High School “Hidden Gems” School Fair Sunday 9/22

September 18, 2013 at 12:28 am 446 comments

Hidden Gems Fair

Chicago School GPS is holding a high school “hidden gems” fair this weekend.  http://www.chischoolgps.com/Home_Page.html

Follow the link to register.  Admission is $20/family at the door or $10 if you register in advance.

As of today, there will be 27 high schools at the fair.  What a great chance to find out about a lot of schools in one place!

Gordon Tech
Chicago HS for the Arts(ChiArts)
Chicago Academy for the Arts
Holy Trinity High School
Alcott High School
Senn High School
Chicago Waldorf School
St. Benedict’s Prep
Queen of Peace High School
Global Citizenship Experience
Wolcott School
Luther North
Resurrection College Prep
Beacon Academy (Montessori)
Intrinsic School
Providence St. Mel
Lycee Francais
Disney II
Regina Dominica
Notre Dame College Prep
Westinghouse College Prep
Willows Academy
Chicago Hope Academy
Notre Dame for Girls
ASPIRA Early College Prep
British School
Lindblom Math & Science

Entry filed under: High school.

Fall 2013 – Applying to Kindergarten / Elementary School What Do Levels Mean?

446 Comments Add your own

  • 1. SoxSideIrish4  |  September 18, 2013 at 1:39 am

    College Prep means that the schools offer AP classes~I didn’t think Aspira offered ap.

  • 2. Chicago School GPS  |  September 18, 2013 at 5:52 am

    @1: That is my typo- they are ASPIRA Early College High School.

    Thanks for posting, CPSO! The fair also has informational seminars for parents on public and private school admissions, testing, scholarships (including Daniel Murphy), and college planning (never too early!).

    Middle school students have their own workshops as well, such as Peer to Peer sessions with high schoolers from participating schools (get the REAL story on life at that school), Executive Functioning (integral to a smooth transition to HS), and an essay writing boot camp since some public and private schools (and exams) have an essay component as part of the application process.

    Attendees are sure to learn something they didn’t know going in and we hope they will discover a “Hidden Gem” school that wasn’t on their radar before, but will help them widen their net when applying to high schools!

  • 3. SoxSideIrish4  |  September 18, 2013 at 7:25 am

    2. Chicago School GPS | September 18, 2013 at 5:52 am

    No, you didn’t have a typo~you put “Early” which I’ve never heard of before and is misleading bc they don’t have AP classes, so they really should bc called ASPIRIA Charter High School. I’m not taking issue w/you, Chicago School GPS, just the fact that their name is misleading to parents/students.

  • 4. SoxSideIrish4  |  September 18, 2013 at 7:37 am

    I’m sorry Chgo School GPS~I see where you put “early college hs’, that’s even more ridiculous and misleading!

  • […] High School “Hidden Gems” School Fair Sunday 9/22 CPS Obsessed: Admission is $20/family at the door or $10 if you register in advance. As of today, there will be 27 high schools at the fair.  What a great chance to find out about a lot of schools in one place! […]

  • 6. James  |  September 18, 2013 at 11:33 am

    Payton’s not a hidden gem, but thought I’d post this here. It’s a massive expansion for Payton.


  • 7. Family Friend  |  September 18, 2013 at 2:03 pm

    Aspira Early College High School is an appropriate name. Through a program with Chicago City Colleges, students can take college courses — for dual credit — while in high school. There are schools throughout the country, charter and non-charter, that are making this work very well. Last time I looked Aspira was not doing as well, but that was before they canned the administration and brought in new people (whom I know and esteem).

  • 8. Chicago School GPS  |  September 18, 2013 at 2:04 pm

    Two more schools added: Amundsen and Guerin Prep

  • 9. Jerry K  |  September 18, 2013 at 2:15 pm

    “Payton’s not a hidden gem, but thought I’d post this here. It’s a massive expansion for Payton.”

    Trying to keep the money makers in the city. Won’t work. It will just dilute the quality of Payton dropping it down to a Young or Jones. Big mistake.

  • 10. Iheoma  |  September 18, 2013 at 2:22 pm


  • 11. mom2  |  September 18, 2013 at 2:25 pm

    Jerry K – Taking more kids at Payton could lower the overall ACT score because they are taking some extra kids, but that doesn’t in any way dilute the quality of Payton. Payton only let in the very top of the top. Now they might let in some kids (oh my) that get 97% instead of 98-100%. The scores my drop, but the quality remains the same.

  • 12. Family Friend  |  September 18, 2013 at 2:41 pm

    Correction — Aspira is partnered with Northeastern, not Chicago City Colleges. I think that is a change.

  • 13. Luveurope  |  September 18, 2013 at 2:45 pm

    9 “dilute the quality” to 95 – 96 – 97% OMG!!!!!!! What is your problem w Young or Jones,

  • 14. HSObsessed  |  September 18, 2013 at 2:49 pm

    Re: Payton – I’m glad they’re expanding some of the smaller schools, like Jones and now Payton. It always seemed insane to me that in a system with about 22,000 kids per grade, they build a high school that serves 220 of those kids, or about 1%. And of course, about what, a third admitted are from private schools, so it only admitted about .7% of the CPS 8th grade class? At least there will be more spots going forward at Jones already, and Payton in a few years. Wonder whether Alderman Burnett will push for 100 of those extra 135 Payton seats to be reserved for kids within a proximity boundary, like Fioretti successfully did for Jones? Burnett is really active with that kind of thing.

  • 15. IB obsessedh  |  September 18, 2013 at 4:46 pm

    I find it disgusting that 17 million in a so-called broke system will be used to expand Payton, populated largely by private school elementary students, who are the children of relatively powerful people. Them that has gets, once again, while sped students and ESL kids services are cut.

  • 16. Chris  |  September 18, 2013 at 4:57 pm

    “Wonder whether Alderman Burnett will push for 100 of those extra 135 Payton seats to be reserved for kids within a proximity boundary, like Fioretti successfully did for Jones?”

    That’d be a fight.

  • 17. Chris  |  September 18, 2013 at 5:06 pm

    “17 million in a so-called broke system”

    Capital and operations budgets are separate, whatever you think of TIF. Same with CTA, same with the state as a whole.

    It’s like the difference between having a mortgage and buying groceries on credit.

    You want to complain about capital project X (eg, Payton expansion) vs capital project Y (eg, a/c in other schools), that’s completely legit. But saying that the district should zero out capital items to fund operations is not a legitimate answer.

  • 18. IB obsessedh  |  September 18, 2013 at 5:25 pm

    Well I concede that detail, but it makes no crucial difference to my point regarding whose children will benefit.

  • 19. Chris  |  September 18, 2013 at 5:52 pm

    “it makes no crucial difference to my point regarding whose children will benefit.”

    I’m just sayin’ that your point is stronger if it’s capital to capital, and operating to operating.

    You had put it as “how can they build X when they are cutting service Y” which allows CPS (and anyone else) to deflect with the (accurate) ‘two pockets’ point, and then more on to the next question, due to time constraints.

    Also, with the exception of the (relatively few) like Rauner who clout their non-city resident kids in, I don’t think that making an issue of where the kids at a SEHS went to elementary is a strong point, either. That said, I think there should be *some* preference given to CPS 8th graders, but am not sanguine about the political possibilities of that.

  • 20. LUV2europe  |  September 18, 2013 at 6:16 pm

    15 most of the private school kids are cops, fireman and teachers kids (city employees). You are going to begrudge them? FYI the parents PAID tuition for grammar school to avoid (not so good) CPS schools. sour grapes why don’t we address the tier system and forego it for test scores only? like that? i do

  • 21. IB obsessedh  |  September 18, 2013 at 6:59 pm

    @20 I know all about paying tuition for grammar school; I was a private school parent myself until recently, and I made no argument that CPS students should be given preference at SEHSs.
    Children of cops, firemen etc.are already privileged compared to children stuck going to rundown neighborhood HSs on the SW side. The privileged get and the clout-less are kicked to the curb.

    (And I don’t know that most of the private school kids are cops etc. kids. Anshe Emet grads and other private independent grads are well represented at WP and you don’t send a kid to Latin on a cop’s salary)

  • 22. HS Mom  |  September 18, 2013 at 7:29 pm

    @21 More selective enrollment seats is a good thing. More opportunity for everyone. Why shouldn’t the needs of high achieving kids be addressed?

    @20 better yet, a system based upon real income or merit with a % of seats allocated to lower income students in order to create/maintain diversity.

  • 23. IB obsessedh  |  September 18, 2013 at 8:25 pm

    @22 I agree more selective enrollment seats is a good thing, but not at the expense of CPS students who are in crumbling bldgs. And. why at WP? Some of the most privileged CPS students already. Why not at Lane or Lindblom? Or use the 17 million to refurbish the neighborhood HSs with IB programs, that he announced with such fanfare 2 years ago.?

  • 24. HS Mom  |  September 18, 2013 at 9:05 pm

    Seems to me that money is going to various schools. Why not WP. Lane is already the largest SE school. Lindblom does not have the demand that Payton does. Payton is centrally located and is the school of choice for families all over Chicago. I think it’s a fantastic opportunity for more kids to benefit from the programming available at Payton.

  • 25. cpsobsessed  |  September 18, 2013 at 9:08 pm

    I keep copying HSmom – agree, those factors point to WP as a good choice among the SE high schools.

    $17 mill for 400 kids a year does seem a little steep though. For that price they can’t get more spaces?

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 26. HSObsessed  |  September 19, 2013 at 8:35 am

    @25 – $17 million for a newly built structure that can accommodate 400 kids seems like a pretty great bargain to me.

    @23 – There are now about 20 HS IB programs up and running or developing, all over the city, with brand new programs in Bronzeville, Farragut, Schurz, Kennedy, Juarez, and new wall-to-wall programs developing at Taft, LP, Senn, Clemente, Back of the Yards, Hyde Park Academy, as well as all the existing IB programs at Amundsen, Curie, Kelly, Ogden and others. Those programs are getting funding, and will serve far, far more kids than the 400 kids who will go to Payton in the future.

    The Back of the Yards HS that just opened up last month is a brand new, state-of-the-art facility that is as dazzling as the new Jones building, with science labs and tennis courts, and it is a neighborhood high school, enrolling all who live within the boundaries. That’s the second new neighborhood high school that the southwest side has gotten in the last year or two, as Solorio was just built recently as well. Anyone who says that CPS is not investing in neighborhood high schools or ignoring the overcrowding problems is not paying close enough attention. Part of the problem is that a story about Payton getting additional investment makes it onto the Sun Times front page, because it feeds the stereotype of “the rich get richer”, whereas brand spanking new neighborhood high schools opening on the southwest side are simply not considered as newsworthy.

  • 27. neighborhood parent  |  September 19, 2013 at 9:32 am

    HSO – well said.
    As the parent of a 2nd grader, I have more hope and excitement about the HS situation than I did when my kid was a preschooler. There are more seats, more acceptable programs to consider, and a political consensus that offerings needed to expand.

    I know that others who feel the overcrowding are not convinced that the rate of change is fast enough and I agree that politics can trump fairness…. but this blog used to be filled with folks who wondered if the politicians/powers-that-be “got it”.

  • 28. junior  |  September 19, 2013 at 9:37 am

    @15 IBObsessed

    I think the class resentment is a little misplaced here.

    First, SE schools, along with magnets, are the only schools that strictly enforce an admissions policy based on diversity to guarantee that all economic tiers are strongly represented. So, the Payton funding will go to a fairly broad segment of the city.

    Second, you can flip the public/private argument on its head in many cases and argue that the privileged are those in upper middle class neighborhoods with great options for free public education. Often, those who go the private school route are those who don’t have good public options, and often they struggle mightily with those tuition bills. In effect, they get no return on their paying of city taxes for public education, because they did not win the magnet lottery, don’t have a good neighborhood option and don’t test into SE schools.

    I’ve also heard the class resentment go the other way, when “rich” people enroll in public schools. I hear folks begrudge them a spot in a magnet because they are “taking a spot away from a poor kid”.

    Which is it? Do we resent rich people for going public or do we resent them for going private? Methinks we simply like to resent them.

  • 29. Chris  |  September 19, 2013 at 9:49 am

    “$17 mill for 400 kids a year”

    It’s for ~100 “extra” kids per class year.

    Presumably the first thing they will do is level out the class sizes, IIRC, this year’s senior class is only about 150 kids, while the other 3 are ~240. After the expansion, there’ll be space for ~300-325 per class.

    It’s *WAYWAY* cheaper per student than Jones. Or Westinghouse. Both of which rang up over $100m in construction costs. Back of the Yard and Solorio were a little cheaper, but *still * more expensive than Payton’s expansion on a per student basis, as they were both built to serve 1200 students (300/class, just as the expanded Payton will).

  • 30. HS Mom  |  September 19, 2013 at 10:34 am

    @26 – Great information. There’s also the new South Shore building opening up seats on the south side. Beautiful building with SE, IB and career track.

    As far as costs are concerned, my understanding from attending presentation meetings is that any new, add on or changes to CPS structures use latest green construction guidelines and yes, it’s consistently pricey no matter where it’s located.

  • 31. Chris  |  September 19, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    “As far as costs are concerned, my understanding from attending presentation meetings is that any new, add on or changes to CPS structures use latest green construction guidelines and yes, it’s consistently pricey no matter where it’s located.”

    New schools in LA run about $100k/seat, so all of these new schools are comparatively cheap, and expansion a good value.

  • 32. payton  |  September 19, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    Disclosure: my kid is at payton

    “Trying to keep the money makers in the city. Won’t work. It will just dilute the quality of Payton dropping it down to a Young or Jones. Big mistake.”

    The “quality” wont budge. If anything the top students at WY may now be able to go to Payton, the usual first choice. So maybe Payton’s score drops a fraction but so does WY’s. At schools like Lab a number of 8th graders always apply to Payton, if they get in they go, if not they stay (Northside is too far from Hyde Park), these kids arent applying to Jones. The difference between scoring 95s (jones) and perfect may seem small but its huge.

    Two years ago Payton had the highest average score (across all tiers) ever in Chicago. Last year they scored even higher. As their brand grows the number of top applicants keeps increasing.

    Reaction to this news is interesting. Payton students dont like it. CTU is opposed. But for a pure return on $ basis its the best investment the city could make. An average ACT of 29.5? That is one of the top in the country without any qualifiers. For a school that is 40% poverty? Yes, we need more of that.

  • 33. Chris  |  September 19, 2013 at 2:49 pm

    “Reaction to this news is interesting. Payton students dont like it. CTU is opposed.”

    CTU reflexively opposes anything Rahm likes at this point; they are as Fox News to Obama–if Rahm developed magic powers and could suddenly fund, house and competently staff schools with 5:1 student to teacher ratios, get the pension to 110% funding, and also pre-fund retiree health-care on a 100 year basis, all while giving teacher a 50% raise, CTU would oppose to the plan, and ask “why not 4:1, why not nicer school buildings, why not a 75% raise–where is the EQUITY!!!”. So that obviously makes sense.

    Why are the students opposed?
    –Expectation of disruption due to construction (fine; understandable; too bad for them)?
    –Belief that the larger classes will have a negative effect on the learning experience (plausible, but doubtful; also minimal impact until they’re all graduated, anyway)?
    –Worry about ‘diluting the brand’ or similar (they should get over themselves)?

  • 34. Jen  |  September 19, 2013 at 3:02 pm

    Some people in here seem mighty haughty.
    Neither Jones nor Whitney ( 2 of the best high schools in the country) will lose their top students. Both schools have PLENTY of students who come in with near perfect scores every year who could go anywhere.

  • 35. James  |  September 19, 2013 at 3:18 pm

    @33 Chris —

    I have kids at Payton and from what I’ve heard from them, the current students have had mixed, though generally overall positive, reactions so far. On the negative side, I haven’t heard (or have heard reported) complaints about the “brand” being diluted. I think the kids believe (I assume rightly) that the 100 extra kids per class will be as accomplished as the current students are. I think the negative reactions have to do with two things. First, going to school for a year and half in a construction zone. I actually don’t think that’s trivial. I don’t think it’s an awful thing, but it certainly will be disruptive. But, second, I think the kids like being “the little school that could.” The current class sizes are between 190 and 220 students per class, smaller than Northside and quite a bit smaller than WY and the new Jones. Yet Payton holds its own against those schools (academically and otherwise) while maintaining a pretty tight-knit community of students, teachers, and parents, a community that is fostered in large part by the school’s small size. I think there is a fear that expansion might cause some of that culture to be lost. And that’s a legitimate fear, I think.

    But lots of kids recognize that the expansion is, overall, a good thing and will allow many more of their peers to get the great high school education that they’ve enjoyed. Yes, a bit of the “old” Payton will be lost, but the “new” Payton will mostly be the same and will have expanded opportunities for more students — and the current kids generally seem to think that’s an OK tradeoff. As do I and many of the other parents I’ve talked to.

    At least, that’s what I’m hearing from my high schoolers…

  • 36. junior  |  September 19, 2013 at 3:19 pm

    The test score fetish has gotten beyond ridiculous. If you pick your kid’s school based on a couple of percentage points difference in test scores, then IMHO you are a being pretty foolish (regardless of what your ACT score says). The largest share of any difference in test scores will be determined by demographic differences and differences in the caliber of students who are admitted — but it says approximately zero about the comparative quality of the schools. This is why most people will consider location, social factors, extracurriculars, culture, curriculum, etc., as determinant factors to decide between comparable schools.

    If you look at SE high schools, what’s the greatest determinant of their test scores? Location! So much for a school’s “brand.”

  • 37. Chris  |  September 19, 2013 at 3:25 pm

    “At least, that’s what I’m hearing from my high schoolers…”

    Thanks! What you’re hearing all sound like legitimate concerns (I too often fear the worst).

    It does seem (based on the ‘standard’ school plan that has been built a couple of times now) that CPS–rightly or wrongly–has decided that 1200 is the ‘right’ size for new HS’s, and I imagine they want to eliminate any smaller ones.

  • 38. James  |  September 19, 2013 at 3:25 pm

    @36 junior —

    “If you look at SE high schools, what’s the greatest determinant of their test scores? Location!”

    I’m not being difficult, but I don’t know what you mean by this. Are you saying that the location of the SE high school (good neighborhood vs bad neighborhood) determines the test scores of the kids in that school? If so, that is simply wrong. To take just one example, Lane, located in a prosperous north side neighborhood, right near Roscoe Village, has a lower average ACT score than Lindbloom, which ain’t exactly on the Gold Coast. I don’t think the location of the SE schools has a thing to do with their ACT scores.

  • 39. Jen  |  September 19, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    Lane does NOT have a lower ACT score than Lindblom
    Last I saw Lane had a 24 Average and Linblom around a 22
    Both are fine schools though

  • 40. junior  |  September 19, 2013 at 3:44 pm

    @38 James

    Traditionally, Lane has not been considered one of the Big 4 SEs, so maybe I need to qualify my statement to apply to different “tiers” of SEs. Lane is probably in transition to join the Big 4 as an elite SE (and that has a lot to do with its location).

    What I mean is that if you look at a school like NCSP, which is situated smack in the middle of Tier-4-land, you are going to get a very elite selection of Tier 4 students, but NCSP will not necessarily attract the strongest Tier 1-3 students (compared to more centrally schools like WY or Jones or even WP). But if you put a school like WP on the south side (and arguably these already exist), then the demographics and scores will be totally different.

    Location –> influences demographics –> influences scores

  • 41. James  |  September 19, 2013 at 3:46 pm

    @39 Jen —

    I’m sorry. You’re right. I was confused on two counts. First, I was thinking of the U.S. News rankings, which are heavily score dependent, but not based only on ACT scores. Second, I was thinking of Brooks, which is ranked in U.S. News higher than Lane. But, yes, Lane’s most recent average ACT (23.7) is higher than Lindbloom’s (22.4). And, yes, all are good scores.

    My point stands, though. When talking about SE high schools, the location of the schools does not determine the average ACT at that school.

  • 42. James  |  September 19, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    @40 junior —

    “Location –> influences demographics –> influences scores”

    As a general matter, I agree. I guess maybe I’d modify it slightly:

    Location –> influences transportation options for prospective students –> influences demographics at the school –> scores

  • 43. Chicago School GPS  |  September 19, 2013 at 3:52 pm

    CPS HS Guides will be available to families at this Sunday’s fair. It’s a quickie fact sheet on each CPS choice (SEHS, Magnet, CTE, IB, Charter, etc) and has lots of helpful info on applying, include SEHS exam dates:
    The October and November dates are the only ones whereby scores will be returned prior to the application deadline of Dec. 13. Last year, they had multiple exam sessions on some later dates, and even added an extra date. Not sure yet if they will need to do so again this year.

    You can start scheduling your exam date, info sessions, Senn auditions, etc. on 9/23/13 and applications open on 10/1/13.

  • 44. HS Mom  |  September 19, 2013 at 3:55 pm

    Chris – for some reason, technically school size for new buildings is in 300 increments – 900, 1200, 1500.

    James – you voice the same concerns some had at Jones. The thought of change can be difficult for some. This is quickly overcome with all the positive expanded opportunities and the realization that a larger community is not necessarily less personal in nature. More clubs, teachers, programs, classes, space etc. FWIW the students are completely separate from the construction with work affecting existing space happening over breaks.

    Jen – Thank you. It’s absurd to think that the highest scoring students only choose Payton or Northside. And what about the kids going into Lane and the other SE’s and IB’s? Please. Wow, comments about 98%ers etc really maker me wonder.

  • 45. junior  |  September 19, 2013 at 3:58 pm

    @42 James


    You can see why CPS is trying to locate more the SE seats in central areas that are more readily accessible from various parts of the city. A place like NCSP, despite its stellar “brand”, has a hard time attracting the corresponding elite caliber of students from Tier 1/2 neighborhoods, who have a hard time getting there.

  • 46. SoxSideIrish4  |  September 19, 2013 at 4:03 pm

    I’m not opposed to Payton expanding at all. They’ve been wanting to but didn’t know if they had the land. They must have gotten the land (the $$$ was always there if they could get the land).

  • 47. SoxSideIrish4  |  September 19, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    45. junior | September 19, 2013 at 3:58 pm

    What I’ve heard from some ppl who can get to NSP~is they don’t like the math (IMPmath)~there are some tiers right near that area who don’t have to travel, I thought.

  • 48. IBobsessed  |  September 19, 2013 at 4:25 pm

    Wanting equity in distribution of publically funded resources is not equivalent to class resentment. My concern is closure of the academic achievement gap between races and classes. Surely disapproval that already high achieving and privileged children are receiving yet more privilege and resources cannot be dismissed as simply ‘class resentment’.

    And again, I WAS one of those parents paying tuition. A distinction needs to be made between parochial schools and private schools. Some who use the much less expensive parochials do struggle to pay the tuition, but they have it. The vast majority private schools do not “struggle mightily” (forgo food, clothing, a car) to pay the tuition and have $$ for the annual fund and the silent auction. Most independent privates have 20% of students receiving financial aid. The rest are able to pay the 17-28k themselves. I have paid tuition at both types and think I still received a return on my city taxes because they helped educate the children who in my community who are the future workforce and voting citizens. I agree the most privileged are those in upper middle class neighborhood who have great ‘free’ education. Is wanting that for all children ‘class resentment’? I don’t think so. I have never said that private school kids shouldn’t be at Payton and I certainly don’t resent anyone going private because I did it for my child.
    I plan to do some polling of the capital investment needs at other HSs . And hear from those who attend and teach at these schools. Unfortunately this blog is not very informed by the experiences of those outside the high achieving bubble

  • 49. anonymouse teacher  |  September 19, 2013 at 6:34 pm

    I don’t think adding seats to SEHS’s will dilute scores at all. We could multiply the number by 5 and still have kids to fill those seats. Think about how many very capable students we have in parochial schools across the city. While a few families really value religious education for its own sake, I’d say most people would trade a spot at say, St. Bens or Gordon Tech in a heartbeat for a spot at one of the top 5 SEHS’s.

  • 50. Sped Mom  |  September 19, 2013 at 9:36 pm

    Gosh. I just wish Emanuel and the BOE would give some love to kids with disabilities. Not seeing it. It’s getting worse, actually. Much worse.

  • 51. SoxSideIrish4  |  September 19, 2013 at 9:49 pm

    50. Sped Mom | September 19, 2013 at 9:36 pm

    Well 2day was a big WIN for sped kids in IL ~ISBE chair did not call the cap of sped kids being eliminating in IL. But I hear you~Rahm has got to share that wealth & there’s a lot of money for all kids!

  • 52. ProductOfCPS  |  September 20, 2013 at 12:33 am

    As a Payton student I would like to share some information. The news of expansion came as a shock to most of the student body and although we are all happy to get an expansion for more space many of us feel that at least part the money could be used elsewhere as all Payton needs to do is restore st. Joes (“west wing”) and maybe get a field as we do not own the park next to us and the current students would be happy. I think we would rather rehire some of the teachers and staff that were let go of due to budget cuts. Also, we as a student body know that there are many schools that don’t have nearly as much as we do and we feel like the money would be better suited to help improve those schools rather than the extra 150 kids a year at Payton. Lastly I wanted to address the private schools feeding into Payton subject. Although Payton has a large number of private school students they are not our main feeder schools. Most of our kids, including myself, come from little Lincoln, Bell, Edison, Hawthorne, LaSalle, and Ogden all of which are CPS schools.

  • 53. SoxSideIrish4  |  September 20, 2013 at 7:13 am

    52. ProductOfCPS | September 20, 2013 at 12:33 am

    You’re school has been trying to get an annex for awhile but didn’t have the land. It must have just acquired the land that was needed. I think there will be more seats for SEHS students and there will probably be seats for area students. I think this is a good for the city and good for CPS students who could really use more seats at a SEHS.

  • 54. HS parent  |  September 20, 2013 at 9:59 am

    52’s comments align with what my Payton student says– there are concerns about equity across the system and class size increased noticeably in many classes this year due to budget cuts. The new annex is going to be built in the parking lot behind the school–and I guess there’s going to be underground parking. I would also add, there are a lot of kids at Payton, including my own, who did not come from Northside select/magnet/lottery schools and understand very well what its like to go to an underfunded CPS neighborhood school that has no “friends of” organization.

  • 55. Chris  |  September 20, 2013 at 10:13 am

    “While a few families really value religious education for its own sake, I’d say most people would trade a spot at say, St. Bens or Gordon Tech in a heartbeat for a spot at one of the top 5 SEHS’s.”

    MOST would trade even Iggy for Payton, value of religious education or not.

    “there will probably be seats for area students”

    There will probably NOT be seats for area students. The ‘area’ already has LPHS and Ogden as attendance area options. The a-a HS for across the street from Jones is Phillips, on *PERSHING*. The equivalent for Payton (but heading north) would be sending them to Lake View. Clemente is a mile closer to Payton that Phillips is to 800 S State.

    I get that some want to raise it as a possibility, to get possible beneficiaries of it to exert political pressure, but I don’t think that’s a winnable fight, nor the place to spend political capital.

  • 56. Charla  |  September 20, 2013 at 10:29 am

    Seriously, what the f*ck? What the f*ck is the 19th Ward getting for high school options that are nearby? Or any improvements to Kellogg, Clissold, Cassell or Mt. Greenwood?

    – Jones got a new high school AND a refurbishment of the old building
    – South Shore got a new high school
    – Walter Payton is getting a $115M addition

    MPHS 10 year plan consists of having kids beef up on readin’, ‘ritin’ and ‘rithmetic to be at grade-level, a new disciplinary plan and getting teachers to participate in meetings and career development.

    In the 19th Ward, we pay MILLIONS of dollars in property taxes and we do not have a viable local high school option. This is fucking BULLSHIT.

  • 57. HS Mom  |  September 20, 2013 at 10:37 am

    Payton people – thanks for posting your thoughts

    Comments for further thought – The 12M comes from funds designated only for building funds. The money cannot be used for teachers, technology, books or toilet paper. They are 2 different funds/expenditures and yes, there is a need for both. Building projects were just approved for schools all over the city. Not enough, but something, with Payton being just one of others.

    Your project is not about improving your already gracious conditions in a relatively new building (what’s not to like), its about giving more kids access to a Payton education. My neighborhood HS is underutilized and underachieving. Why add an annex or refurbish the interior instead of expanding successful programs?

    People do not want a band aid on their otherwise crappy high school – they want to go to your school. If you look at this addition as really an expansion of the selective enrollment program, adding seats to the now 10 schools you might change your perspective.

    Your well intended desire to spread the wealth is best achieved by opening up your own doors.

  • 58. dad  |  September 20, 2013 at 11:22 am

    Jerry K | September 18, 2013 at 2:15 pm

    “Trying to keep the money makers in the city. Won’t work. It will just dilute the quality of Payton dropping it down to a Young or Jones. Big mistake”

    Are you serious????? You simply cannot compare these schools–they are all really good but have different characteristics. I have one at Lane and one at Jones. WYHS is a wonderful school and filled with exceptionally bright students and staff. l I have to say that I have always loved Lane. I love the building and its general quirkiness–it is filled with a very diverse faculty. The array of academic options ise astounding and I think we had one bad teacher in four years (okay two if you add the crazy gym teacher) and it appears to be a lot harder than Jones. Perhaps more traditional. I’m not thrilled with the new administration.

    The new Jones building is gorgeous but of course it does not have Lane’s history. The administration is very responsive and it is far easier to get issues addressed than at Lane. I was very surprised to see how young and inexperienced most of her teachers are at Jones. Two of them seem very weak and two seem very strong. My student says that there are some very wealthy students from the neighborhood–I noted that it was mainly white folks at freshman parent night.

    WYHS is probably similar to Lane because of its size. It can have powerhouse sports as well as a wide assortment of academic options. Because there are more students, there will be a wider diversity of academic performance amongst the students.

    Do not get hung up on these scores. Think about the right fit for your child.

  • 59. IBobsessed  |  September 20, 2013 at 11:28 am

    HS Mom- 17million to benefit an additional 150 privileged (and if they can be admitted to WP, they’re fortunate in background no matter what elementary school they attended) high acheiving students does not appear to be most efficient way to “spread the wealth”. Talk about band aids, a quick, ‘feel good now’ bone thrown.

    families with resources

  • 60. klm  |  September 20, 2013 at 11:29 am

    Re: kids from private schools going to Payton, Northside, etc.

    First off, all Chicagoans are entitled to a public education. Where does this idea that if a kid went to Sacred Heart or City Day (both which go only up to 8th grade) they should somehow be precluded (if not officially, then at least morally) from enrolling at Payton or Northside? Also, there is the whole issue of some (not most, but ‘some’) kids going to these schools from very modest backgrounds (e.g., a Latino boy at City Day from Little Village whose parents barely speak English –I know for a fact this happens), sometimes even receiving full-tuition scholarships or seriously reduced tuition. I know of a woman with two kids at Catherine Cook –she claims the financial aid she receives is like 75% off full tuition. Should her kids somehow be less deserving of a place like WY, Payton, etc., because they went to Catherine Cook instead of CPS, K-8? Also, there’s the glaringly obvious point that if somebody pays private tuition and avoids enrolling there kids in CPS, that leaves more money for our kids at CPS. I know that there’s some per-student state and federal funds that are dependent on current enrollment, but there’s some funds that are static, regardless of enrollment numbers. So, go ahead and let them enroll their kids at Anshe Emet and St. Clement –that leaves more money for us. Their private school tuition is indirectly subsidizing CPS funding in that sense –cool with me.

    Second, in Chicago, “private” more often than not means “parochial”, as in regular Catholic schools that educate kids mostly from regular families –many working-class and lower-income ones, as well (many of whom don’t want to, but feel that they have no choice but to go parochial when their only other option is a failing CPS school with a gang problem that suffers from a lack of rigor in its curriculum –who could blame somebody for choosing a parochial school in a case like that?). These are not “privileged” people. The percentage of “private” school enrollment at Latin, Parker and Lab is fairly small by comparison.

    Third, people can’t on hand complain that more people with money won’t send their kids to CPS schools, but when they do complain that their kids are taking too many places at the “good” ones. If there’s a CPS HS that’s good enough for a partner at Skadden Arps that lives in the Gold Coast, people should be happy, not p***ed off that somebody like that is taking a place at Payton. When was it ever supposed to be that CPS is reserved only for the “regular” people, not the well-heeled? Besides, somebody like that will be Tier 4 and have top 1-2% scores to get into Northside –it’s already easier for a Tier 1 kid to get into Northside than a Tier 4 kids to get into Lane, so what more do you want?

    Public education is an institution that is for 100% of the population –if they want it. No, people with options won’t send their kids to lousy public schools (when has that ever not been that case –how many of us would have sent our kids to Nettelhorst or Audubon 10 or 20 years ago?), but they will be happy to do so if they are “good” ones. What’s wrong with that? Nobody here would send their kid to a failure factory (this whole site is devoted to study and learn better how to get one’s kids a good education in a public school system full of ‘bad’ schools) and would seek other options instead.

    Finally, don’t we want our kids going to school with the offspring of professionally successful people, as well as working-class and just regular ones? Why would be want only kids from with certain incomes in certain public schools?

    The beauty part of a school like Payton is that a kid from a single-parent home where the mother is a shift manger at McDonald’s is learning next to an upper-middle-class kids from Lincoln Park whose parents could pay $25k+/year to go to Chicago City Day and who summers in Harbor Springs. I always thought socio-economic diversity in public schools was a good thing, not something to complain about when there too much of the “wrong” kind.

  • 61. SoxSideIrish4  |  September 20, 2013 at 11:40 am

    55. Chris | September 20, 2013 at 10:13 am

    MOST would trade even Iggy for Payton, value of religious education or not.~Doubtful~I know several who got into Payton & WY and they are attending Iggy and it does go w/religious ed.

    “there will probably be seats for area students”~(I wrote this in another post)~The reason I wrote this is when I heard abt WP’s annex last summer, there was talk abt area kids. So while I have no knowledge if it will happen~it’s not off the table ~I should have said ‘possibly’ not ‘probably’, but I am hearing that.

  • 62. Chris  |  September 20, 2013 at 11:54 am

    56. Charla: “Walter Payton is getting a $115M addition”

    Only off by $98 million. But don’t let that stop you.

  • 63. Chris  |  September 20, 2013 at 11:57 am

    SSI: “Doubtful~I know several”

    So, you know 10 or 20. Iggy has under 40 students?

    And, no offense bc WY is a *great* school, but it ain’t Payton. You and I both know people who would *only* send their kids to CPS if it were Payton (or, in some cases, NSCP), so throwing WY in there is a red herring.

  • 64. Chris  |  September 20, 2013 at 12:02 pm

    Also: “The reason I wrote this is when I heard abt WP’s annex last summer, there was talk abt area kids.”

    Yeah, and whenever X happens in Chicago there is talk about X benefiting group Y (or being *awful* for group Z). Raising rumor and baseless hope (or fear) to ‘possible” (nevermind “probable”) is, in the words of our former mayor, silly silly silly.

    The ‘hood already as two of the ‘best’ a-a HS’s covering (basically) all of it; why *in a million years* would CPS accept the heat for taking away Tier 1 and 2 seats at Payton to benefit the Gold Coast?

  • 65. Chris  |  September 20, 2013 at 12:07 pm

    “17million to benefit an additional 150 privileged (and if they can be admitted to WP, they’re fortunate in background no matter what elementary school they attended)”

    So, you’re opposed to letting a few dozen more Tier 1/2 kids get into Payton? Because they are ‘privileged’ to be smart and have worked hard in school? And bc some “rich” kids will benefit, too?

    Got it.

  • 66. Jen  |  September 20, 2013 at 12:20 pm

    I didn’t know Whitney Young wasn’t a “Payton”? That would be news to me considering Whitney Young, with a far larger student body, managed to rank higher than Payton on Tribune (Suntimes ?) ranking lists last year and has done so several times over the last decade.

  • 67. SoxSideIrish4  |  September 20, 2013 at 12:36 pm

    63. Chris | September 20, 2013 at 11:57 am

    I said I know “several” kids who got into Payton and WY and went to Iggy. I don’t know any kids trying for NSP. I know MANY parents who would NOT want their kids to got NSP or Jones bc of their Math program. That’s just the ppl I know.

    I still believe neighborhood students is on the table for WP~like they did for Jones.

  • 68. RL Julia  |  September 20, 2013 at 12:37 pm

    Everyone has their own biases about schools. I have run into parents over the years who will only consider (for a wide variety of highly personal reasons that are generally far from objective) Whitney, NSCP, Payton, Lane, Lindblom, Jones and any number of other places. We argue rankings but in the end, they are all great schools with different personalities and things to offer, why split hairs over this?

  • 69. SoxSideIrish4  |  September 20, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    68. RL Julia | September 20, 2013 at 12:37 pm

    ‘they are all great schools with different personalities and things to offer,’ EXACTLY ~ everyone has to do what is best for their family!

  • 70. dad  |  September 20, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    “I still believe neighborhood students is on the table for WP~like they did for Jones.”

    Well, if it is TIF money, then there is precedent. Who is the alderman for WP? It was largely a huge push by Fioretti–only have anectodal information from my Jones student who says many wealthy kids from the downtown neighborhood and high rises and kids from South Loop school. Also says there are a lot of catholic school kid–that was true of Lane as well.

    By the way, WYHS is an amazing school and I know many kids who have gone on to the Ivies which should impress some of you posters since that seems to be what impresses you.

  • 71. Iheoma  |  September 20, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    I really like the list that I see here of “hidden gem” high schools. It’s a nice mix of public, private, parochial, SEHS and charters. Maybe some folks on this board who frequently make comments about schools that they have never seen will attend the fair to learn about the wide variety of strong schools that exist in Chicago. It might be a good learning experience to see and hear from staff and students from schools other than WP, NSCP, Lane, Jones and WY. There are great schools out there that meet the needs of highly talented and committed students outside of the “big four (five). I’ve encouraged my friends who don’t have kids in an AC to consider attending the fair.

  • 72. Counterpoint for discussion  |  September 20, 2013 at 1:30 pm

    Realistically, for the people with means that are Type A/Tiger Moms, the only real choice is between NSCP and Payton. All are considered equal academic powerhouses. Everything else is an up an commer.

  • 73. Iheoma  |  September 20, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    @72 — I know and I think that it’s really a very limited way of thinking about things. If the deal is that NSCP and WP are the only two schools worth attending, why even comment on post called “hidden gems”?

  • 74. junior  |  September 20, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    I find it interesting that people in this day and age would red-shirt their kid in kindergarten, but won’t consider sending their kid to a less competitive high school that would allow them a better chance to develop as a leader and allow them to devote more time to a more balanced life with more extracurricular activities.

    Does every kid in WP/NCSP/WY/Jones/etc thrive in the most competitive and demanding environment that they can get admitted into? I think not. How many kids in these schools would really blossom if some of the competitive pressure were taken away? Is it worth the *status* of going to a top school when you finish in the bottom half of your class? Or, is it better to have the experience of leadership and accomplishment at a less competitive school?

    You shouldn’t get points for what the rest of the kids in the school do — you should only care about what works for your own kid. (Let me recognize this rare moment of agreement with SSI!)

    I think there are plenty of excellent choices on the “hidden gem” list.

  • 75. cpsobsessed  |  September 20, 2013 at 2:05 pm


    FYI, new tiers are posted… 15% changed from LY.

  • 76. cpsobsessed  |  September 20, 2013 at 2:14 pm

    “you should only care about what works for your own kid.”

    The irony of CPS parents is that most would agree with that, yet we tend to operate in the group mentality, in that parents only want to send their kids to a school when they know other similar kids will be there and/or similar parents “approve” of the school by sending their kids there. This is how the elementary schools were able to grow enrollment among Tier3-4-type parents. A group of parents usually decided to do it together.

    That seems to be an obstacle for high school though because the dynamics are different on multiple levels, that hopefully can be overcome by the same parents who were open minded about elem schools.

  • 77. LUV2europe  |  September 20, 2013 at 2:15 pm

    75. Still tier4. Thank god for my “hidden gem” hs.

  • 78. cps parent  |  September 20, 2013 at 2:20 pm

    It’s the same mentality that led GWU president to comment that the university became much more selective after it hiked tuition substantially. People equated more expensive with better. It’s the same thing here: people equate selectivity with quality. We resisted this and found schools that fit –albeit, yes, they are SE high schools. Now we are going through the same thing with college–but I doubly resisting it now especially when we are continually flooded with emails and direct mailings from colleges. I’m thinking of bucking the trend and having my kid take a year of two off before going to college.

  • 79. pantherparent  |  September 20, 2013 at 2:20 pm

    I always find it disheartening when people on this board argue over one school being better than the other. Payton vs NCP. Whitney vs. Lane. Iggy vs Jones. Come on. These are all great schools filled with great kids.

    At least the mayor has recognized a problem. Parents have been clamoring for more high school options and now he’s providing some. More seats at Jones. More seats at Payton. Wall-to-wall IB at Taft. These moves should be applauded.

    As much as many feel the whole system needs to be fixed, the mayor is smart enought to know that change will only occur incrementally.

  • 80. Charla  |  September 20, 2013 at 2:34 pm

    @Chris – Give me a break, it was a typo. It should’ve read $~15 Mil

    The point remains: Where is the 19th Ward improved high school? Most of our kids are selecting Ignatius, Jones or Payton because Morgan Park HS is a gang-infested hellhole. Either shape that school up by changing to SE or wall-to-wall IB, or build a NEW high school for the NEIGHBORHOOD kids.

  • 81. Jen  |  September 20, 2013 at 2:38 pm

    They should have made Morgan Park the selective enrollment high school instead of Brooks for the far south side from the beginning. It’s a much better location.

  • 82. cpsobsessed  |  September 20, 2013 at 2:49 pm

    @Charla – is what you’re suggesting a school for 19th ward kids but zones to allow in only those who will make the school a desirable place (ie non gang-banger types, education-oriented, etc etc)? I’m not familiar with how the neighborhood is laid out. Is there really a sizable area that would allow in only the desirable element and be zoned somehow to keep out the undesirable element?
    Because that’s the only way to make it happen.

  • 83. cps parent  |  September 20, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    The wall-to-wall IB concept devalues IB. Come on, a teacher does not become an IB teacher simply because the school becomes an IB school. We toured Senn last year during open house, it was pretty obvious that the teachers outside the IB program were not trained to be IB teachers.

    I continue to believe that IB is the best program hands down and both my kids were accepted into Lincoln Park IB. But, while it may have been a good choice for me, it was not a good fit for them–but it was hard to turn it down.

  • 84. Iheoma  |  September 20, 2013 at 3:04 pm

    @74 I agree. Interestingly, I think that by “less competitive” CPS SEHS we’re still talking about kids attending schools that only teach at AP and Honors levels, include kids who scored in 90% (at the low end) or higher on standardized and admissions tests and have strong academic backgrounds.

    There are several “hidden gems” on this list that I hope that parents of kids in elementary school who are reading this post will consider in addition to WP, NSCP, WY and Jones and Lane.

  • 85. pantherparent  |  September 20, 2013 at 3:05 pm

    @83 Very valid point. Are you saying a two-day workshop doesn’t make a teacher IB worthy?

    It will be interesting to see how many actual IB diplomas come out of Taft each year. The number has typically been below 10 a year.

    And I like to hear from a parent who values the fit of the high school for their child over their own preference. That’s not always the case.

  • 86. SoxSideIrish4  |  September 20, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    82. cpsobsessed | September 20, 2013 at 2:49 pm

    The 19th is on the bottom left in a large chunk of green. And yes, there really is a sizable area that would work like Charla has suggested.


    81. Jen | September 20, 2013 at 2:38 pm

    Totally correct~MPHS should have been selective.

  • 87. mom2  |  September 20, 2013 at 3:08 pm

    “That seems to be an obstacle for high school though because the dynamics are different on multiple levels, that hopefully can be overcome by the same parents who were open minded about elem schools.” I sure hope parents will get this together soon!

    I now have first-hand experience on the affects of these high pressure SE high schools and what they can do to a child’s self-esteem and the excessive homework and the lack of time to have a real life, etc. We love Lane for many reasons, but it is getting more and more “selective” and intense which is exactly what the principal is trying to do and succeeding.

    If our next child could go to a school where she is safe, where she isn’t offered gang affiliation or teased for caring about doing homework, where she can learn without everyone being distracted by behavior issues or lack of interest in learning from other students, and where she can be possibly even above average with friends that are also planning to go to college, that would be great. Of course, the school still has to be close to home. No 1 1/2 hour commutes each direction for any of my kids. We will move first.

    Go Lakeview HS!

  • 88. IBobsessed  |  September 20, 2013 at 3:19 pm

    Could Lakeview have benefitted from a 17m expansion? Couldnt they add stories if land is not available nearby? Wouldn’t shiny, new help attracted the Lakeview demographic?

  • 89. IBobsessed  |  September 20, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    @85 Why does the number of recipients of the full IB diploma make or break your opinion of particular IB programs? Universities do not know if applicants applying will earn the diploma or not. Results of the testing come out late Spring, after college acceptances. It is prestigous and indicative of academic rigor to simply have gone through the IB diploma program.

    @83 Do LPHS IB students have full IB trained teachers for every class all 4 years?

  • 90. SutherlandParent  |  September 20, 2013 at 3:32 pm

    @80 Charla said Most of our kids are selecting Ignatius, Jones or Payton because Morgan Park HS is a gang-infested hellhole.

    Can’t speak to the other 19th Ward schools, but that statement is totally untrue for Sutherland. According to information reported by last year’s 8th graders, here’s a few of the schools they planned to attend as freshmen this year, and the number of students attending:

    Jones: 3
    Lindblom: 3
    Whitney Young: 6
    St. Ignatius: 1

    Morgan Park HS: 7
    Morgan Park HS IB: 1

    Chicago HS for the Agricultural Sciences: 11
    ChiArts: 3
    Curie HS: 1

    The rest are mostly at either Catholic or charter high schools (8 are at Marist, for example).

  • 91. cpsobsessed  |  September 20, 2013 at 3:32 pm

    @88L What CPS seems to have rightly seen is that adding new stuff like STEM or IB or a Westinghouse building that is beautiful is that it still doesn’t make it “ok” for some parents unless they get the “ok” from other parents.

    Extending a “brand” like WP is a smart move because they know it’ll get students right off the bat and will take in parents from all tiers, no questions asked.

    Yes, lakeview could certainly use the money, but it won’t guarantee that the parents will follow.

  • 92. leftguy  |  September 20, 2013 at 3:43 pm


    Thanks. I echo your concerns and priorities, and honestly, you sound more decent than some of the parents here reducing high school admissions to a variety of fantasy football.

    At the end of the day, how is it just that the kids at WP should get so much in a city where the kids at other schools have so little, need so much more, and are told that there is no more for the city to give? What story can you tell the 16 year old at Dyett High School and now can’t get the class she needs at an over-crowded receiving school?

    I don’t have a problem with funding elite schools, if we are going to have elite schools. (Admittedly, I do have a slight problem with the existence of elite schools at the level of compulsory education. I’m not quite sure how a compulsory education that is supposed to introduce students into a world of free and equal citizens can be so casual about making losers out of 10-year-olds.) I do have a problem with funding elite schools, while at the same time telling neighborhood schools that their maintenance and physical plant budgets are too large, and the schools have close to meet a budget shortfall.

  • 93. pantherparent  |  September 20, 2013 at 3:49 pm

    @89 Then what measure do we use? I think we can agree that simply calling Taft a wall-to-wal IB program is meaningless.

  • 94. junior  |  September 20, 2013 at 3:58 pm

    @92 leftguy

    You should re-read the part of the thread that discussed the shiny new schools on the southwest side. Or the part that mentioned that WP is open to enrollment from all over the city (and mandates admission from all tiers)? Like every rational enterprise, CPS needs to increase resources where they are in demand and decrease the resources expended where they are not.

    In the big picture, if you don’t continue to invest in schools for the middle and upper classes, then you simply won’t have the tax resources to build more schools on the southwest side and elsewhere. Perhaps it’s not fair, but in the long run it does more for disadvantaged schools than the alternative.

  • 95. leftguy  |  September 20, 2013 at 4:14 pm


    “If our next child could go to a school where she is safe, where she isn’t offered gang affiliation or teased for caring about doing homework, where she can learn without everyone being distracted by behavior issues or lack of interest in learning from other students, and where she can be possibly even above average with friends that are also planning to go to college, that would be great.”

    You sound great and sincere. You also sound like someone who wants Chicago to be conveniently made up of different kids. You want your kid to go to a school where none of the other kids have problems. A generation ago, you could add, “Where all of her friends parents are married, no boys ever ask her for sex, and none of her friends ever experiment with drugs.” This is all great. If we create a school like this for your daughter, where do you think the other kids go? Do they just disappear? If kids are being pushed into gangs, that means that Chicago has a gang problem that needs to be address. If kids are teased for caring about homework, that means Chicago has an anti-intellectual culture that needs to be addressed. If kids are distracted by behavior issues or a lack of interest in learning, that means that there are probably deeper infelicities that need to be addressed– it’s really hard to care about how many electron shells surround a given atom when you are homeless.

    I know it’s overstepping to tell other parents how to parent, but it sounds like you want to teach your child to ignore– rather than navigate– large aspects of the city in which she lives. Schools like the one you want can be neighborhood schools, but they are made, and when they are found in the way Walter Payton is found, by artificially culling and de facto ghettoizing the undesirables, these institutions purchase the illusion of security for the elite, while fostering resentment by denying the losers the educational tools to express their frustration. You can have a good selective enrollment infrastructure that makes parenting easier for the elite parents, and a vengeful, non-selected underclass that is routinely demeaned. Or you can have good neighborhood schools that require community support and active parenting broadly distributed.

  • 96. Charla  |  September 20, 2013 at 4:17 pm

    @82 Yes, that is exactly correct. We need a school that does not have the gangbangers and fits the profile of the neighborhood kids.
    The mindset is that MPHS is basically a day-care center for low-income teens, with a lot of gang activity. Wrong or not, that is the perception, and sadly, I agree with it and will not send my child there unless things change.

    Whether that is changing MPHS to SE and having non-SE kids go to Julian, Fenger, Bogan, Simeon or Ag, or building a new high school with strictly enforced boundaries for the heart of the 19th Ward, then that’s fine with me.

    Re: Sutherland Parent: 8 kids went to Morgan Park out of how many 8th grade grads?

  • 97. leftguy  |  September 20, 2013 at 4:18 pm


    We have different notions of what both “open enrollment” and “all-tiers” means. The details about the new schools are still in the air, and if they are selective enrollment schools, that doesn’t address the problem of a public education that is fit for the Chicago public.

  • 98. junior  |  September 20, 2013 at 4:25 pm

    @97 leftguy

    As mentioned in the thread, they are new neighborhood high schools. And a new elementary school was announced last weekend too.

  • 99. IBobsessed  |  September 20, 2013 at 4:27 pm

    “Like every rational enterprise, CPS needs to increase resources where they are in demand and decrease the resources expended where they are not. ”

    All rational enterprises are not alike. This is an extreme oversimplification. It is highly arguable if the best outcomes will happen if education is left to be managed by market forces. Yes, we know about the new HSs, There are still more dilapidated school bldgs on the SW side.

  • 100. leftguy  |  September 20, 2013 at 4:45 pm


    I’m happy to hear about the new neighborhood schools. One of the reasons given to close my neighborhood junior high school was the deferred maintenance and expect maintenance costs. If there is money to build a new school, I just hope the local LSCs were involved in deciding whether the money would be better spent maintaining old schools or investing in a new school.

  • 101. HS Mom  |  September 20, 2013 at 4:55 pm

    @75 – gosh, this is the 4th year of tiers and the 4th time my tier has changed!

  • 102. vikingmom  |  September 20, 2013 at 5:02 pm

    @87 “If our next child could go to a school where she is safe, where she isn’t offered gang affiliation or teased for caring about doing homework, where she can learn without everyone being distracted by behavior issues or lack of interest in learning from other students, and where she can be possibly even above average with friends that are also planning to go to college, that would be great.”

    If I may, I’d love to say how my sophomore daughter is all of the above at Amundsen HS (one of the so-called hidden gems, IMO). Not in the upper 90% range, she was out of SEHS. In the IB program at Amundsen she is getting mostly As and some Bs and is not at all teased or given a hard time. She and friends often do homework during lunch, whether they do so in the cafeteria or a teacher’s classroom, it is without problems. Few, if any, classroom disruptions. No gang invitations — the most she has been offered was a cigarette last year. (Granted, she is not the type of kid who is likely to be in the demographic for gang affiliation.) She has friends both in the IB program and out of it, with her sports teammates. The kids who I have seen at games — they are as boisterous as any teenager but respectful and mannerly as well. Sure, there is the occasional pregnant teenager or fight, just as in any high school, including my own. But there are the many seniors going to college—my daughter’s senior mentors last year both went on to Univ of IL/Champaign.
    Do I care if she gets the IB diploma? Not really, its a feather in her cap already to be in the program with its weighted GPA. She may not even last all four years in IB but we’ll take it as it goes. So far, so good!

  • 103. HS Mom  |  September 20, 2013 at 5:36 pm

    @95 “Schools like the one you want can be neighborhood schools, but they are made, and when they are found in the way Walter Payton is found, by artificially culling and de facto ghettoizing the undesirables, these institutions purchase the illusion of security for the elite, while fostering resentment by denying the losers the educational tools to express their frustration”

    The requirements of Mom2 are pretty basic and in my opinion go without saying. Yes, gang-bangers are real people too and every time I read about the 3 year old or the 6 year old or the 7 year old with a bullet hole in their head I’m reminded that there is a real flaw in their humanity. Call education engineering whatever classist label you want but, no thank you.

    @102 – very refreshing and reassuring to hear about your experience.

  • 104. IBobsessed  |  September 20, 2013 at 5:37 pm

    @89 re What measure do we use?

    First of all, why the imperative to quantify everything?? Quality is not always quantitatively measurable. The content and rigor of an IB diploma program is standard internationally. CPS doesn’t not control it.If I was going to compare IB programs, the HS with older, more well established IB diploma programs would rank higher due to the more experienced faculty/staff.

    The wall to wall IBs are not designed to have everyone on the same diploma track. I would not let the presence of newly IB trained teachers, who will not be put in diploma track classrooms, scare me away from a wall to wall IB school.

  • 105. SutherlandParent  |  September 20, 2013 at 5:41 pm

    @96 Charla, eight kids at MPHS is 8 more than we have at Payton, 7 more than Ignatius and five more than Jones, which are the three schools you identified as where “most” 19th Ward kids go.

    For what it’s worth, though, there are about 90 – 100 kids in each graduating class at Sutherland. So while many, many parents don’t send their kids to MPHS, some clearly do. In fact, only the Ag School has a greater concentration of Sutherland kids attending as freshmen. Marist is tied with MPHS, followed by WY with six. I’ll bet the numbers are different for Mt. Greenwood and Esmond, two other 19th Ward neighborhood schools. I’m talking about Sutherland, since that’s the only school I have data for.

    I don’t see how changing the Ag School to a neighborhood school and converting MPHS to selective enrollment will really offer more options for “our” kids (which is what I think you’re suggesting). You’d almost certainly get fewer 19th Ward kids at a SE MPHS than are currently at the Ag School now, considering how more seats were recently set aside for area kids at the Ag School.

    @81 Jen, I agree, Brooks is really hard to get to. MPHS is walking distance from the 111th St. stop on the Rock Island Metra, which would have been an advantage as a SEHS or a wall-to-wall IB school.

  • 106. southie  |  September 20, 2013 at 6:41 pm

    90. SutherlandParent | September 20, 2013 at 3:32 pm

    Of course, it’s a stark racial divide when it comes to Sutherland students heading to Morgan Park H. S.

    It’s odd.

  • 107. Linda H  |  September 20, 2013 at 9:08 pm

    “An average ACT of 29.5”

    That is definitely good for Payton. But to put things in perspective that is around a 94 percentile on the ACT and when the kids are entering Payton they are at a 96 percentile. Sure they are different populations but the entry sehs exam is for stanine 5 and above so the best top half of kids are in the entry test scores.

    Also the 29.5 is a jump of 2 over recent history, meaning prior years where closer to 90 percentile upon graduation. There are many suburban public school scoring in 27-28 on act and they take all kids, not just the top 300 kids out of 100,000.

    So taking in 96 percentile kids and graduating 90-94 percentile is not really a reason to celebrate. I am sure there are many cps high scores who can graduate kids at the same level they came in at, and some probably even better. Smart kids in smart kids out. U of C and Northwestern average ACT scores for admission are 33.

  • 108. southie  |  September 20, 2013 at 9:40 pm

    @ 80. Charla | September 20, 2013 at 2:34 pm

    Voting patterns. I don’t think the 19th ward’s precincts went for Rham. Payback on the schools front.

  • 109. dad  |  September 20, 2013 at 9:48 pm

    A 96 on the CPS entrance exam is not the same thing as the ACT. Both my kids scored in the 99% on the CPS test and my son’s composite ACT score was 30 but that was because his math score was 24. He chose not to work at math during high school and it showed. The kid does know how to take a test and always has. He is even an AP scholar with minimal studying. I do not think that your analysis of WP kids l”losing” 2 points is valid.

  • 110. southie  |  September 20, 2013 at 9:58 pm

    @ 56. Charla | September 20, 2013 at 10:29 am

    I agree. It’s total BS. No one will touch it with a 10-foot pole.

  • 111. klm  |  September 21, 2013 at 10:39 am


    I’m not sure why you think being exposed to gangs, included its related threats of violence, going to school with lots of peers that could care less about learning, etc., is just somethings people should deal with, like it’s a normal part of living in the city.

    My kids go to CPS schools without gang problems, lots of kids that really do learn and largely behave, etc.

    Yes, there are problems with gangs, violence, lots of kids that go to school to chill and clown rather than learn, etc., in Chicago, but where does this idea come from that people should just accept it as a normal part of urban living and give in when their kids attend public school?


  • 112. SutherlandParent  |  September 21, 2013 at 12:48 pm

    @106 Southie, true, and it’s also an economic divide–few middle class parents (white or black) who send their kids to any of the feeder schools end up sending their kids to MPHS, if you look at the demographic data for the 19th Ward. Barnard is the only feeder school that’s close in terms of race and income. The racial aspect is just more obvious than the economic one.

    Anyway, I don’t want to highjack the thread to beat the MPHS horse into the ground again. The good news is that there are some options out there for high school in Chicago, even if they aren’t everyone’s first choice.

  • 113. Tiers  |  September 21, 2013 at 1:05 pm

    @107. LindaH, you bring up a very interesting point that touches on one of the unspoken realities of the tier system. There are basically two populations at the elites, Northside and Payton. Most of the kids getting in from tiers 1 and 2 with 100 points less than the rest of the school face 4 years of struggle. They scored low on the isat, they score low on the act. 29.5 is an average with two heavy tails.

    Have we really given them a gift? These 14 year olds come in confident and promptly start struggling just to pass. Many of the adults here would fail Freshman English at Payton, Freshman Physics would be worse.

    The exceptions are truly brilliant kids who are given life changing experiences and heavily recruited by Yale. Is it worth giving a couple kids that opportunity at the expense of the other 100 who are thrown into the deepest end of the pool?

    No easy answers.

  • 114. Jen  |  September 21, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    Can you provide a link to some data that shows that ” Most of the kids getting in from tiers 1 and 2 with 100 points less than the rest of the school face 4 years of struggle”?
    I haven’t heard that. Also no one is admitted to any of the higher ranked schools with “low” scores. Some score higher than others but none are “low”.

  • 115. Jen  |  September 21, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    Also can you provide the data that shows that there is a correlation between 7th grade isat scores and ACT scores a student takes 4 years later? I know for a fact this isn’t accurate.

  • 116. cpsobsessed  |  September 21, 2013 at 1:29 pm


    At Payton last year the min for Tier 1 was 801 vs 871/892 for Tier 3/4.

    So yes, it’s big.

    But… the concept is that intelligence has the same distribution across tiers but that because of socio economic issues, Tier 1 kids won’t test as well. So the Tier system allows the top kids from Tier 1 to get into the school. They should be just as intelligent as the Tier 4 kids but without the benefit of 14 years of privilege. Thus, while certainly more of a challenge, they should be up for the rigor of a tough program and/or this is their best bet to get an education on par with their intelligence/effort. This allows each generation to make greater gains than the previous one.

  • 117. Jen  |  September 21, 2013 at 1:33 pm

    cpsobsessed I agree with your post.
    I just haven’t heard that students admitted to these schools from tiers 1 & 2 are “struggling”. The ones I know are doing VERY well actually.

  • 118. cpsobsessed  |  September 21, 2013 at 1:51 pm

    I have no idea either whether it’s a valid statement or not. I suspect there are kids from each tier who struggle and those who make it a matter of diligence.

  • 119. Payton Parent  |  September 22, 2013 at 5:48 pm

    When you’re a tier 1 or 2 kid ALL of life is more of a struggle than tier 3 & 4 kids and even though you may end up a “full ride” at a good college finding that $500 (which others spend so casually) to purchase all the necessities and niceties for your dorm room at Bed Bath & Beyond is a huge struggle.

    I haven’t looked at the data recently but historically AA and Latino students entered Payton with a 10% deficit and that gap persists all four years. The conclusion can be that more of those kids “struggle” all four years when compared to the Caucasian and Asian kids. Nothing wrong with struggling though is there?

  • 120. Rod Estvan  |  September 22, 2013 at 5:51 pm

    I do not think given the overall fiscal situation of both the City of Chicago and CPS that expanding Payton should be a priority capital project at this time. My youngest daughter graduated from Payton and was very well prepared for college, so much so that she is currently in the graduate agricultural economics program at U of I Champaign Urbana. My daughter told me during her freshman year in college that she believed it was easier than Payton because of the absurd level of home work she had. I do not question the excellence of the program.

    While Payton does offer some poor students the possibility of a very top shelf high school education, only slightly over 30% of the students qualify for free or reduced lunch where on average about 87% of CPS kids qualify. Some of my daughter’s high school friends were from very wealthy families, but most came from homes with income levels from around $90,000 to $200,000 a year from what I could discern. This included African American and Hispanic friends with two working parents with jobs like police officers and teachers. When my daughter went to Payton it was under the race based admissions system, but statistically not much has changed with the census based tiers. The upper middle class still has the edge in terms of admissions regardless of race.

    As I stated in an interview last week with the Chicago Tribune I believe expanding Payton was a political decision to satisfy a constituency with a high turn out in elections. Politically it was a wise decision made by the Mayor’s office.

    Rod Estvan

  • 121. local  |  September 22, 2013 at 7:33 pm

    Tonight on WBEZ-FM, at 8 p.m., there’s going to be a radio program about the overstressed college-bound high school student of our times. I don’t know the name of the show, but there’s likely to be something of interest or relatable.

  • 122. local  |  September 22, 2013 at 7:47 pm

    Here’s the show. http://www.humanmedia.org/catalog/program.php?products_id=356. But listen on WBEZ.

  • 123. cpsobsessed  |  September 22, 2013 at 8:30 pm

    Thanks, that was interesting!

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 124. Charla  |  September 22, 2013 at 9:25 pm

    @112 Sutherland Parent, What are our options in the 19th Ward for HS? If your kid doesn’t get a seat at ChiAg and doesn’t test into SE, where can the kid go?

    Not a burn, just wondering…

  • 125. SoxSideIrish4  |  September 22, 2013 at 9:33 pm

    124. Charla | September 22, 2013 at 9:25 pm

    Choices would be parochial or private HS~that is it!

  • 126. Charla  |  September 22, 2013 at 9:36 pm

    @119 Yes, because those of us white, black and Latino people in working class neighborhoods that are Tier 4 (Morgan Park, Mt. Greenwood, Canaryville, Ashburn, Hegewisch) can drop $500 on Bed Bath & Beyond for a dorm room.. Keep dreaming…

    Esp. when we have 2 other kids and a single-parent household. I don’t qualify for Sec. 8, refuse to lie so I can get LINK and work my A off. I own my home and live in a safe S. Side neighborhood with a lousy high school, but it sure beats living in a war zone like Roseland or Austin or La Villita. But I get screwed by CPS with the total lack of concern for people like me. Glad to see my property taxes going to pay for an addition to WP, but zippo nada for 19th Ward TAXPAYING FAMILIES.

  • 127. Charla  |  September 22, 2013 at 9:41 pm

    @125 Right, so we have no options here for public HS unless you get Ag or SE. I can’t afford $10K for Marist…

  • 128. cpsobsessed  |  September 23, 2013 at 4:42 am

    @Charla: I can’t tell from the CPS map because i’m not familiar with the area – so the Morgan Park zone is big enough (and from the map looks like it juts out in different directions) to include neighborhoods that are both “gentrified” (for lack of a better term, meaning safe, education focused, etc) and also less desirable in terms of having kids who are fairly extreme gangbanger-types all living close, but I assume not overlapping subsections of that area?

  • 129. Chris  |  September 23, 2013 at 7:07 am

    “where on average about 87% of CPS kids qualify”


    87% *get* free/reduced lunch. There is no “qualification” other than parents who are willing to fib on a never-checked form in order to get a free lunch. It’s really ridiculous that we rely on absolute self-reporting to determine poverty stats in CPS.

  • 130. SoxSideIrish4  |  September 23, 2013 at 7:23 am

    128. cpsobsessed | September 23, 2013 at 4:42 am

    And also CPSO~since many families from the area can’t use MPHS (black, white, latino), MPHS takes many from out of the area boundary~kids who could attend another n’hood school.

    To change a HS to be advantageous for a community is very different than changing a neighborhood grammar school. MPHS would have to be selective or IB wall2wall (it has the IB program now) for parents to send their children there.

  • 131. HS Mom  |  September 23, 2013 at 8:10 am

    129/120 – yes Chris, in addition to the inaccuracies, 30% is roughly 1/3 of the school in poverty. That says a lot about this school. They do have economic diversity and the tier system is providing some diversity. Isn’t that the idea. It’s a lot easier to make this a political agenda if you are inside looking out.

    Regarding rigorous work and competitiveness at schools like Payton, I agree with many who say it depends on the kid. For us, the challenge and the school culture play a large part in drive and motivation. We have been in situations where my child was more than happy to work “down”. Not everyone is motivated in this way. We were fortunate to have good choices and picked a school that we felt was rigorous yet a little more laid back. Would I put a lower scoring, yet within range student into a competitive SE high school. You bet!

  • 132. charla  |  September 23, 2013 at 8:47 am

    @128 CPSO Take a look at the area that’s east of Vincennes, around I-57, a/k/a the Wild 100s. Add that with the kids who come in b/c there are open seats, and that’s cause for concern with the ‘bangers whose parents send them to MP as a day care mixing in with the kids who want to learn. If there are 3-4 kids in the class causing trouble. nobody can effectively learn.

  • 133. neighborhood parent  |  September 23, 2013 at 8:49 am

    agree with HS Mom. Given the tier system, you wouldn’t expect even 50% free/reduced lunch at Payton.

  • 134. klm  |  September 23, 2013 at 9:24 am


    I disagree with you about Payton, even if my kids never end up going there.

    I suppose anything CPS does could be called a “political decision” depending on one’s point of view. Some people want to keep under-enrolled failure factories open, if for no other reason than they are located in particular communities (even when most people in those communities want something different)–no matter how objectively lousy and inefficient the school, they want to spend more money to somehow turn it into a sparkling showcase of high achievement (as if it were only that easy and as is so many schools haven’t has lots of second chances). Anything less is some sort of civil rights violation. Wouldn’t that also be political decision?

    CPS has had some remarkable success in the last decade or 2 in creating the types of schools that keep people from running to Northbrook Lisle, Bolingbrook or Oak Park. I’m not talking about rich white people or even just overall well-heeled families –I mean “people.” Chicago needs them here instead of in Naperville, Arlington Heights, or wherever they have to move to get their kids a decent public education. Or would you rather go back to the good ol’ days of 70s-style middle-class flight, a dwindling tax base and public schools that were a no-way-in-hell option for the fewer and fewer number of Chicago families that had options that stayed in the city?

    Schools like Payton, etc., are not schools created solely to coddle white and upper-middle-class kids that would otherwise be going to Glenbrook North or New Trier when their parents moved to the suburbs in search of a decent public education. They were designed to give all Chicagoans an opportunity for a good public education, just like most people have had elsewhere, except for in Chicago itself. Schools like Payton succeed at providing a public education that people used to be able to find only in the suburbs not much more than a generation ago (with very few if any exceptions). Of course the wealthy and well-connected could always use the high-end private school option (just like the Obamas, Emanuels and Pritzkers have done), but most Chicagoan never did and never will, even they want to (demand is such that most peoples’ kids don’t get into Lab or Latin, even if the parents are able and willing to pay and many of these people turn to CPS rather than move, or at least they will when they have decent options).

    Why shouldn’t CPS use its limited capital fund and invest it on schools that have already have a proven track record of success? To me, that just seems plain smart. Money going to expand a school that is undeniably working very well is money well spent, not simply “political”.

    If the high-achieving CPS schools are sometimes skewed toward the higher socio-economic households, it’s because these people are getting a public school in Chicago for perhaps the first time that is equivalent to what other people get in the middle-class suburbs. What’s wrong with that? Would you rather they just move to Wilmette, Park Ridge and Highland Park like people did 20, 30, 40 years ago?

    Moreover, a school like Payton keeps middle-class people in some neighborhoods that are struggling or that are vulnerable. As long as their kids are getting a good education, people are more willing to stay in Chatham and South Shore and hopefully help in keeping a middle-class and improving things for their neighborhood, including their low-income neighbors. Even places like Lawndale and Garfield Park are improved when kids from there go to excellent schools next to middle-class and upper-middle-class kids from other parts of the city. Obviously, it’s not a pro-typical experience of integration that occurs often enough, but it’s better than having a school systems that’s virtually all low-income and non-Asian minority, while the middle-class suburbs are the refuge of white and Asian people with money (again, a la 1970s).

    It’s no Utopia, but it’s something better than before.

    Successful Chicago schools are good for the entire city and should be invested in accordingly.

  • 135. junior  |  September 23, 2013 at 11:16 am

    @113 Tiers

    “There are basically two populations at the elites, Northside and Payton. Most of the kids getting in from tiers 1 and 2 with 100 points less than the rest of the school face 4 years of struggle. ”

    If you’re going to make broad generalizations, then you need to be more careful about the data you cite. There are NO kids at the 100 point difference that you reference, and you make it sound like it is the norm.

    If you’re looking for generalizations, you should be starting with the mean. The mean scores of kids getting admitted for Tiers 1/2/3/4 are 842/871/886/895. So, between the highest and lowest tiers, the difference in means is 53 points. Between Tier 2 and Tier 4 the mean difference is merely 24 points.

    A lot of kids of all tiers struggle at these schools, so beware of confirmation bias when you see a Tier 1/2 kid struggling.

  • 136. Chris  |  September 23, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    I want to correct something I said above (@129):

    Something like half (can’t readily find the # for this year) of the schools in CPS, serving something over 25% of the students, are ‘precertified’ to provide free lunch for *every* student.

    While I think this is (really, truly) great for a number of reasons, it makes using the free/reduced number to determine overall district poverty/low income levels even more BS than I had previously understood them to be, Carve out the precertified schools, the headline number drops to 71.7% free, 8.3% reduced, still with the unverified, self-reporting, issue.

  • 137. Sunny  |  September 23, 2013 at 1:48 pm

    Looks like CPS Application website is not ready for applications! Was supposed to go live today, but looks like delayed until tomorrow. Hope this is not a sign of tech problems to come for this year’s process.

  • 138. Sunny  |  September 23, 2013 at 2:04 pm

    109. Linda H
    I think your numbers are wrong – only about 22,000 8th graders in CPS, not 200,000 plus not all apply to Payton. Plus Patyon is not selecting from all Top. It is only top from each Tier. In some suburbs, the vast majority of kids are from Tier 4 families, so not really comparing apples to apples. Plus many of these really well off suburbs tuition out their Sp Ed kids to private schools so they won’t have to deal with them. Or parents pursue private options on their own for these kids.

    However, your overall point is how well does the school really do with the kids given that these are smart kids coming in? I wish there was more data on this. You are the 2nd person in the last 2 days who has brought up this point to me and it is really making me think. Why isn’t Payton ACT higher and ditto for Northside? If this is the crème, shouldn’t it be higher?

    Does anyone know if NYC does better with their score only entrance requirements? Do those kids have near perfect ACTs? Not sure that helps answer my question, but the data would be interesting.

    What are the determinants of a high ACT?

  • 139. cpsobsessed  |  September 23, 2013 at 2:09 pm

    Now you’ve made me curious about nyc. I’ll see what I can find.
    I suspect the stronger predictor of ACTs in general is having strong entrance scores, so by nature if nyc uses scores only, I’d expect higher ACTs.
    By definition, letting tiers in with lower scores is what brings down the ACTs on the back end. The same factors that limit tests scores of kids on the isats still apply for the ACTs.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 140. Payton Parent  |  September 23, 2013 at 2:32 pm

    Here are ACT scores with typical corresponding percentiles:

    36 – 99
    35 – 99
    34 – 99
    33 – 99
    32 – 98
    31 – 97
    30 – 95
    29 – 93

    My thinking is that the difference between kids who score from 33 to 36 lies primarily in their genetic make-up. For me 29 to 32 represents “normal” kids who are solid B+ to A students which is what schools like Payton get as incoming freshmen. My two kids were in both groups, same upbringing, similar work ethic, etc., The one with the 35 was just “smarter” although more of a procrastinator.

  • 141. cpsobsessed  |  September 23, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    Oh, I forgot – illinois is like the ACT dividing line. NYC uses the SATs.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 142. Chris  |  September 23, 2013 at 4:39 pm

    “Oh, I forgot – illinois is like the ACT dividing line. NYC uses the SATs.”

    And yet, Stuyvesant reports both:


    31.3 average composite ACT
    1397 average SAT (M+V); 671 writing.

  • 143. Chris  |  September 23, 2013 at 4:41 pm

    PS: The SAT breakdown there is 728 (M); 669 (V), which is 96% and 92%.

    So, by y’all’s theory, Stuyvesant is making the kids “dumber”, too.

  • 144. cpsobsessed  |  September 23, 2013 at 4:43 pm

    Good work!
    Wow, that’s impressive. I do wonder if all students take the ACT test. At a school like that, I imagine they do. I’m not sure if in the suburbs they make every kid take it like (I think) CPS does, which can affect the city outcome.
    Dang, those kids are some good test takers.

  • 145. junior  |  September 23, 2013 at 5:07 pm

    @143 Chris

    Well, it’s possible that the top schools are making them ‘dumber’, and it’s also possible (but perhaps less likely) they’re making them “smarter” — I don’t think we have enough information to answer that question. My guess is that they’re probably pretty close to where they started. I’d guess that the difference between the test outcomes is mostly a difference in what each test measures.

    If the kids score 99% in admissions/ISAT test, then it’s pretty much downhill from there if you give the same population a test that measures something slightly different. Imagine, for example, if you gave the kids a test of emotional intelligence instead of a test of analytical/verbal intelligence — you’d see a huge drop in percentile.

    If you wanted to see if the school had a positive or negative value added, then you’d need to look at the same test administered upon entrance and throughout the kid’s years in high school.

  • 146. junior  |  September 23, 2013 at 5:11 pm


    … and to add to that, you have to figure that the there is a certain component of “luck” to any score. So, for the kids who score 99%, there is a greater chance for that luck to have acted in a positive direction on their test. So, scoring lower on subsequent exams might be an expected outcome for that population.

  • 147. Chris  |  September 23, 2013 at 5:24 pm


    I was not clear with my “y’all”, but I didn’t see you suggesting (as other definitely did) that “99th %-ile” kids getting into Payton and then averaging 95%-ile 3 years later was an indication of *anything*.

    Of course there’s randomness and luck and good days and bad days, and teenagers who ‘hit their limit’ on academics, and kids who dog ACTs so they can convince their parents that they are “state school” rather than Harvard material, etcetcetc.

    And, it’s simply another example of how test scores don’t tell you nearly everything (and perhaps very little) about whether a school provides a good education or not. Neither do college matriculation lists, or ‘average life time earnings’ or anything else. It’a all about how many doors are opened and how many others are not closed by the education provided (I was going to write ‘received’, but that’s not really within the control of the school–they can’t make the stubborn take what they’re trying to give, altho they *must* keep trying).

  • 148. local  |  September 23, 2013 at 5:38 pm

    @ 128. cpsobsessed | September 23, 2013 at 4:42 am

    Big point: In the main, the 19th ward doesn’t have gentrified areas. Since it was settled and developed, it was never a poor area, for the most part. It’s always been a working and middle class area. Rather, a good amount of the areas that surround it have been become blighted since the 1950s. This is a very different scenario that the ones you can see in other parts of Chicago.

  • 149. local  |  September 23, 2013 at 5:47 pm

    Bottle that stuff. Maybe CPS should start providing virtual Payton, et al.

    More access (the coming of online education):


  • 150. HS Mom  |  September 23, 2013 at 6:58 pm

    I have seen many variables in the ACT correlation to admissions tests and even to GPA. Our own situation is one where the kid is in the top ACT category mentioned above without the 99% admissions or high GPA.

    Our prep was test practice and a low cost review class offered at the school. No individualized tutoring that many companies now offer for thousands. I attribute his success to critical thinking and reasoning skills that in part do come naturally and were nurtured and fostered by the school.

    When it comes to colleges, the selective enrollment schools are on the map of many great schools. They know that they are getting a student that has and will work hard.

    When Jones expanded their admissions I was really happy that more kids could have this opportunity. I’m mystified by those that object to others getting access to a first rate education especially when their own children have had the advantage of attending schools like Payton. With the ongoing cry for more selective seats centrally located, why condemn any efforts as political posturing?

  • 151. Rod Estvan  |  September 23, 2013 at 8:58 pm

    I am fascinated as to why Chris wants to challenge the legitimacy of free and reduced lunch data as a measurement of poverty in CPS. CPS does not recieve its poverty related dollars based on that data set but rather by what is called the DHS child poverty count which is not school by school based. The DHS count is lower than the free/reduced lunch count by the way so it is possible that there is some inflation in the self reporting system used. But the free and reduced lunch count is all we have for comparative purposes, so we simply have no other data set to examine the relative number of lower income children at Payton. Possibly Chris agrees with sate senator Dillard who believes CPS is ripping off Illinois for poverty dollars and wants to transfer funds downstate.

    Given that CPS is nearing the edge of fiscal survival I continue to question whether adding seats to Payton is a prudent use of capital dollars. Why not air condition many more schools with that $17 million, why not make more non-ADA compliant schools accessible, why not create more green spaces around many more schools rather than asphalt play lots (including Lincoln elementary by the way), the list of why nots could go on and on.

    On the defensiveness exhibited by some to my suggestion that the Mayor is expanding Payton for political purposes, in particular for votes in upper income communities, I am amazed. I mean really what is new about that in this town? As I stated my own daughter benefited from that. Those of us in higher income brackets in this town have the edge in a big way for city services of all types, this is not something new in my opinion. But right now at this time believe it or not CPS is approaching yet another fiscal collapse similar to 1979. CPS admits in its budget that it is being forced to use a $300 million line of credit because its bond rating has collapsed, yet I am reading post after post saying basically the middle class must get its just due.

    Rod Estvan

  • 152. HSObsessed  |  September 23, 2013 at 9:12 pm

    @145 – Re: looking at the same test administered over time at one school. This is already available. 9th graders take the Explore, 10th graders the PLAN, and 11th and 12th graders the ACT. As I understand it, Explore and PLAN are the same thing as the ACT (I don’t get why they need a different name, except maybe to not freak people out). The city data portal has this info available for data from 2009 to 2011, link below (“Progress Report Cards” – the file has a crapload of other data as well). I crunched the numbers some time back to look at this issue of how much high schools are adding to the incoming kids’ scores, and I believe it showed that although Northside and Young had high scorers coming in, they also added the most points over the course of two years. So, definitely plenty of value being added by the schools.


  • 153. IB obsessedh  |  September 23, 2013 at 9:36 pm

    HS Mom, one reason we object is because it simply perpetuates the absurd extremes in quality of CPS HSs, and does not make a real systemic impact on the the mess that is H.S. options in CPS. It holds out hope to families that their student might get one of those added SE seats, instead of motivating all of us to face the reality that the mess won’t go away until we stop bleeding the neighborhood high schools of talent and resources.

    400 kids benefit. How many students applied to SEHSs and did not get in anywhere, students who want a quality HS education in a safe environment, but had 2 or 3 Bs and ISATs and entrances exam scores in the (gasp!) 70s and 80s percentiles?

  • 154. HSObsessed  |  September 23, 2013 at 9:36 pm

    @151 Rod – Monica Eng of the Tribune wrote a long expose on the honor system we have in place for applying for free and reduced lunches, after the CPS inspector general once again laid out how much fraud is clearly involved.

    Trib article link:


    Inspector General’s report (PDF – relevant portion on page 19):


  • 155. IB obsessedh  |  September 23, 2013 at 10:02 pm

    HS Obsessed, even if there is a certain amount of fraud, are you disputing the high percentage of low income children in the CPS system? I’m not sure what difference it makes if it is 10 or 20 percentage points lower than represented by the percent receiving free lunch.

  • 156. HS Mom  |  September 23, 2013 at 10:19 pm

    151 Rod/153IB

    Additional SE seats is a need that Chicago families have. Labeling this a political cause is irrelevant to the need and distracting. No doubt there are other needs such as the ones you detail with the list going on and on, but that doesn’t make this project any less worthy.

    The Payton project is important for not only the 400 seats added but also the potential for 400 other spaces freed up at top public and private schools that these kids would have otherwise taken.

    People will attend schools that have a culture of learning, supportive families, good teachers and staff, safe environment and offer a decent curriculum. So many of our neighborhood schools do not have that. Fortunately, there are many good options (reference the Gem schools above). I don’t think anyone goes into the High School search banking on getting into Payton.

  • 157. HS Mom  |  September 23, 2013 at 10:27 pm

    I’m not sure why the poverty rate in Chicago is an issue at all. Using Rods figure of 30% low income at Payton attests to the fact that one of Chicago’s top test in schools does service diverse socioeconomic families – as intended.

  • 158. Chris  |  September 23, 2013 at 10:30 pm

    ” I’m not sure what difference it makes if it is 10 or 20 percentage points lower than represented by the percent receiving free lunch.”

    Would it make a difference if it were 10 or 20 percentage points understated? Not that it could be.

    The unreliable free lunch number is used as a (admittedly much more readily available) proxy for poverty to serve a political purpose.

    Rod–Dillard is a moron, or unbelieveably cynical, or both, as it relates to school funding issues (all in, including state funding of non-CPS teacher pensions, the per student amount is pretty even when comparing Chicago and downstate; IF there is a case to be made–and I don’t think there is–it’s the collar counties who are ‘shorted’ ), and asserting that I might agree with him merely on the basis of my calling out a proxy stat for being a proxy, instead of a bona fide measure of ‘poverty’ (which has a definition which is not aligned with the free lunch standard, even if it had to be verified) really is beneath you.

    You want to challenge CPS to do a better job on some things, but you don’t care about that–so you have to be insulting because that’s all you’ve got. You don’t have to care, but if you repeat a proxy as if its the real stat, you have to be have it pointed out, and have a better comeback than “maybe you agree with an anti-Chicago politician.”

  • 159. local  |  September 23, 2013 at 10:34 pm

    When we looked at Mother McAuley, they stressed that they move the cohort up the ACT/PLAN/Explore scale (value added). Saw an avg ACT score at Brother Rice that seemed amazing (30s?), during a football game commercial about the school the other day. Anyone know details?

  • 160. local  |  September 23, 2013 at 10:41 pm

    Well, Catalyst calls it political…

    In the News: CPS to $90 million for capital spending

    By: Cassandra West / September 23, 2013
    Tags: Mayor Rahm Emanuel

    A week ago, the same mayor who wanted schools closed and has denied declaring a TIF surplus announced the beginning of a school building boom. During a four-day stretch, Mayor Rahm Emanuel doled out science lab upgrades and playgrounds, a new school and annexes to lessen overcrowding for a total of more than $90 million in big capital spending. (Sun-Times)

    The mayor’s spree of school announcements was aimed at four constituencies: Southeast Side Hispanics and Northwest Side whites whose children are jammed into overcrowded schools; West Side blacks whose kids go to schools that need educational upgrades and safe places to play; and lakefront liberals fighting to get their kids into a selective-enrollment school where seats are slim and competition is fierce.

  • 161. HS Mom  |  September 23, 2013 at 10:58 pm

    @160 – well gee at least they didn’t single out any one project. So every project Rahm has approved is politically motivated no matter where it’s at or who it’s for. Oh brother.

  • 162. cpsobsessed  |  September 23, 2013 at 10:58 pm

    Haha, that’s a good point HS mom.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 163. cpsobsessed  |  September 23, 2013 at 11:09 pm

    Back to the original topic, i DID attend the Hidden Gems fair. I didn’t attend any of the info sessions that were offered, but walked around to talk to the schools. Lots of private schools were there (certainly no lack of options in the city if you have $$.)

    I got to talk to Disney 2, Amundsen, Westinghouse, Senn, Alcott, and a new $19K Montessori high school just for the heck of it.
    Lots of great energy there. The principals and APs and teachers that were there had such enthusiasm and dedication. I will write some notes tomorrow but I have to work tonight.

    Also…the details of my surprise meeting with a CPSO reader at the fair. (that is the cliffhanger.)

  • 164. Sunny  |  September 23, 2013 at 11:37 pm

    #160 – $90M for all those school improvements is great! I remember when Gov. Quinn / IL awarded UNO Charter Schools like $100M. Talk about political! Public schools in trouble, but we can find $100M for UNO. Wildwood’s PR campaign seems to finally have worked after years and years of overcrowding – You Tube, etc. to get them the expansion they truly needed. Seriously, the overcrowding there was extreme.

  • 165. Chicago School GPS  |  September 23, 2013 at 11:42 pm

    Thanks, CPSO, for coming to our Hidden Gems Fair! We are still coming out from under it ourselves but we did want to publicly thank all the schools, businesses, parents and students who came out on a lovely Sunday to share and learn about the Chicago high school scene.

    We, too, are always blown away by the dedicated principals, admins, teachers and student ambassadors from all the schools. Their enthusiasm clearly shows through and impacts these schools.

    We especially want to thank the public (CPS & Charter) school representation this year from ChiArts, Senn, Amundsen, Alcott, Disney II, Rickover, Lindblom, Intrinsic, ASPIRA, and Westinghouse. With the budget cuts and impacts to CPS this year (and last year’s strike), it’s been touch and go getting CPS schools to attend so we are truly grateful for each school that does!

  • 166. junior  |  September 24, 2013 at 12:20 am

    @151 RodEstvan said:

    “Why not air condition many more schools with that $17 million, why not make more non-ADA compliant schools accessible, why not create more green spaces…”

    Why not? I’ll offer one reason — ROI.

    1. What happens if you spend $17 million on AC? You get more comfortable schools in the summer, yes. But you also have to spend a ton more on energy bills and also some on maintenance. If there is any return on the investment (arguably AC is only used a few weeks a year), it would be hard to quantify.

    2. Accessibility. Nice thought, but pretty expensive, too. Is there much of a return on that investment? Pretty hard to quantify.

    3. Green Spaces. Very nice, I agree that we need more in the city. But this would also add to infrastructure that would cost for us to maintain in the long run. In some cases we would also need to purchase land which otherwise might serve as taxable property. Would it have some ROI by helping keep taxpayers in the city? Possibly, but I would need some convincing on that one.

    4. Expanding Payton — Costly investment plus some maintenance costs. However, I think we get some of those dollars back by keeping middle class families in the city and thus holding onto the tax dollars they bring. You could also argue that those families bring high value to the City workforce, and if you want to think really long term, you support a highly skilled Chicago workforce for economic development when many of those Payton students come back to Chicago after college. You could also add to the argument the social and economic benefits of providing a top-notch education to economically disadvantaged Tier 1 kids to create future economic integration.

    So, $17 million on AC is a sunken cost, and it locks in higher costs in the future. You don’t do that when you’re broke. What is imperative to do when you’re broke is to put your funds where they will have the most return. The City needs to maintain its middle/upper middle classes and the economic activity they represent if we hope to have funds to address some of the problems in the poorer parts of the system. The City needs the middle classes (yes, even those complainers from the 19th Ward), because a city of poor people cannot tax itself to provide even the most basic services.

  • 167. Chicago Mama  |  September 24, 2013 at 1:32 am

    Does anyone else think that if corporations paid their fair share of taxes, the emphasis on the middle class tax base would be less of an issue?

    @156 – I think the problem in this discussion is the idea that “schools with a culture of learning” and “neighborhood schools” are mutually exclusive. Until the D2 expansion, I was pinning my kids’ HS hopes on Von Steuben or turning around Schurz, because I don’t think my kids’ personalities would hack it at SE schools. Maybe I am selling the short, but I don’t want to put them under undue pressure for academic success in _high school_.

  • 168. 3mom  |  September 24, 2013 at 7:46 am

    Any comments/info on Taft and how the wall to wall IB is impacting enrollment as a neighborhood school?

  • 169. HSObsessed  |  September 24, 2013 at 7:59 am

    @155 – I’m not disputing that there’s a high level of poverty in CPS, but given that we rely on the free lunch data to measure it, and given the proven levels of fraud in that system, the actual level of poverty is very hard to say. I posted those links because it seems like Rod perhaps hadn’t been aware of the IG report.

  • 170. HS Mom  |  September 24, 2013 at 8:34 am

    @167 I’m not suggesting that selective enrollment is the be all end all or that everyone needs and wants it. It’s not for everyone and many people do have good neighborhood schools that they can fill their need. Going out on a limb, without a link or backup, I’m going to guess that the majority want an alternative to the neighborhood school. Those that do want an alternative do so with a vengeance meaning they will do anything else – move, hold up in a tiny apartment in Lincoln Park, use their only savings or live paycheck to paycheck to pay for private school etc.

    Not sure how old your kids are but (I know this is a shocker) teenagers are greatly influenced by their environment and by their peers. Kids manage to find trouble in selective enrollment schools too. Generally, parents have minimal control over their teen and the best they can do is provide a positive environment. Because we have choices, parents do have control over where they send their kids to school.

    We have this selective enrollment system in Chicago that is amazing and very much worth cultivating. My dentist who lives on the north shore has been asking me about my son for years. In our conversations (which are pretty much one way) he believes that the selective enrollment schools are one of the best things going. It’s unique to even a North Shore experience.

  • 171. Payton Parent  |  September 24, 2013 at 9:26 am

    170. HS Mom regarding

    “Going out on a limb, without a link or backup, I’m going to guess that the majority want an alternative to the neighborhood school.”

    Yes, I think that’s very true and that is why the charter school solution is so widely supported across all political points of view and all economic classes. It’s actually one of the few issues where there is very broad societal consensus in this country.

  • 172. IBobsessed  |  September 24, 2013 at 9:33 am

    “2. Accessibility. Nice thought, but pretty expensive, too. Is there much of a return on that investment? Pretty hard to quantify.”

    Junior, seriously, expand your horizons beyond the financialization of everything. Some things have INTRINISIC value. Many think providing access to the disabled is one. It also happens to be conveniently ignored federal law.

  • 173. Sunny  |  September 24, 2013 at 10:10 am

    Testing Question – If you take out the getting scores early issue, is there any benefit to taking the SE test early? Is there any drawback? Do they factor in that your child is taking exam 2 months earlier than someone taking it in January (if child takes it in November)?

  • 174. Esmom  |  September 24, 2013 at 11:04 am

    @170. “It’s unique to even a North Shore experience.” Well yes of course it is because the SEHSs take only the cream of the crop. That’s unique to pretty much any school/district that’s required to take all students within its boundaries. I don’t see it as an apples to apples comparison, which is why the “top high school” lists irk me. They don’t make that distinction.

  • 175. IBobsessed  |  September 24, 2013 at 11:17 am

    @174 @170 re “cream of the crop” and the appeal of SEHSs to north shore dentists- I wonder, is it because he thinks the academics are superior to the north shore schools? Or is it the satisfaction of having your child at an elite school, and therefore clearly identified for all to see as “cream”?

  • 176. Esmom  |  September 24, 2013 at 11:24 am

    @175, good question. About a decade ago, it seemed like the SEHSs were where people went simply because they felt the neighborhood schools were lacking and they finally had a decent alternative. They were much easier to get into back then because they existed somewhat under the radar (which, in retrospect, is hard to believe).

    Now that the competition has gotten so fierce and the schools’ profiles are so much higher, I think the answer is, for many people, “the satisfaction of having your child at an elite school, and therefore clearly identified for all to see as ‘cream.'” That’s my take on it, of course, as I can’t speak for the North Shore dentist in question.

  • 177. Chicago Mama  |  September 24, 2013 at 11:50 am

    @170 – I do think that most want an alternative to the nebe H.S., but my question is why?

    Cultivating SEHSs to what end? The argument that many seem to be making is that it’s SEHS or bust. While math is not my strongest subject, I do not see how to make more HS students fit into the top 0.05% that the SEHSs are designed to serve. To add something for the top 30% of students, for example, just seems to reinvent the ability tracking that dominated the public system in the 1950s. In a system that seems to publicly espouse equity, creating something that goes against that seems like the worst sort of pandering.

    I don’t think SEHSs are particularly unique to CPS or even to urban environments. My dad is a graduate of Bronx Science and my uncle is the founding principal of NJ High Tech HS. My sister-in-law went to IMSA and an ex went to VA’s Thomas Jefferson. I think the mid-career payscale / success rates of these graduates would make for an interesting data point in this discussion.

    I do understand that environment affects behavior, and that is especially true of teenagers and young adults. Being academically advanced is no protection from negative influences. But not everyone on the northshore or Naperville is a good influence either.

  • 178. junior  |  September 24, 2013 at 12:03 pm

    @172 IBObsessed

    Of course things like ADA compliance are justified by moral concerns and not financial benefits.But if we ignore the issue of resources, then we don’t have the money to address moral issues.

    We could add a ton of issues to the list of social issues we’d like to address — violence, mental health, lead poisoning, hunger. Not everything can get done. When deciding what gets funded,taking a utilitarian approach ensures that the most people get the most benefit.

    If $17 million spent on Payton returns $12 million in other benefits, then Payton only costs $5 million, and the other $12 million is available.

    Why was the United States the first country in the world to enact ADA type protections? It’s not mostly because we are such trailblazers in civil rights, it’s mostly because we had a reasonable moral bearing coupled to a huge amount of wealth.

    There has to be a wise balance of where the money goes, and it does appear that the newly announced projects distribute capital to socioeconomically diverse areas of the city. But $17 million spent on Payton is a lot cheaper than $17 million spent on many other projects.

  • 179. Esmom  |  September 24, 2013 at 12:06 pm

    @177, I know you didn’t ask me the question but I’ll chime in with some historical perspective. As I said, about a decade ago the SEHSs were, to use the title from this post, “hidden gems.” They may have been designed to serve the very top students but because fewer people willing to “take a chance” on CPS for high school, they began a trend of serving a wider swath of high achieving kids. They had the slots, so they filled them. And so a mentality developed, at least among the people at the CPS schools my kids attended, that if you applied, you’d more than likely get in.

    Then — I witnessed the shift — people caught on and the applicant pool started to grow. Test prep became a buzzword (and the Selective Preps capitalized on that) and angst about the high stakes seventh grade year was all that anyone could talk about. Each year, fewer of our eighth graders got in to the SEHSs and people (including our school’s counselor) realized they needed to seek out other “hidden gems.”

    So now I think the SEHSs are doing what CPS initially set out to do, educate the very top kids. But it’s been a hard pill for parents (kids too, I’m sure!) to swallow. Lane Tech, for example, was once a slam dunk, last resort for many kids. Now it’s a top choice. The evolution has been pretty extraordinary.

  • 180. HS Mom  |  September 24, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    ohhhh, I so can’t wait to show this to my son. Cream of the crop? Interesting. He was not in a gifted program. We didn’t apply to academic centers like many of the other kids because 5th grade was not stellar and we didn’t want to make a high school commitment early. We started research in 6th grade and put together a list list of reachable schools that included SE, IB and charter schools. He worked very hard both inside and outside of school in an effort to get into his first choice school. He tested well enough to get in.

    As far as what people on the North Shore think, this was just an interesting anecdote. It wasn’t too long ago that the prevailing belief was that a top notch education could only be found at schools like Latin and Parker and that in order to send your kid to an excellent college prep program you had to be wealthy or move. That has all been turned upside down with the SE program. People who work in the city and enjoy the urban culture also appreciate the enormity of achieving this success in a public school with diversity.

    Its interesting that you view this as a class thing about ranking. It did not occur to me at all that my dentist would be impressed with status.

  • 181. realchicagomama  |  September 24, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    I know. I was a city resident 10 years ago and was tracking it already because (a) I have a friend who was a LTHS science teacher at the time and (b) I’m a nerd like that.

    I’ll reiterate the idea that schools that have a culture of learning and neighborhood high schools are not mutually exclusive.

  • 182. Chris  |  September 24, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    “if corporations paid their fair share of taxes”

    That really gets into the TIF issue, which is a genuine issue.

    Many/most Corporate owners of property in Chicago do pay quite a lot of property tax, too. The Sears/Willis Tower’s property tax bill was $24,705,571.89 for 2012, which is something over 2% of it’s real market value–a higher rate than most homeowners pay.

  • 183. Esmom  |  September 24, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    “That has all been turned upside down with the SE program. People who work in the city and enjoy the urban culture also appreciate the enormity of achieving this success in a public school with diversity.”

    Agreed and agreed. But you can’t deny that it’s gotten harder and harder to get in. Kudos to your son and to you. But for every story like your son’s, there are probably 10 or more stories of kids who worked just as hard and didn’t get in for whatever reasons. Counselors were brought in to our school just to deal with the fallout from the increasing number of rejections.

    And it’s great that you don’t see SEHS enrollment as a “status” thing, but sadly there are plenty who do.

  • 184. local  |  September 24, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    Just finished The Interestings, a novel about how early talent and opportunities pan out over lifetimes in the U.S. Might be of interest.


  • 185. HS Mom  |  September 24, 2013 at 12:57 pm

    177/181 – Chicago Mama “I’ll reiterate the idea that schools that have a culture of learning and neighborhood high schools are not mutually exclusive.”

    And I agree

    As we enter the whirlwind of college applications (going into senior year he already has 2 acceptances, safety school and 1st choice) I couldn’t be more pleased with our CPS experience K-12. What works for us isn’t necessarily the same for everyone nor is it the only path. Our experience has been well navigated with strong academics and guidance from the school so I’m happy to see schools like Payton expand. I support any program that provides positive learning experiences for CPS kids.

  • 186. Chris  |  September 24, 2013 at 12:58 pm

    “I do not see how to make more HS students fit into the top 0.05% that the SEHSs are designed to serve”

    The top 0.05% of a 40,000 kid class is 20 kids. Even if you limit the ‘designed to serve the ‘cream of the crop” to only NS, P and WY, they still have about 1000 kids total per graduating class. That’s 2.5%, not 5 basis points.

    For perspective on a larger number, your 0.05%, applied to the ~3.3 million class of ’13 HS graduates nationwide is almost exactly the size of Harvard’s freshman class.

  • 187. Chris  |  September 24, 2013 at 1:01 pm

    “As we enter the whirlwind of college applications (going into senior year he already has 2 acceptances, safety school and 1st choice) ”

    Ok, have to ask–then why a whirlwind of applications? If s/he’s in to 1st choice, why the hubbub, bub? Protection for a mind changed in the next 6 months?

  • 188. IBobsessed  |  September 24, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    HS Mom, I was NOT implying that YOU or any specific SEHS parent views their child as “cream”.

    My point was that the elite admissions, and therefore status of SEHSs COULD BE what makes them “the best thing going” in the eyes of someone from the north shore . The academics at their HSs are excellent, so what else could the appeal be for them?

    And I said not one word, nor did my comment imply anything about class. Interesting you assumed it did.

  • 189. local  |  September 24, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    This might put someone into conniptions, but I expect the female grad of SEHS to work in jobs for pay their entire lives. Talk about an ROI.


  • 190. HS Mom  |  September 24, 2013 at 1:08 pm

    @187 – The short answer is that we have to compare financial packages.

  • 191. local  |  September 24, 2013 at 1:13 pm

    @ 169. HSObsessed | September 24, 2013 at 7:59 am

    “I posted those links because it seems like Rod perhaps hadn’t been aware of the IG report.”

    Oh, there’s not much about CPS, especially financially, that can be known, that Rod is not aware of. 🙂 He’s a great resource.

  • 192. parent  |  September 24, 2013 at 1:16 pm

    173.Sunny | September 24, 2013 at 10:10 am

    Testing Question – If you take out the getting scores early issue, is there any benefit to taking the SE test early? Is there any drawback? Do they factor in that your child is taking exam 2 months earlier than someone taking it in January (if child takes it in November)?”

    I waited until the very last day to apply for SE high schools so my kids would get January test dates. They both took the Selective Prep courses and my feeling was that they might do better later and we didn’t want to have to wait several months after taking the exam to find out the results. My daughter came home crying because she thought she bombed the math portion and the LT proctors were being really distracting (heard this from a few people). Both kids ended up scoring in the 99%. I have no idea if it was because of the prep program but if I had another kid, I’d do it the same way.

  • 193. local  |  September 24, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    @ 171. Payton Parent | September 24, 2013 at 9:26 am

    “Yes, I think that’s very true and that is why the charter school solution is so widely supported across all political points of view and all economic classes. It’s actually one of the few issues where there is very broad societal consensus in this country.”

    Huh? I thought charters are supported mainly for the “benefit” of the poor and working class in the U.S. &, politically, not so much by “real” Democrats.

  • 194. HS Mom  |  September 24, 2013 at 1:24 pm

    188 – I was replying to 2 people at once and the word “elite” was used. My mistake if this was not about “class”

    Not sure what you mean by “elite admissions”. Is that the testing? As I mentioned, the appeal is the diversity. Not something you see on the North Shore.

    @183 – I know its hard to get in. That’s why I’m glad to see the expansion of Jones and now Payton. There are so many more kids that qualify for and could benefit from SE. We worked at making sure our son was on board with “plan B”. Made sure we did the tours and emphasized all the positives going on. I know it’s still hard for kids when they don’t get into what they think is the “dream school”.

  • 195. local  |  September 24, 2013 at 1:24 pm

    A clue about the value of an SEHS diploma…check the lists of colleges recruiting at the SEHSs and your nabe HS. Whoa. 😉

    BTW, in case your school isn’t getting a lot of college recruitment action, hit the national college fair at Navy Pier this weekend: http://www.iacac.org/ncf/

  • 196. local  |  September 24, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    college fair this weekend:

    Saturday, September 28, 2013

    11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
    Navy Pier
    Festival Hall A

    National College Fair Committee

    FREE for visitors and open to the public!
    Over 400 different colleges and universities will be represented
    Last year we had more than 10,000 visitors
    (prospective students and school counselors)

  • 197. realchicagomama  |  September 24, 2013 at 1:28 pm

    And that is another thing that stacks the deck in terms of success: http://nyti.ms/1b6XbWf

  • 198. Sunny  |  September 24, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    191. Thanks for the feedback. I kind of just want to get it over with, so will have to think some more about the date. Plus testing times are at 8:00 a.m. and I think that is harder to do in the winter. 8th grader is taking selective prep now, so just want to gauge whether it is worth waiting for any reason.

  • 199. Chris  |  September 24, 2013 at 1:42 pm

    HS Mom: “The short answer is that we have to compare financial packages.”

    Totally fair. Made a difference for me, too, way back when. I was in the enviable position of getting the best aid offer from my first choice.

    I know it’s early days in the process, (and not that you don’t know this) but make *sure* s/he (or you, but not by preference) communicate with the admissions and financial aid offices of the 1st choice school. They often can improve on the package, and sometimes it helps to do that earlier, before any ‘discretion’ is used up on other kids who inquire.

  • 200. IBobsessed  |  September 24, 2013 at 1:46 pm

    Hey Junior, the article linked by @ 197 shows how state universities giving aid to wealthier kids is a good ROI.

    Question is does going for the best ROI serve the goals of the universities? The common good?

  • 201. Sunny  |  September 24, 2013 at 1:49 pm

    HS Mom – check out link on #197. Interesting article. This is the part that worries parents who might be willing to take a chance on a school – this article refers to colleges, though no hard data was presented.

    “Peer effects matter, it turns out. The long-term costs of going to school among those who are more likely to drop out could outweigh the upfront benefits of a cheap education. ” This is referring to a college where financial aid was offered to a high achieving student. Where a student accepts an offer based on financial aid package.

  • 202. HS Mom  |  September 24, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    @199 Chris -thanks! I had read that you can sometimes play one school against another and potentially get a discount. Good to know on starting early.

    @201 – this is one big concern. It will definitely come down to how much of a difference for the right fit.

  • 203. mom2  |  September 24, 2013 at 2:18 pm

    cpsobsessed, I would love to continue the conversation started with HS Mom and Chris, etc. We too are going through the whole college application thing and I am clueless on the financial aid packages other than having to fill out a FAFSA and/or needing a great ACT score (which didn’t happen). So, if anyone has advice to share on what to do BEFORE offers are sent in early spring, I’d love some advice! Do we start a new thread of just continue here? I know this is supposed to be about CPS, but our kids go there now 🙂

  • 204. SutherlandParent  |  September 24, 2013 at 2:34 pm

    @124, Charla, fair question about other options—I think those “hidden gems” posted above is more along the lines of what I had in mind. I describe myself as “charter conflicted,” but I’m willing to look at some of those for high school, too.

    Because no, I’m not in love with the options locally. I understand the concerns about MPHS, especially after the Simeon/MPHS basketball game where a gym full of cops working security couldn’t stop the head coaches from brawling and a student getting gunned down outside. We live outside the Ag School neighborhood boundaries, so we have no advantage over anyone else in the city. I’m not Catholic, so the parochial schools don’t particularly appeal to me. And while all my children are (naturally) brilliant, realistically, maybe one of them can test into a SEHS. Maybe.

  • 205. Payton Parent  |  September 24, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    203. mom2 The best on-line forum for college stuff is College Confidential – read through the postings on financial aid.



  • 206. LUV2europe  |  September 24, 2013 at 2:57 pm

    203 I would highly recommend this book “Right College, Right Price” by Frank Palmasani. Very interesting, informative and eye opening. I recently heard the author speak and took away lots of great info.

  • 207. junior  |  September 24, 2013 at 3:18 pm

    @200 IBObsessed

    Seems only tangentially applicable, but since you raised it, I think it demonstrates my point fairly well: When financial resources were abundant, universities could pursue their social missions/values by granting more financial aid to those in need. Now that funds are scarce, hey have to protect their bottom line and the poor get screwed.

    It’s like those Panera stores that offer customers the option to pay whatever they want. Those stores don’t work in poor areas. They have to have enough well-off customers who are willing to pay more to subsidize the meals of those who pay less.

  • 208. mom2  |  September 24, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    Thank you, 205 and 206. I’ve obsessed on college confidential for a couple of years now, but the people all seem to have kids with ACT scores around 29 or better, so I have a hard time getting information about what to do when you have financial need but aren’t an ethnic minority and don’t have high ACT scores. And I agree with the concerns raised in that article about going to a school that doesn’t match with your abilities just to get aid. So confusing. I’ll take a look at the book recommendation.

  • 209. mom2  |  September 24, 2013 at 3:49 pm

    Oh, and just in case anyone has advice, our situation is lower ACT scores, but high GPA, several AP classes, great extracurricular activities, honors, club officer, varsity teams and good service hours, not much money for college, wanting a very large school 🙂 ACT scores doesn’t fit the rest of the child.

  • 210. cpsobsessed  |  September 24, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    I can start a thread – or we can try to utilize the message board (so people can post specific topics.). But if 1 thread will suffice now, I can add that and we can see how it goes.
    Boy when I started this as a kindergarten themed thing, it never occured to me that I’d be adding college stuff. Yikes!

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 211. Rod Estvan  |  September 24, 2013 at 4:08 pm

    Not to belabor the poverty argument with Chris I would simply state Chris has no alternative method of estimating percentage of lower income students in schools. It would be illegal to require submission of our tax returns and I would suggest most parents would object to the practice. So ISBE uses this data to fulfill its requirement under NCLB it is all we have and its valid to reference this data in relation to Payton. I will continue to do so despite objections.

    ISBE recognizes the self reporting nature of the data and uses what is called the DHS count for funding purposes. There has been a great deal of discussion on what is called the Education Funding Advisory Board about the validity of the DHS count which is composed on a district wide level by using recipients of Food Stamps ,TANF, Kid Care and Medicaid. The other possibility is using census data, but that is essentially self reported like is the free and reduced lunch data.

    The Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates (SAIPE) for income year 2011 were used to calculate the federal FY14 Title I allocations. Essentially this was based on self reporting of income using the Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC) to the Current Population Survey (CPS).

    We have an idea of the validity of income estimates that come from census data because the federal government can actually take a sampling of income tax return data from specific areas and compare it to the self reporting data. The CPS Inspector General in his commentary on schools where CPS employees were making more income than would make their children eligible for free or reduced lunch can not be generalized to the entire population in any way.

    Last year the CPS inspector general found 26 cases of meal application fraud, involving 55 CPS employees. By my estimation last year there were about 347,206 CPS children found to be eligible for free or reduced lunch. By my math 26 cases would equal around 0.01% of that total. The inspector general’s report does not make any claims that the use of the meal application form as a measurement of poverty is an invalid measurement.

    Rod Estvan

  • 212. Mayfair Dad  |  September 24, 2013 at 4:17 pm

    Fear not frantic parents.

    The world is run by C students.

  • 213. realchicagomama  |  September 24, 2013 at 4:19 pm

    Gentlemen’s C’s, right MFD?

  • 214. Esmom  |  September 24, 2013 at 4:33 pm

    @MFD, you speak the truth. Reminds me of what a teacher friend said to me when I started agonizing about high school: “Plenty of people we know went to mediocre high schools and they’re doing just fine.” That’s also true. I know the words were meant to be reassuring but I found them unsettling.

  • 215. Chris  |  September 24, 2013 at 4:42 pm

    “Not to belabor the poverty argument with Chris I would simply state Chris has no alternative method of estimating percentage of lower income students in schools.”

    So I should just shut up Rod? Instead of expecting better data from CPS (or at least consistent use of ‘qualify for free/reduced lunch’, rather than saying ‘poverty’–not that *you* did so, but it is common)? Because, on this particular matter, what they give us is good enough? And anyone who raises the issue should be tarred as “agreeing” with an anti-Chicago republican politician pandering stupidly to downstate voters?

    I agree, completely, that it is *accurate enough* for comparative purposes between schools that require submission of the form (as noted, there are many schools that provide free lunch to all students, and I agree that that is a good thing).

  • 216. Charla  |  September 24, 2013 at 6:34 pm

    @204 Sutherland Parent I know, this totally sucks. We pay property taxes, which is to cover public schools, so basically this is tuition. Except our tuition dollars go to cover new buildings at Jones, expansions at Walter Payton, a new South Shore HS. So we have to pay tuition TWICE.

    MPHS is perceived as being gang turf/gangbanger daycare center, even though some programs turn out good students who go to good colleges. I don’t want my kids in that environment.

    I know this might seem like bitching and bellyaching, but we are getting the shaft here. I would LOVE to see the Tiers system turned on its head: If you live in a Tier 4 neighborhood, your local school can only accept Tier 4 students. Tier 1, you get Tier 1. Before this is dismissed outright, it makes sense in that kids who need to beef up with math and reading skills are put in an environment targeted towards those deficiencies. Kids who are already solid in these skills can move on to more expansive academics.

    Seems to make sense, because kids from different socio-economic backgrounds learn using differing teaching styles and strategies.

    Ain’t gonna happen, though 😦

  • 217. local  |  September 24, 2013 at 7:23 pm

    @ 197. realchicagomama | September 24, 2013 at 1:28 pm

    And that is another thing that stacks the deck in terms of success: http://nyti.ms/1b6XbWf

    Yes, that’s a huge factor now. Just wait until the Federal government starts sanctioning colleges for relatively low completion rates. I doubt any college would be willing to admit anyone other that the “perfect” student. Colleges already code students with certain risk factors, so they know who they are (or think they are).

    Slam goes the gate.

  • 218. local  |  September 24, 2013 at 7:34 pm

    “…getting information about what to do when you have financial need but aren’t an ethnic minority and don’t have high ACT scores.”

    You check out the deadly Parent Plus loan. That’s what schools are offering to “fill the gap” in their financial aid packages this year.

  • 219. local  |  September 24, 2013 at 7:48 pm

    Anyone who thinks tax returns tell an honest story… Well, for some tax payers it does. For many, rich and poor, it does not. So, where does the best wealth data come from?

  • 220. Iheoma  |  September 24, 2013 at 9:05 pm

    Did anyone besides CPSO attend the school fair? I’m curious what impressions people had of the various schools. I find it interesting that some of the schools that are considered “hidden gems” are really starting to not be so hidden. This year Lindblom’s AC filled their 7th grade seats with first round applicants which means that in 2 years the 9th grade class may not have as many available spots – making it more selective as the years progress. This may also be the case for schools with Wall-to-wall IB programs or newer SEHS. In some ways it really does speak to the value of making investments in schools that are “getting there” and meet a variety of kids needs, not just the top 1-2% of CPS students.

  • 221. Iheoma  |  September 24, 2013 at 10:06 pm

    @Charla – it seems that you’re suggestion that “tier 4 kids go to tier 4 schools and tier 1 kids only go to tier 1 schools” already exists in the vast majority of CPS schools. There are many, many schools in “tier 1” neighborhood schools and nobody from tier 4 communities is breaking their necks to enroll their kids in those schools. There are several neighborhood schools in “tier 4” communities that primarily educate their “tier 4” kids. That’s why there are so many kids trying to get into these schools through magnet programs.

  • 222. junior  |  September 24, 2013 at 10:24 pm

    There’s a name for Charla’s pedagogical theory — it’s called “segregation.”

  • 223. cpsobsessed  |  September 24, 2013 at 10:32 pm

    I think she (or someone) has stated that families across race don’t utilize the school. But it is segregation of some sort. There’s no way you can build a school for only the “x” neighborhood people and cut the boundaries…where? By income? How do you decide who to keep out?

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 224. HSObsessed  |  September 24, 2013 at 10:36 pm

    @223 – CPSO said: “But it is segregation of some sort. There’s no way you can build a school for only the “x” neighborhood people and cut the boundaries…where?”

    — That’s how the suburbs were formed. 🙂 And why they were popular for 50 years.

  • 225. IB obsessed  |  September 25, 2013 at 12:04 am

    @220, I attended the Hidden Gems fair w/ my 7th grader. Impressions: They need to persuade more CPS HSs to come. Mostly private options, but including some really intriguing off the radar ones like new Beacon in Evanston (great start time for teenagers, something like 9AM!) and World Academy (getting name wrong). Both have a project based, applied curriculum grounded in solid academics (or so they say). Could be just the thing to motivate and engage kids who are bored by traditional AP college prep.

    I was impressed by what’s going on at Westinghouse. International engagement opportunities. Amazing array of languages to study. Every sport my kid is interested in. Location is just too far away for my kid who is not a morning person and would have to arise at the crack of dawn to get there.

    Disney II should be considered by all who can tolerate the location/commute. Not good for far NE siders. Downside-only offer Spanish as foreign language.

    Talked to former LPHS student transfer to Senn. He feels safer at Senn. Thinks it’s a more positive environment all around, he said. IB student there talked about feeling personally supported by the faculty.

    Wish Von Steuben and Lakeview were there. Impressed by the CPS principals and faculty that showed up on a Saturday for their school.

  • 226. IB obsessed  |  September 25, 2013 at 12:30 am

    Mayfair Dad

    LOL. Thanks for the perspective and much needed levity! Ain’t it the truth.

  • 228. Chicago School GPS  |  September 25, 2013 at 6:58 am

    @225- We would have LOVED for Von Steuben and Lake View to be there, too, along with Taft, Ogden, Lincoln Park and CICS Northtown (we reached out to them all). Even Chicago Ag, as we had families from south of downtown attend. The single hardest thing in planning the fair was getting CPS schools to attend, due to budget cuts, limited staff, etc. That’s why we are especially grateful for the CPS schools that did attend!! And would love to publicly invite any CPS school to reach out to us for next year’s fair, as many of our emails went unanswered.

    We will say that when we finally got a response from Von Steuben, they were incredibly excited about the Fair and very interested in participating, but never did commit. Lake View, however, surprised us by saying that they would not be doing any “outside of their attendance boundary” fairs because they are shifting to only accepting students within their boundaries. We were definitely not expecting to hear that!

    I have only started reading the Reader article that @227 posted, but I will say that the whole reason why we started our Fair was to let Chicago families know there are amazing schools beyond the 4 or 5 SEHS that everyone thinks about. They simply need to be aware of them. We also feel that there may be “better fit” schools for their child in the city than the “one size fits all” limited choices in the suburbs. I know I am continually impressed at the variety of school options each time I visit a different school!

  • 229. Jeanne Marie Olson (@JMOChicago)  |  September 25, 2013 at 7:02 am

    Seems to make sense, because kids from different socio-economic backgrounds learn using differing teaching styles and strategies.

    That is completely untrue. Almost breathtaking in its presumption.


  • 230. cpsobsessed  |  September 25, 2013 at 8:04 am

    @jeanne: doesn’t the gap between socioeconomic groups in cps (even within schools) indicate that what seems to be working for higher income students is not working for the lowest socio-ed students? I’m not saying the same curriculum doesn’t work if all kids had the same background and support, clearly it would if all inputs were equal. But at-risk kids appear to need a different strategy (ie wrap around, smaller classes, tutoring, etc) which is the goal of charters — to do it differently.
    The “same way for all cps kids” is clearly not working in our system.
    Perhaps it’s a matter of symantics. Fact: society needs to change so lower soc-ec kids begin on the same playing field. But sad fact: that’s not going to happen. So do we need to tailor education as best we can to try to address the problem?

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 231. HS Mom  |  September 25, 2013 at 8:42 am

    @209 mom2

    Do you have your list of schools that you are considering? If cost is a factor (and when isn’t it?) you need to make sure you have a range of schools that you know you can afford and you hope you can afford. The recommendation is 5-7 schools. 2 that are a reach and 2 that are a sure thing. Also a good idea to include private schools that may have larger endowments. Some of the large universities with thousands of applicants are pretty cut and dry with what they will offer.

    With the favorable GPA and rigorous schedule sounds like you have a lot going for you. Weighted GPA is major consideration for many. One thing that was really helpful to me was the charts in Naviance that show by college by ACT and GPA how the applicants from your school fared. You’ll see that if the GPA is higher and ACT lower schools will take that into consideration especially coming from Lane.

  • 232. local  |  September 25, 2013 at 8:48 am

    I’m not so sure that the “world is run by C students” is going to hold for much longer. The education landscape/pipeline has changed so much by this point. That old saw applied, perhaps, with the ’50s through the present. The coming decades will belong to the elites, when it comes to “running things.” Even doctors won’t marry nurses anymore (they’re on the hunt for the plastic surgeon mate). 😉

  • 233. Payton Parent  |  September 25, 2013 at 9:12 am

    @cpsobsessed, Jeanne Marie Olson and RYH with whom she is closely aligned are virulently anti charter since they feel they take away funds from their kids’ schools. That is the filter through which you have to understand her comment.

  • 234. IB obsessed  |  September 25, 2013 at 9:43 am

    @207 Junior.

    So, it’s okay for an institution to jettison its core values for short term financial gain?

    Your comment implies that state universities have no choice but to award more ROI merit aid or be faced with closing their doors. Don’t
    believe things are that dire.

  • 235. cpsobsessed  |  September 25, 2013 at 9:47 am

    @233 PaytonParent: I do recognize that. And I too acknowledge that the charters do take fund away from the neighborhood schools, which messes up the system financially and logistically.
    So I guess I’m talking at a theoretical/data level – aside from the politics of the issue….

  • 236. Angie  |  September 25, 2013 at 9:58 am

    @235. cpsobsessed : Are these funds better spent at, say, Noble Pritzker (ACT 21.5, 58.2% Meet/Exceed PSAE) or at Tilden (ACT 13.5, 4.1%Meet/Exceed PSAE)?

    Where would you send your own child, if these were your the only choices?

  • 237. Mayfair Dad  |  September 25, 2013 at 9:59 am

    Cs earn degrees.

    C student is shorthand for the student who – rather than burn the midnight oil to earn straight As – partakes in sports, plays a musical instrument, enjoys doodling, socializes with friends, works a part-time job, attends concerts, flies a kite on a sunny afternoon – and in the process becomes a well-rounded and well-adjusted adult who can get along with others and succeed in life.

    People skills are leadership skills.

  • 238. cpsobsessed  |  September 25, 2013 at 10:05 am

    @236 Angie: Totally agree with you. It’s just a fact that as $ is directed to the charters, by nature the neighborhood schools are left with fewer students and less money. For right or wrong, it ends up putting the neighborhood schools into a downward trajectory that results in inefficient neighborhood schools that are under-enrolled.

    I still support the idea of charters, I just wish it could be done in a way to balance out the portfolio of schools efficiently. I think there needs to be bigger picture strategic planning rather than letting the schools duke it out on their own and cling to resources, ie plan for charters as part of the city portfolio in a way that they can co-exist with the neighborhood schools. That, to me, is what “options” are about.

  • 239. cpsobsessed  |  September 25, 2013 at 10:36 am

    Just saw in Trib that overall CPS enrollment is down again:

    Enrollment figures released by Chicago Public Schools show an overall decline from last year despite growth in the number of students at charter schools.

    Total enrollment of about 400,000 students is 3,000 less than last year, the district said Tuesday.

    That figure includes students at privately run charter schools, where enrollment grew by about 4,000 to 54,000, according to the Illinois Network of Charter Schools. There are 15 additional charter campuses in the city this year, with grades added at another 30 campuses, according to the organization.

  • 240. Angie  |  September 25, 2013 at 10:38 am

    @238. cpsobsessed: Then my question is, why do we need neighborhood schools like Tilden in the first place? What, exactly, are the students getting out of attending that place? Per CPS data, it has been on probation for 9 consecutive years, has 20% utilization, and is losing enrollment. Isn’t there a better use for $5.2 million dollars allocated to Tilden budget elsewhere in the school system?

  • 241. junior  |  September 25, 2013 at 10:51 am

    @237 MFD

    True, but perhaps it’s not just social skills but also connections. Look at our most famous C student — George W. Bush parlayed a mediocre academic career into a failed military stint into failed business ownerships into a failed presidency.

    @234 IBObsessed.
    Whether it’s OK or not is beside the point — I’m simply describing what does happen. The harsh reality is that we advance the social values that we can afford to advance. Universities have to meet budgets like any organization,, and under tough budgetary constraints they tend to eliminate discretionary charitable spending.

  • 242. Mayfair Dad  |  September 25, 2013 at 10:56 am

    The charter school movement has flourished in other cities. I often wonder if the anti-charter sentiment in Chicago has more to do with pro-union city workers who are forced to live in Chicago due to residency requirements. How many two union wage earner families (she’s a teacher, he’s a cop) do you know in your neighborhood? Charter schools are a threat to their livelihoods and therefore evil.

    Still, not all charter operators are created equal. They should be held accountable to the same student performance metrics as other publicly funded schools. Like everything else in Chicago, politics gets involved and tarnishes an otherwise good idea.

  • 243. Payton Parent  |  September 25, 2013 at 11:12 am

    238. cpsobsessed, 240. Angie The big divide between charters and neighborhood schools is that kids who are disruptive can be removed from charters but not from “neighborhood” schools. By concentrating the disruptive kids some schools you allow the others to flourish and, ideally, the schools with mostly disruptive kids can have a concentrated assortment of wrap around services in those schools. I think the ratio of charters to “neighborhood” schools should be about 7:3 in order for this to work. Right now its about 1:10 I think. It is, no doubt, a Machiavellian approach but I think in the end both types of students benefit. Given the way education is funded (locally, State and Federal), given the effects of urban poverty, given the mandate of State charter school laws I don’t see a better solution.

  • 244. cpsobsessed  |  September 25, 2013 at 11:57 am

    @241: Junior, ha – I had written a post about it being mostly A students who lead the country and then I was like “hm, George Bush, no way.”

    I remember once when I worked at a company that hired mostly high achievers from top schools, we were going to present to a client (top U.S. company known for decades of mediocrity requiring govt bailout) and while the group was angsting over what to present, one of the people said something like “eh, don’t worry about it. Remember, these are the C students of the world.” Always kind of rubbed me the wrong way. But probably some truth in it. In the business world at least, there is a hierarchy of achievement that begins in school. People can certainly turn that upside down but I feel like it might be more accurate to say that C students power the world?

  • 245. Veteran  |  September 25, 2013 at 11:58 am


    Tilden is not unique…

    “Charter schools have often been allowed to exist even with poor performance”…….the question is how can a charter exhibit poor performance when they cherry pick their students, counsel out those who do not fit in and enroll very few children with disabilities?
    …let’s also look at the parental involvement issue

  • 246. Angie  |  September 25, 2013 at 12:32 pm

    @245. Veteran: Are you still pushing that old CTU lie that has been debunked over and over? Please.

    “Charter schools have often been allowed to exist even with poor performance”…….

    Well, the obvious solution would be to close down the charter schools with poor performance. But if we do that, and allow the public schools with the equally poor performance to exist, then it’s not going to make much difference to the students.

    Would you agree to close down all failure factories like Tilden, regardless of their public or charter status?

  • 247. cpsobsessed  |  September 25, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    tilden – only has 346 kids, 98% low income, 25% sped, 71% daily attendance, 58% on track to graduate. Probably would have been closed if CPS didn’t take high schools off the table. The question is, what to do with the population – move them to surrounding schools is the only answer and it looks like CPS hasn’t figure out how to make this work with high schools yet. we are basically at the mercy of high schoolers who threaten to hurt each other if the schools are merged, which annoys me to know end, but is the reality of the city.

  • 248. mom2  |  September 25, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    @231 HS Mom – thank you so much for taking time to help me with this. We do have schools we are considering, but they are currently all big state schools (my kid wants large with football, etc.). We want to stay within the Midwest since it is closer to home so less travel expenses. When I try to find private schools that are very large, I only find ones that also require 32 on the ACT or things like that. Are there very large private schools that might want a high GPA low ACT student? Money is the big issue. I’ve heard good things about Kansas and Iowa State as far as possibly offering a better bottom line price than UIUC, but I would hate to wait until March and then find out we can’t afford anything. And when we discuss going to places like ISU, NIU, SIU to save money, most people just look at me with a confused look and say my child is “above that” or “can do so much better.” Ugh, I hate that.

  • 249. Just another CPS parent  |  September 25, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    Mayfair Dad – You’re a breath of fresh air (and sanity) in this thread. Parents – please calm down!

  • 251. mom2  |  September 25, 2013 at 1:33 pm

    Karet – Yes, it is on our list, too. I forgot to mention it. Thanks so much. I read that article, too. I hope it is still the case this year, but I know they did away with the midwest student exchange programmer at Missouri for next year. I was counting on that. The other large schools around here sound so expensive – Michigan, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio State.

  • 252. Patricia  |  September 25, 2013 at 1:46 pm

    @243 Payton Parent. “The big divide between charters and neighborhood schools is that kids who are disruptive can be removed from charters but not from “neighborhood” schools. By concentrating the disruptive kids some schools you allow the others to flourish and, ideally, the schools with mostly disruptive kids can have a concentrated assortment of wrap around services in those schools. I think the ratio of charters to “neighborhood” schools should be about 7:3 in order for this to work. Right now its about 1:10 I think.”

    Very interesting point. If the “ratio” is theoretically, 7:3, yet we are currently at about 1:10, there is a lot of “transition” over many years to come. In theory it does make sense to really concentrate wrap around services where needed. It makes sense from a cost, workforce, depth of service, etc. However, with a 1:10 ratio, there is no way to economically accomplish this, even if the economy was doing great. 7:3 is more feasible/realistic. I don’t think you can do something like this with all neighborhood schools because government can’t say, “you go to neighborhood school X —–but your disruptive sibling goes to neighborhood school Y.” Even if the end result is better for both kids. The way Charters are structured allows parents to make the choice to apply and then if a student is removed, it is not government dictating who goes to which school.

    Another point may be that charters can enforce “parent contracts” which it seems neighborhood schools cannot. Another factor that government can’t dictate how one raises their kids…..but the way charters are structured does allow parent accountablity to be enforced.

    I never thought about charters quite this way. I remain charter neutral and not sure if I agree or disagree with the 7:3 ratio. Now I kind of see how you can’t accomplish this with only neighborhood schools. Unfortunate.

    Ok, playing devils advocate to my own statment…..why can’t neighborhood schools enforce parent contracts? Why can’t neighborhood schools remove disruptive kids and have them go to the “regional school with wrap around services”? Or parents who do not do their part have consequences? I think the answer is because we live in a free democratic society. There is good and bad with that right?

  • 253. cpsobsessed  |  September 25, 2013 at 1:46 pm

    So one interesting thing I learned about Senn at the Hidden Gems fair is that the schools has quite a bit of space available for more students because the principal decided to commit to the neighborhood (and IB/Arts program) to make the school safe.

    The school had a lot of kids from outside the neighborhood, so basically anyone who demonstrates that they are not committed to learning and good behavior is sent back to their own school. I like that she’s put a stake in the ground on this, at the expense of per-pupil funding.

    So this is probably a step that needs to be taken in other neighborhood high schools. Basically a “show up, perform, behave” mentality would keep you in the better school, and the other local school would be the holding ground for those who don’t co-operate. This could work in the Morgan Park scenario as well. 1 big neighborhood, 2 schools.

    Just theoretical, as I’m sure the argument against it is that you can’t mix kids from existing high schools because of gang stuff. Or really, this is what’s happening with the charters anyhow.

  • 254. Angie  |  September 25, 2013 at 2:08 pm

    @247. cpsobsessed: “The question is, what to do with the population – move them to surrounding schools is the only answer and it looks like CPS hasn’t figure out how to make this work with high schools yet. we are basically at the mercy of high schoolers who threaten to hurt each other if the schools are merged, which annoys me to know end, but is the reality of the city.”

    I would start with separating the kids who actually want to learn and succeed in school, and sending them to better schools. They deserve better than to be held hostage to the gangbangers and troublemakers.

    As for the rest of that school’s population, I wonder if vocational education is an answer. They are obviously not college bound, so why not try to give them some job skills and maybe some hope for the future.

    Based on my rough calculation, only 14 students at Tilden meet the state standards, and they would take $70,000 per-pupil dollars with them to wherever they go. That still leaves over 5 million from the budget for the remaining students, which could be spent for extra teachers, security, counceling and education programs if Tilden kids were to be sent to a different school.

  • 255. Payton Parent  |  September 25, 2013 at 2:10 pm

    @252. Patricia Yes, excellent points. Since we as a society have abdicated education to the collective (and therefore fully under the auspices of our political/democratic system) issues of due process and other personal rights make a heavy handed approach to school discipline and parental involvement very difficult. Charters, operating under carefully worded rules can offer both real carrots and wave real sticks to both students and parents.

    The 7:3 ratio could be achieved quickly if the powers that be choose to do so. Consolidating 50 half empty schools was easy and without much lingering discontent if any. In New Orleans it was accomplished rapidly although with the benefit of a change agent called Hurricane Katrina.

  • 256. local  |  September 25, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    @ 240. Angie | September 25, 2013 at 10:38 am

    Why do we have those poor people?! Those Tilden types?

  • 257. Chicago Mama  |  September 25, 2013 at 2:16 pm

    Which cities are those?

  • 258. Veteran  |  September 25, 2013 at 2:21 pm

    #246 Angie, Read the article-it’s from TIME not CTU…..

    I do think that all schools should receive the same basic resources as a baseline and if some schools need additional wrap around services then that should be given. I also think principals need to do their jobs and simply not tenure poor teachers. If all things are equal-funding, personnel and specialized services and the school continues to show little or no growth in the data then the principal needs to be removed. Then, the staff needs to be removed if there is still no improvement-I believe they did this at Sherman and I seem to remember that the scores did not improve-maybe it was the lack of services some children need in order to be educated.

    As I have stated before on this blog I have observed teachers in non-public settings as a teacher and don’t believe it is simply teacher quality in CPS as even in the best schools there are weaker teachers yet the scores remain high.

    Based upon my years in CPS I do believe that we refer children for special education too late. Tilden has 25% special education students and I will bet the majority were referred after age 10-CPS discourages referrals and many of our parents may have needed services themselves. The attendance rate at Tilden may be due to a safety issue-children do not come if they are afraid.

    There are many reasons why a school may have low scores and the issues need to be addressed-opening more charters is not the answer. All neighborhood schools need to be a viable option for all children.

  • 259. local  |  September 25, 2013 at 2:28 pm

    Here’s a nice new charter school right downtown, a few blocks from Jones: http://muchincollegeprep.noblenetwork.org/.

  • 260. Veteran  |  September 25, 2013 at 2:34 pm

    Newsweek on Charters


  • 261. Angie  |  September 25, 2013 at 2:42 pm

    @256. local: “Why do we have those poor people?! Those Tilden types?”

    In case of Tilden, which is a high school, it’s because we failed to teach them anything at the elementary level. 9 years of schooling, for almost 6 hours per day before the longer school day was implemented, and they still don’t know anything.

    I was looking at some elementary schools located near Tilden. Chavez and Hamline are within blocks of each other, and have nearly identical demographics.

    “As of 2012-2013, there were 945 students enrolled at CHAVEZ. 98.2% were low income Students. 10.2% were Special Education Students. 53.1% were Limited English Learners. ”

    “As of 2012-2013, there were 682 students enrolled at HAMLINE. 98.1% were low income Students. 10.7% were Special Education Students. 48.4% were Limited English Learners. ”

    So why is it that Chavez is Level 1 school, and Hamline is Level 3 and on probation?

  • 262. cpsobsessed  |  September 25, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    I think it’s hard to compare the schools knowing nothing about them as outsiders, but on data:
    Tilden has over twice as many Sped students.
    Also, Chavez daily attendance: 96%
    Tilden daily attendance: 71%

    It’s hard to hold teachers accountable when a third of the student body doesn’t show up every day.

    Tilden seems to be an outlier of some sort with it’s small enrollment, low attendance, high sped. Perhaps there are factors we’re not aware of. Might make sense to focus on more “typical” CPS situation? I’d have to guess that CPS would have agreed it needed closing, but for the HS decision for now.

  • 263. charla  |  September 25, 2013 at 4:50 pm

    @229 Sorry to be blunt here, but kids who go to schools like Kellogg, Vanderpoel, Clissold, Sutherland, etc. are more likely to have the basic math and reading skills than kids from schools like Fernwood and Mahalia Jackson. So, if you throw the two groups of students in High School, either the kids who have a better exposure to these skills are going to be slowed down to help the kids who are weaker, or the kids who are weaker are going to be left in the wake of the kids who have a stronger academic foundation.

    Neither is fair.

  • 264. realchicagomama  |  September 25, 2013 at 5:26 pm

    I am not sure that presumption is true regarding less advanced/advantaged students pulling down higher-achieving students. Haven’t there been studies about this? This one alludes to it: http://jte.sagepub.com/content/56/1/24.abstract

  • 265. mom  |  September 25, 2013 at 5:39 pm

    259.local | September 25, 2013 at 2:28 pm

    Here’s a nice new charter school right downtown, a few blocks from Jones: http://muchincollegeprep.noblenetwork.org/.

    We checked it out and my child applied. The line to get in was several blocks. I ws impressed. She was accepted but we decided to go with a SE high school. Very high expectations, We were the only causasians–mainly hispanic.

  • 266. parent  |  September 25, 2013 at 5:44 pm

    “And when we discuss going to places like ISU, NIU, SIU to save money, most people just look at me with a confused look and say my child is “above that” or “can do so much better.” Ugh, I hate that.”

    My kid scored 30 on the ACT and SIU is on his short list. As well as Missouri State for 6500.00 a year. I could care a less what people say.

  • 267. chitown  |  September 25, 2013 at 5:47 pm

    “240.Angie | September 25, 2013 at 10:38 am

    @238. cpsobsessed: Then my question is, why do we need neighborhood schools like Tilden in the first place? What, exactly, are the students getting out of attending that place? Per CPS data, it has been on probation for 9 consecutive years, has 20% utilization, and is losing enrollment. Isn’t there a better use for $5.2 million dollars allocated to Tilden budget elsewhere in the school system?”

    Hate to say it, but a big reason could be to keep them contained and away from the others. There is a huge inequitable divide.

  • 268. HS Mom  |  September 25, 2013 at 6:37 pm

    Mom2 – the other thing about Missouri that you may already know, if your kid stays in town his first summer and earns at least $2,000 he can get residency and pay in state rate. They encourage it.

    Another point to be made about the other Illinois Universities that are not U of I, depends on your major. Illinois State has a strong business program, SIU teaching etc. Look for the specialty/fit. I think this will make more of a difference when it comes to finding “the job” which is the bottom line.

  • 269. cpsobsessed  |  September 25, 2013 at 7:50 pm

    Random funny quote from Claire Wapole of RYH today:

    Driving around today I thought, folks should be able to buy a bumper sticker that says “I’m proud of my kid and it has absolutely nothing to do with the school they attend.”

  • 270. dad  |  September 25, 2013 at 8:06 pm

    “268.HS Mom | September 25, 2013 at 6:37 pm

    Mom2 – the other thing about Missouri that you may already know, if your kid stays in town his first summer and earns at least $2,000 he can get residency and pay in state rate. They encourage it.”

    Well, this would be excellent news. My kid can get into Missouri’s Journalism school based on his ACT score but I didn’t want to pay that out of state tuition. I looked up the Missouri residency requirement a while ago and it appeared the same as other states–if the student is 21, s/he could establish residency if there not to attend school. Otherwise, the residency was the same as the parents. What is the source of this information? Thanks.

  • 271. dad  |  September 25, 2013 at 8:08 pm

    SIU has very strong journalism school as well. Most of these schools have honors programs and SIU has honors residences.

  • 272. HS Mom  |  September 25, 2013 at 8:17 pm

    270 – dad, very good sources. It’s part of their presentation: I was in the office when 2 kids were applying and I know of more than one kid that has done it. Keep in mind, this would not kick in until the second year.

  • 273. teacherteacherteacher  |  September 25, 2013 at 8:30 pm

    @Angie I work at one of those failure factories. I was really hoping the longer school day would work miracles, but surprise, some of our scores went up and some went down. Suggestions on what to do as a teacher so I can make sure my sure students don’t end up being the gangbangers and students that don’t care about their future? Great! Can’t wait to hear how you fix my school!!! Thanks.

  • 274. dad  |  September 25, 2013 at 8:31 pm

    Well, there is a gap year possibility in Missouri .. . . and employment. I just looked and he would have to be unemanciapted which I guess would raise my taxes but would be offset by the tuition savings. I’d have to check on the health care situation. Thanks!

  • 275. local  |  September 25, 2013 at 9:32 pm

    @ 263. charla | September 25, 2013 at 4:50 pm

    A kid of mine is complaining bitterly about that right now. This academic year is a hot mess already.

  • 276. Charla  |  September 26, 2013 at 8:27 am

    @275 This is what’s so hypocritical about CPS.

    Statement 1: “Kids from lower socio-economic backgrounds don’t have the same academic advantages as kids in higher socio-economic backgrounds. Let’s divide them into Tiers, so they may overcome this disadvantage and get into a better school.”

    Statement 2: “Why, there’s no proof that kids from lower socio-economic backgrounds perform any differently academically than kids from higher ones. Co-mingle all kids, and everybody learns! :-)”

  • 278. Angie  |  September 26, 2013 at 9:33 am

    @273. teacherteacherteacher: “Can’t wait to hear how you fix my school!!! ”

    This would be a good start:

    “Third, and most important for this discussion, the variations in teacher effectiveness are huge, probably larger than most parents realize. Teacher effectiveness here is placed in simple terms – how much do students learn with a given teacher. Considerable research has gone into separating the impact of teachers on achievement from that of families, neighborhoods, and school peers. This research has produced extraordinarily consistent and similar results. From one perspective, a very good teacher can get a year and a half of student gain in learning over a school year, while a poor teacher gets half a year – a huge difference that leaves some students permanently harmed.

    It turns out that overall impacts are particularly important at the bottom end of the teacher distribution. If, as noted, we could replace just the bottom 5-10 percent of teachers with an average teacher, we could expect the achievement of U.S. students to rise at least to the level of Canada and perhaps to Finland.

    But think about it. Replacing the bottom 5-10 percent amounts to replacing two or three teachers in a school that has 30 teachers. Such a movement would not startle those in most businesses of the country. Surely it is less than seen in most law or accounting firms or in most hospitals.

    Nobody doubts that there are teachers currently in our schools who should not be there. And, nobody doubts that the identity of these teachers is known to essentially everybody in the schools – from the principal, to the other teachers, to the students and parents, and to the union leaders.

    Nonetheless, if one broaches this subject in schools, it is frequently labeled as anti-teacher. To the contrary, it is pro-teacher.

    The good teachers in the school are simply hurt by being lumped together with the small number of teachers that are harming our kids. Indeed, it is almost certain that the prestige of the profession along with teacher salaries would rise significantly if the good teachers were not tarnished by the bad.”


  • 279. Veteran  |  September 26, 2013 at 10:09 am

    Read the article ….nothing new here- Alicia Winkler at CPS calls it churning…..churning needs to start at CO…

    the second response says it all……..

    Attorney DC Says:
    October 31st, 2011 at 7:52 am

    Hanushek tries to take a very complicated issue (student achievement) and present a seemingly simple solution: Remove 5-10% of “bad” teachers.

    One problem with this approach is that determining which teachers are good or bad (or in the middle of the pack) is much harder than Hanushek admits. For example, using value-added testing, studies have shown that teachers who land in the top of the pack one year are often in the middle of the pack or lower the next year. There is little consistency between results from year to year (or even from class to class, among teachers who teach multiple periods of a subject).

    In addition, multiple studies have shown that teachers are MUCH LESS important indicators for student achievement than the host of out-of-school factors affecting each child, including parental income and education levels (SES), cultural factors, English proficiency, and many other factors. Once again, an academic is attempting to place the lion’s share of the blame for low-performing students on their individual teachers, where time and again studies have told us that teachers are but one small factor in a host of many other factors affecting achievement.

    This type of “fire the teachers” attitude toward education reform will incentivize teachers to stay away from working in low-income schools, where they risk losing their jobs because they chose to work with the most difficult students.

  • 280. klm  |  September 26, 2013 at 10:19 am

    @151 Rod Estvan

    Of course, in some respects, the dire circumstances exhibited in the low-income neighborhoods can make spending so much finite things on the middle-class (or what some people may call ‘Stuff White People Like’) seems a bit insensitive.

    However, any examination of American cities since over the last generation or 2 (or maybe even since WW II) shows that when the concerns of middle-class people (safety, good schools, efficient use of tax dollars. quality of life issues –parks, libraries, smooth streets and roads, etc.) goes down on the radar of city officials, the entire city will suffer.

    Middle-class people (I will include as everybody between full-time city janitor to anesthesiologist for purposes of defining the broadest sense of ‘middle-class’) are the backbone of any city’s long-term health. Lose them and you’ll get a city more like Detroit than Portland or Seattle. Chicago has come a long way from its few (but very real) near-death experiences in the 60s to early 90s era. Some neighborhoods remained viable and have thrived over the last decade or two, while others are….well, we just have to read the paper or watch the evening news,

    Yes, the city caters to the middle-class and upper-middle-class because it is SUPPOSED to do that in order to remain a city in which people –middle-class ones, not just the low-income ones and the very wealthy– want to LIVE in, not just visit once in a while to shop shop or go to a nice restaurant once in a while.

    The Obamas, Pritzkers, and Emanuels of this world can always stay in Chicago, because they can spend lots of money and use connections to get their kids a good education and physical security for their families. The rest of us need a viable public school option and a city that we feel responds to our need for safety and concerns over quality of life issues, otherwise many/most of us are not staying here. How is that not good for all Chicagoans, even its poorest citizens, (since they’re the ones that will be stuck in a decaying city which is an even more dangerous and economically depressed and more hopeless place without a middle-class to keep it from going completely to heck in a hand basket).

    If your point is that Chicago seems to be catering to the middle/upper-middle class exclusively, well that’s obviously just plain wrong. If your point is that Chicago is spending too much money and effort to please middle/upper-middle class people at the expense of its poorest, most vulnerable citizens, well, I guess that’s one point of view. However, I’m not alone in thinking that that catering to the middle-class/upper-middle-class families (that can move whenever they want) is not a bad thing at all –they pay taxes and have expectations, too..

  • 281. Angie  |  September 26, 2013 at 10:35 am

    @279. Veteran: So which research should we believe – the one that says the students’ achievement is predetermined by their socioeconomic background and the quality of the teaching makes no difference whatsoever, or the one that says that good teachers do, indeed, make a huge difference in the classroom?

    If the teacher quality is irrelevant, than why do we even have these discussion about veterans vs. newbies vs. TFAs? Why not just get the cheapest warm body out there, and be done with it? Either way, Lincoln Park kids will succeed, and Englewood kids will fail because it is predetermined by their background.

    “This type of “fire the teachers” attitude toward education reform will incentivize teachers to stay away from working in low-income schools, where they risk losing their jobs because they chose to work with the most difficult students.”

    The teachers were offered more money to work with these difficult students, and they turned it down, remember? And with the value added scoring, the teachers will get rewarded for raising the performance of the lowest achieving students, no matter how low they started.

  • 282. HS Mom  |  September 26, 2013 at 10:40 am

    From @278 “Nobody doubts that there are teachers currently in our schools who should not be there. And, nobody doubts that the identity of these teachers is known to essentially everybody in the schools – from the principal, to the other teachers, to the students and parents, and to the union leaders.”

    from @279 “One problem with this approach is that determining which teachers are good or bad (or in the middle of the pack) is much harder than Hanushek admits.

    If you agree with the first point, then why is it so difficult to remove ineffective teachers?

  • 283. Parent Looking at Colleges  |  September 26, 2013 at 10:54 am

    I have not seen anyone mention the Midwest Student Exchange Program http://msep.mhec.org/MidwestStudentExchangeProgram. If you live in Illinois, you can go to several midwest schools for a little more than in-state tuition, but much less than out of state tuition. The schools include the smaller University of Wisconsin schools (not Madison), University of Missouri, University of Kansas, etc. There are a lot of schools on the list.

    Also, I went to ISU and graduated with an accounting degree. They have an excellent business school. State Farm Insurance’s world headquarters is in Bloomington, Illinois and they have an affiliation.

  • 284. HS Mom  |  September 26, 2013 at 11:31 am

    @283 – this is great info. Looking at the details, Missouri is discontinuing the program for 2014 and some others have restrictions for major/GPA/ACT. This could be a very good choice for some schools. The sad news is that fewer and fewer schools are offering discounts.

  • 285. klm  |  September 26, 2013 at 12:06 pm

    @209 mom2

    You may want to check out some of the colleges that don’t require applicants to submit scores from ACT/SAT. The list keeps growing. One can always apply and see what kind of financial aid one gets. The vast majority of kids who go to pricey colleges do not come from rich families, believe me. Just don’t let any school talk your kids into loading up on too much debt.

    If your child wants to pursue a major in a non-STEM area, there’s a good chance that she or he will be able to carry on with the good grades (from a decent HS where one has to really think and work to get good grades) in college, even if his or her ACT score is not ideal. College admissions professionals will take this into account, since there’s some good evidence for this.

    However, the one area where achievement tests really do seem to have a correlation between scores and achievement/grades/performance is in the STEM subjects: math, physics, engineering, etc. College admissions professionals tend to care more about test scores when applicants indicate an interest in one of these, since they know that succeeding in these areas tends to go more hand in hand with doing well on achievement tests.

    Then again, if she/he has the goal of going to U of I (median ACT in the upper 20s now) or some other more difficult-to-get-admitted college he or she can keep the eye on the prize and go to another school (maybe even Oakton CC to save money) for a year or two and scores won’t matter much, even in engineering.

    One of my family member’s kids had good grades, but mediocre ACT scores. She held her nose and went to a junior college for 2 years, did great, transferred to the college that rejected her the first time, did well there, and now she’s just started pharmacy school –something her ACT scores alone indicated was not likely.

    Where there’s a will, strong work ethic and perseverance, there’s a way to become just about anything one wants —don’t get too hung up on ACT scores, even if it seems to preclude so many opportunities immediately after high school.

  • 286. mom2  |  September 26, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    Thanks to everyone for your comments. The midwest exchange program has minimum ACT scores for the larger schools that my child just misses (again, even though people say the scores are only one factor, they seem to be plaguing us). Missouri did drop out of it, but I did hear about the steps you could take to become a resident. Interesting idea.

    KLM, I appreciate your comments and ideas and I know in the long run that you are right. The “holding you nose” and going to community college part of this is going to be a tough sell considering that plan has always been to go to a big 4 year school right out of Lane. “Everyone” we know is doing that. You know how it goes.

    We have no idea on a major, so we will stay away from STEM choices for now. That makes sense.

    Its good to hear that there are students with 30 on the ACT considering places like SIU. Those schools just don’t do a good enough marketing job to pull people away from U of I. It’s sort of like the SEHS mess vs. neighborhood high schools that might have a great program and facilities but you just don’t hear about the best students wanting to go there. I always worry that picking one of the smaller Wisconsin schools or the other Illinois state schools will end up hurting when it comes to getting that first job. Maybe I’m wrong about that. I hope so.

    If you had to pick between all the other Illinois state schools and didn’t have a specific major in mind, what would you pick and why?

    Thanks for letting me hijack this thread just a bit. You are all very helpful.

  • 287. klm  |  September 26, 2013 at 2:02 pm


    To add one more thing:

    One in-state school not enough people in Illinois consider is the University of Illinois –SPRINGFIELD.

    It’s a good-size school (although the freshman class is not huge, there are over 3,000 undergrads), with lots of majors. Most freshmen live in dorms (it’s not strictly a commuter school, like some people may think) and there are fraternities. There are opportunities for internships with state government-related agencies and the legislature, being in Springfield.

    Also, from what I understand, since it’s a “University of Illinois” campus, if somebody decides to transfer to U of I/U-C (or even UIC), the GPA also counts and is rolled over, unlike if one transferred from a non-U of I institution.

    As far as admission, it’s average ACT for the middle 50% is 20-26 (for U of I/U-C it’s 26-31 –wow– forget Harvard or Northwestern, I’d be thrilled for one of my kids just to go there). 6% of freshman have an ACT composite of 12-17, 55% in the 18-23 range, 32% in the 24-29% range, and 7% in the 30-36% range.

  • 288. Mayfair Dad  |  September 26, 2013 at 2:07 pm

    The only responsible way to choose a college for your aspiring titan of industry:


  • 289. klm  |  September 26, 2013 at 2:22 pm


    The best party school.

    Chosen by PLAYBOY.

    Sounds like fun to me –screw Newsweek.

  • 290. klm  |  September 26, 2013 at 2:34 pm

    @288 Mayfair Dad

    I’m also thinking that going to college in Colorado or Washington
    state might be specially fun for some people, at least starting,around January of 2014.

  • 291. Anna Pavichevich, Principal of Amundsen High School  |  September 26, 2013 at 3:16 pm

    @ 87 and @ 102 and all other Parents interested in learning more about a great option for their HS student – AMUNDSEN HIGH SCHOOL!

    Amundsen HS is an incredibly safe environment, with lower than average statistics for violence and gang issues in our building. Every staff member is committed to providing instruction which is rigorous and leads to high student-achievement outcomes. We are in the second year of a new administrative focus, and, in only one year, we have made significant strides in improving multiple student-achievement metrics. Admittedly, we are still a school in transition that has not yet achieved all of our academic goals, but we are sure that we are organized for success and will meet our goals in the very near future.

    Did you know that?

    • Amundsen is an IB World School
    • Amundsen has AVID, AP, Dual Enrollment, and Honors academic programs (and will have a new CTE Info Technology program in 2014-2015, housed in our new TIF funded computer facilities)
    • Recent Amundsen graduates currently attend, or have attended, Harvard University, Princeton University, Yale University, Northwestern University, University of Chicago, and University of Pennsylvania (currently attending Harvard and Yale)
    • Amundsen currently has Posse Scholars at Agnes Scott College, Connecticut College, Denison University, Pomona College, and Trinity College
    • Amundsen HS has a partnership with NEIU College of Education that provides our teachers with daily support and ongoing education about cutting-edge instructional practices
    • Amundsen IB Exam results are highly competitive in Chicago Public Schools IB programs
    • Amundsen sends Finalists to the State Science Fair every year
    • The Amundsen Academic Decathlon Team placed 6th OVERALL at the State Finals (Amundsen student tied for 1st placed in Language and Literature)
    • Several students placed in the Top 10 at Chicago City-wide Math League Finals
    • Winnemac Park is our backyard; we have daily access to a football stadium, several baseball diamonds, a soccer field, tennis courts, prairies, gardens, and more …
    • AHS Wrestlers were the 2013 State Regional Champions
    • AHS Men and Women Bowlers were the 2013 Conference Champions
    • Amundsen has an extensive music program with a full Marching Band, Jazz Band, Drum Line, Orchestra and Choir
    • The Amundsen Orchestra partners and performs with the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra (performances at AHS)
    • Amundsen’s Band Director was recently selected as one of four Regional Directors in CPS
    • Amundsen students will be going to France and Spain in March 2014; AHS hosts an exchange program with students from France
    • Dozens of world languages are spoken by Amundsen students
    Please join us at our Amundsen High School Open House
    Wednesday, December 4, 2013, 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
    For more information on applying to Amundsen High School, please go to the Admission’s Tab on the main page of the Amundsen website (Amundsenhs.org).

  • 292. mom  |  September 26, 2013 at 5:41 pm

    Mom2–my kid had the opposite issue of your child. High ACT scores and so so grades. Is an AP scholar without even studying much for the tests and getting C’s in some of the classes. Did your child take the Kaplan test prep? If s/he is motivated enough to do that well in school, s/he could have a signicant jump in scores to help. My kid has always tested well and of course has blown off most of Kaplan, but it probably gave an extra point. I personally think he need some time off to work for a while.

  • 293. mom  |  September 26, 2013 at 5:49 pm

    237.Mayfair Dad | September 25, 2013 at 9:59 am

    Cs earn degrees.

    C student is shorthand for the student who – rather than burn the midnight oil to earn straight As – partakes in sports, plays a musical instrument, enjoys doodling, socializes with friends, works a part-time job, attends concerts, flies a kite on a sunny afternoon – and in the process becomes a well-rounded and well-adjusted adult who can get along with others and succeed in life.

    People skills are leadership skills.

    Well my kid is barely a B student with weighted grades. Ended last year with a 69, 79, and 89 because he chose not to push them up one point for the higher grades. Yet knows how to take tests. He certainly has the social skill set forth above and works the room without even knowing he is working the room.

  • 294. SoxSideIrish4  |  September 26, 2013 at 6:19 pm

    232. local | September 25, 2013 at 8:48 am

    “I’m not so sure that the “world is run by C students” is going to hold for much longer. The education landscape/pipeline has changed so much by this point. That old saw applied, perhaps, with the ’50s through the present. The coming decades will belong to the elites, when it comes to “running things.” Even doctors won’t marry nurses anymore (they’re on the hunt for the plastic surgeon mate). ;)”~ I agree with this the elements for college are rapidly changing. Some colleges may no longer exist in the coming years.

    276. Charla | September 26, 2013 at 8:27 am

    I don’t know if you are aware but Kellogg is having a High School night (they usually have one once a year for the 19th) on Oct 10th from 5-7~many public/parochial/private schools will be there and it is free. You may find an option there!

  • 295. anonymouse teacher  |  September 26, 2013 at 6:26 pm

    I’m very annoyed at the disdain for community colleges. I really hope my children learn that college or trade school of any kind is a monumental privilege.

  • 296. LP  |  September 26, 2013 at 8:40 pm

    “college or trade school of any kind is a monumental privilege.”

    And there it is ladies and gentlemen: your CTU teacher!

  • 297. local  |  September 26, 2013 at 8:54 pm

    @ 296. LP | September 26, 2013 at 8:40 pm

    Huh? I don’t get it. Is that snark?

  • 298. local  |  September 26, 2013 at 9:03 pm

    @ 295. anonymouse teacher | September 26, 2013 at 6:26 pm

    I think US News & World Report college rankings just came out. There is now such a lust after seats in “selective” schools, that schools with open or generous admissions, such as community college, are seen as pariah. As in: I don’t want to go to a school that’ll take “just anyone.” Even if the school offers exactly what you need or want in terms of courses, majors or pricetag.

    Is there a higher risk of fellow students who aren’t “serious” or accomplished in community college classes? I don’t know. Although it’s the rare enrolled student who fails to graduate from an Ivy, I would guess there’s a lot of undergrad students who drop out of most colleges underneath the “top tier” schools — with, perhaps, community colleges (or other open/generous admission schools) losing the most, as their students likely are most at-risk (financially, time, prep, etc.).

  • 299. dad  |  September 26, 2013 at 10:43 pm

    In arguing with my son about his grades, my son –with the high ACT score–responded that he wants to be a police officer, I said fine–let’s look at Oakton which has a terrific law enforcement program, Horrors! Not sure if his reaction is because he would have to live at home or because it’s a community college.

  • 300. Chicago Mama  |  September 26, 2013 at 10:45 pm

    When I was in college 20 years ago, there were certainly fewer “serious” traditional students at community colleges or even commuter schools (the first school I attended was the latter). I still think of community college as like high school, but with slightly better schedules. There are a lot of people who don’t necessarily want to be there, but are killing time, satisfying someone else’s need/desire for them to be in school, unfocused, etc. My husband attended comm college for awhile and he describes his student self this way.

    My mother always stressed going away to school, even when I was very young. From a rite of passage standpoint, I’d emphasize a gap year over community college for my kids. I dread having these discussions because I am very much an idealist and my husband is much more pragmatic when it comes to ROI/ROE.

    Didn’t Bill Gates drop out of Harvard? So did Matt Damon, William Randolph Hearst, Bonnie Raitt, and Pete Seeger. F. Scott Fitzgerald dropped out of Princeton.

  • 301. dad  |  September 26, 2013 at 11:02 pm


    Btw, you can earn credits at cc and then transfer. I went to a top college and realize that it’s really not that important.

  • 302. SE Teacher  |  September 26, 2013 at 11:32 pm

    Agreed…I went to a comm. college and graduated with B.S from U of I and a MS from DePaul. Those two years saved me thousands. It also taught me to work and pay tuition as it was due. I agree that college or trade school is a privilege, at any level. You have to figure out how to make things work. I’ve had the interesting opportunity to work with some recent college grads who were from “impressive” universities. Sadly, they had very hard times functioning in the ‘real’ world. It would be laughable if it wasn’t so pathetic. Diversity means more than going to school with people who are other colors. It means experiencing different responsibilities, facing new challenges and growing as a member of society. I wouldn’t trade some of those early college days for a degree from Harvard. : )

  • 303. Emily  |  September 26, 2013 at 11:55 pm

    Taft IB program’s average act was, I believe, a 25.1; which, according to an earlier post on this site, is the fourth highest in the CPS right below WY and right above Jones.

  • 304. local  |  September 27, 2013 at 12:17 am

    “Didn’t Bill Gates drop out of Harvard? So did Matt Damon, William Randolph Hearst, Bonnie Raitt, and Pete Seeger. F. Scott Fitzgerald dropped out of Princeton.”

    A lot of performers or artists have a horrible final semester before they drop out. They’re busy riding their star to fame and fortune. Ditto for some media people and entrepreneurs. Gates had a unique educational experience – described, I think, in some material about time-on-task in some Gladwell book. If you start at an Ivy, you tend to finish, nowadays.

    As middle and working class folks become acutely aware of the risk of overwhelming student debt, I think we’ll see a lot more serious students start out at community colleges. If the many middle-tier colleges want to stay in business, they’ll need to fish from that pond. (And compete against, MOOCs, etc.)

  • 305. Oldtowncpsdad  |  September 27, 2013 at 12:34 am

    @237. Mayfair Dad: “Cs earn degrees.

    C student is shorthand for the student who – rather than burn the midnight oil to earn straight As – partakes in sports, plays a musical instrument, enjoys doodling, socializes with friends, works a part-time job, attends concerts, flies a kite on a sunny afternoon – and in the process becomes a well-rounded and well-adjusted adult who can get along with others and succeed in life.

    People skills are leadership skills.

    Straight A and good social skills are not mutually exclusive, at all. C students might have self-esteem issues because they are constantly in survival mode, easily slip to D on a bad day. In many professions, where you graduated from and your GPA means a lot. The doors are simple slam shut for C students, no chance to put those “leadership skills” to use.

  • 306. dad  |  September 27, 2013 at 12:46 am

    I agree that it is better to be an A student than a C student. More important, I don’t want to pay college tuition for a C student who is capable of being an A student. Having said all that, balance, people skills, and life experience are key. I’ve been practicing law a long time, and nobody cares where you went to school after a while. We’ve all seen incompetents from the elite schools and great attorneys from the local schools.

  • 307. Emily Update  |  September 27, 2013 at 1:18 am

    Lincoln Park has the highest IB Average ACT and the second highest in the CPS with a 27.7.

  • 308. Esmom  |  September 27, 2013 at 5:51 am

    @298 “Is there a higher risk of fellow students who aren’t “serious” or accomplished in community college classes?”

    Hard to say in general but anecdotally I have known a few kids in recent years who have chosen the community college route, primarily for financial reasons. They were high achievers in high school and were extremely motivated and driven, working two jobs along with taking a full time class load. After two years, they transferred to four-year universities…and I’m guessing they may have a greater appreciation for the experience/opportunity than some who have been there since day one.

    Also, I spent some time at Oakton CC last spring looking into taking some courses to help facilitate a career switch. The professors I spoke to seemed on par with university professors I’ve known and the students I saw seemed very serious and purposeful. The whole vibe was much more ” collegiate”/academic than I’d anticipated.

  • 309. Rod Estvan  |  September 27, 2013 at 7:39 am

    I can appreciate Kim’s comment (280). I think there is a real misunderstanding among upper middle class families about the supposed social economic stabilization of our city. For all the expansion of higher income communities on the north side west from the lakefront and in the near loop area vast areas of Chicago with really wonderful housing stock have deteriorated.

    This is obvious in many areas on the south side and with foreclosures since the 2008 fiscal crisis also in parts of the northwest side when many Hispanic families have defaulted or taken in renters illegally in what were one family homes in order to pay loans. I think the perception on Chicago’s turn around depends on where you live.

    The national model for urban turn around is Pittsburg. But in order for that turn around the city became much smaller and de-industrialized. It built a tech industry using large universities as the base, but the reality is tech jobs were.relatively few in number compared to old industrial jobs.

    Rod Estvan

  • 310. HS Mom  |  September 27, 2013 at 9:13 am

    Community or commuter colleges have a larger population of students who work full or part time and attend college part time, are older, married, have their own children whereas a “go away” college with dorms will have more students out of high school at a similar stage in life. Nothing wrong with either type of school. Kids can experience success or failure at both. Lack of social life or too much social life – it is what you make of it. I personally think it’s important to give it a go away from home at a challenging institution that is a bit of a reach for the student if it’s possible. Money and student cooperation play a big roll in that possibility, otherwise you make the best of the situation.

    Mom2 – I would choose ISU for it’s business program. The requirements for U of I business have gotten ridiculous. We toured UIUC business school, and were so turned off by the presentation (of really lack of it) and emphasis on “we only take the best”. Sad, because I was the biggest fan having gone to school there. The placement rates are almost as high at places like ISU or Missouri coming out of business.

    About SIU – My son took a 1 week media course a couple summers ago which was a very low cost way to get a feel for the campus. They are building new dorms in an effort to market their image. The media area was phenomenal and I believe they also have an excellent science/astronomy program. There seemed to be a lot of downstate kids attending and talking about using the school as a transfer. They have a very large out of state population. So, just because we don’t see it here in Chicago doesn’t mean it is not on the radar.

    KLM – I was wondering about U of I transfers. Does the same advantage apply when transferring from other Illinois Universities? U of I Springfield is a very good suggestion.

  • 311. IBobsessed  |  September 27, 2013 at 9:47 am

    Emily- Median ACT scores would be more informative; it’s unfortunate no school seems to release those. Averages tend to make us slip in to viewing the score as “typical” or even characterisic of “most” students at the program when that is not the case at all.

  • 312. Mayfair Dad  |  September 27, 2013 at 10:53 am

    “I have a rare medical condition where I’m never wrong.” — Stephen Colbert.

    Wish I had said that.

    Many families I know are taking a closer look at ISU. Lots of exciting stuff going on, very respectable business program, fine arts, industrial technology (first US university to offer a degree in green technologies) and of course education. 3 hours away = far enough to keep parents out of your hair, close enough to visit.

    Go Redbirds!

  • 313. Sped Mom  |  September 27, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    What’s the key to using Naviance (or similar tool) in a smart way? Anyone know?

  • 314. pantherparent  |  September 27, 2013 at 12:25 pm

    The world is actually run by college dropouts. Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Ellison. Of course Gates and Zuckerberg dropped out of Harvard and Ellison droped out of both the Univ of Illinois and the University of Chicago, but that’s beside the point.

    The obvious cause and effect is drop out of college and become a billionaire.

  • 315. mom  |  September 27, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    “There seemed to be a lot of downstate kids attending and talking about using the school as a transfer.”

    Transferring from or to SIU?

  • 316. HS Mom  |  September 27, 2013 at 12:57 pm

    @315 – It seemed (and I could be wrong about this) that families from downstate regarded SIU like we view UIC meaning if you can’t get into UIUC the next best thing is a closer version with the possibility of transferring later – or not.

    @313 – Naviance is a great tool. The earlier you start the better. It’s also most beneficial if you fill out and update all the info (surveys, school lists, applications etc). Initially, it gives you a lot of direction. You can see where other kids from your school are going and what it takes in the way of GPA/ACT. It is one way to track your own progress and stay on target. It records your test scores and is a way for colleges to access your students records. Your high school will post information about college fairs and other forms you may need. The counselor can interact with the student through naviance and send e-mails with information and announcements.

  • 317. HSObsessed  |  September 27, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    Chicago Reader article today about why three families left CPS for the suburbs. Cross-posting here from the kindergarten post, since two of the three families in the article list high school issues as part of their concerns. Great read, fascinating. I could write a lot in response to the article, including disagreeing with a few of the statements made (most prominently that CPS high schools only serve the top 1% of students and there are no options for anyone else), but in the end, people make decisions based on many factors. I totally give credit to people who choose to move to Wilmette, Vernon Hills or Aurora for 10, 15 or 20 years, in order to do what they believe is best for their children.


  • 318. cpsobsessed  |  September 27, 2013 at 2:33 pm

    @HSO: I agree – I think (or at least hope) that parents now are more open to feeling like there are more HS options in the city. I left the Hidden Gems fair feelings like that, for sure. And that was really just a small smattering of the options.

    I think it’s kind of funny how you (and I) consider the people who move to Wilmette/Aurora/Vern Hills “admirable” as though they are making a personal sacrifice by living in these suburbs. Some people probably consider those aspirational places to live. But yes, I feel the same way about leaving the city. Still trying to get my head around whether Evanston would be any kind of sacrifice. It’s about 15 minutes from where I live now – what is the obstacle?

  • 319. Sunny  |  September 27, 2013 at 2:37 pm

    Why do they deserve any special “credit”? Just cause they can afford to pick an option that is best for their child? How many people even on this blog could afford to move to Wilmette or Vernon Hills? Don’t most parents pick what is best for their child given financial constraints, requirement to live in the city, etc.? I didn’t see these parents really sacrificing much to make this happen. One dad misses the city restaurants, another the loud music. Wow! Real sacrifices. Not criticizing them or judging their decision, but they did nothing that deserves any special “credit.” I wish them well.

  • 320. mom  |  September 27, 2013 at 2:47 pm

    I’d investigate ETHS because it appears to have a similar system as CPS SE in the same building. There is a big difference between honors and non/honors and there is a lot of racial tension. It’s a great school especially for the top kids and you can actually take shop and culinary even if you are headed to Yale.

  • 321. IBobsessed  |  September 27, 2013 at 3:02 pm

    320 A friend teaches at ETHS, and while he does say there is not much real intermixing between the races, I have never heard say there is outright racial tension. I’ll have to ask him.

  • 322. HSObsessed  |  September 27, 2013 at 3:15 pm

    @318 and @319 – I’m saying I give them credit because it’s clear they really didn’t want to move and wouldn’t have if it weren’t for their kids. There are plenty of people who move to the suburbs and that was their plan all along, and they don’t mind or maybe prefer the car-oriented environment and the perceived conveniences attached to that, so they’re not all that conflicted, and going to the ‘burbs isn’t really a sacrifice for them. But for the long-time residents of Bucktown featured in the article, for example, who are going to rent in Wilmette and commute much longer distances (both of them) than they were before, and not really enjoy their living environment for six years or more, but are doing so anyway because there are advantages for their kids — that’s a sacrifice, and I give them credit. When my daughter was little and I was thinking ahead to my plan A, B and C for high school, the plan C was that we’d rent a home in Niles or Park Ridge for four years so she could go to high school there. I wasn’t relishing that prospect.

  • 323. klm  |  September 27, 2013 at 3:40 pm


    I think HSObsessed meant that the parents should get credit for being “good parents,” in doing what’s best for their kids, rather than live the life they want for as an adult that likes urban living.

    Also, I’ve never really understood the idea that only rich people can move to suburbs with good schools, even the stereotypical “rich” ones. Just do a little internet searching and you’ll find that renting in Naperville, Northbrook Libertyville, etc. is not that much more expensive than renting in any halfway decent neighborhood of the city –it’s maybe even cheaper. Same for buying –there are bargains in terms of condos, especially older, less luxurious ones,

    If you’re poor, you’re stuck no matter what. However, if you’re average, you can live most places, just not very well compared to most other people in the same zip code, maybe. There are some schools in Northbrook and Highland Park that have more kids qualifying for free and reduced lunch than my kids’ CPS schools, believe it or not. Obviously, there are some people not loaded with cash in those places, notwithstanding their reputations as high-end communities.

    Now, if you want a kitchen that looks like it’s fit for a Sunny Delight commercial, then that kind of home is expensive everywhere, but that’s not how most regular people live, even in Vernon Hills or Naperville.

  • 324. Sped Mom  |  September 27, 2013 at 3:49 pm

    @ 314. pantherparent | September 27, 2013 at 12:25 pm

    Heehee. 🙂 Look at at the school loan default rate for college drop outs. Of course, divide the drop out group into for-profit college dropouts, community college dropouts, and 4-year college dropouts. Interesting picture.

  • 325. klm  |  September 27, 2013 at 4:07 pm


    From what I understand, no.

    For purposes of latin honors, etc., a GPA from SIU, Elmhurst College, etc. does not count in the cumulative UIUC GPA. Yes, your transferred grade would appear on your UIUC transcript, but your UIUC GPA would start upon enrollment at UIUC.

    However, things/policies change all the time, so don’t write that in stone

  • 326. mom  |  September 27, 2013 at 4:35 pm

    @325–really who cares?????????

  • 327. dad  |  September 27, 2013 at 4:49 pm

    You must since you took the time to respond. Maybe you should think about getting a job if you have so much free time.

  • 328. cpsobsessed  |  September 27, 2013 at 4:52 pm


  • 329. HS Mom  |  September 27, 2013 at 5:37 pm

    @325 – thanks, I care. I still don’t know if the cost will send me diving to the basket that we keep the hordes of college brochures. I want to know every nuance. Also KLM, do you have any thoughts on how you would approach essays and review of them? They range from large university same old question one among thousands to smaller more selective schools with soul searching out of the box questions. Any merit to those services (which I am not going to do anyway) that review your package for a fee – any disadvantage without that?…..Thank you!

  • 330. Esmom  |  September 27, 2013 at 5:38 pm

    Re the Reader article: one of the commenters talked about how he/she left the city for the burbs 13 years ago. I thought he/she made a great point about diversity: “But I realized that my kids were not guinea pigs nor to be used as an expression of my own lofty ideals; that many of those who can leave the city schools, do; and that this desire for “diversity” was not an aspiration shared by those who could not afford it.”

    It seems that he/she views diversity almost as a luxury that those who have options are able enjoy if they choose to stay in the city, and that those who are “stuck” (in CPS and/or Chicago) don’t really care about. I hadn’t really looked at it that way before. I know at our largely white, affluent CPS school people always cited diversity as a reason to stay. I’m not so sure people who are having a less than ideal CPS experience are appreciative of the diversity they may or may not be experiencing if they’re fighting every day just for the basics.

  • 331. db  |  September 27, 2013 at 6:55 pm

    I went to Oakton Community College and while I have no regrets about my experience, it is not a path I would recommend for my children. While most of the professors were good, the environment is just not ideal. It’s a complete melting pot of everyone and many of the students are there without a goal. It felt sad and lost to me, not at all what I experienced at a 4 year university.

    I ended up transferring to Northern Illinois University and have a very good, successful career. Most people don’t end up at the top prestigious schools and I don’t understand the need to push kids to such a high expectation. We all end up doing what we want in the end regardless of the school chosen. We can’t all attend Yale and Harvard.

  • 332. mom2  |  September 28, 2013 at 8:57 am

    Does anyone know if the results of the various college net price calculators come close to matching the actual offers for the bottom line price? Some ask so few questions and don’t even want to know about sports, clubs, honors, etc. It seems hard to decide where you can afford just based on these calculators.

  • 333. klm  |  September 28, 2013 at 10:49 am


    I think those services are a waste of time and money, unless maybe one is aiming for Harvard, Stanford, Amherst, etc….which 99% of HS kids are not.

    Admissions officers have become expert in detecting when an essay seems to be be coached or expertly tampered with, notwithstanding the fact that most paid college admission consultants will try to avoid any hint of this in the final result: it still usually shows. If kids come from a certain background (upper-middle-class/upper-class coming from certain zip codes or affluent communities), it’s almost expected, sadly. Accordingly, the essay does not mean as much as it used to be at some colleges, but it’s still important.

    The biggest mistake kids make is trying to make their essay into an info commercial about what a saint they are (volunteered at 12 different charities, plus founded one on his own, etc. …..as if.) or what great “leadership qualities” they have (captain and president of everything ….people know this stuff is loaded with HS drama, popularity, being the pet, pushy parents that take over and run things and put their kids on top, etc. rather than genuine, well-deserved ‘leadership,’ in many cases).

    If they have volunteered, great. If they are captain of the soccer team and president of the Model UN Club, great. But, nobody can give 100% to 15 different things, so it comes across as though kids are larding up their extracurricular activity list with lots of Stuff Colleges Like, rather than be really involved in or genuinely caring about 1, 2 or 3 things, which is much more humanly possible (and believable).

    I didn’t work in college admissions all that long, but the most effective essays connected with an admissions officer because of their genuine feel and depth that created that connection, not the “let me tell you what a great person I am” type of essay.

    Also, I’ve heard of some kids feeling bad, because they they don’t have a pity-play “hook,” (e.g. mother battling terminal breast cancer, growing up poor in the projects, brother with severe autism, being bullied for being gay, etc) that they think would increase their chances of being admitted. They almost feel compelled to make up something or puffer up some difficult, but normal life event into a tragedy. That’s so sad. Colleges don’t want to know how sad your life is, but what kind of person you are and how you are dealing with the opportunities given to you.

    Finally, proof read, be careful about typos, grammar, etc. Realize that if you’re not applying to the colleges that reject way more applicants than admit, the essay is likely not a “make or break” proposition, unless there are huge mistakes (like forgetting to change the name of the college that you’re applying to from that of another college), responding like a little jerk that doesn’t care, etc. At big (or even little) state schools like U of I, Indiana, ISU, Iowa, etc. they’ll just input GPA (maybe adjusting for rigor [or lack thereof] of chosen classes compared to what the HS offers), ACT scores, race/ethnicity, residency, etc. and come up with a decision that way. If somebody’s on the fence, they may then really look at the essay more closely.

    Bottom line: unless you’re applying to Yale, Dartmouth, Swartmore, etc., don’t worry too much about the essay. Just don’t mess it up by being snaky, glib or careless about typos, subject-verb agreement, etc.

  • 334. HS Mom  |  September 28, 2013 at 11:20 am

    KLM – this is wonderful and a great help. Thank you!

  • 335. CPS Parent  |  September 28, 2013 at 1:51 pm

    332. mom2 My kid applied to two schools and was admitted to both. For UIUC the net price calculator predicted $0 and this was indeed the case except for a $2,000 merit award. For Yale it predicted $42,000 which the school did indeed offer to us. For these two schools the calculator was accurate.

    Note – the calculators only attempt to predict the cost of attendance and therefore don’t need to incorporate any information other than financial specifics.The actual college application will ask for info regarding “…sports, clubs, honors, etc.”

  • 336. CPS Parent  |  September 28, 2013 at 1:53 pm

    Regarding my post above – the $0 and $42,000 is the amount of aid offered to us by the school, not the cost of attendance.

  • 337. Susan Lofton  |  September 28, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    Just sharing our happy news: Senn High School received notification and congratulations on Friday. The school moved to a Level 1 rating – the highest standing within CPS. Senn is now among Lane, Lincoln Park, Payton, and Northside College Prep in the performance policy results. We know we still have much work ahead of us, but our standing reflects the dramatic change within and around the school.

    As the principal of a neighborhood high school with a selective IB and a magnet fine arts program, I can assure you there are options out there beyond moving to the suburbs or waiting anxiously for acceptance to a fully selective enrollment school.

    An essential factor in creating a school that meets your needs is community support and action. I am very thankful that Edgewater/Andersonville residents and our parents (both prospective and current) have taken a real interest and role in helping Senn improve. There are other neighborhood high schools out there that would benefit from your efforts, which in turn benefits your family.

    Parents who read this blog are among those who care deeply about the quality of education their children receive, and you clearly are willing to go great lengths to get your child into a quality school. I support you in your discussion, but I also urge you to consider your neighborhood options. If the neighborhood school isn’t academically where you need it to be, prospective parents (regardless of whether your child is in kindergarten or 8th grade) should meet with the principal and have a serious discussion about your expectations and ways to achieve success. You will be amazed at what a faculty and community can achieve in even a year.

    Susan A. Lofton
    Nicholas Senn High School

  • 338. neighborhood parent  |  September 29, 2013 at 12:20 pm

    Wonderful News! Congratulations to Senn and the community, you are certainly rising to the challenge. May you continue to meet with success in all your goals!

  • 339. mom2  |  September 30, 2013 at 9:14 am

    CPS Parent, thank you for the information on the net price calculator. I’ve heard that University of Iowa offers a great price for out of state students but the net price calculator didn’t make it sound like there would be anything but a huge bottom line price, so I was curious. I’m hoping for something closer to 19-25 thousand – not 28-45 which is what we are getting everywhere – even UIUC.

  • 340. HS Mom  |  September 30, 2013 at 11:18 am

    Boy I sure hope those calculators are right. That would be good news. The only one I’m finding way out of whack on our list is Michigan State. They claim that their scholarship criteria is now more attainable and more possibilities now available for out of state. We shall see.

  • 341. mom2  |  September 30, 2013 at 11:46 am

    HS Mom, are the schools on your list smaller LAC’s or do you also have some larger state type universities? I’m not finding comfort in those net price calculators but maybe we aren’t looking at the same types of schools. Michigan State was over 40,000 per year. UIUC is something like 28800 in state.

  • 342. Counterpoint for discussion  |  September 30, 2013 at 12:48 pm

    We’ve talked about Tiers and neighborhood schools and I guess it’s time again. Turn Taft/Senn/ and Clemente into Selective Enrollent only. That would in turn buy another 15 years of time in Chicago for a system that is about to implode due to the stresses put upon it.
    PS. The Reader article was great. The mindset of the 1% quote is accurate and broadly acknowledged in that socio/economic subset. I know you disagreed with that perspective, but it is a real perception and possibly close to reality (maybe it’s actually 4-6%).

  • 343. HS Mom  |  September 30, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    We are looking at both large universities and small liberal arts, a couple that will even fund 100% need if he gets in. Illinois, Iowa, Michigan on the list with the price kinda scaring me. Missouri is lower priced plus after running the calculator for ISU and U of I Springfield, some definite back up options. Fortunately, my son is pretty easy going about the whole thing, not invested in any one school and on board with the financial aspect. The dorms and the food and the 300 person hot tub (something that every kid needs for their college education LOL) are not on the radar.

  • 344. Chris  |  September 30, 2013 at 4:31 pm

    “The mindset of the 1% quote is accurate … it is a real perception and possibly close to reality (maybe it’s actually 4-6%).”

    An error of 500% is ‘close to reality’? In many cases, that sort of perception bias borders on delusional. Comes across as a rationalization, given that the top 5 SEHS (WP, WY, NS, Jones, Lane) alone have ~7% of CPS 9th graders, and that excludes a significant number of ‘acceptable’ (scare quotes) seats at other schools.

    That said, cannot say that it is *impossible* that I would be a suburban renter come 9th grade.

    However, the Vernon Hills folks honked me off with the “there are houses around here for under $500,000 (subtext)not as nice as *ours*, of course(/subtext)” nonsense. “look at us, we can afford to lose $200,000 and *still* buy a house with a pool”–sheesh.

  • 345. Danaidh  |  September 30, 2013 at 7:57 pm

    Re #342: “Turn Taft/Senn/ and Clemente into Selective Enrollent [sic] only.”

    Taft, with 3205 students, is the second largest school in the district. Nearly 80% of those students live in the neighborhood. It cannot be turned into a selective enrollment school because there is nowhere else to send that many neighborhood kids.

    Rather, give it the resources to improve the school’s program and services to its community.

  • 346. Sunny  |  October 1, 2013 at 12:43 am

    #345. Are your numbers accurate? Not having a child in H.S., but in talking to non-H.S. parents, the perception is that it is higher.

    Would be great if we could really know what percent of the perceived trouble makers are actually from outside the neighborhood versus inside the neighborhood. Would be interesting if the troublemakers causing fights, disturbances are from the area.

    It would matter how “in the neighborhood is defined” as well.

  • 347. Chris  |  October 1, 2013 at 11:09 am

    ” how “in the neighborhood is defined” ”

    For Senn, it’s basically the portions of Uptown, and Edgewater that are east of Ashland, and a bit of West Ridge directly north of Rosehill. Goes a bit north of Devon from the lake to Western, and some other wiggles on the edges, but that’s the gist.

    So, by reputation and prejudgment, the perceived troublemakers are reasonably likely to be ‘neighborhood’ kids from Uptown.

  • 348. Chris  |  October 1, 2013 at 11:33 am

    ” how “in the neighborhood is defined” ”

    For Taft, it’s from the N and W edges of the city, E to Pulaski, and a S edge that is (from W to E) Montrose, Norridge, Harwood Heights, Ridgemoor, Irving Park (from ‘gansett to Menard), Montrose (to Central), Sunnyside for a block, Lawrence, Milwaukee, Wilson, Elston, Lawrence.

    Seems like plenty of ground to house perceived troublemakers not from one’s own conception of “the neighborhood”.

  • 349. IB obsessed  |  October 1, 2013 at 11:47 am

    @347 In fact, a significant %age of the “troublemakers” at Senn were from out of the school boundaries. Some came to attend what was called “Achievement Academy”, a program for those who flunked out of and aged out of elementary. Achievement Academy at Senn no longer exists. It is said that program did not work.

    I find your naming of Uptown as likely the neighborhood of the troublemakers, uncalled for, even if you attempt to protect yourself by saying “by reputation and prejudgment”.

    Ragging on Uptown contributes nothing to this discussion.

  • 350. IB obsessed  |  October 1, 2013 at 11:48 am

    Excuse me, the above comment was intended in reply to @348, Chris.

  • 351. Chris  |  October 1, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    “I find your naming of Uptown as likely the neighborhood of the troublemakers, uncalled for, even if you attempt to protect yourself by saying “by reputation and prejudgment”.”

    You missed the subtext there. I’m not trying to ‘protect myself’ from anything with that word choice.

    Guess next time I should hit everyone over the head by using an alternate form of “prejudgment”–“prejudice”.

  • 352. EdgewaterMom  |  October 1, 2013 at 6:17 pm


    We’ve talked about Tiers and neighborhood schools and I guess it’s time again. Turn Taft/Senn/ and Clemente into Selective Enrollent only. That would in turn buy another 15 years of time in Chicago for a system that is about to implode due to the stresses put upon it.
    PS. The Reader article was great. The mindset of the 1% quote is accurate and broadly acknowledged in that socio/economic subset. I know you disagreed with that perspective, but it is a real perception and possibly close to reality (maybe it’s actually 4-6%).

    I really do not think that the answer is to have MORE selective enrollments schools! We need better resources for the neighborhood schools. The turnaround at Senn shows that a neighborhood school can be a great choice for students, especially when it has the leadership and resources that it needs to succeed. Because the system in Chicago has been so messed up for many years, parents have the mindset that the ONLY options are SEHS. Schools like Senn are proving that this is no longer the case. http://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20131001/edgewater/senn-chicago-math-science-academy-among-best-high-schools-city

  • 353. Even One More CPS Mom  |  October 1, 2013 at 6:58 pm

    This article is worth a read as well.

  • 354. North Center Mom  |  October 2, 2013 at 8:19 am

    @353. Interesting article. Very happy for Amundsen and Roosevelt. I would love to see more neighborhood high schools thrive. As for the article, in the last paragraph the author cites the performance ranking numbers for five selective enrollment high schools. But those cited numbers don’t agree with those provided on the (new and improved) cps website pages for those schools. Perhaps the author was using last year’s data.

  • 355. Even One More CPS Mom  |  October 2, 2013 at 8:43 am

    @354 North Center Mom. I was looking at the CPS web site as well. It looks like although a new design is up, that they have not yet input the new data. It is still showing the old “Levels” and other data. Surely it will likely be updated soon.

  • 356. North Center Mom  |  October 2, 2013 at 9:00 am

    Even One More CPS Mom: Thank you for the clarification.

  • 357. Chris  |  October 3, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    Hey Rod (apologies to others for beating a dead horse):

    If CPS gets enough completed applications this year, will Chicago join Boston and Dallas as cities where 100% of students are “low income” because they ALL get free lunch without having to do anything? Or will we all have to resort to a different (and hopefully better) method for tracking poverty among CPS students?

  • 358. IB obsessed  |  October 3, 2013 at 7:13 pm

    Chris, from what my kids tells me about the CPS lunches, you’d have to have pretty low standards to feign poverty just to be served one free. 😉

  • 359. cpsobsessed  |  October 3, 2013 at 7:18 pm

    @IBObsessed: I was thinking the same thing through this whole discussion!

    5 years in and I have packed a lunch every single day. No way that food feels like a “win” unless your alternative is pretty bad.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 360. edgewatermom  |  October 3, 2013 at 7:23 pm

    It looks like CPS has updated the website with new levels and test scores. I know that that there has been a lot of discussion about the levels being meaningless (after the article in the Huffington Post) but I think that part of what the levels are supposed to gauge is progress at a school. For example, if you just look at Senn’s scores from last year, they may not seem impressive. But when you look at the gains they have made over the last several years, they are REALLY impressive. http://schoolreports.cps.edu/PerformancePolicyReport/Performance_Policy_2013_schlid_HS_609730.pdf

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

    I have a writeup from todd pytel at senn from last year that describes the level calculation. I’ll make a post in a bit…

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 362. Angie  |  October 3, 2013 at 7:39 pm

    Looks like Lake View HS has been downgraded to probation status. Too bad, their new STEM program seemed so promising.


  • 363. Todd Pytel  |  October 3, 2013 at 8:37 pm

    @CPSO – I’ve heard that the Performance Policy may be receiving some changes in the near future, so it may not be worth obsessing over the current calculations.

    The long and the short of my earlier post is that the current policy is an earnest attempt at what’s likely an impossible task. No matter how hard it tries to reward improvement, any simple 3 point scale based primarily on academic measures will fail to make a valid comparison between Northside/Payton/etc. on one end and a poverty-ravaged neighborhood school on the other. It simply can’t be done without warping a significant number of results in the middle. Lakeview’s swift fall from Level 1 to Level 3 is an example of this.

  • 364. Todd Pytel  |  October 3, 2013 at 8:45 pm

    Ha… didn’t see that you just made a whole new blog post for it. OK, obsess away…

  • 365. HS Mom  |  October 3, 2013 at 8:56 pm

    Lake View stats look really good. If levels are based solely upon increase/decrease without consideration of having attained a certain minimum (or not) then “level” refers to effectiveness. Maybe a better gauge would be 2 numbers – effectiveness and accomplishments. I don’t see the current “level” measurement as giving a true picture.

  • 366. IB obsessed  |  October 3, 2013 at 9:18 pm

    HS Mom and Angie-What’s the deal with funding for STEM at Lakeview? Was it cut/pulled? I heard rumblings that it was.

  • 367. HS Mom  |  October 3, 2013 at 9:31 pm

    Are you saying that Lake View no longer has a STEM program? Anyone from Lake View to comment?

  • 368. Angie  |  October 3, 2013 at 9:36 pm

    @366. IB obsessed: It was not pulled, but they lost a lot of money due to per-pupil budgeting.


    In any case, their new probation status is based on last year’s results, before the budget was cut.

  • 369. HS Mom  |  October 3, 2013 at 10:46 pm

    @368 – good to know

    from the article “In the midst of belt-tightening, renovations of the building will continue over the summer, using $2 million in TIF funds. Improvements include the addition of new computer labs and science labs as part of the STEM push. Freshmen next year will be the second class of STEM students at the school.”

  • 370. Chris  |  October 4, 2013 at 5:33 am

    IB obsessed: “you’d have to have pretty low standards to feign poverty just to be served one free.”

    You’d have to have pretty low standards to feign poverty, period. But if we are using free/reduced lunch applications as our measure, and CPS gets qualified to opt out of taking them, what do we do then? Just decide that *every* CPS student is poor?

  • 371. Chris  |  October 4, 2013 at 5:41 am

    CPSO: “5 years in and I have packed a lunch every single day. No way that food feels like a “win” unless your alternative is pretty bad.”

    Yeah, we have a ‘never eats school lunch” too, making him a 2d generation abstainer. But then shouldn’t the measure be how many kids eat the school lunch, as opposed to how many are “qualified”? And, as noted, if we go to 100% “qualified”, what do we do to measure then, even in relative terms?

  • 372. PatientCPSMom  |  October 4, 2013 at 11:20 am

    FYI: Here’s another High School Fair
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  • 373. Chris  |  October 4, 2013 at 11:35 am

    Now that Coonley is *also* getting an almost $17 million expansion, is everyone going to freak out at Rahm again? Or does the $500k make a difference?

    Recall, if you will, that Rahm’s name was all over the last Coonley reno when he was still in Congress.

  • 374. Angie  |  October 4, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    @342. Counterpoint for discussion: “Turn Taft/Senn/ and Clemente into Selective Enrollment only.”

    I think it could work very well for Clemente. The location is decent, there is public transportation, and the article below shows that most neighborhood kids go elsewhere, anyway. Per CPS data, this year’s enrollment is just 701, down from 891 in 2012-2013.


    As exciting as it is to see so many neighborhood elementary schools turn around, I can’t help thinking that in a few years, the competition for SE high school seats is really going to heat up. CPS should put those 3000+ seats at Clemente to good use.

  • 375. Questioner  |  October 7, 2013 at 8:29 am

    When will the 400 additional students be added/admitted to Walter Payton College Prep? Fall, 2014? I cannot recall when the expansion will be competed?

  • 376. Chris  |  October 7, 2013 at 8:55 am

    “When will the 400 additional students be added/admitted to Walter Payton College Prep?”

    That’ll be over 4 years. They won’t add them all at once.

    “Fall, 2014?”

    The small class (~160; the others are ~200 to ~250) is graduating this year. If *I* were doing it, I’d squeeze in ‘extra’ kids then, bc otherwise you continue having the very uneven-sized graduating classes for 4 more years.

    Timing is supposedly “end of 2015”, meaning the middle of the 15-16 school year. Meaning that my plan would leave the building crowded for a year and a half.

    Still want to know why no one is making a stink about Coonley getting $16.5m in TIF funds. Payton-Expansion Complainers: Tell me what’s the difference between Coonley and Payton??

  • 377. cpsobsessed  |  October 7, 2013 at 9:01 am

    @chris – is the payton TIF $ “local” TIF or citywide TIF? (I don’t know if there is even such a difference.)
    Coonley is local TIF. The alderman there has chose to use local tax dollars to improve the schools facilities, including other schools in his district. He’s seen the benefits to the whole area from the waters and coonley improvements several years ago and is continuing to invest. Cps is not funding it.

    I’m not sure how the payton project is set up.

    It also makes me think again about the lincoln overcrowding issue and how they should demand $ from the developer to figure something out.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 378. Questioner  |  October 7, 2013 at 9:11 am

    Thanks Chris. My kid is applying for Payton for next fall. Just wanted to gage if there might be more freshman seats for Fall, 2014.

  • 379. HS Mom  |  October 7, 2013 at 9:44 am

    @377 local or citywide would not make a difference in the case of Payton. Based on what I’ve read, ,most TIF funds are generated from the area surrounding the loop. I’m guessing they use these local tifs to fund other projects in the city.

  • 380. Chris  |  October 7, 2013 at 9:59 am

    cpso: “Cps is not funding [Coonley expansion].”

    CPS is *also* ‘not funding’ (the TIF-skeptics have a genuine basis for disputing that for *every* TIF-funded project) Payton expansion.

    And, as you might expect, I don’t think there is a problem with *either* of the expansion plans. And I didn’t see you complaining about Payton.

    What I want to know is why CTU and the other “it’s unfair; it’s Rahm using Payton to campaign for re-election” people are not similarly up in arms about Coonley. As I noted, Rahm’s name was all over the building when they did the last updating, which included the field turf, etc., so he has a vested interest in Coonley, too.

  • 381. Chris  |  October 7, 2013 at 10:02 am

    Q’er: “:Just wanted to gage if there might be more freshman seats for Fall, 2014.”

    It’s been an absurdity for a while that there are two class years around 100 kids larger than a 3d. With the small class coming up to be replaced Fall-14, one would hope that they at least start equalizing it before the expansion is ready, rather than (probably) exacerbating the problem by just adding 100 kids to each classyear *after* the completion.

  • 382. Jones  |  October 15, 2013 at 12:32 pm

    Questioner: The Payton rep at the H.S. Fair I attended at an elementary school last week, shared that the first 100 new seats will begin with the Freshman CLASS of 2015. Theatre Program will be expanded with new building and a full sized gym which they lack now. Still won’t have a pool or a football field. Learned that even if you pass Algebra exit exam in 8th, still have to pass Payton Math test to skip H.S. Algebra. Also, for their Math tests for actual classes (called assessments – performance based), they allow you to re-take until you have mastered the material. Can sign-up for tutoring on Sunday for the rest of the week (during Enrichment period). Have a Math boost program (tutoring program) to ensure you can get extra help without rest of class having to slow down (provided you utilize it).

  • 383. cpsobsessed  |  October 15, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    Thanks for sharing that info!

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 384. Chris  |  October 15, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    “the Freshman CLASS of 2015”

    So, freshman entering in the Fall of 2015, or the freshman “class of 2015”, which would be entering in Fall of 2014 (since “class years” start in the fall and end in the spring)?

  • 385. Jones  |  October 15, 2013 at 1:14 pm

    Current 7th graders will be part of the Freshman Class of 2015.

    Current 8th graders are out of luck for the extra 100 seats.

  • 386. Jones  |  October 15, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    Here’s what I learned at the same fair about Lane:
    -Lane is building a Recording Studio!
    -For current 8th graders, they will be applying for 1 of 1100 Freshman seats due to per pupil funding. Not sure how Academic Center fits into these numbers.
    -Currently have only 800 Sophomores and 1200 Juniors. I believe the total goal number was 4400 students (or 4100 can’t read my notes!).
    -Latin – no new students are being allowed to join Latin, they are phasing it out and Latin teacher is now only part-time.
    -Counseling department was cut by 3 1/2 people, so load is high.
    -Expecting more budget cuts next year.

  • 388. Justin F  |  October 15, 2013 at 8:38 pm


    “Two years ago Payton had the highest average score (across all tiers) ever in Chicago.”

    That because Payton accepted 18% less students than Northside at each tier. The more students you accept the lower your average score will go. Even with the greater number of acceptances, Northside entry scores were virtually identical to Payton’s. If Northside accepted the same number of students as Payton, then NS average would be higher than Payton.

    “An average ACT of 29.5″

    Actually, Payton’s ACT was 29.3 in 2013 (much higher than prior years; most likely due to increased test prep). Northside’s was higher.
    With Payton’s expansion, their average entry scores and ACT scores will be dropping even further below Northside.

    ” For a school that is 40% poverty”

    It’s closer to 30% and it’s not poverty, it’s low income, big difference.

    I believe these are a couple of other Payton stats:
    – Graduation rate: 91% (after 5 years)
    – College enrollment: 85%

  • 389. luveurope  |  October 16, 2013 at 9:39 am

    388 Graduation rate 91% after 5 yrs? seriously? How is that explained?

  • 390. Chris  |  October 16, 2013 at 12:21 pm

    “Graduation rate 91% after 5 yrs? seriously? How is that explained?”

    It’s 91.3, not that it’s much of a difference.

    NSCP has 3.1/100 not graduating in 5 years, too. Even Stuyvesant in NY doesn’t get 100% graduating.

    In any case, bet that with a demographic adjustment, they’re about the same, compared to the overall comparable demo stats.

  • 391. Jones  |  October 17, 2013 at 9:09 am

    #389. Payton has a program for those who are Visually Impaired as well as a self-contained classroom for those on the Autism Spectrum. This is apart from the SE process. I expect that parents of these students opt to keep their children at Payton/within the public school system as long as possible since there are not many financially feasible options available post graduation (esp for Autism Spectrum). Thus I would expect that the majority of the roughly 10% not graduating within 5 years have parents who are taking advantage of their legal right to a free and appropriate public education thru 1 day short of the age of 22. There are probably only a handful of actual SE kids who are actually in the drop-out range – not 10%. I know Lane (self-contained for severe/profound and autism plus integrated hearing impaired) and WY (hearing impaired, severe/profound, cognitive delay and more) also have certain special education programs that are apart from the SE process. There are about 200 kids in each of these programs who do not go thru the SE process. Parents work with 8th grade counselor to secure a spot at appropriate school (if local H.S. not able to provide free and appropriate education for child and they are lucky enough to understand how process works).

    I expect their numbers are included in the overall graduation rate, but highly unlikely they take the ACT (other than hearing / vision impaired).

    I have not heard of any programs at Northside thus far.

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