Tier Admissions for SEHS 2013/4 School Year

June 3, 2013 at 6:45 am 325 comments

Tiers 2013


Here is a breakout of the Tier admissions for the upcoming school year.  I’ll comment later, but wanted to get this posted…

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325 Comments Add your own

  • 1. AC obsessed  |  June 3, 2013 at 7:27 am

    Interesting. I guess the raw score admissions really mostly are tier 4&3. I wonder if the breakdown is similar for the AC’s.

  • 2. Iheoma  |  June 3, 2013 at 7:46 am

    Interesting data

  • 3. Chicago School GPS  |  June 3, 2013 at 8:02 am

    Lane Tech has 1000 freshmen, right?

  • 4. Sheri  |  June 3, 2013 at 8:10 am

    Young scores went down? Jones went up , didn’t they add more seats w/ new bldg?

  • 5. Second time around  |  June 3, 2013 at 8:15 am

    @Chicago GPS, yes Lane had 1000 seats

  • 6. cpsobsessed  |  June 3, 2013 at 8:18 am

    The number of seats here seem higher than I expected. I have the seat counts as well, but at home.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 7. IBobsessed  |  June 3, 2013 at 9:05 am

    This should quiet all the northsider Tier 4s who complain that the system is skewed against them. But it won’t.

  • 8. Angie  |  June 3, 2013 at 9:30 am

    @7. IBobsessed: Why should it? Tier 4 kids still need to score 100 points more to get into some of these schools. That has not changed.

  • 9. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  June 3, 2013 at 9:35 am

    Interesting, but not enough. What we should have, to judge how well the system is going, is

    1) the number of applicants by tier by school

    2) the range of applicant scores, by subcomponent, by tier, by school

    What we should also have is a simulation of how the the schools would have looked over the past several years if admission was based on score only or exam only. (In NYC, the 8 specialized HS have an exam-only admission, with no barriers to to taking the test, like minimum stanines). I would also be curious how well the ISAT scores match up with the exam scores.

    The Blue Ribbon Commission said that an exam-only or score only system (I forget which they looked at) would change the make-up of the schools — a loss of diversity, is how I believed the BRC phrased it. The lack of diversity at South Shore, King, or Brooks seems not to bother anyone.

  • 10. cpsobsessed  |  June 3, 2013 at 9:46 am

    @C-Ball – so what would be your analytic goal with that information… to find out what? How the system would look with and without the Tier system? We might be able to approximate that by looking at the cutoff scores for the schools (maybe.. not quite sure about that.)

    I’m not sure what your point is about the diversity. Nothing is needed to “engineer” diversity at those schools – only parent willingness to have their kids attend and the willingness to travel there.

  • 11. HS Mom  |  June 3, 2013 at 9:48 am

    @4 these are % of admissions, not a reflection of scores.

    I would also add that Jones and Westinghouse have a component of admissions that are not tier based. Judging by the total number of seats, I assume they are included in the tier based calculations.

  • 12. Iheoma  |  June 3, 2013 at 9:54 am

    @8 Angie: The data indicates that while Tier 4 kids do have higher scores, they also comprise of many more students than Tier 1 kids.Specifically 696 more kids from Tier 4 neighborhoods got a seat at a SEHS than Tier 1 kids. The numbers can be parsed and explained in a variety of ways but there it is. I’m sure people will still complain – but I’m with #7 – the numbers speak for themselves.

    The tier system was supposed to address some of the inequalities in the system. Forget the theoretical and the percentages – 696 more kids from Tier 4 neighborhoods than Tier 1 neighborhoods will get the opportunity to attend a SEHS. If the system actually worked we would not see this difference.

  • 13. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  June 3, 2013 at 10:00 am

    @7 The complaint from Tier 4 and Tier 3 parents is that students with lower scores, in some cases much lower, from Tier 1 and Tier 2 gain admittance. Again, because of CPS reticence, we don’t know how many. It could be that many upper tier parents would still be displeased because the cut-score for Tier 3 and Tier 4 is always below the high score for for Tier 1 for northside schools.

    What is striking in the numbers is how poorly the current system still serves Tiers 1 and 2. No school has more than 20% tier 1 students. And tier 2 students are above 25% at only King. Whereas Tiers 1 and 2 should account for about 50% of the students overall, they account for only 40% of selective enrollment admissions.

  • 14. cpsobsessed  |  June 3, 2013 at 10:00 am

    @Iheoma, I’m with you that the numbers speak for themselves… but I suppose if someone is opposed to socio-economic engineering and supports the use of scores/grades alone as the entry criteria, they wouldn’t care about the distribution. For some people scores are scores and that should be the sole determining factor.

  • 15. HS Mom  |  June 3, 2013 at 10:22 am

    @12 – I think the “tier 4” complaint is more about the system as it attempts to define and categorize socioeconomic values by address. The fact that the diversity of Chicago cannot be neatly grouped using census tracts is an issue.

    @13 – It is difficult to determine whether tier 1 and 2 students are under-served in the SE system without knowing how many students scoring over 650 (minimum requirement) did or did not receive seats relative to the percentage of other tiers that did not receive seats.

  • 16. Angie  |  June 3, 2013 at 10:26 am

    @12. Iheoma: “The tier system was supposed to address some of the inequalities in the system. Forget the theoretical and the percentages – 696 more kids from Tier 4 neighborhoods than Tier 1 neighborhoods will get the opportunity to attend a SEHS. If the system actually worked we would not see this difference.”

    That depends on your definition of the working system. The current system creates artifical diversity by lowering the admission bar for applicants of the certain races, under the guise of the socioeconomic tiers, and the gap in minimum scores proves that it is working as designed. It could, of course, be tweaked some more by reducing the percentage of merit-based admissions, which would increase the bar for Tier 4 applicants while lowering it for other tiers. Is that what you want?

  • 17. Since the Tiers  |  June 3, 2013 at 10:27 am

    Looking through our new RGC yearbook. KDG, First and Second are nearly 100% white since change to tier system…..

  • 18. Mayfair Dad  |  June 3, 2013 at 10:28 am

    This tells us accepted, not totals from each tier who applied/tested. It could mean that significantly more kids from tiers 3&4 bother to apply and test, or it can mean a similar number of kids from tiers 1&2 apply and test, but still fall short of their already discounted acceptance point totals. Either way, further watering down of the rigor of SEHSs is not the answer. More resources devoted to early childhood, a longer fuller school day, shorter summers, other supports to counteract the impact of poverty on at-risk populations. The solution starts at age 4 not 14.

  • 19. HSObsessed  |  June 3, 2013 at 10:33 am

    When 70% of seats are allocated in four slices according to the tiers, each tier is then guaranteed 17.5% of slots at each SEHS.

    So what I see from this chart is that three schools had 17% or 18% of the admitted kids from Tier 1, meaning that no kids (or nearly none) from Tier 1 gained entry via the “scores only” 30%. The other 7 schools had 19% or 20% of admitted kids from Tier 1, meaning that an additional 1-3% of admitted students were in Tier 1 and admitted based on scores alone.

    So if the tier system weren’t in place, it’s likely that very few of the 921 SEHS freshmen from Tier 1 would have had that opportunity at all.

  • 20. RL Julia  |  June 3, 2013 at 10:53 am

    It doesn’t look like a lot of people are gaming the system (or wouldn’t the tier 1 numbers be at least a little higher?). On the other hand, it is pretty appalling how the tier system isn’t serving many poor kids In the end of it all. On the other hand, I agree with Mayfair Dad – the interventions and opportunities needed to start at 4 – not 14.

  • 21. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  June 3, 2013 at 11:00 am

    @15 Quite true on the #’s accepted/#applied — see my @9.

    @19 Jones, Payton, and South Shore were the only schools that Tier 1 students had a 17-18 on. Oddly, at Young, Tier 1 students took more than Tier 2 as a % of seats. Also at Lane, Tier 1 is a % point above Tier 2. But you are correct that if the baseline is: “would you have received more than x% of the seats?” then the tier system does work well for tiers 1 & 2. If, however, your baseline: “in the ideal world, the numbers would be equal across tier on merit?” then the system serves poorly. I think the problem is that the the tier system and its predecessor allow CPS, and more importantly, society at large, to overlook the crummy outcomes of primary education in tier 1-2 neighborhoods.

    The 2011 BRC did say this about either the 2011-12 or 2010-11 SEHS admissions:

    [O]nly 92 students who scored above 800 were not selected by
    at least one of their choices. This represents about 4%, which is on par with numbers seen under the consent decree. Out of these 92 students, 49 (53%) of them only chose one or two schools, a decision that made it more difficult for them to receive an offer.

    Four percent of what (tier 4 applicants?), I don’t know.

  • 22. cpsobsessed  |  June 3, 2013 at 11:08 am

    Here are the #s from last year:
    Tier 4 23%
    Tier 3 29%
    Tier 2 25%
    Tier 1 23%

    Tier 4 35%
    Tier 3 26%
    Tier 2 20%
    Tier 1 20%

  • 23. cpsobsessed  |  June 3, 2013 at 11:09 am

    So doesn’t that mean that a Teir 4 kid has a better acceptance rate than a Tier 1 kid?

  • 24. HS Mom  |  June 3, 2013 at 11:11 am

    @20 – “On the other hand, it is pretty appalling how the tier system isn’t serving many poor kids In the end of it all”

    I’m not sure this data tells us that. We don’t know the numbers but if say 80% of qualified tier 1 (poor) kids received seats vs. 10% of qualified tier 4 (rich) kids – I’d be OK with this and the idea of helping those who need a leg up. But, if something like this were in fact the case, couldn’t we at least acknowledge that poor kids are given a more than equal opportunity. Again, we don’t know enough to make that statement.

    The fact that poverty puts kids at a disadvantage and plays a part in qualifying them for a SEHS is a completely separate matter.

  • 25. HS Mom  |  June 3, 2013 at 11:15 am

    @23 applied and qualified (min 650) are 2 separate things

  • 26. cpsobsessed  |  June 3, 2013 at 11:19 am

    I think the use of the 30% rank scores sets a balance – so the system is giving some Tier 1-2 kids a leg up but also gives the high scoring kids a chance to take some extra seats. And let’s face it – Tier 4 kids could have even a greater share of those seats if the families were willing to utilize all the SEHS.

  • 27. maman  |  June 3, 2013 at 11:23 am

    Lane has fewer seats, no? Because of the kids from the Academic Center who are automatically accepted as freshmen?

  • 28. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  June 3, 2013 at 11:27 am

    @22 Do you have the data in Excel format or some other electronic form? If so, could you please send it to: info at skepticismiscertain.org

    Thank you.

  • 29. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  June 3, 2013 at 11:35 am

    @22 cpso

    The accepted data: is that the % of students from each tier who were accepted, e.g. Tier 1 Accepted Students/ All Accepted Students, or the % accepted from those that applied from each tier, e.g., Tier 1 Accepted/ Tier 1 Applied?

  • 30. cpsobsessed  |  June 3, 2013 at 11:45 am

    @29: My understanding is that of the kids who applied for SEHS, 24% were in Tier 4. Of the students who were actually accepted, 35% were in Tier 4.

  • 31. CPS Parent  |  June 3, 2013 at 11:45 am

    23. cpsobsessed Yes – keep in mind that at the north side schools almost all the non-tier/score only admits are Tier 4 kids.

    My own experience (8 years as a parent in a SEHS) is that as far as SEHS being a truly life changing event, tier 1 and 2 kids are much more so in that situation. The tier 4 kids are on a predictable arc: born into an college educated family –> good pre-K –> good elementary school –> good high school –> good college. For tier 1 and 2 it is much more likely that there is no such fortunate arc but often the end result is a free ride (merit and/or URM status) at a great college. A complete life changer for about 500 Chicago kids each year.

    My assumption is that the tier 4 kids who didn’t get into their desired SEHS’s will be fine in the end and had they been willing to travel further across the city, as so many tier 1, 2’s do, they could have placed into SEHS’s as well.

  • 32. southie  |  June 3, 2013 at 11:50 am


    “Looking through our new RGC yearbook. KDG, First and Second are nearly 100% white since change to tier system…..”

    Amazing. What RCG is that???

  • 33. cpsobsessed  |  June 3, 2013 at 11:57 am


    I asked Linda Lutton at wbez if they’d done a story about a white kid in one of the primarily black SEHS. Here is a link to one. She suggests listening to it in addition to reading it. I just took a listen – very interesting. If you listen, let me know and we can discuss. It focused a bit more on the kids’ reactions from family and friends to their attending these schools (often negative) so I’m still curious what it’s like for the kids who attend being a massive minority. Does it matter at all? Linda said she knows of a few kids who are in this situation at King and Westinghouse and are very happy there.

    Conversely, my high school had exactly one black family that attended there and the kids certainly never had trouble fitting in.

  • 34. James  |  June 3, 2013 at 12:52 pm

    @19 HSObsessed —

    “When 70% of seats are allocated in four slices according to the tiers, each tier is then guaranteed 17.5% of slots at each SEHS. So what I see from this chart is that three schools had 17% or 18% of the admitted kids from Tier 1, meaning that no kids (or nearly none) from Tier 1 gained entry via the ‘scores only’ 30%.”

    That’s exactly right. Said another way, I think what the chart proves is that the 30% of each class that is admitted regardless of tier and based only test scores comes heavily from Tiers 3 and 4. What I think that also means is that if we did away with tiers (and so did not guarantee that at least 35% of the accepted students would be from Tiers 1 and 2), the numbers would be even more skewed in favor of Tiers 3 and 4.

    And, in many ways, that is the heart of the debate. Should we move to a test-only admissions system? Some would say that would be more fair — but this chart also strongly suggests that that would mean that we would reduce the socio-economic (and probably racial) diversity in these schools. Or should we retain (or even increase) the percentage of the class that is reserved for Tier 1 and Tier 2 kids? Some would say that would be better since the Tiers 1 and 2 kids don’t seem to claim many of the test-only seats and so are underrepresented in some sense — but then that would mean that the scores needed for admission from Tiers 3 and 4 would climb even higher than they are now (and they are crazily high now).

    As I’ve said before, while I acknowledge the flaws and imperfections with the current tier system, I think it gets a difficult social and political issue roughly right, and it should be left alone for now. It guarantees some significant level of diversity while also maintaining the academic rigor of these schools. At the end of the day, I think that’s what most people want out of these SE schools.

  • 35. Iheoma  |  June 3, 2013 at 1:38 pm

    @26 – Exactly!

  • 36. RL Julia  |  June 3, 2013 at 2:00 pm

    @34 Exactly! One if the things that we don’t talk about when we talk about tiers and acceptance rates and etc… is that the kids admitted are admitted because they are good at being smart in one specific way. They might be smart in other ways – but for the purposes of admission only that one way matters. It is because of this, I don’t necessarily think we can assume that having lower scoring kids included in the SEHS”s absolutely undermines the quality of the education (as some purport).

    I also agree with @31 -CPS Parent. I do think that those tier 3 and 4 kids who don’t get into somewhere ultimately do land somewhere and do just fine – while the less resourced tier-kids? Not necessarily so.

  • 37. HSObsessed  |  June 3, 2013 at 2:26 pm

    @34 – Yes, I agree with what you said. It’s not a perfect system and I understand why some are unhappy, but I think achieving socioeconomic diversity in our schools is the right thing to do. Does this mean that kids from the higher tiers need to post higher scores to gain access? Yes, but they’ve been given every single opportunity to do so, and we should expect more from them. It’s kind of like when I hire two new employees, one with many years of experience in the field and one with very limited experience, but lots of potential as shown by solid educational background and impressive demeanor during the interview. I expect more from the experienced new hire from the start, given her background, but that doesn’t mean that the less experienced person can’t catch on quickly and show impressive growth and results over time.

  • 38. its more impressive  |  June 3, 2013 at 3:31 pm

    I have always believed its a lot more impressive when a tier 1 kid pulls off an 800 than a tier 4 kid who pulls off 895. Especially considering that the top SE schools have 1/3-1/5 private school kids going there? and that tier 1 kids, as we see above, are drastically underrepresented at the best schools in chicago..

  • 39. trice  |  June 3, 2013 at 3:59 pm

    I have never really understood the position that Tier 4 kids are at a disadvantage because they need to score 100 more points. I grew up in a Tier 1, but my daughter is growing up in a Tier 4. By comparison, her life is a like a fairy tale compared to mine. My girl once asked me why everyone that walks in the morning just doesn’t rent a car while their cars are being repaired. She is four and has been to multiple countries. For most of my life, I considered downtown to be another country. I want a spot for her, but the Tier 1 kid in me remembers not having paper at home to do my homework. That kid can’t work up too much sympathy for her and her friends needing 100 more points. I think think it’s the least they can do with all of the oppurtunities that they have been given.

  • 40. Mayfair Dad  |  June 3, 2013 at 5:11 pm

    @39. Were those opportunities “given” to your daughter, or did you and your spouse study hard, go on to obtain higher education, secure steady employment and work your butts off to improve your daughter’s lot in life? I suspect your outlook might change when your child reaches seventh grade and you realize she is being penalized 100+ points because mom & dad sacrificed to make a stable home in a safe neighborhood.

  • 41. Chicago School GPS  |  June 3, 2013 at 5:20 pm

    These figures are not broken down by Tier but do show the application numbers for each program, as obtained by WBEZ.


    Page 3 shows the SEHS application figures.
    Page 2 shows the AC application figures.

    I added a % chance of admission column, but it’s not broken out by Tiers.

  • 42. Angie  |  June 3, 2013 at 6:06 pm

    @37. HSObsessed: “Does this mean that kids from the higher tiers need to post higher scores to gain access? Yes, but they’ve been given every single opportunity to do so, and we should expect more from them.”

    You are making an awful lot of assumptions based on nothing more than the child’s address. I doubt that immigrant families or single parents barely scraping by in Tier 4 rental appartments can provide their children with top-notch preschools, enrichment and test prep classes, and yet they are lumped together with the Gold Coast millionaires.

  • 43. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  June 3, 2013 at 7:23 pm

    @34 I think James frames the alternatives accurately. But the more important question is: why have selective admission schools if you are not admitting based on academics, or whatever the purpose of the school is? People don’t complain that the magnet tier system is unfair, because it is lottery-based for all. That is fair. But when the academic standard differs based loosely on socio-economic status, it begs the question of why have the academic standard in the first place.

    The tier system has a perverse effect on segregation in the city. If you are middle or low income and your child is smart but not stellar, it is better to remain in lower tier areas than move to other ones in order to improve the chances that your child we get a better education. Given that the tiers are designed to somewhat proxy racial quotas, the tiers discourage integrated neighborhoods. Ideally, the same incentive would exist for upper-income families to move to lower tiers. But upper-income families have private options more than lower-income ones do, and they can support better neighborhood schools. So they stay put too. Segregation persists.

    My understanding is that the tier system was introduced in the 2010-11 academic year to replace racial quotas that were used until the 1980 desegregation consent decree was lifted in 2009. I don’t know when and why all the specialized HS were created. I know a few were created in the past 5-10 years. I don’t know how many existed prior to 1980, if any. Were the SE schools ever exam-only or score only? Or were they created to stem white flight to private schools and the the suburbs while complying with the consent decree?

    The NYC specialized HS are exam-only, but they were created that way starting in the 1930s. Stuyvesant was first. Then Bronx Science. But again, NYC has far fewer seats in proportion to its population. Chicago would have 5,155 seats rather 12,025 if the NYC system was adopted. Chicago wouldn’t need 10 schools, but it could keep 4, and magnetize the other 6.

  • 44. trice  |  June 3, 2013 at 8:30 pm

    Mayfair Dad, I still say “given”. You’re right about the points. I’m years from the 100 points being in my face, but the Tiers still matter for the pre-k crowd. On another note, was there a list that showed the elementary schools that fed the selective enrollment high schools? I loved that list, but can’t locate it. Was it removed?

  • 45. anonymouse teacher  |  June 3, 2013 at 8:52 pm

    @43, Do you feel like people choose where to live based on the tier of that particular address?

  • 46. Iheoma  |  June 3, 2013 at 8:53 pm

    @43 – Are you drawing a conclusion that CPS tier system actually contributes to people to remaining in Tier 1 neighborhoods and that the tier system actually perpetuates segregation? Maybe I’m misunderstanding what you’re writing because I’m pretty sure that Chicago’s long and well documented history of redlining and other now illegal real estate practices were the primary causes of the ethnically and racially segregated neighborhoods that continue to persist today. The recent school closing debacle should be some indication how many parents who live in Tier 1 and Tier 2 neighborhoods would love their kids to attend *better* (aka more resources, more stability, safer) schools. I wonder how many of them would say, “I’ll just keep my kid a lower performing school so that he/she can get an advantage in the SEHS application process.”

  • 47. truth be told  |  June 3, 2013 at 10:33 pm

    I rent in a T4 neighborhood, but I am one block from T3 and two blocks from T2, depending on which way I walk. If I knew about tiers when I was choosing a place to live, I would have gladly lived in T3 or T2 until the school selection process was over.

  • 48. OutsideLookingIn  |  June 3, 2013 at 11:44 pm

    As long as your kid is able to get into the school of his/her choice, the system seems fair. If your kid’s chances aren’t looking so hot, the system is decidedly UNfair….
    – The kid from the south side took my kid’s place at Northside!
    – The private school kid stole a seat from my cps kid!
    – George Bush doesn’t like black people!

    CPSO has shown us that 43% of incoming Jones freshman are Tier 4 kids — a seemingly disproportionate percentage in a system designed to distribute seats across four tiers. Yet some here complain that Tier 1 kids receive a huge point advantage that allow them to take a few seats at this and other primo northside schools. Is it fair?

    Ask the middle class parent of a Tier 4 kid who scored one point below the cutoff. Now ask the Tier 1 kid who just barely made the cutoff and is determined to be the first person in her family to go to college. Or ask the Tier 3 family that used Aunt Tootie’s Tier 1 neighborhood address (but didn’t live there) to score their kid a spot at Payton. Or ask the Tier 2 kid who got in on merit rank while others believe he only was admitted through a point advantage due to tier.

    Whether you eliminate tiers or tinker with other factors, you can’t engineer the system to be truly fair. The only way a system can be “fair” In your eyes is if it works to your individual child’s advantage. And that ain’t fair.

  • 49. westinghouse  |  June 4, 2013 at 12:40 am

    im looking at the data and im wondering if westinghouse could have a jone-esque transformation in the next few years. Its predominately but not exclusively black (lots of asians and hispanics there) and its central location could be very appealing (though not its neighborhood) for practical purposes. Interesting to see where this school could go.

  • 50. anotherchicagoparent  |  June 4, 2013 at 7:19 am

    I found last years data on tier percentages. https://cpsobsessed.com/2012/03/09/data-on-tiers-and-private-school-from-wbez/

  • 51. anotherchicagoparent  |  June 4, 2013 at 7:45 am

    @42 And Angie watching this process up close twice now, those are definitely the families being penalized the most with this system,I do wish the income part of the application was more accurate for each individual.I say this as a parent who has no skin in the game again but who has watched the system in tier 4 twice basically divide people into schools along economic lines.
    @44 https://cpsobsessed.com/2012/01/15/se-high-school-enrollment-by-elementary-school-exclusive-data/
    Data from last year High School enrollment by elementary school

  • 52. HSObsessed  |  June 4, 2013 at 8:29 am

    @42 – I agree there will always be exceptions to the “norm” in every tier, whether it’s a kid with fewer advantages in Tier 4 or a kid with more advantages who happens to live in Tier 1 or 2.

  • 53. cpsobsessed  |  June 4, 2013 at 8:37 am

    Well mathematically I wonder how an income change would affect someone tier given that there 2 6 factors. So say a poor family in tier 4 shows CPS they’re poor, maybe that might move them down one tier but if the other 5 factors stayed constant then I doubt they could move down to like a tier 1 designation.

    The formula implies that by living within a better neighborhood, a poor kid is better off (and would have higher test scores) than a poor kid in the worst chicago neighborhoods. And this is probably true — the problem is these kids can’t compete with the other tier 4 kids who had privileged backgrounds.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 54. HScoming  |  June 4, 2013 at 9:04 am

    Did I miss the statistic on how many high school eligible kids live in each tier each year? Wouldn’t this be important to know when analyzing the Tier makeup of an incoming class?

  • 55. CPS Parent 24  |  June 4, 2013 at 9:09 am

    So, why not just offer the top 10% at each elementary school admission to the SE high schools? This works in other cities. Could it work in Chicago?

    Diversity – check. Efficient to administer – check. Cuts expenses and reduces headaches – check.

  • 56. HSObsessed  |  June 4, 2013 at 9:41 am

    @54 – They divide the census tracts so that each tier has the same number of children in each. I don’t think they go down to the level of “how many eighth graders” in each tract.

    @55 – Interesting concept. How is the top 10% determined, though? ISAT scores? That system would definitely encourage forward-looking parents to enroll their kid in the solid neighborhood school instead of fighting tooth and nail to get them into a gifted program.

  • 57. Mayfair Dad  |  June 4, 2013 at 9:55 am

    @49. I predict Westinghouse will be the next hot SEHS, although Principal Alan Mather is doing great things at Lindblom. Remember when Caucasian people were concerned about Payton being too close to Cabrini Green, Jones being too close to homeless shelters, and Young being too far south? The big difference was racial quotas limited the number of Causasian students at SEHSs on the north side of the city (pre-Tier system), which forced segregation to occur. The same can not be said of SEHSs in predominantly African American neighborhoods on the south side, so you had SEHSs at 90%+ of one race. Now with the Tier system in place, it remains to be seen if diversity will be the end result. Over time, I suspect it will.

  • 58. CPS Parent 24  |  June 4, 2013 at 10:37 am

    @56, one way top 10% could be determined is by 7th and 8th grade GPAs (combined). In my opinion, grades over a period of time are a more accurate reflection of effort and talent than a test given a certain point in time.

    There may be other ways this can be determined. Again, I do not think this sort of thing is a new idea.

  • 59. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  June 4, 2013 at 10:53 am

    @45 Not everyone, but I have spoken to people who aimed for areas that were tier 3 or tier 2 to maximize the chances for their child to attend a SE elementary school. Presumably the parent of a smart tier 1 student already has the student in an SEES. The parent has no incentive to move to a higher tier, if it were possible, because it would be harder to go to an IGP, AC, or SEHS. The tier system is benefiting that family in terms of their child’s education, but it reinforces the social division in the city.

    @46 Yes.The tier system didn’t cause Chicago segregation (it couldn’t have since it didn’t exist until 2010). It is not the primary factor sustaining segregation, but it does create perverse incentives to gain admission to SEES and SEHS.

    I think it’s a helpful system for magnet admissions, though it is a crude one. The problem is that it has become the answer to post-quota desegregation rather than being seen as the best-available answer for the short-term following the lifting of the consent decree. When problems are identified, the reply is usually something along the lines of: “it’s fair enough.” Compared to what? If your primary aim is social equality, why have selective admission schools in the first place? Why not just have a stronger magnet program.

  • 60. HS Mom  |  June 4, 2013 at 10:57 am

    @48 – I agree. The tier system “with all it’s faults” “being the best we have” is imprecise in many ways. None of this means anything – especially to CPS – unless it is your own child who falls through the cracks. There is no reason that kids should not all be taking the same tests at the same relative time using a uniform grade scale and using an application that calls for specific income and other qualifying questions and putting the burden of proof on the applicant in order to register.

    @31 CPS parent – I do agree. This can be life altering for kids. Also, don’t underestimate the impact that SEHS has on the average kid. Will they be OK and do fine elsewhere – maybe, probably, who knows. Most CPSers tier 4 included cannot afford Latin, Ignatius and some of the others that offer top notch schooling. For us, I know, our neighborhood school would have been a real issue.

  • 61. CPS Parent 24  |  June 4, 2013 at 1:54 pm

    @31, I have a problem with the mentality that ” tier 4 kids who didn’t get into their desired SEHS’s will be fine in the end”. That may be true, but don’t these kids deserve to have the same opportunities to develop their talents and abilities as the economically disadvantaged?

  • 62. tamara paxton  |  June 4, 2013 at 2:02 pm

    no they do not

  • 63. HS Mom  |  June 4, 2013 at 2:12 pm

    @61 I think one could definitely argue that the alternatives for any tier (1 through 4) are neighborhood, charter, magnets, IB – all these programs available throughout the city to all tiers. A tier 4 kid living in Albany Park would certainly have their live transformed by going to Northside vs. Roosevelt.

  • 64. Mayfair Dad  |  June 4, 2013 at 2:21 pm

    In post 57…”which forced segregation to occur.”

    I meant to write “which forced integration to occur.” I think most of you got the gist of what I was driving at.

    I wish this blog had the edit feature Facebook has to clean up typos.

  • 65. H  |  June 4, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    @63 Is the tier 4 kid who just missed getting into Northside really going to Roosevelt instead?

  • 66. chicagomom  |  June 4, 2013 at 2:38 pm

    @63 Albany Park is tier 2.

  • 67. chicagomom  |  June 4, 2013 at 2:42 pm

    Just checked the map: part of Albany Park is also tier 3.

  • 68. HS Mom  |  June 4, 2013 at 2:44 pm

    The example is more about the 100 point spread, not just missing. If you just miss at Northside, you can get into other SE HS’s this just happens to be the one closest to Albany Park. In the case of a tier 4 kid not getting into a SEHS, as described in the above post that says they will be just fine, the kid is like any tier 1,2 or 3 kid with lottery chances or looking into various IB programs. The point is that they may or may not be “just fine” but same can be said for other tiers. Also, as a tier 1 kid may have a life altering experience going to a SE school, same can be said for other tiers as well.

  • 69. HS Mom  |  June 4, 2013 at 2:44 pm

    And part is tier 4

  • 70. H  |  June 4, 2013 at 2:57 pm

    @67,68 As far as Albany Park tiers, it may depend on whether you are going by the perceived Albany Park neighborhood or the official community area.

    @68 Take the set of tier 4 students who would have been admitted to an SEHS (they would have wanted to attend) if admittance were purely based on scores without tiers, but who did not get into an SEHS with the tiering system. I.e., the tier 4 students who lost out because of the tier system. I would be willing to bet that as a group these tier 4 students have better alternatives than the tier 1 students who got in because of the tier system. Whether you think that should matter in terms of having a tier system or not is a different issue.

  • 71. random person  |  June 4, 2013 at 2:58 pm

    I know some people might get offended about this but I don’t care. I do think every tiers should deserve the same opportunities. I don’t think it’s a good idea to lower the cut-off score for the lower tiers kids. I think it’s stupid and unfair. The lower tiers kids should work as hard as other kids in higher tiers. There’s no easy way out in the real world. As a result, they will face more obstacles when they grow up as adults. They will always have the feeling of inferiority in the school because they know that they didn’t get into a good SEHS because of their achievement; it’s because of their tiers.

  • 72. cpsobsessed  |  June 4, 2013 at 3:00 pm

    Well, a good-scoring Tier 4 kid has an edge at IB programs where Tiers don’t count. Also at magnets that use Stanine 5 as the cutoff.

    However I think the point of “they’ll be fine” means that even if they did land at a neighborhood school they’d likely (jeez, hopefully… I guess is this where we’re still unconvinced) get a decent HS education. As Linda Lutton, the wbez education reporter told me, she was fine with her daughter going to the neighborhood school if it fell out that way, but she expected great things from her there if she did.

    But for me, this is the final question. Can those neighborhood schools provide a college-ready education? As someone posted above (or on another thread, Morgan Park is sending kids to top schools, I know Lake View has too. Every school does. Are we (I) underestimating what’s possible there?

  • 73. HS Mom  |  June 4, 2013 at 3:12 pm

    @70 – In some cases you are right. If your neighborhood school is Lincoln Park, if you can afford private school, if your grammar school has a high school – all decent options. For every tier 4 family that will do just fine because they can go private, you’ll get 20 posts from that same group who can’t afford one dollar of HS tuition let alone save for college for multiple kids.

  • 74. tier 4 don't mean a thing  |  June 4, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    I live in a tier 4 neighborhood, but could never afford private school in a million years. That is the problem with tiers, it is all based on the ideal, not the actual circumstances.

  • 75. tier 4 don't mean a thing  |  June 4, 2013 at 3:25 pm

    oh and i will never send my kids to my neighborhood hs in my tier 4 neighborhood…i will obviously be going into debt like my single mother before me…or moving to the burbs

  • 76. H  |  June 4, 2013 at 3:26 pm

    @73 I’m just talking about on average, as a group.

    @74 So if your child doesn’t get into SEHS, what are your likely options? What do you think you would really end up doing?

  • 77. HS Mom  |  June 4, 2013 at 3:39 pm

    76 – I understand. I’m just wondering how the no-cost options differ from tier 1 to 4. There are 11 magnets throughout the city. There is wall to wall IB in every neighborhood. There are specialty career programs and fine schools in all neighborhoods. There’s Von Steuben on the northside and Ag on the south. There are many more charters in low income neighborhoods. Some northside neighborhood schools score just as low as some southside schools.

  • 78. tier 4 don't mean a thing  |  June 4, 2013 at 3:42 pm

    “I also agree with @31 -CPS Parent. I do think that those tier 3 and 4 kids who don’t get into somewhere ultimately do land somewhere and do just fine – while the less resourced tier-kids? Not necessarily so”
    “You are making an awful lot of assumptions based on nothing more than the child’s address. I doubt that immigrant families or single parents barely scraping by in Tier 4 rental appartments can provide their children with top-notch preschools, enrichment and test prep classes, and yet they are lumped together with the Gold Coast millionaires”

    This exactly. My single mom will have worked her butt off to provide with the best education, and now my kids will be worse off than me because we are a working class family in a tier 4 neighborhood. It is despicable.

  • 79. tier 4 don't mean a thing  |  June 4, 2013 at 3:47 pm

    I am south, so I will try for Ag or another magnet, take out a home equity loan, or move. Probably move.

  • 80. H  |  June 4, 2013 at 3:50 pm

    @78 Where do you think you rank socio economically among *all* Chicagoans? My guess is in the top half and perhaps in the top quartile. I.e., tier 3/4.

  • 81. H  |  June 4, 2013 at 3:58 pm

    @77 I know there are bad high schools in both tiers 1 and 4. I just think most tier 4 families would not send their kids there, while more tier 1 families would.

  • 82. RL Julia  |  June 4, 2013 at 4:13 pm

    @63- I am sure that for a tier 4 kid, going to Roosevelt would also be a transformative experience!

    @72 – to answer your question – yes. Probably. The only thing we have to fear is fear itself – or the fear that one’s own child is not going to be motivated enough to do the work to get themselves into college/the right college.

    While I get it that the acceptance spread among the tiers is unfair, I am starting to find it pretty amazing how much people can really hang onto the unfairness part with out moving on to the making peace/finding a solution part.

    I also challenge anyone/everyone commenting here to find/post a story where a tier 4 kid was eligible to apply, had a score over 780 total and was denied entrance into ALL/Any SEHS’s/ private/IB/Magnet/etc… options and ended up at a school that the family had previously thought of as an unacceptable choice.

    To be clear, I am not talking about instances where the child didn’t get into their first or second choices or the family had to make a considerable sacrifice (on tuition or moving to the burbs). I am talking about a tier 4 family with a kid scoring 780 applied and didn’t get ANY offers and ended up at the neighborhood school. If anyone can find this child – please also do a follow up on if any of the following happened – did they transfer/intend to transfer to a “better” school (which one) the following year? Did they ultimately get pulled into some sort of honors program at the neighborhood school?

  • 83. tier 4 don't mean a thing  |  June 4, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    At the moment I am working class poor. I work, but I qualify for assistance. I am lucky in that I inherited a house, which I can barely afford my taxes on, so I am guessing I am in the bottom 30%.

  • 84. SutherlandParent  |  June 4, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    Slightly off-topic, but our tier 4 neighborhood elementary school released the 2013 high school choices of our 8th grade graduates. I can look it up…somewhere…but it seems like more kids are going to Lindbloom and charters this year:
    Whitney Young-6
    Brother Rice—3
    De LaSalle-5
    St. Rita-3
    Marion Catholic-1
    St Ignatius—1
    Morgan Park HS—7
    Morgan Park HS IB-1
    Ag School-11
    Chicago Tech-1
    Mt. Assissi-1
    Mt. Carmel-2
    Urban Prep-2
    Johnson CP-1
    Noble Charter-4
    U of C Charter-1

  • 85. tier 4 don't mean a thing  |  June 4, 2013 at 4:24 pm

    Hopefully my situation will be different come high school, but if not we will downgrade our house and move to the suburbs. I thought moving into a better neighborhood would mean a better life for my kids when we took the house, but in the long run it can bite me in the butt. Even my neighborhood grammar school is middle of the road academically, and severely overcrowded, wit split classrooms in 4 grades.

  • 86. tier 4 don't mean a thing  |  June 4, 2013 at 4:32 pm

    Oh and my daughter scored 140 on her RGC test for Kindergarten, score which would have gotten a seat in another tier.

  • 87. H  |  June 4, 2013 at 4:32 pm

    @83 The bottom 30 percent of all Chicagoans are probably worse off than you.

    Take four criteria: (a) own a home, (b) household income above $70k, (c) married, (d) college educated. If you meet all four, you’re top quartile almost surely. If you meet three, you’re tier 3 or 4. If you meet two, you’re tier 3. I’m just kinda making this up, but I think people forget how poorly off much of Chicago is.

  • 88. H  |  June 4, 2013 at 4:33 pm

    @86 Wouldn’t that get you into NTA?

  • 89. cpsobsessed  |  June 4, 2013 at 4:37 pm

    @Tier 4 Don’t Mean a Thing: What RGC did you apply to and not get accepted to?

  • 90. klm  |  June 4, 2013 at 4:40 pm


    Do you really think that it’s fair to offer the top 10% of every CPS elementary school the same chance of SEHS admissions, regardless of test scores/aptitude?

    I mean, just to be average at say, Edison, one needs to score well and achieve above grade level (something like 2 grade levels above, on average) on core subjects in order to stay and fit in (from the ‘Sun Times’ School Rankings, I recall that the average middle school kid at Edison scores higher than the 97th percentile on the ISAT, the curriculum has Edison kids doing 10th grade [or even 11th grade ,in some cases] math in 8th grade, etc.). Same goes for IG kids at Lincoln, etc.

    Some CPS elementary schools have 8th graders doing 5th and 6th grade work, on average.

    Shouldn’t “selective enrollment” largely be “selective”, not primarily “fair” to whatever group or special interest leader that screams to loudest and then chooses it own, less-academic, lower-achieving standard? One person’s fairness is another’s unfairness.

    Having such a disparate standard for kids seems not only unfair to kids that for whatever reason (and it’s not only because their parents have money) are “high achieving” and go to RGCs and Classical schools, but smacks of ‘Wow, you’re really smart for a BLACK person from the SOUTH Side of Chicago!’ variety of (I hate to paraphrase GW, but it fits here) “soft bigotry of low expectations.” Also, black kids go to RGCs (I’m the parent of one), live on the North Side, etc., too. McDade is like 95% black.

    As it is, there really is a significant (as in more than 100 points) difference in admissions standards between Tier 1 and Tier 4 kids (who can to be only 2 or 3 points away from perfect as opposed to the 100+ points away for Tier 1 kids) for admissions to Northside, for example. I’m a broken record here, but it already is much easier for a Tier 1 student to get into Northside than a Tier 4 student to get into Lane –what more do people want?

    I think people forget that Northside and Payton are considered such “good” schools because average achievement at those schools is so high. If the standards are lowered, and made less about actual, measurable achievement then “there goes…” the academic bona fides that make these schools so desirable.

    I know this isn’t a perfect analogy (private colleges vs. k12 public school) , but the reason Northwestern or the University of Chicago (or even think of U of I) are considered so “good” is because they’re hard to get into. If just anybody got in for being in the top10% of the HS class (be it a HS like Hirsch, or Robeson –places with average ACT’s in the 13-14 range or Northside or Lab –places with average ACTs in the 29+ range and where the 75th percentile is like 33), then it wouldn’t mean that much to be admitted. Same with Northside, Payton, WY, etc.

    The problem here is not that non-URMs and non-low-income are achieving too much, but that URMs and low-income kids are NOT achieving enough.

    CPS already has engineered an admissions system not based on the highest achievement (with the Tiers), in order to mimic the socio-economics of Chicago. Do we really want to turn the crown jewels of CPS into nothing more than glorified magnet schools?

    If we get into this “they’re taking more than their fair share!” mode when discussing SE enrollment, then we have to ignore the the entire root of the problem –the achievement gap. If we ignore the achevement gap, then nothing’s ever going to change for the betterment for low-income URM kids.

    The way to get more low-income and URM kids into high-achieving SE HSs is to make them into high-achieving students, not simply taking down other kids down a notch (or 2 or 3 or 100), which is what some people seem to want to do even more than we ALREADY do now.

  • 91. tier 4 don't mean a thing  |  June 4, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    ummm I grew up in Chicago, I lived on food stamps and survived many a month of no electricity or gas.. I barely make half of 70,000 (if that) with my college. I will admit I am lucky to live where I do, because I probably couldn’t even afford rent in a tier 1 or 2 neighborhood right now.

    Unfortunately I did not list NTA, because yes it would have. I was unaware of the new program at the time of admissions. Guess I should have found the time between work and childcare to better educate myself.

  • 92. tier 4 don't mean a thing  |  June 4, 2013 at 4:48 pm

    Lenart, South Loop, Pritzker…she scored low 90’s, high 80’s on the classical, so obviously no offers there either

  • 93. H  |  June 4, 2013 at 5:22 pm

    @91 Assuming you don’t have a spouse with income, the $35k alone would still put you above the lowest 30 percent of Chicago by income I suspect.

  • 94. HS Mom  |  June 4, 2013 at 5:26 pm

    81/82 – That’s why I say the “no pay” options are many and available to all. My guess would be that more tier 1 kids are in neighborhood schools because some do not seek out alternatives (whether it’s because they can’t, don’t want to or they don’t care). This is also why it would be uncommon for someone to “have” to go to their neighborhood school. I think the availability of options for everyone grows every year as evidenced by the list of schools still looking to fill seats.

  • 95. tier 4 don't mean a thing  |  June 4, 2013 at 5:33 pm

    Just checked, median is 47,000, so my guess is pretty close. Also I said I am luck to make that..it is actually closer to 30,000 and could be less this year with a cut in hours. Hopefully I will find a better option in the future, as I never stop looking.

  • 96. Uptown mom  |  June 4, 2013 at 5:36 pm

    Sutherland parent – is your ES also Level 1?

  • 97. H  |  June 4, 2013 at 5:46 pm

    @94 The existence of schools looking to fill seats may indicate the availability of options, but not necessarily good options–if they were great options they’d presumably be taken. (I honestly don’t know; have mostly ignored HS for the time being.) And I suspect these are not options that the typical tier 4 parent with a kid who just missed out on SEHS is going to take. For example, our neighbors have one kid who got into Lane and a second kid who is unlikely to get in. They will probably send him to the best Catholic school he can get into.

  • 98. local  |  June 4, 2013 at 6:49 pm

    As far as neighborhood elementary schools go, Sutherland is near the top (for a nab school). It’s in the Beverly area.

  • 99. local  |  June 4, 2013 at 6:53 pm

    I don’t know what level of employee you have to be, but I noticed that Northwestern U in Evanston helps staff and/or faculty with HIGH SCHOOL tuition for kids. It’s typical of colleges to help with college tuition for children of staff and faculty, but HS…?! Wow. NU also seems to offer some kind of mortgage help to staff (which would be useful up in Evanston). Wonder if they’re hiring much.

  • 100. local  |  June 4, 2013 at 7:00 pm

    @ 94. HS Mom | June 4, 2013 at 5:26 pm

    Here’s a reason some kids are in their CPS neighborhood high schools, despite their desire to be elsewhere: They’re sped. Few, few, few options. I’ve heard of a remarkable number of sped kids who needed to go on home-bound, get homeschooled, get their GED or just drop out because they couldn’t survive the neighborhood HS. Know one student with TBI who did fine in the neighborhood HS before transferring to a transition center, though. Anecdotal.

  • 101. local  |  June 4, 2013 at 7:03 pm

    Maybe it’s different the further north you get, but I’m just not feeling this down south: “This is also why it would be uncommon for someone to ‘have’ to go to their neighborhood school. I think the availability of [free/public] options for everyone grows every year as evidenced by the list of schools still looking to fill seats.”

  • 102. local  |  June 4, 2013 at 7:09 pm

    @ 91. tier 4 don’t mean a thing | June 4, 2013 at 4:45pm

    “Unfortunately I did not list NTA, because yes it would have. I was unaware of the new program at the time of admissions. Guess I should have found the time between work and childcare to better educate myself.”

    CPS really does make it hard to find a school given all the “options” its created, doesn’t it? You’d think there’d be a dedicated staffer visiting each school weekly to recruit families into new “options.” If, if, CPS really wanted everybody to be competing for “quality seats” (where is ol’ JC now, anyway?). 😉

  • 103. local  |  June 4, 2013 at 7:11 pm

    “Do you really think that it’s fair to offer the top 10% of every CPS elementary school the same chance of SEHS admissions, regardless of test scores/aptitude?”

    Isn’t that how Texas is doing automatic admissions at state universities? Top 10 % at each HS?

  • 104. local  |  June 4, 2013 at 7:16 pm

    “Do we really want to turn the crown jewels of CPS into nothing more than glorified magnet schools?”

    Yes, I think I do.

  • 105. SN Dad  |  June 4, 2013 at 7:18 pm

    @95 klm:
    I agree. It’s ridiculous to include parents’ “tier” in selective enrollment process, which should be solely based on the students’ achievements. This way, we can better educate advanced kids, pushing them to a new height, instead include less advanced kids to drag the whole thing down.

    “tier” make sense for magnet schools.

  • 106. local  |  June 4, 2013 at 7:22 pm

    Personally, I can’t imagine our city or state really trying to ensure that poor kids get the same quality “inputs,” from pre-natal on, to close the achievement gap. I’d vote for someone who tries in a way I believe in and support, and I’d work toward that end, but I don’t think we’re ever going to reach that shore in this country.

  • 107. local  |  June 4, 2013 at 7:27 pm

    Here it is. This is the report. http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/04/27/no-rich-child-left-behind/

    So, even if poor kids managed to make headway, the rich kids would run even farther ahead, it seems.

  • 108. anonymouse teacher  |  June 4, 2013 at 7:42 pm

    Love how K-8 teachers have to submit final grades this Friday, 2 complete weeks before the end of the year. Do HS teachers also have to submit grades this Friday? Why bother attending class if grades don’t count after Friday?

  • 109. SutherlandParent  |  June 4, 2013 at 8:06 pm

    @96, I hope I answer your question correctly, since I dislike all the high-stakes testing numbers and don’t get too bent out of shape about what other people’s kids are (generally) doing 🙂

    Last year we fell to Level 2. This might have just been a whole lot of spin according to the principal and LSC, but they claim our ISAT scores are generally so high that it’s hard to continually improve those. (We fell from composite meets/exceeds ISAT scores of 87.9% in 2010 to 85.7% in 2012.) There were also complaints in 2011 about the quality of school lunches, even though we don’t have a cafeteria? I’m not even sure that it makes sense.

    I’ve also heard from a few people that the score for kids who attend Beacon Therapeutic Day School are factored into our ISAT scores, since we are the nearest neighborhood school. I don’t know about that, either.

    As @98 says, it’s a good school. We have great diversity, the neighborhood is very solidly middle class and parents are extremely involved.

  • 110. SoxSideIrish4  |  June 4, 2013 at 8:44 pm

    I think that the school that fell to Level 2 in Beverly/Morgan Park/MTG had to do w/politics. If one researches the actual numbers they should all be Level 1 (if that means anything and it really doesn’t).

    As for taking the top 10% of each n’hood school, I don’t know how that would work. Our school has 2 tracks~some kids are on a very advanced track similar to a gifted in certain subjects and have different books. I don’t think the top 10% of another school who aren’t taught at the same level could compete. When they got to HS, they’d be 2 far behind. just my 2 pennies.

  • 111. karet  |  June 4, 2013 at 9:03 pm

    Aren’t many of the neighborhood schools open enrollment (thus, your neighborhood school is not your only option if you don’t get in to an SEHS)?

    My kids are much younger so I am certainly no expert on this … but since no one is talking about this as an option, can I assume it’s because people think none of the neighborhood schools are good options? Or perhaps I am missing something.

  • 112. cpsobsessed  |  June 4, 2013 at 10:01 pm

    @karet, most of the neighborhood schools that are considered “good” end up having people move to the neighborhood for the schools. So after maybe a couple years of being open for enrollment, they become full of neighborhood kids and siblings of the older kids who got in via the open enrollment.
    So yes, for a while there are options but they aren’t always nearby or easy to get into. I *would* argue that if you are open location-wise and focus on the up-and-coming or under-the-radar schools then you can probably find a spot somewhere.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 113. karet  |  June 4, 2013 at 10:44 pm

    @112 Thanks.

    As for tiers, it might make sense to have a different system where students entering HS were placed in tiers based on the quality of their elementary school (best schools would be tier 4, and anyone applying from outside of CPS would be tier 4).

    That kind of system would still achieve diversity. (Also, there would be motivation for people to attend their neighborhood schools, which might not be tier 4, to get an advantage when applying to HS).

  • 114. beverlyarea  |  June 4, 2013 at 11:39 pm

    Clissold and kellogg are level 1, sutherland level 2, barnard and esmond level 3. The first three schools are good, the last two not so much

  • 115. Iheoma  |  June 4, 2013 at 11:51 pm

    As I read these comments I keep thinking that the original post was about the numbers and early in the thread some people said (including me) that people would still complain that tier 4 kids were not getting their “fair share” of seats. This despite the data indicating that 696 more kids from tier 4 communities got seats than kids in tier 1 communities. It looks like the early posters were correct.

  • 116. Portage Mom  |  June 5, 2013 at 5:05 am

    @107 local – I read the same article in the New York Times. I cut and pasted a portion. I think what is surprising is the performance gap between the rich and middle income students. CPS recently made a change to charge for preschool. I have no problem with the charging something for preschool. I think the amount is quite high if you’re middle class and this is where it hurts. I know some families are considering other options given the cost.

    The most potent development over the past three decades is that the test scores of children from high-income families have increased very rapidly. Before 1980, affluent students had little advantage over middle-class students in academic performance; most of the socioeconomic disparity in academics was between the middle class and the poor. But the rich now outperform the middle class by as much as the middle class outperform the poor. Just as the incomes of the affluent have grown much more rapidly than those of the middle class over the last few decades, so, too, have most of the gains in educational success accrued to the children of the rich.

  • 117. CPS Parent 24  |  June 5, 2013 at 8:44 am

    @90 klm – No ‘solution’ is perfect but we can do better than tiers.

    You are correct in pointing out one of the issues with selecting a flat 10% (or whatever the number winds up being) of the top students across all schools as SEHS candidates. This because all CPS schools are not equal. I’m speaking of gifted centers (like Edison), classical schools, etc. and possibly very high-performing neighborhood or magnet schools. Clearly, some accommodation would need to be made for students from these schools where the majority of students perform significantly beyond grade level.

    Just remember that these schools are the minority and represent (I’d have to look up the number) a small fraction of the total student population. For the most high school candidates the top 10% would be a fair guideline, retain selectivity, and preserve diversity.

  • 118. Mayfair Dad  |  June 5, 2013 at 9:55 am

    The goal of the tiers is to achieve diversity, not foster an environment of academic excellence. Look it up. So what is CPS’s definition of diversity? Is it achieving a racial/socioeconomic mix that approximates the proportions present in the City of Chicago? Or is it achieving a racial/socioeconomic mix that approximates the entire student population of CPS? I’d love to read the official CPS definition.

    Please don’t tell me that race doesn’t matter in the new system, because if it didn’t matter, they wouldn’t still be keeping track (and asking for my kid’s race on every application, form, questionnaire, etc.)

    Also something that puzzles me: what box do people from Yemen check? I am curious how they self-identify racially. Not being snarky, just wondering if every person from the continent of Africa considers themselves African-American when they land on our shores. Caucasian is a race, not a continent, so maybe we need a new, more precise set of identifiers.

  • 119. klm  |  June 5, 2013 at 10:11 am


    I think the issue people have is that, in some, but not all cases, there really is quite a disparate standard for admission b/t the Tiers. Now, I know that this is all mainly concerning a relative few CPS schools that are considered most desirable (Northside, Payton, …maybe some SE RGCs, etc), but it is a fact. Some kids need to score at the 98.5 percentile, while some others others need score not even at the 80th percentile to get into the same school.

    These are not demographic fodder pieces, but real, living individuals that in some cases are given or not given an educational opportunity largely because of where they live, not how much they achieved. That’s what people have a problem with.

    It’s easy to look at statistics and say, “Look,Tier 4 people already have so many places at these school and they’re STILL whining.”
    However, individuals don’t have “Tier 4” or “Tier 2” tattooed on their faces. There are black kids living in projects on North Avenue that are Tier 4 and some wealthier people living in the newer developments near Cabrini Green that are Tier 2 or maybe even Tier 1 in some cases. Many of us know examples of people barely getting by that live in Tier 4 neighborhoods, no need to go into detail or sob stories –it does happen..

    So, yes, as long as it’s much easier for a Tier 1 student to get into Northside than a Tier 4 student to get into Lane (as it is as of last admission season), then yes, people will keep discussing it and many will complain about it.

    I think concerns about individuals being treated differently (very differently in some cases) by the public school system (especially considering a public school that we all pay taxes for) are justified. Issues people have when basing admission to a public school not as much on individual achievement as much as on some factor (census tract, in this case) beyond the control of the individual concerned. These concerns are not just some petty “White Whine”, but does invite debate over the fairness of it all.

    We’re talking public schools funded with public money, so how it it ridiculous or for some people/taxpayers to consider the disparate treatment of individuals within that public school system as problematic?

  • 120. wondering  |  June 5, 2013 at 10:29 am

    I would venture to say that race is the only thing that matters to CPS. While it seems like the goal is socioeconomic diversity because of the six socioeconomic factors used to determine tiers. . . those are only legal factors used to divide up the city to approximate racial diversity. This became very clear to me when I registered my child at a SEES. If socioeconomic diversity really was the goal, then I would expect to be asked how my child fit against the 6 socioeconoic factors so that CPS could assess whether the tiers were accomplishing the goal. However, I was not asked a single question about how my child stacked up on the 6 socioeconomic factors. What I was asked about was race. And, unlike any other form that asks for race where it is optional to answer – the CPS race questionnaire states that if you don’t answer, the school is required to visually determine your race and complete the questionnaire for you.

    I think this is consistent with the consent decree. . . you can’t use race as a factor. . . but you can use other factors to approximate race. It also explains why determining tiers by a street address works just fine for CPS. The city tends to be very segregated. CPS doesn’t really care if a wealthy outier living in Tier 1 gets a boost for admission because chances are the wealthy outlier still fits within the racial profile of Tier 1. On the flip side, CPS doesn’t really care if a low-income student living in lincoln park is considered with the wealthy because chances are the low-income student still fits the racial profile of Tier 4.

    I’m not suggesting the tier structure is good or bad . . .It is one way to divide up the city. You could use any number of ways to divide up the city (income only, race only, physical location) and they would all be equally “fair”. Don’t fool yourself into thinking the existing tier structure is all about helping the economically disadvantaged – it isn’t. It is about race.

  • 121. HS Mom  |  June 5, 2013 at 10:41 am

    @115 – You are absolutely correct, there are 696 more seats in tier 4. What would you propose to change so that the system would work?

    Someone suggested raising the stanine rate. I have read from CPS that something like 100 kids get into SEHS with a stanine 5. This would likely make the difference greater. Conversely, if you lower it, kids will not score high enough to get in.

    You could lower the 650 cut off – this still would not make a difference because the schools that are majority tier 4 do not go down to 650.

    You could change the allocation of rank vs. tiers and just make it all tiers. This would likely lower the cut off and allow more tier 1 students access. Private school kids may opt to stay private and decrease tier 4 students. You would probably wind up with a good school, more like a magnet instead of what it is – a target for some of the top universities in the nation.

  • 122. H  |  June 5, 2013 at 10:45 am

    @119 I think whether we should have preferences based on socio economic background or race is a legitimate subject for discussion. But I also think arguments along the lines of “what about the poor kid in tier 4” or “what about the rich kid in tier 1” are mostly about not wanting any kind of preferences, rather than concern about whether the systems is working optimally. I don’t think most people who don’t like the current system would be much happier with a system that gave preferences based on perfectly accurately determined socio economic circumstance of each individual family, if that somehow became feasible given budget constraints.

  • 123. H  |  June 5, 2013 at 10:56 am

    @121 I’m not sure how it’s possible to know, without more information, that going to all tiers would fundamentally change the character of the top SEHS. Obviously the tier system exists and the schools remain much in demand. Does allocating an additional 15 percent to tiers 1 and 2 change things that much? I’m not saying it can’t, and I’m not saying it won’t have at least some marginal effect, but I don’t know that I would conclude that it would change the schools fundamentally.

  • 124. HS Mom  |  June 5, 2013 at 11:22 am

    @122 – Why don’t you think people would not be satisfied with a perfectly accurate system? I think most people agree with socio economic preferences. The main question is implementation and how to maintain excellence so that all (tier 1,2,3,4) families will have a shot at something that is a life changer.

  • 125. HS Mom  |  June 5, 2013 at 11:32 am

    @123 – no we don’t know. We do know that some schools admit students at 650 so all qualified students that applied to the school are admitted. The assumption from there is that we would need to lower qualifications to admit more tier 1 students and, yes, only an assumption not necessarily reality. We don’t have the numbers. But, I will say that CPS does and they have run the numbers and for whatever reason this has not been changed – at least not yet.

    Adding extra test dates does allow more students who apply to actually follow through with testing and puts more candidates into the pool. Maybe there’s an agenda there.

  • 126. H  |  June 5, 2013 at 11:44 am

    @124 I can’t prove it, but it doesn’t seem to me that many of hte people who think the significant cutoff differences between tiers 1 and 4 are unfair would be satisfied by more accurately assigning families to tiers. Seems to me that some people want admissions based solely on score and no other considerations. Which is a legitimate issue for debate, but have the debate about that. (I’m not saying we shouldn’t look at whether there are significant inequities with the poor kid in tier 4, or whether there is significant gaming of the system.)

  • 127. H  |  June 5, 2013 at 11:46 am

    @125 I don’t think the schools that go down to 650 would have much different student compositions if they went fully to tiers, rather than the current system.

  • 128. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  June 5, 2013 at 12:53 pm

    @122 126

    You are correct that there are two, separate criticisms of the tier system.

    1) the tier system is inaccurate. Tract-based measures are not sufficiently valid proxies for socio-economic status of individual applicants. A student in low-income housing in a tier 3 or 4 tract is competing against different people than a low-income student in tier 1. (This covers selective enrollment and lottery-based schools).

    2) For selective enrollment schools, the tier system results in substantial gaps in minimum scores between students from tiers 1-2 and tiers 3-4, with students with lower scores from tiers 1-2 bypassing students with higher scores from tier 3-4 at north-side schools and vice versa at south-side schools.

  • 129. klm  |  June 5, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    @Everybody re: Tiers, etc.

    I hate to say it, but this whole debate and the consequent stress related to getting all of one’s kids a decent public education for HS (not just the ones that ace achievement tests) makes me want to move to a good suburban district where a good education is effectively guaranteed, not largely dependent on Tiers and results of 7th grade report cards and achievement exams. God, how many of us were screw-ups in 7th grade?

    New Trier, Glenbrook North, Deerfield Stevenson: I hear you calling me.

    I have enough kids that I don’t want to go through this SEVERAL times (and I also have enough kids that I don’t care to pay several thousands of dollars [or more!] of after-tax income for private HS). Is it all worth it just to be able to walk to so many good Thai and Indian take-outs and have a shorter commute to Downtown?

    I’m not so sure anymore. Oh God, I need a glass of wine –it’s 5 o’clock somewhere (just kidding about the wine, but the rest is from the heart). .

  • 130. klm  |  June 5, 2013 at 1:14 pm

    I meant to say pay several HUNDREDS of thousands of dollars for private HSs (even then there’s the stress of getting accepted in the first place and ‘good luck with that’ at most ‘good’ ones). .

  • 131. Mayfair Dad  |  June 5, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    @ 128 – I agree with your recap but I think the arguments go a few steps deeper.

    A. The current Tier system is inherently unfair because it relies on imprecise census tract trends instead of household specific information, resulting in low income students being held to the same standards as high income students in the same census tract.

    B. The current Tier system is inherently unfair because it lowers the admission standards for one group of students while raising the admission standards for another group of students.

    C. The current Tier system is inherently unfair because it is based on factors other than academic achievement, which should be the only relevant criteria for admission into the most academically rigorous high school programs.

    D. The current Tier system is inherently unfair because it still yields an outcome that does not align with the racial/socioeconomic realities of the entire CPS student body. (92% non-white + hispanic, 8% white.)

    E. The current Tier system is inherently flawed because it’s stated goal is to achieve diversity instead of nurturing academic excellence.

    I am type AB.

  • 132. klm  |  June 5, 2013 at 2:17 pm


    I agree.

    We already have magnet schools open to everybody. Maybe there could be “Minimum 650” magnet schools whereby anybody that meets the minimum |SE score has an equal chance to be admitted.–there’d be lots of diversity in that kind of school (I think NYC has schools similar to that).

    Selective Enrollment should mean SELECTIVE ENROLLMENT, not “except there’s a huge difference in admissions standards depending on where you live” -Enrollment.

  • 133. H  |  June 5, 2013 at 2:19 pm

    @131 If you truly believe in B, then A is somewhat irrelevant. Even a system that perfectly assessed socio economic background (however you want to define it) would still fail B if the system gave preferences based on socio economic background.

    I also think that most people here who are complaining about problems with A are tier 4 both in terms of their CPS address tier and their true socio economic tier (under most reasonable definitions).

  • 134. CPS Parent 24  |  June 5, 2013 at 2:21 pm

    @Everybody re: Tiers, etc.

    So, does anyone want to change things?

  • 135. Esmom  |  June 5, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    It’s easy to look at statistics and say, “Look,Tier 4 people already have so many places at these school and they’re STILL whining.”

    Yes, but it seems that this isn’t really about how many Tier 4 (and other tiers for that matter) people got in, but how many did NOT get in. I feel like all these discussions point to one thing…there are not enough seats in decent schools. Period. And until there are, I can’t imagine the whining letting up.

  • 136. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  June 5, 2013 at 2:51 pm

    Well, this is interesting. Working off the # tested (via CPSO email), the tier-share of those made offers (above), and the cut-scores by tier (CPS OAE), I was able to make out the acceptance rate. I assume # tested means # of individuals who listed a school as their choice. So, this is the percentage of tested students who received an offer out of the total tested in their tier.

    I ran calcs for Northside, roughly, because I’m off by 1 seat:

    Tier 4, 4.9%
    Tier 3, 2.7%
    Tier 2, 2.7%
    Tier 1, 3.5%

    109 students from tier 4 were made offers, 64 by score alone, 45 by score in tier.

    52 tier 3 students, 7 by score alone, 45 by score in tier.

    49 students in tiers 1 & 2 each, 3 by score alone, in each, and 46 by tier in each.

    I have one student-offer unaccounted for; based on percentages I can’t figure out where it should assigned.

    While more tier 4 students apply than any other tier, more make it in.

    More later.

  • 137. karet  |  June 5, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    135, I’m wondering if one problem is that people in Chicago think that Northside, Payton, Whitney Young, Jones and Lane are the only “decent” public high schools in the city.

    These schools aren’t “decent”. They are the top high schools in the state! … all but Lane are ranked higher than New Trier, Hinsdale — and Lane is ranked above Evanston, Lake Forest, Maine South and other highly regarded suburban schools (by US News).

    I know rankings are up for debate, but the selective high schools in Chicago are *amazing*, aren’t they?


  • 138. cpsobsessed  |  June 5, 2013 at 2:56 pm

    Thanks, Chris! I want to run it by school later as well….

  • 139. Mayfair Dad  |  June 5, 2013 at 3:31 pm

    @137 – what is your neighborhood HS?

  • 140. glad hs is far away  |  June 5, 2013 at 3:40 pm

    ” I’m wondering if one problem is that people in Chicago think that Northside, Payton, Whitney Young, Jones and Lane are the only “decent” public high schools in the city.

    These schools aren’t “decent”. They are the top high schools in the state! … all but Lane are ranked higher than New Trier, Hinsdale — and Lane is ranked above Evanston, Lake Forest, Maine South and other highly regarded suburban schools (by US News).”

    Okay, but how many “decent” schools are there, especially on the southside? It seems we habe the best of the best, or the lowest of the low…no middle ground

  • 141. Esmom  |  June 5, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    @137, of course those schools are amazing, they only admit the cream of the crop. In fact they skew the high school rankings in general because virtually all the schools they are compared to are required to admit all the students in their attendance boundaries. It’s not even an apples to apples comparison.

    “Decent” schools in Chicago seem to be few and far between. The majority seem to be either “amazing” or pretty bad. And therein lies the problem. A kid just misses getting into a SEHS and there are few second-tier options available.

    I tend to agree that most of those kids will probably to fine in life no matter where they land, but it seems a shame to deny them — or any kid, for that matter — a full and rich high school experience. Instead they have to settle for “doing fine.” The disparity is hard to swallow.

  • 142. Chris  |  June 5, 2013 at 3:57 pm

    “Okay, but how many “decent” schools are there, especially on the southside? It seems we have the best of the best, or the lowest of the low…no middle ground”

    Brooks, King, Lindblom, South Shore and Westinghouse are all “decent” schools, and 4 of those 5 are on the southside.

    But, yeah, for attendance area schools, the pickings of “not terrible” are pretty slim.

  • 143. Iheoma  |  June 5, 2013 at 4:11 pm

    @121 – I would propose that many more families on this board consider applying to SEHS schools all over the city rather than having such strong preferences for attending NSCP, Lane, WY and Jones. Here are the mean cutoff scores for tier 4 kids for the 2013-2014 year (excluding Southshore which is really too new for folks to know about yet).

    Brooks – 750
    Jones – 871
    King – 673
    Lane – 841
    Lindblom – 716
    NSCP – 894
    Payton – 895
    Westinghouse – 733
    Young 881

    So how many tier 4 kids with scores under 850 or even 800 were “robbed” of a seat at ANY SEHS by a tier 1 kid? I don’t buy the “My kid with 885 couldn’t go to a SEHS but the Tier 1 kid only had a 785 and he/she get’s to go.” The real issue for many folks on this board is that there is no spot of their tier 4 kid at the “big four”. When the mean tier 4 scores across the schools are 895 we can have a real discussion about biases within the tier system (at least for the SEHS debate).

  • 144. Iheoma  |  June 5, 2013 at 4:27 pm

    @142 on what standard are you judging the schools you listed as “decent”? The schools you listed are SEHS schools. Is it based upon the curriculum offered at the schools, their teaching staff, graduation rate, acceptance and retention rates at elite 4 year universities? I’m curious about your reasoning.

  • 145. Chris  |  June 5, 2013 at 5:15 pm

    “The schools you listed are SEHS schools.”

    Yes, and it was in response to a “where are the Southside schools that aren’t up to the Payton, NSCP, Lane, WY and Jones top of the state level?”.

    And I noted that the attendance area pickings of “not terrible” are slim.

    But the point is it’s not just Payton, NSCP, Lane, WY and Jones and then a fall straight to the bottom. There are many schools ‘in between”, but far far too few, and almost none that you can go to just because it’s across the street.

  • 146. Angie  |  June 5, 2013 at 5:25 pm

    @143. Iheoma : “The real issue for many folks on this board is that there is no spot of their tier 4 kid at the “big four”.”

    No, the real issue is that there are spots at these school for Tier 1 kids who score 100 points less, yet people who benefit the most from this convoluted system are still complaining about it.

    “So how many tier 4 kids with scores under 850 or even 800 were “robbed” of a seat at ANY SEHS by a tier 1 kid?”

    So why aren’t Tier 1 kids satisfied with just ANY SEHS? Why do they demand preferential treatment and admission to the “big four” in spite of their substantially lower scores instead of going to Brooks, King or Lindblom?

  • 147. OutsideLookingIn  |  June 5, 2013 at 6:16 pm

    Angie – Are Tier 1 kids really “demanding” preferential treatment?

    Christopher Ball – interesting stats on Northside acceptance rates.

    Folks, change the system to 100% merit rank only — no tiers. Then next year watch the boards light up with complaints about uneven grading and testing across schools. Take that away and the complaints will be other discrepancies (public vs private, average vs wealthy) until we’ve come full circle. If your kid doesn’t get into the big 2, big 4, big 5, whatever, your kid was screwed and the system is flawed. Stop the madness, close the SEHS, and make the neighborhood schools viable options.

    Dang, I forget to consider my audience. Never mind.

  • 148. Mayfair Dad  |  June 5, 2013 at 6:42 pm

    @147. Yes that truly would be coming full circle. I remember a time when the only good public schools were located in upper middle class, mostly white neighborhoods. The powers-that-be tried forced bussing in Boston to remedy segregation but that didn’t go over so well. So then CPS hired Boston’s Superintendent of Public Schools, Dr. Joseph Hannon, to implement a magnet school system so that children from high poverty, mostly black neighborhoods would have access to the good schools in the aforementioned upper middle class, mostly white neighborhoods. In response to a court order, not a suggestion. That worked pretty well for a while until the yuppies in the most desireable neighborhoods became resentful their own freckled progeny did not have automatic proximity admission to the highly coveted magnet school right across the street. This was during the time of Arne Duncan’s “Choice” marketing campaign complete with ridiculously expensive to produce glossy four color catalogues listing magnet and selective enrollment schools like the latest Lexus models.

    So sure, we could eliminate the magnet schools and the SE schools and make things just the way they used to be: good schools in affluent neighborhoods and crummy schools in poor neighborhoods.

  • 149. Chris  |  June 5, 2013 at 6:47 pm

    “Stop the madness, close the SEHS, and make the neighborhood schools viable options.”

    By doing what, exactly? Do you have a policy prescription, or just a *different* complaint from the complaints that you are complaining about?

    It’s easy to say “fix ’em” and “spend the $$ on neighborhood schools instead of SEHS”, but neither comes close to being a genuine plan to get something beneficial started, nevermind a workable solution. And simply closing the SE schools is a Harrison Bergeron solution to my eyes–and this from a family in a neighborhood elementary who will at least seriously consider the neighborhood HS if/when the time comes.

  • 150. Angie  |  June 5, 2013 at 7:14 pm

    @147. OutsideLookingIn: “Angie – Are Tier 1 kids really “demanding” preferential treatment?”

    Aren’t they (or their parents, or aldermen, or community leaders, etc.)? IIRC, the tier system started with 50% seats allocated by rank, then lowered it to 40%, and now 30%. It wasn’t because of the Tier 4 applicants’ demands, that’s for sure.

  • 151. karet  |  June 5, 2013 at 7:41 pm

    @139, My neighborhood HS is Taft.

  • 152. SoxSideIrish4  |  June 5, 2013 at 7:44 pm

    150. Angie | June 5, 2013 at 7:14 pm

    The lowering to 30% was on the suggestion of Blue Ribbon Committee~
    Alderman Latasha Thomas,17th
    Ward, and Education Committee Chairman

    Alderman Michelle Harris, 8

    Anna Alvarado, Principal of Hawthorne Elementary

    Alan Mather, Principal of Lindblom Math & Science Academy

    Cynthia Flowers, Black Star Community PTA and CPS Parent

    Lisa Scruggs Esq. Jenner &Block

  • 153. HS Mom  |  June 5, 2013 at 8:03 pm

    @136, CB – great detailing, wow. So, you’re working off the “number tested” which means kids have applied (so they have 7th grade grades and tests) and they have sat for the admissions test. This will account for kids in any tier who do drop out of the pool. Step in the right direction. The results you show do not surprise me so far. Still only possible to get into SE with a 650 so further changes to the applicant pool are relevant and unknown.

    148 Mayfair dad – I think the school system could evolve even further. Start a new school, probably needs to be charter, that caters to the under served intelligent kids that do not have access to a challenging curriculum. Pure test in.

  • 154. mayberacewasbetter  |  June 5, 2013 at 8:25 pm

    people complain a lot about tiers…was using race easier? More effective? idt tiers have made anything easier or better.

  • 155. Iheoma  |  June 5, 2013 at 11:50 pm

    @ Angie – it seems to me that the only way you would find the SEHS admission process to be fair would be admissions based entirely on rank based upon 7th grade ISATS, grades and admission test results. Making academic achievement the only factor. I’m glad that there are other views on the subject and folks that realize that there a host of factors that should be used to assess a child’s potential. The tier 1 kids “demanding” seats at schools other than “Lindblom, Brooks or King” will probably “demand” seats at U of C, Northwestern, Harvard, Oberlin, Miami of Ohio, ect too and I bet the admissions folks will use factors other than just numbers to make decisions.

    I’m not sure if you have kids in SEHS, AC or any other SEES so I wish you the best as you try to navigate the system. As a soon to be AC parent in a tier 3 ( formerly tier 4 until CPS changed it in November) neighborhood, I’m glad that the system, although flawed, is in place. There is no way that kids who attended schools in tier 1 neighborhoods k-8 had the same opportunity and school stability my kid did. I’m not willing to shut the door on them. For me it boils down to personal ethics but everyone is definitely entitled his/her own opinions.

  • 156. cpsobsessed  |  June 6, 2013 at 8:22 am

    I don’t know that I’ve heard about Tier 1 parents “demanding” anything. If they were I’d suspect they be bringing out this Tier data more often and I never see it mentioned. From what are you making the assumption that tier 1 parents are demanding anything? All I’ve heard past year is parents (probably a lot in tier 1 neighborhoods) fighting to keep their neighborhood schools open.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 157. CPS Parent  |  June 6, 2013 at 8:44 am

    153. HS Mom – charters by Illinois State statute cannot select students by performance measures. See the word “nonexclusive” in the paragraph below.

    105 ILCS 5/27A Charter Schools

    Sec. 27A-8.

    (3) are designed to enroll and serve a substantial
    proportion of at-risk children; provided that nothing in the Charter Schools Law shall be construed as intended to limit the establishment of charter schools to those that serve a substantial portion of at-risk children or to in any manner restrict, limit, or discourage the establishment of charter schools that enroll and serve other pupil populations under a nonexclusive, nondiscriminatory admissions policy.


  • 158. CPS Parent  |  June 6, 2013 at 8:51 am

    The way I read the the statute above is that although technically possible, the Illinois State is not likely to grant a charter to a school which is “exclusive” since the statute “discourages” such practices for admission.

  • 159. mom2  |  June 6, 2013 at 9:07 am

    @143 – “The real issue for many folks on this board is that there is no spot of their tier 4 kid at the “big four”.
    Actually, many people on this board want one of the top 5 SEHS because those are closer to home and/or in safer neighborhoods or safer to get to. For example, move Brooks downtown or Lincoln Park and watch tier 4 people start applying like crazy.

  • 160. Angie  |  June 6, 2013 at 9:36 am

    @156. cpsobsessed: “I don’t know that I’ve heard about Tier 1 parents “demanding” anything. ”

    At the moment, they are demanding admission to Pritzker without testing or bothering with waiting lists. http://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20130531/wicker-park/south-side-parents-stage-protest-front-of-wicker-parks-pritzker-school

    And like I said, whether it is students, parents, aldermen or some other powers that be making these demands, the end result it the same – lowering the percentage of merit admissions, and the big difference in scores needed to get in.

    @155. Iheoma: “The tier 1 kids “demanding” seats at schools other than “Lindblom, Brooks or King” will probably “demand” seats at U of C, Northwestern, Harvard, Oberlin, Miami of Ohio, ect too and I bet the admissions folks will use factors other than just numbers to make decisions.”

    Apples and oranges. Unlike Chicago high school scene, it’s not Harvard or nothing in the college world. Lots of other good options are available to students who miss out on the Ivy League education.

    Yes,I would like to see merit-only admission to SEHS. I would much rather see the disadvantaged students getting help with their studies and test prep than with the actual scores.The problem is that there is not nearly enough safe and academically challenging high schools for all the kids who need them in Chicago. The tier system is the cheapest, do-nothing attempt to address that for a small percentage of CPS students.

    I get it, but I don’t have to like it.

  • 161. JR  |  June 6, 2013 at 9:39 am

    OK, I know my tier 4 kid can make it into Westinghouse or Lindblom, but I just don’t want him commuting through Tier 1 neighborhoods. Those are not viable options. He shouldn’t have to be exposed to the the harsh realities of society’s problems just so he can get to a school where he will be intellectually challenged. (It’s different for Tier 1 kids — they are used to it).

    I also feel that if he had to tell all his friends and people he meets that he goes to Westinghouse, then they would automatically assume he’s not smart enough for a north side SE school, and that’s a lot of stigma for him to handle socially. It’s not a problem for me, of course, but it’s about him.

    And as for the southside SE schools, they are not diverse. Diversity is really important to us. Diversity is why we live in the city (especially culinary diversity!). So, definitely we should abolish the totally unfair tier system, so my kid can get into a northside SE where he deserves to be. If that negates the diversity of those schools, then we would feel really bad about that, but I think we would eventually learn to live with it.


  • 162. HS Mom  |  June 6, 2013 at 9:40 am

    So you’re saying that charters are designed and obliged to serve “at risk” in the sense of NCLB kids who are behind. OK. I think there should be support for those kids who are ahead too. A test in school open to all based upon qualifications should be an option. It needs to be a separate school not a program within a neighborhood school.

    @156 an earlier poster mentioned community leaders upset that the selective schools cater to the 8% white children. I have heard this before too. I would assume that they represent a group of people. I think “demand” is a strong word because most people realize that some other mix is what keeps the schools successful and in demand. 8% and raw numbers without background, detail and complete information are always like throwing gasoline on the debate fire.

    @155 – I agree, there is much more to a successful educational environment than than the numbers. That is what makes these schools so attractive. And yes, colleges realize this too. I also understand the frustration of those who have good numbers and are not “accepted” and of those who in spite of their best efforts couldn’t make it – talking all tiers here. That’s why I think some acceptable version of a SE school whether its magnet, test in or some other form of admission – centrally located, appealing to all, diverse – is highly warranted.

  • 163. cpsobsessed  |  June 6, 2013 at 9:44 am

    @Angie, to clarify, those parents aren’t demanding a spot in the gifted program per se as far as I can tell. They are representing parents from the closing schools who have identified good-performing schools that seem to have capacity for more student. Yes, they do seem to want to be bumped to the front of the line, but given their circumstance of closing schools reassigned to other low-performing schools I think some people could agree they have a valid complaint.

    That seems different than Tier 1 parents demanding more seats in SEHS.

  • 164. cpsobsessed  |  June 6, 2013 at 9:48 am

    “The tier system is the cheapest, do-nothing attempt to address that for a small percentage of CPS students.

    I get it, but I don’t have to like it.”

    Yep, well put. Unfortunately given the state of the IL budget I don’t see that changing any time soon…

  • 165. Mayfair Dad  |  June 6, 2013 at 10:26 am

    @161 – well played, junior.

    @151 – Taft, the neighborhood high school for a broad swath of the mostly affluent, mostly white NW side. Many years ago, during the early years of the Dr. Tarvadian regime, CPS altered the attendance boundaries to ensure Taft was running at full capacity. Taft is now overcrowded but back then it was losing students to Catholic high schools and then Northside – so it seemed like a good idea at the time. The boundary change led to an influx of lower income, mostly Hispanic students and this sudden diversity made the neighborhood folk nervous, which fed an even greater white flight to Catholic and SE high schools. To stem the tide, Tarvadian added rigor to the curriculum (IB program before the rest of Chicago knew how to pronounce it) and opened an Academic Center to develop their own farm team of top-performing students to populate the high school. Mixed results — many of the Taft AC kids get accepted to SE high schools and don’t attend Taft HS.

    Today I think a motivated, brighter-than-average student can find a stimulating high school education at Taft. ACT numbers are still a concern: 18.8 which is higher than the CPS average (17.8) but still lower than the state average (20.6). To put this in perspective, the minimum ACT score to attend the U of I at Champaign is 25. Which is why parents on the NW side want Buffy & Jody to attend Northside (29.2), Payton (27.7), Young (27.1), Jones (25.3) or Lane Tech (23.7).

    Little known fact: Taft HS was the inspiration behind the movie Grease. Notable alumni: Terry Kath from the band Chicago.

  • 166. Esmom  |  June 6, 2013 at 11:41 am

    I grew up in the 70s on the northwest side and Taft was our neighborhood h.s. People we knew would rather cut off their limbs than send their kids there, it was regarded with such fear and contempt. CPS elementary schools were also not viable options, virtually everyone went Catholic. Their system was I believe in its heyday back then.
    Taft and the other CPS schools in that area seem to have come a long way since then.

  • 167. klm  |  June 6, 2013 at 11:50 am


    You do have a point.

    However, we’re talking public (as in everybody pays for them) k-12 schools vs. higher education.

    Virtually every institution of higher education in the U.S. that is in any way ‘selective’ has 2 kinds of admissions standards: one for non-URMs and one for URMs. There has been some changes in how to go about this per U.S. Supreme Court decisions and a few states have prohibited the use of race in admissions to publicly funded colleges, so they have used socio-economics and ‘holistic’ admissions to achieve more or less the same result as before. Accordingly, the average freshman enrolled at U of I from Simeon HS on the South Side has an average ACT score of 19, while the average freshman from suburban Stevenson HS has an average ACT of 29, for example.

    I worked in college admissions at 3 different ‘selective’ schools (one public, two private) and at each there were 2 different admissions processes: 1 for URMs, one or non-URMs –involving not just separate standards for being ‘qualified’, but separate deadlines for applications, procedures for awarding financial aid, admissions committees, etc. . Same for grad schools: most state-funded med schools and even private one (UIC’s Urban Medicine program…..) have a separate program whereby URMs have 2 years to complete the 1st year in order to pass the USMLE [licensing exams for clinical training]) since they were admitted with GPAs and MCATs that might make it more difficult, otherwise, etc. Law school accreditation is partly based on the commitment to enrolling URMs/Diversity. In one famous case (George Mason) a law school’s accreditation was put on probation when black enrollment dropped [the school found that admitting students with much lower GPAs and lower LSATs resulting in too many failing the first year, so it tried to tailor its admissions to prevent this, resulting in fewer black first year enrollees and consequent problems with accreditation due to ‘lack of commitment to Diversity in the legal profession’) –it had to focus its admissions and financial aid even more towards URM enrollment in order to get off probation, not withstanding its already respected academic standing.

    There’s been a fairly wide consensus for 1 or 2 generations that this kind of admissions in higher education is necessary in order the create an integrated American Power Structure, have black judges passing sentence on black criminals, having an integrated corporate and medical industrial complex, black doctors at major medical centers along with white and Asian ones, etc. –in short create a more cohesive and collectively productive society. Hence, Fortune 500 corporations, the U.S. Military, virtually every big private foundation, every prestige institution of higher education, etc., supports affirmative action and often submit ‘amicus’ briefs to any Federal or State court that judges these sorts of things as legally permissible or not. There’s some controversy about the unfairness to certain individuals, but the collective consensus is that this is a necessary process to have an integrated society that is not almost entirely bifurcated along race lines, at least in terms of the more successful among us.

    I get that. I’m not against it.

    However, there IS a difference, both legally and practically in terms of admissions b/t CPS SEHS enrollment and private (and non-private) higher education. Race (per the U.S. Supreme Court) cannot be used in K12 enrollment procedures. The U.S. Supreme Court DID nonetheless invite K12 public schools to create diversity through the use of socio-economics (under the U.S. Constitution ‘race’ requires ‘strict scrutiny’ when used and so there is a higher burden to prove its necessity [the old Consent Decree was born of documented discrimination in the 1960s], not so for ‘class’).

    I understand that CPS tried to use a legally permissible, race-neutral mechanism to support Diversity.

    The problem I have and that many others have is that the current CPS Tier System is so glaringly flawed and imprecise in too many cases.

    Whenever some people point this out, there’s sometimes a response of “Shame on you for being against Diversity!”, when it’s quite a bit more complicated than that.

    Also, there is a fundamental issue of fairness. Some individuals are held at a much higher standard than others, regardless of their own person socioeconomic and other demographic circumstances, which may or may not be beneficial or detrimental to their chances in life.

    I have no problems with people supporting the current Tier System, but I have a problem when those of us that have issues with it are easily and almost automatically dismissed as ill-informed, unrealistic or just plain mean, as opposed to all the “good people” that care about and want low-income kids to succeed. Well, I care about low-income urban kids as much as anybody (Heck, I WAS one growing up), but I still have issues with disparate treatment of CPS kids when it comes to SEHS enrollment.

  • 168. CPS Parent  |  June 6, 2013 at 11:52 am

    162. HS Mom I would suggest that such a school already exists – IMSA. Neighborhood location, as an issue, is neutralized for all Chicagoans and very safe!

    It is, by far, the best high school in Illinois but doesn’t show up in ranked lists since it doesn’t participate in them.


  • 169. cpsobsessed  |  June 6, 2013 at 11:54 am

    URM = Under-represented minority.

  • 170. momof3boys  |  June 6, 2013 at 11:59 am

    RE: SEHS admission process to be fair would be admissions based entirely on rank based upon 7th grade ISATS, grades and admission test results.

    I dont think it really is fair at all. if you base admission solely on test scores and and grades, at certain schools, certain populations will be excluded for the most part and you will start to see a segregation, which what CPS is trying to avoid.

  • 171. OutsideLookingIn  |  June 6, 2013 at 12:15 pm

    @161 JR – love it. Thanks for the chuckle.

    Ok, I think this sums up what folks want:
    – Safe, academically challenging public high schools with high ACT score averages.
    – Close proximity to students’ homes.
    – Enough seats to accomodate all students who want to attend these schools who score 650 or above. (Or should it be 800 or above?)

    So….here’s a question for those who would like to eliminate tiers. If tiers were eliminated, would the above scenario be possible? If not, what if we also quadrupled the student body and facility size of Northside and Payton, for example, would that solve the problem? Or would it lower the average ACT score of those schools?

    Does the strong academic rigor of a high school result in high ACT scores…or does accepting high scoring 8th graders into a high school result in a school’s high ACT average scores?

  • 172. HS Mom  |  June 6, 2013 at 12:18 pm

    @168 – school sounds totally awesome and off the radar. Looks like the location is in Aurora. I guess too much of a political hot bed for Chicago. This is what we need to overcome. The needs of the child should not be governed by the perceived needs of society.

  • 173. CPS Parent  |  June 6, 2013 at 12:25 pm

    This the “tier” breakdown for IMSA:

    45% Asian
    38% Caucasian
    8.8% Latino
    7.7% African-American

  • 174. Esmom  |  June 6, 2013 at 12:37 pm

    @171. Good question. I think it’s the latter. And if Northside quadrupled its scores would go down. I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing if it gives that many more students a shot at a safe, rich, well rounded hs education. That’s why many suburban schools have scores lower than the top SEHSs. They’re serving a broader range of students/abilities.

  • 175. Iheoma  |  June 6, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    @161 -You’re right – #whitepeopleproblems# Kinda done with this argument and this thread.

  • 176. Chris  |  June 6, 2013 at 1:40 pm

    “There is no way that kids who attended schools in tier 1 neighborhoods k-8”

    So, you’d modify the Tier rules to be based on the tier of the *school*? A kid living in Tier 1 (and, for argument, a ‘true’ Tier 1 family, too, not UMC slumming) who went to Skinner K-8 shouldn’t be treated as a Tier 1 for HS admissions?

    This is one of the hypos people react negatively to. I don’t agree with ’em (I am *generally* a supporter of the Tier system, but were I King, I would tweak it a lot), but it would be frustrating to see your kid’s 9 year classmate at Skinner, with 100 point lower admit score, getting into Payton bc the classmate lives in T1, and you live in T4.

  • 177. klm  |  June 6, 2013 at 1:45 pm

    OK, I’ll ad this then shut up.

    Most higher education social engineering involves a relatively small number of spaces at any given institution (depending, maybe 5, 7.5, 10 or usually at very most 15%). Instances of kids from trailer parks on the wrong side of the tracks being passed over by the offspring of upper-middle-class professionals may happen, some quasi-idiots get in because they’re star athletes, etc., but still by far, most students are admitted through academic achievement and rewarded for previous hard work, fair and square.

    However, with the CPS Tiers, it’s kinda’ the opposite –MOST of the places are awarded not by highest achievement and grades, but by some non-academic factor that no applicant has control over (where his/her family lives).

    The fact that MOST places are rewarded this way is where some people (me included) have problems.

    If 70, 60 or even 50% of admissions to these SEHSs were strictly based on achievement and grades, then I’d have fewer problems with admitting the other 30, 40 or 50% of kids in another way. However, as it stands now, the majority of kids are being admitted not by having the highest qualifications, but by a prescribed formula that favors sometimes quite disparate standards, depending on where one lives.

    And no, we’re not talking about a college or grad school (where people can apply to as many as they want and have a huge number of choices), but a k12 public education system that is supposed to serve the students within its boundaries, not treat them differently, depending on where they live, at least when it comes to city-wide enrollment schools.

  • 178. Chris  |  June 6, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    ” a k12 public education system that is supposed to serve the students within its boundaries, not treat them differently, depending on where they live, at least when it comes to city-wide enrollment schools.”

    Your clause at the end swallows the rest of it. CPS treats everyone differently depending on where they live: There are attendance area schools, there are magnet school proximity preferences, there are transportation zones for SEES.

    Are you suggesting getting rid of *all* the ‘differential treatment’ (and if so, how??), or just the particular one sort that chaps your hide?

  • 179. junior  |  June 6, 2013 at 2:01 pm

    @177 klm
    The fact that 70% of the students are admitted by tiers in no way determines that MOST of the kids would not have otherwise been admitted. If 30% are admitted by score alone. And then you have additional 17.5% of typically very high scoring Tier 4 kids, that brings you to 47.5%. Then you have very substantial numbers of kids from the other tiers who would be able to claim spots based on their scores alone, so I think that the actual practical number of kids who leapfrog others to get in is not that high.

    I’d also take issue with your assertion that people have no control over where they live. Certainly, people who live in tier 4 areas have the choice to live just about anywhere in the city. They choose not to for the obvious benefits that are conferred upon themselves and their children.

  • 180. InterestedWhit  |  June 6, 2013 at 2:05 pm

    @142 – Chris
    Speaking in terms of ACT and PSAT test scores, Lane seems to be a school that could be considered “decent.” It is more on par with Lindblom and well below Jones, Northside, Whitney, and Payton. Is there more anyone can tell me about this school to help me understand why it would be considered “amazing” if test scores are only slightly above Lindblom’s which is considered “decent.” Is it because one is on the south side and one is on the north side. I also wonder why Brooks is ranked above Lane in US News and World Report rankings when the test scores are slightly lower than Lane’s and Lindblom’s. Lindlom is well below both. Interesting.

  • 181. Patricia  |  June 6, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    @179 junior. Below is what @135 Christophyer Ball posted above that gives some insight into tiers making it in by score alone for Northside. If I am looking at the numbers correctly, it looks like 64 or 59% of the 109 tier 4 students admitted to Northside, did so on score alone while only 6% of those in tear 1 & 2. In this example it does not seem like a “substantial” number of kids from other tiers claim spots on score alone. Right?

    “109 students from tier 4 were made offers, 64 by score alone, 45 by score in tier.

    52 tier 3 students, 7 by score alone, 45 by score in tier.

    49 students in tiers 1 & 2 each, 3 by score alone, in each, and 46 by tier in each.”

    Personally, I think the SEHS need to strive to meet the needs of the high performing students that get into the school. There is a need to keep these kids challenged regardless of what tier they come from. The real problem as some have said above is that there are not enough good alternatives creating a stressful pressure cooker situation for students and parents to get the coveted SEHS spots.

    Many years ago I ran into the old CPS CEO Ron Huberman at a playground. At the time, I said to him, “the problem with CPS High Schools is that there is no where for a B student to attend.” How times have changed! If I ran into BBB, I would now say, “the problem with CPS High Schools is that there is no where for an A minus student to attend.” Crazy!

    I do think CPS should stop tweaking the tier thing and find a way to get a whole bunch of neighborhood CPS HS to serve the A minus and B students regardles of tier, race, socioeconomic status or location.

  • 182. Chris  |  June 6, 2013 at 2:29 pm

    @180. InterestedWhit:

    I was responding to another post, and I used scare quotes on decent for a reason. The post I was responding to was responding to a post about how the ‘Big4’ plus Lane are among the best in the state per someone’s metrics. The post I was responding to asked (paraphrasing) ‘where are the schools that aren’t those 5, and aren’t terrible (aka are ‘decent’ schools), in particular on the southside?’. The other 5 SEHS are (1) not as highly ranked as the ‘Big4′ or Lane per whatever metric (USNews, or whatever) was references, (2) *clearly* not terrible, and (3) 4 of them are on the southside. So I thought it was responsive, and–I’ll admit–was intended to be a bit snarky, bc I’m as sick as everyone else of people acting like there are only 5 HS in Chicago that are even to be considered.

    Now, that said, even if the city were suddenly to be nirvana, and kids could travel freely, with no risk of distraction, harm, getting lost, harassment, etc to and from and AT school, I would *really* not want my kids to go to the southside schools *based on where we live*–I think the commute would be awful. Westinghouse, would be about the same as Young or Jones, and I think that’s about the limit I’d want them to have to commute. And given what *seems* to be the location slant of folks here, I *understand* not considering the southside schools. But NOT when the question posed is “where are the not-terrible/’decent’ HS ON THE SOUTHSIDE”.

  • 183. OutsideLookingIn  |  June 6, 2013 at 2:33 pm

    What is the baseline average ACT score a high school must have for you to consider it as academically “acceptable”? This assumes that all your other criteria (proximity, safety) are met.

    For example, if Northside guaranteed a space at the school for all students who scored 650 or higher and wanted to attend, but the school’s average ACT scores fell to 21…would you still consider Northside to be a desirable option?

  • 184. Patricia  |  June 6, 2013 at 2:35 pm

    I should add to my post @181 that there does seem to be some good momentum for HS options improving. Lincoln Park, Taft, Senn, Lakeview, Disney II HS, Alcot HS, all seem to be improving. I am not as familiar with schools on the south side, so there may be many more viable options there. I agree with Chris that the commute weighs heavily on my mind for my kids.

  • 185. Chris  |  June 6, 2013 at 2:38 pm

    @Patricia: “gives some insight into tiers making it in by score alone for Northside”

    NSCP is the most skewed of the bunch–it’s a helluva commute from most of the T1 areas in the city. Just as I wouldn’t be excited by my kids commuting from home to Brooks (111th St!!) which google sez is a 90 minute one-way transit commute, I imagine there are many, many parents on the southside who wouldn’t want their kids to do the same to get to NSCP.

    The real insight lies either in the more centrally located schools: Jones, Young, Payton. If those three, especially in the aggregate, also had *very* few T1 and T2 admits at scores above the T4 cutoff (and that’s the number that really matters, not the number of rank admits), that would tell us something.

  • 186. junior  |  June 6, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    @181 Patricia

    I don’t think you are using those numbers correctly. The fact that someone is admitted by tier says little about whether they would have made it in if all the spots were available to be assigned by score alone.

  • 187. klm  |  June 6, 2013 at 2:45 pm


    I said “city-wide open-enrollment school” a la WY, Payton, LPIB, etc., I know of at least 1 student at a North Side CPS SE (Lincoln IG) program that traveled all the way from the Indiana border. Yes, his mother had to drive part way and oince in a while he had to take a CTA bus, but the CPS picked-up 75th Street or something like that –Gosh, talk about a schlep!.

    By HS, kids take CTA buses and trains.

    Transportation may be an issue, but theoretically all “city-wide” schools are open to all qualified city residents, no matter if they’re at 139th (or is it 129th that the border?) or in Edison Park.


    Yes, many adults have control over where they live, but not 13-year-olds. There are plenty of adult Chicagoans that for financial reasons can’t just pick up and move, either.

  • 188. Patricia  |  June 6, 2013 at 2:46 pm

    @185 Chris. Good point. I agree NSCP is a crappy commute for most. It would suck for my kids and I live Northish. There is no good public transit and passing through really congested areas. Maybe Christopher Ball will crunch the numbers for the other schools 😉

  • 189. InterestedWhit  |  June 6, 2013 at 2:48 pm

    I don’t hear any Tier 1 people complaining. I don’t hear their voice at all on this blog about this issue. How many Tier 1 people have you heard complaining? It’s the Tier 4 people that’s doing all the complaining.

  • 190. Patricia  |  June 6, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    @186 Junior. If by score alone, I think the outcome would be mostly tier 4 kids. Is that what you are saying? So a lower proportion of tier 1 & 2 make it in on score alone in the example and probably would not make it at all if all seats were given by score.

  • 191. seriously  |  June 6, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    189 because they have a valid reason to complain. They also pay taxes and work.

  • 192. mom2  |  June 6, 2013 at 3:01 pm

    @183 – An average ACT of 21 with all other criteria (proximity, safety, etc.) being met would be great with me. In fact, I would prefer it because it would be more like the real world and could be better for individual self-esteem (instead of being with only very high scoring individuals).

  • 193. junior  |  June 6, 2013 at 3:01 pm

    @190. Patricia

    Not at all. You’re assuming that there is an infinite supply of Tier 4 kids scoring at the cutoff who would be admitted.

    If there were an infinite supply of Tier 4 kids scoring at the cutoff, then we would have 47.5% of applicants accepted based on score alone. But, we know that there are not infinite kids at that cutoff, and we know that there are high-scoring kids in other tiers, so the practical number of those accepted who would make it on score alone is well above the 47.5%.

    Also, using NCSP is definitely not representative of the entire system due to its location.

  • 194. Chris  |  June 6, 2013 at 3:03 pm

    KLM: “I said “city-wide open-enrollment school” ”

    Yeah, I know. Right after you said “we’re not talking about a college or grad school…, but a k12 public education system that is supposed to serve the students within its boundaries, not treat them differently, depending on where they live”.

    And I stick with the view that limiting the ‘fairness’ to SE schools conflicts with the “supposed to serve the students within its boundaries” point. Frankly, it makes me sympathetic with those who want to simply dismantle the SE system, people who I generally vehemently disagree with.

  • 195. Patricia  |  June 6, 2013 at 3:12 pm

    @193 Junior. OK, I see your point……or I am completely missing your point 😉 For some reason I think I am missing your point. So, if there are seemingly so many kids in all tiers capable of getting in on score alone (more than 47.5%)………….why do we have the tier system? Are you suggesting that a rank alone admission would work better than tiers for diversity?

  • 196. Chris  |  June 6, 2013 at 3:19 pm

    Junior: “Not at all. You’re assuming that there is an infinite supply of Tier 4 kids scoring at the cutoff who would be admitted.”

    Or she’s assuming that none (or very few) of the T1 and T2 admits score 890+. Or some combination of the 2.

  • 197. Leggy Mountbatten  |  June 6, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    I do love the white loathing on here, probably by parents who will run to the suburbs in a year or two, didn’t go to an inner city school, or already have their kids in the SE school of their choice.

  • 198. Chris  |  June 6, 2013 at 3:32 pm

    Patricia: “if there are seemingly so many kids in all tiers capable of getting in on score alone (more than 47.5%)………….why do we have the tier system?”

    We have the Tier system so that our SEHS (and, to a lesser extent, SEES) do not have a racial skew similar to NYC’s selective enrollment schools. Good or bad, I think it’s politically necessary in Chicago to maintain that veneer (of racial ‘equity’) somehow, and explicit race-based preferences were required to be stopped.

  • 199. junior  |  June 6, 2013 at 3:38 pm

    @196 Chris

    Considering that the maximum scores for kids admitted via tiers admission in Tiers 1/2/3 were 898/897/898, I think that’s a flawed assumption.

  • 200. Chris  |  June 6, 2013 at 3:49 pm

    junior: “Considering that the maximum scores for kids admitted via tiers admission in Tiers 1/2/3 were 898/897/898, I think that’s a flawed assumption.”

    I agree, completely. But we don’t *know* based on available information. And the question has two parts: How many T-1/2/3 kids scored 895+ (for NS and Payton) and then how many T-1/2/3/4 kids scored 894, 893, 892, etc.

    I would guess that, especially for NS, there’s a bunch near/over 890, and then a long tail in T1 and 2, at least.

    I do feel that (if I were King) it would make sense to let the HS’s set minimum scores again, but *only* if (1) they have data showing that those admitted below the score they set have consistently ‘struggled’ (defined somehow) in the past, AND (2) the minimum also applied to PD picks.

  • 201. laura  |  June 6, 2013 at 4:01 pm

    Commute is an important factor, I agree. My kids go to a fantastic elementary magnet, but are commuting nearly an hour each way by bus. We toured the school of the suburb we’d like to live in and its of similar quality. We are moving next month. I can’t see the sense in going through the SEHS process in a few years just to have my kids spending 1-3 hours on public transportation every day. For me, no high school is worth that. Good luck, though, to everyone who is staying and crossing my fingers that luck works in your favor.

  • 202. Patricia  |  June 6, 2013 at 4:04 pm

    @Chris. Thanks for clarifying my point. My brain is fuzzy today—good thing I am not taking a high stakes test today that will determine my future 😉 LOL!!

    I understand why we have a tier system and I actually do support it……….until my kid gets screwed by it 😉 It is tough to see 100 point gaping difference between tier 4 and 1 tho. Any kid in that 100 point range who did not get in because of tier feels cheated.

    @ Junior. Yep, there sure are a lot of high scoring kids who get in on score alone and certainly represent all tiers. My guess is a higher proportion score high in tier 4 than tier 1 and that was the original point I was making using Christopher’s data from NSCP. 64% vs 6%. Obviously, we do not have all the data points so I was drawing it out.

    Overall, I think the real issue as many have already stated, is that we need to make the neighborhood HS better instead of lament and tweak the current SEHS tier system. This does not help parents with kids going to HS in the next few years unfortunately.

  • 203. karet  |  June 6, 2013 at 4:04 pm

    @165, Thanks for the info about Taft. The people I’ve spoken to in the neighborhood seem to think that the IB program is “decent” — but I don’t actually know anyone with kids there.

  • 204. Angie  |  June 6, 2013 at 4:58 pm

    Here are the SEHS cutoff scores posted in another thread:


    In case of Northside, the mean scores for Tiers 1, 2 and 3 are 834.48, 865.70 and 888.69 respectively. So, at least half of the kids in these tiers scored below 891, which is the minimum required for a kid in Tier 4.

  • 205. Chris  |  June 6, 2013 at 5:32 pm

    “the mean scores …. So, at least half of the kids in these tiers scored below 891”

    For that to be necessarily true, that’d have to be median, not mean. It appears (after reminding myself how to do algebra) that it is true for 1/2 (but unclear on actual number and distribution) but not *necessarily* (but possibly) true for 3.

  • 206. Angie  |  June 6, 2013 at 5:53 pm

    @205. Chris: Oops, my bad. Algebra was a loong time ago.

  • 207. SoxSideIrish4  |  June 6, 2013 at 5:53 pm

    203. karet | June 6, 2013 at 4:04 pm

    I’ve heard good things abt Taft. If that was my n’hood school and it offered the IB program and my child got into it~I’d send my child there. Of course it would have to be the ‘real’ IB program, which Taft has, not the other track one at some of the school.

  • 208. H  |  June 6, 2013 at 5:53 pm

    @205 Assuming I’m working off the correct numbers for tier 2 NSCP (46 admits, 865.70 mean, 837 min, 895 max), couldn’t you have 1 student at 895, 23 at 891, 1 student at 857, 21 students at 837, for a rounded mean of 865.70. So less than half (22/46) students below 891. Is it likely? No. And is it basically half? Sure. But still, not necessarily strictly true.

  • 209. Chris  |  June 6, 2013 at 6:06 pm

    H : “Assuming I’m working off the correct numbers for tier 2 NSCP (46 admits, 865.70 mean, 837 min, 895 max), couldn’t you have …”

    I’ll take your word for it. I did say “appears”; and it is fairly likely that over half of the T3s got 891+.

    Another thing, since the scaled scores don’t move by single points, each score is not equally likely, although all but 899 are possible. So there’s likely some lumpiness in the scores at certain numbers, with, (as a made up example) 891 being much more common than 890 or 892.

  • 210. Whit  |  June 6, 2013 at 6:18 pm

    @182 Totally get it. I wouldn’t want my daughter to make that commute either.

    @191 My point was that I haven’t heard any Tier 1 people complaining and @146 said they were. The anger towards them is misguided. I have no gripe with Tier 4 people complaining even though I think it’s a waste of time and it only causes them more stress. I was Tier 4 (still am) when the system converted after my daughter had tested for K already and I had complaints at that time as well. But almost 3 years later and now I know she just has to score at a certain level or we have to figure something else out if admissions criteria hasn’t changed by then. It’s that simple but then I am a pretty laid back person. I know she’ll be fine whether she gets into a SEHS or not. There are other options for us I guess because I don’t believe her life will be ruined if she doesn’t get into a selective enrollment high school. If she doesn’t get in, she’ll learn that things won’t always go her way but they tend to work out to serve you best in the long run anyway.

  • 211. Angie  |  June 6, 2013 at 7:26 pm

    @210. Whit: What is this if not a complaint?

    “12. Iheoma: “The tier system was supposed to address some of the inequalities in the system. Forget the theoretical and the percentages – 696 more kids from Tier 4 neighborhoods than Tier 1 neighborhoods will get the opportunity to attend a SEHS. If the system actually worked we would not see this difference.””

    There aren’t many Tier 1 people on this blog, but check the articles and discussions on the news sites about how rich white people get all the good schools.

  • 212. Iheoma  |  June 6, 2013 at 7:55 pm

    @211 Angie – your last comment about tier 1 parents was a poorly stated generalization. I do hope that your child gets a seat at the school he or she would like to attend ( if he/she) has not already. Best wishes on your journey.

  • 213. local  |  June 6, 2013 at 8:22 pm

    Saw this over at District 299 blog:

    district299reader said 1 hour, 28 minutes ago

    Rod–the budgets favor schools that are selective enrollment and have cluster magnet programs, and if you have a 7-8th grade connected to a high school–which is still selective enrollment. Our principal and assistant were unusually quiet today–word is that at our large elementary school $100s of $1000s of dollars were removed from our budget. We expect teacher layoff and larger class sizes come August.

  • 214. local  |  June 6, 2013 at 8:32 pm

    How many families involved with the SEHS race put their hat into the ring for private HS scholarships? I don’t hear much about that. Who tends to get the private school scholarships? I know there’s one scholarship that helps low income students attend private schools (it’s not linked to any one school), I believe. And, is the something like Prep for Prep here in Chicago? I know one buddy’s kid who’s out at Groton now on such a program. Just wondering why going for private HS scholarships doesn’t seem to be a big part of families’ efforts in Chicago. Maybe it’s just a silent group?

  • 215. cpsmama  |  June 6, 2013 at 9:06 pm

    Deep Thought: How do we know that the high scoring Ter 1/2/3 kids aren’t reallyTier 4 kids with false addresses?

    @165- MFD- U of I doesn’t publish it’s “minimum” ACT scores for admittance. It publishes the scores of the middle 50% of accepted students (ie 25th-75th percentiles.) 1/4 are below the 25th percentile and 1/4 are above the 75th percentile.

  • 216. SutherlandParent  |  June 6, 2013 at 10:48 pm

    @187 klm, the southern border of the City of Chicago is 138th Street 🙂 I think transportation for those on the South Side is a real consideration—it’s just tremendously underserved by the El compared to other parts of the city (the Red Line terminates at 95th Street, and that’s the line that runs furthest south).

    We live on the Far Southwest Side and from a standpoint of pure transportation logistics, the most convenient SEHS for us is probably Jones–not Lindbloom, King or Brooks. We’re miles away from the nearest El train, and Jones is a straight shot into the Loop on the Rock Island Metra.

    Of course, there CTA buses, but those tend to be much less consistent. I give huge credit to any parent who manages to get their kids to school halfway across the city on time on a CTA bus in the middle of winter.

  • 217. SR  |  June 6, 2013 at 11:41 pm

    @214 – are you referring to the Daniel Murphy scholarship for low income Chicago students? I know there are kids from our neighborhood school (tier 3, but 90%+ low income) who have been recipients of this scholarship.

  • 218. HSObsessed  |  June 7, 2013 at 8:19 am

    I don’t feel like hunting for the post # because it’s buried, but someone above asked whether SEHS’ average test scores for graduates are high because the school/staff is so amazing or is it because the “raw materials” they get in the incoming students is already high, and of course that answer is the latter.

    Each spring 8th graders take the Explore test, which is basically the ACT test, which they take every year in high school, although it’s called various different names throughout the years. However, the resulting score is comparable to an ACT score. So when you look at the 2012 8th grade Explore results, you see that that there are a number of schools whose 8th graders are already scoring the equivalent of a 20 on the ACT before they even step foot in high school. These include Bell, Edgebrook, Edison, Hawthorne, Jackson, and others. That’s the average 8th grader at those schools: obviously a good number are scoring higher, possibly much higher. So when you have a high school like Northside, which is filled with kids who are already scoring the equivalent of let’s say a 24 or 25 when they enter as freshmen, getting them up to a 29 final score as seniors is still a great achievement, but not as hard as it sounds. Not to say the kids aren’t great, the staff aren’t great, etc, but just that they already had a leg up that began about a dozen years before.

  • 219. HSObsessed  |  June 7, 2013 at 8:41 am

    However, to add on to #218, I just did a quick and dirty comparison of 9th grade Explore scores from 2009 and compared them to 12th grade ACT scores for 2012 in a few schools, to see how many points on average the students added over four years of learning there, and although schools like Northside and Payton do start with kids that are already achieving at high levels, they also seem to do a great job of raising the scores even higher. Northside raised average scores 7.7 points and Payton 7.1 points. Other schools did a decent job as well like LPHS 5.4, Von Steuben 4.5 and Taft 4.1 but they don’t compare to NS and WP. As always, none of these numbers say anything about an individual kid, who may start higher or lower, end higher or lower, etc.

  • 220. CPS Parent  |  June 7, 2013 at 8:56 am

    Lots of parsing of the numbers here…. One thing to keep in mind is that the standardized tests only tap up to a certain knowledge level/ability. Many kids max out on all the tests especially the SAT2’s (subject tests) where 800’s are routine.

    So, for instance, regarding math, Whitney and Payton (and only these two) offer proof based, analysis math classes which are the equivalent of college level math for math majors. The ACT doesn’t even tap calculus.

    I would consider choosing an SEHS like you do a college – look for the best “fit”. For the seriously math inclined kids, Whitney and Payton stand out.

  • 221. HS Mom  |  June 7, 2013 at 9:16 am

    @219 – I would add that Northside and Payton likely get all students that are the top scoring of those good elementary schools as opposed to those near the school average.

    Agree with best fit, this should be considered in the ranking process (not which school you think you will get in or rank order by test scores).

  • 222. HSObsessed  |  June 7, 2013 at 10:14 am

    Yes, I agree with looking for the best “fit” for high school in general, as well as ranking the order of SEHS according to TRUE preference, and not just putting a school higher to “see if he’ll get in” when he really wants to go elsewhere.

    I also want to add to #219 that it’s somewhat easier to raise the “average” in a school population of 225 carefully selected kids in each grade at NS or WP, and harder to do so in a larger schools like LPHS or Taft (550 and 750 per grade), with a diverse enrollment of kids with various levels of motivation and drive. So, raising the average scores 4 or 5 points at those larger schools is still a solid achievement.

  • 223. HScoming  |  June 7, 2013 at 10:22 am

    Could someone also confirm or deny a rumor I heard about changes in ranking HS for next year (our year!)?
    Many people “have heard” that kids will just rank order all highschools and there will not be separate “pots” for SEES, IB, Lottery, etc. In essence kids will get one acceptance only.

  • 224. Time to scrap the whole system?  |  June 7, 2013 at 10:46 am

    After going through this whole process for kindergarten, the thought of doing it again for high school makes me want to throw up.

    How about getting rid of SE schools altogether and putting a proper gifted program in every neighborhood school?

    How about giving every school the additional enrichments that magnet schools get?

    How about a true open enrollment system where everyone is eligible to attend any school in the city? Schools in high demand can be expanded to accommodate everyone who applies.

  • 225. Chris  |  June 7, 2013 at 10:54 am

    “How about getting rid of SE schools altogether and putting a proper gifted program in every neighborhood school?”

    A “proper” gifted program for a handful of kids per class year?

    Sure, it’s doable (it’s what I got as a kid), but it’s hardly a “proper program”.

  • 226. Patricia  |  June 7, 2013 at 11:16 am

    @224 I believe that every single school should ensure that every student grows academically to their full potential. One of my kids neighborhood schools is doing this now with a wonderful new principal who is putting the kids first. Prior admin just was fine with status quo and the test scores rising simply because higher achieving kids were entering the school. The MAPS test seems to be a good tool to measure growth that parents can understand and teachers seem to like (now that the K-1st graders are not required to take it which makes sense to me).

    I think there is a rightful place for gifted schools and having a few selected from each grade in neighborhood schools is hardly ideal……but it sure is better than letting bright kids remain under challenged because they did not get into a RGC or classical elementary or remain at a neighborhood school for sibling or commute or whatever. Most neighborhood schools should be able to do this now IMO. If true differentiated learning was happening on a wide scale, I also suspect there would not be such a feeding frenzy to get into SEES. It will be interesting to see if this takes hold over the next 5 years or so.

    Interesting visit last weekend for us to the burbs. Our really good friends moved to the burbs to avoid the whole school hassle for their 3 kids even though they were in the Burley boundaries. Now, they found out one of their kids is highly “gifted” when they had him evaluated for behavioral issues. They are finding out that the suburbs (north shore mind you) do not really do much for advanced/gifted kids. They are being told that,”your kid will be fine and learn enough simply by going to our school.” Pretty much a take it or leave it response. The grass is always greener I guess.

  • 227. local  |  June 7, 2013 at 11:24 am

    @ 226. Patricia | June 7, 2013 at 11:16 am

    Good news. How’s that same school doing with its sped students?

  • 228. local  |  June 7, 2013 at 11:34 am

    I gotta say, with my new high schooler (oldest child), I’ve become newly attuned to how family connections based on SES seem to be benefiting those who “have.” I’m kinda stunned. All around, upper middle class acquaintances are letting me know how they arranged (or greased the skids) for internships, jobs, awesome travel experiences and other goodies for their kids this summer.

    On the other hand, read some notices for some great digital media training and other cool summer opportunities – but only for residents of certain high-poverty ‘hoods, such as Pilsen, Englewood or Chicago Lawn.

    Great for the kids involved or eligible.

  • 229. local  |  June 7, 2013 at 11:36 am

    To clarify: “they arranged (or greased the skids)” through their siblings/etc., old school ties, golf buddies, fellow top executives, neighbors, etc.

  • 230. Patricia  |  June 7, 2013 at 11:38 am

    @227 local. I have heard mixed bag on students with special needs. The students with aides seem to get what they need. The students who have other learning disabilities (that do not require an aide, but do require accommodations) have a more difficult time in certain grades because there are some teachers who are notorious for blatantly ignoring the plans for these types of students. It is a huge struggle for those parents. The administration seems to be responding, but there is a ton of union push back/protectionism. Many hoops to jump through, but it seems they are following the lengthy process. That said, my child does not have any special needs, so this is based on me being a friend and listening to the distressful situations. I really feel for parents with sped students in CPS. Saying it is an uphill battle is a complete understatement.

  • 231. local  |  June 7, 2013 at 12:03 pm

    @ 217. SR | June 6, 2013 at 11:41 pm

    Could be. Unsure. Also, isn’t there a Catholic high school scholarship program for black children? It’s a very impressive with lots of community-building, early college awareness and prep and tours, academic support, etc. One of our friends who would not send their child to Morgan Park HS, but missed the SEHS brass ring, tapped this scholarship to send him to Marist.

  • 232. local  |  June 7, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    “The administration seems to be responding, but there is a ton of union push back/protectionism.” Wow. Meaning the principal is putting the teachers involved through the firing due process? If the principals follows the process, and the IEP were well-done, and the resources/training were provided to these teachers, then I bet they could get replaced.

    Personally, I believe that a teacher or school system that fails to create and implement an effective and appropriate IEP should hang from their necks until dead. No offense meant, & I’m fully aware of all the systemic problems that make it unfair to place blame for poor sped on the backs of a single teacher, but still… it makes me see red.

    But, I’m a boomer, and civil rights outrage is in my blood.

  • 233. Patricia  |  June 7, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    @232 local. I do not know the details or if it is firing due process (which would be a good thing for the students) as I am not on the administration, nor is my child involved in the blatant ignoring of the IEPs. (The teacher also does not honor 504 plans either!) This is certainly not an issue of as you say, “systemic problems that make it unfair to place blame for poor sped on the backs of a single teacher”. Not the case here as other teachers are able to do just fine and meet accommodations for IEP and 504 for these same students in other classes in the same grade as well as when these same students were in other grades. Unfortunately, there are some bad apples in the bunch. .

  • 234. Patricia  |  June 7, 2013 at 12:59 pm

    @ local. Just had a funny thought. You said, ” If the principals follows the process, and the IEP were well-done, and the resources/training were provided to these teachers, then I bet they could get replaced.”

    How much training is needed for “no peanut butter”? Yes, allergy is a 504, not an IEP, but none-the-less. .

  • 235. SoxSideIrish4  |  June 7, 2013 at 1:00 pm

    220. CPS Parent | June 7, 2013 at 8:56 am

    WY is known for math. Although Math Team has won City for 4 years (and sectional)~this is the 1st year they won State~the 1st CPS Math Team EVER to win 1st at State!

    226. Patricia | June 7, 2013 at 11:16 am

    I agree. I feel if n’hood schools are doing true differentiated learning it would be better for the brighter/gifted students who need a stronger/advanced curricula. That is the one area where my n’hood school is outdoing many others. It’s similar to having 2 tracks (I guess there’d actually be more) and it’s working out where kids from our n’hood schools go right to geometry instead of algebra once in high school.

  • 236. Chris  |  June 7, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    “the 1st CPS Math Team EVER to win 1st at State!”

    False. First to win 4AA division; Payton has multiple wins in their (3AA) division.

  • 237. HS Mom  |  June 7, 2013 at 1:28 pm

    @232 – some teachers have their “own way” which may or may not be the right way and no clear way to challenge them on this. Without clear uniform guidelines enforced by the school and within the IEP/504 themselves the treatment of the child is never equal. Some kids, for whatever reason, have plans that call for extensive accommodations yet another kid with the same issue has bare bones.

    @223 – that would be a big change people need to be aware of if in fact it’s in the works. From what you describe, the talked about single application would mean that you need a qualifying score and/or lottery number then the order of personal ranking dictates the school. People would really need to do their research up front or be comfortable selecting a school based upon reputation. I think more notice would be necessary for families to make sure they have researched and prepared. How would this affect schools that require interviews or auditions?

  • 238. Chris  |  June 7, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    ps: Payton was in 2A division, before ’07, and won 2A multiple times.

  • 239. SoxSideIrish4  |  June 7, 2013 at 2:10 pm

    238. Chris | June 7, 2013 at 1:29 pm\

    How does that work bc some1 told me that Payton took 2nd in State after WY~so they would be in same division. Did they go to 4AA this year? Yes, first ever to win State in 4AA~heard Rahm was impressed.

  • 240. Chris  |  June 7, 2013 at 2:42 pm

    “How does that work”

    Dunno. Results show Payton at #8 in 4AA this year:


  • 241. Only in Chicago  |  June 7, 2013 at 3:12 pm

    Gotta love it. Rahm, the devil incarnate. Except when he’s impressed with your school.

  • 242. Chris  |  June 7, 2013 at 3:26 pm

    “Gotta love it. Rahm, the devil incarnate. Except when he’s impressed with your school.”

    Heh. Ain’t it the truth.

  • 243. CPS Parent  |  June 7, 2013 at 4:47 pm

    Chris, SS4 – Payton did move “up” to 4AA this year. The divisions are organized by school size but schools can opt to move up with bigger schools if they want to. In general, the bigger the school, the bigger the pool of innately talented math kids will be. Selective enrollment schools throw a monkey wrench in that though and that is why Payton has moved around in the divisions even though it could stay in 2AA.

    I think we are completely off topic now…my apologies cpsobsessed.

    I have to say I’m a huge Rahm fan. It’s refreshing to have a mayor who’s willing to spend political capital to actually do something for CPS and education as a whole, unlike Daley, who talked-the-talk but was, slowly but surely, driving CPS into the ground.

  • 244. local  |  June 7, 2013 at 5:25 pm

    I find I must refrain from liking Emanuel or Daley better. I’m still on the look-out for a better mayor & CPS BOE/admin on education.

  • 245. James  |  June 7, 2013 at 5:27 pm

    @243 —

    That’s right. Payton’s size means it could stay in the division with the smaller schools, but it has elected to go into the division with the big boys — and it has done amazingly well there for a school that has a fraction of the students of most of the schools in that division. My kids aren’t into it, but, yes, WY and Payton are the SEHSs to go to if you’re a math person.

  • 246. local  |  June 7, 2013 at 5:31 pm

    @ 234. Patricia | June 7, 2013 at 12:59 pm

    Does CPS have a nut allergy protocol, in general? We are in the new century already. You’d think the schools would be on top of this by now. Then, willful disregard by a teacher would be pretty obvious. That might even qualify for a DCFS call of child endangerment/abuse. BTW, I think training is needed for almost everything. 🙂

  • 247. cpsobsessed  |  June 7, 2013 at 5:52 pm

    Someone asked in another thread about a discussion on the school budgets. I’ll post something in the morning. Headed to ravinia now and I have to find the different sources I’ve seen on the per-pupil funding.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 248. cpsobsessed  |  June 7, 2013 at 6:43 pm

    @HScoming, I believe cps wants to move to a central app for those schools but my understanding at that they wouldn’t be grouped together so you get only one offer. It would just be for convenience and centralization. I will see if I can confirm that though. I don’t even know if the central app will be ready this fall…

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 249. HS Mom  |  June 7, 2013 at 8:25 pm

    @248 I know it would be a jarring change and there would be all kinds of pros and cons but it might not be a bad idea. The change in the SE program because some kids were getting multiple offers and others nothing turned out to be good – I think. Why not expand that so that each kid gets an offer to some program in order of preference/qualifications? I think it’s an interesting concept.

  • 250. leslie  |  June 7, 2013 at 8:49 pm

    I wouldn’t leave NSCP out of the top SEHS for math. They always have higher math ACT scores than both WY and Payton and and have more students pass/exceed the state standard in math. And they do this consistently.

  • 251. leslie  |  June 7, 2013 at 9:01 pm

    I meant a greater % of their students pass/exceed the state standards

  • 252. SoxSideIrish4  |  June 7, 2013 at 9:52 pm

    NSCP principal is leaving at the end of this school year~going to be principal at Lake Forest HS.

  • 253. cpsobsessed  |  June 8, 2013 at 12:00 am

    Just heard that tonite about the NSCP principal. Anyone have insider info on that? (other than LF being a million times cushier than CPS…)

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 254. CPS Parent  |  June 8, 2013 at 8:01 am

    250. leslie – yes for the average/good math student NSCP is a good choice but for kids who are math enthusiasts there isn’t the kind of math culture nor class offerings that exists at WY and Payton. As I said before the ACT only taps basic math skills and NSCP draws a larger set of students who score higher in basic math.

  • 255. NCP parent  |  June 8, 2013 at 8:50 am

    My two older kids attended NCP, both took all the math they could there (multivariable calc being the highest) and both are pursuing careers using higher level math. I have been pleasantly surprised by the NCP math program….but .my kids had a great base in elementary school, which I think is critical. NCP uses a program called IMP Math – I know many kids/parents don’t like it. I was skeptical when my oldest made NCP as her first choice because of the way they taught math but it proved to be perfect for her. Jones college prep uses the same program whereas all of the other SE schools have a more traditional math program. I am not sure NCP is the Math school (personally I think Payton is) but I have been pleased with what my kids have learned and the confidence they have at math.

  • 256. SoxSideIrish4  |  June 8, 2013 at 10:41 am

    255. NCP parent | June 8, 2013 at 8:50 am

    I’m glad that worked out for your kids. I didn’t realize that NSCP had IMP Math. That’s the reason Jones was never an option for my kids. Many states/schools have abandoned IMP.

  • 257. HS Mom  |  June 8, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    255 “I am not sure NCP is the Math school (personally I think Payton is) but I have been pleased with what my kids have learned and the confidence they have at math”

    I agree and have found too that the IMP program has turned out to be better for my kid. Going into HS, math was by far the strength. Turns out to have talent/interest is in other areas and the critical thinking aspect of IMP plays out much better in that aspect. Also makes me wonder if IB would not have been a better track (there’s always some reason to second guess the options). One word of caution, if you are not seriously math inclined, that will also shake out at Young and Payton.

  • 258. leslie  |  June 8, 2013 at 5:11 pm

    254 You may correct, though what you’re saying still doesn’t make sense to me, and the data just isn’t there to support your assertion.
    If someone is studying advanced mathematics, logic would dictate that him/her can do the basics? Anyhow, I don’t want to derail the thread from the original discussion.

  • 259. Jan K  |  June 9, 2013 at 10:06 am

    “I didn’t realize that NSCP had IMP Math. That’s the reason Jones was never an option for my kids. Many states/schools have abandoned IMP.”

    IMP is a disaster as far as prep for college level mathematics. It is good for “right brainers” who care more about making math “fun” than the depth required for those who desire to be engineers or mathematicians. There are some IMP kids who will do fine in college but those kids were 99 percentiles to begin with and can learn or there own or whose parents had them take “standard” math courses in the summers.

    Unfortunately for my wallets, because of IMP at Northside, we have sent one child to private instead of NS and younger child will be taking that route as well. To be fair, it is not only NS/public shools that are using the inferior IMP math, there are some private schools using similar approaches as well. It is critical for parents to understand what their children may want to do in the future and that their high school education will provide them with a strong foundations.

  • 260. WRP Mom  |  June 9, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    Jan K, I’m curious. Since other SEHS’s (Payton, WY, Lane etc.) do not use IMP, why were they not choices for your family as opposed to going private?

  • 261. Jan K  |  June 9, 2013 at 6:30 pm

    @WRP. Those other schools you mentioned are very good. But we really only had NS in mind from the start based on ACT scores (Payton is about the same) and national rankings. NS has a strong reputation nationally. The other schools are good, just not as good from an outsiders viewpoint. And part of our problem was the more we looked in to any schools the more we found things we did not like. Not one stood out as “this is the one”.

  • 262. NCP parent  |  June 10, 2013 at 5:56 am

    #259 I don’t think IMP is a disaster….you make it sound like IMP is for those who want a light approach to math. IMO, IMP is for those who really want to understand it and go deeper with it. I found their HS math helped my two NS kids decide they wanted to follow a career strong in math. It’s not for everyone, I agree, but from what I have read, this is where math is moving with common core standards. My oldest (not a right brain child in the least) is in Engineering, at a difficult program, and has found she was more prepared than many of her fellow classmates. Also, if you didn’t like IMP at NS, why wouldn’t you have considered one of the other schools, such as Payton or WY?

  • 263. anon SE parent  |  June 10, 2013 at 8:30 am

    @262 – since my last snarky comment got deleted pretty quickly – and I get it

    To answer your question
    from @261

    “The other schools are good, just not as good from an outsiders viewpoint. And part of our problem was the more we looked in to any schools the more we found things we did not like”

  • 264. just another mom  |  June 10, 2013 at 10:12 am

    @263 oh, but I loved your snarky comment : ) Glad I happened to catch it before it was deleted. As a parent of a NS freshman, I am not at all concerned that he won’t be prepared for college, whether he chooses engineering (his current thinking) or some other path. I like that IMP focuses on how you would apply mathematics to solve “real world” problems. I was a little concerned about how he would do, considering he passed out of Algebra and started in IMP 2, but it has been good for him. He also has a wonderful teacher.

  • 265. cpsobsessed  |  June 10, 2013 at 10:14 am

    It was enjoyable snark, just try to keep it in the context of making a point/giving info rather than trying to just incite. Please 🙂

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 266. Mayfair Dad  |  June 10, 2013 at 10:44 am

    @ 252 – 253: The principalship at LFHS will not be a cake walk. Previous principal and teacher fired for inappropriate texting. A series of student suicides or attempted suicides. Heroin use among rich suburban white kids that no one wants to acknowledge. Unrealistic parental expectations that every LFHS graduate is bound (entitled) for the Ivy League. Mr. Rodgers will be well compensated but earn every penny. Talk about the “hot seat.”

    I wonder who his replacement at NSCP will be?

  • 267. mom  |  June 10, 2013 at 10:46 am

    I don’t think LF is a kush (pun intended) job, pretty serious problems with drugs from what friends say (yeah that’s everywhere) and a suicide cluster has been talked about

    “Early last year, three Lake Forest High School students killed themselves at train tracks over a three-month span.”


  • 268. mom  |  June 10, 2013 at 10:46 am

    Mayfair Dad – Jinx!

  • 269. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  June 10, 2013 at 5:39 pm

    I ran two more schools.

    At Jones the acceptance rate by tier is
    Tier 4, 6.6%
    Tier 3, 2.7%
    Tier 2, 2.8%
    Tier 1, 3.2%

    At Brooks:

    T4, 13.5%
    T3, 7.3%
    T2, 6.5%
    T1, 6.6%

    T4 applicants get in at a higher rate when the comparison point is their fellow tier-mates.

  • 270. local  |  June 12, 2013 at 9:30 am

    Alternative to the tiers?

    “Morgan Park High School, New Principal Showcase Academic Offerings

    “The Morgan Park High School community and Ald. Matt O’Shea are working to spread the word about what the school has to offer local students…”


  • 271. Charla  |  June 12, 2013 at 7:19 pm

    @270 MPHS accepts all kids, regardless of academic skill or interest to learn. 2 students were murdered last year, including one at a school event. A football game had to be cancelled due to gunshots in the bleachers. If MPHS wants to be an option for 19th Ward families, change it to SEHS, send the hood kids to Fenger or Julian, and promote the school’s proximity to a CPD station.

  • 272. MPStudent  |  June 13, 2013 at 11:14 am

    It really hurts my heart to see what has become of Morgan Park High School. I entered Morgan Park as a freshman in 2000, graduating in 2004, and at the time the school was easily top 10 in Chicago, if not top 5. I was actually surprised at the number of brilliant students who went there. The classes were challenging and a good number of each class had ACT scores of 25 and higher. I even remember a couple students who scored a 34 and above.
    Students I know personally from the classes of 2004 and 2005 were accepted to Brown, Duke, MIT, Yale ,Stanford, University of Chicago, Northwestern etc.. so we definitely had a fantastic national reputation.

    The selective enrollment schools and their constant publicity and popularity is what has caused the decline of this once great school.
    Students who used to come for Morgan Park’s IB program and the Honors International Studies and World Language Program are now enrolling at Brooks, Lindblom, Jones etc… because these are the schools the system is marketing as the “good” schools.
    I actually wouldn’t mind Morgan Park becoming selective enrollment.
    There is a history there of academic and athletic excellence that I think should be revamped and maintained.

  • 273. local  |  June 13, 2013 at 10:48 pm

    What would have to happen to flip MPHS into an SEHS?

  • 274. charla  |  June 14, 2013 at 8:13 am

    @273 What would have to happen to flip MPHS into an SEHS?

    Would likely need to add on to Julian and the Ag school. Supposedly CPS poured $20M into capital improvements, but most local parents believe MPHS is a dangerous, gang-infested school. Unfortunately, they are right. 😦

  • 275. MPStudent  |  June 14, 2013 at 9:33 am

    Yeah they accept way too many “neighborhood” kids, a lot of whom have no interest in learning and are involved in gangs.
    Though they didn’t have a choice when the demand for their selective programs decreased.
    I’m hoping the new principal is prepared to do whatever is needed to get Morgan Park back on track.

  • 276. glad hs is far away  |  June 14, 2013 at 10:04 am

    I graduated private hs in 1998. Anyone I knew who was white and attended mphs dropped out or transferred due to threats and bullying. On certain days they were sent home by teachers who feared for their safety. It is no different now. I agree you can get a superior education at mphs, but I will not risk my kids safety, self-esteem, and social growth.

  • 277. charla  |  June 14, 2013 at 10:51 am

    @275 The only thing that could change MPHS is changing it to selective enrollment. Let the bangers go to Calumet, Julian and Fenger and the STUDENTS test in and go to a once great school, and return it to glory.

  • 278. MPStudent  |  June 14, 2013 at 11:11 am

    I didn’t witness this “bullying” at MP, and I was good friends with quite a few of the white kids.
    I can imagine some of the white kids you’re referring to leaving because they are overwhelmed in a school where they are not in the majority. I would bet that those kids left because of comfort issues and nothing more.
    The simple fact of the matter is that a lot of white parents don’t want their kids attending a school that is 90-95% black, and quite frankly I don’t see anything wrong with that. I wouldn’t want my kids in a school that was 95% white.

  • 279. MPStudent  |  June 14, 2013 at 11:12 am

    277: Unfortunately, I agree.

  • 280. cpsobsessed  |  June 14, 2013 at 11:31 am

    I looked at Morgan Park on the map. There are 2 charters sort of nearby which I would assume are skimming the better students out of MP. CICS Longwood actually has fairly awful looking scores, worse than MP (although MP has the IB program to bring theirs up.) But CICS has better attendance, so they are probably getting the more conscientious kids. (the school is 3rd-12th so maybe test scores are not fully reflecting HS.)

    Also in the vicinity is Brooks College prep which has a lower share of low income students (64%) and is Level 1 with very impressive scores. So perhaps MP loses some of the top students to this charter.

  • 281. SoxSideIrish4  |  June 14, 2013 at 11:40 am

    280. cpsobsessed | June 14, 2013 at 11:31 am

    I’ve looked at that as well. I agree a few students are going to charters but the majority are going to Catholic schools. It’s pretty much the culture in this area~public grade schools, and then Catholic HS. Many kids don’t even test for SEHS bc their parents have already determined they’ll go Catholic. There was only around 50 ppl that showed up to the MPHS Showcase and basically if that school didn’t go wall2wall IB or SEHS, the kids will go to Catholic HS. MPHS is too dangerous.

  • 282. cpsobsessed  |  June 14, 2013 at 11:47 am

    @Sox: Yeah, I guess I meant among the population who isn’t going to be paying for HS. Even in a gangbanger school there will be kids/families who feel they need to get out of that environment, which in this case I think the charter idea seems to work. I don’t see any other options around for families who want to get out of MPHS but can’t pay for Catholic. Are the families mostly Catholic, or are families of multiple faiths utilizing the Catholic high schools?

  • 283. SoxSideIrish4  |  June 14, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    #282~CPSO~if you would have asked me that 12 yrs ago, I would have said “mostly Catholic”. Not any more~multiple faiths are going to the Catholic high schools now. I’ve seen a real shift of nonCatholics attending all different Catholic HS in the last 8 yrs. It’s nice bc kids that went to grade school are now going to the same high school(s).

  • 285. local  |  June 14, 2013 at 6:06 pm

    “skimming the better students out of MP”

    Oh, no, do not make that assumption. From what my buddys’ whose kids had attend Longwood told me.

  • 286. local  |  June 14, 2013 at 6:08 pm

    re Longwood, not Brooks.

  • 287. local  |  June 14, 2013 at 6:14 pm

    @ 281. SoxSideIrish4 | June 14, 2013 at 11:40 am

    “280. cpsobsessed | June 14, 2013 at 11:31 am

    “I’ve looked at that as well. I agree a few students are going to charters but the majority are going to Catholic schools. It’s pretty much the culture in this area~public grade schools, and then Catholic HS. Many kids don’t even test for SEHS bc their parents have already determined they’ll go Catholic. There was only around 50 ppl that showed up to the MPHS Showcase and basically if that school didn’t go wall2wall IB or SEHS, the kids will go to Catholic HS. MPHS is too dangerous.”

    Was told recently of an old-time Morgan Park neighborhood resident who said MPHS started to decline when the Catholics moved in and sent their children to Catholic HS rather than to the nabe HS, Morgan Park. Interesting POV. She said Empehi was a strong and integrated (black/white & SES) school before the white flight from South Shore, etc. Eventually all the nabe whites stopped attending MPHS. This was coming from an AA woman.

  • 288. SoxSideIrish4  |  June 14, 2013 at 9:05 pm

    Well that would have been in the 70s, but actually MPHS was considered a very good school~up until abt 8-10 yrs ago, when AA stopped sending their kids there from the neighborhood and started sending them to Catholic schools.

  • 289. local  |  June 14, 2013 at 9:47 pm

    Yep. The school has kept changing (as outside factors influenced). Wonder what it’s next act will be.

  • 290. local  |  June 14, 2013 at 9:48 pm


  • 291. LR  |  June 19, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    I am just starting to educate myself about the high school admissions process and I have a question. I see that grades count for 300 points (Reading/Math/Science/Social Studies out of a total possible 75 points each). Is this weighted at all? In other words, is one student’s “A” in Pre-Algebra equivalent to another student’s “A” in Geometry? I assume this is the case. And if it is…I have to question why. My kids are both in RGC’s (and still a few years away from this mess), but I have to wonder, maybe they should not try to get to Geometry. Isn’t it better to just skate through with an “A” in Algebra so you can get the 75 points?

  • 292. cpsobsessed  |  June 19, 2013 at 1:05 pm

    @LR: you are correct that an A is an A whether you are at Edison or the worst school in the city. So yes, 7th grade is not the year you want to push the hard topics. I recall the old Bell principal talking about how the moved a student occasionally into the neighborhood program for 7th grade (I assume they stay for 8th) to maximize the grades for HS admission, for students who are struggling in the options program.

  • 293. LR  |  June 19, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    Interesting. Now I understand why Bell is talking about not offering Geometry anymore and spreading Algebra over 2 years. What’s the point of taking Geometry at Bell? You don’t get high school credit for it. And why bust your butt in 7th grade to get through Algebra and get an A when other kids are getting A’s for long division? Nothing like a system that encourages and rewards under-achieving! The only possible advantage to having Algebra under the belt by 8th is that it might help on the placement exam. But, when the difference between an A and a B is 25 points, you can miss a lot of questions on a placement exam for 25 points.

  • 294. cpsobsessed  |  June 19, 2013 at 2:15 pm

    Yep, you got it. And if Bell has a lot of Tier 3-4 kids, that could matter to a lot of them. The theory is that kids in RGC are working at their appropriate level so it reflects that appropriate grade for them. Which I buy into for most subjects, but the hard math is tough to race through. I know of another RGC where around 7th grade they realized a fair number of kids had raced through math over the years but once the harder stuff kicked in, they didn’t really know the fundamentals that well. That seems to be exactly how my son is doing – gets through each math test fine, but if I bring up the topic a month later, he has no memory of it. I don’t think they get enough practice drills (but that is a whole other rant.) He’ll be doing some this summer at home.

  • 295. High School Data  |  June 19, 2013 at 2:37 pm

    Speaking of Bell, the following stats were shared by the school re: high school placements for the current 8th graders (neighborhood + options):

    Lane – 30 students
    Lincoln Park – 9
    Whitney Young – 9
    Jones – 7
    Northside – 6
    Payton – 6
    Lakeview – 6
    Gordon Tech – 5
    St. Ignatius – 2
    Chiarts – 1
    Ogden IB – 1
    Westinghouse – 1
    Senn Visual Arts Magnet – 1
    Rickover – 1
    Von Steuben Scholars Program – 1
    Amundsen – 1
    CICS Northtown Charter – 1
    Notre Dame Academy – 1
    Elk Grove H.S. (suburb) – 1
    Moving out of state – 1

  • 296. cpsobsessed  |  June 19, 2013 at 2:40 pm

    Wow, that is 59 kids in SEHS! Plus others in IB programs. Pretty impressive.

  • 297. cpsobsessed  |  June 19, 2013 at 2:41 pm

    And you’d have to figure that some other high scoring kids left in 7th grade for Academic Centers.

  • 298. LR  |  June 19, 2013 at 3:46 pm

    Yeah, my daughter is already all excited about the thought of an Academic Center. I have to admit, it would be nice to skip all this 7th grade garbage. One more question about 7th grade grades. Is it only 4th quarter grades that count? Thanks for all the help. I am trying to help a neighbor with an incoming 8th grader navigate this process. They are in a Catholic school right now, so this is all very foreign to them.

  • 299. cpsobsessed  |  June 19, 2013 at 3:49 pm

    I believe it is the full year average, which is why people always ask what happens when you have 2 As and 2 Bs in a subject. Now I can’t recall the answer to that… I think the grading system tracks all the “points” during the year and creates and end-of-year grade for each subject. So you really have to keep up on what counts towards the grade, etc.

  • 300. LR  |  June 19, 2013 at 4:18 pm

    Ok, so they average their numerical scores across four quarters then, correct? I imagine it is a bit harder to keep track of with kids that are coming from Catholic schools or out of the CPS system. But, students must have to submit something that is comparable. I know this has been discussed before, but I believe a 90 is an A at St. Matthias, and I believe a 93 is an A at Bell. CPS should discard letter grades and just use numerical scores (90 or above = 75 points, 80 to 89 = 50 points, etc.).

  • 301. cpsobsessed  |  June 19, 2013 at 4:24 pm

    Oh right – so I guess it would just be whatever the teacher submits as the “end of year grade.” Which is probably a bit more subjective in private than in CPS these days. Maybe every school has become super rubric-oriented to quantify grades rather than in the olden days when you’d get a B or and A and the teacher didn’t have to justify it in any way. The 93=A debate rages up every year. It doesn’t appear to be hurting Bell kids though, given their track record in SEHS this year!

  • 302. LR  |  June 19, 2013 at 5:53 pm

    As I look at my daughter’s grades on the parent portal, I don’t know how much the 90 vs. 93 matters. At least this year, my daughter had lots of opportunities for extra credit, so she could compensate for a couple quizzes that she flubbed. Not sure if the junior high teachers are as forgiving. I can only hope, right? From the teachers’ point of view, I would think they look bad if there aren’t a lot of A’s, regardless of how an A is defined. So, maybe that works in our favor. I have no idea.

  • 303. AE  |  June 19, 2013 at 6:06 pm

    Bell uses a 90-80-70-60 scale for grading. I know this because my RGC kid there (older grade) likes to hang dangerous close to the 90 mark in at least one class each quarter…

  • 304. local  |  June 19, 2013 at 6:47 pm

    Is there a breakdown of all feeder schools for each of the SEHS’s freshman class?

  • 305. Patricia  |  June 19, 2013 at 7:22 pm

    @klm Thanks for your insightful posts. I really appreciate the perspective you bring to the conversation.

  • 306. Patricia  |  June 19, 2013 at 7:26 pm

    Sorry posted on wrong thread 🙂 Watching the hawks game and checking out cpso……

  • 307. Patricia  |  June 19, 2013 at 7:35 pm

    @AE LOL! I am glad I am not the only one with a kid who “hovers near 90” at a RGC. One of my kids actually takes it as a personal challenge to see how close he can hover at 90. When he realized an A is an A, he adjusted based on his personality. He literally will ask me where he is at and say, “don’t worry Mom, I’ve got it covered”. He rocks the next test just enough to be around 90. It cracks me up as much as it sometimes drives me crazy. Can’t wait to see what he grows up to be and hopefully he won’t be 40 living at home 😉

  • 308. anotherchicagoparent  |  June 19, 2013 at 7:42 pm

    I was wondering if the percentages in grading were also standard. At Bell 55-65% of a child’s grade in a each subject is test scores.Is this common? I have nothing to compare it to except at high school level.

  • 309. LR  |  June 19, 2013 at 8:11 pm

    Wait…@303…I get grade triggers on the CPS Parent Portal and it lets me know when her grades fall below 93. And when it does, the grade says it is a B. I got one today at 12:10 that said her Social Studies grade was a 91. Then got one again after 6pm that said it was 102. So strange. But, it definitely says B whenever things fall below 93. Why would that be?

  • 310. Jen  |  June 19, 2013 at 8:45 pm

    @309 – I think the school sets the percentage for each letter grade. When my daughter was in 1st grade, 93% was an A. The following year, it changed to 90% and has remained for 3 years now. Agree it should be consistent throughout CPS!

  • 311. cpsobsessed  |  June 19, 2013 at 8:56 pm

    @304 Local: we had a list for some of the SEHS last year, by special request (someone here knew someone who could run the data) but I don’t think it has been shared this year. i’ll see if I can find last year’s link.

  • 312. cpsobsessed  |  June 19, 2013 at 8:58 pm


    Here is the link from last year with feeder schools to SEHS.

  • 313. local  |  June 19, 2013 at 10:47 pm

    The 2013/14 incoming freshman class feeder schools for each SEHS would be telling. Include ACs. Could this info be FOIAed. FERPA shouldnKt be used to block access to the info. Excuse phone typos.

  • 314. High School Data  |  June 20, 2013 at 10:17 am

    @ 309 LR — I agree that is strange. But I just checked the parent portal a few seconds ago and can confirm my child has an “A” listed for the following classes Math (91), Reading (92) and Writing (91). I know that you can set the grade trigger at whatever percentage you want (I have mine set at 90). Maybe you set the grade trigger for your child at a 93 — but that doesn’t mean the grade drops to a B below a 93, just that you are getting an email that your child’s percentage has fallen below the trigger you set…

  • 315. breathe deep  |  June 20, 2013 at 10:29 am

    I just called OAE and CPS about this for a different situation but I did learn that each school sets it’s own grading rubric. One school can make 93 the low cut-off for an A while another school can make 90 an A — it’s a local decision. I don’t know what would happen if a school chose to set the cut-off below 90, I haven’t heard of that happening.

  • 316. AE  |  June 20, 2013 at 10:35 am

    LR — Hi. I checked my Bell child’s grades too. We have an 90 A in Science. Very strange that you are getting different info re: the grading scale!!

  • 317. LR  |  June 20, 2013 at 11:04 pm

    @314 and 316: It definitely said “B” whenever her grades sunk below 93, which only happened a couple times this year in Social Studies and Science. Anyhow, I am curious to see what happens next year. And if Bell uses 90 as an A in the upper grades, that is a-okay with me : )

  • 318. parent  |  June 21, 2013 at 12:46 pm

    Regarding Geometry in RGC and in particular, in 8th grade, even ERGC is not teaching Geometry this upcoming year for its current 7th graders who tested out of Algebra–instead they are teaching Higher Level Math. It was stated that very few kids pass the Geometry exit exam after 8th grade geometry in the elementary school, so they are focusing on higher level math instead. They may still give these kids the Geometry exit exam, just to see how they did, but they are not teaching a full year of Geometry. It is unfortunate for sure, as many of the kids are ready for Geometry but this is what they plan to do this upcoming year.. Most kids who want/need Geometry by 8th should attend an AC if they can grab a spot. Also, I know people love to debate this concept, but the only school where you get high school credit for your Algebra and/or Geometry class during 7th or 8th grade is in the AC….the RGC do not offer credit, but you can still test out of Algebra and go straight to Geometry as a freshman. You just don’t get a high school credit for it the way the kid from an AC does…..this is important to some parents/kids. Some kids can use their later years of high school to take more APs or electives, or for that matter, graduate early. My two kids graduated from a RGC and attended a SEHS were still able to take 8 APs each (older kid at 10) so I think one can still accomplish the same thing by sticking with their RGC if they wanted to.

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