2013 ISAT Top Schools (with Common Core Standards)

August 3, 2013 at 1:10 pm 232 comments

ISAT by group 2013

I was curious about how UNO schools perform versus general Hispanic students in CPS given the recent news about the school.   As with charters as a whole, “it depends” whether you end up at an UNO charter that performs better, same, or worse than CPS as a whole for Hispanic students.   Should CPS continue to fund these schools?  I’m not familiar enough with them to make a case as to whether there is some other element to them to justify their existence (again, I’m willing to entertain the thought that CPS should enable UNO (or other charters) to exist if someone would give a straightforward explanation of why.

UNO Isats 2013 CC


I pulled the 2013 ISAT scores and ranked them from top to bottom for elementary schools (also includes Academic Centers.)  This shows the new Meets/Exceeds requirements that take Common Core standards into account and includes ELL (English Language Learners.)

These are the schools with 70% of their population who Meets/Exceeds the goals for the Common Core (this combines all grades and all test subjects so is a rough thumbnail of each school.)

As you can see, the top spots are all held by the test-in schools, as expected.  Magnets and neighborhood schools in upper income neighborhoods hold the other top spots.   It’s then interesting to see which neighborhood schools also perform well (I suspect largely related to socio-economic make-up of the student body.)

There are 4 charters on the list:
Noble St Comer
CICS Irving Park
Univ of Chicago

I’m going to pull some other stuff too… just trying to figure out how to post it on clunky old WordPress.

* = schools requires test-in among some of the students

Meets/ Exceeds Exceeds
School Name Network Composite Composite
LANE HS *  – North-Northwest Side 100 78
EDISON, T *  – O’Hare 100 80
KELLER *  – Rock Island 100 76
YOUNG HS *  – West Side 100 86
SKINNER NORTH *  – Fullerton 100 83
DECATUR *  – Ravenswood-Ridge 99 77
TAFT HS *  – North-Northwest Side 98 55
LENART *  – Skyway 98 69
POE *  – Lake Calumet 97 50
LINDBLOM HS *  – Southwest Side 97 32
MORGAN PARK HS *  – Far South Side 97 23
KENWOOD HS *  – South Side 96 31
SKINNER *  – Fulton 96 64
MCDADE *  – Skyway 96 58
HAWTHORNE (MAGNET)  – Ravenswood-Ridge 92 53
LINCOLN (NEIGHBORHOOD) *  – Fullerton 91 56
JACKSON, A (MAGNET)  – Fulton 89 41
ORIOLE PARK  – O’Hare 89 47
BLAINE  – Ravenswood-Ridge 89 40
EDGEBROOK  – O’Hare 89 43
COONLEY (NGH+RGC) *  – Ravenswood-Ridge 88 43
BELL (NGH+RGC) *  – Ravenswood-Ridge 87 47
BURLEY  – Ravenswood-Ridge 86 41
STEM ES (MAGNET)  – Fulton 86 39
SHERIDAN (MAGNET)  – Pershing 86 32
WILDWOOD (MAGNET)  – O’Hare 86 31
SAUGANASH  – O’Hare 85 31
LASALLE (MAGNET)  – Fullerton 85 41
FRANKLIN (MAGNET)  – Fullerton 84 36
DISNEY II (MAGNET)  – O’Hare 84 33
MOUNT GREENWOOD  – Rock Island 84 30
NORWOOD PARK  – O’Hare 83 29
ALCOTT ES  – North-Northwest Side 82 31
EBINGER  – O’Hare 82 31
SOLOMON  – O’Hare 81 28
SOUTH LOOP (NGH+RGC) *  – Burnham Park 81 33
CANTY  – O’Hare 80 28
OGDEN HS (MAGNET?)  – North-Northwest Side 80 32
AUDUBON  – Ravenswood-Ridge 80 26
LELAND  – Austin-North Lawndale 79 27
OWEN (MAGNET)  – Midway 79 16
STONE (MAGNET)  – Ravenswood-Ridge 78 27
THORP, O (MAGNET)  – O’Hare 78 28
DISNEY (MAGNET)  – Ravenswood-Ridge 77 30
NETTELHORST  – Ravenswood-Ridge 77 25
NOBLE ST -COMER (CHART) – Charter/Contract 77 19
FRAZIER PROSPTV (MAGNET)  – Austin-North Lawndale 76 17
EDISON PARK  – O’Hare 76 18
OGDEN  – North-Northwest Side 75 26
ONAHAN  – O’Hare 75 20
CICS-IRVING PARK (CHART) – Charter/Contract 75 21
BEAUBIEN (NGH+RGC) *  – O’Hare 75 33
HEALY  – Pershing 75 27
CASSELL  – Rock Island 75 17
SUTHERLAND  – Rock Island 75 26
AGASSIZ  – Ravenswood-Ridge 74 24
HARLAN HS  – Far South Side 74 13
BRENNEMANN  – Ravenswood-Ridge 73 17
DRUMMOND (MAGNET)  – Fullerton 73 21
WARD, J  – Pershing 73 21
ROGERS  – Ravenswood-Ridge 72 23
MURRAY (MAGNET)  – Burnham Park 72 17
WASHINGTON, G  – Lake Calumet 72 18
COURTENAY  – Ravenswood-Ridge 72 20
DORE  – Midway 72 19
GALILEO (MAGNET)  – Fulton 72 17
WEBSTER  – Garfield-Humboldt 72 18
NEWBERRY (MAGNET)  – Fullerton 71 24
GARVY  – O’Hare 71 17
PRITZKER (NGH + RGC) *  – Fulton 71 29
PRUSSING  – O’Hare 71 20
LASALLE II (MAGNET)  – Fulton 71 22
LOCKE, A (CHART) – Charter/Contract 71 14
MAYER (MAGNET)  – Fullerton 71 20
GRISSOM  – Lake Calumet 70 16
GREGORY  – Garfield-Humboldt 70 21
SMYSER  – O’Hare 70 15
BRIDGE  – O’Hare 70 19
HAMILTON  – Ravenswood-Ridge 70 18
TWAIN  – Midway 70 13
UNIV OF CHGO (CHART) – Charter/Contract 70 14
TURNER-DREW (MAGNET)  – Rock Island 70 14

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CPS Laying off 2,000+ (Trib Article) Reinvestment Schools

232 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Veteran  |  August 3, 2013 at 2:02 pm

    Great list but the bar is so low to receive a “Meets” designation would you be able to list these schools ranked by “exceeds?”

    I would also be interested at the percentage of sped students.

    I appreciate you doing this and hope it will help parents see that the schools in better neighborhoods/higher socio-economic levels have higher scores.

  • 2. cpsobsessed  |  August 3, 2013 at 2:29 pm

    The last column up there is “Exceed.” Does that help? Or would you like to see the schools all ranked by Exceed? (probably similar in rank to the Meet/Exceeds with a few exceptions.) I can put it in a Google document.

  • 3. cps alum  |  August 3, 2013 at 2:36 pm

    @veteran… didn’t they raise the bar significantly this year?

  • 4. cpsobsessed  |  August 3, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    This is the link to the charters ranked by Common Core Meets/Exceeds.
    There are an equal amount that do better/worse than the CPS average (I used the free-lunch average.) The overall average is about identical to the CPS free lunch average. Not sure what to conclude about that — I guess that like all CPS schools, some do better and some do worse and many do around the same. Perhaps given the selective nature of Charters and their ability to counsel students out we’d expect a little higher performance?


  • 5. SoxSideIrish4  |  August 3, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    Thank you CPSO for ranking the schools~I do agree w/Veteran #1~the ranking for meets may be too low and CPS said at a meeting they were looking at “exceeds”. I’m interested also in the IEP students. Last yr my child’s school was 87% w/IEP students, but we had a 95% w/o IEP students included. I’m sure that could change many school’s percentage.

  • 6. cpsobsessed  |  August 3, 2013 at 3:19 pm

    These are the top 10 schools by Exceeds Common Core (besides the test-in schools.)

    Hawthorne (Magnet) 53%
    Oriole Park 47
    Edgebrook 43
    Burley 41
    LaSalle (Magnet)41
    Jackson (Magnet)41
    Blaine 40
    Stem (Magnet) 39
    Franklin (Magnet) 36
    Disney II (Magnet)33

    Full 2013 ranking by “Exceeds with ELL” is here:


  • 7. cpsobsessed  |  August 3, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    I’d keep in mind to that schools tend to have different ISAT scores while they are “up and coming” and it’s often worth going in to look at the individual grades to assess the school rather than the overall school # as I’ve used here.

  • 8. cpsobsessed  |  August 3, 2013 at 3:35 pm

    @Sox: I can’t determine if IEP kids are included in these numbers. It doesn’t say they’re not so I’m assuming they are but I could be mistaken.

  • 9. cpsobsessed  |  August 3, 2013 at 3:36 pm

    Gotta say, impressive showing by STEM, shooting straight to the top.
    D2 also.

  • 10. CarolA  |  August 3, 2013 at 4:05 pm

    My principal lists our scores both with and without bilingual students. Not sure if it does or does not include the IEP students. Scores go down slightly when bilingual students are added to the composite scores.

  • 11. SoxSideIrish4  |  August 3, 2013 at 4:35 pm

    Thanks CPSO~I’m sure the IEPs are included, I don’t think CPS gives out the w/o info until the fall. I remember being at some meeting abt the ISATs~that they would be harder and someone from CPS was talking abt ‘exceeds’ and then said that they look at the ‘exceeds’ number of the school. I thought that was interesting. A lot of neighborhood schools are showing well.

  • 12. Veteran  |  August 3, 2013 at 5:38 pm

    Your principal can only pull out the Year 1, 2, and 3 ELLs which would be rare if they took the ISAT-could be if they are extremely bright and have mastered English quickly-I’ve only seen this once.
    Year 4 and 5s could also be “not included” in a separate score, as can children with IEPs , not sure what the rule is on 504’s. ELL students and most IEP students are given the same test with accommodations, they can have all of the test excluding the reading portion read to them or they could receive 50% more time than a standard administration time. ELL students, usually Year 4 and 5 take the ISAT can have the test read to them in their native language. Just because a student is bilingual does not mean he/she is in the bilingual/ELL program-some may be fluent in both languages and some parents do refuse Bilingual/ELL programs.

    As someone who has administered the ISAT I can attest that in the overcrowded schools testing in a separate setting is a logistical nightmare. As a school become more crowded it is very difficult to administer an ISAT to a child with an IEP, 504 or ELL without compromising optimum testing conditions that the gen ed children receive-a separate setting in a quiet place without distraction-space is an issue and testing 25 children with disabilities in a cavernous gym is not optimum-test scores may not be a true indicator- that is why most sped teachers administer individual diagnostic tests to determine growth…..

  • 13. cpsobsessed  |  August 3, 2013 at 9:12 pm

    I pulled the top 10 neighborhood schools by Exceeds Common Core (I actually added #11 since Lincoln Park has some test-in element.) I also inlcuded each school’s % low income. You can see almost all are basically the reverse of CPS, which is ~85% low income.

    So income clearly matters in school performance.

    The exception is Solomon. Is that the school we discussed last year?

    School/ % Exceeds / % Low income
    LINCOLN Network – Fullerton 56 12%
    ORIOLE PARK Network – O’Hare 47 16%
    EDGEBROOK Network – O’Hare 43 10%
    BURLEY Network – Ravenswood-Ridge 41 17%
    BLAINE Network – Ravenswood-Ridge 40 13%
    ALCOTT Network – North-Northwest Side 31 15%
    EBINGER Network – O’Hare 31 16%
    SAUGANASH Network – O’Hare 31 12%
    MOUNT GREENWOOD Network – Rock Island 30 21%
    NORWOOD PARK Network – O’Hare 29 14%
    SOLOMON Network – O’Hare 28 57%

  • 14. cpsobsessed  |  August 3, 2013 at 9:15 pm

    Runner up neighborhood schools with 21%+ exceeding common core standards:

    WARD, J

  • 15. K D  |  August 4, 2013 at 10:54 am

    Your analysis of Hispanic students made me curious about the performance of Black students at the few integrated SEES vs. the CPS Avg. The CPS Avg tracks pretty closely with the Free Lunch avg, but the SEES performance is very different. Not sure if I can post a chart here:

    Category M/E Exceeds
    Keller 100 54.5
    Edison 100 72.1
    Decatur 100 61.8
    Skinner N 100 78.1
    Lenart 100 60.5
    CPS Avg 44 6
    Fr Lnch 49 7

  • 16. cpsobsessed  |  August 4, 2013 at 11:00 am

    @KD – interesting. So either the selective elem schools do a much better job with af-am students. Or they’re taking in the high socio-economic black kids who’d score well anywhere. Or a little of both?

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 17. CarolA  |  August 4, 2013 at 12:07 pm

    It boils down to parents who care and take time to work with their kids vs parents who don’t. Parents who are educated themselves vs parents who don’t want to improve themselves. Don’t you think?

  • 18. southie  |  August 4, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    I see Sutherland, Keller and Mount Greenwood and am interested also in Kellogg, Clissold, Cassell (sp?), Barnard and Vanderpoel. That’s the 19th Ward area.

  • 19. K D  |  August 4, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    cpso-I wish i could control for the free lunch variable.

    CarolA brings up a good point. In some ways, the score may measure the parents’ performance.

  • 20. CarolA  |  August 4, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    From a teacher’s standpoint….all children CAN learn. Teachers can’t do the whole job themselves. We need that parent support and help at home. Each student of mine gets the same lesson from me. Those that have help at home to make sure the homework gets done and follow up with additional learning experiences do great. Those that have parents that are too busy or whatever to help, don’t fair as well. They all improve, but some improve much more than others. The factor for me is parent involvement.

  • 21. JMOChicago  |  August 4, 2013 at 5:26 pm

    Okay, I am just so, so, so stoked/excited/jazzed that you dove into this!!!! WHOO HOOOO CPS PARENTS!

    I believe that this is from the file labeled “Preliminary data – includes English Language Learner Students – Previous Years Data Recalculated Using ISBE 2013 Cut Scores”, yes?

    If so, it does include ELL which will change the Meets/Exceeds (in some cases, it changes it quite a bit). It also shows an aggregate of all of the grades. Which is very important when assessing a school. It also includes IEP scores for students who sat for the test (which may not be all students in the school with an IEP.) This will also change the aggregate Meets/Exceeds.

    Parents want a school that can take a student where ever they begin and help them to improve through all of the years that they are in the school. For example, if the students at an RGC have an 82% Exceeds score in 3rd grade and that same group has a 95% Exceeds score in 8th grade, that’s good. They started out on 3rd base and slid into home base. Nice.

    If the 3rd grade students have a 18% Exceeds score in 3rd grade and a 79% Exceeds score in 8th grade? That’s hella impressive. That is starting at home plate and making it to 3rd base. We have schools that are so poor that kids begin in the dugout, or even in the parking lot.

    These aggregate scores won’t reflect the performance improvement (or decline) of cohorts of kids. It aggregates the scores for all test takers (3rd grade to the highest grade, usually 8th grade). These scores won’t explain that some schools take fewer IEP or ELL kids. And that some test-in schools with IEP students still have vetted those kids for IEP students who also test well.

    So, is school #1 (the RGC) a good school? Sure. Kids improved. They started with students that were already great test takers, most likely had enriching preschool experiences, had parents who knew how to interact with young children to prepare them to read/write, had parents who had the knowledge/confidence/resources to get early intervention if needed, etc.

    But honestly, as a parent and someone who is interested in school performance, I would be REALLY curious about School #2. I want to know what THAT school is doing to bring kids that far between 3rd and 8th grade.

    I hate to say it but…COMPOSITE (aggregate) ISAT scores usually don’t tell me much when assessing a school or impress me much, but they do encourage me to dig a little deeper.

    Also, let me put it out there that I am not a fan of high stakes tests or tests for “ranking”. I am very keen on tests used for “development”. I am also not a standardized testing expert, although I am qualified/certified to administer some assessments via my career. The newer NWEA tests that give us a starting score and an ending score for the school year, as long as they don’t keep aggregating all of the grades together for the published scores, could help with giving parents a better picture of how kids IMPROVE within a school.

    And I think that is so very important. And something we should always push for.

  • 22. CarolA  |  August 4, 2013 at 5:41 pm

    I agree that the NWEA and MPG provides information that is useful for giving a better picture of how individuals improve. This year will be interesting because they will not be doing a school-wide testing in the fall. As teachers, we will begin the teaching process where the student ended in June. (New students to the system will be tested) I’m hoping we will test again mid-year. It helps guide my instruction to make sure EVERY student improves no matter what level they are at when I first receive them into my classroom.

  • 23. Veteran  |  August 4, 2013 at 6:04 pm

    #21 You gave a wonderful explanation…..I wish all teachers and parents would read your posting because you broke it down into understandable terms.

    Your question on school #2 can be answered by 1.) more rigor/more demanding/better teachers as the children ascend grades 2.) a weak primary as the Grade 3 score is cumulative from K-3 or 3.) a change in administration.

    I worked for many years at school like #2 and some of us questioned why the older students scored so much higher as they got older-the admin response was: the longer they are with us the smarter they get-total BS-CPS does do an excellent job reporting data and if you track a group starting in Grade 3 the percentage should be the same (exclude transfer-ins) If your eight graders are meets/exceeds at 86% they should have been in the 80s not the 40s in Grade 3.
    It was #1 and #2 at my high achieving school.


    BTW I have a primary background and taught it for nine years and believe the best teachers in a school need to be in the primary-otherwise the child is playing catch-up without a grade level grasp of reading. I am tired of seeing children receive As and Bs in the primary yet end up in the third grade BRIDGE PROGRAM or have a 3rd grade teacher say,” I think this child is sped”-what with all those As and Bs?

  • 24. CarolA  |  August 4, 2013 at 6:53 pm

    Veteran: You are absolutely correct about the need for strong teachers in the primary grades. When parents of children who are struggling speak with me and question my curriculum, I tell them that they need to learn HOW to read in first grade because second grade doesn’t teach that. The deeper comprehension phase of reading begins in second grade. At least that’s how it works at my school and is now supported by the Common Core. Through the years I’ve worked with teachers who did not believe in giving anything less than a C in first grade. So even though the student didn’t know all the alphabet letters and sounds, let alone read, they left first grade with flying colors. Then, in second grade, the child was failing and THAT teacher had to deal with parents saying….They didn’t have any trouble in first grade!. I would always wonder why she never met with parents and I often had parents in for conferences. Turns out that if you give all A’s and B’s, parents have no need to talk with you. Not fair to the student, the parent, or the next teacher.

  • 25. JMOChicago  |  August 4, 2013 at 7:13 pm

    #23–I couldn’t agree more with the need for strong primary grade teachers. But I do see differences in kids who have gotten a strong preschool start at ages 3 and 4, and kids whose parents could not afford a quality preschool program…and research would seem to back that up.


    (My daughter attends a school with 75%+ low-income students, high percentage of ELL as well. So I get to see the differentiation in the classrooms in the primary grades…it can be jaw-droppingly broad in the same classroom. Especially when we constantly get transfers in from immigrant families that are coming from countries like Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan where schooling might have been spotty off and on.)

    There are students in CPS who did not step into a school until 1st grade. (Kindergarten is not mandatory in Illinois and wasn’t always available for in every school. Preschool was not available in every school…that will be new in 2013-2014.) They begin SO far behind, it is shocking to me. We could blame the parents and punish the kids for having the misfortune of being born to the wrong family. Do we want to do that?

    So for some schools, is it poorer teaching in primary grades? Focusing scarce resources in the ISAT grade classrooms and packing them in in the primary grades (less quality experience/fewer resources)? Is it the lack of preschool/kindergarten opportunities? Or all of these? Something else?

    I don’t really know

  • 26. cpsobsessed  |  August 4, 2013 at 10:06 pm

    Thanks for taking a look JMO. I agree – I hate the one-number synthesis, but as you know. with 500+ schools we need a way to look at the way-way big picture (which for many schools isn’t the big picture.) Schools like Piece, Prescott, or Burr aren’t going to show on the “top” list since they’re in transition.

    For schools to show a change from early to later grade scores also has to have consistent demos over that time period. So those schools I mentioned above may show *lower* scores in the older grades (many of the “transition” schools do) but that can actually indicate that they’re changing in terms of parental involvement at the lower grades and they show potential. So each school should be looked at differently (and should definitely be looked at!)

    I think some key takeaways are:

    The SE schools show really strong results (I see every so often people comment that the gifted/classical test are total crap…. well, they seem to be screening for well-testing students and/or those school are doing something really well.)

    The magnet schools even including ELL show strong test scores (chicken/egg phenomenon, no doubt.) They get students from education-minded families but with their added resources seem to be really doing something right (ie, STEM.) As a note, there are some magnets that score very far below the CPS average… yikes.

    We can see which neighborhood schools really rise to the top in test scores with their given population (in a very rough way of looking — again schools in transition won’t show up there!)

    In all, a plethora of data that is fun to dig into. If you have a specific question, let me know since I enjoy looking at it. I’ll take a look at the scores without ELL as well.

  • 27. RL Julia  |  August 5, 2013 at 9:04 am

    How does the percentage of Hispanic influence the test scores/results – or do you feel this is accounted for by income. My question ultimately being – is there any proof that being in a majority Hispanic school is a help or a hindrance….. of course, it is hard to tease that out -without some discussion /thoughts about income levels as well….

  • 28. James  |  August 5, 2013 at 3:07 pm

    I apologize for the off topic note, but is anyone else having trouble getting into the Parent Connection web site? I’ve gotten an error message for the last week or so. Calls to CPS get shunted to a voicemail that is full. Sigh…

  • 29. SoxSideIrish4  |  August 5, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    It’s been offline for about a week. CPS will put it back once they have scheduled classes.

  • 30. LaSalle ll Parent  |  August 5, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    Thanks #29 I was wondering the same thing. I was checking to see what homeroom my child got for the new school year.

  • 31. JMOChicago  |  August 5, 2013 at 8:42 pm

    CPSOb–I know that we have historically gone with a “one number synthesis” but I’m not always sure why we are all obsessed (not just the District or parents, but everyone) with ranking all of these very different schools on one list.

    As I have combed through the data, I’ve found that I would actually love to have more than one list for different characteristics of a school. I think I’ve mentioned before that I chose our neighborhood school over a Magnet school that we were originally admitted to for a variety of reasons, even though the Magnet school is higher on the “One List,” and I am not regretting it at all. (Sorry, any geek worth their salt also needs to add ONE LIST TO RULE THEM ALL! here. Sorry.)

    If I followed the “One List” ranking to make the decision on a CPS school, I don’t think my daughter would be thriving like she is this year. This creates a challenge for parents, as well as for the District when gathering data with which to make decisions about schools. But getting information is not impossible.

    I don’t think that the SEES tests are “crap” necessarily. (I don’t know what the tests are!) But just the act of getting tested is itself a hurdle within the system. I wonder what percentage of students entering CPS are even tested each year per grade and what the demographics are?

    I think you are spot on about the difficulty of measuring cohort improvement…mobility, different “generations” of a school, etc. can really create a different picture. That is why I don’t think the 2013 3rd grade class should be compared to the 2013 8th grade class. You would have to compare the 2008 3rd grade class would have to be compared to the 2013 8th grade class, and control for mobility in some way. Not perfect, but better.

    I do think that SEES and Magnet schools benefit, not only from additional resources, but also from higher expectations from parents who are more knowledgeable about what quality education should look like (and they push back when they don’t see it).

    Schools with less mobility experience an advantage over schools with more mobility (especially SEES programs where the cohorts are controllable and set throughout so you don’t have to play catch-up each year with loads of new students of various abilities rolling in and out all year long).

    I suspect schools that can control enrollment, though test-in or lottery have an advantage over schools that have to take all kids in the attendance area and often don’t know until after the school year begins the answers to questions of “how many?” and “what needs?”

    Schools that have more predictability year-to-year and have to divert FEWER resources and daily time/task to dealing with security issues, resource procurement issues, symptoms of poverty, etc. are going to have advantages over schools with the opposite characteristics.

    The advantages are not always related to funding…there can be advantages to being able to control when/how many/who for enrollment; to being located in areas that are harder to travel to; to being in a neighborhood with fewer apartments and more houses/condos; to being in a school with more students who have attended quality preschools/kindergarten; etc. All of these variables can give a school advantages over other schools that do not have them.

    In short, it is complicated. I would love to figure out a “One List” with these variables weighted. In my dreams, I’m sure 🙂

  • 32. Hawthorne Parent  |  August 5, 2013 at 9:46 pm

    @13 Why didn’t you include Hawthorne? We have neighborhood proximity admittance ….. so a percentage of neighborhood kids, some sibling admissions and the majority magnet lottery. We can not select who comes to the school for the most part like the SE schools.

  • 33. JMOChicago  |  August 5, 2013 at 10:15 pm

    I believe that Hawthorne is still a Magnet school which does not have its own attendance boundary. It may give preference in the lottery to some neighborhood kids, but if you do not actually apply to Hawthorne, you are not guaranteed a spot. Hawthorne sits within the attendance boundary for Nettelhorst. Nettelhorst is a “take all” neighborhood school. Hawthorne is a Magnet school where all students have to apply, just some neighborhood kids get preference in the lottery. (That is my understanding.)

  • 34. JMOChicago  |  August 5, 2013 at 10:19 pm

    Sorry, didn’t finish. So you can’t select the specific students who come to Hawthorne, but Hawthorne filters students through the hurdle of having an application/lottery process, no guaranteed admission, and Hawthorne can control the number of students it admits and only has to admit once a year. Nettelhorst has to admit any student within its boundaries at any time during the year, no application or lottery required…they just show up. And Hawthorne can/could be more strict about missing days of schools, etc. as a reason to “release” someone back to their neighborhood school. They might not do that, but some other Magnet schools use this as a way to manage famiiles/students.

  • 35. JMOChicago  |  August 5, 2013 at 10:28 pm

    Actually, Hawthorne is an outlier when it comes to Magnet school demographics for Special Ed, ELL, and Low Income. Compare the Hawthorne demographics with other magnets such as Newberry. If the Consent Decree was still in place, Hawthorne would not be in compliance. I’m not criticizing or saying anything other than it is interesting how the neighborhood preference in Hawthorne’s lottery may be affecting their demographics.

  • […] cuts to school budgets, parents are hesitant about footing the bill for teachers, art programs 2013 ISAT Top Schools (with Common Core Standards) CPS Obsessed: I was curious about how UNO schools perform versus general Hispanic students in CPS […]

  • 37. cps alum  |  August 6, 2013 at 9:31 am

    What about Wildwood? I know that technically it is a magnet, but it also has an attendance boundary. Any child in the neighborhood is guaranteed a spot, even if they decide to show up on the first day of school or 2 months into the school year. That is one of the reasons that it is so overcrowded right now since it cannot control enrollment like most magnets (I think Wildwood is 175% utilized). Regardless, Wildwoods numbers 86%meets/exceeds and 31% exceeds is pretty good for magnet or neighborhood (how ever you categorize the school.)

  • 38. CarolA  |  August 6, 2013 at 11:31 am

    Re: Wildwood. Again, wouldn’t you say that the meet/exceeds is higher than most even though there is overcrowding due to involved parents? Look at the people who live in that neighborhood compared to perhaps a “not so great” neighborhood elsewhere in the city.

  • 39. JMOChicago  |  August 6, 2013 at 11:47 am

    Schools like Wildwood and Hamilton are called “Magnet Clusters”. They guarantee spots to all neighborhood kids AND partially magnet-resourced and funded. This admissions strategy is sometimes used for schools that have lower enrollment to encourage the neighborhood to “buy into” the school. However, this can lead to overcrowding over time if the school becomes SO popular with the neighborhood and attendance boundaries do not change. For example, Hamilton was a school that the neighborhood did not use very heavily. With a new principle a few years ago, the school has really transformed and now it is VERY popular with neighborhood families. However, it still has students and their younger siblings who were admitted under the Magnet Cluster program and now they have to face a few tough choices in terms of enrollment strategies to pursue balanced against what they stand to lose in funds/positions if they don’t enroll students through the Magnet program.

    CPS has not addressed these issues very well in the past, and I’ve been contributing to conversations about this at the Administrative level. It is difficult to predict how many students a school will enroll in any 2-3 years if there are large changes to the school, the economy, the housing market, other schools which open/close, etc.

    Not just predicting how many but also WHEN. The rolling admissions that neighborhood schools are forced into dealing with can create frustrating (and costly) problems for principals and teachers every year. If you are a SEES school, you know that you are getting 28 Kindergarteners in the Fall, all who have a minimum level of ability (more homogeneous group). If you are a neighborhood school, you might get 23 Kindergarteners on the first day of school, have 38 Kindergarteners by Day 14, lose 8 Kindergarteners by Day 40. Then have kids coming and going EVERY MONTH until school ends. And they can have very different learning needs…some might speak no English and have never been to preschool. Some might be reading already. Some might have had to move from another part of the City because of apartment rental complications, some might have just moved here from a war torn zone in Syria.

    Think of what this unpredictability does to budgeting, planning, hiring/firing teachers, integrating new students into the life and rules of the school/classroom, catching kids up on projects, differentiation challenges, etc. And neighborhood schools are required to face these bigger challenges with fewer budgeted positions, less discretionary funding (they don’t get Options for Knowledge funding), less cohesive parent group, etc.

    Seriously. Neighborhood schools are expected to do WAY more with less, and it is frustrating to me that the District ignores this. When I enter a high-performing neighborhood school? It impresses the heck out of me, especially in low income/higher mobility neighborhoods. They have it harder. Not saying that SEES or higher-income magnets don’t work hard, but these neighborhood schools are working incredibility hard for less recognition.

  • 40. cpsobsessed  |  August 6, 2013 at 11:53 am

    Do the magnet clusters get anything beyond one bonus funded position (ie art teacher, reading specialist, etc?) I thought that was all they got (which is great, but I didn’t think there was anything extra.)

    I saw the principal from my old neighborhood school recently and she mentioned in frustration how people keep coming in throughout the summer to register — making it tough to hand out lottery spots when you have no idea how big the class sizes will be for any given grade. And that neighborhood is pretty stable because it’s a lot of houses vs apartments. I’m sure in neighborhoods with more turn-over it’s even more challenging and kids just show up the first week without having registered.

  • 41. NervousMom  |  August 6, 2013 at 12:26 pm

    when will individual scores be released? My daughter and I are anxious to get her scores because these scores count for SEHS.

  • 42. confused  |  August 6, 2013 at 2:08 pm

    38 Don’t understand your comments….”overcrowding due to involved parents:? what does that mean?

  • 43. JMOChicago  |  August 6, 2013 at 3:14 pm

    @40: I’m still trying to figure out the mysteries of CPS budgets, but here is an initial comparison I did between a Magnet School (Hawthorne) and a Neighborhood School (Oriole Park) which has similar demographics and enrollment.

    I tried to compensate as best I could by taking out “earmarked funds” that principals need to use for special populations (Spec Ed, Bilingual, Early Childhood Education) and just focused on the instructional dollars. This is the FY2012 Budget from the School Segment reports from CPS.edu.

    With the Options for Knowledge Funding that the Magnet School gets, it has about $1000 more per pupil to spend on Instruction than the Neighborhood school does.

    The difference would be much more per pupil if I discovered that “Other Programs” dollars included funds for special ed, after school, bilingual, or early childhood ed. But that is quite opaque and I have no idea what is included in that budget line.

    I will post a screenshot of my spreadsheet in the next entry below so you can look at it. I’m posting it separately because it may cause the comment to be diverted into “Spam” or an approval queue.

  • 44. JMOChicago  |  August 6, 2013 at 3:15 pm

    Here is the screenshot of an initial Magnet vs. Neighborhood School Budget comparison for 2012. Because I don’t know if my assumptions are entirely correct yet (which funds to leave in or out), this may be adjusted at a later date.

    Magnet vs Neighborhood Budget 2012

  • 45. local  |  August 6, 2013 at 6:49 pm

    @ 43. JMOChicago | August 6, 2013 at 3:14 pm

    “…if I discovered that “Other Programs” dollars included funds for special ed, after school, bilingual, or early childhood ed. But that is quite opaque and I have no idea what is included in that budget line.”

    Wouldn’t Rod Estvan or George Schmidt know?

  • 46. anonymouse teacher  |  August 6, 2013 at 7:15 pm

    @44, Wow. That’s stunning.

  • 47. cps alum  |  August 6, 2013 at 7:17 pm

    “Other Programs – All other instructional support programs that do not fall within the
    aforementioned categories. Examples include Advanced Placement, Summer Programs,
    IB Programs, and Evening Schools”
    (page 2 of School Segment report 2012.)

    Click to access SchoolSegmentReports.pdf

  • 48. cpsobsessed  |  August 6, 2013 at 7:49 pm

    Very interesting about the budget comparison of Hawthorne vs Oriole Park! (Magnet vs neighborhood.) Oriole Park looks to have 100 more students, so that certainly doesn’t explain anything (I thought maybe it was a smaller school.)

    How does the principal, AP, and teacher salaries factor in, I wonder. If Hawthorne has a more senior, experienced staff but nature do they get more money? I guess they did under the old model, but not under the new per-pupil funding, correct?

    A small part of me is sorta OK with magnets getting a bit more, now that I know the goal of magnets (good schools that balance for diversity) but I have to say that given that magnets are becoming half-magnets/half neighborhood schools it seems pretty unfair.

  • 49. cpsobsessed  |  August 6, 2013 at 7:50 pm

    Oops, sorry, I was taking enrollment off the CPS site. Your sheet shows them being around equal in size.

  • 50. cps alum  |  August 6, 2013 at 8:08 pm

    I wonder if that Other column included the “minimum funding” that a few neighborhood schools with very low title 1 funds used to get. It was negotiated through the Coalition of Excellence but was discontinued last year under Brizard. In 2012 the schools still had the minimum funding.

  • 51. @nervous mom  |  August 6, 2013 at 10:44 pm

    My principal verbally told me my children’s percentiles at the end of the year! Then she followed up with the parent letter to confirm. Most principals didn’t know they had the percentiles because cps didn’t communicate this info to them. Unfortunately isbe removed this information from the isat parent reports we will get in the fall (sept). Hopefully principals will notice & print the parent letters & give them to us with the isat parent reports! Your principal knows so call the school & ask.

  • 52. JMOChicago  |  August 6, 2013 at 11:00 pm

    #50, that is so interesting. I was not aware of the “minimum funding” model. Totally possible that it is (at least in part) due to that.

    #48 Yes, getting reliable and consistent enrollment data is really frustrating. I was taking the numbers off of the School Segment reports for K-12 grades only. Oriole Park ALSO has a PreK program on that report of 81 students or so (I don’t have it in front of me on my laptop). That’s why I didn’t use the Early Childhood Education funding in my analysis. I don’t know for sure if that funding “bucket” picks up all of the expenses associated with the PreK program. If it doesn’t, and I didn’t omit ALL of the PreK funds because they are buried in Instructional or Discretionary or Other Programs? Then the Oriole Park K-12 students are getting even less per student in this scenario.

    I wouldn’t mind magnets getting more if they were truly working to desegregate the District and their demographics were more aligned with the overall District demographics. I have an issue with them getting more (and all of the advantages of controlled enrollments, less mobility, more predictability and controllable class sizes) if their demographics are completely different than the rest of the District in income, race, ELL, and Spec Ed percentages.

  • 53. Hawthorne Parent  |  August 7, 2013 at 10:05 am

    @48 last year Hawthorne received a new, young, Principal, Asst. Principal and half of the teachers. They are all young. There are not many “older” teachers there. Maybe a few in their early 40’s. This was a big change for Hawthorne and the year started with much uncertainly. Considering the replacement of half the staff Hawthorne did really well score wise.

  • 54. Hawthorne Parent  |  August 7, 2013 at 10:07 am

    Also, Oriole Park did not have a Principal last year. They had an acting Principal and lost their math teacher. Considering this information they did well too.

  • 55. Chris  |  August 7, 2013 at 11:02 am

    “[Oriole] lost their math teacher”

    They had only one math teacher?

    Or, they got to have a math specialist teacher? Why/how?

  • 56. klm  |  August 7, 2013 at 12:25 pm

    Given that it’s widely accepted that “meets” standards are a total joke (the news test standards and subsequent results will be enlightening –Michigan changed its standards a few years ago and some schools went from 90%+ ‘meeting’ down to fewer than 1/3) we need to look at schools almost entirely by what % of students “exceed” in order to find how many kids are really learning what they need to in order to be prepared for higher learning.

    The good news: Many CPS K-8 schools (including neighborhood ones) do as well or better than even the “best” suburban ones. Lincoln, for example, does better overall than schools in places like Wilmette, Glencoe, Winnetka (all feeder schools to what some consider the best public open-enrollment HS in the country, one with an ave. ACT of 27.7 last year) and Lake Forest in this regard, which is really saying something. Yes, a world-class public education can be had, even in Chicago.

    The bad news: Most CPS schools perform badly, largely because of the achievement gap (I mean, only 6% of black and 9% of Hispanic students are in the ‘exceeds’ category, vs. 33% for white and Asian kids!). There are some CPS schools that have 0% of their kids exceeding in some subjects/grades.

    Yet again, this seems to reinforce the idea that Chicago has become a Tale of Two Cities, based on socioeconomics:

    One relatively well off, where there’s something of a renaissance of public schools, since middle-class people are staying in the city when they have kids to enjoy newly cool and resurgent neighborhoods, are transforming mediocre public schools into “good” ones, etc.. A generation ago, schools like Blaine, Edgebrook, Burley… were no-way-in-hell schools for middle-class people. The Southport Corridor, Wicker Park, Bucktown, Roscoe Village…. used to be dicey places largely void of the better restaurants and shops, but now they’re full of Stuff White People Like and moms in yoga pants pushing Bugaboos.

    The other Chicago is struggling with quality of life issues: people with kids are moving out to avoid crime and bad public schools.

    We all know the story, no need to detail.

    If only we could bridge that gap, somehow.

    CPS obviously works well for some kids, so it’s too bad that it can’t do so for so many other ones.

    Then again, this “bifurcation” seems to be an issue for the whole country, not just Chicago.

  • 57. RL Julia  |  August 7, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    I think that in the end of it all, if you kid comes from a college educated, working class or above household that is moderately well organized, not completed stressed out, that values education AND does not have a profound learning difference or speak another language, the chances of CPS working out for you are probably pretty good. However, most/,many kids in the CPS system, unfortunately don’t have all these things and that’s where the problems start.

    CPS generally does fine for the “school-ready” kid. Lord knows, I’ve met enough phenomenal CPS teachers and few enough duds to know it’s not about the teaching per se. It’s just when you ask a system to go over and above solving the (complex) problems of poverty for upwards of 50% of the school population that you run into nightmares. Kids can’t learn if their households are in complete and total disarray, if they aren’t properly fed, clothed or housed, if there is no stability in their lives and yet so many kids come to school with these basic needs. I’m not saying its a perfect system by any means but at some point it seems just plain mean to hold the school system solely responsibility for all of the social ills of poverty simply because impoverished kids show up there more reliably than they do anywhere else.

  • 58. Isat exceeds  |  August 7, 2013 at 2:03 pm

    I thought now that the bar was raised on the meets & with the addition of the common core questions with this isat meets really does mean your kid is on grade level. The previous isat if you didn’t exceed meant you might not really be on grade level.

  • 59. Peter  |  August 7, 2013 at 2:08 pm

    “Then again, this “bifurcation” seems to be an issue for the whole country, not just Chicago.”

    And there we have it. Nothing much else needs to be said.

  • 60. Peter  |  August 7, 2013 at 2:08 pm

    @58, that is my understanding as well.

  • 61. cpsobsessed  |  August 7, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    @57: Well said. And truthfully, it’s not fair to call our school system “failing” given that situation. The million dollar question is what to do about it. The charters have proven there’s not magic bullet (with a few exceptions that I believe were fairly extensive/expensive/offered much more wrap-around services. So what now? (I ask rhetorically.)
    I can argue myself back into charters based on them providing an option beyond the current CPS model (similar to a magnet, but still… a better option for some families.) I don’t know that putting more money into many of these neighborhood schools is going to solve the problem unless it is an amount of money that just isn’t going to happen in Illinois any time soon.

  • 62. cpsobsessed  |  August 7, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    @58, that was my understanding with the new ISAT scores as well – reflects the higher standard.

  • 63. Chris  |  August 7, 2013 at 2:21 pm

    @58: me too, and that seems to be reflected in lower meets and lower exceeds numbers at most (all??) schools.

  • 64. JMOChicago  |  August 7, 2013 at 3:03 pm

    It’s difficult to compare most neighborhood schools with Lincoln. They are an amazing school, andddd….they supplement CPS funding at a level I rarely see in CPS schools.

    The Friends of Lincoln group raised $420,165 in 2011, and $361,614 the year before that. The PTA raises its own funds ($36K in 2010). The Lincoln Elementary School Music Assoc raised $139,603 in 2011 and ended that year with assets of $350K. They aren’t a Magnet School, but they also get an extra $360K in Options for Knowledge $$ (perhaps b/c of their Gifted Program?)

    Is it a great school? Absolutely. Is part of their being great due to the fact that they have funding per student at a very high level compared to most other neighborhood schools and their demographics skew towards low poverty, early childhood education, low ELL/IEP? Yes. Should the parents have to kick in THAT much money to get a great education for their students? No. Does it help? Absolutely. Having the funding to get more educators into a school (even if class sizes skew larger), having aides in the classroom, not having to spend as much on security/high ELL/IEP population so you can invest in project-based learning activities and extracurriculars? That is huge, really huge for a neighborhood school. Money makes a difference. You can’t get a BMW education for a bicycle budget (although some neighborhood schools do amazing things with not very much.)

  • 65. klm  |  August 7, 2013 at 3:07 pm


    Amen to that.

    It does seem like schools (now that post-80s-CPS-reform principals control somewhat who’s actually teaching in their school –how schools were ever expected to have a culture of success when God-knows-who was automatically ‘assigned’ to teach per CPS/CTU contract rules, without regard to ‘fit’, ability to conform to a culture of real learning, etc. [i.e., the old cling-to-tenure-and-show-up-until-you-qualify-for-your-pension school of ‘teaching’]) that do well have the right “mix”. of good parents, good teachers and work-like-dogs principals. Ones that don’t often don’t .have even one of these elements.

    The principal at Lincoln left open a non-essential teaching position last year rather than hire one of the the dreadful CTU-contract-required ‘first right to an interview’ applicants. I totally respect that. Better leave a teaching position vacant and hold out for the quality teacher, rather than get tenure-stuck with a dud.

    Parental involvement has been the secret sauce in turning certain CPS schools around. The “founding mother” of a newly excellent Nettelhorst even wrote a book about it. Many of these parents are the kinds of people that are college-educated, grew up in middle-class(+) suburbs with good school, etc., so they know what they want in a school and have worked to make it happen for their own Chicago kids.

    These are the same kinds of parents that read to their kids before they’re even born (we did it), teach the alphabet to their toddlers, get the “Brainy Baby” DVDs, sing songs about numbers, do foreign-language Wiggle Worms, etc. No big surprise that their kids do well in school –i.e., the kinds of people that are in tune to their kids’ intellectual development.

    Middle-class, educated people tend to have middle-class, educated kids, No surprise there.

    What’s relatively new is that so many (at least on the Northside) educated, middle-class people are enrolling their kids in CPS, as opposed to a generation ago..

    I never mean to “blame the victim” in terms of low-income parents and their kids’ achievement (or lack thereof), but one only has to spend a short amount of time in a low-income neighborhood to notice a parenting style that is more survive-rather-than-thrive based. I’m not saying low-income, less educated parents care any less about their kids, just that they’re too often more concerned about having their kids fed, not getting hurt, etc., than learning (that’s what teachers get paid for, right?) .

    Maybe the best thing CPS could do would be to have parenting classes for expectant parents and those with babies and toddlers.

    We’ve all read the statistic that inner-city kids are already on average 2 years behind their middle-class peers when they start kindergarten. By the time they’re in 12th grade, they’re 4+ years behind –it’s like they’ve been denied a high school education and are expected to compete accordingly. That alone explains more or less 100% of the disparities in CPS schools and much if not most of the differences in income, etc., between different groups of fellow Americans. .

    Yes, Lincoln is in a largely upper-middle-class neighborhood chock-full of educated professionals. That their kids do well in school in no big shock. What IS a big deal is that people even have the confidence that a urban public school is able to give their kids the kinds of education that is found in places like Hinsdale and the North Shore. This has involved literally decades of hard work, fund-raising and willful determination to create one of the finest public schools, not just in Chicago, but in the entire state of Illinois.

    Sadly, I don’t think the same CPS neighborhood school could be created in Lawndale, no matter how hard anybody tries.–there are just too many negative variables that keep the “magic” from being replicated in such an environment.

  • 66. JMOChicago  |  August 7, 2013 at 3:09 pm

    I forgot the fundraising arm of the French-American School of Chicago, which operates out of Lincoln Elementary. I do not know if it is a separate school, but that school had revenue in 2011 of $384K and ended the year with $285K in assets. If all Lincoln Elementary School students benefit from that relationship in some way, that funding could be associated with them.

  • 67. klm  |  August 7, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    @66 JMOChicago

    Yes, the parent funding at Lincoln is awesome.

    However, it seems like it’s more a result of pro-education parental involvement rather than the reason for Lincoln’s success.

    Lincoln would get lots more money in its budget from being a Title I school that it gets from its fund-raising.

    Also, look at its building and infrastructure: way overcrowded, painfully dated, generally all-out “crappy” (the art room is in a space converted from the low-ceiling-not-intended-as-a-learning-space basement, etc.) but still it succeeds because there is such a concerted culture of learning within the school and at the homes of its students.

  • 68. JMOChicago  |  August 7, 2013 at 4:19 pm

    @67– I don’t really think that Lincoln would get more as a Title 1 school if it didn’t get it’s Options for Knowledge Funds. It would definitely get more as Title 1 AND Options for Knowledge, but! It would also have much higher expenses for Special Education, ELL/Bilingual, etc. Title 1 funds are not discretionary like the money associated with fundraising…it comes with strings attached and is often used on programs that a school with low poverty don’t need as much. (Here is an example of allowable and unallowable expenses for Title 1 funds.)


    So if Lincoln had more low income students, yes they would get more Title 1 money. And they would have more expenses that Lincoln Elem doesn’t have now just to close the achievement gap.

    I agree that the building is WAY overcrowded. There are many more children in that attendance boundary now than there were in 2003-04. The number of school aged children in Lincoln’s attendance boundaries has more than doubled since the early 2000’s. Not all of them go to Lincoln. The percentage of kids attending their neighborhood school has increased only slightly…from 3/5 of kids to 3/4 of kids. But the NUMBER of kids in the boundary has just exploded. That’s why the lower grades are so packed.

    Outdated, “crappy looking” buildings don’t have an effect on the education quality, though having a nicer looking, more workable space is definitely more pleasant.

    Engaged parents are definitely a huge plus, and it helps when those parents feel engaged because they have the confidence in their abilities to advocate and contribute; they know what quality education looks like and what to demand; they know they can coach their kids at home b/c they are also educated; they feel empowered because they have the financial resources to contribute to the school and influence where the money is spent; etc. Efficacy and knowledge is also a big part of empowerment. Think of parents’ motivations to be involved as being 1 or 2 of the following: Will (Motivated), Skill (Know How), and/or Hill (With few obstacles like time, schedules, etc.) What are the elements of will/skill/hill that empower Lincoln parents? What are the elements of will/skill/hill that challenge parents at other schools? It is always a lack of WANTING to be involved.

  • 69. local  |  August 7, 2013 at 6:46 pm

    @ 65. klm | August 7, 2013 at 3:07 pm

    What do you think it would take to make Carnegie a good school?

  • 70. Esmom  |  August 8, 2013 at 6:17 am

    @64, those fundraising numbers are mind-boggling. I’d be curious to know what percentage of families contribute. My kids went to a school known for raising decent money (although nowhere near these levels) and I remember being surprised that only 30% of the families actually contributed. Meaning that a few families gave a TON.

    I also remember feeling incredibly pressured to give, and that it was never enough. It didn’t help that the “Friends of” parents who managed the books knew exactly who gave and how much. It made me extremely uncomfortable to know they had that info and weren’t exactly discreet with it. And it made me grateful that we had those few uber-wealthy folks to do the heavy lifting, so to speak, to help us reach the numbers we needed. Most schools aren’t so fortunate.

  • 71. Questioner  |  August 8, 2013 at 6:23 am

    @69 Carnegie is in close proximity to the University of Chicago. Maybe some partnering with the university would help.

  • 72. cpsobsessed  |  August 8, 2013 at 7:21 am

    I was shocked by those fund raising numbers as well. My son’s schools raises a lot and I too determined that some familes are giving thousands (well, that’s clear from the auction.) I think its great that people step up like that and we’re not pressured at all. But it also makes me feel guilty about the schools that can’t raise any money.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 73. cpsobsessed  |  August 8, 2013 at 7:24 am

    Oh, btw — I was at a social event last night and met someone who’s getting a grad degree is education science or something. She told me that is you control for just low socio economic kids, CPS actually does better than the rest of I’ll in test scores.
    She didn’t know the specific source but acted like it was common knowledge among her peers.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 74. JMOChicago  |  August 8, 2013 at 7:45 am

    @73: Controlling for low income kids is definitely do-able. You can sort the ISAT reports CPS currently releases by gender, low income, race, LEP or no, IEP or no…and with the data that CPS doesn’t release to the public, you can even get more specific.

  • 75. cpsobsessed  |  August 8, 2013 at 7:46 am

    I don’t know how to compare to the rest of the state though.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 76. JMOChicago  |  August 8, 2013 at 7:50 am

    Through ISBE data. We should meet up for coffee or a beer. I could walk you through all the places I’ve found data Love it when parents are interested in data!

  • 77. HS Mom  |  August 8, 2013 at 7:52 am

    At that level of funding, wouldn’t you think they have corporate sponsors?

  • 78. local  |  August 8, 2013 at 8:45 am

    Three “winner” schools?
    Barnard ES
    Esmond ES
    Morgan Park HS


  • 79. local  |  August 8, 2013 at 8:48 am

    [OT] CPS BOE member Andrea Zopp’s hubby out doing good works: http://www.beverlyreview.net/news/featured_news/article_8e4b7490-feb1-11e2-b373-0019bb30f31a.html

    Just thought it was interesting. He’s involved some MPHS students.

  • 80. anonymouse teacher  |  August 8, 2013 at 9:05 am

    @73, Yes, this was in the papers years ago. CPS gets better results with lower income kids than the rest of IL.

  • 81. Even One More CPS Mom  |  August 8, 2013 at 9:07 am

    @80 & 73. Interesting. Thanks for the info.

  • 82. cpsobsessed  |  August 8, 2013 at 9:09 am

    @amouse: was there any hypothesis as to why?

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 83. Leggy Mountbatten  |  August 8, 2013 at 10:09 am

    Burley has more exceeds than Blaine! Take that!

  • 84. Even One More CPS Mom  |  August 8, 2013 at 10:12 am

    Really? We’re going to get competitive and nasty over children’s standardized test scores? I have no ball in either game. It just strikes me as odd to make a comment like that.

  • 85. RL Julia  |  August 8, 2013 at 10:20 am

    @84 – I am with you one that. My only response is: 11.

  • 86. Peter  |  August 8, 2013 at 10:35 am

    @80, that’s correct. It was a Tribune analysis probably 5 years ago. Also, CPS does just fine with non-low income kids in general. There is really little reason to move to a suburb.

  • 87. klm  |  August 8, 2013 at 11:40 am


    Per the discussion above about RELATIVE performance vis a vis the same or equivalent demographics, I’d have to say things first need to start with a rock star principal that has an “we’re going to get these kids educated, no excuses — so all hands on deck, let’s do this thing” attitude.

    Some schools have lots of low-income kids and still do well. Look at Chopin Elementary (some of the best ISATs in IL, despite the fact that most kids are low-income, most Hispanic) –its principal is legendary. They’ve done what works best for them and their kids. Chopin keeps the same teachers with the same kids in subsequent grades, so that teachers know where the kids stand, what style of learning works best for each kid and what areas need improvement, etc., from the very start of the academic year. This makes perfect sense, since from what I’ve heard from teacher friends, once they’ve finally figured out what works best for each of their 30 students and they really get their classroom’s “mojo”, the year’s practically over, then they have to start the entire process anew with a group of new kids with their own educational styles and quirks that need to be figured out. The Chopin faculty is on board, works after school hours to help with academic enrichment, special preparation classed for SEHS exams, etc. The kids at Chopin are accordingly also engaged and so are their parents.

    I think the academic energy, and a culture that celebrates learning go a long way. CPS principals have the power to get rid of dead weight faculty that aren’t going along with the program, if they really want (that was not always the case).

    Not to get too personal, but my own inner-city middle school was a pro-typical dysfunctional failing public school. Some teachers tried, but many just showed up and did the minimum and were running out the door at bell time and practically running us over in the parking trying to get away, ASAP. The principal was pretty powerless, since there were iron-clad rules re: tenure, discipline, etc., and burnt-out faculty that were waiting for their pensions were pretty much untouchable, so it seemed. I had a 7th-grade math teacher that merely gave in-class assignments and went into the hallway to chat with other teacher friends the majority of the learning day. I honestly don’t remember him explaining concepts, just geting angry about how “kids today just aren’t smart as they used to be.” There was no real teaching from him —in MATH of all important subjects. Many teachers didn’t seem to care and lacked motivation, plus they could get away with doing next to nothing. Accordingly, how many 11- and 12-year-olds are going to really try or care, either, in a case like that? Of course that school’s scores were horrible and I was behind when I started Catholic HS, despite being one of the smartest kids at my old public school.

    At schools like Chopin, this would never happen. We need more schools with like it, with totally dedicated principals and hard-working faculty that are open to criticism and don’t mind change when.it’s in the best interest of students. Most kids will respond accordingly, even if they’re not getting a push at home..

    A positive energy can be contagious, but so can apathy.

  • 88. klm  |  August 8, 2013 at 12:12 pm


    I should also add that I’ve experienced during school tours and not all school felt like “good” ones.

    At the “good’ schools and ones that were on their way to becoming “good” (in the way that CPS schools almost suddenly go from crappy one year, to maybe OK 2 years later to 2 years after that becoming an actual reason to buy or rent in a certain neighborhood a la Burley, Netelhorst,etc.) the principal and teachers were effusive, happy to discuss things, expounded on their teaching methods, seemed to really like their jobs and couldn’t wait to show off their school, etc.

    At the “other” schools, things just felt off. At one school, when I asked where the kids went to HS, the Assistant Principal didn’t really know, explaining that she was new that year (come on, how could anybody that really cares about their school and its kids not know where the kids were going to HS, for crying out loud). At others, it just seemed institutional, dreary, teachers and administrators didn’t seem all that enthusiastic, etc. (don’t get me wrong, I know first impressions aren’t everything, but I found that they roughly matched what I subsequently heard about these schools and what I could find out online, etc.).

    I’m sure other people have experienced the same thing.

    A good principal and teacher are worth 1,000 times their weight in gold, from what I’ve gathered in my life’s experience (which is admittedly somewhat jaded and biased towards criticism).

  • 89. JMOChicago  |  August 8, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    Kim, your analysis is right on target. Principals, parents, and teachers all working together enthusiastically for the students can really make a HUGE difference, even when there isn’t the $$ and resources that other schools might have. I don’t know how much education and experience that principals get in creating a healthy school culture, or turning around a dysfunctional culture. But if the principal is weak, or lives in an office with the door closed, or isn’t on top of the data and its connection to what is going on with instruction/etc? Few teachers and parents will be able to overcome that.

    I’ve also seen the teachers that leave tracks two minutes after the bell rings as their tires squeal on the way out of the parking lot. And I’ve seen teachers work tirelessly, creating after school enrichment programs/ coming in early to meet with families/ coaching sports on weekends/ writing grants/ etc.

    If they ever existed, gone are the days of class sizes between 18-20; the ability to show up at the start of school and leave after the bell rang; truly take the whole summer off w/o professional development/ planning; teaching only from worksheets; not having to be continuously learning and refining your curriculum; being able to only work in your classroom and not have to collaborate/participate in any other school activities/ etc. The high school I went to had those teachers in 1982-84, some of whom are STILL working there and are still that way today (this school isn’t in Chicago). I think some teachers have gotten into the field because they are passionate about teaching. Some got in because (not so long ago, really) either women were given the limited career choices (pick one–teacher, nurse or secretary) OR, frankly, they believed that the hours were better/more flexible when having young kids (didn’t have to ever use sitters/daycare). What was most of shock to some of my fellow students in the elementary/HS education program that I went to was finding out that this wasn’t always the case, and that some principals DID expect you to stay at school before and after hours for meetings, etc. (Some stayed in the program, some left.)

    We all have known teachers who flee the school at the bell. Who never show up at evening events involving students/parents. If you are a teacher who doesn’t, it is discouraging and demoralizing (and lonely) to be the only one who DOES stay. Teachers who are just phoning it in, or who don’t want to collaborate, or who believe that they only need to put in 1250 onsite hours a year in order to earn their pay and fulfill their role are feeling the pain of change more than ever. For good reason. The average white-collar salaried professional in the US now spends about 2500 hours in the office to earn their salary, at every experience level (50 hours a week, no overtime). Teachers have to find a way to prove that they are spending a commensurate amount of time for their salaries…all year long or more during the school year to make up for the summer months. Not meaning that classroom hours have to increase, but other activities have to be made visible to those who ONLY see teachers in the classroom. Any teacher who is allowed to be a poor, sloppy, or inattentive teacher needs to be let go…no matter their tenure. Because they bring down the whole profession’s reputation.

    Luckily, I have had SO much more experience with amazing, professional, caring, creative, smart, and resourceful teachers during my lifetime, as a student, a graduate research advisor, and a parent. They need to be supported more, rewarded for their extra time and investment of energy, and celebrated. (Though none of the ones I know of do it for recognition or to just make money.)

    And at the same time, we also have to stop subjecting teachers to the bad leadership and poor administration. The volatility, the irrational decision-making, the inequity, the poor management. If I were to grade CPS Administration this year, they would receive a D. (An F would have been a complete eradication of the system. We can argue for hours about whether you feel that they got close to that.) In fact, I would absolutely love to see a report card for Central Office based on feedback from teachers and parents on whether they create a supportive environment for learning in the schools. Would be fascinating to see their performance laid out.

  • 90. anonymouse teacher  |  August 8, 2013 at 3:29 pm

    @82, I don’t really remember why, but if anyone can find that article, please post the link here. I’d love to reread it.

    In regards to school culture: I teach in a school where 80-90% of our teachers put in a lot of extra time and effort. For us, our issue in maintaining school culture is that we can’t seem to keep people. Of all the teachers in my school I started with just 3 years ago? More than half are gone and of those still there, a good portion are seeking to leave. People leave for all kinds of reasons, but it is awfully hard to maintain momentum when a significant percentage of a staff is new every single year.

  • 91. Sad story but common in CPS  |  August 8, 2013 at 6:52 pm


    Would any of you who have children with disabilities offer to help this parent?

  • 92. anonymouse teacher  |  August 8, 2013 at 9:46 pm


    If I interpreted the article correctly, NYC just released the results of the PARCC test there and it appears as if only 30% of students met standards in ELA. (The scores were higher in math, which I want to say were around 50-60%). I still think the ISAT scores we are seeing are incredibly inflated so it will be interesting to see how Chicago fares.

  • 93. cpsobsessed  |  August 8, 2013 at 9:49 pm

    @Amouse – I saw that and they’re all in a dizzy about it and arguing about whether the higher standards make sense.

    When I was just on vacation last week in remote pennsylvania, I saw a small blurb in the local paper about a meeting to try to defeat common core.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 94. anonymouse teacher  |  August 8, 2013 at 9:50 pm

    Correction, the ELA scores were 26% and math was around 30%.

  • 95. SoxSideIrish4  |  August 8, 2013 at 10:11 pm

    93. cpsobsessed | August 8, 2013 at 9:49 pm

    PA is out of Common Core~ http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2013/07/24/Common-Core-In-Jeopardy-As-More-States-Withdraw after this article came out~I believe IN withdrew as well.

  • 96. cpsobsessed  |  August 8, 2013 at 10:18 pm

    Oh really? I guess news didn’t reach everywhere yet. :). Or maybe they cancelled the meeting. Do you know what the rationale is for states withdrawing? I think I saw cost as an issue mentioned in one article.

    I can’t decide what I think about it.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 97. anonymouse teacher  |  August 8, 2013 at 11:37 pm

    Cost is an issue apparently and I also have to wonder, when the top schools start showing poor results, how much push back happens? I don’t know. Right now, I am worried about having to write more CC aligned units when we literally have no money for textbooks or trade books to go with them.

  • 98. cpsobsessed  |  August 9, 2013 at 11:17 am

    Would anyone be interested in doing a book club on this new Malcolm Gladwell book? It references overcoming mediocre schools. It’s available now in hardback and Kindle. If a few people are interested, I can set it up.

    David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants

    Malcolm Gladwell, the #1 bestselling author of The Tipping Point, Blink, Outliers, and What the Dog Saw, offers his most provocative–and dazzling–book yet.

    Three thousand years ago on a battlefield in ancient Palestine, a shepherd boy felled a mighty warrior with nothing more than a pebble and a sling-and ever since then the names of David and Goliath have stood for battles between underdogs and giants. David’s victory was improbable and miraculous. He shouldn’t have won.

    Or should he?

    In David and Goliath, Malcolm Gladwell challenges how we think about obstacles and disadvantages-offering a new interpretation of what it means to be discriminated against, or cope with a disability, or lose a parent, or attend a mediocre school, or suffer from any number of other apparent setbacks.

    Gladwell begins with the real story of what happened between the giant and the shepherd boy those many years ago. From there, David and Goliath examines Northern Ireland’s “Troubles,” the minds of cancer researchers and civil rights leaders, murder and the high costs of revenge, and the dynamics of successful and unsuccessful classrooms–all to demonstrate how much of what is beautiful and important in the world arises from what looks like suffering and adversity.

    In the tradition of Gladwell’s previous bestsellers—The Tipping Point, Blink, Outliers and What the Dog Saw—David And Goliath draws upon history, psychology and powerful story-telling to reshape the way we think of the world around us.

  • 99. IBobsessed  |  August 9, 2013 at 11:32 am

    I’m interested. What can I do to help?

  • 100. Counterpoint for discussion  |  August 9, 2013 at 12:02 pm

    To 89:
    Your post is well written. But the point is that it’s supposed to be a 40 hour week. Anything extra is overtime.

    I’m actually arguing for a salary of $30.00 an hour w/ medical for us teachers. Anything over 40 hours would be time and a half -non pensionable.

    That’s fair and it helps solve the pension problem.

  • 101. klm  |  August 9, 2013 at 2:54 pm


    I have total respect for teachers and the teaching profession, but there is one thing that I’ve never really understood:

    Teachers want to be treated as licensed, salaried professionals and paid accordingly. OK, of course. As I mentioned before, a good teacher is worth his/her weight in gold.

    Then, during the strike, etc., I heard all kinds of complaints from teachers about having to sometimes work longer hours, attend meetings outside of regular hours, etc., and lots of grousing about how unfair it is, because teachers because without being be paid extra for this, it’s somehow unfair and unacceptable to expect to do this without getting paid extra, etc.

    We were told by the principal at one kid’s CPS school that we can’t schedule meetings with our kid’s teacher before or after school hours, since the new contract precluded this. When there was a conflict on parent-teacher conference time, all the parents got an email from the principal of another kid’s school that said something to the effect of, “Miss So-and-so has kindly agreed to work an extra 30 minutes AFTER her regular work day in order to accommodate lo all the parents, so be sure to thank her.”

    Ooooooh, half an hour. I guess she deserved a special little trophy or something (OK now I’m being huffy, but still)..

    I respect teachers, but I don’t understand the idea that they should have to be paid extra to do what every other person I know that has a job that requires a college education: attend meetings earlier, later, even occasional weekends if necessary, work extra hours to get a project done, etc.

    Not to mention all the time they have off.

    I’ve had a fair number of college-diploma-required jobs where I’d have LOVED to bet paid as much as the average CPS teacher, but I worked long hours (and usually had just 2 weeks of paid vacation plus Christmas, Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day –that’s it) without any thought of how I should have been paid extra…it’s just what people are expected to do in many/most jobs.

    What’s up with CPS teachers thinking it’s unfair to have to do something approximating what other professionals do as part of their regular job requirement?

    Yes, I know there will always be Karen Lewis insisting that teachers already work 12-hour workdays, but come on…. the K teachers at Lincoln were teaching 2 classes of 2 hours and 40 minutes. They can’t show up a little early or stay a little later to meet with a parent?

    Again, I believe teachers deserve every penny that make and then some, but this one area I’ve never really quite understood. To be honest, it’s the one area where I’ve lost a lot of respect and having talked with other parents, I know I’m not alone.

    At companies I’m familiar with, the less skilled employees were paid hourly and got paid extra for working overtimes, but the degree’d white-collar managers and professional employees received a salary. Period. Nothing extra for meeting with client, helping fix a problem, meetings to discuss progress, etc.

    If public school teachers want to be treated and compensated like other professionals (which, of course I’m all for), they shouldn’t expect to be paid like semi-skilled UAW workers at Ford City and refuse to allow any flexibility about these things in their employment contracts without (or even with) getting “overtime pay”, or so it seems to me –and a lot of the parents of the kids they are teaching, believe me.

  • 102. JMOChicago  |  August 9, 2013 at 3:47 pm

    #100–I have to say…I’m with Kim here. I have never worked a white collar, salaried job where I was NOT expected to work more than an 8 hour day or 40 hour week without overtime. Not every day. Not every week. But frequently. It was part of being a professional.

    I’m not saying that teachers have to work 50 hour weeks for 50 weeks a year (2500 hours). But it IS really difficult to defend teachers who do not spend at least ONE after school afternoon a week either running an after-school activity, coaching a sport, or meeting with parents.

    The minimum hours a salaried professional is expected to work per year is 2000 (50 x 40) with 80 hours (2 x 40) paid vacation. To fit all 2000 hours into this years calendar of Aug 26-June 10 (excluding winter/spring breaks, but allowing for paid holidays + summer break) teachers would be working 9 hours and 54 minutes a day. Every weekday that the school is open between Aug 26-June 10. If you get to school at 8 am and leave at 3 pm, you would have to put in 3 more hours between 3pm – bedtime every day, not including a commute (either grading papers every night, coaching, running after school activity, meeting w/ parents). That’s 15 hours of work outside of school hours every week that school is in session. No matter what experience level. Just to reach that 2000 hour mark. And no overtime until you’ve worked more than 50 hours a week (because the long summer break condenses the work year.)

    Teachers do not get a smidgen of the respect and thanks that they deserve. There are MANY teachers all over the place who give WAY more than 50 hours per week during the school year. And….there are some who do much less than the minimum and don’t get held accountable. Unfortunately, those non-professionals are WAY more visible than the many professionals and feed into the terrible and mythic stereotype of teaching as being a “good job for moms because it’s only working when your kids are in school.” Maybe it was that way once, long ago, for some people. But it hasn’t been for awhile and won’t be again, and myths are hard to blow up.

  • 103. RL Julia  |  August 9, 2013 at 3:50 pm

    klm – I pretty much agree with you on this – the one thing that keeps me hesitant is this- for the most part, and even though they are professionals etc… teachers interact with the public and the type of work they do is such that they in many (although not all) cases could not have any sort of say over when the work was to be completed. As “managers” (or classrooms) teachers could be classified as such which would exempt them from being paid overtime past 40 hours -but one of the perks of management is that you usually have at least a little control over your schedule and a little autonomy and almost by definition, teaching doesn’t offer this autonomy. Say teachers were expected to do the job over and above as a regular course of duty – wouldn’t that mean that they could just be permanently scheduled beyond the regular work day by a principal – cutting into time that might otherwise be earmarked for grading, developing lesson plans etc… Even if teachers get more time off than lots of us (although I think post 89 pointed out how this is a bit of a misnomer) – the good ones are already putting in 60-80 hour work weeks during the school year … plus pd and etc.. over the summers – how does this work out for all the other things one might wish or need to do after work like make dinner or go to the dentist or take care of an elderly parent or see one’s family occasionally. I think that the risk of teacher’s being completely exploited at the discretion and convenience of just about everyone else is too high to get rid of all the protections quite yet.

  • 104. JMOChicago  |  August 9, 2013 at 4:11 pm

    On one hand, teaching has less autonomy during the year, but many more longer blocks of predictable time off. There are white collar jobs with autonomy, and many without, especially when it comes to scheduling vacation or any other break. I had often covered my job and another person’s job while they were on maternity leave, without extra pay (once 3x in a row! 40 weeks from hell.)

    I’m not saying that teachers should be completing all of their work sitting in the school. But if a teacher is grading papers while making dinner and or watching evening television, I’m not down with that. I think it cheapens the profession when that is seen as okay. If a teacher cannot say, “I’ll keep Tuesday evenings as my “meet with parents on phone or in person” night. Maybe twice a month. I don’t understand that. Meeting with parents is part of the work of being a teacher. Thoughtfully reviewing student work and giving constructive feedback is part of the work of being a teacher. Just as much as carefully crafting curriculum, reviewing individual student achievement and considering individual development plans, accommodating changes to lesson plans when needed, classroom management, preparing reports, collaborating with other teachers in the grade to align curriculum and teachers in the grades above/below for same is part of the work of being a teacher.

    999 out of 1000 CPS teachers will scream “AMEN!” and “YOU FORGOT [x, y, z]”. Isn’t it crazy that the 1 out of 1000 teachers is what EVERYONE points to as their case subject? I think this is mostly due to the fact that the work teachers do is invisible outside of the classroom and report card pickup to most non-teachers. There are things that can be done about that. But I don’t think that making teachers chart their hours against codes like consultants have to do every day (ouch) is the answer.

  • 105. JMOChicago  |  August 9, 2013 at 4:19 pm

    I deeply apologize. The number of hours that teachers have to work during every non-holiday weekday between August 21-June 11 (adding in professional development days) is 9 hours 36 minutes per day. Not 9 hours 54 minutes per day.

  • 106. RL Julia  |  August 9, 2013 at 4:55 pm

    The trick is that the teacher should be able to say Tuesdays is my meet with parent nights not that the principal says oh by the way, Tuesday is your meet with parents night. Choice is everything. I think you also make a good point when you talk about so much of teaching being invisible – it becomes doubly invisible when their allocated prep time is treated like it is expendable or is constantly eaten managing crisii – and it is my understanding that this happens pretty much constantly – that’s got to be annoying.

    The bottom line is most teachers I’ve encountered are professionals – however, the current system doesn’t treat/support them as such. Until someone can deliver them a workplace where they are given the tools they need to do the job assigned, a modicum of respect for the job they are doing and a little flexibility and autonomy, I personally think it would be very hard to make the transition away from the clock watching/minute counting argument that rears its ugly head in all these debates.

    In the end, why shouldn’t the system put the money on the table and prove it is capable of treating teachers like the professionals they are – rather than expect teachers to pony up and expose themselves to either greater exploitation and inflexibility than they already might experience.

  • 107. JMOChicago  |  August 9, 2013 at 6:26 pm

    You won’t get an argument from me re: your comments, RL Julia. Well said.

  • 108. WesLooMom  |  August 9, 2013 at 6:46 pm

    @101, Amen. When teachers are asking for parent support, they often forget that parents are facing similar workplace issues. After spending my evenings and weekends on a work assignment w/ no extra pay, it’s difficult listening to someone complain about working an extra long day.

  • 109. CarolA  |  August 10, 2013 at 6:19 am

    @108 WesLooMom: Just as teachers decide to take on the job knowing that extra time is needed outside the workday to do the job right, people who make the decision to be parents should know that having a child means less time for yourself if you want to do it right. I have a niece who called me many years ago complaining that it was taking her so much time to work with her children at night on their homework. She said that there were too many spelling words for a first grader (5). I told her that I give 10! She said, “But the teacher doesn’t understand that I have 3 other children at home and I can’t seem to find time for all of them.” And I replied, “But honey, is it the teacher’s fault that you decided to have 4 children?”

  • 110. CarolA  |  August 10, 2013 at 6:21 am

    Keep in mind, that many teachers have families of their own waiting for them as well. They, too, have to work with their children on homework,etc.

  • 111. CarolA  |  August 10, 2013 at 6:32 am

    I think we can agree that most people just want a little sympathy for their situation. Instead of pitting ourselves against each other in this, how different it would be if we just gave a listening ear and smile. One of my close friends who works outside of the teaching world always gives me a scenario with her job that is just as frustrating as something I’ve just complained about. It leaves me speechless because I know it’s true. We all just need each other to understand and lend a listening ear. Then , instead of getting mad at each other, sympathize nicely and tell your woes. We all need to put things in perspective for each other. Let’s hold hands and sing Kum Bah Ya! LOL

  • 112. JMOChicago  |  August 10, 2013 at 7:49 am

    CarolA–I think empathy is important, and it is always easier to extend empathy in areas of work, responsibilities and service when expectations are made clear. Let me explain.

    When I became a working mom, it became much more difficult to juggle the demands of my grad students (who are 24/7, always-connected professionals who expect a very quick response) and the demands of my consulting work (who have a few more boundaries unless they are in a hurry), and children (the most unpredictable/immediate/no-boundaries factors of all…..at least clients don’t try to sit with me in the bathroom.)

    In the beginning there were days that no one was getting exactly what they needed, me especially.

    I could never compartmentalize parenting entirely, but during some of my busiest semesters, I had to become okay with the sitter helping my daughter with her homework instead of my helping (I would check it over breakfast the next morning). And if I let my clients and grad students know when I WOULD be available each week, they were pretty respectful of that, especially after I stuck to my guns and only was responsive during those times (barring emergencies).

    Because it was predictable for THEM which days/hours they could pick up the phone or find me online for GChat or schedule a meeting with me, everyone was MUCH happier. If the kids weren’t in school at those times, I made myself schedule a standing date with a sitter to cover. This took a lot of spontaneity out of my life that I had previously enjoyed and meant my kids might not be able to do a certain activity, but it was important and choosing to have a career and a family at the same time meant that I had to give up stuff. Some weeks are awesome and it works, and others are really awful.

    This is why notes like “Miss So-and-so has kindly agreed to work an extra 30 minutes AFTER her regular work day” or watching a handful of the same teachers roar into the parking lot before the first bell/flee after the last bell/never show up to other school events doesn’t sit well with me as a parent or as a professional. (This doesn’t happen in our current school, but did in our last one.) Should a teacher have to drop everything last minute all of the time to meet with a parent after school hours? No. Should a parent have a clear understanding of when they schedule a meeting with the teacher within 7-10 days time if they need to? I believe that they should. Many teachers that I know already have these predictable touchpoints in place, many work far beyond what is required (and I mean FAR beyond. The teachers at our school were already back and working on the new years curriculum integration last week. Some had just returned from traveling as a team with the principal to a working conference in July. No extra pay for that, they see it as part of their salaried work.)

    But there are teachers who don’t do the minimum, they are the minority but they exist. And they are visible. Not many people I know could tell their boss that they want to limit their office hours to 7 per day when they become parents, or because their kids need help with their homework. Most working parents look at a teacher’s ability to take 6-8 weeks off during the summer, every year and predictably, with massive envy. Especially when they have to beg to take 3 days off in a row (just because you are OWED vacation, doesn’t mean that you are allowed to go exactly when you want to in the business world.) And these are people who are paid at the same level as teachers.

    So absolutely, empathy and understanding goes both ways. And parents need to be made more aware of the work that teachers do that is not in the classroom (how much and when it gets done). And teachers could manage the perception of their work better as well. Knowledge and experience definitely helps empathy and benefit of the doubt.

  • 113. CarolA  |  August 10, 2013 at 8:50 am

    Yes, I agree. Empathy (not sympathy as I mistakenly wrote) is needed on both ends. It’s hard for everyone to juggle. It’s apparent that there are teachers who arrive and leave at the bell. But, as talked about last year on this blog, it doesn’t mean that they aren’t doing extra work at home. It might mean they have to get back to their sitter or get to a doc appt. It might mean they were there at 7:00 am, but choose to leave at the bell. I am at school every morning at 7, but no parents are there to see that. I usually leave about 15 minutes after the children and there are parents hanging around and might think I’m one of those teachers you describe. They don’t know I was there at 7am. I WILL stay if a parent needs to speak to me, but if not, I prefer the quiet of the morning rather than the noisy afternoons. Sometimes, as much as we want to stay, the building closes and we aren’t able to hang around. I want to get in and set up my room, but I have to wait until the admin tells me I can. We have limits. I have offered over and over again to meet parents at the local McDonalds in the evening because they work, but in all my years, no one has taken me up on the offer. I have offered to meet in the mornings before they go to work since I’m there early. I have offered to meet up on my prep period or lunch. They only want to meet just before they are either dropping off the children or right at dismissal. They don’t want to make a “special” trip or wake the child early. So there’s a lot that goes on in the background that everyone is not aware of. Are there slackers? You bet! But there are slackers in every workplace. Some are easy to get rid of, some are not. Some are related to the boss. Some are….. You get the idea. 🙂

  • 114. SoxSideIrish4  |  August 10, 2013 at 9:48 am

    112. JMOChicago | August 10, 2013 at 7:49 am

    I wonder if your n’hood school is like mine. Almost all of the teachers and both the principal and ap live in our n’hood. I think our teachers can get into the school an hour earlier than it starts, but most don’t come until abt 15 minutes before the bell (some come earlier, but I think most come abt 15min early). However, almost all are there for over an hour after the final bell each day and many come back later in the day/evening who are involved w/after school sports/theatre/productions. I’ve never had a teacher who wouldn’t come in b4 school to meet w/me. But after reading on this blog, a few others, and talking w/friends whose kids go to gifted and n’hood schools, that’s not always the case; however, it’s always been my experience.

    I also realize that since our teachers live in our neighborhood, I see them at the market, movies, theatre, Mass~one time I saw a teacher and her family at the same vaca place we were at. I’m mindful that they are on their own time and while I may stop to say, ‘hello’, I never intrude in their personal life w/schools issues.

    98. cpsobsessed | August 9, 2013 at 11:17 am

    Yes, I’m interested in being a part of the bookclub on Malcolm Gladwell’s David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants. I will get the book over the weekend.

  • 115. local  |  August 10, 2013 at 11:04 am

    Gosh. Professionals who need more than 40 hours a week to do their jobs need a new job or a union, imho.

  • 116. JMOChicago  |  August 10, 2013 at 11:28 am

    SoxSide, maybe that is it? Glancing over the list 3-5 live in the neighborhood within walking distance. Principal commutes from other side of city. Most drive in, some from pretty far but I don’t know how many and from where. I think our teachers are pretty amazing, frankly, in their dedication and professionalism. They are the most important asset that school has, by far. I would give up a lot of things at our school before cutting down our staff. That’s why I’m supportive of what they are paid and think that they should a) be treated with WAY more respect and deference, and b) be given more decision-making input at the District level.

    But my experience at this school isn’t replicated at every school I’ve been involved with. Sometimes its really poor leadership, sometimes burnout, sometimes its the school culture, sometimes its the bad apples applying peer pressure on other teachers, etc.

    I’m not slamming teachers or union busting in anyway. There are some important historical reasons why teachers have unions in the U.S. I’m frustrated that they need to have a union, frankly. That they need to fight for everything that should be given to the profession.

    Just talking about the circumstances that fuel perception, whether those perceptions are warranted or not. The alignment of perception to reality is important…it fuels civic engagement, how voters vote, lobbyists influence on policy, so many things.

    Thankful that CPSObsessed facilitates such a positive, helpful community that makes a space for these honest and enlightening exchanges between various people in the schools.

  • 117. CarolA  |  August 10, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    Local: Guess I’m not getting your message. Clarity? Can’t catch whether you are being sarcastic or making a point?

  • 118. Veteran  |  August 10, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    Agree with you Carol regarding time spent in the building…..I liked getting to school an hour to one and a half hours before school started-much more productive than after school. When I did stay late I noticed that the teachers who stayed late were doing more socializing than actual work….their choice and none of my business just an observation…

    I also observed that some of the teachers who stayed and like to tell everyone else how late they stayed in the building were the most disorganized ones…..

    Maybe what #115 is saying is that some people take an hour to do an hour’s worth of work while others take 90 minutes….shouldn’t be paid more….

    Teachers in the suburbs are paid to run club, sports programs and walk children to buses….and ahve tuition reimbursement etc

    Nurses who are considered professionals get paid overtime….

    Private industry employees who are expected to put in more than 40 hours a week have perks that more than compensate them for the extra hours.

    BTW It is hard to call teachers professionals when we have to punch a time-clock every morning and afternoon….we are not treated as professionals….

  • 119. Veteran  |  August 10, 2013 at 4:18 pm

    Thank God we have the CTU-read tomorrow’s Sun-Times regarding the directive from central office which “ordered all non-union personnel to march with CPS in the Bud Billiken Parade-of course now that an anonymous principal reported this central office is doing its usual dance AKA “The Backtrack”

    Central office is getting sloppy in that this idiotic directive is in writing usually CO sends out oral directives at meetings….example: case managers were told via their monthly meeting to inform their sped staff that any child in a wheelchair could be left in the gen ed room/or the child could be removed from the wheelchair and placed at the desk (depending on IEP) AND that the aide could leave the child to service a child in another room or building…..when confronted by CTU about what would happen if there was a fire…then CO backtracked and claimed miscommunication…..

  • 120. CPS Parent  |  August 10, 2013 at 5:25 pm

    @118. Veteran “Private industry employees who are expected to put in more than 40 hours a week have perks that more than compensate them for the extra hours.” haha! you must be talking about the two weeks of vacation which we usually can’t take all at once………

    The problem is that no matter how many hours teachers work during a typical week nobody feels empathic due to the enviable multiple long vacations throughout the year. If you average the hours over a full year it’s still less than a full-time normal job. I certainly don’t expect more than 9-11 hours per day averaged over a week from teachers but I do expect a response to email within the same day even if it’s at midnight – some do some don’t.

    On a related note – when discussing education with my just graduated high schooler he mentioned that in his opinion the biggest problem with education is the multiple months off every year – a huge waste of money, time and resources he says without ANY benefit except for the for-profit camp industry perhaps.

  • 121. local  |  August 10, 2013 at 8:35 pm

    @ 117. CarolA | August 10, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    Making a point. It’s nuts to work more than 40 hours a week and attempt to have a balanced life, imho. It’s not a badge of honor for consultants, teachers or other professionals. There’s no natural order requiring greater than 40 hours per week. (Of course, it’s a free country and folks can do whatever the heck they want to – employee, employer, client, provider – whoever. That doesn’t mean its smart, right, or even economically useful.) I believe it’s a bogus bill of goods. Professionals can unionize/organize for more sane working conditions. This in response to the insinuation that we all should bend over and work crazy hours just because. There is a fundamental problem with an economy and employment world that is structured for work weeks in excess of 40 hours. Anyone ever wonder WHY teachers unionized in the first place?

  • 122. local  |  August 10, 2013 at 8:36 pm

    “Private industry employees who are expected to put in more than 40 hours a week have perks that more than compensate them for the extra hours.” Not to mention year-end bonus $.

  • 123. local  |  August 10, 2013 at 8:43 pm

    “On a related note – when discussing education with my just graduated high schooler he mentioned that in his opinion the biggest problem with education is the multiple months off every year – a huge waste of money, time and resources he says without ANY benefit except for the for-profit camp industry perhaps.”

    Tell him not to worry. Higher ed is taking care of that. He might really enjoy MOOC, etc.

    Let him know it’s easy to finish BA in three years.

    College student stuck with vacations could always do independent studies, internships, take CLEP, take summer school, research, travel, volunteer, launch a business, train in something outside the college curriculum, grow as a human. All that stuff.

  • 124. local  |  August 10, 2013 at 8:48 pm

    BTW, I’ve worked “professionally” since I was in my teens. Good pay, great jobs, wonderful time off and other benes. Now I’m an oldster. So glad I didn’t work more than 40 hours a week except when I really, really wanted to for very strategic reasons. And I’ll tell you, if you haven’t taught a class of 30 kids all day, you have no idea what it can take out of you. None of my jobs sucked as much energy out of me as teaching did, and I was teaching just one college course a semester (on top of the regular job). Got to walk in the shoes of a teacher to really know what’s demanded to be good.

  • 125. Jeanne Marie Olson (@JMOChicago)  |  August 10, 2013 at 9:01 pm

    Couldn’t agree more with the working more than 40 hours a week issue. I don’t believe that I should have to join a union to get better work/life balance.

    No year end bonus for me! I think you might be talking about top executives. Middle managers, analysts, etc? Nope, no bonus. 401k. Contribute to insurance premiums. Two week vacations taken in a few days here and there, never all at once.

  • 126. Angie  |  August 10, 2013 at 9:45 pm

    @118. Veteran: “BTW It is hard to call teachers professionals when we have to punch a time-clock every morning and afternoon….we are not treated as professionals….”

    Professionals are expected to deliver results, and they get fired if they are unable or unwilling to do their jobs. Fired by their bosses without wasting hours on observation, documentation, or grievance procedures. They can also be let go when the company runs out of money and has to reduce the workforce. And the underperforming professionals are usually let go first, regardless of how many years they have been withthe company.

    @122. local: ““Private industry employees who are expected to put in more than 40 hours a week have perks that more than compensate them for the extra hours.” Not to mention year-end bonus $.”

    Wow, the teachers really have no idea what it is like for most working stiffs in the private sector. Those huge bonuses you see mentioned in the papers are for high-level execs and partners in the law firms, not for the regular employees. So are the unlimited expense accounts and free booze that one of the teachers mentioned a while ago.

    No wonder the teachers cry poor and go on strikes if they think everyone in the private sector is getting six figure salaries, freebies and bonuses. Check the job listings some time to see what people really make.

  • 127. anonymouse teacher  |  August 10, 2013 at 10:00 pm

    Is it just me, but was anyone else surprised that not one of the test-in schools had 100% or nearly 100% exceeding standards? I was surprised by that.

  • 128. momof3boys  |  August 10, 2013 at 10:10 pm

    @127 well, just because a kid tests in doesn’t mean he/she is successful. there are bunch of kids who should are struggling but their parents refuse to pull them out. i think the kids should be reevaluated every couple of years to make sure that they are still in the right place.

  • 129. CarolA  |  August 11, 2013 at 7:03 am

    @128momof3boys: That’s a very good point. It makes sense to test every few years. Kids change. Some keep up, some don’t. Some who might not have tested in early years, might have caught up by grade 3 or 4 so movement in and out at say grades 3 and again at grade 6 might make sense. I hate to add more tests, but there might be some credibility to it in this case. Something to think about for sure.

  • 130. cpsobsessed  |  August 11, 2013 at 7:35 am

    I think its probably statistically unlikely that 100percent of kids in the school will succeed. You have a couple kids who are sick or end up being bad test takes after that initial test as a 4yo and it throws it off.
    100percent of anything is hard to achieve.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 131. Leaving Rgc with a sigh of relief  |  August 11, 2013 at 8:58 am

    My kid exceeded all areas of isats and we are still taking him out of RGC. Not only does it take a child who tests well…it takes a child who LIKES to do school work and two parents with a college education, who speak English, one who stays home to supervise the projects/homework, less outside of school sports, AND a tolerance of schlepping you kids to different schools.

  • 132. Mom of 3  |  August 11, 2013 at 9:14 am

    It is so sad to see how many times this board comes back bashing teachers. Only those who have BOTH worked as teachers and in the corporate world could understand the differences between both types of jobs.

  • 133. Counterpoint for discussion  |  August 11, 2013 at 9:40 am

    To 89:

    From 100:

    Thank-you 70 and all posters after 100.
    Teachers deserve $30.00 an hour for a 40 hour week.
    That also means that city lawyers deserve $42 an hour for a 40 hour week. (Anything over a 40 hour week is overtime / time and a half)

    Salaries more than that are the reason why we are at the breaking point in Chicago. However the ILCS mandates that lawyers receive $150.00 an hour, and CTU also demands much higher.

    If you don’t like the salary, go start your own business. That’s the American way..

  • 134. JMOChicago  |  August 11, 2013 at 10:05 am

    I’m absolutely not bashing teachers and I don’t think anyone on here has (if I’m wrong, please correct me).

    And I have done both careers…corporate career and teaching (2 very different universities–undergrad/grad, and one K-8 school which was not CPS.) I will be the first to say (and I’ve said it elsewhere), teaching elementary kids was not for me. Teaching is a complex job, with multitasking of relationships with different kids, parents, administrators. The routine of the day is very inflexible for 6 hours at time. Keeping on top of each kid’s developmental plan and measurements stats, being patient with the same mistakes over and over again, being calm in dealing with immature social relations in the class room, not having a stapler/pens/working copier. Dealing with grumpy administrators and stressed out parents. Etc. Etc. But I did love watching that one kid really blossom, and remember the delight of a student’s over-the-top creative project. I treasure the students I’ve heard back from on Facebook.

    On the other hand, I have worked with some career changers who investigated what I do in the corporate world (as a part of the grad program I’m affiliated with) who flat out said, “Nope, thanks, not for me.” The hours and hours (and months) of sitting in front of spreadsheets and long ethnographic narratives, doing coding and numbers crunching. The many, many (MANY) boring meetings, sometimes every day for days on end. Having to be gone for 1-5 days in the field away from home entirely and wondering how the kids are because you are in a different time zone and your schedules don’t’ sync up for phone calls and listen to a sobbing voice mail from her to mommy. Dealing with arrogant, dictatorial execs. Having a colleague rip off your ideas and get credit for them. Powerpoint decks. SO many fricking stupid slides. Going 8 hours never having stepped outside of the building. Being told that, “No, there won’t actually be money for raises again this year. Next year might be better.” But there are moments where you discover the source of the problem that will make the system work more smoothly, where you discover the error and the columns add up,

    Yes, for the careers we choose, there are amazing bits and awful bits. The best we can hope for is a good match between the bits we really love, what we can tolerate, and what the job requires.

  • 135. Mom of 3  |  August 11, 2013 at 10:11 am

    “Yes, for the careers we choose, there are amazing bits and awful bits. The best we can hope for is a good match between the bits we really love, what we can tolerate, and what the job requires.” Very well said. 🙂

  • 136. local  |  August 11, 2013 at 11:59 am

    @ 135. Mom of 3 | August 11, 2013 at 10:11 am

    And a living wage.

  • 137. anonymouse teacher  |  August 11, 2013 at 4:47 pm

    @134, JMO, I couldn’t do your job for all the money in the world. I love helping kids in social interactions, helping the anxious child find security, pouring over test data (the tests that actually measure what they are supposed to, not the pointless ones), the messy art projects, teaching routines, teaching math strategies and reading strategies, calling the freaked out parent of a peanut allergy kid mid day the first day to let her know her kid is still breathing and we’re taking good care of her, my amazing colleagues, making instruction work even when I don’t have what I need to really do that, and getting results with kids other people say can’t be successful.

    I just spent the last few hours with a teacher friend and yep, we spent a ton of time kvetching about CPS. But the reality is, teaching–the student part, the parent part, the colleague part–those parts are terrific 90% of the time. Don’t get me wrong–if I get the chance to leave CPS I’ll do it in a heartbeat, but that’s because of the system, not the actual job.

  • 138. WesLooMom  |  August 11, 2013 at 6:11 pm

    @132, teacher bashing is not the same as a call for mutual empathy, which is really the point

  • 139. karet  |  August 12, 2013 at 8:54 am

    @ 127, 128 129: The scores of the SEES are pretty impressive, IMO, since they are almost the same or better than the ACs (which obviously have competitive admissions, not based on 4 yr old tests). Only WY has a higher ‘exceeds’ than Edison and Skinner North.

    I hope you aren’t suggesting that students at SEES should take a test in 2nd or 3rd grade, and if they don’t score high enough, they are kicked out!

  • 140. Public Servant Spouse  |  August 12, 2013 at 9:52 am

    @ 133: This goes off track a bit, but where are you getting your data on ILCS mandated salaries for lawyers? My husband is a Cook County prosecutor going on 7 years in the office and he has never gotten $150/hour (and quite frankly hasn’t had a raise in 7 years either). And even if he did make that hourly wage, his salary would still be significantly, almost 1/2, of what he could make if he became a lawyer in the private sector. Unfortunately, when we start to get into discussions about public vs private salaries and schedules we are usually arguing with incomplete information based on a few examples in each sector that we assume to be the case for all. Example, the reference to private sector folks getting lots of perks and bonuses to make up for extra hours. Definitely not true for most of us (me included). Same goes for public employees like teachers, prosecutors, etc. There are some who make the high end salaries that are usually the ones put out as examples, for various reasons, and may or may not deserve it or put in the work compared to others. But there are many, many more who are making far less then that and do put in the work and the time for no reward financially. I just think it’s important to be careful not to base discussions like this on assumptions and generalizations.

  • 141. local  |  August 12, 2013 at 10:09 am


    A warning to college profs from a high school teacher

    By Valerie Strauss

  • 142. Marty  |  August 12, 2013 at 11:03 am

    Logan Square Community Rally to Support our Public Schools
    Sunday August 18th 4pm
    Historic Logan Square Monument and Square

    Join parents, students, educators, community organizations, activists, and local elected officials as we rally at to call on Mayor Emanuel to put our kids first by declaring a TIF surplus and restore the devastating cuts to our local schools before the children go back to school. All are welcome, please join us!

  • 143. Peter  |  August 12, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    92. anonymouse teacher | August 8, 2013 at 9:46 pm

    If I interpreted the article correctly, NYC just released the results of the PARCC test there and it appears as if only 30% of students met standards in ELA. (The scores were higher in math, which I want to say were around 50-60%). I still think the ISAT scores we are seeing are incredibly inflated so it will be interesting to see how Chicago fares.

    Why do you think the scores are inflated?

  • 144. Veteran  |  August 12, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    The scores are inflated because the test is too easy. It replaced the Iowa which was harder. The teachers have been complaining about the ISAT being too easy but as usual CPS had their own agenda.

    Both tests do not start until Grade 3 which we have also complained about but again….

    The NWEA/MAP test is on level but that is not being given in Grades 1 and 2 now either…the only problem with the MAP is that it must be administered by computer and some schools do not have the technology and some students either are not computer savvy (movinga mouse etc) or have issues due to a disability.

    As someone who has administered all three I highly recommend the NWEA/MAP-extensive information on the site and it will measure growth-used to be given 3 times year now down to twice. I also like the fact it is untamed. As I tell my students, just because you read to speak slowly it does not mean you are “slow”. Simple concept but not often understood especially with ELL and SPED.

  • 145. SoxSideIrish4  |  August 12, 2013 at 12:37 pm

    143. Peter | August 12, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    I don’t think you can compare PARCC w/ISATs scores. I think we should wait and see if IL will participate in PARCC or pull out as several states have, b4 we can look at scores. Are Chicago ISATs scores inflated, were kids taught to the test or do kids really have knowledge of what is being tested? In my children’s case, I found they had the knowledge and that’s why they did so well. While my kids were “exceeds” kids, I wouldn’t care if they were ‘met’ or ‘below’. I don’t think bubble tests have much value, yet they are very costly and it takes $$$ away from classroom~time and money. Assessing a child is needed, but bubble tests and spending $4M on them is not.

  • 146. Peter  |  August 12, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    @144, the new revised test is too easy?

  • 147. anonymouse teacher  |  August 12, 2013 at 3:24 pm

    @144, my school is giving the MPG (the NWEA for primary grades) for K-2. Every school had to vote on which test to give and for K-2, we had to choose between TRC’s (a running record of reading level) or MPG. Since the 1st and 2nd grade teachers all wanted MPG, the K teachers were outvoted. It doesn’t matter that MPG is very inappropriate for my students, I still have to give it. It won’t influence how I teach because at the K level its unreliable and I’ll have to spend even more time testing giving something else so I know what they need more instruction in. I’m very frustrated with this.

  • 148. anonymouse teacher  |  August 12, 2013 at 3:30 pm

    @143, I think the tests are inflated because I see whole groups of students “meeting” ISAT standards who aren’t reading on grade level, doing math on grade level and who are writing years below what I’d expect for grade level. If a child is in 3rd grade and reading at a Fountas and Pinnell (decoding, comprehending and fluency) level of “H”, they are really only reading at a 1st grade level. They should not be “meeting” standards on a 3rd grade test. There’s something wrong with the test. We had several kids at our school at this reading level meeting standards. Its a big issue.

  • 149. momof3boys  |  August 12, 2013 at 4:25 pm

    @139 idk about kicking them out based on the ISATS but if it was my kid, i wouldnt want him struggling for the rest of his elementary school years esp when the whole HS thing is a numbers game. not only that; the constant struggling does something to self-esteem. i did it with my middle child and it worked out for him. i looked at the bigger picture not that he was in a top rated school.

  • 150. RL Julia  |  August 12, 2013 at 4:49 pm

    @149 – It’s too bad that kids that this happened to would have to change schools. I also wonder if (too) many parents are too worried about the “unacceptability” factor of their other options to risk it.

  • 151. anonymouse teacher  |  August 12, 2013 at 6:08 pm

    @139, no, not suggesting they’d be kicked out based on scores-that’d be awful-just surprised. I guess I shouldn’t be. Many kids are talented in one area and not in another-I am assuming that is why the exceeds aren’t closer to 100%. .

    I do have a question/need advice. I have a former student who is out of the park gifted. As in genius level gifted–she is doing math at a 7th/8th grade level and she’s 7 years old. She was drawing, to scale, a map of the world, with correctly spelled and labeled countries-all of the countries of the world-from memory- in PreK. She has written several 40 page+ books with complete story lines. She can discuss current political issues more coherently than I can. She totally bombed the gifted test for CPS twice in a row now and the schools I’d like to see her attend (Avery Coonely, Science and Arts in Desplaines, Quest in Palatine) are out of the question financially for her family. I don’t know what to recommend to her family, other than the few privately run Saturday programs that NU or other universities offer. CPS doesn’t have a “portfolio” option for this child and she clearly isn’t going to receive the services she needs within the public school system anywhere. Honestly, I think her parents should hire a lawyer and sue the daylights out of the district because I think she really is a special need child and the city should pay for private gifted school for her just like they pay for therapeutic school for severely disabled children in certain cases. Maybe homeschool? Enroll her in an online high school at home?

  • 152. Even One More CPS Mom  |  August 12, 2013 at 6:15 pm

    @151 Anonymouse Teacher – Do the schools you mentioned offer scholarships or are there any organizations out there that provide scholarships to uniquely gifted children? Perhaps something to explore.

  • 153. anonymouse teacher  |  August 12, 2013 at 6:31 pm

    They do, but the scholarships don’t fit the family’s situation. I helped the mom look into each of those schools and we visited one together and talked to the director. Thank you though. Its terribly frustrating for the parents and the child.

  • 154. HS Mom  |  August 12, 2013 at 7:11 pm

    @144 ISAT was not a replacement for Iowa. At one time kids took both tests and it was intense. Eventually Iowa was dropped. The one year my child took both tests scores were similar. The ISAT score was based on the entire test not just the first questions. I’d guess that the reporting has been watered down over the years.

    @139 – I absolutely agree that under performance at an SE school should not be reason for removal. It seems like a good policy that once a kid is accepted to a school, it becomes their home school. There are certainly issues that will arise that require support and intervention just like any other school. These kids don’t exist in a bubble. Leaving a school is a last resort solution after careful consideration of the child’s best interest between parents and teachers.

  • 155. IB obsessed  |  August 12, 2013 at 7:19 pm

    @153, a private independent (not gifted only) school would be worth looking into. Although they’re not going to have the all-gifted curriculum she really needs, at least there will be small class sizes and a more enriched curriculum. Some have pull out for advanced students and there will be more opportunities for her to participate in classroom discussion, and do extended essays. Almost all offer FA. Have them look into Latin, Parker, Chicago Grammar,and Sacred Heart. Openings do happen beyond K and 1st grade.

  • 156. Veteran  |  August 12, 2013 at 7:49 pm

    #154 You’re right-at one time we gave both tests and then only the ISAT. It has not been my experience to see similar scores on the ITBS and ISAT. Usually, the ISAT was higher. The ISAT bar is very low and it is difficult for us ,as teachers, to explain to a parent that their MEETS child was failing the grade and was being considered for special education services. It makes the parents view the whole system with distrust.
    That’s why I believe the NWEA-MAP to be a much more valid test and prefer to use that score and the scores on individually administered diagnostic tests by the school psychologist and special education teacher to assess the need for special education.

  • 157. JMOChicago  |  August 12, 2013 at 9:01 pm

    @151–Anonymouse, please contact me via email, I think I have a resource for your gifted student. You can reach me through the email on the Apples2Apples site.

  • 158. cpsemployee  |  August 12, 2013 at 10:09 pm

    @anonymouse – We were told NOT to give the MPG in winter or spring of last year (seemed there were too many glitches with it) and also told that it was not even an option for this coming school year. Second grade will take the regular NWEA test in the Spring. How is it that your school is going to continue to give it?

  • 159. Advocating for teens with Aspergers  |  August 12, 2013 at 10:32 pm

    My daughter is entering 9th grade this fall. She graduated from a private school, but was in the CPS system from kdgtn-4th grade. She has aspergers and has a 504 plan. She had an IEP, but was evaluated this yr as non attending student at local cps school and we were told her 7th grade scores were high enough and no longer needed an iep. I am having a difficult time finding the right high school for her. She was bullied before by several kids at cps for being polite, mannerable, and didnt want to fight. She likes to talk about animals, history, facts, etc. And most kids taunt her. She is an A/B student. Any suggestions on high school placement? Thanks.

  • 160. CarolA  |  August 13, 2013 at 7:06 am

    cpsemployee: My school has also chosen to give the MPG this year as our assessment tool. It was one of the choices given to us by CPS. My understanding is that only new students will be tested in fall. Otherwise, it will be a spring to spring assessment. Not sure if a mid-year test will be offered. I hope so. It gives a peek into which direction I need to head for each student. Last year, our school was one of a few that tested with MPG in spring. Maybe there are glitches, but I think it’s the best of the choices we have right now. I think each school needs to choose one assessment tool for the general population besides any other (language, etc).

  • 161. Milly F  |  August 13, 2013 at 8:56 am

    It looks like free lunches make kids dumber. I guess there truly is no such thing as a free lunch.

  • 162. local  |  August 13, 2013 at 9:51 am

    @ 159. Advocating for teens with Aspergers | August 12, 2013 at 10:32 pm

    Denial of IEP because of “good grades” is an old and bogus excuse to deny FAPE.

    1) Book a single consultation session with Brooke Whitted, attorney.


    2) Research the court decision in Maine for a girl on the spectrum with high grades but in need of an IEP for social/emotional domains. Sorry, don’t remember the name of the important case.

    3) Meet with the Jones College Prep HS sped team to discuss their program.

  • 163. local  |  August 13, 2013 at 9:53 am

    @ 153. anonymouse teacher | August 12, 2013 at 6:31 pm

    Perhaps a boarding school for gifted children would be best. On scholarship.

  • 164. Counterpoint for discussion  |  August 13, 2013 at 11:18 am

    To 140: ILCS demands compensation for reasonable attorney fees in dozens of case types. Just google it and then google ilcs. Reasonalbe has been defined as 150.00 in cook county for the last 8 years. Your husband’s salary working as a prosecutor is his choice. He could get paid more doing something else, but he wouldn’t have the prestige and status. He could choose civil rights, whistle blower, or discrimination cases and be assured 150.00 an hour in cook county. Sorry for the bad news, but it could be good news if he chooses to make a career changing decision.

    Just look up a recent 2013 Illinois Supreme court case concerning reasonable attorney fees. Your eyes will pop out. The court defended the very high attorney fees as reasonable. I’ve wasted too much time on your request already, and I know that was your point by diminishing my comment as not being truthful with requesting my ILCS source. But that what blog mud slinging is all about. Sometime you get dirty in order to defend your blogging honor.

    Clayton v Planet Holdings

  • 165. cpsobsessed  |  August 13, 2013 at 12:57 pm

    **RE: BOOKCLUB:**
    I realized the Malcolm Gladwell book doesn’t come out until October, so I’ll set up the book club then.

  • 166. klm  |  August 13, 2013 at 1:18 pm

    Per the ISAT discussion of this thread:

    I was playing around on my tablet after the kids went to sleep last night and looking at stats from the IIRC Illinois School Report site.
    Now, the latest (Common Core) results are not out state-wide, so I was comparing pre-Common Core Spring ’12 state-wide test results.

    For a common point of reference, I compares exceeds/meets for 4th grade (the first year science is tested) from a bunch of Illinois non-selective public schools, both CPS and suburban, mainly comparing CPS schools with the suburban ones that are in the “best” school districts.

    Some CPS Schools:

    Alcott Reading-52/40 Math-57/39 Science 61/37
    Blaine R-56/41 M-63/36 S-42/56
    Burley R-57/27 M-59/41 S-54/48
    Chopin R-64/36 M-44/56 S-80/16
    Edgebrook R-59/37 M-65/32 S- 58/37
    Hawthorne R-70/27 M-73/27 S-54/48
    Lincoln R-83/10 M-79/21 S-76/24
    Manierre R-0/25 M-0/69 S- 0/35

    Some Suburban Schools:

    Sears (Kenilworth) R-60/38 M-63/35 S-28/67
    Lane (Hinsdale) R-64/32 M-70/30 S-49/51
    Sheridan (Lake Forest) R-55/35 M-61/37 S-45/50

    OK, I know there’s the whole “Fair Test” crowd that feels these things are not indicative of what a good school is or isn’t, but I’m not one of those people, nor do I suspect are most people on this site. Tests are not 100% indicative of what school id “good” or “bad”, but their results mean a lot in my book.

    That said, it’s kinda’ great how well even non-selective-enrollment CPS schools (Lincoln’s InternationaL Gifted program doesn’t start until 6th grade) can stack up well against even the best suburban schools.

    It’s worth noting that Chopin (85% Hispanic, 10% A-A, and nearly 100% low-income –Yeah, Chopin!) had its kids scoring so well. It had more 4th graders scoring at “exceeds” than even Sears in Kenilworth (one of the richest cities in the country and the one with highest per capita income in Illinois). Public schools can work even for low-income, minority urban kids.

    Also, there’s the bad news: Manierre’s (all-too-sadly-common scores for a low-income minority CPS school) are beyond awful. I don’t mean to sound insensitive, but all I can think about is the protests and emotional rhetoric surrounding its closure plans. It’s hard to imagine fighting to keep that school open, but that’s what some people did and were actually successful. Thank God kids will still have their failing school to go to, in accordance with the wishes of some parents and community leaders, I guess.

    What’s more mind-blowing is that Lincoln and Manierre’s attendance boundaries literally touch on North Avenue. On one side of the street, the kids get an awesome public education, on the other,…well,…Manierre –its ISAT scores speak for themselves..

    What’s also sad is that there’s still a substantial achievement gap, even at a school like Lincoln:.

    White Lincoln 4th graders R-96/4 M-85/15 S-87/13
    Black Lincoln 4th graders R-42/50 M-50/50 S-33/67

    The white kids at Lincoln blow the North Shore kids away and do just about as well as the kids even at Edison RGC (which many of us think as the ‘best’/most difficult RGC to get into, at least on the North Side):

    Edison RGC 4th graders R-97/3 M-87/13 S-90/10

    Just some pointless facts and figures to think about, some to feel good about, some to feel bad about, as usual for CPS as a whole. Bottom line: if you’re a middle/upper-middle class white kid in Chicago, you’ll most likely get a good public education K-8 (we all know HS is another matter) and learn as much as your suburban peers. If you’re a poor Chicago kid and grow up in a poor neighborhood, good luck with magnet lotteries and SE tests, otherwise you’re kinda too often screwed, Sad.

  • 167. HS mom  |  August 13, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    @159 – whatever you do, do not let them take away IEP for Aspergers. Your child will not have access to the resource center or get a resource period once she is in high school. Very important. Yes, Jones is great.

  • 168. Chris  |  August 13, 2013 at 1:34 pm

    @140: “My husband .. if he did make that ($150/hour) wage, his salary would still be significantly, almost 1/2, of what he could make if he became a lawyer in the private sector.”

    Um, where do you think he could get a job making $500,000-plus per year, just a s simple no-brainer? Serious question.

    @164: ” ILCS demands compensation for reasonable attorney fees in dozens of case types. Just google it and then google ilcs. Reasonalbe has been defined as 150.00 in cook county for the last 8 years.”

    There is a difference b/t “reasonable attorney’s fees” and city/county attorney’s salaries. And there is a difference b/t getting $150/hour for the X hours of city/county work you might get assigned to as a private attorney as an independent contractor (paying your FICA, and your health insurance and your assistant’s salary, and and and) and being a city/county employee with health care and a pension and ‘paid’ vacation, etc etc.

  • 169. anonymouse teacher  |  August 13, 2013 at 1:34 pm

    @166, I am curious, do you think the students attending Manierre get a worse education-meaning lesser quality instruction, lesser quality teaching– than the students at Lincoln (aside from the parent fundraising)?

  • 170. anonymouse teacher  |  August 13, 2013 at 1:39 pm

    @158, as far as I understand it, my school voted to give mpg for K-2 three times a year and our RTI has to be based off of what those results show and what the skill subtests show that we’ll be giving each child who is below a certain level. Those tests have to be given, according to our school psychologist, every single week to measure progress. Yep. If we don’t have weekly testing from the MPG subtests (I forget the exact name), she won’t evaluate kids for sped. At my school, we’ll be back to spending 25% of our total instructional time testing because nearly all our kindergarteners last year did very poorly on both the fall and winter MPG. (Even though they did excellently on Dibels, Mclass, and TRC and unit tests and Reach.) If they all do poorly, they all have to be tested weekly. Its going to be awful.

  • 171. cpsobsessed  |  August 13, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    Love the analysis KLM!
    Based on the gap you show within Lincoln, I would conclude that socio-economic status is much more impactful than school quality at creating a good outcome (ie test scores.) that’s truly remarkable (and depressing.)

    Based on those numbers, is a magnet/SE going to make a difference for a Manniere student? I don’t know that I’d conclude that manniere isn’t worth keeping open. (I might conclude this based on some other factors, but not the analysis here alone.) Would taking the entire staff of Lincoln and moving them to Manniere make their test scores shoot up? I’d sure like to see that happen to see the outcome!

    CPS has a list of schools their targeting for special efforts for improvement. I think Manniere is on that list. I’ll find the info and maybe we can discuss it.

  • 172. Leggy Mountbatten  |  August 13, 2013 at 1:46 pm

    Hey CPSobsessed – any chance you can do a piece on how much each school asks for in terms of donations from parents?

  • 173. Chris  |  August 13, 2013 at 1:57 pm

    “how much each school asks for in terms of donations from parents?”

    Do you mean aggregate, or implied ‘suggested donation’?

    I’m 90% sure we’re at the school that esmom departed, and have noted the ~30% participation rate, but have never noted any pressure to donate, or donate more (unlike her ‘I also remember feeling incredibly pressured to give, and that it was never enough.’), but maybe that’s just a social circle thing, not being in with the in-crowd who run things.

  • 174. cpsobsessed  |  August 13, 2013 at 2:05 pm

    I’ve never heard of any school other than Alcott that asks for a specific amount. Has anyone else known of any? I’ll ask around…

  • 175. Marty  |  August 13, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    @159 The Devry Achievement HS is small, has a focus on technology and has few to none behavior incidents. Students can earn substantial jr college credits while in high school as well. Its staffed by fully certified teachers, and has a very modern facility.

  • 176. Chris  |  August 13, 2013 at 2:20 pm

    “I’ve never heard of any school other than Alcott that asks for a specific amount. ”

    Nor have I, which is why I asked about aggregate–many schools have goals/targets, so I thought that was the probable query.

  • 177. Socioeconomics  |  August 13, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    What is Chopin doing right? To me, that is the question. Manierre has some of the most difficult student home situations imaginable. The student population is largely drawn from some of the worst housing in the city. IT may be just south of North Ave, but Marshall Field Apartments are a world away.

    I bet they have some awesome teachers who would be insulted at the suggestion that taking another school’s teachers would suddenly solve all their issues. I just don’t know how you handle the home environments and the other non-educational “needs” those kids have. That is why Manierre had/has a parenting center there.

    I think it’s simple socio-economics for the most part. Have you been to Hinsdale? LOL. It’s gorgeous and reeks money. : )

    Lincoln kids are going to do generally well. Once Oscar-Mayer became more of a neighborhood school (i.e., more of the neighborhood kids started going) it thrived. Nettlehorst became solidly neighborhood and also thrived. I’m still floored that Alcott still hasn’t become more “neighborhood.” It is an awesome school and given its neighborhood …

    I guess that’s why I am such a supporter of neighborhood schools.

    Proximity lotteries for non-selective magnets actually bother me in that context. I once heard something like 100 or so kids go to LaSalle who also live in the Lincoln boundary. I don’t know if that number was exaggerated. But if it is anywhere near true, should 100 valuable magnet seats be given to kids who have an incredible option like Lincoln?

    But it’s a Catch-22 as I believe some of the stronger magnets do so well simply because of their location … the draw of the “safe” ‘hood and the larger number of proximity students that have been allowed in.

    If you moved a LaSalle or Hawthorne or even Newberry (also just across North Ave) to Manierre’s location or in an even worse neighborhood would they still remain as strong? I think that is as interesting a question as changing teachers. Maybe more interesting.

    But again, the real question is how to solve the Chopin formula! Congrats to them!!

  • 178. RL Julia  |  August 13, 2013 at 3:00 pm

    Are we talking school fees here or just suggested donation over and above school fees? Northside sends a fundraising letter. I think other schools raise funds in less direct ways via walk-a-thons, bake sales and etc…

  • 179. JMOChicago  |  August 13, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    Chopin will retain one of its best variables…the principal and the very collaborative teaching staff. As a receiving school, it will lose its other advantages. VERY small class sizes (between 17-25 kids per class, with only one grade…eighth…at 33.) A very small school by CPS standards overall with personal relationships between students and staff (587). And they will lose the careful cohort relationships and culture that they created through looping…a very important strategy for their success. (You can read more by Googling “looping” and “Chopin”.) They were able to host the Head Start program for the neighborhood in the school. Now with the consolidation, I don’t know if this will still be possible for them. I hope this doesn’t set back Chopin, they are one of the strongest neighborhood schools CPS has serving a majority low income population. I’m happy for the students who are getting a chance to attend that school. I’m hoping that CPS doesn’t kill them in this process.

  • 180. Chris  |  August 13, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    “If you moved a LaSalle or Hawthorne or even Newberry (also just across North Ave) to Manierre’s location or in an even worse neighborhood would they still remain as strong?”

    Franklin is *exactly* in Manierre’s neighborhood (altho obviously different demographics at the school), and it had 2013 test results very similar to LaSalle.

  • 181. averagemom  |  August 13, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    When I looked at the Devry high school, it was giving Devry college credits. At that point, Devry credits wouldn’t transfer to most 4 year colleges. I’d check carefully what they offer and what your long term goals are.

  • 182. Chris  |  August 13, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    “Are we talking school fees here or just suggested donation over and above school fees?”

    Tied back to Friends of Lincoln fundraising amounts, I think.

  • 183. Halfglassfull?  |  August 13, 2013 at 3:32 pm

    @178, I’ve read time and time again that the Chopin community attribute it’s success to “looping” where students are in the same teachers class for several years. As far as I know Chopin is the only school utilizing this method of instruction, but perhaps this would work for higher risk students as they are more in need of sable, constant, positive adult role models. It may be unfair to dump that pressure on a teacher, but from what I’ve read here and elsewhere, teachers stepping up and being quasi surrogates is already happening. Looping creates a cycle of involvement between students and teachers.

  • 184. anonymouse teacher  |  August 13, 2013 at 3:33 pm

    I’d love to do an in depth study on the families who send their children to Chopin. I am curious to know their characteristics that extend far beyond income, including commitment to education, the levels of ESL (according to the 2nd language test administered by CPS), what percentage of students went to PreK for how many years and which PreK, if parents are literate in their first language, how many jobs they hold (1,2, 3?), what percentage of parents are married, what percentage volunteer at school, etc, etc.

  • 185. anonymouse teacher  |  August 13, 2013 at 3:38 pm

    @183, I taught at a school that did looping years ago. It did not have the desired effect at our school and I don’t really know why. It might have had something to do with the very high staff turnover. The school routinely replaced its entire staff (gradually, as in each year we lost 20-30% of the staff) every 4-5 years.
    I think it is really important to recognize that one method may work beautifully at one school and yet not in another even if the two schools are similar.

  • 186. Socioeconomics  |  August 13, 2013 at 3:43 pm

    #181. Good point! But when there was talk of moving LaSalle a few years ago to ease Lincoln overcrowding, a lot of LaSalle parents were saying the school would not survive a move because it relied on the location. I guess that was not entirely true as you bring up a good point.

  • 187. Socioeconomics  |  August 13, 2013 at 4:03 pm

    Looping. Very, very interesting. I wonder why things like this are not explored more thoroughly. Chopin is doing great things. Their model should be duplicated. Thanks for the insights!

  • 188. Chris  |  August 13, 2013 at 4:07 pm

    “a lot of LaSalle parents were saying the school would not survive a move because it relied on the location”

    Pretty sure that most of them were the proximity folks, who probably would have had their kid(s) default back to Lincoln (at the new south campus), to avoid hauling them to “bad neighborhood”–so it wouldn’t survive *for them*.

    I would want to hear *only* from parents living outside the LaSalle proximity to get a less convenience-oriented reading of the ‘survival’.

  • 189. cpsobsessed  |  August 13, 2013 at 4:08 pm

    Looking back at some old comments, I believe there was an implication by a reader that Chopin is known for “Drill n Kill” (if I’m using that phrase correctly.) That the school is really focusing on the testable subjects and drilling on those at the expense of higher order learning or specials. I have not idea if that’s correct or not. Nor do I actually know how I feel about that – they still are getting kids to the point where they can read/answer questions/do math. That’s much further than other schools in that socio-economic group.

  • 190. JMOChicago  |  August 13, 2013 at 4:11 pm

    Peterson School is also experimenting with looping, but just began this 1-2 years ago. Neighborhood schools which cannot control how many Kindergarten and/or 1st grade classes they have can struggle logistically with looping. Looping takes a lot of coordination horizontally and vertically between teachers, relies on very little teacher turnover, etc. When it is used in a compatible context, it can really work well. Look up “Benefits and Downsides of Looping”. Wikipedia’s article on Loop (Education) gives a concise appendix of relevant articles on the strategy.

  • 191. LSmom  |  August 13, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    Chopin is really fascinating — unfortunately, they are losing their principal to Las Vegas (http://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20130712/humboldt-park/chopin-elementary-principal-leaving-for-las-vegas).

    Also, I think I remember Rod Estvan saying that Chopin has a smaller special education population than some neighboring schools.

  • 192. JMOChicago  |  August 13, 2013 at 4:29 pm

    Bummer about the principal. CPS is losing a boatload of very good principals after this year. This should alarm all of us. Seriously.

    Hmm. I’m seeing some discrepancy in some CPS data, perhaps because CPS has updated their school demographics in advance of new year. But Chopin is listed as only 37% utilized last year with only 267 students (unlike another mention which had population as 587…not a small difference), but wasn’t put on the two last closing consideration lists because of their Level 1 status. CPS had Chopin as 15% special education, above the District average. They also had autistic students at the school. 84% low income. Their 5 Essentials data is Very Strong in all 5 categories. That alone is pretty impressive.

  • 193. Leggy Mountbatten  |  August 13, 2013 at 4:39 pm

    #174 My school does (one of the “Killer B’s”). It was $600 suggested donation to the “friends of” , which we gladly gave to. That’s a pretty specific amount, above the mandatory fees (and yes, it’s tied to the Lincoln fundraising discussion).

  • 194. klm  |  August 13, 2013 at 4:46 pm


    To answer your question, “Yes”!

    Not by design, of course, but for all practical purposes kids at Lincoln are getting an education light years ahead of kids at Manierre.

    Teachers, from what I know from experience and from what I have read will try to be effective by teaching to the “middle” of the ability of their charges. Look at the test scores above. Do the math. What’s the average kid at Manierre doing academically vs. the average kid at Lincoln?

    I’m sure that the teachers at Manierre are just as dedicated and want their students to succeed just as much (maybe even more, given the tough circumstances so many kids at Manierre grow up with) as the teachers at Lincoln. I’m sure that they work just as hard, if not harder. It’s just that the kids at Manierre are already years behind the kids at Lincoln, even when starting K.

    It’s living-to-survive (Manierre) vs. living-to-thrive (Lincoln) conflicting home lives of their respective students. I know one reason people wanted to keep Manierre open was to avoid an in-school potentially violent gang war with a different gang territory (represented by Jenner’s enrollment zone) in a new “combined” school. I mean, God, how many Lincoln Elementary families, living in their Whole Foods Bubble even have to think about this sort of thing for, even a second?

    Also, I know people keep mentioning all the money Lincoln’s parents contribute. Well, yes, it helps. However, when I do my back-of-the-envelope figuring, I’m fairly certain that with Title I spending, etc., Manierre spends more per student.

    At the beginning of the year, Lincoln’s principal with give his speech about how great it is that Lincoln’s parents create several hundreds of thousands of dollars for the school, but it still doesn’t amount to nearly as much as it would if Lincoln got Title I, etc., money…. He says that if Lincoln had the same % of low-income kids as his old CPS school, it would be getting an extra $1.5m which more than Friends of Lincoln raises……Is he wrong?


    Some people in the Lincoln enrollment district choose LaSalle because it’s it’s much closer to their home (like literally across the street from one family I know), they like the foreign language aspect (how many of us wouldn’t like our kids to learn Mandarin Chinese for 1 hour+ each school day, starting in K?), once one kid’s enrolled siblings can get in and the family’s free to live anywhere in Chicago (maybe even a cheaper ‘hood to accommodate more kids), etc. Some feel it’s more diverse…

    Although I kinda’ agree with you on some level, to be honest..

  • 195. Chris  |  August 13, 2013 at 4:51 pm

    “My school does (one of the “Killer B’s”). It was $600 suggested donation to the “friends of” , which we gladly gave to. That’s a pretty specific amount, above the mandatory fees”

    1. What are the “mandatory fees” at the Elem level? (and yes, I do have a CPS student) You mean $10 for something or other the first week and field trip money?

    2. At a B school; never heard of a ‘suggested’ donation amount; as before, maybe the cool kids don’t like us or something so we miss the messaging.

    3. Is that suggested amount in lieu of having a variety of nonsense fundraisers (walks, etc) at other times in the year? We’d probably give 25% more if we only got asked for even $5 only once, but feel the need to pace a little to participate in every one.

  • 196. Leggy Mountbatten  |  August 13, 2013 at 4:54 pm

    $90 for fees, paid up front. plenty of other fundraisers. Don’t quite understand the “cool kids” comment.

  • 197. Chris  |  August 13, 2013 at 5:09 pm

    @194 “He says that if Lincoln had the same % of low-income kids as his old CPS school, it would be getting an extra $1.5m which more than Friends of Lincoln raises……Is he wrong?”

    Based on the total amount of Title I CPS received last year ($286.6 million), and presuming (inaccurately; I *know* this is not exactly how the $$ is allocated) that about 1/2 of CPS kids qualified to have a pro rata $ amount follow them, and then rounding that amount up to $1500 per kid (for comparison, the fed DOE info says 21mm kids helped, and $13.5B in grants, or under $700/kid), there’d have to be an incremental increase of 1000 low-income kids at Lincoln for it to be $1.5m in added funds. If there are more ‘qualified’ title I kids, then the per kid amount is lower, and it looks more ridiculous; if there are fewer, and the per kid amount much higher, then maybe.

    So, in short, I don’t think the facts support the principal (or even come close), at least for the 2012-13 school year.

  • 198. anon  |  August 13, 2013 at 5:10 pm

    Edison basically told incoming K parents this year there was a $400 “technology fee” to pay for ipads. They made it sound mandatory and asked for checks at the time of registration, though I don’t see how it could have been mandatory, and don’t think it actually was.

  • 199. Chris  |  August 13, 2013 at 5:14 pm

    “Don’t quite understand the “cool kids” comment.”

    I’m being slightly derogatory to the folks running the “Friends of” organizations and mildly self-deprecating that I/we aren’t the sorts they typically socialize with. So, maybe just a bad joke.

    “$90 for fees, paid up front.”

    Huh. Does that include local field trips and whatnot, or are those ad hoc extras?

    That’d (almost) pay for a teacher at two of the Bs ($80k+).

  • 200. Rod Estvan  |  August 13, 2013 at 6:33 pm

    Re: Post 45. I am reviewing the CPS budget as it relates to special education. Special education funding is broken down into at least 50 different program codes. Whether or not these program codes appear in the school based budget as special education funds or other funds can be confusing and depends on which table you are looking at.

    I will give you all an example P121202 Behavior
    Disabilities has funded program operating at many CPS schools. It provides $303,786 to Schurz HS. When you go to the Schurz HS interactive detailed budget these funds are in the subsection of the $16 million instruction budget pull down under the program summary. The Fund Summary table under “other grants” does not include IDEA flow through or state special ed funding, those appear under the heading general budget.

    In general I do not look at school based budgets, but rather at programs. I analyze the budget for special education through these program on the large scale. To look at school by school budgets would reveal relatively little about district wide policies and funding for students with IEPs. However, using the program code data I can tell families specific schools that might have specialized programs for specific disabling conditions or at least they have a program title that would indicate such a program exists.

    By the way there are many, many things about this budgeting system CPS uses that remain a mystery to me

    Rod Estvan

  • 201. anonymouse teacher  |  August 13, 2013 at 7:38 pm

    @194, so can I summarize your statements to see if I understand you right?
    You believe that most teachers teach to the middle and because Manierre kids arrive at school so far behind, that the education is behind what kids at Lincoln get and the Lincoln kids are getting an education light years ahead of Manierre. Am I on the right track?

    If I am, I’d counter that perhaps you and I are thinking of two very different things when we think of education. I believe you are not describing the quality of the education students are receiving, but the instructional level kids are being taught at. Yeah, some teachers will teach to the middle and if the middle is low, then the instructional level will be low (although, sometimes there is good reason instructionally to teach lower than other communities, as I’ll describe)

    Yes, in some respects, if you instruct kids at a rich 3rd grade level because that’s where the middle is at, this will be a higher instructional level than instructing kids at a 2nd grade level when they are 3rd graders. This is better ONLY if it is suitable for the students being taught.
    However, if the students need instruction at a 2nd grade level, even if they are 3rd graders, that is absolutely appropriate and the correct thing to do. It is not appropriate educationally, especially in reading, to try and teach at a frustration level. Of course, this means that the school as a whole has to figure out how to cover more ground in the same amount of time, meaning, those 3rd graders might have to learn a year and a quarter’s worth of material and content, with the plan of eventually catching up. So, for example, if I taught first grade and my students came to me just learning their letter sounds, yes, they are WAY behind. But it would not be appropriate for me to teach them typical 1st grade curriculum without some serious modifications, because that would be frustration level instruction and kids don’t learn well when they are in the frustration level zone. Kids like this will need to basically learn all of what they should have learned in K and then some of what they should be doing in 1st. The 2nd grade teacher will then have to teach them the second half of 1st and all or most of 2nd. But, given that lower income kids typically lose 2-3 months of total gains over the summer, and all the other obstacles in their way, this is, imo, sort of like pushing a giant rock up hill.
    So, I guess I’d say I disagree that Lincoln is offering a better education than Manierre. I’d say they are instructing at a different level than because of the needs and strengths of their student body. This is why, as much as I believe in teacher quality, the quality of the student body, particularly parental income, will always outweigh instructional quality or level.

    I’d propose that the better thing to do would be:
    integrate Lincoln and Manierre in a 50/50 split, staff and students included
    fully staff the schools so that kids who are way behind or way ahead get RTI as they need it (something we don’t do anywhere in Chicago)
    fully staff and fund and require a 230 day school year in any school where less than 50% of kids meet on ISAT
    insist on staff differentiating education across the board–the days of “teaching to the middle” are over—the upper grade teachers at my school differentiate with class sizes in the upper 30’s–I don’t know how but they do. I do it in kindergarten with 25+, just like countless other teachers do across the system. There is no excuse for teaching to the middle anymore—this is a HUGE pet peeve of mine. If teachers differentiate instruction, all kids get instruction at their level and there isn’t a so-called “middle”. In some schools this might result in mixed age group instruction, but of course that would only work with incredibly careful planning, completely stocked materials and books and a small school with small class sizes, something we just can’t do in Chicago.

  • 202. PatientCPSMom  |  August 14, 2013 at 7:06 am

    @201 insightful and pragmatic thoughts. Our neighborhood has the same opportunity with Jenner and Ogden but I doubt anyone at CPS will embrace your policy ideas as actionable. Politics always seem to trump sound educational policy for all. CPS’s solution usually is to put a Charter in the area and basically replicate the same educational inequality, just in a different building.

  • 203. klm  |  August 14, 2013 at 9:19 am


    I admire your dedication to educating all children in the most effective manner. In a perfect world what you say would be reality.

    However, the world (or at least the one I have lived in) is far from perfect.

    I hate that there’s an achievement gap. I hate that there’s so much violent crime, dysfunctional family structure and cultural norms that keep so many disadvantaged kids down, both socially and academically. I grew up in an inner-city housing project, went to failing public schools, have done the volunteer tutoring at St. Vincent dePaul (working with kids enrolled at Manierre as well as other schools), helped teach in an inner-city low-scores public high school, ….blah, blah, blah.

    In a perfect world, all kids would get an equality good education, no matter where they went to school.

    However, the reality is so clearly kicking this idealized notion’s behind here, that I can’t help but wonder what some people are thinking. A school like Manierre’s so clearly failing –its charges t need a better option NOW, not some experiment with incremental changes that are good-spirited and will almost likely produce an objectively failing result, relatively speaking. .

    Adults can argue forever about why schools like Manierre are failing, but meanwhile it’s the kids at Manierre that being hurt for the sake of quasi-egalitarian, but ultimately flawed policy, civic gimme programs that placate certain community leaders, etc. What about the KIDS?

    The idea that a kid, let’s say “John” with, say an IQ of 100 (average) would be getting the same education at Manierre as at Lincoln seems so delusional as to be airy-fairy wishful thinking. If John went k-8 at Lincoln as opposed to Manierre, do you really think he’s be no better prepared for high school? Yes, in THEORY, no. But in REALITY?

    I guess the achievement gap doesn’t really exist.

    Why would any Chicago parent work to create a good neighborhood public schoo instead of moving to Arlington Heights or Deerfield, if when it became “good”, CPS could just willy-nilly take their kids and enroll them in an objectively failing school where no kids are exceeding on the ISAT and most aren’t even meeting minimums for the sake of well-intentioned (but ultimately oblivious to the unintended but perfectly foreseeable consequences) social engineering? The consequence would be people running to Northbrook, Oak Park and Wilmette as soon as their kids were old enough to enroll in kindergarten and/or a renaissance of parochial schools (i.e., the way things were in Chicago a generation or 2 ago when the city was losing its middle-class and only the poor sent their kids to CPS, with a very few exceptions).

    No college-educated middle-class family will enroll their kid in a school like Manierre.


    In a million years.

  • 204. Leggy Mountbatten  |  August 14, 2013 at 9:47 am

    #199 It is a bad joke, since the suggested donation comes via flyers that go into our kids folder, and is sent through e-mails from the school as well. It doesn’t have a thing to do with socializing.

    As for the fee, it doesn’t include field trips, and yes, it’s our “technology fee”, and it’s mandatory.

  • 205. Neighborhood school parent  |  August 14, 2013 at 9:51 am

    Will we ever get to the point where it’s an *acceptable fact* that kids that COME FROM education-rich, structurally sound, forward-looking families are more *likely* to succeed in school;

    it’s not necessarily the school that they GO TO which determines their educational success?

    Yes, there are outstanding, dedicated educators who will be able to help some students overcome life-hurdles but those are the exceptions.

    And nothing against the Lincoln’s or Sear’s or New Trier’s of this world, but notice I didn’t say come from rich/wealthy families.
    My mother was a HS math teacher in a UI New York community and her students would tell her – “I don’t need to learn this, my [accountant (insert profession)] will do it for me.”

    We are focusing on the wrong solution ….

  • 206. Chris  |  August 14, 2013 at 9:52 am

    “It is a bad joke, since the suggested donation comes via flyers that go into our kids folder, and is sent through e-mails from the school as well. It doesn’t have a thing to do with socializing.”

    I meant at *our* school, where there is *not* a ‘suggested donation flyer’ and I have not noticed any of the “feeling incredibly pressured to give, and that it was never enough” that esmom (again, nearly certain her former school and our present school are the same), which *could* come about in a social group we are not part of.

    “As for the fee, it doesn’t include field trips, and yes, it’s our “technology fee”, and it’s mandatory.”

    Huh. It’s possible it’s been discussed, but I haven’t seen mention of is in any LSC minutes, ever (not that I read *every* one).

  • 207. anon  |  August 14, 2013 at 10:46 am

    “As for the fee, it doesn’t include field trips, and yes, it’s our “technology fee”, and it’s mandatory.”

    What would happen if you didn’t pay the mandatory fee?

  • 208. Leggy Mountbatten  |  August 14, 2013 at 10:46 am

    #206 It sounds like your school needs help.

  • 209. Chris  |  August 14, 2013 at 10:59 am

    ” It sounds like your school needs help.”


  • 210. RL Julia  |  August 14, 2013 at 11:03 am

    @201 – thanks for the explanation. Very helpful. @ 203 agree with you too.

    I think that what isn’t being gotten at is that at Manierre there is a different set of neighborhood resources, educational priorities and educational expectations being brought to school by the students and their families. These external expectations (or limitations ultimately) create cultural differences and set educational expectations/norms for a school – which ultimately result in the profound differences in the amount of material teachers are able to cover year to year and the amount of actual things learned over an elementary school career. Additionally, assuming that everyone enters into kindergarten with equal potential for learning (not true, I know), there is still a finite number of brain cells in a person’s head and finite number of hours between five and 18 years of age to be taught and if you are coming from a disorganized household in a disorganized neighborhood, chances are, you are using those brain cells to figure out other things than blends and short and long vowel sounds even if you are being taught them. This is how the problems of poverty really eat away at kid’s educational attainment.

    As a person who sent both of my kids to a neighborhood school with an 85% poverty rate (fairly standard) and a relatively large population of English language learners, it was both interesting and disappointing to see the differences between my (over enriched, upper middle class) kids and their classroom peers in kindergarten (which were noticeable but mostly cultural in nature -expressed mostly as different cultural reference points) through sixth grade which by that time, the differences had become more academic in that my kids were at least one grade ahead of their peers (thanks to their excellent teachers who didn’t teach to the middle). Were my kids born smarter than their classmates? Not necessarily – but they did live in a household that was stable, with parents who were able to help them in a multitude of ways and with few serious responsibilities to distract them from learning. Our household was stable and organized enough to have and maintain educational expectations. No one has ever been without heat, food, medical care, etc… I know I could not say that of every one of their classmates – and apparently it has made all the difference.

  • 211. JMOChicago  |  August 14, 2013 at 11:07 am

    Re: Lincoln Elementary School missing out on Title 1 funds vs. Manierre.

    As I explained previously…yes. Manierre gets more Title 1 funds. AND they have more expenses that are related to those Title 1 funds. Lincoln is able to use WAY more of their funds for enrichment programs. Manierre has to use their funds for achievement gap issues.

    Here is an example.

    Looking at the Instructional Budget detail for the two schools, Manierre has to spend $2800 per student on instruction related to Austism, LD, etc. Lincoln’s budget for same? $1134 per student.

    That alone could account for the difference in the school’s instructional budgets per student. But there is more.

    Manierre has funds given to them–$14 per student–for homeless students. They spend more on physical education…$260 vs. $174 at Lincoln. Manierre gets specific Title 1 funds that can only be used to reduce class size, about $400 more per student than Lincoln.

    Lincoln has larger budgets in Academic Enrichment (Foreign Lang/IB Program= $390 per student, Manierre = $0) Lincoln has larger budgets in Arts/Music (Lincoln = $580 per student, Manierre= $139). Lincoln has a larger budget for Academics in Primary grades and in Middle Grades. (Combined, Lincoln = $3016 per student, Manierre = $2278)

    Manierre does get $389 per student for remedial math, reading and science. Not enrichment, remedial.

    More low income kids, more Title 1 funds, MORE EXPENSES that are earmarked for certain remedial programs.

    This is not counting the money that Lincoln fundraises, by the way. JUST their CPS Instruction Budget $.

    Please let the principal know that she might get more money if Lincoln received Title 1 funds, but in order to qualify for those funds, Lincoln would inherit more expenses than they would be willing to bear, most likely. Especially since Title 1 doesn’t cover all of the expenses that go with Title 1 students.

  • 212. Peter  |  August 14, 2013 at 11:33 am

    “205. Neighborhood school parent | August 14, 2013 at 9:51 am
    Will we ever get to the point where it’s an *acceptable fact* that kids that COME FROM education-rich, structurally sound, forward-looking families are more *likely* to succeed in school;

    it’s not necessarily the school that they GO TO which determines their educational success?

    Yes, there are outstanding, dedicated educators who will be able to help some students overcome life-hurdles but those are the exceptions.

    And nothing against the Lincoln’s or Sear’s or New Trier’s of this world, but notice I didn’t say come from rich/wealthy families.
    My mother was a HS math teacher in a UI New York community and her students would tell her – “I don’t need to learn this, my [accountant (insert profession)] will do it for me.”

    We are focusing on the wrong solution ….”

    Post of the last quarter century?

  • 213. Peter  |  August 14, 2013 at 11:36 am

    The truth is if you come from a functioning educated family, you will likely succeed in school. If you come from a broken home that doesn’t value education, you are unlikely to succeed in school.

    Schools can’t be everything to everyone.

  • 214. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  August 14, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    @ JMOChicago: Do you know if http://iirc.niu.edu/ cohort data really censors students that leave the school and that join the school?

    This data is too concentrated to be helpful to a parent choosing a school or someone trying to judge how well schools are performing. We never learn the magnitude by which children exceed or meet — the distribution of scores within the ranges. For example, how many 3rd graders in a school scored a 207 v. 235 (the meets range) or 329 v. 236 (the exceeds range). A school with students clustered near 233-235 might be more impressive than a school that has a higher % of exceeds but its meets students hover between 207-210.

    We also see odd changes from class-to-class year-over-year.
    These are the composite exceeds percentages for Decatur 3rd graders for the past three years:

    65.5 2011
    70.7 2012
    78.3 2013

    Should we conclude that Decatur 3rd grade teachers improved their teaching over the past three years or that the capabilities of the incoming 3rd graders rose each year?

    And if you have read some of the ISAT sample questions, you should have grave doubts about what the value of the test is.

  • 215. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  August 14, 2013 at 12:20 pm

    For a sample 8th grade reading question, see http://www.skepticismiscertain.org/376/

    The poem is on p.9 of the 1st link.

  • 216. SoxSideIrish4  |  August 14, 2013 at 12:42 pm

    Parents of more than 4,000 Va. students given wrong testing results http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/pearson-miscalculates-scorecards-for-more-than-4000-va-students/2013/08/13/5620cc42-042d-11e3-a07f-49ddc7417125_story.html

  • 217. JMOChicago  |  August 14, 2013 at 3:16 pm

    #213: Schools can’t be everything to everyone.

    Exactly. The communities are failing these families…but placing all of the responsibility for “fixing/fighting” multigenerational poverty on frontline teachers. Schools shouldn’t have to be everything to everyone.

    #214: I don’t know. I can try to look into it. I’m not a fan of the ISAT in general. If we have to have standardized tests at all, I like the concept of testing at the beginning and end of each year (and that’s it…no other testing, plz) like the NWEA/MAP better than the ISAT. At least you can see where kids had to begin, what teachers had to do to get them farther. It would be great if they could share some kind of measure of the span of differentiation in each room as well, but I don’t think that is reported to the public.

  • 218. yetanotherCPSparent  |  August 14, 2013 at 3:58 pm

    @194 With all due respect to the Lincoln principal, I think it is highly misleading to suggest that additional Title 1 funds more than make up for the increased needs associated with having more poor children in your school. There is a reason that Title 1 is called “compensatory” funding.

  • 219. FP  |  August 18, 2013 at 6:21 am

    Carol A

    As a former teacher and administrator I never assume “parents don’t care”. I used to believe this way however timeless encounters revealed that its not that easy.

    Sometimes, parents are doing the best they can to just get them to school everyday. I know that socio-economics impacts student performance but it isn’t always an indicator if parents not caring. Maybe you didn’t link tge not caring to socio economic class — if not sorry.

    Maybe you link poor performance to parents not caring and I’m saying that’s not accurate.

    I can tell you from personal experience when my husband leaves on business and everyday tasks fall on me alone—-not all the homework gets done- a lot of forgetting to sign this or that might happen- fast food might be on the menu. And this is just a temporary condition.
    I’ve had single moms collapse in my arms in tears because they are at the end of their ropes.

    Sorry to rant —but it’s not always what it seems.

  • 220. mom2  |  August 18, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    Not sure where to post this question, but thought I’d try here. For those of you that may know, what suburban schools are known for doing a good job for students with an IEP for minor to medium range learning disabilities? Money is becoming an issue living in the city and we are considering a move.

  • 221. anonymouse teacher  |  August 18, 2013 at 5:16 pm

    @220, I taught in Evanston ten years ago and I saw incredible care and attention and time being devoted to special needs students (and all students) though I don’t know if it would meet your financial needs, it is kind of a pricey town. I’ve heard good things as well about Downers Grove, LaGrange, Brookfield, Oak Park and Elmhurst. (some of those are expensive to live in, some not so terribly much)

  • 222. mom2  |  August 19, 2013 at 9:28 am

    Thank you, anonymouse. Any knowledge of Naperville or Buffalo Grove or Palatine or Hoffman Estates? I hear the schools are good, but I don’t know about learning disabilities.

  • 223. CarolA  |  August 19, 2013 at 6:45 pm

    FP: I realize that it’s not about parents not caring sometimes, but rather tight schedules. I get it, I truly do. What I object to is parents who continue to have children even though they can barely find time for the one or two that they already have. It’s a mind-set that I don’t agree with. I can understand one “accident”. Maybe even two “accidents”. But in this day and age, if you are not able to take care of more properly, then don’t have any more. And yes, unless force is involved, it is possible to make sure you don’t get pregnant. Let’s not get into that discussion.

  • 224. FP  |  August 28, 2013 at 5:16 am

    Carol A do you feel that way about wealthy parents who only have one child but the nanny is the only one who does pick up and drop off and the child is suffering emotionally as well as not performing well? Because this parent can afford their children but aren’t engaged do they care more because they have the money to pay for a nanny to be there for them?

    Life and its situations are not cut & dry.

  • 225. Amy  |  August 30, 2013 at 4:50 pm

    We got our scores today with no percentile rankings, just the performance level scores. Is CPS too scared that there will be too many freaked out parents to tell us what the % breakdown is for our child. In the past the %’s have always been the scores used for selective enrollment process. I’ve never agreed with it but I’m very curious now. Any ideas?

  • 226. Ann  |  September 26, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    Amy, I am curious as well. My daughter attends Poe Classical and this is the first time percentiles weren’t included with the ISAT scores. This is also our year to apply for academic centers. On another note I know that some 8th graders have received their letters which offer percentiles and eligibility for selective enrollment high schools. Any info will be appreciated.

  • 227. WRP Mom  |  September 26, 2013 at 6:39 pm

    225 and 226, you should be able to get the percentages from your school. I would call them up and ask them for the info. Ann, wishing you good luck in this crazy application process. We did it 2 years ago when my child was at Decatur, so I can relate. She’s now an 8th grader, and yes, all CPS 8th graders get an eligibility letter with a PIN code and ISAT percentages.

  • 228. cpsobsessed  |  September 26, 2013 at 6:46 pm

    All 8th graders should have received an eligibility letter like that, delivered to the school.

    That is new this year. Importantly, the letter has the PIN in it.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 229. curious mom  |  September 29, 2013 at 12:01 am

    Does any one know what Grade 8 Average EXPLORE Scores about?

  • 230. Even One More CPS Mom  |  September 30, 2013 at 9:17 am


  • 231. Even One More CPS Mom  |  September 30, 2013 at 9:26 am

    The Catalyst article includes an Excel file showing all schools along with their previous and new rating.

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