in 3rd grade): Posts that are stating an opinion should include some kind of rational or logic that supports that opinion. This makes it more interesting for the blog readers and more likely to spur interesting debate. And not make you sound like a troll.

  • 150. SutherlandParent  |  January 22, 2013 at 12:49 pm

    @148, always appreciate your common sense comments. And thanks for the clarification @93 on the data the IG used to come up with the estimate that the number of CPS students who actually qualify for free/reduced lunches is closer to 67%. I should have looked it up again before posting @89.

  • 151. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  January 22, 2013 at 12:53 pm

    Think I am wrong – then why is the highest paid person in most school buildings not the educational leader (the principal), but instead the union member Building engineer ?

    You’re wrong. But you can convince me otherwise. Here are the position rosters with school, title, and salary:
    http://cps.edu/About_CPS/Financial_information/Pages/EmployeePositionFiles.aspx

    Cite one school in which the principal makes less than the engineer.
    Just one.

  • 152. Casey T  |  January 22, 2013 at 12:58 pm

    It seems like the Building Engineer has more power because on several occassions, for LSC meetings, he had say so on how long we could be in the building and what days we could be there.

  • 153. Casey T  |  January 22, 2013 at 1:01 pm

    151- linking a 669 page, unsorted document only obsfucates the point.

  • 154. SoxSideIrish4  |  January 22, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    #151~CB~thanks for posting that link~interesting read so far!

  • 155. Hyde Park Mom  |  January 22, 2013 at 1:09 pm

    I don’t think Casey is a troll,why,because she has strong opinions? and Defends them well? Anyway,I wanted to ask you,Casey,if you have kidS in CPS?You said you lived in Englewood,where good schools are hard to find.You’d be a good example of a parent helping their kids soar above their environment if so.Just curious,no malevolent intent.

  • 156. SoxSideIrish4  |  January 22, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    #153~you are prolly looking for the word ‘obfuscate’.

  • 157. Casey T  |  January 22, 2013 at 1:18 pm

    -155: the group think here is endemic.
    However, yes, I’m a parent, who’s married to a wonderful spouse and are raising two children in the neighborhood of my birth. It CAN be done, with a lot of work and making choices that are not popular:
    – not having children before marriage
    – having dinner together every night
    -having books and magazines in the home
    – not having a TV in every room and certainly not one in their bedroom
    -knowing the teachers by name and being that parent that the people roll their eyes and say, “here they come”

    and yes, unfortunately, my children cannot attend my old school, but thank goodness for selective enrollment, which allows them to attend a great CPS school.

  • 158. RL Julia  |  January 22, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    Last time I checked, the building engineer was (sort of) hired by and reported to the principal. If you had to be out of the building at a certain time it might have been because the principal didn’t want to or couldn’t afford to pay the engineer the required overtime. Mostly likely, the principal wanted to hold LSC meeting at dates and times the engineer was scheduled to be there anyway not that he/she had their hands tied to the building engineers schedule.

  • 159. Casey T  |  January 22, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    -153 – did’nt know this was a spelling bee. maybe I should type in “dese’ and ‘dems’ and ‘dose’ to appeal to your S.Side Irish heritage ?

  • 160. Casey T  |  January 22, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    – 158 – so a school function decision like an LSC meeting is at the mercy of the high paid engineer – who is sitting in the basement checking dials and motherboards for the building systems ?

    Sounds like the tail wagging the dog.

  • 161. another CPS mom  |  January 22, 2013 at 1:33 pm

    Casey T – Why so nasty, dude/dudette?

  • 162. SoxSideIrish4  |  January 22, 2013 at 1:48 pm

    #153 & #158~Casey, yes that would be much easier for me to understand and plz throw in a few ‘das’ like ‘da Bears’. As for any school function, such as LSC meeting, our principal has the final word, but is very accommodating abt allowing functions when the parents/students want.

  • 163. Casey T  |  January 22, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    Another CPS Mom – Because the focus, instead of being on the children, is toward all sorts of ancillary (sp? for the spell check police) things. Put it back on the children and not trips to Europe, your long weekends, etc.

  • 164. SoxSideIrish4  |  January 22, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    My focus is ALWAYS on my kids!

  • 165. Paul  |  January 22, 2013 at 2:04 pm

    @146 cpsobsessed. Yes. From what I can tell, the version of the calendar discussed at those focus groups was this final version.

    I suppose CPS could have another round of focus groups, but that could go on forever. From what I can tell, they developed a calendar after they received input through the survey and then held focus groups to discuss it and consider making tweaks.

    It’s not the calendar I would have developed, and a better process would include a less biased scientific survey and perhaps more transparency with the data. But, it looks like they did let everyone know they were changing the calendar, solicited everybody’s opinion, designed a survey based on the input, and put together focus groups of parents, teachers, and administrators to consider tweaking it.

  • 166. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  January 22, 2013 at 2:50 pm

    @165 I’m unclear on how they organized the focus groups. I was asked to attend one less than 48 hours before it was to be held. It seemed like an open-invite process, which struck me as odd. Usually, you want a semi-representative focus group (i.e., if most parents are both working spouses, you don’t want a group that is mostly one stay-at-home spouse). I don’t know if they screened for the groups; no one asked me. I was told that there were 12 slots open less than 48 hours before the group met.

    Even among parents who are OK with the 26 Aug. start, I’ve never heard one that was happy with the 3rd week of April break. They wanted one sooner.

    The RYH notes were not from a focus group but from an 11 Jan. CPS-CTU meeting. The focus group I was told about was on 18 Dec.

  • 167. HS Mom  |  January 22, 2013 at 3:32 pm

    Christopher – The problem with taking “an extra day off once a quarter” or extended weekend trips is that it unfairly awards additional days off to people who break the rules. It’s the same as fudging lunch forms or lying about your address. You benefit while those that play by the rules don’t.

    The alarm goes off – it’s time for school or work at our house.

    Casey – 157 – very admirable. Staying the course can make a difference, if to no one else at least yourself. It’s good to know your opinion.

  • 168. cpsobsessed  |  January 22, 2013 at 3:46 pm

    How is taking a day off school “awarding” someone? Not sure I’m getting the comparison to lying on a lunch form for free lunch. What is the person/family gaining from doing so? It sounded more that people thought the kids were being put at a disadvantage due to missing school…
    What is the family unfairly gaining?

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 169. HS Mom  |  January 22, 2013 at 3:58 pm

    168 True. In my book it’s a loss. Extra impromptu vacation day – gain or loss? It’s a gain if you lie and get to make up the work with no penalty. A loss if you take the hit on attendance and grades but determine the time off is worth it…..I guess. Self administered holidays for some and not others, doesn’t seem fair to me.

  • 170. SoxSideIrish4  |  January 22, 2013 at 4:18 pm

    #169~HS Mom~true~I understand what you are saying. I see it as a win-win/gain-gain for our family. Parents have to do what’s best for their families and what abt Rahm? He takes his kids out of school~they aren’t penalized.

  • 171. Casey T  |  January 22, 2013 at 4:24 pm

    Rahm pays (or is billed) – $75,000 per year in tuiton at Lab School.
    And I am sure you are not comparing a Lab School education to that of one at CPS.

  • 172. amen!  |  January 22, 2013 at 4:27 pm

    171 yep

  • 173. RL Julia  |  January 22, 2013 at 4:30 pm

    @160 – Casey. No. The time of an LSC meeting is determined by the prinicipal and whatever the principal choses – ONE determining factor is the presence of the engineer but ultimately the engineers schedule is at the descrepancy of the principcal. I NEVER said otherwise – the same way that LSC meeting also cannot be held while the teachers on the LSC are teaching or when all the parents are not available. Many schools have more than one engineer who can servce this function as well so I don’t really understand what your point is – except that you don’t seem to like unionized engineers at CPS because you think that they somehow rule the world and make more money than anyone and don’t do anything – which is your opinion.

  • 174. tuesday9  |  January 22, 2013 at 4:51 pm

    http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/17735755-418/jones-prep-to-double-number-of-students.html

    check this out re Jones

  • 175. SoxSideIrish4  |  January 22, 2013 at 5:15 pm

    #171~What does it matter if he pays $100,000? A boy down the street goes to Lab that my son is friends w/and he would have gone to SEHS had he gotten into it. It doesn’t matter how much someone pays~if they take their kids out of school, they take their kids out of school.

  • 176. SoxSideIrish4  |  January 22, 2013 at 5:29 pm

    #174~Tuesday9~Part of me likes this option for SEHS for more kids and the other part wishes that area had a neighborhood school bc they need it.

  • 177. Gobemouche  |  January 22, 2013 at 5:46 pm

    Thanks for the link, tuesdy9. That’s big news about Jones.

    I found this part to be especially interesting,

    ““In tough budgets, we’re gonna continue to give parents and their children high-quality educational choice. And expanding Jones and the selective enrollment family [makes] more seats available for those kids. So, rather than getting a rejection letter, they get an acceptance letter.”

  • 178. Traymur  |  January 22, 2013 at 6:02 pm

    Ok so the lesson learned – do not plan vacations until the calendar is concrete in your hand. I personally think the schedule is great – very traditional and aligned with other districts and schools. This coming from a parent and a teacher.

  • 179. AC IB mom  |  January 22, 2013 at 6:15 pm

    @174 That is really interesting about Jones. Wonder what that will do to cut off scores across the board! More spots better chances!

  • 180. cps alum  |  January 22, 2013 at 6:17 pm

    The cps attendance policy for absences is on the link below.

    http://policy.cps.k12.il.us/documents/703.1.pdf

    I’m not in CPS yet until next year, but I really resent that CPS defines which “deaths” are important and which are not. Why should they decide which of my relatives are “close” enough to warrant an absence to attend a funeral.

    It is obvious why they choose not to use the word cousin in the definition of immediate family (I suppose it is too vague), but the death of one of my cousins (not children, but adult cousins) would be very traumatic to my child. I am sure this is true of many families.

  • 181. cpsobsessed  |  January 22, 2013 at 6:42 pm

    I don’t understand the old/new building thing. So Jones will operate as an SEHS at 2 locations?

    “Ignoring the wishes of many South Loop parents and their alderman, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced Tuesday that the old Jones College Prep High School building will not be repurposed for a neighborhood school but instead will double the number of students allowed to test in.”

  • 182. anonymouse teacher  |  January 22, 2013 at 6:46 pm

    Interesting that as soon as one troll-ish poster shows up, there are suddenly a half a dozen also new posters, agreeing with him/her. My guess? Casey is also several other posters under different names.
    One can disagree politely while still making strong points. And re: school engineers? You can have a school without an administration and the school can function for a few weeks. Take away the engineers, the custodians and the clerks and the school will collapse in less than a day.

  • 183. CarolA  |  January 22, 2013 at 7:19 pm

    anonymouse: You are so right about who a school can and cannot function with. Thank goodness for the engineer, custodians and clerks. When administration is out, life goes on as usual. No major decisions can be made, but unless it’s life or death, it can wait. If the heat isn’t working right on a day like today….YIKES!

  • 184. Gobemouche  |  January 22, 2013 at 7:29 pm

    181- CPSO – Yeah, I don’t really get what is going on either. So…there will be 2 buildings that are 1 SEHS, with 1700 students…but! Don’t forget about the 300 “neighborhood” students that can apply this year for next fall. Kinda odd.

  • 185. HS Mom  |  January 22, 2013 at 7:30 pm

    @182 – either that or people finally felt like they could speak out. I see lots of regulars and people that don’t want to be recognized. I think its good to get different opinions from all over the city. Everyone has their own style.

    Great news on Jones! The location and easy access really call for a citywide program.

  • 186. Gobemouche  |  January 22, 2013 at 7:35 pm

    The Jones thing. Thinking about this article more – isn’t it odd that CPS was going to spend $10 million dollars to tear it down
    (10 freaking million dollars!!!), but then when the neighborhood thought it was good enough to keep as a school, suddenly CPS is all…Yeah, why were we gonna tear it down? Let’s keep it!!

    Just goes to show you, parents – Don’t give CPS any bright ideas 😉

    Not that I think this is a bad thing, its just kinda funny (but not in a laughing way).

  • 187. anonymouse teacher  |  January 22, 2013 at 7:40 pm

    I wonder with Jones if they’ll make one building the 9th/10th grade building and the other the 11th/12th.

  • 188. Gobemouche  |  January 22, 2013 at 7:44 pm

    From ABC:

    “He [Rahm] said the current building will become a part of a new Jones Prep campus.”

    “The high school will add 500 selective enrollment seats over the next four years. By 2016, it will enroll 1,700 students.”

    http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=news/local&id=8964253

  • 189. HS Mom  |  January 22, 2013 at 7:46 pm

    @186 The decision was never made to tear it down. It was just one of the options discussed along with an academic center, gifted school, neighborhood high school. They will also need to put money into new roof and other improvements. All these things were weighed.

  • 190. cpsobsessed  |  January 22, 2013 at 7:48 pm

    Well I think that’s fantastic. Let’s see who the first person on here is who has an issue with it since we know CPS can never please everyone 🙂

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 191. Casey T  |  January 22, 2013 at 7:55 pm

    182 – Good to see that Orwell’s “Ministry of Truth” still lives:

    Troll = someone I disagree with
    Made up posters = anyone who agrees with the “troll”

  • 192. Gobemouche  |  January 22, 2013 at 7:56 pm

    I’m happy about it, too, CPSO.

    Here’s an interesting article, with a brief history of Jones. It does not include today’s development. But here’s a fun fact from the article:

    “CPS then pumped about $50 million into fixing up the old Jones school, and the kids returned in the fall of 2002.”

    Keeping up with the Jones High School Plans
    http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/jones-college-prep-future-rahm-emanuel-plans/Content?oid=8425462

  • 193. Mom A  |  January 22, 2013 at 7:58 pm

    Give it a rest and let Casey talk without your accusations. No, I’m not a sock puppet. I think that so many of you on here are bullies to those with differing ideas.

  • 194. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  January 22, 2013 at 8:09 pm

    I am sure you are not comparing a Lab School education to that of one at CPS.

    Heavens to Betsy, no! The Lab School has no accountability. There’s are only four normed, standardized tests given in the entire K-8 period.

    Fortunately, in CPS we have multiple, normed, standardized tests (not that you can see what was on them; they are “secure”) every year from K-8. In fact, some schools have the equivalent of an entire week of instructional time just taking the tests themselves.

    So we have accountability. That’s why our schools are so much better than the Lab school!

  • 195. HSObsessed  |  January 22, 2013 at 8:24 pm

    Re: the Jones news: This makes way more sense than making the old Jones building a new neighborhood HS, which would never have attracted the numbers of kids they were hoping it would. The old Jones building held about 900 kids, 225 per class. The new Jones building will hold 1200 kids total, which was going to be 300 kids total per class, with only 225 still admitted via the SE process and 75 admitted via the new CTE/pre-law/pre-engineering track, which had a neighborhood preference (ill-defined one, might I add). Now, by using both buildings, the new total capacity is actually 2100 kids, but I believe their plan is to have 1700 enrolled through the SE process and 300 through the CTE process. So, it ups the number of seats from 225 to 425 available citywide for the SE program, and I think that starts this year. (Good news for current 8th graders!)

  • 196. Danaidh  |  January 22, 2013 at 8:26 pm

    Re: #2/CarolA writes “I did notice that each school will have 3 flexible days for professional development. That could be a problem for parents with students at different schools since each school gets to pick its own days off (or so it seems).”

    This calendar provides for 178 days of student attendance. Schools don’t get to cancel classes for three days of flexible professional development.

    The proposed calendar marks August 19th and 20th and June 12th as flex days (student non-attendance), but they can be moved if the principal wishes to do so. Ostensibly, a principal could move the flex days to any three days within summer hiatus, consecutive or not. (I wonder if it’s even possible to schedule them on the nonsalaried days during the school year–the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the week following Christmas vacation.)

    Thus, it shouldn’t affect parents and students at all, unless the parent also happens to be a teacher.

    It is of more concern to teachers and staff. I usually plan my summer travel and coursework during the spring, so I’d like to see a requirement that each school announce its flex days no later than Spring Break.

  • 197. SoxSideIrish4  |  January 22, 2013 at 8:32 pm

    #195~HSO~Gosh, I know some families who really wanted Jones to become neighborhood, but I’m glad it’s becoming a SEHS that seats more students.

  • 198. HSObsessed  |  January 22, 2013 at 8:32 pm

    Here’s the press release from CPS. It’s interesting they say they got 18,000 apps for 3,000 SEHS spots. They also say that they got 49 applications for every Jones spot. So I assume they mean that 11,000 of the 18,000 SEHS applications contained Jones as one of their six ranked schools.

    http://www.cps.edu/News/Press_releases/Pages/1_22_2013_PR1.aspx

  • 199. cpsobsessed  |  January 22, 2013 at 8:34 pm

    Ok, so there were 18,000 apps out how many kids – say 26,000. That seems like way too many applications. Maybe that’s why they’re talking about giving the SE test before the app period…

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 200. HS Mom  |  January 22, 2013 at 8:36 pm

    @195 – thanks HSO, yeah makes sense. Did someone say that testing days were added? There must be a lot of applicants this year.

  • 201. HS Mom  |  January 22, 2013 at 8:38 pm

    198 we were writing at the same time – you read my mind. Wow 18,000 is a lot. They had to do something.

  • 202. HSObsessed  |  January 22, 2013 at 8:49 pm

    BTW, I got two robocalls today from CPS “reminding” me that my kid was scheduled to take the SEHS test this coming Saturday. Um, she already took it in December? Hopefully you have our app and all her information locked in already? Oh CPS, you make me laugh. And cry. And then laugh.

  • 203. Mayfair Dad  |  January 22, 2013 at 8:49 pm

    I stubbornly cling to my earlier prediction the older Jones building will house an Academic Center. Some way somehow 7 & 8 graders will be walking the halls of that building, in addition to more Jones High School kids.

  • 204. Mayfair Dad  |  January 22, 2013 at 8:53 pm

    Also watch the demographics shift at Westinghouse, the next hot SEHS. Particularly South Loopers iced out of Jones with less than perfect 900 Tier 4 scores.

  • 205. local  |  January 22, 2013 at 8:56 pm

    I’m a little slow. Is 18,000 apps = 18,000 students who’ve applied to SEHS or = 18,000 requests for seats at all various SEHSs? Students “apply” to more than one, right?

  • 206. local  |  January 22, 2013 at 9:02 pm

    “CPS students now have a full school day and a full school year that provides them with more time in the classroom with teachers as well as recess for the first time in decades” — Ah, reports from the front do not corroborate, considering how this has been staffed (or not!) at many schools.

  • 207. HSObsessed  |  January 22, 2013 at 9:07 pm

    Re: Too many applicants. A Blue Ribbon Commission was convened to look how well the magnet and SEHS process was working in 2010 after the first year of operating without the racial quota requirements. The commission members considered raising the minimum requirement to apply for SEHS. The cut off was the fifth stanine or better on the 7th grade ISATs (both math and English) and they discussed raising it because they had 13,000 applicants for 3,000 spots. However, they decided not to because the data showed that 100 kids from the lowest stanine had received enrollment offers the prior year, and they wanted to continue to give every kid a chance. That’s an understandable thought process, but maybe CPS should revisit this by looking to see whether any kids in the years since have been admitted from those lowest ranges. I think it’s doubtful, given that 18,000 are now applying, and cut off scores have gone up considerably, including at Brooks and King, which traditionally has had the lowest cut offs. If not, CPS is just setting up thousands of kids for disappointment.

  • 208. local  |  January 22, 2013 at 9:08 pm

    More on Jones from Sarah: http://www.catalyst-chicago.org/notebook/2013/01/22/20758/jones-college-prep-set-add-selective-seats.

    “…Emanuel said he made the decision after realizing that many students wanted to go to Jones, but couldn’t get in. Of the 18,000 who applied for selective high schools last year, 9,000 listed Jones as one of their choices, he said…”

  • 209. HSObsessed  |  January 22, 2013 at 9:10 pm

    @205 – I think the best way to think of it is 18,000 applicants vying for a total of 3,000 SEHS spots. The applicants can apply for up to six different schools, but they’re still one applicant.

  • 210. local  |  January 22, 2013 at 9:10 pm

    “…Emanuel said parents should have more choices to send their children to a selective enrollment high school, charter high school or neighborhood high school. And he lauded the fact that Jones serves a diverse student body…”

    His brain confuses me. SEHS, charter, or neighborhood, eh?

  • 211. local  |  January 22, 2013 at 9:12 pm

    So, there’s 18,000 SE-qualified individual students out there who need a seat somewhere?

  • 212. local  |  January 22, 2013 at 9:18 pm

    “’The last 15 years has seen the central loop grow exponentially,’ he said. ‘When it comes to high school, 40 percent move out of the city. It is an incredible economic loss to the city and this is a way to stem the loss.’

    “Fioretti says community groups from the South Loop, the West Loop, Chinatown and Bronzeville all support the idea of creating a new neighborhood high school.

    “The existing high schools where students from these communities would be assigned are Phillips, Wells or Dunbar. Dunbar and Phillips are Level 3 schools, the worst CPS rating. This year, Wells moved to a Level 2 school, the mid-rating. All three are underutilized…”

    What would it take to make those HSs attractive? Pull a Lake View?

  • 213. local  |  January 22, 2013 at 9:19 pm

    Corey T: Your thoughts?

  • 214. local  |  January 22, 2013 at 9:20 pm

    Ooops. Make that Casey T.

  • 215. ChicagoMomofBoys  |  January 22, 2013 at 9:32 pm

    @CPSO re. 190: Oh, believe you me that PLENTY of people are very upset about the Jones decision. I speak as a South Looper with young kids who has been closely following the vocal and involved quest for a neighborhood H.S.

    Truthfully, I never thought that the “Reuse Jones” movement would succeed for several reasons. For one, CPS was pretty darn set on tearing it down for the longest time. It’s pretty dang short sighted that they didn’t put more thought into this before nearly completing the new Jones building. Now they’ll likely have to sink more dollars into adding some cohesiveness, as well as a bridge between the two buildings. One’s so modern and the other’s so… old.

    In addition to the old Jones building falling apart, it doesn’t have a gym or pool from what I understand. According to CPS, existing students won’t be thrilled to share these amenities with the onslaught of new students. This was one of their main arguments why the building couldn’t be used as a neighborhood school.

    Interestingly, not very long ago, Rahm and CPS said that they didn’t have any money to renovate the building. Period. So… yes, @Gobemouche re. 186, it’s ironic that they’ve now “stolen” this golden idea from the South Loop alderman and lobbyists and are running with it in such a reckless fashion.

    I’m not saying that the decision to add more SEHS seats is a bad deal for Chicago students overall; I’m just trying to give you a little behind-the-scenes insight.

  • 216. local  |  January 22, 2013 at 9:48 pm

    http://chicagophoenix.com/2013/01/21/lgbts-youth-safe-schools-alliance-oppose-more-cops-in-chicago-schools/

    Interesting effort by CPS students.

    Also, interesting story by BEZ about restorative justice at Fenger. See their website.

  • 217. HSObsessed  |  January 22, 2013 at 9:55 pm

    @215 – I saw every floor of the old Jones building during my tour in December, and it seemed great to me. Clean, bright, spacious, views of the Trump Tower from the science lab! It’s hardly falling apart. The Jones students (all of them) will obviously use the pool, theatre, and gym in the new building. Even if they don’t build a connection between the schools, it’s on the same block; they can just walk over.

    Also, who at CPS is saying that existing students won’t be thrilled to share with an onslaught of new students? The change will be gradual, and actually it will all seem empty for the first years. Instead of having 900 kids in one building, there will be 1175 kids sharing two large buildings in the first year, then 1450 sharing two buildings in the second year, etc.

  • 218. ChicagoMomofBoys  |  January 22, 2013 at 10:10 pm

    @217: I’m simply recounting CPS’s original stance on why the old Jones building couldn’t be used as a neighborhood H.S. “Falling apart” was their words at a past board meeting, not mine. I’ve personally never seen the interior. FWIW, I’m sure that CPS is now singing a totally different tune.

  • 219. HS Mom  |  January 22, 2013 at 10:14 pm

    @217 – yes! everyone is excited. They will be doing work on the section of the existing building that was not rehabbed in 2002 – lunch/theater area. Maybe they are creating a pass-through.

  • 220. Amy  |  January 23, 2013 at 12:48 am

    I love how some people label anyone who disagrees on this blog a troll. Begging your Highness pardon, permission to comment on this topic although I am not a regular. Seesh….I would think CPSO would want encourage new thoughts , ideas, opinions?? Right CPSO?

  • 221. Amy  |  January 23, 2013 at 12:49 am

    Casey T- I agree

  • 222. Casey T  |  January 23, 2013 at 1:00 am

    @ “Amy” – careful, or else you will be labeled as one of my nom dé plume aliases (sp?). That is what happens when you have a divergent opinion.
    You must behave like a Stepford Wife and conform.

  • 223. Casey T  |  January 23, 2013 at 1:08 am

    @213 asked my thoughts, presumably on the Jones thing and the the whole Selective Enrollment matter.
    Personally, I have never liked the whole skimming of the best and brightest from the neighborhood schools. It appears to be done more for the parents to get a kick out of saying their little Johnny is special. I can recall when there was only two special, high achiever high schools, Lane Tech for north of Madison Street and Lindblom Tech for south of Madison street. Everyone else either went Vocational school or General High School.
    I don’t think there are any more numbers of special or gifted children, just people who think their own little darlings are special. If the resources were spread equitably, all kids could have a chance instead of parents pulling their hair out over getting into the right school, and kids being labeled as “regular” as if it were a badge of shame.
    Furthermore, the well documented clout associated with some of the admissions to selective enrollment schools further erodes public confidence in the system and process.

    But we know the master plan was to stem white flight to the burbs and take away one reason people had for leaving the city.

  • 224. SoxSideIrish4  |  January 23, 2013 at 6:49 am

    #215~ChicagoMomofBoys~’I’m not saying that the decision to add more SEHS seats is a bad deal for Chicago students overall; I’m just trying to give you a little behind-the-scenes insight.’ Thanks for the insight~you are correct~I’ve been reading other message bds and it seems like the parents of kids who would be in the boundaries for Jones as a neighborhood school are very upset. As a NonSlooper~it seems that this will keep more middle class in the city by affording more seats for kids who could really benefit by Jones Prep school. You said you never thought Jones would become a neighborhood school. However, as a Slooper with young children, will this affect your staying in the City as your children reach HS age?

  • 225. beentheredonethat  |  January 23, 2013 at 8:07 am

    It will be interesting to see if other parents near SE high schools also start demanding a neighborhood component for admissions, now that Jones is setting this precedent;don’t some magnet elementary schools already have that?

  • 226. CPS Parent  |  January 23, 2013 at 9:09 am

    222. Casey T – Most students in SEHS’s are far from “gifted”. The average ACT at the highest performing ones is around 28 which is barely genough for UIUC but not even close for the top colleges in the country. The average score at Lindblom is 22 which will get you into community college but not much else.

  • 227. Casey T  |  January 23, 2013 at 9:16 am

    @226 – I guess R.I.F…………
    I said there was a time when Lane and Lindblom were the only options for bright high school students, not today. The ACT scores for those two schools, back in the pre-Whitney Young days far and away exceeded 22 at Lindblom – in fact, in was a big deal to take the “Lindblom test” and gain admission, even though it was in a bad neighborhood.
    They are now trying to revive Lindblom, as well as make King a selective enrollment school which gives credence to the adage about putting lipstick on a pig.

  • 228. ChicagoMomofBoys  |  January 23, 2013 at 9:24 am

    @224: Great question and the answer is no. We moved to the South Loop knowing that we have a solid neighborhood middle school, but no promises of a H.S. It just would’ve been an awesome bonus. Although Jones fell through, wheels have been in motion for a while to build a neighborhood H.S. on a vacant plot of land. There’s a lot of that around here. I wouldn’t discount this plan… especially by the time my kids are of H.S. age. If it doesn’t pan out, they still have as good a chance as any to test into Jones!

  • 229. 8989wed  |  January 23, 2013 at 9:29 am

    228 and test into private hs, move to the suburbs, etc.

  • 230. ChicagoMomofBoys  |  January 23, 2013 at 9:35 am

    @228: Obviously. That wasn’t the question.

  • 231. reason8  |  January 23, 2013 at 9:38 am

    230 what was the question?

  • 232. HS Mom  |  January 23, 2013 at 9:39 am

    Casey – You mention that your kids go to selective school. There must be some role that SE’s play other than the traditional “white flight”. I am glad to get beyond white flight – would you agree that we are there?

    As far as losing south loop families due to the lack of a quality neighborhood school – what makes south loop so different from the rest of the city. People everywhere unhappy with their neighborhood options chose selectives, IB’s, charters etc. I don’t quite understand how making the old building a neighborhood school would change anything. People would still try to get their kids into other schools first.

  • 233. Casey T  |  January 23, 2013 at 9:47 am

    @232 – forced to go to selective enrollment schools out of circumstance because the CPS and CIty does not value providing educational resources to areas like Englewood, Roseland, Lawndale, Austin, etc. – so we have to follow the resources – unlike the flight to the burbs, where people give up an take their resources with them . If the City were to evenly distribute the resources, selective enrollments would not be necessary. However to placate parents that think their darlings are so special, the city has created a caste system that would rival anything India could create.
    We are almost like Japan, where if a kid does not get into a good kindergarten, their whole life is affected. That is not fair. the taxes I pay on my home and other properties should entitle my children to receive just as good an educational opportunity in Englewood as a parent who lives in the South Loop or Lincoln Park.

    at some point, I am hoping a deep pocketed plaintiff will go to court (in fact I think the Urban League has) and file a constitutional case rooted in the Equal Protection clause because of this disparity.

  • 234. HS Mom  |  January 23, 2013 at 10:00 am

    233 “We are almost like Japan, where if a kid does not get into a good kindergarten, their whole life is affected.”

    Right about that! Kids fall behind they will never catch up. We often debate here about funding where it goes and who gets what out of the tiny pot. It’s still a mystery to me. One thing that many agree on is that parent fundraising makes a big difference in resources. One role that charters are supposed to provide is in bringing sponsorship to low income neighborhoods. I really don’t think resources is the only issue separating a good school from a bad school.

  • 235. teacher in Englewood  |  January 23, 2013 at 10:01 am

    My middle son just took the selective enrollment test. Jones and Young are our only considerations as a family. We have an older son who attends private HS although all of our boys (I have three) have attended public elementary.

    I do have a few concerns with opening Jones’ enrollment ~ by doing so will it change the dynamics of the school as it stands currently? Will the school be able to handle the influx of students? Will the quality of instruction be compromised? Will class size be increased?

    I am not for or against the idea, just curious about what the future holds for the school. When CPS makes decisions, they don’t always think through all of the implications. I am hoping that all of that money being thrown into the school is not merely for structural improvements.

  • 236. cpsobsessed  |  January 23, 2013 at 10:04 am

    @teacher in Eng: I had actually wondered about the impact on size of Jones, mainly because I’d heard such positive things about the school. Will that be thrown off a bit as a the school expands?

    It still seems like a good move though so hopefully they can work the out.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 237. Southside Daddi-o  |  January 23, 2013 at 10:06 am

    @ 232 LOL at the troll, so I’ll go ahead and feed it. Lawsuit for Equal Protection and disparity. That is HILARIOUS!!!

    CPS is 92% minority. Tier 1 for kids with addresses in Englewood, Austin, Roseland for easier admissions to SE schools. Poe and Beasley are ~95% black. Vanderpoel is ~100% black. King is ~95% black and Brooks is ~85% black.

    You are cracking me up!!! Ok, waiting for the next sock puppet!

  • 238. Casey T  |  January 23, 2013 at 10:11 am

    @237 – we often laugh at what we do not understand, I believe the term is cognitive dissonance or something like that. And I think the people at the Urban League, who brought the suit are better positioned and versed in the law than someone that refers to themselves as Daddi-o …so stay in your lane, son – this matter and the legal foundation on which it is based is beyond your pay-grade.

  • 239. SoxSideIrish4  |  January 23, 2013 at 10:12 am

    #228~ ChicagoMomofBoys~that’s how we are too. Our kids receive a wonderful education from the neighborhood elementary school, but my son will go to a Catholic HS if he doesn’t get into SEHS.

    #235~ teacher in Englewood~I wondered that as well re impact of expanding Jones, but look at WY and their enrollment. I think this will be very beneficial for Jones & the City.

  • 240. HS Mom  |  January 23, 2013 at 10:16 am

    Jones has an excellent philosophy and is well run with dedicated teachers. Building on a solid foundation, assuming the new model follows form, creates much more opportunity. I don’t see why class size would increase since the new building is equipped to handle 1200 plus currently almost 900. The dynamic is great – I don’t see that changing either because it has to do a lot with how kids interact with each other and their teachers and the range of diversity.

  • 241. Casey T  |  January 23, 2013 at 10:16 am

    http://www.thechicagourbanleague.org/page/342

    While it pertains to State funding, a similar suit, using this case as a precendent, could be filed against the City of Chicago and the CPS. I am sure that the Urban League would have no problem filing an Amicus brief on the matter.

  • 242. Southside Daddi-o  |  January 23, 2013 at 10:19 am

    @237 YAY! The troll bites again! I’m going to rate your last troll post as a 6/10. You might be re-evaluated when your next sock puppet comes on BUT you have to wait an hour before you post as a new(er) user, otherwise the 6/10 score stays.

  • 243. teacher in Englewood  |  January 23, 2013 at 10:25 am

    HS Mom, Class size can change if the school does not hire new teachers to accommodate the influx of students. That is what is happening in my own school. With BBB and the Mayor talking about underutilization as they are, the smaller class sizes (20-25) of today will be gone in my building. I am only questioning if this is a possibility for Jones.

  • 244. HS Mom  |  January 23, 2013 at 10:26 am

    @237 you reference my post – not sure why. Casey has some interesting points. And speaking about something further up, it’s been quite a while since I’ve heard anything about De Mau Mau. Lest we forget our history. Makes me think.

  • 245. HS Mom  |  January 23, 2013 at 10:30 am

    @243 – I see what you’re saying. I hope not. I’m actually hoping that this will be an opportunity to expand the curriculum. It sounds like they are doing that.

  • 246. SoxSideIrish4  |  January 23, 2013 at 10:32 am

    #243~teacher in Egnlewood~ 2day’s trib re: may only be closing 15 schools http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/education/ct-met-cps-schools-closing-commission-0123-20130123,0,2941880.story

  • 247. Mom A  |  January 23, 2013 at 10:37 am

    Moderator / CPS Obsessed – can you put a stop to the personal attacks on Casey T? I thought personal attacks weren’t allowed. Major chilling effect on points a lot of people would like to hear. I personally agree that a huge lawsuit vs CPS is in order to stop the disparate educational opportunities our kids have.

  • 248. RL Julia  |  January 23, 2013 at 10:39 am

    @223 Casey T – my thoughts exactly! Like you have two kids at SEHS’s as a result….

  • 249. HSObsessed  |  January 23, 2013 at 10:41 am

    @235 – Funding follows the student in CPS. So 275 additional students at Jones bring nearly $2 million in additional operation funds to the school at the very minimum, which I’m sure the principal will use to hire more teachers, and I’m sure class size will stay the same.

  • 250. teacher in Englewood  |  January 23, 2013 at 10:42 am

    SoxSideIrish4 ~ What we know about our Mayor is he hates to be told he “can’t” or “shouldn’t.” It’ll be interesting to see how this pans out.

  • 251. Southside Daddi-o  |  January 23, 2013 at 10:44 am

    @247 Gonna have to change your troll score on #238 to 4/10. -1 point for not waiting an hour, Casey… and you get docked an extra point for complaining to a mod. 🙂

  • 252. HSObsessed  |  January 23, 2013 at 10:51 am

    If any of you would like to step out of the CPSO shadows and delve deeper into the murky waters of school financing, Chicago’s Better Government Association is holding a free seminar next week to explain CPS school financing to the bewildered public.

    http://www.bettergov.org/citizen_watchdogs_of_education_urban_league2/

  • 253. Casey T  |  January 23, 2013 at 10:54 am

    @ 244 – HS Mom – lest I forget my own rule (and Mark Twain’s) regarding posts and posters like @237 –
    “Do not argue with an idiot… they drag you down to their level and beat you with experience and from a distance, observers will not be able to tell the difference”

  • 254. reason67+68  |  January 23, 2013 at 11:00 am

    253- Casey, Bravo! Are you a history teacher?

  • 255. Southside Daddi-o  |  January 23, 2013 at 11:07 am

    @253 & @254 … Now down to 3/10 on the troll scale.

    Obvious troll is Obvious.

  • 256. Casey T  |  January 23, 2013 at 11:16 am

    @254 – no, just well read.
    @247 – don’t worry about me. I have taken out garbage like this several times. This one is of such little consequence, it poses not much of a challenge. Just treat him like teeth, ignore them and they will go away.

  • 257. Southside Daddi-o  |  January 23, 2013 at 11:21 am

    @256 It must be absolutely FASCINATING to have engaged conversations with yourself. What’s it like? Also, what color is the sky on your planet?

  • 258. cpsobsessed  |  January 23, 2013 at 11:26 am

    Seriously, you guys need to knock it off. I don’t enjoy negative comments but I’m about to start deleting anything that doesn’t contribute to the discussion.

    I do not care if someone is a Troll. I do care if people exhibit Trollish behavior.

    This is a discussion board, more so than an opinion board. Opinions mean nothing if they aren’t backed by thoughtful support.

    Image this scenario. I am at a party and I see a group of parents discussing CPS and selective enrollment high schools. I can take 1 of 2 actions:

    Scenario 1: (Person who wants to join in and further the discussion.)
    Well, did you guys hear that WBEZ story last year that said that private school kids have a really high rate of admission to SEHS? The economy is still tough. I suspect a lot of families are using the SEHS to replace pricey private school these days.

    Scenario 2: (Person who wants to state their opinion and incite outrage.)
    Well we ALL know that the SEHS are just FULL of spoiled rich kids whose parents are too CHEAP to send them to private school because they want to save money for posh vacations!!

    Same thought, different delivery. Which one furthers the discussion better?

  • 259. OutsideLookingIn  |  January 23, 2013 at 11:44 am

    The article about Jones mentions there were 49 applications for every freshman spot at Jones. Anyone know what the numbers were for the other SEHSs?

  • 260. Casey T  |  January 23, 2013 at 11:47 am

    And in response to that scenario, I would suggest that any ire toward private school parents that choose selective enrollment for high school are simply getting their tax money back for the quality education they had to pay for all those years their children were not in public schools, basically paying twice for educational services – via taxes and via tuition. If all the people with children in private schools suddenly put them in the CPS system, isn’t the argument is that CPS could not handle such an influx ? About 50,000 kids or so ? So private schools are basically saving CPS money ? Taking those parents tax dollars but not having to educate their children ?

    That is what a private school parent lectured me on once in the past.

  • 261. teacher in Englewood  |  January 23, 2013 at 12:01 pm

    HSObsessed ~ true, some money will come in, but not for class size unless it is larger than CTU contract, which is greater than the 20-25 of the current sizes.

  • 262. cpsobsessed  |  January 23, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    The Urban League lawsuit is interesting. Thanks for posting. It is against the state, not CPS btw. It claims that CPS as a district is underfunded compared to the wealthy suburbs because towns rely on property tax to fund education.

    It was cleared to proceed but I can’t find anything current on it after 2011 when it was headed to trial. Any idea of the outcome? It’s a way to “force” the state to distribute funding at a state level which would help districts like CPS.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 263. Casey T  |  January 23, 2013 at 12:20 pm

    @262 – I am aware that the Urban League suit was against the state, I said as much in my post:
    “While it pertains to State funding, a similar suit, using this case as a precendent, could be filed against the City of Chicago and the CPS. I am sure that the Urban League would have no problem filing an Amicus brief on the matter”.

    My point was that a similar suit, with a plaintiff from amongst parents/students that are forced to attend substandard schools in the CPS, while others get to attend more lavished appointed schools, is something that is overdue. However a Federal lawsuit takes money, or a goo-goo public interest Law Clinic to get the process going.

  • 264. teacher in Englewood  |  January 23, 2013 at 12:23 pm

    Casey T ~ it is true, as a parent who now spends $10,000 to send my oldest to private HS because he is not a candidate for selective enrollment. CPS is winning big time. I’m paying through my taxes and my tuition. And more than likely my other boys will be following to the same private HS… that means next year will be close to $20,000 for tuition for HS. Crazy. That is why people move out of the city. I grew up in the ‘burbs where none of this was even a topic or consideration – we all just went to our neighborhood HS.

  • 265. cpsobsessed  |  January 23, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    I understand the urban league suit but I don’t understand what would back up a case against CPS. My understanding is that schools are funding per pupil and that schools with lower income kids get additional federal (?) funding per pupil.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 266. Southside Daddi-o  |  January 23, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    @265 Why, clearly you don’t understand! You see, although CPS is ~92% minority, and despite the facts that

    1. 2 SEHS (King and Brooks) are 92% and 85% black;
    2. A child from outside an attendance boundary can attend almost any school if space is available;
    3. Children living in tiers of Chicago with high poverty and low-education rates can score LOWER but still receive spots in SE than kids in higher tiers.

    THE URBAN LEAGUE NEEDS TO SUE CPS!!!! LOL! CALL THEM RIGHT NOW AND TELL ‘EM TO MEET YOU AT THE COURTHOUSE! 😀

  • 267. Casey T  |  January 23, 2013 at 1:15 pm

    @265 – The Urban League suit would not provide an exact, verbatim prima facie case, but the overarching elements are there for a 14th Amendment cause of action (Equal Proctection clause).

    Fact: There are more students than eligible spots in Selective Enrollment schools.
    Fact: Traditional “Neighborhood” schools in certain census tract areas are woefully funded and staffed when compared to selective enrollment schools
    Fact: As citizens of this Country, no State (or political sub-division thereof, -of which the City of Chicago and the Chicago Public Schools are) shall enact, create or maintain any publicly funded system for the benefit of the few at the expense of the many
    Fact: A child attending a selective enrollment school has more opportunities down the road, especially in terms of college admissions (selective colleges look at the rigor of the secondary school applicants attend).
    Fact: (there are several more, but you and most intelligent readers will get the point)
    Conclusion: The City and CPS has created a tiered system of education that causes irreparable harm to a great number of its students. Thrown in a little racial gasoline (selectives where expanded to stem white flight) and add a Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton to the mix and a person or group with the wherewithal and legal standing would have a slam dunk case with this.

  • 268. HSObsessed  |  January 23, 2013 at 1:16 pm

    @202 follow up — … and today I got two robocalls from CPS telling me to disregard their two robocalls from yesterday.I’m not answering their calls tomorrow.

  • 269. Mayfair Dad  |  January 23, 2013 at 2:05 pm

    Don’t all traditional neighborhood schools receive the same CPS funding regardless of census tract? Even in poor neighborhoods, the per student formula is the same. Additionally, schools in poor neighborhoods receive additional federal money (Title 1 funding).

    Further, now that the SCOTUS has determined skin color can no longer be used to determine school admissions, CPS has embraced what many would consider an aggressive policy to ensure socio-economic diversity in selective enrollment and magnet schools.

    From what I know of the proposed legal action, this is a manuever to force a change in the way Illinois funds education, which harms Chicago disproportionately compared to affluent suburbs.

    Being the boor who talks the loudest at a cocktail party doesn’t automatically make you correct, it just makes you a boor.

  • 270. Mom A  |  January 23, 2013 at 2:22 pm

    The wealthier schools raise money to buy teachers. The poorer schools can’t do that. How is that fair to kids?

  • 271. dismalSnow  |  January 23, 2013 at 2:29 pm

    271 it’s not fair, but the parents who donate do it for their kids + their kids’ school. if they didn’t, CPS would be worse than it already is.

  • 272. Southside Daddi-o  |  January 23, 2013 at 2:38 pm

    @270 Let me get this right: You’re saying it’s unfair for parents of kids at a school like Bell or Sutherland to raise money for their school because the parents of kids at poorer CPS schools either cannot or will not do the same for their schools?

  • 273. Casey T  |  January 23, 2013 at 3:14 pm

    @269 & @266 – — – speaking of “sock puppetry”

  • 274. extra money  |  January 23, 2013 at 3:15 pm

    @270, my relative teaches at a high poverty school on the north side. Because of that, their school receives extra federal money. It is up to the principal to decide, how to use those funds. Their principal uses the money to buy extra teachers. Their teacher to student ratio is better, then at my kid’s selective enrollment school.
    Many schools would have extra money, but decide to use it on something else then extra teachers.

  • 275. HSObsessed  |  January 23, 2013 at 3:26 pm

    @270 – The top $$ raised by some schools with higher numbers of middle-class enrollments might reach $200K in a very good year, if the parents put in hundreds of hours of volunteer work. (The vast majority of schools raise far less, even with good efforts.)

    Meanwhile, schools with 100% poverty receive many times that in additional funding on top of what the school normally gets. So really, it would be much “easier” for a school’s parent population to simply report untruthfully on the free/reduced lunch forms that its kids are under the poverty level, and then the school raises the “extra” money with the stroke of a pen instead of putting in all the volunteer hours. I can’t remember how much additional is received per kid; I recall vaguely that it’s $1400 but let’s just say it’s $1,000 additional for every kid who receives a free lunch. For a school with 600 kids, that’s $600,000 additional given to the school on top of normal funds. No bake sales required.

    I don’t mean to sound bitter. Those additional funds are truly needed for reading specialists, smaller class sizes and such for kids who don’t get that help at home in a lower SES family, and I don’t begrudge them that. But I do have to speak up when people start to say that the schools in wealthier areas are given unfair amounts of financial resources, and that parental fundraising is the key to why those kids have the “best schools ” (simply meaning the standardized test scores are solid), because it’s just not true.

  • 276. RL Julia  |  January 23, 2013 at 3:49 pm

    The biggest potential problem I see having to do with any potential lawsuit about funding inequities between schools in the CPS system is that the inequities aren’t fiscal as much as they are environmental to the individual school’s population.

    As HSObsessed pointed out, many of the “best” schools in the CPS system are also located in the most affluent parts of the city which means that parents can fund raise tons and in effect create a better school for themselves than what is offered when one only uses CPS’s funding. This is additionally compounded when data has indicated that most (but not all) children coming from lower income households arrive at school less prepared than children coming from higher income households – so schools at 100% poverty get more money (because of the poverty of their students) but their students are less ready to work at grade level, more likely to have a chronic illness, be hungry, be homeless, experience violence, and any number of other things that disrupt kids being able to learn. Additionally, schools that are at 100% poverty generally do not have the kinds of linkages that can be leveraged in ways that creates more money for the school itself (unless you are Jeffery Canada), if anything the school is relied upon to a greater degree to provide families and neighborhoods basic services (dental care, therapy, internet access, school supplies etc…). In a more affluent neighborhood, services, goods and resources flow into the school to enrich the children attending school, in a less affluent neighborhood these resources are often taken out of the school and distributed – which means in effect that there are less resources for the actual students within the school – who are already arriving at school academically behind their more affluent peers.

    Basically – I don’t think a lawsuit against CPS about income inequalities within it’s own system would change anything – schools with more affluent student bodies would still come out academically stronger than those with impoverished student bodies.

  • 277. Casey T  |  January 23, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    @RL Julia – what you are saying that is going on in CPS regarding basically the parents in affluent areas “taxing” themselves more, is what is happening on a larger stage as it pertains to funding inequities the Urban League was talking about. New Trier spends 10,000 more dollars per student than CPS, but New Trier parents, recognizing that good schools mean good property values, tax themselves locally to augment the meager amount of base funding they receive from the state.
    What is the solution when people are willing to tax themselves to provide more for their kids ? Is it fair ? Do you tax the affluent even more in order to bring up the less than affluent and then open up the class warfare discussion ?

  • 278. HSObsessed  |  January 23, 2013 at 4:07 pm

    I was looking for the real numbers on how much schools get for each child eligible for free lunch and found this handy document from CPS that very nicely lays out how school funding works. The information about poverty-related funding is on pp 10-11. I learned something new: How much is given depends on the % of poverty in the school, and ranges from an additional $430 per child to $1,728 per child, if the school is 99% low income. So in my example above, a school of 600 kids who are all low income, the school is given an additional $1,036, 800 in funds. (Link goes directly to a PDF)

    http://www.cps.edu/FY13Budget/documents/AppendixB_SchoolBasedBudgeting.pdf

  • 279. HSObsessed  |  January 23, 2013 at 4:15 pm

    I agree with all RL Julia says @276. I wish all children in Chicago could have the love, attention, good nutrition, structure and positive stimulation that they need in their first five years of life to thrive for the subsequent 75 years.

  • 280. Casey T  |  January 23, 2013 at 4:17 pm

    At the risk of sounding non-PC, ….there is a real elephant in the room that everyone is so deathly afraid to touch with a ten foot pole regarding school funding, increased costs vs diminishing revenues and the overburdening of one sector in particular in the CPS.
    It has manifest itself within the last 7 to 10 years, coinciding with another scourge that has plagued the City, County and State with respect to overtaxing public services without a corresponding increase in taxes to pay for the services.

    I think we all know of which I speak, but it is impolite to mention it, so we go on along, ignoring what is plainly in our faces and argue about things like selective enrollment, and parents fundraising money, etc.

    And from the way the trend is going, this particular issue is going to get worse .

  • 281. Southside Daddi-o  |  January 23, 2013 at 4:40 pm

    @278 “So in my example above, a school of 600 kids who are all low income, the school is given an additional $1,036, 800 in funds.”

    “Given”? Really? I don’t think so. It’s coming out of my wallet via taxes. Damn, if my neighborhood school got >$1M/year of taxpayer cash, we’re talking new computers, more teachers for art or a music program, a whole bunch of really cool $hit. Multiply that for 8 years, and oh that would be so nice.

    Instead, this money is directed to low-income areas and families who are already receiving state and federal aid and healthcare through programs like CHIP, food through programs like LINK,TANF and SNAP, and housing assistance thru Section 8. Frustrating.

  • 282. Gobemouche  |  January 23, 2013 at 4:46 pm

    Im really tired of hearing that SEESs get substantially more money than neighborhood schools, without documentation.

    In the past, gifted programs were given extra positions, which were broken up in ridiculous ways. I can’t remember the exact break down, but it was something like: 1 language, 1 science, and 1 art teacher, plus .5 librarian, .5 kindergarten, and .5 gym. So, a school might forgo the librarian for a full (1) gym teacher. Now, the schools are given a lump sum. With increasing wages, that lump sum doesn’t go as far towards buying positions. The backside to this is that most gifted programs have a less than average amount of kids on free/reduced lunch. Which means a whole lot less discretionary money. The main difference here is that with SEES funding the money must be spent on positions, while discretionary funds are, obviously, up to the principal. Also, there used to be a minimum per pupil funding, which was cut by CPS.

    Further, most SEESs have less kids that qualify for NCLB and SGSA funding.

    There is also title II funding, but, again, this is nearly impossible to spend on anything but a position, but at the same time isn’t actually enough to buy a full position with anyway. I know a that school lost theirs last year because after many tries, they couldn’t find something that CPS would actually let them spend it on.

    Most funds beyond positions now come from the College Readiness fund, which isn’t much. But I can’t remember now the break down for it.

    Discretionary funds for students that qualify for free/reduced lunch this year are $825 per student.

    These are the few facts I know. I’m not sure if or how Magnet funding is different. I don’t know if there if the SEHS situation is different. Anybody have info on high school funding?

    I don’t think the so-called funding disparities are what people think they are. SEES may get more positions, but a neighborhood school may have more in discretionary spending. I’m guessing they nearly cancel each other out. Probably, the best of both worlds scenario is high low-income neighborhood school with an Options program in it. However, I will say that since CPS pays for bussing, that might equal an actual disparity, but if bussing goes away that money isn’t going to miraculously show up in a neighborhood budget.

    The schools that get stuff, are the schools where parents fundraise. That’s it. It’s no big conspiracy.

    However, the I think we can all agree that the real issue is at the state level. Rather than bicker, we should put our heads together to figure out how to get our fair share of state funds and how pensions can be reformed (or something) in a way that is fair.

  • 283. cpsobsessed  |  January 23, 2013 at 4:52 pm

    Well, the rub is that while we are all clamoring for extra money for education in Illiniois, I would guess that the residents of the higher income suburbs feel the same way that Southside Daddi-o does about giving more of their money (they pay more tax $) to fund the rest of the state’s educational needs. They don’t want to give up their hard-earned money to help those less fortunate than them (in this case… us.)

  • 284. Southside Daddi-o  |  January 23, 2013 at 5:15 pm

    @283 Hang on, that’s really un-f**k-ing fair to say. I have no high school to send my kid to. My local CPS school is Kellogg, which has a huge number of kids who are non-local/from outside of the attendance boundary. So, local kids who are ready for school are sharing classrooms with kids who go thru things like homelessness, food insecurity, violence, etc. and unfortunately do not learn at the same pace as kids who don’t.

    Additionally, fundraising is big but kids and parents from a low-income area don’t contribute as much as the families who do. So, if Student A raises $500, Student B raises $40 and Student C raises ZERO, the net result is $180 per kid. That’s fair? Our kids and our community bust their ass to get more money for the school, while other kids/families bring in very little but the money is spread around collectively.

    And what more do the “less fortunate” want taxpayers to pay for? Free food? Available thru LINK, TANF, SNAP. Free housing? Section 8. Free kids healthcare? CHIP. Better education? Look at the Tiers and how much harder it is for a Tier 4 kid to get into SEHS than a Tier 1. Look at eligibility for things like Pell Grants and how hard it is for struggling middle-class families to get any type of non-loans.

    CPSO — tell us what YOU, the less fortunate, need that is not already being provided for by taxpayers. I’m totally serious. What is it?

  • 285. anotherchicagoparent  |  January 23, 2013 at 5:17 pm

    RE: CPS Proposed Calendar via twitter thanks to WBEZ.

    @WBEZeducation
    Hines concerned about PSAE coming right after spring break. Cheatham says they looked at testing calendar but will double check. #cpsboard

  • 286. cpsobsessed  |  January 23, 2013 at 5:21 pm

    What do *I* need? I need more funding for education in the state of Illinois, because *I* as a Chicago citizen feel that there isn’t enough money to provide an adequate education to the majority of *our* city population. Like it or not, *we* as the city are one school system. And “we* (which *I* am a part of) need more money to make sure kids leave the system able to do high school level reading and math etc. That is what I/we need in my opinion.

  • 287. cpsobsessed  |  January 23, 2013 at 5:21 pm

    Who is Hines?

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 288. Southside Daddi-o  |  January 23, 2013 at 5:37 pm

    @286 So basically you want people who own homes to pay more to CPS in higher property taxes. I work for that cash.

  • 289. Southside Daddi-o  |  January 23, 2013 at 5:44 pm

    @286 In exchange for higher taxes, would you be willing to completely drop the B.S. Tiers system for SE schools and make it so that students get in ONLY ON TEST SCORES rather than socio-economic background?

    That’d be the only acceptable grounds.

  • 290. cpsobsessed  |  January 23, 2013 at 5:45 pm

    Well, theoretically I’d like the whole state to allocate funds differently. I work for the cash too, I just have different priorities on how I view the interaction of society members and how we might give people a chance to overcome years of disadvantage so they too can earn the same kind of cash that the home owners do. So they can have their turn to complain about it getting taken away….

  • 291. cpsobsessed  |  January 23, 2013 at 5:49 pm

    Interesting question! I suppose that *if* funding was somehow giving at-risk kids a truly fair chance in the school system (which is never going to happen) and those kids worked their way through K-8th grade in this new well-funded system, then yeah, at some point that would make sense (from a logical standpoint.)

  • 292. anotherchicagoparent  |  January 23, 2013 at 5:49 pm

    Dr Mahalia Hines ,CPS board member. Glad someone noticed the test dates.We will see if it matters.

  • 293. CPS Parent  |  January 23, 2013 at 5:50 pm

    287. cpsobsessed

    http://www.cps.edu/About_CPS/The_Board_of_Education/BoardBios/Pages/MahaliaAHines.aspx

  • 294. Southside Daddi-o  |  January 23, 2013 at 6:07 pm

    @290 I think we give so much money as it is now that it is a lifestyle. No kidding — I shop at a grocery store in the ‘hood. I see so many people buying hundreds of dollars worth of groceries via Illinois Link cards. I’m okay with it — this is America, we don’t let our people (esp. children) starve in the streets. But add on to that the money spent on housing vouchers, Pell grants, healthcare programs, free school lunches and the like, we’re talking in the tens (if not hundreds) of billions of dollars. And now I need to give more of my money to this and get nothing in return?

    Any increase in taxes for education will likely not help me or my family. My high school had a child murdered at a school event last week. My elementary school must admit any child, local or non-, resulting in overcrowded classrooms and children not being able to participate at grade-level thereby slowing the rest of the class down. I don’t want to give up any more of my cash for this. Sorry.

  • 295. anonymouse teacher  |  January 23, 2013 at 6:09 pm

    Regarding the needed ACT scores that 226 quoted: Northern Illinois will accept scores 19 and above, as will many state schools and other schools as well. It is false to say a 22 will barely get you into community college.

  • 296. RL Julia  |  January 23, 2013 at 6:09 pm

    @284 – You do have a high school to send your children to. You just don’t like your choice. That is different from having no choice at all. Life is not fair. I am pretty sure any number of people on food stamps and all the programs your tax dollars pay for would gladly switch places with you.

  • 297. Gobemouche  |  January 23, 2013 at 6:11 pm

    Back to the calendar…and testing.

    Why can’t we (they) move the test days? I find it kinda bogus that the ISATs are given at the beginning of March. There’s a lot of learning to be done in the year. Teachers, am I fooling myself if I think kids might score better at the end of April or beginning if May? Would it make any difference at all?

    I don’t get why it takes so long to score a Scantron sheet. Yes, the writing segment would take longer. I know principals already get “preliminary” scores by the end of the tear, then we wait for the real/whole score for fall. I always assumed that hold up was for the writing portion. But, this year, there isn’t even a writing portion on the ISAT!

    As we move to computerized, online testing, the march dates make even less sense.

  • 298. anotherchicagoparent  |  January 23, 2013 at 6:27 pm

    I think the PSAE and ISAT dates are regulated by state?http://www.isbe.state.il.us/assessment/psae.htm
    I too have always wondered why the ISAT is so early? When researching this once, I recall I ran across one state that made it a law where the standardized test could not be given until the end of the school year. I know some teachers have expressed that kids might be burned out by the very end of the year but end of April when PSAE’s are given sounds like a happy medium.

  • 299. Southside Daddi-o  |  January 23, 2013 at 6:52 pm

    @284 You’re right. I don’t like my HS choice. Morgan Park has had 2 students murdered and a stabbing at a football game. Yet this is my local HS option and it’s demonstrably not safe. WTF do you need to prove otherwise, a mass shooting?

    And yes, you’re right that life isn’t fair. So, if low-income people are upset that taxpayers don’t want to give them more of the money WE worked for, too bad so sad…

  • 300. spain980  |  January 23, 2013 at 7:31 pm

    299 i hear you. it’s time to stop the handouts and go to work. I’m not working to support YOUR kids. Sorry.

  • 301. AE  |  January 23, 2013 at 9:34 pm

    I’ve only just skimmed the posts today, but I haven’t heard whether the proposed calendar was accepted by the BOE today or not?? Can someone update me? Thanks!

  • 302. ca  |  January 23, 2013 at 10:09 pm

    Did anyone else get the email tonight from BBB re: ISATs? It says “The new PARCC tests are scheduled to begin in the 2014-2015 school year.” I thought this was the last year for ISATs?

  • 303. cpsmama  |  January 23, 2013 at 10:31 pm

    @302- don’t you mean the 2 emails from BBB? Why can’t anyone at CPS proofread their emails BEFORE they go out- they always send a second “corrected” or “revised” or “updated” email 30 minutes after the first one goes out. Aye, aye, aye!

    Re: PSAE & proposed calendar: I don’t know if the calendar was approved, but the PSAE is ALWAYS at the end of April, so CPS’s proposed calendar with Spring break during the 3rd week of April will ALWAYS be immediately after Break. I don’t imagine that CPS will want it that way, so I predict an amended calendar moving Spring Break to 1st week of April. (just a guess, really)

  • 304. local  |  January 23, 2013 at 10:45 pm

    This was an interesting comment on the S-T’s Jones story:

    C W1 day ago
    I think this is a terrible knee-jerk idea that is, at best, tone deaf. At worst, it’s pure buffoonery. If it’s going to work, then there are several things to consider and resolve. Including:

    First, the new building at Jones has been carefully laid-out and right-sized for 800-900 kids. The lunchrooms, gymnasiums, hallways, elevators, entryways, arts facilities, auditoriums, ALL have been sized for a student body of 800-900, so now all of those common-use facilities are immediately overtaxed. Two half-lunchrooms are not equal to one that is the proper size. Neither building will handle the infrastructure needs of 1700 students well, so many of those functions will have to be split – which is wasteful and inefficient. If the new building had been originally conceived as an addition to the old building (not a bad idea), the layout and architecture would be wildly different than it is now. However, as it currently stands, combining the two buildings actually makes both of them work less well than they would as individual schools. To get from a classroom on the 4th floor of the old building to one on the 6th floor of the new building will be a 10-minute hike through a labyrinth.

    Second, there is no elegant path between the two buildings, unless they are considering punching holes in the wall of both auditoriums, digging tunnels, or making kids walk on State Street. Perhaps the plan is to segregate grades 9-10 from 11-12, but that’s not entirely feasible either when you consider how the curriculum really works at Jones, and how the teaching assignments are currently laid out.

    Third, and most importantly, the most attractive thing about Jones was its small size and close-knit culture in the middle of an urban setting. Having studied the plans to the new building quite extensively, I think it would have kept that close-knit culture intact. Now the school has become a disjointed beast that sprawls across a full city block like a gangly teenager on a sofa.

    Fourth, it says in the article that Mr. Emanuel had this bright idea in November. He couldn’t have said something then? The Selective Enrollment process is the subject of much deliberation for most families, and a lot of people made their choices based on information that was incomplete or about to change radically, and he knew it. Anyone who had Jones as first choice on their SE application was just betrayed, as were the current students and parents at Jones.

    Half-baked, secretive decisions like this, Mr. Mayor, are why Chicago Politics and CPS are the subject of much ridicule across the nation. Nice going.

  • 305. northsider  |  January 23, 2013 at 11:16 pm

    Not to be Debbie Downer..but just three years ago we were told track e was the miracle of all schedules, but it wasn’t. THEN it was universal breakfast, and it wasn’t. Ironically we now have no text books and no top down curriculums, 2001 dells, begging for copy paper, 32 kids per teacher with the expectations of individualized teaching. and recess based on the work of volunteers, and threat of closings and bizzare teacher evaluation that actually pits one teacher against another or best rating..no more collaboration if it means losing your job. yet we are supposed to gush over bbb and her schedule that looks like any other school’s sched . She probably isn’t a bad person, but none of the real problems i mentioned have been addressed.

    Its amazing cps spends so much time on fluff. Yet cps provides zero help to teachers on teaching ideas….no pd sessions anymore..nothing. its all left to,principals and teachers. Each school is like a mini district ..we dont share books, or ideas, or teachers. Very sad. So much is riding on nwea, but that will pass. THE new schedule is nice, but isn’t it basically what we had before. Are track e teachers be on furlow, for those days between years… And they are so proud of their democracy in the schedule, I wonder if it will be the same in the closings.

  • 306. karet  |  January 23, 2013 at 11:42 pm

    @299: Why don’t you move to another neighborhood … or the suburbs?

    Paying taxes for education doesn’t bother me at all — The only way for disadvantaged kids to get ahead in our society is to get a good education. I’m happy to help fund that effort, even if I wish CPS did a better job with that money. Helping kids get out of poverty and into productive jobs is in all of our interests.

  • 307. teacher in Englewood  |  January 24, 2013 at 6:51 am

    Yes, the calendar was approved.

    And yes, I also read the letter where BBB told me “not to worry if my child’s test scores drop. It’ll all be okay.” The Board isn’t passing on that same message to principals, teachers, & schools… It all still depends on those precious test scores that apparently the Board now believes will drop. Interesting to say the least….

  • 308. SoxSideIrish4  |  January 24, 2013 at 8:51 am

    #262~CPSO~What the poster failed to mention is that the Urban League will NOT sue CPS~Zopp is head of Urban League and sits on CPS BOE~she’d be suing herself!!!

  • 309. Southside Daddi-o  |  January 24, 2013 at 9:03 am

    @306 Because I like where I live. I don’t *enjoy* having to give away the money I worked very hard to make (who does?), but I get it — it’s part of the social contract. What pisses many people off is when we already give so much of the cash we make “to help the disadvantaged”, and then we hear “Naw, that ain’t enough. Give ’em more!”, when our local elementary schools do not improve, our local high school is not an option and our neighborhood kids have to have a perfect score to get into a SEHS which is nowhere near their homes.

    Why in the world should I throw *more* money at schools that are doing nothing for my community?

  • 310. Casey T  |  January 24, 2013 at 9:14 am

    The poster did not suggest that the Urban League would be the named plaintiff either. An organization like the Urban League (NAACP, Operation PUSH, et. al.) could do this.

    And yes, Rahm is very smart to Co-op all the potential “trouble-makers” by giving him a seat at Massa’s table in the Big House.

  • 311. SoxSideIrish4  |  January 24, 2013 at 9:27 am

    #310~Casey in #263 you wrote “I am sure that the Urban League would have no problem filing an Amicus brief on the matter”. ~ UL would not petition to file an ‘amicus brief on the matter’.

    FYI~Zopp is a woman. Her name is Andrea Zopp.

  • 312. Casey T  |  January 24, 2013 at 9:36 am

    no kidding Capt. Obvious.
    I know Andrea (and her husband Bill) personally. So what’s dat pernt youse tryin’ ta make ?

  • 313. SoxSideIrish4  |  January 24, 2013 at 9:50 am

    #312~you said UL would have no problem filing amicus brief~my point is they would have a BIG problem. You also said ‘Rahm is very smart to Co-op all the potential “trouble-makers” by giving him’ ~if you knew Andrea, obviously, you would have said ‘her’.~just sayin’

    You tried to make a point using a bad reference and you were caught.

  • 314. Casey T  |  January 24, 2013 at 10:11 am

    http://cheezburger.com/6616574720

  • 315. Casey T  |  January 24, 2013 at 10:14 am

    #313 give an award to da Irishman/woman

    http://iwastesomuchtime.com/on/?i=2242

  • 316. SoxSideIrish4  |  January 24, 2013 at 10:21 am

    #315~I don’t consider it wasting time correcting ppl who misinform others. But I will take an award!

  • 317. momof3boys  |  January 24, 2013 at 10:22 am

    If only the test score were used then, definitely, the selective enrollment schools wouldnt b diversified. I look at kids RGC and I am wondering where the minority kids r. Sometimes, you have to give an under-represented minority a leg up… Unfornately, the system CPS uses has too many loop holes… IMHO, it’s easier to get into college than a good school in Chicago. I’m learning that now with my oldest child. 2 of my kids were prob entered in their SE schools based on diversity. The other one was based on PD. I know they’re lucky but I know none of them would have gotten in based n today’s crazy standard.

  • 318. klm  |  January 24, 2013 at 10:28 am

    @309 and others RE: school funding, etc.

    The thing people need to realize is that most public schools in Illinois spend less, not more than CPS. Yes, in the Chicagoland area we have places like Deerfield and New Trier HS districts that spend lots per student, but I think people also forget that New Trier gets something like 98% of its funding from local taxes. Chicago gets way more from the state of Illinois and the Fed than than suburban schools. Accordingly, complaining to the state because New Trier spends more per student (as far as current funding school mechanisms work) is not the real answer –it’s the people that live in Glencoe that have decided to pay lots in taxes, not anything people in Springfield have.done.

    Yes, the WAY we fund schools in Illinois (largely through local property taxes [great for places with lots of expensive real-estate per student] and help from the state and Fed for poorer places) does lead to the kinds of New Trier/Harvey kinds of disparities that most states no longer have. The thing is, people in Glencoe have an incentive to keep paying lots of property tax for high per student spending (more than people in Chicago), since their kids are guaranteed to get a New Trier Education (i.e., a world-class one whose biggest complaint among parents is that it’s too demanding for some kids) and this knowledge keeps property values high, so it’s an investment worth paying.

    I think what “Southside Daddi-o” is lamenting relates to the fear that more taxes and spending will just make a lousy public education more expensive, without making it any better –putting good money after bad in a wasteful spiral that is only making matters worse, since there’s even more incentive to get more money when things don’t improve (a vicious cycle where social conditions are the reason for wanting more money and when that doesn’t change things, insisting that there’s a need for even MORE money to make a “real” difference this time, etc). Anybody that reads about and studies public school funding around the country knows that spending is not a panacea for good education. There are many public schools that spend lots (20-25-k+) per student that are a disaster (DC, Newark, Camden, Kansas City, etc.). Sometimes people are complaining about spending more money, not because they don’t care about the education of poor kids, but because they DO care and simply don’t want to feed a school system that continues to fail generation after generation in educating our low-income, inner-city population. They don’t want to “feed the monster.”

    About 2 decades ago, Michigan (like most states now) changed the way schools are funded (less from property taxes more from state sales tax) so that each school district is given a larger funding base per student. Things are more equitable and this new way of funding has opened the idea of “Schools of Choice”. whereby kids can go to any district that has space (most districts actually want to compete for kids as the money follows the student). Yes, some kids from inner-city areas are able to attend great suburban public schools. Imagine if kids from Austin could go to school in Oak Park or Naperville or kids from Uptown to school in Evanston? This kind of thing happens in Michigan.

    Also, look at Detroit. It spends way more than the state average per student (more than some affluent suburban districts like Grosse Pointe) and it still provides what is likely the worst K12 public education in the country.

    More money without accountability just means the same failing public schools, but at a higher price. Sometimes people are right to be cynical and are not sure about higher taxes for K12 education, when there are so many examples of dysfunction, inefficiencies, lack of accountability, etc. Nobody wants to just pay more money for it to just go down a black hole.

    BTW, we Americans already spend more as a % of GDP on K12 public education than most other rich countries, including South Korea, Germany, France, Japan, Singapore, Canada…

    Sometimes it’s not a spending issue, but a failing organisation issue (inefficiency, lack of accountability, entrenched interests blocking change, etc).

    I’m all for increased spending on K12 education, but only if it’s really going to make a difference. Some of need more convincing than others –and for good reason.

  • 319. SoxSideIrish4  |  January 24, 2013 at 10:38 am

    Education Funding Advisory Board: Double education investment by $4.7 billion; current resources a `failure of the state’s moral and fiduciary responsibilities’
    http://www.isbe.state.il.us/news/2013/jan23b.htm

  • 320. Paul  |  January 24, 2013 at 10:45 am

    @318 klm. Here here! I nominate your post for the cpsobsessed “Post of the Month.”

  • 321. Southside Daddi-o  |  January 24, 2013 at 10:54 am

    @317 I’m not sure if you’re serious.

    Here are the stats:
    Vanderpoel is 99% black.
    Poe is ~95% black.
    Beasley is 97% black.
    Keller is 40% white, 37% black.

    Brooks SEHS is 85% black.
    King SEHS is 92% black.
    Lindblom SEHS is 70% black.
    South Shore is 96% black.
    Westinghouse is 64% black.

    Lane and Jones are majority Hispanic.

    Northside is 41% white
    Payton is 37% white
    WY is 29% white

    That’s not enough? Should CPS hit us taxpayers up for another SEHS to cater to the “disadvantaged”? Lower the bar for Tier 1 & 2 kids and raise it for Tier 3 & 4s? F**k that.

  • 322. Paul  |  January 24, 2013 at 10:55 am

    The school system has to make a case for more taxpayer money. It has to show that additional money will be used well. And, the people in authority from the Mayor and BBB to the teacher’s union has to show that it will be money well spent. They have that responsibility to the taxpayers like every other adult who is employed by a public organization and implements public policy.

  • 323. SETeacher  |  January 24, 2013 at 10:59 am

    KLM…your post is right on. Suburban school districts do not spend precious $$ on the garbage that CPS does. They rely on their teachers to deliver strong instruction, students to work and parents to support the efforts. The misappropriation of what funds exist would not happen in many surburban districts. Do New Trier, Deefield or Hinsdale even have offices of communications? Would they know what to do if someone applied for a job as “Chief of Incubation” or whatever it’s called here at CPS? Sad situation that money will never fix.

  • 324. For Qualified Teachers in every CPS classroom  |  January 24, 2013 at 11:37 am

    @321 I believe your statistics regarding the racial makeup of SEHS schools are misleading. You need to look at the SEHS racial percentages in the context of the racial make-up of the general CPS population (44.3% Latino, 41.7% African American, 8.8% White, 3.3% Asian, 1.4% Multi-racial, .4% Native American- source ISBE school report card 2012). In that context, the fact is that whites who make up only 8.8% of the CPS student population are getting 41% and 37% of the seats at Northside and Payton respectively. That would seem to indicate that if you are a white student in CPS, you stand a much better chance statistically of getting into a top SEHS high school than a Latino or African American student. I am not suggesting that the white students don’t deserve to be at SEHS schools. Those students have earned it. I believe that all of the students who get into SEHS schools from any tier deserve to be there. With 3000 SEHS spots for 18,000 applicants, there is an obvious disconnect between the CPS offerings and the needs of the student population. And CPS also needs to serve all of its students and provide better neighborhood options for students who aren’t in the top testing stanine, but still deserve, need and have a right to a high quality education. My point is that statistics need to be taken into context.

  • 325. Mom A  |  January 24, 2013 at 11:49 am

    324, exactly!

  • 326. another CPS mom  |  January 24, 2013 at 12:28 pm

    Man, is the the increase in testosterone that now makes differing opinions here so nasty?

  • 327. another CPS mom  |  January 24, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    Should I start typing in my AA vernacular English? Bilingual, you know.

  • 328. HS Mom  |  January 24, 2013 at 12:58 pm

    @278 – HSO – thanks for that link explaining school funding. This report helps me understand. I notice that the Title 1 funds are based upon TANF public assistance and lunch forms. I wonder how much information is garnered from welfare records – which would make sense. That might also explain why such a large percentage of self reported income is bogus. Maybe estimates of poverty are not as overestimated as suspected.

    318 – KLM – thanks for taking the time to educate us. I enjoy your posts.

  • 329. Gobemouche  |  January 24, 2013 at 1:31 pm

    324 – No. You need to look at the demographics for the entire city. White = 42%. Whether white people choose to send their kids to CPS is another issue.

    Actually, the % of school aged children who are white would be better, but I haven’t found it yet.

  • 330. Gobemouche  |  January 24, 2013 at 1:33 pm

    Pardon me. The white (non Hispanic) percentage is 31.7%.

    http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/17/1714000.html

  • 331. For Qualified Teachers in every CPS classroom  |  January 24, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    @330 Can you let me know how in that census data that you find that the number of white children (under 18) in Chicago is 31.7%. I see a number for number of children (persons under 18) is 23.1% and number of whites (not Hispanic) is 31.7% but I do not see a number for white children (persons under 18). Are you extrapolating that the racial breakdown is equal across the population of children and adults in Chicago. I’m not sure that’s true. There could be a greater percentage of while adults and a lower percentage of children (or vice versa). Again, you are making my point that statistics are complex and can be misleading if not used properly.

  • 332. Southside Daddi-o  |  January 24, 2013 at 2:09 pm

    @331 Can we at least agree that there are thousands of more non-white kids in SEHS than white kids?

  • 333. For Qualified Teachers in every CPS classroom  |  January 24, 2013 at 2:29 pm

    @332 No we can’t agree because it’s not a fair or accurate comparison. You are not comparing apples to apples when the district is primarily (over 90%) made up of non white students and the city is primarily (over 70% and I would guess over 80%) made up of non white children under 18. You can’t make statements about the “unequal” spots for white students unless you compare the number of non white students going to SEHS schools out of the number of non whites in the under 18 population of Chicago versus the number of white students going to SEHS schools out of the number of whites in the under 18 population.

    I’m sorry if this makes things more complex in this argument, but one undergrad stats class reminds me that you can’t just blindly compare numbers out of context.

    Again, the basic issue is that there aren’t enough options for all students in Chicago. I personally care about that fact more than this racial issue but think it’s critical to speak up when people on the blog argue with stats used out context.

  • 334. Southside Daddi-o  |  January 24, 2013 at 3:41 pm

    Is there a CPS Tier that encompasses a white neighborhood that is not Tier 4?

  • 335. Gobemouche  |  January 24, 2013 at 3:55 pm

    331- As I said in my post, that is the % of white people. I said that it would be better if we could specifically find the % of white school aged children, but that I hadn’t found it yet.

  • 336. Southside Daddi-o  |  January 24, 2013 at 4:07 pm

    @333 ??? There either are or there aren’t. Not sure why data has to be qualified?

  • 337. teacher in Englewood  |  January 24, 2013 at 4:15 pm

    Go to Illinois Interactive Report Card
    iirc.niu.edu/
    You will find more stat’s than you will need about racial breakdowns per school and district, financial information for district and state, and tons more info about individual schools.

  • 338. teacher in Englewood  |  January 24, 2013 at 4:17 pm

    I’m sorry I couldn’t get my computer to add the hyperlink. 🙂

  • 339. SoxSideIrish4  |  January 24, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    here’s the link http://iirc.niu.edu/Default.aspx

  • 340. SoxSideIrish4  |  January 24, 2013 at 4:26 pm

    May be this is what you are looking for~About 21 percent of the non-Hispanic single-race white population was under 18 http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/population/cb09-75.html

  • 341. Gobemouche  |  January 24, 2013 at 4:29 pm

    340 – That is national, yes? Not Chicago specific.

  • 342. SoxSideIrish4  |  January 24, 2013 at 4:34 pm

    #341~Gobemouche~yes, you are right! I’m sorry, I misread that. It is NOT Chicago specific. Thank you.

  • 343. LSmom  |  January 24, 2013 at 4:39 pm

    On the question of how much of a difference funding can make, this article was really interesting: http://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/February-2013/Can-86-Million-Save-a-Neighborhood/

  • 344. SoxSideIrish4  |  January 24, 2013 at 4:51 pm

    #303~ cpsmama ~this is the reason CPS had to issue 2 emails last night. The first one sent parents to a sex site http://www.suntimes.com/17778480-761/was-cps-email-a-little-naughty-link-sends-parents-to-sex-site.html

  • 345. Mom A  |  January 24, 2013 at 4:53 pm

    Yeah, the diversity on the isbel.com site was much higher than on the isbe site.

  • 346. cps alum  |  January 24, 2013 at 5:26 pm

    I’ll have to do this in a couple posts since I can’t but more than one link per post:

    Per the 2010 census the total population in Chicago;
    age 5-9: 166077
    age 10-14: 164,466
    age 15-19: 182,833

    http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=DEC_10_SF2_QTP1&prodType=table

  • 347. cps alum  |  January 24, 2013 at 5:28 pm

    Per the 2010 census
    White/non Hispanic in Chicago:

    age 5-9: 26316
    age 10-14: 22568
    age 15-19: 30729

    http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=DEC_10_SF2_QTP1&prodType=table

  • 348. RL Julia  |  January 24, 2013 at 5:29 pm

    @334 – look at Portage Park.

  • 349. teacher in Englewood  |  January 24, 2013 at 5:34 pm

    Oh my goodness, that is hilarious SoxSide! It is so typical of so many of the ridiculous errors I cannot stop laughing.

  • 350. AC IB mom  |  January 24, 2013 at 6:14 pm

    @334 – RL Julia, I live in Portage Park and we are tier 4.

  • 351. AC IB mom  |  January 24, 2013 at 6:14 pm

    I meant @348

  • 352. Gobemouche  |  January 24, 2013 at 6:20 pm

    350- Part of Portage park is tier 3. From Kenton Ave to Laramie, between Lawerence and Addison.

    http://cpstiers.opencityapps.org/

  • 353. Southside Daddi-o  |  January 24, 2013 at 6:50 pm

    @348 Is a small slice of Portage Park the only non-Tier 4 that’s predominantly white?

  • 354. AC IB mom  |  January 24, 2013 at 6:51 pm

    @352 – You are right. But I don’t think that area is primarily white though and I think they were trying to find a non-tier 4 area that is. The grade school is 81% Hispanic and almost 12% white. Not that that represents the area completely, but I do think the Tier 3 part of Portage Park is probably primarily Hispanic.

  • 355. HS Mom  |  January 24, 2013 at 7:00 pm

    @353 No – the newest condos and townhouses in Olde Town north and south of Division Street are tier 1 and 2.

  • 356. anonymouse teacher  |  January 24, 2013 at 7:30 pm

    Aren’t parts of Andersonville/Edgewater tier 4? I think those are predominantly Latino and AA, though probably not by much.

  • 357. SoxSideIrish4  |  January 24, 2013 at 8:02 pm

    #349~ teacher in Englewood~ha, I found it ridiculous that CPS doesn’t proof their emails, has to send out numerous ones after making mistakes~BUT I heard some parents were really offended.

  • 358. anonymouse teacher  |  January 24, 2013 at 8:36 pm

    My school gets letters from the board. At 1 p.m. These MUST go out today!!!! So the clerks run around like mad women printing and copying and distributing. Then, at 2:15 p.m., around 30% of the time, they get an “emergency” email. Don’t send out those letters, we have a correction. Oh, and they still all HAVE to go out, today, by 3 p.m. Sorry, but this and a million other reasons are why all us teachers think the BOE are complete idiots. (btw, when they do that, I purposely “forget” to send out those vital letters–and they are NEVER vital, just CPS propaganda–and send them the next day. They can tell me what to do, but they really can’t make me do it in many cases.)

  • 359. RL Julia  |  January 24, 2013 at 9:56 pm

    SSD – Just out of curiosity, what’s your point about tier 4 neighborhoods being predominantly white – conspiracy? I am using the radical cartography maps which I think are pretty accurate – although it is hard to superimpose them with the tier maps to get a true comparison though.

  • 360. RL Julia  |  January 24, 2013 at 10:04 pm

    Hedgewisch might also be tier 2…

  • 361. Casey T  |  January 25, 2013 at 3:15 am

    In much the same way that some creative thinking people will rent one of the few apartments in the New Trier school district in order to be able to attend New Trier H.S., would’nt it be worth it for a parent of some means (black or white) to find a favorable apartment in a slice of an otherwise undesireable tier for the purpose of having an address that would better qualify the chances to get into a selective enrollment school ? Even “bad” neighborhoods have not so bad enclaves that a family would be able to suck it up for a year, and once enrolled in the Selective School of their choice, move back to their home.

  • 362. spain980wtf  |  January 25, 2013 at 7:10 am

    361 that has been done, but no one lives in the apt, it is merely a mailing address.

  • 363. Casey T  |  January 25, 2013 at 8:06 am

    @362 – then problem solved. Even in area like Roseland, Lawndale, Englewood – that as a whole qualify for the higher rating to get into Selective Enrollment Schools, – there are nice slices, slivers, that are’nt as bad as the rest of the area. And once the student is enrolled in the school, nothing in the law says the family has to continue living there.

  • 364. Casey T  |  January 25, 2013 at 8:08 am

    I doubt CPS, if the way they research Free Lunch application certification is any indication, will send dectectives to follow students from their selective enrollment school to their homes to see if they really live there – unlike the cops Oak Park hires to make sure kids from Austin are not illegally attending OPRF High School.

  • 365. WRP Mom  |  January 25, 2013 at 8:38 am

    @353, parts of West Ridge, where I live, are tiers 2 & 3.

  • 366. klm  |  January 25, 2013 at 10:58 am

    @362 and others RE: quasi-fake addresses

    We all know this goes on. The debate becomes an ethical one more than a legal one at some point. CPS doesn’t have the resources and God knows the last thing CPS needs is another special bureaucratic ‘Department of Tier Cheaters and Liars Investigation..’ created that takes resources out of the classroom.

    Yes, it tempting for some to rent a studio apartment or room at a SRO in the ghetto few a few months during Admission Season and avoid paying $15k/year at SICP or (God Forbid) $30k/year at the British School, Roycemore or Latin for HS. We’re talking savings of $60-120k per child for private HS in many instances. For my family (I have way more kids than I ever thought I would, but I’m happy and grateful for how things turned out) we’re talking potentially several hundreds of thousands of after-tax dollars (which is likely over $1m of before-tax income –ouch, indeed). Yes, it would benefit my family to lie and say that my spouse and I are “separated”, so that one of us with joint-custody now lives in a $400/mo matchbox in a Tier 1 neighborhood. Then again, I have to live with myself and what kind of role model would I be to my kids, “Hey, you know what? It’s easier to lie and cheat your way through life than be honest, so be a liar and cheater like me”.

    Yes, the fact that it’s easier for a student with a Tier 1 address to get into Payton or Northside than it is for a Tier 4 student to get into Lane Tech is enough to stir up enough questions of “fairness” for some Tier 4 or Tier 3 families to justify their unethical behavior. However, right is right and wrong is wrong, no matter how one slices and dices it.

    The vast majority of CPS families play by the rules, fair and square, so how is it in any way OK when other don’t –I don’t care about circumstances (we all have ‘circumstances’ in life).

    It’s easy to lie and cheat one’s way to life, which is why the right path is virtually always the harder one.

    OK, I guess you get my point Sorry for the diatribe, but the thought of a dishonest family taking away a place from a more deserving kid at a decent school really is upsetting. Somebody always pays the price for other peoples’ bad behavior.

  • 367. Gobemouche  |  January 25, 2013 at 11:11 am

    Agreed that it would be unethical (and illegal) to rent an apartment in a low tier to gain enrollment in a SEHS and not actually kive there. But, *if you are already a renter* then you could move to a lower tier during 8th grade for the application process and then move out again right after you get your acceptance letter. Since you would really live there for a while, where does that fall ethically?

  • 368. Gobemouche  |  January 25, 2013 at 11:12 am

    ^live, not kive.

  • 369. Casey T  |  January 25, 2013 at 11:21 am

    @ Kim 366 – I think there is a societal benefit, however, if moving (and I mean ACTUALLY moving) into the “ghetto” by middle to upper middle class families is a carrot at the end of the stick, then it would be a good thing to help economically integrate communities. In much the same way there was a program for teachers and policemen and firemen to get tax breaks, closing costs, and lower prices on homes in Englewood. A police officer bought a two flat on my block as part of the program – lived here the five year minimum and promptly moved out and now rents both apartments. Did he game the system ? Maybe. But at least there is a cop that routinely is on the block, checking on his property, and by extension, all the other homes on the block.

    If a family is really committed to be an urban pioneer, I have no problem with that.

    However, it should be easy for CPS to detect the fraudsters- e.g. someone that lives on Beverly’s Longwood Drive suddenly moves to 63rd and Halsted around the time of application for SES admissions. Maybe there should be a length of time requirement for the new address, such as having lived in the ‘hood for two years prior to application period ?

  • 370. Even One More CPS Mom  |  January 25, 2013 at 11:23 am

    @ Gobemouche – Do people really do that? That sounds pretty out there.

  • 371. LuvSpain2  |  January 25, 2013 at 11:23 am

    367 total bs ethically

  • 372. reasons67+68  |  January 25, 2013 at 11:25 am

    366. i would be happy head the Department of Tier Cheaters and Liars Investigation. Don’t mind meeting the residency requirement and would love the pay + benefits.

  • 373. Casey T  |  January 25, 2013 at 11:39 am

    And @ Kim 366 – isn’t the excuse all kinds of illegal or unethical behavior is that its all good if it is done for “the kids”. ?
    We tolerate the economic bursting of the system by illegal immigrants because they want a better life for their kids…..we tax ourselves into the poor house to provide food, shelter, education, healthcare, transportation, etc. for the sake, largely, of other people’s kids….we allow Rahm Emmanuel to set up speed trap cameras to make money for the city, “for the kids”, even though its proven that cameras do not save lives….
    so if a family feels it needs to go to this extreme measure “for the sake of their kids”, I ain’t mad at ’em.

  • 374. HS Mom  |  January 25, 2013 at 11:39 am

    368, 370 – Exactly! Legitimate moves for greater access to schools. 370 – tons of people rent. Especially if they have been foreclosed (and arguably lower tier income wise). How many times do we see people posting here that say they are looking to move but will wait until they find out what school their kid gets into before they buy a place.

    That’s why the system needs to change and not be address based.

  • 375. HS Mom  |  January 25, 2013 at 11:42 am

    @372 – pay and benefits?? CPS could probably get a crop of volunteers on this one. Maybe Mayfair Dad. 🙂

  • 376. klm  |  January 25, 2013 at 11:47 am

    @367

    Well, I guess if, for example, a family moved from a Tier 4 to a Tier 1 neighborhood and actually lived there, then that’s no real issue. I know I’ve mentioned before that the Tiers may be an incentive for more middle-class people people to move into a Tier 1 neighborhood –social engineering of a sort. Poorer neighborhoods can always use more middle-class families. The problem is, if one has a kid at a neighborhood school like Bell or Edgebrook, one would have to take one’s kids out and put them in the local school. On the other hand, if one’s kids already go magnets, RGCs, etc., it wouldn’t matter.

    I know I mentioned this before, but one my friends that lives in Lincoln Park mentioned starting a “house swap” system whereby Tier 4 and Tier 1 families could switch homes for a while for their mutual benefit (the Tier 4 family has a much easier time getting their kid into a SEHS and the Tier 1 family gets to live in a presumptive ‘nicer’ neighborhood for a while). I think she wasn’t entirely joking, either.

    If people actually live at the address they use, I don’t believe it’s an issue. It’s the people that benefit from lying about where they actually live that I have an issue with.

    If a Tier 4 family honest-to-God moves to a Tier 1 neighborhood, good for them –their kids will have an easier time getting into a SE school and they are most likely helping a struggling neighborhood become more stable. Yes, their move may be motivated by a desire to increase their kid’s chance of getting a better education, but people do that all the time. How many people have move into the Lincoln/Edgebrook/Bell School District for no other reason than for their kids to go to Lincoln/Edgebrook/Bell Elementary? People move to Wilmette so that their kids can go to New Trier, so what’s wrong with a family of a 7th grader moving to a Tier 1 neighborhood so that their kid can go to Jones, WY or Payton? As long as they’re being honest by actually living there, then nothing.

    The thing is, people usually always move up the socioeconomic ladder (neighborhood-wise) in order to provide their kids with a good public education, so it’s kinda’ hard to get used to the idea that many Chicago families would purposely move down the ladder to do the same.

  • 377. Gobemouche  |  January 25, 2013 at 11:52 am

    370 – I don’t know if people really do that or not. It just occurred to me that there are a lot of renters in the city. In fact, aren’t there more renters than owners in the city? So this probably happens, maybe without people even doing it in purpose…a happy accident for them I guess. I’m not sure its a problem, if you are already a renter. Lets say your lease is up right around your kid’s 8th grade year…what tier the apartment is in has got to be on your mind, right? So, you pick the tier 2 over the tier 4 apartment. You live there for a year until your lease is up again. And then…maybe you stay or maybe you move. Either way, it might be one of the few benefits of renting versus owning in this city.

    Casey makes an interesting point – that there could be some socio-economic benefits to that situation. Maybe.

  • 378. Gobemouche  |  January 25, 2013 at 11:55 am

    Klm- we must have posted at the same time. I really enjoyed your thoughts on this. You said what I was thinking, but couldn’t articulate.

  • 379. local  |  January 25, 2013 at 12:04 pm

    From Catalyst’s blog: “Ten to 15 years after leaving neighborhoods of concentrated poverty, children of the Moving to Opportunity program, which uses federal funds to help poor families move out of high-poverty neighborhoods, are in most ways no better off than their peers who stayed put, new findings from an ongoing study suggest, Education Week reports.”

  • 380. HSObsessed  |  January 25, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    If any of you are looking to live in a lower tier without actually sacrificing your lifestyle, there’s this building, a stone’s throw from the Lincoln Park Whole Foods, and a certified Tier 2 address:

    http://www.sonoeast.com/amenities/

  • 381. Southside Daddi-o  |  January 25, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    @377 “In fact, aren’t there more renters than owners in the city?” Dunno, but let’s say 50/50. Renters don’t pay thousands of dollars in property taxes which are dollars used for funding CPS. How many people in Tiers 1 & 2 are renters vs property owners?

    If you have a bad HS option (MPHS, for example), and you send your money to CPS to cover your kids education, I can see the enticement of spending ~$2000 to rent a studio in a tenement building in a Tier 1 until your kid gets in. I personally wouldn’t do it, but, as Chris Rock once said, “I can relate.”

    Also, what happens if you move? So, if you get into WY using an address of 2800 W Madison, then change your address to 800 N Lake Shore Drive, are you removed from WY?

  • 382. averagemom  |  January 25, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    Once you start at a high school, It’s yours unless you leave the city. Even if it’s a neighborhood school. I think if you move you can transfer to the new neighborhood high school, but you don’t have to.

  • 383. Patricia  |  January 25, 2013 at 12:42 pm

    @318 klm – great post. Thanks!

    @ Casey, I enjoy your honesty and not sugar coating things. Thanks.

    On another note, let’s not kid ourselves. IF there is any increase in taxes…………….it will be to pay for public employee pensions. NOT education.

    As others have pointed out, there is a lot of money in CPS, but is it spent wisely? Waste at central office, pension perk scams, stockpiling vacation time, that expensive espresso maker scandal………all of it our tax dollars wasted and not used for the benefit of the students.

  • 384. Gobemouche  |  January 25, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    381 – Renters pay rent, which obviously includes the landlord’s property taxes. No one is going to rent an apartment out that doesn’t cover those costs.

  • 385. Gobemouche  |  January 25, 2013 at 12:51 pm

    380 – Holy bleep! That’s a snazzy building. Yeah, they’ll get this one “off” tier year, and then the tiers will get tweaked again next year. So this will get fixed, right? Uh, sure.

  • 386. Gobemouche  |  January 25, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    381 – Nope. You don’t have to change schools once you’re in a Selective enrollment or magnet. Can you imagine the chaos that would cause? You get into a gifted program in K, and then you can’t move for 9 years? Or, because people move and have to leave the school , every year there’s a mass turnover of students? No.

  • 387. SoxSideIrish4  |  January 25, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    #383~Patricia~True any increase of taxes will NOT go to kids but will be used by CPS for their inflated earnings and increasing central office by hiring more inflated earners in ridiculously created job titles, give more money to Murdoch/Wireless Gen for high stake testing, milk money scam, etc. but NOT for CPS kids.

  • 388. Patricia  |  January 25, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    SSI–well, CPS won’t get any more money to spend for good or bad purposes. It will all go to fund public sector pensions. There will be zero gain and probably a significant loss for education funding. The Illinois version of the fiscal cliff. There is bandwidth for little else in Springfield.

  • 389. CPS Parent  |  January 25, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    You can easily make the argument that the reason CPS is poorly run or suffers from high turnover is because the salaries for its leadership are too low. How can you possibly attract the best candidates when the CEO makes only 250k for running a 5.5 billion dollar enterprise and the city’s largest employer? Principals make half of that for running ONE school.

  • 390. local  |  January 25, 2013 at 1:51 pm

    You know how Realators market housing “address in X school boundry”? Now they should insert the year’s “tier”.

  • 391. Casey T  |  January 25, 2013 at 1:52 pm

    @376 – Kim:
    you said:
    “People move to Wilmette so that their kids can go to New Trier, so what’s wrong with a family of a 7th grader moving to a Tier 1 neighborhood so that their kid can go to Jones, WY or Payton? As long as they’re being honest by actually living there, then nothing.”

    In that scenario, moving into a Tier 1 neighborhood, after having the benefit of an excellent Tier 4 neighborhood education, and thereby knocking out a space for a kid that lived in Tier 1 their whole life, would seem to be on the same level – that many people here complain about – as the student that went to Lab School for 9 years and then, because of their better academic preparation snag a spot in a selective enrollment school, at the expense of a kid that spent all 9 years in CPS. I have heard that lament many times.

  • 392. local  |  January 25, 2013 at 1:54 pm

    Make that Realtor.

  • 393. local  |  January 25, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    I might be mistaken, but I bet most students from Tier 1 who are admitted to Young, Jones and Payton are likely higher SES or beneficiaries of better ed opportunities prior to HS than most their neighbor peers. I have no data. Just MHO.

  • 394. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  January 25, 2013 at 2:04 pm

    Some people have provided useful information, but there’s still a lot of incorrect information out there. First, Illinois state gives a low level of education funding to the localities compared to most other states.

    Second, per pupil spending is hard to calculate in meaningful terms without really getting into the nitty gritty. For example, special ed is very expensive, so unless that is backed out, a school with twice the number of special ed students will see a much higher overal per pupil spending rate. The budget formula cited above allocates positions, not salaries. Similarly, take two schools, each with 400 students. At school A, two teachers are younger, making $60k each. At school B, two are nearing retirement w/ PHds, making $80k each. That $40k net salary difference creates a $100 per pupil gap between the schools.

    Third, I hate to break it to people, but Lincoln Park area schools raise over $300,000 per year in parent fundraising, most of it from pledge drives. And only about half the parents contribute at some, and certainly not equally. That’s just a fact of life. We have affluent families that don’t donate, and poor ones that do, but certainly having lots of affluent families helps. I’ve given $1200 in pledge drive money each year, plus several hundred dollars in non-reimbursed purchases. Others do far more. And we are still not close to being satisfied. At my school, our goal is to raise at least $400,000 this year, and we won’t be really happy unless we are close to $500k. Is this fair? I find it hard to answer that question, but I will say that this is possible only because the government allows this. It would be quite simple to bar contributions to individual schools for salaried positions. You could give to CPS, but CPS would decide where to allocate the funds. This private supplement to public education is possible because CPS allows us to write a check into the internal accounts of our school, which then transfer it into the board-funded account.

    Fourth, be wary of international comparisons. In fact, Korea and France spend more or the same as the US as a percentage of GDP for primary and secondary education but Germany and Japan spend much less (Char B2.2). See http://www.oecd.org/edu/CN%20-%20United%20States.pdf When you compare per-pupil expenditure for primary and secondary ed to per capita GDP, the US spends close to what you would expect. France spends less on primary but more on secondary by this measure.

  • 395. local  |  January 25, 2013 at 2:07 pm

    @383. Patricia

    No more worries about CPS employees (teachers/school staff) “stockpiling vacation time” anymore. It’s use it or lose it. So, more subs are needed to cover time the teachers will need (or want) to take during the school year.

  • 396. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  January 25, 2013 at 2:11 pm

    See Chart B1.5 here http://www.oecd.org/edu/CN%20-%20United%20States.pdf for the per pupil x per capita expenditures. Canada consistently underspends on both.

    Everyone loves Singapore, but it has a pop. of about 5.1 million, less than NYC. Chicago has a 2.7 million pop. But imagine if Chicago said that it was going to screen teachers, hire them, and then train them (so they are paid by the government to be trained to teach), and then assign them to roughly three types of classes — those whose students do poorly, those that do OK, and those that excel — and evaluate them relative to the type of classes they teach. That’s what Singapore does.

  • 397. Patricia  |  January 25, 2013 at 2:20 pm

    @395 – Yes, glad Rahm got rid of that archaic outdated sick policy throughout all the Chicago public sector employees and actually provides real maternity leave, etc. About time to get into this centrury!

  • 398. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  January 25, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    For Singapore, see this exchange: http://www.ncee.org/2012/03/global-perspectives-vivien-stewart-pasi-sahlberg-and-lee-sing-kong-discuss-teacher-quality/

    Lee says:

    One good thing, or rather a controversial thing, is that we stream students into various streams so therefore the expectation of how the student performs in each of the classrooms is clear. Let’s say a teacher teaches students that are less academically inclined, and the student performance is not good. You can look at other factors as contributing to why the students are not learning rather than just place the total responsibility on the teacher.

  • 399. HS Mom  |  January 25, 2013 at 2:28 pm

    Casey 391 I agree. It seems, like yourself, there are a number of tier1/2 kids that do get into selective and magnet schools that are well prepared for SEHS – just as much as any tier 4 kid. Due to the small ratio of seats to qualified students, these are the kids that get in. As 393 Local suggests.

    In the case of a school like Northside that does not have the diversity and an extreme range of scores between tier 1 and 4 you may have people with similar income/background “getting a break”. I’m not sure how much of that goes on but it happens even using legitimate addresses. I’m not sure that I’m comfortable with the level of “impreciseness” in the system.

  • 400. Casey T  |  January 25, 2013 at 2:37 pm

    @HSM-399 – the egalitarian solution would be to elminate the whole gifted/selective/ etc. labels and fund / send kids to schools in their neighborhoods. I can recall in the old days before all these labeled schools, kids all went to school together – and the smart kids would help the kids that needed a boost – all under the same roof. Yes, those of us that read or did math at a higher level would get different work (like the old SRA Reading program that was color coded based on ability) but we were all together, working together.
    As I have said previously, I think the stratification is something the parents get a bigger kick out of than the kids – parents like to boast that their kid is at Jones or Northside or WY etc. – as if it is a reflection/extention of them – living their own dreams through the kids. And the kid that does not get into SES has the stigma of going to their neighborhood school and basically having the scarlet letter on their transcripts and applications for college and university.
    Something about the whole system just does not seem right.

  • 401. Paul  |  January 25, 2013 at 2:39 pm

    @394 Christopher Ball, don’t those Lincoln Park area schools get less state and federal discretionary money because of their affluence? I thought their high fundraising was merely making up for the government money they would have received if they predominantly low-income.

  • 402. Casey T  |  January 25, 2013 at 2:40 pm

    And yes, 399, we put the work in with our children. It is not rocket science. Did not buy fancy things like Leap Frog or spent money on tutors and Sylvan, etc. Old school methods such as flash cards, logical sequence testings, reading to your children, having magazines like Boys Life, Highlights, Weekly Readers, etc. have stood the test of time – and are proven successful.

  • 403. cpsobsessed  |  January 25, 2013 at 3:02 pm

    @CaseyT, I think that older way of stratifying kids within a school/class (aka tracking?) went out of favor in education some years ago. That’s the impression I’ve gotten as parents have pushed to get more differentiation going. Supposedly the thinking was that kids ended up getting labeled as being in the smart or “dumb” group. The things you’re talking about from the good old days are still done by parents with the means/abilities – but of course is what is sadly lacking in homes of other CPS kids.

  • 404. Casey T  |  January 25, 2013 at 3:15 pm

    @403 – Flash cards are cheap. As is a subscription to a magazine or two. Far cheaper than hair weave, manicures, tatoos, cell phones and cable TV. But its a matter of priorities I guess.

    As far as the labeling, what is a greater label for a kid, when he is asked, “what school do you attend ?” and he bows his head and says (Austin, Robeson, Harper, etc).

  • 405. WindyCity  |  January 25, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    @397 ~ Patricia, I have to play Devil’s advocate here. I haven’t missed more than a day or two in years. The exception was with my maternity leaves (we used up our banked sick days for leaves to be paid). When I’m not in my room teaching because they are with a sub, little to no instruction takes place. It makes a big difference when a classroom teacher takes time off. I don’t like it for my students nor for my own children. Now with the “use it or lose it” policy teachers, including me, will be taking more time than ever. Schools can’t always be run like a business. It’s bad for our students all the way around.

  • 406. RL Julia  |  January 25, 2013 at 3:24 pm

    @401 Paul – yes, those more affluent schools get less money which may be made up by fund raising but they also have student bodies who generally arrive at school better prepared to learn with fewer long term barriers to learning hence the money can be used not to meet basic needs not being met by the community or parents but for more meaningful or enriching extras.

  • 407. klm  |  January 25, 2013 at 3:26 pm

    @391 and 399

    Well, yes you have a philosophical point, but as for strict public policy rules, we can’t discriminate for or against somebody because of where they went to K-8, as long as they are Chicago residents and are not lying about their address.

    Also, anybody familiar with with many of the good K-8 private schools in Chicago (City Day, Sacred Heart, Catherine Cook, etc.) knows that many of the students don’t come from privileged backgrounds (there are scholarship students at these kinds of schools). Those kids need an education, too. I suppose it’s possible for a family of high-powered, two high-income professionals to move from, say, Lakeview to the tier 1 part of Humbolt Park, but it’s not very likely, from what I know. If the school thing doesn’t work out for people like this, they go private or move to a place like Hinsdale or the North Shore. I can’t imagine that there are many families of senior partners at Big Name Law firms that would consider moving to a Tier 1 neighborhood for the possibility (no guarantee) that one of their kids might get into a SEHS.

    Rules are rules. As long as people follow them correctly, how can we second guess too much? Social engineering always involves a certain amount of unintended consequences, whether we like it or not.

    Now, if you don’t like the rules (Tier system, etc.), go ahead and complain and debate all you want.

  • 408. Casey T  |  January 25, 2013 at 3:29 pm

    @windycity – 397
    The sad fact is that several abusers ruined the program for everyone. I know of several principals that got 6 figure checks for unsed sick time when they retired (the system could not cut a check for over $33,333, so they got 3 or 4 checks.
    Or they applied the time to their years of service and enriched their pensions, which has an even longer term negative impact on district’s finances.

  • 409. Bookworm  |  January 25, 2013 at 3:36 pm

    I think the problem in comparing international spending on education is the difference in the safety nets in each country. For instance in social democracies children tend to be far less at risk to be hungry and living in extremely terrible public housing. This creates a different baseline for how spending on education alone affects students. Extremely few to no students in Europe are homeless. Even in Spain and Greece right now.

    Universal health care contributes to healthier parents and children over all. Parental leaves create an optimum environment for a large number of more mid to lower level income parents being able to remain home with young children. It all adds up.

  • 410. cpsobsessed  |  January 25, 2013 at 3:43 pm

    @local: interesting question about the tier1 kids in the top SEHS schools. Based on the data that WBEZ had last year, I’d guess a lot of those kids are coming from the classical and gifted programs and magnets – so may have had a leg up early with parents who wanted to get them into better schools, combined with more advanced classwork. Just my speculation. From the score range, there are kids from every tier scoring at the top of the scale.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 411. averagemom  |  January 25, 2013 at 3:50 pm

    Did you read the Tribune article about the kid going to Washinton for the national science fair? He seems to come from a tier 1 kind of background. He was given a scholarship to lab school, but I’m sure could have gone to one of the SE schools. I wish my kids had the drive he has.

  • 412. Casey T  |  January 25, 2013 at 4:10 pm

    I guess moving to find a good situation is a universal thing in education. Such as the SAT’s Merit Scholar Program. The qualifying SAT score for a kid from New York State or California is higher than a kid from Mississippi or South Dakota. So would someone move to the sticks for a year so that their kid could be a Merit Scholar and the resulting scholarships that go along with it – and in so doing, knock out a native born kid from that state ?

  • 414. Patricia  |  January 25, 2013 at 5:15 pm

    @WindyCity. I do agree that it is better for a good teacher to be in the classroom instead of a sub. No argument from me there. It is unfortunate that in the public sector sick days are treated as personal days. It certainly is not just CPS, but many local government offices—federal seems to be a different dynamic. I have seen first hand that employees plan and use sick time as soon as it is accrued or combine sick days to take a nice size break. In contrast, many private sector cultures frown upon using any sick days unless—-you are really sick.

    I also think in the negotiations, the teachers were able to keep all they accrued to date, they just can’t stockpile more because they now get real maternity leave (ST disability) insurance like the rest of the workforce.

    Yes, @CaseyT, there are a plethora of vacation boondoggles. I also have a relative who pulls a double pension from serving two different roles during his teaching career. Even he feels guilty about the double dipping, but it is all legal.

    Independent of whether or not public sector employees use sick days as personal days, it seems much more logical to offer an up-to-date maternity leave given that the majority of the teaching workforce is female.

  • 415. Gobemouche  |  January 25, 2013 at 5:18 pm

    406- RLJulia- yes, those kids might be better prepared academically, but that doesn’t buy copy paper. Sure, the kids at our school are well prepared and have parents who support them. Further, we have very few low income kids, and consequently get almost zero discretionary dollars. A sizable portion of our PTO money goes to basic necessities like copy machines and toner and books, not enrichment programs.

  • 416. local  |  January 25, 2013 at 5:40 pm

    Attending Ray & Kenwood back in the day: Interesting story…

    http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/teacher-lincoln-brown-sues-cps-over-nword/Content?oid=8556801

  • 417. RL Julia  |  January 25, 2013 at 5:47 pm

    414 – Patricia. Sick days in the public sector. They are accrued but at least the City of Chicago doesn’t pay out for them. You leave/retire and you lose them. It has been this way for at least eight years. Additionally, they are only to be used for days when you or your immeadiate family are sick or going to the doctor/dentist. A close eye is kept on employees who use sick days especially if they take them on Monday or Friday. Each employee accrues one sick day per month. If you take one sick day per month, you will be thoroughly scrutinized/questioned by your boss -at least in my department. Since until recently the city offered no paid maternity leave, anyone planning on having a child would be wise to save their sick time in order to have their maternity leave paid for at least in part. Ditto any catastrophic illness. I think that might have changed. It also used to be that you accrued vacation the prior year. Additionally, at least in my department, we cannot take more than ten consequetive business days off for any reason.

    My husband works in the private sector and I would agree that I have almost always had a more generous benefits packet (except when he worked for a multinational based in Great Britain) than he has but he has always had a lot more autonomy and a lot less scrutiny about how he uses his time off than I have. Nothing’s for nothing.

  • 418. RL Julia  |  January 25, 2013 at 5:48 pm

    @415 – I don’t think that the schools getting more Title 1 money have those things either.

  • 419. Patricia  |  January 25, 2013 at 6:16 pm

    @RL Julia, I am glad that some public sector departments scrutinize sick time to truly be used for sick time. I have seen first hand the opposite and when the employee is questioned heavily, the union rep steps in and buffers things for mgt to back off. However, there are rules about Mon and Friday, which lessens abuse, but have seen clever ways around that too.

    I do think it is a culture difference in how the public sector offices are run vs. private sector. Yours seems to be one of the better ones and as a taxpayer, I am glad to hear it! Public sector tends to treat sick days as entitled personal days and private sector treats them as sick days. There is less abuse of maxing out sick time in private sector, which probably leads to less scrutiny when time is taken off.

    It does seem that Rahm fixed a lot of the technical details to the archaic stockpiling sick day policies, but changing the culture of treating sick days as personal days is harder to accomplish.

  • 420. HSObsessed  |  January 25, 2013 at 9:43 pm

    The principal of Jones wrote a letter to me today allaying my concerns about the transition, LOL. Sharing with you for general info:

    January 25, 2013

    Dear Prospective Jones Parents and Students,

    The number of students seeking admission to Jones College Prep and other selective enrollment high schools has grown steadily in recent years; the number of seats for incoming freshmen has not kept pace with this growth. Earlier this week it was announced that Jones will expand by merging the present building with the new facility soon to open next door.

    Merging the two facilities will allow Jones to accept 425 new freshmen and expand our enrollment over the next 4 years to approximately 1700 students. Of the 425 seats, 350 will be selective enrollment and 75 will be for our new Pre-Law and Pre-Engineering Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs for students living in the vicinity of the school. The Jones expansion will provide hundreds of well-qualified Chicago students greater opportunity to attend one of the best high schools in the country.
    The current Jones building will become the North Campus, and the new facility the South Campus. Between now and the opening of school next fall, the North Campus will undergo significant renovation, including the repurposing of some instructional spaces to provide additional art, physical education, and media center space. A covered walkway will link the two buildings on the ground floor level. Both buildings will serve students in grades nine through twelve.

    I can assure you that our growth in enrollment will not alter the essential character and mission of Jones College Prep, as stated in our “Ideal Graduate at Graduation” vision statement. Our goal will remain to provide all our students with the best possible education in a safe and caring environment. Our signature “Freshman Connection” and “College Knowledge” programs, as well as our Honors/ Advanced Placement curriculum and rich extra-curricular programs will continue to serve the needs of all Jones students.

    After selective enrollment letters go out in February, we will be holding “Freshman Welcome” meetings during the first week of March so that applicants can learn more about the school prior to the acceptance deadline. Specific dates and times will be included in the invitation letters from Jones.

    If you have selected Jones College Prep, you can be confident that we are committed to our mission to help students develop themselves as leaders through a rigorous college prep program that focuses on educating the whole person.

    If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me at any time at 773-534-8606 or pjpowers@cps.edu.

    Sincerely,

    P. Joseph Powers, Ph.D.
    Principal

  • 421. HS Mom  |  January 26, 2013 at 1:42 pm

    Saw this article and thought about this thread. The best and cheapest time to buy tickets…..drum roll…..49 days for domestic and 81 days for international. Premium paid for booking tickets too far in advance.

    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/when-is-the-optimal-time-to-book-a-flight–181159230.html

  • 422. SoxSideIrish4  |  January 26, 2013 at 6:18 pm

    I think it’s odd that Spring Break will always be the 3rd week in April and PSAE will always be the PSAE Wed they come back. I’m surprised CPS/CTU agreed to this. The 2013-14 calendar will not be amended since this was timeline was agreed to by both parties. I think once CPS gets the tests back, they will change Spring Break from the 3rd week in April. This does not serve our Juniors in HS well. Obviously, NEITHER side put the kids first.

  • 423. cpsobsessed  |  January 26, 2013 at 6:53 pm

    @HS Mom: Yahoo fed me that article on best times to book a flight too! The domestic time pretty much fits with my experience. I guess the benefit to booking earlier is if you set up notifications so you can book during the brief moments if fares temporarily drop??

  • 424. jes  |  January 28, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    “The proposed calendar is being released today, but will go before the Chicago Board of Education for approval on Wednesday, January 23.” — have we heard if the proposed calendar was officially approved?

  • 425. SoxSideIrish4  |  January 28, 2013 at 1:02 pm

    #424~it was approved.

  • 426. HS Mom  |  January 28, 2013 at 2:28 pm

    @422 – SSI – Now that we have totally scrutinized and trashed your ski trip, a question. I understand and respect that the calendar planning involves teachers and that they should have their say. In the quest to spread out holidays, perhaps teachers did not fully consider the Columbus day/Presidents switch. All the college campuses are offering open house on Presidents day (not a teacher thing but putting it out). And, yes, walking outside without my winter coat today, the thought of putting the cross country skies into the car and taking a drive is attractive. I think the Feb weekends have more opportunity than Oct. Just my thought.

    If teachers decided they feel differently, could they switch back?

  • 427. SoxSideIrish4  |  January 28, 2013 at 3:05 pm

    #426~HS Mom~ Ha~I never mind being scrutinized for my parenting. I will always do what I believe is best for my family…and since I deem the CPS calendar too long between Feb – Spring Break w/out a break, my family will be taking days off for long weekends, one of them being President’s day. I make no apologies.

    As for the calendar, it’s my understanding that CPS/CTU agreed to these days…and many parents chimed in that they wanted Columbus Day off 2, especially if kids were starting a week earlier. We go away for Columbus Day every yr (as many families do), so I think many parents wanted it off. As for President’s Day, it’s a federal mandated holiday, I wondered why we didn’t have it off also (Although my kids will be taking it off).

    I don’t think teachers could switch it~since it was a collaborative issue between the two. I also think CPS BOE doesn’t want to have to amend the calendar after all the flak they took for it this year.

  • 428. HS Mom  |  January 28, 2013 at 3:18 pm

    Ok – sounds like you sat in on the meeting – so good to know. I guess the only thing on those college visits would be if the school excuses the day. I’ll have to find out.

  • 429. SoxSideIrish4  |  January 28, 2013 at 3:58 pm

    #428~HS Mom~I would def talk to the school to see if your child could be excused. And no, I didn’t sit in on the meeting~if I did, we’d have more days off!

  • 430. anonymouseteacher  |  January 28, 2013 at 7:48 pm

    @426, to be honest, I never even seriously looked at the calendar other than to consider when the 20th day of school would be. The only reason I looked at that is out of concern that we won’t have our full student body back, our teaching positions will be cut or not given, and then 2 weeks later, we’ll be scrambling (for the entire rest of the year) because of the silly 20th day rule. I don’t care so much which holidays are off and which are not. And for me, there are so many more important issues, the calendar isn’t very high on my priority list. At this point, I am far more concerned about the “give NWEAs, don’t give NWEA’s, no, wait, you do have to give them and you have to do it tomorrow…” nonsense.

  • 431. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  January 28, 2013 at 10:11 pm

    @401 Paul: Yes, they get less or no Title I money, but the orignal Title I amounts were so low (less than $500 per student) that contributions and collected students fees more than make up for the difference. No LP school was getting over $200k in Title I money in the recent past.

    As @406 points out, with more affluent students, you get better prepared students. Much of the money was spent on remedial programs when it was available.

  • 432. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  January 28, 2013 at 10:14 pm

    @421 The CheapAir survey used average prices, and the Yahoo article doesn’t address the variation by location. A NTY travel reporter found different results for specific markets at different times per year: See http://travel.nytimes.com/2012/04/15/travel/book-well-ahead-to-save-money-on-airfare.html

  • 433. lancaster  |  January 29, 2013 at 12:56 am

    I do not think President Lincoln will never be looked upon as being our President. I believe CPS only know him and give him credit as Lincoln’s Birthday. Yes, our former President is a State Holiday not a Federal Holiday like all our other Presidents.

  • 434. HS Mom  |  January 29, 2013 at 9:34 am

    Lancaster – thanks for reminding us about the unique importance of President Lincoln, a truly great man.

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  • 442. Alex  |  August 21, 2013 at 6:57 pm

    How nice, exactly for I have my out of state far away trip scheduled to end on the Labor day as usual. Because of this stupid change now my kid will have to be 1 week late for school!!!

  • 443. Alex  |  August 21, 2013 at 6:59 pm

    Variable school start day – is the dumbest thing ever! That’s how educational system starts teaching – dumb planning…

  • 444. Chris  |  August 22, 2013 at 11:48 am

    “How nice, exactly for I have my out of state far away trip scheduled to end on the Labor day as usual. Because of this stupid change now my kid will have to be 1 week late for school!!!”

    It’s been scheduled for 8/26 since January. It’s not like they changed it last month.

  • 445. Alex  |  August 22, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    It’s not like they communicated the change in January, of course.

  • 446. rachel miller  |  October 23, 2013 at 9:28 pm

    please email me a link to the current cps bell schedule for all schools as the Aesop system often does not list the correct start and/or end times. Rachel miller rachelnmnmiller@yahoo.com ps I emailed human resources this request, but so far I have not gotten a reply.

  • 447. Cassandra Dancy  |  January 23, 2014 at 7:33 am

    I think if it’s extremely cold out like today the students should get an excused absence. I don’t think that they should have to make up the days because that’s mother nature that’s totally unfair

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