Schools still possible for closing – 129 schools (20% of CPS)

February 13, 2013 at 7:44 pm 195 comments

Schools closing

So here’s the short list of schools still under consideration for closing.  The panel recommended to CPS that it might be more efficient to let people know which schools were being possibly targeted (as I’m sure they would like to reduce the amount of time they spend getting yelled at by people whose schools might not even be closing.)

I’m not familiar with many of these, but my own neighborhood school is on this list.  I’ve toured the school once about 5 years ago and it’s a really nice building at Foster and Ashland.  No playground, but it has a great auditorium which is a shame to waste given how few elem schools have one.  The other sad thing is that I’m fairly certain my neighborhood is filled with kids who are all going to other schools, private schools, and Catholic schools.  Trumbull could have been “Saved” if an interested parent group have taken up the cause, but sadly that didn’t happen.

Any comments on any other of these schools?


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WBEZ visits 2 Under-Enrolled schools The costs & savings of closing CPS schools (guest post with Seth Lavin)

195 Comments Add your own

  • 1. anonymouse teacher  |  February 13, 2013 at 8:09 pm

    Cpso, a mom did try and work on Trumbull, I remember reading about that in a local paper once….she was not received well, as I recall, by the administration.
    Reading this list, and I know it is totally selfish, all I can think is I am so glad I didn’t take either of the job offers I had in two of the schools on that list several years ago. My career would be over. I don’t believe for one minute that those staff members will be following their students en masse to their new schools. Some, maybe, most, I doubt it. I really hope the CTU is keeping data on this.

  • 2. Tchr  |  February 13, 2013 at 8:33 pm

    Jenner is a newer building, built in the maybe last ten years, in the middle of what once was Cabrini Green.

    No way Bethune will be closed, an AUSL school. Piccolo too- just closed, staff fired, and new hires this past year. Can’t see CPS breaking ties with that initiative.

  • 3. athens S  |  February 13, 2013 at 8:34 pm

    I bet the community meetings will get real interesting from here on out.

  • 4. another CPS mom  |  February 13, 2013 at 8:48 pm

    Isn’t Emanuel’s golden girl Zipporah Hightower (formerly of Kellogg fame – or infamy) still principal at Bethune?

  • 5. Anon  |  February 13, 2013 at 8:52 pm

    It’s clear to me that only one or maybe two of Brenneman/Stewart/Stockton/Trumbull will get the ax, since their borders run into each other. And I guess the ones that remain open will get the kids from the ones that are closing, unless some also head to Ravenswood, Peirce, and Goudy. They could also “de-magnetize” Courtenay, I guess. Glad our n’bood school isn’t on the list and doesn’t border any schools on the list- so much upheaval!

  • 6. Anonymous  |  February 13, 2013 at 9:01 pm

    Jenner and Manierre are very close to each other, however, Jenner is surrounded by empty land. I’m concerned they are being short-sighted if they consolidate or close them given that they may need more schools in the future when that land is developed. A new Target is going in nearby and there is potential for lots of development. CPS never seems to look into the future at all. And, yes, TCHR, Jennner is a beautiful, beautiful facility. It’d be a shame to close that building.

  • 7. Tchr  |  February 13, 2013 at 9:18 pm

    My guess is if they close it Jenner now, they can send the kids to different schools. Then when Cabrini is completely torn down down and new, expensive condos are built, they can reopen the school for the new, rich families that move into the newly developed area.

    Kinda like how NTA was built right by the Ickes and when the Ickes were torn down… south loop families wanted to move in!

    (Now NTA is the receiving school of students from a school closed last year. The transition has been tough for the new students adjusting to a strict environment, the old students adjusting to an influx of students, and staff both new and old.)

  • 8. HSObsessed  |  February 13, 2013 at 9:39 pm

    I found it interesting to look at the list of schools that were previously under consideration but now will not be closed, although they may be receiving schools for kids from closed schools. These include some that weren’t really a surprise to me since they’ve struggled for a long time to attract enough kids, like Hamilton and Prescott. But it also included Alcott ES, Oscar Mayer, Skinner North and Suder. I thought these all received way more applicants than they could accommodate during the testing or magnet lottery process, so I really don’t understand why they were under consideration. Also on the list was Alcott HS, which doesn’t bode well for it. (BTW, I saw some sort of notice or invitation from the Alcott HS staff encouraging 8th grade families to submit an application, which we did, and promising that they’d be holding sessions to explain their planned “re-boot” for the school, but I haven’t heard anything further on that. Has anyone else?)

  • 9. Cpser  |  February 13, 2013 at 9:48 pm

    Skinner North was probably on the original list because they are adding grades each year but aren’t done. They are maybe up to 5th? So maybe it looks “underutilized” just on pure numbers v. space. Thoughts?

  • 10. HSObsessed  |  February 13, 2013 at 9:54 pm

    @Cpser – Yes, that is one of the reasons given for taking schools off the list. Here’s the full list of reasons CPS gave for doling out reprieves:

    CPS will remove from potential closure those schools meeting the following criteria:

    High schools
    High performing, Level 1 schools
    Schools in the process of adding grades that are expected to reach efficient utilization based on enrollment trends
    Schools with greater than 600 students enrolled on 20th day of SY2012-13
    Schools with a utilization rate of at least 70% in SY2012-13
    Schools that have recently experienced a significant school action. This is defined as schools that have been a designated welcoming school in the last 3 years or were part of a co-location approved last year that went into effect this year
    Schools that are “on the rise” – defined as meeting one or both of the following:
    A. Level 2 schools that have gained enrollment over the last 3 years OR
    B. Any schools that are “sustainable and improving performance”. These schools meet ALL of the following:
    Greater than or equal to 300 students enrolled 20th day SY2012-13
    Same or higher performance level for SY2011-12 as SY2010-11
    ISAT composite meets / exceeds trend value that indicates increase in student proficiency
    Students are performing at or above their peers in reading or math for each of the last 3 years
    Schools that are isolated from nearby neighborhood elementary schools
    Schools that are surrounded by schools that are at or near capacity and do not have space to welcome students

    Sorry it removed the formatting.

    I also want to say I was sorry to see Brentano in Logan Square on the list. I know there are some very active parents there trying to save it in order to keep it as their neighborhood school. This is not the final list, though!

  • 11. Cpser  |  February 13, 2013 at 10:05 pm

    @HSObsessed thanks for the list. Given that Skinner North is SEES it probably is also Level 1, so is off the list for that reason too.

  • 12. athens S  |  February 13, 2013 at 10:17 pm

    Skinner North was never on any official list. There was a lot of speculation in the press, etc.

  • 13. athens S  |  February 13, 2013 at 10:18 pm

    The poorest areas got hit the hardest. Also, the areas with the most charter schools got hit the hardest.

  • 14. BuenaParkMom  |  February 13, 2013 at 10:43 pm

    There is absolutely no way they can close Stewart, Stockton, and Brenneman. It would leave Uptown from Irving Park to North of Wilson, from the Lakefront to Clark with no elementary school. CPS has spent a lot of capital funds on Stockton in the last year. I would not be surprised to see them perhaps close both Brennemann and Stewart and divide the students up between Stockton and maybe another school. I’m not sure if Greeley has the room to take on part of Buena Park or not. I do know McCutcheon, the next school north does not have room to take on students. I would be surprised if they don’t close Stewart, they have known they are likely to be closed for several years now. I will say knowing that pretty much every school in my neighborhood is currently slated for closure makes me feel better about the private school tuition I’m paying. At least I’m getting a stable system where I know the next year’s school calendar in December of the prior year along with stable aftercare and camps for the breaks out of school. All this instability in some CPS schools just can’t be good for kids. The sad thing is it probably is most likely to affect those children in situations that are already somewhat unstable in terms of home environment.

  • 15. willow  |  February 13, 2013 at 10:48 pm

    I think Seth Lavin’s tweet from earlier today sums up how everyone who has been following or involved in this process feels…. “If Rahm’s first term goal for education was to bewilder and demoralize everyone in Chicago who works directly with kids, hats off to him.”

  • 16. HSObsessed  |  February 13, 2013 at 10:48 pm

    Skinner North was on the list, which was just published today.

  • 17. mekhi maalika  |  February 13, 2013 at 10:59 pm

    I feel if the building is falling apart then close it. Some of these older schools are cruddy. Brennemann, Ross, Overton, Cook, Goldblatt, Kozminski, Manierre and probably more. Students deserve better. Duprey has so few students, I don’t know why it is still open. Von Humboldt has lost students also.

  • 18. mekhi maalika  |  February 13, 2013 at 11:09 pm

    Close Drake and send students to Pershing Middle. Pershing Middle shouldn’t close. It’s an old building, but kept up. Majority of these schools are in urban communities. What does that say about CPS? Why weren’t these buildings kept up?

  • 19. HSObsessed  |  February 13, 2013 at 11:19 pm

    Manierre’s building is falling apart? I’ve never been inside, but it looks very nice from the outside. Bricks in great condition, new windows, beautiful landscaping.

  • 20. mekhi maalika  |  February 13, 2013 at 11:24 pm

    @HSObessed…..inside…..the outside may look ok, but not really. Take a look inside.

  • 21. athens S  |  February 13, 2013 at 11:53 pm

    @16- Sorry, I ain’t buying the koolaid. Skinner North was never on any “real” list, in spite of the BS list of 330.

  • 22. HS Mom  |  February 13, 2013 at 11:53 pm

    6&7 Cabrini is completely gone. Residential is already built up. The people in the area don’t send their kids to the neighborhood schools now. Manierre and Jenner are way underutilized. There are also vacant schools in the area such as Near North Academy and another on Clybourn (maybe Quest?)

  • 23. Old Irving PK mom  |  February 14, 2013 at 12:24 am

    I don’t think it’s safe to assume that a school can be saved by an “interested parent group.” There are plenty of low-performing/mediocre schools where the administration does not welcome parent involvement (i.e., meddling). (I have no idea whether this is the case at Trumbull—but maybe you do.)
    I’ve been involved with a group of preschool moms to lobby CPS to create more CPS options on the NW side.

    We did a survey of families in the area (including Albany Park, Mayfair, Old Irving, Portage Park) asking about their local neighborhood schools, and we received many parent reports that the school administrations that were resistant to any parental involvement or parent groups.

    This drives people away from their neighborhood school, and often CPS. People seem willing to get involved, but they don’t want to have to fight with the administration to provide support.

    My own neighborhood school does not even “do tours,” or have a website. They have an open house once a year, but I was unable to attend. And, I got the sense that the open house was geared toward existing families—not prospective families or members of the community. (Not sure, though, as there is no website! But, really, you don’t want to give tours to prospective parents?)

    BTW–is Marshall Middle school “off the list”? Am I missing it?

  • 24. Pollywantacracker  |  February 14, 2013 at 12:28 am

    I live in Manierres district and would not send my son there. He is ready to go to K and I just had him tested for Skinner North, which I doubt he’ll get in, and I’m hoping I lotto at LaSalle. So now if Manierre and Jenner both close, I wonder where I would go. Maybe my problem will be solved. I agree that Jenner is a beautiful building but it’s non performing. They should have made Jenner the SEES instead of Skinner North. Frankly, with Target across the street from Skinner, that isn’t the safest area for kids with traffic, pollution, cars honking, etc.

  • 25. Gobemouche  |  February 14, 2013 at 12:40 am

    Old Irving Pk mom – Marshall is not on this list now, but notice…

    “Note 2 – schools removed fom consideration will not be closed due to utilization but may be impacted in other ways (eg, welcoming schools, grade alignment, collocation, turnaround)”

  • 26. Old Irving PK mom  |  February 14, 2013 at 1:00 am

    25–yes, saw that after I posted. What is a “welcoming school” or “grade alignment”?

    I would guess Marshall might be targeted for a “co-location,” but does that mean a co-location for the entire 5-year period?

  • 27. Gobemouche  |  February 14, 2013 at 1:07 am

    26 – Welcoming schools will be the schools that take in the students from schools that close. I have no idea what grade alignment means. Add or subtract grades from a school to change enrollment level? For example, make a 7&8 grade school into a 5,6,7,8 grade school. Not sure, just guessing.

  • 28. Gobemouche  |  February 14, 2013 at 1:08 am

    26- 5 year period?

  • 29. LizInLoganSquare  |  February 14, 2013 at 2:01 am

    My neighborhood school is Brentano… the fact that my kids go to Skinner North and LaSalle speaks pretty eloquently. I know Brentano has issues, but I have to say that since I am there twice a day at the bus stop, I have a chance to see the role it plays in the community. I mean, where are all these kids going to go to school? I guess it must be underutilized since it’s on the list, but it sure doesn’t look that way when the bell rings at the end of the the day. It’s a nice old building that’s recently had lots of work done… it just makes me sad. I understand that schools have to be cut, but I guess no one wants it to be theirs, including me (and my kids don’t even go there.)

    Also, I am paranoid that CPS will do something crazy like tell me that since my bus stop has been closed, my kids can no longer ride the bus to school… I wouldn’t put it past them. At the very least we’re going to have a longer walk.

  • 30. cpsobsessed  |  February 14, 2013 at 3:50 am

    Agreed, admin has to be receptive to parents who want/are willing to help drive families to the school. The principal I met at Trumbull 6 years ago seemed to want parents to join him but he was due to retire soon so I have no idea what happened there.
    That same year, the coonley then-principal saw the writing on the wall about low enrollment and eagerly embraced local parents. Now the school is very full.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 31. SoxSideIrish4  |  February 14, 2013 at 7:19 am

    #10~HSO~I believe that should say ‘Greater than or equal to 600 students enrolled 20th day SY2012-13’ not ‘300 students’

  • 32. Tchr  |  February 14, 2013 at 7:22 am

    Hsmom, actually the Cabrini rowhouses still exist and one row still has families living in them. Also, many families live in the mixed income midrises across the street from Jenner. According to the Cps website, Jenner had 312 kids and Manierre had 354 last year.

  • 33. HSObsessed  |  February 14, 2013 at 8:27 am

    @31 – For the list I pasted above, it’s better to see it with the original formatting on the CPS site. If they have 300 or more and meet other criteria at the same time, then they’re also safe.

  • 34. marcsims  |  February 14, 2013 at 9:50 am

    One reason why schools are closings because so many African Americans have fled Chicago.  Lower income African Americans have been fleeing American cities just like middle class African Americans has done for decades.


  • 35. a cps mom  |  February 14, 2013 at 10:01 am

    Hmm, Jenner and Manierre have kids from 2 different gang affiliations (n or s of division they are different) and where are they going to send those kids? Not to the same place I hope. Lasalle and Franklin are right there and at almost full capacity since they count the art and drama and music rooms as not being fully utilized (idiots).

    Maybe they should move Franklin into the nice new building south of division and thereby expand it with the kids already in the building and uplift the school. Would solve lack of AC at Franklin.

  • 36. IBobsessed  |  February 14, 2013 at 10:03 am

    Liz in Logan Sq- I’m desperate to talk to a LaSalle Parent. Could you email me at

    Sorry to go off topic.

  • 37. Southside Daddi-o  |  February 14, 2013 at 10:13 am

    @4 What was the upshot of Zipporah Hightower’s reign at Kellogg? Did things change when she left?

  • 38. OIPA momma  |  February 14, 2013 at 10:34 am

    28–It’s my understanding that as part of this process, CPS would not be closing any more schools for 5 years. So, I’m wondering whether a possible “co-location” would also be in place for at least 5 years? (But, then CPS could probably just move a school to a new location without closing it.)

  • 39. sfw  |  February 14, 2013 at 10:43 am

    Sorry for being dense-but what’s the difference between the pink & blue CPS lists? RE Skinner North, I’d be surprised if they closed down a SE classical school, since there are only 2 on the north side. And Skinner North is Gary Chico’s baby, right? Maybe if would be helpful if they moved the school to a location that’s more central. It would also be helpful if the upper graders were bigger, and Decatur kids could transfer in for 7th grade if they wanted, w/o the stress of testing.

  • 40. cpsobsessed  |  February 14, 2013 at 11:08 am

    I’d say the Pink List was just a list of the most under-utilized schools based solely on their initial calculation, without removing any schools due to them being new/growing/etc. Nobody would have closed Skinner North, but the numbers put it on the list, with the goal being to whittle the list down to the top closing contenders after they knocked off the obvious dont-close schools and the ones with big SE populations or other factors. I assume the blue list has some thought put into it beyond just the capacity numbers.

  • 41. cpsobsessed  |  February 14, 2013 at 11:09 am

    Regarding Jenner and Manniere, those are elementary schools. Am I being naive in thinking that gang issues shouldn’t be a major concern?

  • 42. HS Mom  |  February 14, 2013 at 11:21 am

    @32 – yes the mid rises and Marshal Field Garden apartments are not going anywhere so the schools will stay under-enrolled and people living in the new developments will continue to avoid them. Being tier 1 and 2, choice schools are more attainable and Immaculate Conception and Catherine Cook also an option.

  • 43. HS Mom  |  February 14, 2013 at 11:33 am

    Regarding the magnet and SEES people wanting to replace Jenner kids – what about the vacant Near North on Larrabee? Wouldn’t it make more sense to expand a magnet or selective program to a larger building (especially since its wasting resources sitting empty)and eliminate these older buildings? There is a need to look at the larger picture beyond the individual school.

  • 44. Tchr  |  February 14, 2013 at 11:38 am

    7th and 8th graders are definitely in gangs. And their younger siblings learn easily from them.

  • 45. Leggy Mountbatten  |  February 14, 2013 at 11:54 am

    The poorest areas get hit the hardest because that’s where the population decreases were greatest. Only in Chicago do we have extreme overcrowding in the “wealthier” areas, and in facilites that are aged and in need of modernization to begin with.

  • 46. LongTermVisonNecessary  |  February 14, 2013 at 12:06 pm

    #43. I agree. Well, not necessarily on what to do, because I won’t claim to know what to do, but I agree that a broader, long-term look needs to be taken. Perhaps it is being taken and we are unaware? A more comprehensive look needs to be taken at the whole area. As you noted, Magnets and SEs are programs. They can be moved and expanded to serve what seems to be a big need in the area. Neighborhood kids need to walk to their schools — in their neighborhoods! And CPS cannot ignore the gang issues noted above.

    I hope that CPS is taking a long and long-term look at the whole area. (That area includes Lincoln as it is overcrowded and borders the area. And Ogden is overcrowded and borders that area, too.) It is not a school-by-school issue. But, it’s not like I trust CPS to do so.

    BTW, unfortunately, I think there are plans in place for that vacant building on Larrabee. But who knows? There was also a school in the very same area whose name I forget, but it was on Sheffield, just north of North Ave. And it sits empty.

    I also still don’t trust CPS as far as what is underutilized or not, though. Having room for art and music as the LaSalle or Franklin person noted above, is important and not just “extra” room. This is true for neighborhood schools and every other school.

    I don’t have a clue. But sadly, I don’t think CPS does, either.

  • 47. LongTermVisonNecessary  |  February 14, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    One more thing. Poorer neighborhoods may also benefit from smaller schools and more attention from teachers. So, what CPS sees as a problem can be a solution for some. It’s all so sad. I would hate to be worried that my school was closing. Hate it.

  • 48. Leggy Mountbatten  |  February 14, 2013 at 12:21 pm

    #47 smaller schools and smaller class sizes are two totally different things. An underutilized school that was built to provide 2-3 classes a grade now has one class per grade, and they load up as many kids as possible into that one class.

  • 49. CPS Mom  |  February 14, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    CPS obsessed: Gangs are a big problem in 7th and 8th grade. My sister teaches (is on maternity leave right now) at a NW side CPS middle school. She and her team used to meet to divide up the classrooms based on gang affiliation to keep the problems to a minimum. (This worked when they had an effective principal…got a new, “enlightened” principal and the school has since spiraled out of control, with the students running it and teachers having hands tied because of principal…)

  • 50. CPS Parent  |  February 14, 2013 at 12:46 pm

    #47 Small, underutillized schools do split grades where two grade levels are in one room. If diferentiated teaching is hard in a normal classroom then doing it well in split rooms must be next to impossible.

    Closing this many schools all at once is an extreme stressor to the system but the economics make it a must-do. you can blame the Daily administration(s) for not having had the guts to match and pace closings to the decline of the school population over the past 15 years or so.

  • 51. southsidedad  |  February 14, 2013 at 1:30 pm

    A visual:

  • 52. Mayfair Dad  |  February 14, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    @ 51. A very useful tool. Compare to this map:

  • 53. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  February 14, 2013 at 2:07 pm

    It’s astounding. Jenner and Manniere are surrounded by magnets, a charter, and a full neighborhood school (Ogden). How did things get this way? Why open Skinner North right next to them?

    They are in separate gang territories based on the maps, but recent police reports don’t show much in the way of gang-related activity there. Whether it could work with intervention is another matter.

    There’s a good argument for merging them, but why hasn’t CPS proposed one to discuss with the community.

    Similarly, Delano, Goldblatt and Melody could potential work out a merger. But has anyone talked to Hefferan, which is also underused, about it? Why does CPS just throw out names of schools and not present something like a plan.

    At the least, take 25% of any cost savings on a closing, and commit it to the receiving or merging schools beyond what they would otherwise get in the formula (a merger bonus, if you will).

  • 54. OldTownMom  |  February 14, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    So what school would Old Town get zoned to since the next closest neighborhood schools are Ogden and Lincoln, with Lincoln being overcrowded? Is there a possibility that Old town could actually get put in Ogden’s district or is it at capacity too?

  • 55. junior  |  February 14, 2013 at 3:25 pm


    Or this map…

    Why are most underutilized schools in these areas? Well, wouldn’t most conscientious parents choose schools outside of these violent areas for their kids? Schools in safe neighborhoods are in high demand; schools in violent neighborhoods empty out. I consider that a positive outcome of school choice, but it also has disruptive negative consequences for affected schools/facilities/budgets.

  • 56. fosterrice  |  February 14, 2013 at 3:53 pm

    Re: the maps at

    I appreciate the apparent congruity between the overlapping maps (underutilized schools, killings, and gangs), all of which implies a causal relationship. But while I think we can all agree upon the objective facts of the killings and maybe to a certain extent the definition of gangs and gang territory, there seems to be some subjective bias about just what constitutes an “underutilized school.” RYH and others have visited several of the schools and there are legitimate reasons to question the validity of CPS’ one-size-fits-all model for underutilization. Then there is the secondary question of what impact closing one of these targeted schools would have on a neighborhood let alone the murder and gang rates. Will closing underutilized schools cause an increase/decrease in gang membership? Will it cause an increase/decrease in killings? In general, how will it hurt/benefit those communities? I’m open to any and all arguments by CPS, as long as there is some basis to their conclusions and they are holistic in considering the impact of these decisions. But unfortunately the dominant conclusion by CPS seems to be that the school’s *must* close if only to close a budgetary gap. I can appreciate the sense that desperate fiscal times call for desperate measures, but I worry that the deeper ramifications haven’t been considered. It’s all very complicated stuff and the interrelationships between these different facts (let alone the objective basis of some of the “facts,” like underutilization) seem to require deeper thought on the part of CPS, the Mayor and the Police.
    — Greg Foster-Rice

  • 57. CPS Parent  |  February 14, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    I find that holding what CPS needs to do, in order to better serve all its students within a limited budget, hostage to “gang” issues outrageous. Should we erect tall fences between “gang” territories to keep them apart? Is that a solution as much as keeping the little gangbangers segregated in their (underutilized) litlle CPS school club houses?

  • 58. UptownMama  |  February 14, 2013 at 4:08 pm

    Has there been any real discussion from CPS about what happens to all these kids if/when the targeted schools close? I’m the parent of a soon-to-be kindergartner in the Trumbull district. We weren’t planning to send her there, but it sure would be helpful to know what our neighborhood school is likely to be sooner rather than later. I can only imagine how hard it would be for families already enrolled and invested in one of these schools. (Not to argue against the need for some rationalization/closing of schools, but it’s amazing to me that they’ve pushed this decision so close to the beginning of a new school year.)

  • 59. HS Mom  |  February 14, 2013 at 4:13 pm

    57 CPS parent – Thank you!

  • 60. mustangmom  |  February 14, 2013 at 4:15 pm

    CPS Parent I think understand what you are saying. But gangs are a reality in this city and denying their existence is not probably a good idea either. We need to work with what we are given. I think the last thing we need to do is make life in this city even more intolerable, especially kids are being forced into choosing gangs. I believe WBEZ is running a piece this weekend and next on Harper High School and gang related killings. This piece might be a good education for all us.

  • 61. CPS Parent  |  February 14, 2013 at 4:18 pm

    58. UptownMama The parents you speak of had no choice in deciding which neighborhood school to attend in the first place. They did have a choice if it was a charter school. If they stick with neighborhood schools they do not need to make a choice once again – a school will be assigned. If it’s charter school which is being consolidated they will be assigned to another charter school or they can choose any other charter school since charter schools do not have attendance boundaries.

  • 62. Mich  |  February 14, 2013 at 4:18 pm

    I agree poster #5 – they’re not going to take out all 4 of those. My guess for living on are Brennemann, Stockton, maybe Trumbulll. I see Stewart going partially on location – there’s an odd feeling to a lot of parents with the playlot viewing the retail mecca of Target/Aldi that has sprung up across the street.
    I think Stockton partially because of the campus size may be saved, also it has an early childhood ed facility that feeds it somewhat. But who knows? I know Stockton has really been trying hard to build their math/science magnet cluster to be an alternative to Ravenswood’s art magnet cluster. That too makes some sense to have in two schools that border each other.

  • 63. junior  |  February 14, 2013 at 4:29 pm

    @56 Greg Foster Rice

    CPS tell neighborhoods what the social impact will be on their communities? I think the reverse makes mores sense, no?

  • 64. cpsobsessed  |  February 14, 2013 at 4:38 pm

    @CPS Parents, I am kind of with you on the gang issue. I get it at the high school level and CPS has conceded on that even though some of these high schools look blatantly under utilized. But keeping schools open because 13 year olds are joining gangs? I really would like to see some level of parent intervention/responsibility to handle with the consequences of a merged school. Obviously I say this having no real idea what it’s like to live in that community where gang membership is rampant and it’s a complex societal issue.

  • 65. cpsobsessed  |  February 14, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    Looking at the map, I think Trumbull (and maybe other schools) can be easily split up to surrounding schools with maybe each school taking 80 kids or so. Of course the sad thing is that kids at a school get split up from their classmate.

    @58 Uptown Mama, oh… this is not late for CPS. Just wait to see when you actually find out where your child will be going to Kindergarten. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s in August.

  • 66. HS Mom  |  February 14, 2013 at 5:26 pm

    @60 – your concerns are valid. Instead of empowering gangs by “respecting” their boundaries a little, no, a lot of intervention is required. I just read that one of Hadiya Pendleton’s murderers graduated from the same selective enrollment school that she went to.

  • 67. Chris Ahern  |  February 14, 2013 at 5:29 pm

    It does not seem possible to close both Jenner and Manierre. The students at those schools are primarily from public housing. CHA is planning on building hundreds of new units in the area which means even more elementary school aged kids in the Old Town/Near north area that need public school. Where would these kids go to school if not Jenner or Manierre?

  • 68. idknowles  |  February 14, 2013 at 5:41 pm

    @marcsims…Idk lower income African Americans r leaving American cities,or fled Chicago and middle class? Wow…diidn’t get that memo.

  • 69. junior  |  February 14, 2013 at 5:43 pm


    Yes, a sad reality.

    I suppose that’s a large part of the appeal of charters for some communities. If charters have more leeway to enforce discipline and weed out the gang-bangers, then you can see why they are being chosen over the neighborhood schools like Spanish Cobras Scholastic Academy or Insane Disciples College Prep.

  • 70. Gobemouche  |  February 14, 2013 at 6:00 pm

    I gotta say that I am tired of seeing the 100,000 number of “empty seats”, in everything from news articles to B3’s most recent email to parents. This is not true. In the breakout session for the Ohare network, Todd Babbitz said that the 100,000 number is the decline for the city. He said the actual decline in CPS enrollment is 35,000. Quite a difference. And CPS wonders why we don’t trust them, when they can’t even get their own facts straight.

  • 71. cpsobsessed  |  February 14, 2013 at 6:24 pm

    I believe the 100,000 refers to the amount of classroom space versus number of students. They say there is space for 500,000 students but we only have 400,000 kids. So that’s different than the 100,000 being tossed around about the decline of kids in the city. But they do seem to like that number. 🙂

  • 72. Tchr  |  February 14, 2013 at 6:41 pm

    It’s easy to say when it is not your child’s safety / life.

    I would love to see more parent involvement and responsibility too. Suggestions?

  • 73. anonymouse teacher  |  February 14, 2013 at 7:10 pm

    Yes, gangs exist at the elementary level, in some cases well before 7th/8th.
    CPS parent, the school district has ignored gang line issues in the past. They learned their lesson through what happened at Fenger. Those kids were supposed to be at a different high school. That high school was either closed or sent kids to Fenger. What happened there was national news. We can ignore these very real issues, but kids will end up murdered because of them.
    I think that of course, we all want parents to be more involved, especially at the elementary level, but realistically, this is not what happens in most of the city.

  • 74. TEACHER4321  |  February 14, 2013 at 7:24 pm

    64. cpsobsessed | February 14, 2013 at 4:38 pm
    “@CPS Parents, I am kind of with you on the gang issue. I get it at the high school level and CPS has conceded on that even though some of these high schools look blatantly under utilized. But keeping schools open because 13 year olds are joining gangs? I really would like to see some level of parent intervention/responsibility to handle with the consequences of a merged school. Obviously I say this having no real idea what it’s like to live in that community where gang membership is rampant and it’s a complex societal issue.”

    Unfortunately, at some schools this is very much a problem. There are children much younger than 7th and 8th grade being targeted for gangs in some communities. Also unfortunate is the fact that many of the parents are also in/aligned with the same gang.

  • 75. junior  |  February 14, 2013 at 7:27 pm

    McCarthy: Police can safeguard students ‘crossing gang boundaries’

  • 76. anonymouse teacher  |  February 14, 2013 at 7:45 pm

    Wait, McCarthy thinks he can protect kids from MORE gang violence when he can’t do a damn thing about it now? Seriously? We have 500+ murders a year in this city, many of them 18 and younger. Does he believe his own BS?

  • 77. tchr  |  February 14, 2013 at 7:48 pm

    It is not just about crossing boundaries on the street. I see people in yellow vests everyday on my way to and from school. They are there to help students get to school safely. Unfortunately, they are not on the CTA busses and trains that many kids take to school.

    It is about living and learning together in a school. And then it becomes the teachers’ jobs to put out fires. Yes, every teacher works on community building and classroom management, but some things are too big to handle in just a 7 hour day. And for 1 person with 30 kids. Oh, and teach them too. Gotta get those test scores up.

    Look into the schools that have been receiving students of closed schools. See how their test scores are. Ask those teachers, parents, and kids how the transition has been.

    AND, what if one of these schools with gang affiliations were sent to your child’s school?

  • 78. averagemom  |  February 14, 2013 at 8:42 pm

    @54 Ogden is full too. They’ve had to move 6th grade out to the high school this year to fit preK-5 in the new building, and may have to go back to half day K next year, There are 6 K classes, 5 grade 1, and 4 classes of most other grades in a school that was rebuilt for 3 classes a grade.

  • 79. HS Mom  |  February 14, 2013 at 8:48 pm

    So the solution to gang violence in elementary schools is to continue to accommodate their self appointed turfs? We all know that’s not working.

    Neighborhood school boundaries, consolidations and closing should be analyzed independently of gang turf.

  • 80. urban mommy  |  February 14, 2013 at 8:55 pm

    That is crazy that CPS made Ogden so small…its at capacity two years after it opened. Clearly there will be rezoning. CPS should rezone the whole Near North area, including the part of Lincoln Park that feeds to Lincoln Elementary, which is overcrowded. DPS could divide the Marshall Field low income population, and split what is left of Cabrini into three schools (north of division, south of division) and send these three populations to three neighborhood schools (unless the child tests into Skinner North, Franklin or lotteries into LaSalle). This would keep the low income population low in three separate schools. Build a new school where Maneirre sits and and divide the groups between Jenner, Ogden, Manierre and Lincoln. This would draw the middle class back to these schools since there would be no concentrated poverty. Give Skinner North, which is clearly successful, a new building centrally located b/w Division and Chicago. This would allow for complete racial and socioeconomic mixing in the Near North Schools, but there would be no school with concentrated poverty (i.e, current Jenner and Manierre).

  • 81. PPmom  |  February 14, 2013 at 9:12 pm

    marshall middle is off the list? i assumed disney ii would take it over for their expansion, given its proximity. i wonder where it will be now.

  • 82. Tchr  |  February 14, 2013 at 9:48 pm

    Again. Talk to these kids and their parents to see if they agree the way to break up gangs… Is to force them to be together…? How has concentrated poverty worked out? I think that you should move to Englewood to help make the neighborhoods, schools, and crime better.

  • 83. Seth Lavin  |  February 14, 2013 at 10:27 pm

    @29– much of Logan Square went up in census tier this cycle. The option it seems like you had (getting your kids into magnet or other selective CPS schools out of the neighborhood) just won’t be there for a lot of parents going forward. We need our Logan Square neighborhood schools!

  • 84. another CPS mom  |  February 14, 2013 at 10:29 pm

    @ 37. Southside Daddi-o

    I don’t know how Kellogg adjusted after Hightower scrammed. I’d be interested to hear. She was poison.

  • 85. local  |  February 14, 2013 at 11:06 pm

    Wow. This is probably the best insight I’ve read after the Pendleton murder:

  • 86. athens  |  February 14, 2013 at 11:23 pm

    @80 “. This would keep the low income population low in three separate schools.”
    Heavens forbid the low income population invade our precious schools.

  • 87. anonymouse teacher  |  February 15, 2013 at 12:05 am

    @79, but forcing kids, innocent kids, innocent families and innocent staff to be in the middle of an all out gang war, that doesn’t work either. People die. Kids die. I don’t think gang turf should be the only consideration, but it should be one of them.

  • 88. SoxSideIrish4  |  February 15, 2013 at 12:18 am

    #64~CPSO~yes, gangs are relevant in elementary schools bc many of the parents and the kids’ older siblings are in gangs.

  • 89. Southside Daddi-o  |  February 15, 2013 at 9:02 am

    @84 What happened during Z Hightower’s tenure at Kellogg?

  • 90. urban mommy  |  February 15, 2013 at 9:13 am

    Athens @80 — I’m just tracking research that shows that low income students need greater resources than students from middle class backgrounds. Dividing them ensures that there is no drain on one particular schools and enough resources at each school for these students. Concentrated poverty – which is at Manierre and Jenner — is clearly not working as test scores at those schools are lower than surrounding neighborhood schools. I research this issue for a living and the best way to close the gap b/w low income and middle income is socioeconomic integration. My comments were to help low income students, not exclude them. I’m actually advocating sending kids from Manierre and Jenner to better schools like Ogden and Lincoln. Incidentally, dividing these populations by neighborhood might also help with the gang issues noted above b/c then kids don’t have to cross gang lines (it would keep different gangs separate).

  • 91. HS Mom  |  February 15, 2013 at 9:27 am

    @87 and 90 – yes, I agree. I suggested that gang boundaries be looked at independently from other enrollment, usage and performance issues. IMO Gangs should not be an overriding issue at the elementary level. This issue needs to be dealt with differently in order to resolve a bigger problem in our city.

  • 92. another CPS mom  |  February 15, 2013 at 9:37 am

    89. Southside Daddi-o

    I don’t think Zipporah Hightower is at Bethune anymore. It looks like she left last summer.

    “Zipporah Hightower has been named managing director of programs for the Chicago team at New Leaders. Hightower is a former principal of Kellogg Elementary and of Bethune Elementary, an Academy for Urban School Leadership turnaround school. Allison Wagner, managing director of New Leaders, is leaving the organization in August. Wagner recently moved to Milwaukee to live closer to her family. She will become director of growth for Schools that Can in Milwaukee and will help bring national charter organizations to the city and develop teachers and school leaders for those organizations.”

    You might want to talk to your North Beverly neighbors to get the 411 on Hightower. It seems everyone has a story.

  • 93. CPS Parent  |  February 15, 2013 at 9:40 am

    I don’t think “gang” boundaries should be considered at all by CPS – what may be a “boundary” today will be different tomorrow. These lines shift and more quicker than ever since the whole gang structure is devolving into smaller and smaller areas.

  • 94. HS Mom  |  February 15, 2013 at 10:02 am,0,5468132.story

    From the article:

    “When I was in elementary school, gangs just interested me. I don’t know what it was,” Alexander said. “I was naive, and I was trying to find myself. I had to realize I could be the same person and be cool without being in a gang.”

    Occasionally, someone would put a suggestion on the table: more police, or legalization of drugs, or the return of the death penalty in Illinois. But every time someone offered an idea, someone else methodically shot it down.

    “When a gang member kills another gang member, then they’re going to get killed. That’s their own death penalty,” said Glynn Morris, 15.

    Kids at the elementary level are still approachable. They want structure. They are looking for us to have the plan.

  • 95. EdgewaterMom  |  February 15, 2013 at 10:08 am

    @90. urban mommy I agree with your approach. Socioeconomic integration would help to close the gap. I am not familiar enough with the schools/neighborhoods mentioned, but as long as the distance to the new schools is not prohibitive, it seems like this would be a smart way to handle the closings in that area. Unfortunately, I am not sure that the same options will be available on the far west or south sides because I don’t know if there are other ‘good’ schools close enough who can become receiving schools.

  • 96. mom  |  February 15, 2013 at 11:26 am

    Hi- I think what a lot of you are missing is that it isn’t only that the kids in elementary are in gangs or not, some are- BUT their parents, cousins, older sibs, and other adults around them that are. And if you don’t think that that causes problems for the administrators, teachers, other parents and the students than you are way way naive.

    By the way, the 18th district (a block from Jenner) is awash with gang problems a block away from Franklin which is also a block away from Manierre. And Skinner north is around the corner from there as well!

  • 97. cpsobsessed  |  February 15, 2013 at 11:32 am

    In an unrelated note, OAE confirmed that SEHS letters will go out next week as planned. Which still might mean 5pm on Friday. But week of 2/18 is still the plan.

  • 98. urban mommy  |  February 15, 2013 at 11:38 am

    95– all of these schools are close (about 1 mile apart, 2 miles max). Very easy to get to them. That’s what makes Near North unique…the ability to integrate socioeconimically is easier here than elsewhere in Chicago

  • 99. Southside Daddi-o  |  February 15, 2013 at 12:05 pm

    Going back to the original topic, interesting to see Shoop Academy on the list of potential closings. Shoop is approximately 1/2 mile from Esmond Elementary, but going back to the whole “gang” bullshit issue, it would seem that closing Shoop/sending students to Esmond MIGHT cause problems. Where would the Shoop kids go if Shoop closed?

  • 100. Anonymous  |  February 15, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    Urban Mommy, you are advocating for splitting up Jenner and Manierre kids and sending them to two already very overcrowded schools — Lincoln and Ogden. Really? Add 300 kids to overcrowded schools? How???

    And I”m sorry. I cross busy streets that were not intended to be crossed by small children going to school. I can never let my child walk alone because I’m scared of traffic, not people. It takes virtually two hours of my day EVERY DAY just walking back and forth to school.

    You must not walk your child to school as I do — almost a mile every day.Because if you did, you’d know that crossing streets like North Avenue and Division is NOT what was intended for neighborhood school kids. It’s very hard to walk that far to school. It does impact attendance and tardiness. And parental involvement. Magnet and SE parents who drive every day or take a bus have no clue what it’s like to make a child walk a mile to school every day. More than that is insanity. What about the magnets? LaSalle, Newberry and Franklin all have such limited enrollment and THEY are the schools closest to each other. Why is it always the neighborhood schools that have to be shuttered or overcrowded? Kids would pass LaSalle and Newberry on the way to an overcrowded Lincoln? Kids would pass Franklin and Skinner on their way to an overcrowded Ogden?

    How about moving LaSalle a few blocks south and making it a neighborhood magnet like Oscar Mayer is? How about expanding Skinner and taking the neighborhood kids back in that were kicked out? Haven’t they suffered enough by losing their school once already? Franklin has lots of land. How about expanding that program to include neighborhood kids?

    Let’s stop dumping on and closing neighborhood schools and look at magnets and SEs for a solution for a change.

  • 101. Ali Burke  |  February 15, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    In response to the comments on Trumbull, things are actually much better there. I am a parent (Pre-K) and also a new LSC member. Last year a group of parents and community members (including myself) were able to take back our school, which had been mismanaged by an inept LSC and lackadaisical administration. Over 393 people came out to vote us in, and we completely replaced our old LSC. We also have new administration. Not only have ISAT scores gone up (over 3%), but other improvements at the school are staggering. We have a new kindergarden coordinator. Website:
    We have also received grants from Roosevelt University (we have a literacy coach in the school), new computer lab, 30+ I-pads on mobile cart available for students, new bathrooms, upgraded electricity, new books in library, new sensory room for out SPED students. New teachers (3 are Nationally Certified) There is much much more. We are so proud of the progress we have made there in the short seven months since we took office.
    We believe our utilization rate has been erroneously calculated by CPS. They say we are 54% utilized but a walk-thru of our school suggests we are closer to 88%.
    We hope this mistake will be corrected and CPS will keep us open. We have a fantastic staff, beautiful facility, and finally have the parent and community support to improve this school. Please support us in keeping it open!! Thank you!!

  • 102. HS Mom  |  February 15, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    @100 kids already cross North ave. when they walk to LaSalle or Newberry. How about a crossing guard?

  • 103. SutherlandParent  |  February 15, 2013 at 1:33 pm

    @99 SSDO, I was wondering the same thing about Shoop. On paper, it makes sense to send the Shoop students to Esmond, since Esmond does seem to have the capacity to take in those 500+ (!!) students. I don’t know about the gang lines, but those two schools are on opposite sides of I57 and separated by a set of freight train and Metra tracks. The only nearby street/sidewalk overpasses on I57 are at 111th St., right? I just can’t imagine having elementary school students crossing those kinds of obstructions to get to school every day safely. But if it looks good on paper, that may be all CPS cares about.

  • 104. Southside Daddi-o  |  February 15, 2013 at 1:45 pm

    @103 Yeah, that’s why it seemed so strange for Shoop to be on the list b/c where are they going to place the current students? Requiring CHILDREN to pass 2 on/off ramps to I-57 and a set of train tracks is flirting with tragedy. As a parent, there is NO way I would allow my child to walk on such a dangerous route to/from school.

  • 105. SoxSideIrish4  |  February 15, 2013 at 2:00 pm

    #103~Sutherland Parent & 104~SSDO~I could be Shoop will go to Whistler…I would have thought Shoop would have been a receiving school for Whistler.

  • 106. EdgewaterMom  |  February 15, 2013 at 2:00 pm

    Does CPS have any plans to have a committee (made up of parents from the affected community, CPS, and CTU) look into each proposed school closing to make sure that the solution offers a reasonable option for students. Making a student travel a little over a mile to school may be reasonable on paper, but if there is no safe way to walk there then they should have to offer busing or find another solution.

    So far “community involvement” has consisted of large meetings with little to no useful information and no real dialogue between CPS and the community. Now that the list has been (somewhat) narrowed, I think that they need to involve the community in a concrete way. This would mean that CPS would have to be willing to take input from the community, and that the community would have to be willing to provide useful input, not just shouting “Don’t close my school!”.

  • 107. SutherlandParent  |  February 15, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    @102 HSMom, I think we were posting simultaneously! It is an interesting question, about physical safety with street crossings and young children. I know how busy North and Division are, and I would be worried about my kids walking to school there–but the I-57/111th Street corridor is not designed for pedestrians of any age.

    In terms of distance, I really believe a mile should be the outer limit for a neighborhood school boundary. According to Google Maps, we live 0.7 miles away from school, and that can be a loooong walk in the winter with a backpack full of text books. Not that I give my kids any sympathy for it 🙂

    I would hope CPS would consider all that when looking at school closings, but I don’t have a lot of faith that they will.

  • 108. Mayfair Dad  |  February 15, 2013 at 2:16 pm

    @ 55: bingo.
    @ 56: you might be overthinking this. Maybe it’s parents who want a better life for their children exercising choice and leaving the gangbanger schools? Not that I trust the ginned up CPS utilization numbers either. Maybe shitty schools need to close – remove the tumors for the health of the patient.
    @ 81: don’t worry your pretty little PP head over this. Just cuz a school is off the closure list doesn’t mean nothing’s gonna happen. Have a little faith, there’s magic in the night…you know the rest 🙂

  • 109. another CPS mom  |  February 15, 2013 at 2:40 pm

    FWIW, I saw a successful courtcase in which family living in the Kellogg district, but south of 95th, transferred their child from Kellogg to Sutherland by claiming the child shouldn’t have to cross a major highway (95th is a highway), even with the crossing guard.

  • 110. Southside Daddi-o  |  February 15, 2013 at 2:42 pm

    @109 That’s interesting. You could make the same argument for Sutherland if you lived west of Western Avenue…

  • 111. another CPS mom  |  February 15, 2013 at 3:03 pm

    Maybe CPS school that have “room” could launch those pre-schools mentioned in the SOTU address and could share space with partners to form “community schools” featuring healthcare, parent education, adult ed, etc., that seem to be effective in high poverty neighborhoods.

  • 112. luveurope  |  February 15, 2013 at 3:21 pm

    111. Here’s a novel idea for CPS and this country re the SOTU preschools. How about parents paying for pre school? How about parents having discussions about what they can and cannot afford BEFORE they have kids? Wow great idea!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • 114. athens  |  February 15, 2013 at 3:54 pm

    @111- Most parents already pay for either preschool or what I call play school. Either way most pay before kids turn 5

  • 115. urban mommy  |  February 15, 2013 at 4:04 pm

    100 & 102 — No I’m not talking about sending Manierre and Jenner kids to Ogden and Lincoln. I’m talking about rezoning so that the overcrowded Lincoln park and Ogden zones are smaller and the overflow goes to a new school at the site of old Manierre (CPS would need to build a new building to make that palatable). Skinner North and part of the old Ogden area could go to Jenner. Jenner is not full and takes kids from outside the neighborhood….there is room for part of Ogden District and Skinner North. No one in the neighborhood would be “kicked out” the school is not even full.

    I dont’ think the solution is to turn LaSalle into a neighborhood school. Its a unicorn in that its diverse, has a decent percent low income and high successful. I don’t think dismantling magnets and classical is the way to go.

    As for crossing busy streets, kids who attend Jenner have to cross Chicago avenue and Division EVERY DAY. So why should you not face the same reality as poor students. The fact that you would even think that crossing a busy street is reason enough to keep poor kids segregated (which is what Jenner is) is so unbelievably self centered, I don’t know where to start.

  • 116. urban mommy  |  February 15, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    100 — and 100, your right I don’t walk my kids to school like you.. I live in Jenner area so instead I have to drive my kid cross town to a school so that he has a decent education. I only yearn for your “problems” of having to walk across a busy street. My how my day would be so much easer to attend a school w/in walking distance.

  • 117. HS Mom  |  February 15, 2013 at 4:15 pm

    @116 – my posts 91 and 102 were to agree with you

  • 118. fosterrice  |  February 15, 2013 at 5:00 pm

    @63, 108 – my comments were geared more towards the assumption of earlier postings, which seemed to imply a causal relationship between gangs, killings, and underutilized schools. That said, even if there is some sort of relationship (gangs may cause kids to drop out of school OR gangs may cause families to leave CPS and go parochial/private, etc), my point was that by locating the majority of closings in neighborhoods already suffering severe socio-economic depredations it seems you only add insult to injury and, more seriously, one social and economic problem on top of many others. Afterall, if we can agree that school is a much harder prospect for the economically disadvantaged and people surrounding by gangs/killings, how will it be made any better/easier by making them go further to get to school or asking them to pay for school? Even if this were to save CPS a lot of money — which Seth Lavin’s post seriously questions — is it worth any amount of money to even further isolate a significant portion of the city’s populace?

    One could argue that these painful cuts are necessary to improve the health of CPS as a whole, but the relatively minor problems of Northside neighborhood schools, SE schools, and magnets are not going to magically disappear as a result of closing 100+ schools on the West and South side. If anything we will waste an enormous amount of CPS energy and effort on something with relatively little gain (economically or educationally, again according to Lavin’s well-supported argument). I know this directly because several initiatives at our school have been stalled because CPS staff are in all-hands-on-deck mode over managing the PR crisis of the closures…and we haven’t even gotten to the actual rollout of the closures which will waste even more energy. Again, our problems are minor, but they are easy to address and they aren’t even getting heard in the white noise of this disaster. Instead of community hearings on closures we ought to be having community meetings on Common Core State Standards, PARC testing, and real educational matters! What is almost certain, however, is that an effort of such massive scale as these proposed closures will be labor intensive, full of problems, and have large-scale impact on the communities directly impacted.
    — Greg Foster-Rice

  • 119. SutherlandParent  |  February 15, 2013 at 5:18 pm

    @109, if it’s the case I’m thinking of (and I think there’s only the one), traffic may have been a factor, but there was more than that to the consent decree. The oldest child had been allowed to enroll as an out of district student, then a Board of Ed decision came down that would not have allowed the other children to enroll. The family took action to keep all their kids in the same school.

    I know at least one other family caught in the same situation, and they decided to move into the boundaries rather than fight.

  • 120. SE Teacher  |  February 15, 2013 at 6:00 pm

    @Urban Mommy…..I actually heard someone from CPS suggest that groups of students be pooled and then randomly assigned to closely located clusters of neighborhood schools. This would be similar to just mixing up all of the kids from Jenner, Manierre, Ogden and Lincoln and dividing them up between the schools.

    Part of me sees the logic in this…why should one area have neighborhood schools but others not?

    If I had a child in a CPS elementary right now, I would be feeling uncomfortable about the whole thing. I don’t think any neighborhood schools will be ultimately “safe.” It’s a very sad situation.

  • 121. Open Minded Parent  |  February 15, 2013 at 6:39 pm

    urban mommy – Why exactly do you not send your children to Jenner now? Your posts suggest that it is because of the concentrated poverty that comes from what is left of the Cabrini population that is within your neigborhood boundaries as well as the significant out-of-neighborhood kids. If I read your posts correctly, you are suggesting that CPS carve up low-income populations in your neighborhood that area not based upon logical boundaries, but across boundary lines specifically to separate the low income population. No offense, but that seems offensive – and possibly illegal if it results in the black population of your neighborhood being targeted and forced to cross boundaries to go to 3 different schools.

    No offense, but it seems to me like you are part of the problem at Jenner. You chose to live in an economically diverse neighborhood, but you are unwilling to accept the low-income population that exists within your neighborhood boundaries. And as for the out-of-neighborhood population at Jenner – that is a direct consequence of the neighborhood families not sending their children to Jenner and thus leaving vacancies for out- of-neighborhood children. I agree that low income students benefit from being mixed with upper income students – but what I don’t understand is why that can’t exist now at Jenner.

  • 122. Just another parent  |  February 15, 2013 at 7:59 pm

    @100 I used to walk about a mile with a train trip with preschoolers and it was character builder for ALL. When the kindergarten lottery did not go as I had hoped, I bought a car–so 6 miles can be covered in about 25 minutes. Anyway, 8 and half more years of chauffeur duty…Which brings me to the point that for most CPS parents this hour-2 hours in the car is a high rent problem. SO, while I am going to generate a ton of pollution and LOVE my kids’ school–I have to hope that whatever CPS does that they consider that encouraging so much crazy travel is not productive….let’s invest in not making people drive so darn much

  • 123. urban mommy  |  February 15, 2013 at 11:18 pm

    121 — It would not be illegal to carve up a low income population when there is an educational justification. “Low income” is not a protected class under Title IV or the constitution. Yes, in this particular neighborhood the low income kids tend to be black, but I envision just as many white kids in River North, Old Town, Lincoln Park, Streeterville and GC also crossing boundaries. This the inconvenience would not be born out by one race. Even if it is, I don’t know that causing more racial minorities to walk farther is any less discriminatory than allowing them to languish in schools that are not performing Isn’t that really a bigger crime? If research shows mixing socioeconomically has an educational benefit for low income students then having them walk slightly farther to good schools (we talking less than 1 mile) is not a violation of Title IV.

    At this point Jenner is nearly 300+ low income kids. There are not 300+ middle income kids in the boundaries to make it an income balanced school. People move away from here when their dc is 5 if they cannot afford private school. This is why my dc does not attend. If the percentage of low income students was not a majority then this neighborhood would attract more families who would stay longer. That is what is really needed to stabilize a mixed income community.

  • 124. PatientCPSMom  |  February 16, 2013 at 7:56 am

    @123 Urban Mom, I too share a similiar story to yours. Please contact me offline at I can share with you the communication that have been sent to CPS and responded to by CPS regarding our neighborhood school situation.


  • 125. klm  |  February 16, 2013 at 1:52 pm


    I understand your point and yes you do make a good one on a macro level concerning public education in an urban area of “mixed” socioeconomics. A bifurcated system that keeps poor kids isolated into their failing “ghetto” school is not one that should remain unchanged (how to do this is where debate comes in).

    However, there is a micro level, here. The fact is, no middle-class or any parent of any race or income that cares about education will send their child to a school that scores at “failure-factory” levels.


    If Jenner offered the educational results of Ogden or Lincoln, believe me, race and class would no be an issue. If Manierre, with the same race and income demographics, were achieving Lincoln or Alcott-levels of achievement, people like myself would have no problem enrolling their kids there.

    Obviously, your point about Manierre and Jenner is that its their relative racial and economic isolation in a sea of higher income households is one that keeps them the way that they are. Point taken.

    The achievement gap and anti-social behavior among the young people from poor homes needs to be addressed, but rearranging boundaries, etc., would just scare people into moving to the suburbs or going private, not because of any prejudice, but because people have good reasons to not send their kids to schools that are widely perceived (and indeed accepted) as ones where kids are not learning at anywhere near the levels that they need to in order to succeed in today’s economy.

    In a perfect world, this would not be the reality, but the world is in fact not perfect.

    I know this is only an anecdotal story, so it should be taken in context, but this past summer I was loading my groceries into my car with my youngest at the Domonick’s on Chicago?Clybourn. A large group of kids who appeared to be in the 10-15-year-old age group were running around agitated, shouting insults and obscenities at the top of their lungs. There was some kind of incident involving another group of kids on the other side of the street. I always hate when people describe groups of youths as wolf packs since it seems to imply that they are not as human or equal as other people, etc., but these kids were acting like wild wolves circling and agitating for a real fight.

    It was bad. The Dominick’s security guard came running over to me and my kid. He mentioned something about how we needed to go inside in case of gun fire etc. The Police came, the kids went running. As I drove home, I noticed that many of these same kids were going back to their large apartment complex behind Domonick’s, which falls into the Manierre enrollment district. The other ones were running back to the Jenner enrollment area.

    I grew up in an inner-city housing project until the age of 13. Many of the people were wonderful, very moral people that tried to teach their kids right from wrong. There were many mothers and grandmothers that had empathy and tried to do right by others and pass on this Golden Rule ethos to their charges who also did the same. However, too many others (before there was crack, there was heroine in the 1970s, let’s not forget) effectively destroyed the quality of life for all the decent folks and made the lives of others a living hell of fear and dispirited resignation. My experience as an enrollee in the local public school reflected this reality –most kids were fine, but too many were not happy unless they made others scared to death much of the time.

    Anybody can call me any bad name they wish, but I don’t want my kids going to school with the likes of those wild little thugs I saw that day at Dominick’s. I don’t think this makes me a bad person as much as it makes me a good, protective parent looking out for my kids’ welfare..

  • 126. HS Mom  |  February 16, 2013 at 2:25 pm

    KLM great post

    Urban Mommy – My point about kids crossing North Ave. is that low income kids from Marshal Field do attend LaSalle, Newberry and Franklin. At one time, my child’s bus stop was Manierre along with other kids who attended magnets outside the area. Point being is the “low income” population has somewhat spread across boundaries. How would you split the population of say the Marshal Field homes? What is the acceptable threshold of “low income” population that would make the school attractive to middle class families? The proposal to change LaSalle met with massive resistance. I think re-mapping the area would make a lot of sense. I’m just wondering if it would resolve the underlying issues – as KLM deftly points out.

  • 127. klm  |  February 16, 2013 at 2:45 pm

    I should have said the Dominick’s on Division and Clybourn, not Chicago Ave..

  • 128. urban mommy  |  February 16, 2013 at 7:09 pm

    136/127 — The lower income population zoned into Jenner is smaller than enrollment. B/c the school is underutilized lots go kids come to Jenner from outside the neighborhood. I think CPS should limited these schools to neighborhood and rezone in a way that no school has predominately low income. The Harvard Civil Rights project and other well noted education programs indicate that up to 30% low income does not alter the character of the school (behavior) and achievement of middle class students. Low income students are pulled up however. Lincoln and Ogden do not have much low income. Jenner and Manierre do. I thinks this population should be split among several schools so no school has more than 30% low income. Similiarly Ogden and Lincoln which are overcrowded can send kids to these schools. Manierre would have to be demolished and rebuilt and Jenner reconstituted before the middle class would come back. But if CPS actually planned in a well thought out manner, presented parents with the research and assured them that no school would be isolated by SES many in my neighborhood would consider public school. As it is now (I live in Jenner …barely outside of Ogden) everyone in my building goes private. I’d love to put the money I spend for private into a college fund. I”m sure there are many parents like me.

  • 129. averagemom  |  February 16, 2013 at 8:19 pm

    Unfortunately, Ogden pk-5 is already 27% low income, grades 6-12 are 49%. There’s some section 8 housing in the area, and when the classes are below 30 kids CPS opens spots up to kids from failing schools. I think some kids from the Manierre and Jenner area go to Ogden through that option. Lincoln is 14% low income. I don’t think you’d end up with any school below 30% low income when you were done moving around. We’d have to start sending Chicago kids to the suburbs to really fix it.

  • 130. cpsobsessed  |  February 17, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    Here’s a little update and photos from the Saturday meeting where parents made the case to keep all 4 schools open that are still on the list.

    Hundreds gathered Saturday morning, Feb 16th, at Truman College to fight the closure of 4 schools in the Ravenswood-Ridge Network on the North Side–Trumbull, Stockton, Brenneman and Stewart, the latter 3 of which are all within a 3 block radius of Montrose and Broadway in Uptown. Trumbull also has the distinction of having a SpEd population of 36%, which necessitates much smaller class sizes, which CPS did not take into consideration in its underutilization calculation. 3 representatives from each school were allowed to speak, and the unifying message was NO SCHOOL CLOSINGS, that the closing of one school would impact all the other schools.

  • 131. CPS Parent  |  February 17, 2013 at 7:59 pm

    125.Kim regarding your statement:

    I understand your point and yes you do make a good one on a macro level concerning public education in an urban area of “mixed” socioeconomics. A bifurcated system that keeps poor kids isolated into their failing “ghetto” school is not one that should remain unchanged (how to do this is where debate comes in).

    I agree with you except that we are well beyond any debate. The solution that has been chosen (pretty much in all poverty stricken urban areas) are attendance boundary free charter schools.

  • 132. klm  |  February 18, 2013 at 10:15 am


    Yes, you are right about charter schools. And you know what? I don’t have a problem with this. Where would you rather your kids to to school? Manierre or KIPP? Dyett or Noble Street? Most kids are not “bad”, even when they come from low-income areas with pro-typical issues that shape people in a negative way: no male role models, no secure income, drugs, dealing, violence (and most of all I would say a pervasive fear/threat of violence), but a few bad apples can really do harm in terms of shaping them.

    Of course charter schools are not all perfect, but considering the options (Jenner/Manierre/Fenger/Robeson-type schools), I think they sure are a whole lot better.than the alternative. Yes, some have kids that are grade behind, on average, but the kids would be 3 or 4 years behind at other schools. Let’s not forget that the AVERAGE A-A 8th grader is already 3 years behind his/her white peers and by 12th grade s/he is 4 years behind. I hate to know how far behind kids are at some of the worst CPS schools (some of which people are fighting to keep open for reasons that I think ultimately does not have a lot to do with the best interests of the kids involved). A relative that teaches at a South Side HS tells me that her students seem to function at about a 5th grade level in 9th grade, on average. I volunteered at an inner-city HS civics class once and I can say that the kids were about 4-5 years behind, by my own reckoning –the purported goal was to “get the kids through” as per the teacher (God forbid they actually learn something like kids in non-ghetto HSs).

    I know that many people (I suspect mostly middle-class ones that would never sent their own kids to that failure-factory, thug-infested schools) love to a find fault with charters for upholding strict rules, expelling kids, etc., but kids from these kinds of high-risk neighborhoods need this kind of structure –the traditional K-12 public educational model that works in most places clearly is not working in places like Lawndale and Garfield Park. If some kids are not going along with the program, why should they be allowed to to bring other kids down? Also, as far as achievement, charters are not always mechanism for wiping out the achievement gap. it’s true. However, they tend to do better than most of the regular public schools their students would have iattended, otherwise.

    I will tell yet again another anecdotal story. At my inner-city middle school, one of my friend’s brothers was stabbed in the leg (for no good reason) just after school hours by one of the well-known bullying thugs (anybody.from the inner-city will tell you that the walk to and from school can be truly frightening and downright dangerous). Well, yes, he was expelled for a while,(most likely ‘rehabilitated’ in some juvenile justice program) but the next year he was re-enrolled and my friend’s brother had to sit next to him in a social studies class. Can you imagine having to not just go to school with, but having to actually sit next to the dangerous thug that stabbed you in the leg?

    The dysfunctional anti-social behavior exhibited by a minority of (mostly) young males in many inner-city neighborhoods can and actually does ruin things for everybody else (I’m thinking the 80-20 Rule, here). Does anybody really think that these thugs are model students M-F, 8:80-2:15, then as soon as they go out the school door they revert to some other person? What does that do for the majority of kids that want to learn? At least charter schools have more rules and structure, if nothing else.

  • 133. Gobemouche  |  February 18, 2013 at 4:14 pm

    klm — Off topic.

    Would it be possible for you to contact me offline? I would like to speak to you about college admissions, since you seem so knowledgeable. For myself, not for my kids 😉


  • 134. Gobemouche  |  February 18, 2013 at 4:16 pm

    klm – Sorry about that. I don’t know why the symbols were removed from my post. Odd.

    gobemouchecps @ gmail . com

  • 135. rain2day  |  February 18, 2013 at 4:42 pm

    131 Structure is a good thing for students both grammar school and high school. It helps kids learn that we live in an organized society with rules and there are consequences when you break those rules. Not all charters are bad. I agree with the statement that some of the worst CPS schools are much worse than the charters. Most of the people bashing charters are CPS union teachers. Time to stop that.

  • 136. Southside Daddi-o  |  February 18, 2013 at 5:43 pm

    131 “I know that many people (I suspect mostly middle-class ones that would never sent their own kids to that failure-factory, thug-infested schools) love to a find fault with charters for upholding strict rules, expelling kids, etc., but kids from these kinds of high-risk neighborhoods need this kind of structure –the traditional K-12 public educational model that works in most places clearly is not working in places like Lawndale and Garfield Park. If some kids are not going along with the program, why should they be allowed to to bring other kids down?

    This is the major problem we experience at a school like Kellogg and MPHS.

  • 137. anonymouse teacher  |  February 18, 2013 at 5:58 pm

    My issue is not that charters CAN get rid of the worst offenders, but that regular public schools seemingly CANNOT. I think all schools should have that right. I also think the district must pay for therapeutic school that a small, but disruptive portion of our student body needs. I wish that all schools had the privilege of not having to deal with the students who ruin it for everyone. (and the kids who are so disturbed they cannot be in a regular ed environment would get the help they need, too.) Why should charters be the only schools that don’t have to put up with violence and craziness and constant disruptions?

  • 138. CPS Parent  |  February 18, 2013 at 7:36 pm

    anonymouse teacher – How does the CPS code of conduct come into play in neighborhood schools? If they are followed as intended could the persiistenly disruptive students be placed out easily and fairly quickly as long as protocol is followed? Is there a policy problem or an execution issue or both?

    I remember that the little gang banger who designed the city sticker with gang hand signs on it a few years ago was in a special school for bad kids. I think he was from one of those multigenerational gangbanging famillies.

  • 139. anonymouse teacher  |  February 18, 2013 at 8:37 pm

    That is all really unclear. To begin with, there are next to no spots at therapeutic schools and certainly not enough for all the kids who need to be there. Next, I think it is both a policy problem and an execution problem. When a principal tells you not to report being assaulted by a student because it looks bad on the school, that’s a problem. (do you know how many teachers I know who have experienced this?)
    Then, what would happen to a principal who did actually have to go through the complete process for say, 10-20% of her student body? I can’t imagine the board wouldn’t fire her.
    And this is just my personal experience, but when I was subbing, the worst behaved kids I saw, the ones trying to stab eachother or the ones who walked away from the line and walked out the door (9 year olds, mind you), were from Jenner and Manierre. What I saw wasn’t even in the range of normal for children, it was more like being in a pysch center to be honest. How do you get rid of that many students? How do you even process and document for that many kids. And dear god, we have to have weeks and months worth of documentation to do anything these days, so if a class had 5 serious behavior issues, you’d never teach, you’d only crowd control and document for most of the year.
    The school my kids went to had a 1st grader who punched another kid. This had been a recurring issue. The principal suspended him for 2 whole weeks, the maximum allowed. A first grader. I say, good for her! But if several kids are slugging it out or worse every single day even with the very best of classroom management available, what then?

    And then there’s the thorny issue of too many students of color being put up for suspensions and expulsions in proportion to their total school population so when you figure that into the mix, it gets really hard, really fast.

  • 140. LUV2europe  |  February 18, 2013 at 8:49 pm

    139 “too many children of color” don’t care what color they are, if they are uncontrollable and a constant disruption, they belong in an alternative school….or homeschool but you can only guess what the home is like. These are the kids for whom the sucky CPS lunch is way better then what’s at home (empty fridge)……

  • 141. helenkeller  |  February 18, 2013 at 10:04 pm

    Why would a tenured teacher not report it when she/he is a victim of battery by a student? Would a teacher allow someone in a mall to hit her/him and not report it? It sets up the rest of the staff for further abuse. We have the same rights as everyone else-we are not punching bags for children. I have never understood teachers who are so afraid of their students/parents/principals that they become ineffective.

  • 142. tchr  |  February 18, 2013 at 10:14 pm

    @139 and @140

    I agree, many principals need certain numbers to keep their own jobs. Often that results in telling teachers that students cannot be removed from classrooms, that teachers need to try harder to create more positive classroom environments, use incentives to motivate students, talk with parents, etc,

    I agree, all teachers should create warm, classroom communities where students want to be learning, but when principals do not hold high expectations by allowing disruptive and disrespectful to continue with mere slaps on the wrists, teachers are powerless.

    At the same time, I watch teachers at my school struggle to create that warm classroom environment. Some are new teachers, some are veterans burnt out with years of abuse, and some are teachers just not used to dealing with extreme behaviors.

    I know my students well. I have a WONDERFUL class this year. I have worked hard to build strong relationships with my students. Plenty of my students have rough home lives, but I don’t use that as an excuse for their misbehavior in my classroom. I am strict, but I have high expectations for my students – all of them. My job is to teach, not manage. Management is what i have to do in order to teach. It has taken years for me to understand that and to get where I am today.

    At the same time, I know my kids, even my really good kids, will misbehave when certain teachers, subs, or other staff members are watching them. They do not have the relationships we have nor the management skills. I have heard stories of my WONDERFUL class of kindergartners jumping off chairs, doing cartwheels, running around the classroom, fighting with scissors, swearing, kicking, breaking things on purpose, etc. I cringe! But I know them. I know what crazy things they did at the beginning of the year. We spend a good part of the day role playing how to talk to each other and sort through problems. I would love for them to behave and get along with each other and LEARN though out the day, but when the adults in front of them are struggling, my kids get antsy! It is very difficult to manage behaviors AND teach when you are not sure how to handle the behaviors. We get new people who need a job. Teachers are not prepared or trained to deal with the massive amount of stress that is CPS. Staff do not know how to work with students or are limited in what they can do.

    Our school does not have enough staff members to help. Many schools have parent volunteers to help with lunch, recess, or small groups. We do not. Many schools have teachers and staff members who love their school and stay year after year. We do not. This environment is rough. People leave because they are stressed out and work carries past work hours and interferes with personal lives. Awful teachers at my school will be gone soon. Who wants to have anxiety about work everyday? Amazing teachers at my school will not last. In a few years, they will find better jobs in better districts or other parts of the city. And the kids at my school will have a new crew of new teachers experimenting management and teaching techniques. The school’s scores will go up and plateau and go down and up and all around. It is not a stable environment for anyone. Our kids come to us needing school to be a constant in their lives, but it is not always the supportive, warm, encouraging place they need it to be.

  • 143. cpsobsessed  |  February 18, 2013 at 10:29 pm

    Speaking this topic, I went on a field trip today to see a show about martin luther king. There were a few schools in attendance. The show was very uplifting and inspiring and talked about how MLK’s dream is still alive. Then all the white kids got on one set of buses to go back to their school while all the black kids got on other buses to go to other schools.
    That’s chicago.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 144. tchr  |  February 18, 2013 at 10:33 pm

    There was something on Wbez about this. Maybe someone on here already posted this.

    Damned if you do. Damned if you don’t.

  • 145. anonymouse teacher  |  February 18, 2013 at 10:42 pm

    @141, untenured teachers will often not report due to fear of being fired. Tenured teachers will often not report due to fear of their already chaotic work life getting worse by a principal who is now very angry at them. Personally, I don’t understand why anyone is willing to work in many schools the way they exist. I won’t go near a school anymore that doesn’t have good baseline behavior.

  • 146. tchr  |  February 18, 2013 at 10:43 pm

    Agree. It is difficult to say that MLK dreamed of a day when little black boys and girls could hold hands with little white boys and girls and my students’ only connection is the abundance of nice white teachers at their school.

  • 147. CPS Parent  |  February 19, 2013 at 9:30 am

    145. anonymouse teacher – I read through the student code of conduct and it is very clear that principals can and are actually obligated to expel students for “Group 5” and “Group 6” infractions. These include persistent harrasment, battery or aiding battery, minor physical contact with school personel, vandalism, drug/alcohol use, and disorderly group action.

    It seems to me that the policy is adequate but for whatever reasons principals are loathe to execute. One suprprise is that the CPS CEO (“BBB”) has to approve the first phase (SMART program) of the intervention proccess for Group 5 and 6 infractions. Seems to me that this aspect by itself could inhibit principals from starting the expulsion proccess.

  • 148. local  |  February 19, 2013 at 10:24 am

    @ 138. CPS Parent | February 18, 2013 at 7:36 pm

    “anonymouse teacher – How does the CPS code of conduct come into play in neighborhood schools? If they are followed as intended could the persiistenly disruptive students be placed out easily and fairly quickly as long as protocol is followed? Is there a policy problem or an execution issue or both?

    “I remember that the little gang banger who designed the city sticker with gang hand signs on it a few years ago was in a special school for bad kids. I think he was from one of those multigenerational gangbanging famillies.”

    Really? Libel much?

    The Code of Conduct does not determine placement for students with BD or ED. The CPS sped process under IDEA 2004 does. And you might understand how f*ed up the CPS sped process tends to be.

  • 149. local  |  February 19, 2013 at 10:38 am

    Good info. (An essay inspired by radio documentary by Linda Lutton on WBEZ Radio in Chicago: “Rules to Live By!”)

    You can’t survive the gangs and streets of Chicago if you don’t know the rules!

    By Phillip Jackson / The Black Star Project / February 18, 2013

  • 150. yep333  |  February 19, 2013 at 10:45 am

    148 Really? Libel much?

    that was common knowledge

  • 151. Southside Daddi-o  |  February 19, 2013 at 11:22 am

    @149 It seems that Phillip Jackson’s point is that there are too many young black children at risk in war-zones of neighborhoods. I completely agree. The question is now, what more can we do? We pay for these families rent, education, books, healthcare, and food. So what’s the solution?

    Additionally, Phillip Jackson’s organization wrote this about CPS not being able to use race for SE Schools:
    “RACE DOES MATTER to ensure fairness in Magnet and Selective Enrollment school admission. White students represent only 8% of students in the Chicago Public Schools system yet comprise as high as 40% of students at some Magnet and Selective Enrollment Schools. Although Black parents believe in fairness, we will not let anyone take advantage of our children. Any program that potentially removes Black children from the best schools in Chicago is not a policy that we will let the Chicago Board of Education pass.”

    If you turn this inside out, it’s saying “Black kids need to have special consideration added to their selective enrollment test scores because without it they won’t get in to SE schools”. Isn’t that kind of insulting?

  • 152. local  |  February 19, 2013 at 1:40 pm

    @ 150. yep333 | February 19, 2013 at 10:45 am

    “common knowledge”

    That was common misinformation repeated even in the press (natch).

  • 153. local  |  February 19, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    @ 151. Southside Daddi-o | February 19, 2013 at 11:22 am

    Personally, I don’t think there’s any solution to violence involving criminals of any stripe.

  • 154. luveurope  |  February 19, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    152 nope that was info from CPD.

  • 155. local  |  February 19, 2013 at 5:45 pm

    @ 154. luveurope | February 19, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    Well, Ok. I guess the actual source of the image (a source that had nothing to do with gangs or gang signs) the student copied into his design was just a hallucination.

  • 156. anonymouse teacher  |  February 19, 2013 at 9:00 pm,0,2928745.story?page=1
    Has anyone else posted this story by Reuters on their findings about charters? I am not entirely anti-charter, largely because I think they sometimes provide a safe option for kids who have none and because I honestly think they aren’t that different than magnet schools in how they select kids. But the report details many of the complaints people do have about charters. I would never under any circumstance allow my own kids to attend a charter, but if other people want or need to, I can’t envision standing in their way.

  • 157. athens  |  February 19, 2013 at 10:46 pm

    @ 136 –the traditional K-12 public educational model that works in most places clearly is not working in places like Lawndale and Garfield Park.” ………. Um….how did you jump to that conclusion?

  • 158. athens  |  February 19, 2013 at 11:07 pm

    @154 don’t drink the kool-aide

  • 159. cpsobsessed  |  February 20, 2013 at 1:48 am
    Discussion on WTTW about the school closings with RYH, Catalyst, and CPS.

  • 160. cpsobsessed  |  February 20, 2013 at 1:57 am

    Wow, and in other news, a group of teachers plan to try to unseat Karen Lewis because she didn’t get enough out of CPS. They wanted the promise of no closings. They also want no firings and no “givebacks” whatever those are. Interesting. So they’re like the hard-core Karen Lewis if you can imagine that. They didn’t like that softie that went to the bargaining table for them.,0,6407706.story

  • 161. HSObsessed  |  February 20, 2013 at 9:00 am

    @159 – I saw the Chicago Tonight segment. I find it incredible that CPS and its board members continue to repeat that CPS has lost 100,000 kids in the past decade since it’s so easy to verify that that’s untrue. CPS’ own data reflects that in 2002, there were 439K kids enrolled in CPS, and in 2012, there were 403K, so it’s a loss of about 35,000, which Wendy Katten of RYH pointed out to board member Jesse Ruiz.

  • 162. local  |  February 20, 2013 at 9:25 am

    161. HSObsessed | February 20, 2013 at 9:00 am

    CPS has a long history of repeating inaccuracies loudly and consistently to the point that they are unquestioned and accepted as “true.”

    Please remind me what the point of education is.

  • 163. local  |  February 20, 2013 at 9:27 am

    @ 160. cpsobsessed | February 20, 2013 at 1:57 am

    “Givebacks” refers to the 4 percent raise that was in the contract (promised unless there was a financial crisis, or something like that).

  • 164. local  |  February 20, 2013 at 9:30 am

    @ 156. anonymouse teacher | February 19, 2013 at 9:00 pm

    According to Rod Estvan of Access Living, many of those problems with charter operations occur in Chicago at a MUCH lower level than in other cities. Except for the sped “push out” issue. He reports that one is fairly common at many CPS charters.

  • 165. cpsobsessed  |  February 20, 2013 at 9:39 am

    I was wondering about the extent to which that charter selection process applies to chicago where we seem to have a fairly structured admission system (well, for non-charters at least.). No idea who monitors the charter waiting lists. In NYC the charters can have a range of admission systems. As can the non-charters. My friend’s son just took a special multi-hour math test for a certain school that the school administers it itself. That’s just the way the schools work there.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 166. local  |  February 20, 2013 at 9:45 am

    Posting on the Chicago Tonight confab.

  • 167. cpsobsessed  |  February 20, 2013 at 9:57 am

    I have to hand it to Wendy, she delivers those comments so patiently and calmly. I’d have been full of snark (but as you know I hate the loose use of data. Actually Ruiz’s wasn’t loose, it was just wrong.)

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 168. HS Mom  |  February 20, 2013 at 10:23 am

    @161 – What CPS touched on – and not well – was that you need to consider the number of extra seats not the decrease in CPS students. CPS says 104,000 which is the number that needs to be justified. It is misleading for CPS to say 145,000 and for Wendy Katten to say 30,000.

  • 169. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  February 20, 2013 at 10:25 am

    @154 CPD never made a statement on the matter. An alleged cop’s blog — shavedlongcock — said it had elements of a gang sign, but that was a real stretch. If it was a gang sign, then so are all Valentine’s cards with hearts on them. The tale had smoke because the kid’s father was a fugitive since 2008 and had gang associations. But it was just smoke because the dad was associated with the Latin Kings, who belong to the alliance opposing the Maniac Latin Disciples, whose sign was allegedly displayed. For an overview, see

  • 170. cpsobsessed  |  February 20, 2013 at 10:26 am

    @HS MOM, I was just thinking the same thing. Although I’d say that wendy’s number is fact and ruiz’s wasn’t so she gets the edge there. But I agree – the point is how many seats there are versus kids.
    Now that point is certainly up for debate….

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 171. cpsobsessed  |  February 20, 2013 at 10:26 am

    Ahem, the blog is called WHAT??

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 172. not2Day  |  February 20, 2013 at 10:28 am

    169 no one cares

  • 173. EdgewaterMom  |  February 20, 2013 at 11:33 am

    @169 Christopher Ball Thanks for the link to that article – the link between the drawing and the gang sign is pretty thin.

    I think my favorite quote from it is

    “It was surprisingly easy to find an annunciation painting with the angel throwing an MLD sign at the Virgin Mary. Maybe the city sticker artist is a fan of Philippe de Champaigne; so was Cyrano de Bergerac. ”

  • 174. local  |  February 21, 2013 at 4:09 pm

    I saw the source image the student copied. It had nothing to do with gangs.

  • 175. Family Friend  |  February 21, 2013 at 5:08 pm

    @156 anonymouse teacher: most of the abuses listed in the Reuters article on charter schools would be illegal in Illinois. Of all the charter schools in the state, only Noble Street imposes a requirement more stringent than “file the application on time.” No one has challenged the Noble Street application process; I can’t venture a guess on how that would fall out.

  • 176. local  |  February 21, 2013 at 6:44 pm

    About that phone survey. Here’s a report on it.

  • 177. anonymouse teacher  |  February 22, 2013 at 8:04 pm

    @175, please forgive me if I am generally skeptical about the legality of anything controlling what happens in schools in real life. I cannot say, nor do I have any first hand knowledge of anything illegal happening at any particular charter. But I can tell you I have personally witnessed dozens of illegal things happening at each and every school I have ever worked in and that includes public and private, city and suburbs. So, just because you might say, those things would be illegal in Illinois, doesn’t mean they or other unethical things don’t happen.
    But again, I know in some areas, the charter really is the better/safer choice and I cannot hold that against any family. And, like I said above, even regular publics do illegal crap all the time. All the time. Based on many, many experiences, if I was a parent of a sped child, I’d sooner shoot myself than send them to any Chicago school. (through no fault of all the wonderful sped teachers out there)

  • 178. helenkeller  |  February 22, 2013 at 8:41 pm

    I agree with you about special education in CPS. There are exceptional special education teachers, social workers etc but they are worn down by the constant fighting with CPS just to provide basic services. Generally, our parents are very intimidated by the entire CPS system and CPS takes advantage of their fear. The burden of advocacy should not be on the special education provider-especially when retaliation by CPS (case managers, administrators etc) is the norm. It wears the advocate down and is very stressful. Now ISBE wants to remove all class size rules-there will be chaos in CPS (CPS doesn’t follow the class size guidelines now) and no new sped teachers will want to come to CPS.

  • 179. Parent of 3rd grader @ a CPS charter school.  |  March 14, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    SCHOOL CLOSINGS: Why are parents so against it?
    I am a parent of an AfroAmer. girl who attends a CPS charter school on the West side. I am bewildered by the number of parents who do not want the 1/2 empty and under performing schools to close in their neighborhoods. CPS has said that all closed schools will result in the child being transferred to a better performing location. (It might only be 2-3 points higher in test scores, but higher no less).

    As an active parent, I would be glad that my child has an opportunity for improved educational options. No, I wouldn’t like it if my child has to get up 1 hr earlier and take a bus to get to school, but sometimes sacrifice is necessary. In fact now, she already has a 12 hour school day.

    Can someone who has a child at a school with low test scores, 1/2 empty capacity try to explain to me WHY you don’t want your child to go to another school. Am I missing something in the equation?

  • 180. HSObsessed  |  March 21, 2013 at 11:09 am

    The list is going to be released today. Of interest to northsiders, DNA Info has reported that Stockton has learned it will be merging with Courtenay. I assume that means Stockton’s kids will be joining the Courtenay school.

  • 181. SoxSideIrish4  |  March 21, 2013 at 11:12 am

    This has live updates

  • 182. SoxSideIrish4  |  March 21, 2013 at 11:15 am

    Teachers at closed schools to go with students to receiving schools. Principals get salary and benefits until Oct 30th.

  • 183. Chris  |  March 21, 2013 at 11:21 am

    “DNA Info has reported that Stockton has learned it will be merging with Courtenay. I assume that means Stockton’s kids will be joining the Courtenay school.”

    Courtenay is a tiny facility compared to Stockton. Courtenay’s building (ideal= 330; max = 396, per report) doesn’t even have enough space for the current enrollment of Stockton (470), while Stockton has plenty of space (ideal = 1020, max = 1224) to roll in Courtenay (278).

    I would bet a dollar that the combo–assuming correct–will be Courtenay’s ‘existing’ program being co-located in Stockton’s building.

  • 184. HSObsessed  |  March 21, 2013 at 11:24 am

    @183 – That sounds right. I was just guessing based on the wording of the article, It wasn’t clear.

  • 185. SoxSideIrish4  |  March 21, 2013 at 11:24 am

    183~Yes, that’s correct.

  • 187. ZanesDad  |  March 21, 2013 at 11:32 am

    Meanwhile, at least one receiving school on the “open enrollment” list under the options program was told by the network chief to suspend school tours until further notice.

  • 188. Currently Paying for Private School  |  March 21, 2013 at 11:58 am

    To answer the question of why people are so against school closings one only needs to look at the space utilization reports for schools on the N and NW side of the city. 21 of the 41 schools in the O’Hare network are considered overcrowded based on CPS’s own reports. CPS uses some incomprehensible equation to calculate which schools are considered overcrowded. For instance, a school that is at 113% capacity (my neighborhood school) is NOT considered overcrowded. I’m no math wiz, but even I know that 13% above 100% means 13% too many kids for that facility. Somebody please explain that math to me. So, that means while by CPS calculations only 21 of 41 are overcrowded, in REALITY that number must be closer to 30 at least. Closing these schools is only going to create more problems for the schools on the N & NW sides of the city. Kids are already eating lunch in the hallways, playing in the street for lack of a playground, having as many as 6 (or more in some cases) kindergarten classes and learning in classrooms in basements located next to boiler rooms. Children at one school are learning in a makeshift class set up on the stage in the auditorium. They are dismantling libraries, computer labs and music rooms in order to accommodate the children that they HAVE TO ADMIT BECAUSE THEY LIVE WITHIN THE BOUNDARIES OF THE SCHOOL. One school had no functioning bathrooms on it’s 4th floor and an enormous hole in the middle of the auditorium stage. They could hold a class in there if they wanted to. This is only the tip of the iceberg. I was at the public meetings. I heard administrators, teachers and parents from these schools describe the conditions they were dealing with and each story was more horrible than the last. It is painfully obvious that there are not ENOUGH elementary schools to service the population here. CPS is either oblivious to this fact or they are just choosing to ignore it (I’m going with the latter). What we need on THIS side of the city is MORE of them. Only then would there be a place to relocate students displaced by school closings on the South and West sides.

  • 189. SoxSideIrish4  |  March 21, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    #183~I believe that ppl are being told LSC that Courtenay is closing and kids are going to Stockton. Can’t believe that would be true.

  • 190. HSObsessed  |  March 21, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    For those of you who are unable to click the link Zanes Dad provided @186 (not being snarky, just there are sometimes technical problems with devices), that DNA Info article says that Courtenay kids, principal and staff will move into the Stockton building. The Stockton teaching staff will be culled, with priority retention for the teachers with the most time at Stockton and highest ratings.

  • 191. HSObsessed  |  March 21, 2013 at 12:42 pm

    ^^^ correction: priority retention for teachers with the most time “under their belt” — not just at Stockton

  • 192. SoxSideIrish4  |  March 21, 2013 at 12:45 pm

    Yes, but they have to reapply.

  • 193. Chris  |  March 21, 2013 at 1:05 pm

    188: ” It is painfully obvious that there are not ENOUGH elementary schools to service the population here.”


    “What we need on THIS side of the city is MORE of them.”

    There are *plenty* of school buildings, but not enough in the right places. Are you seriously suggesting that, absent $$ to build new schools on the NW side (where the existing facilites are genuinely inadequate for current student pop), no underenrolled schools elsewhere should be combined?

    Or, perhaps, you are suggesting gerrymandering all the attendance lines so that kids are shifted from crowded, yet actually nearby, schools into far away, but less crowded, schools? Planning to provide a *lot* more busing?

    I don’t think waiting to fix one problem related to student populations should prevent working on other problems related to student populations. Everyone on the NW side is free to send their kids to an underenrolled school elsewhere in Chicago–totally open-enrollment where space is “available”.

  • 195. เสริมจมูก  |  April 29, 2014 at 7:58 am

    It’s difficult to find educated people about this subject, but you seem
    like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks

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