2 announcements – documentary about SEHS needs 8th graders, and idea for CPSO book club

October 9, 2013 at 11:50 pm 26 comments

#1: Chance to be part of a cool documentary about the SEHS process:

Are you or your child considering Whitney Young Magnet High School as your First Choice School and do you plan on attending the Open House on October 20th?  A nationally recognized, award winning documentary television producer is looking to talk to parents and kids who are hoping to get into Whitney Young for the 2014/2015 school year (for possible inclusion in a feature length documentary on Whitney Young Magnet High School).    Please email WhitneyYoungDocumentaryProject@gmail.com for more information.


#2: CPSO Book Club – let me know if anyone is interested in having this book for a book club.  It covers one of our favorite topics – Finland’s education system!  It’s gotten good reviews on Amazon (although really, who would read a book like this unless they were really interested in the topic?)

The Smartest Kids in the World: And How They Got That Way Hardcover

by Amanda Ripley



How Do Other Countries Create “Smarter” Kids?

In a handful of nations, virtually all children are learning to make complex arguments and solve problems they’ve never seen before. They are learning to think, in other words, and to thrive in the modern economy.

What is it like to be a child in the world’s new education superpowers?

In a global quest to find answers for our own children, author and Time magazine journalist Amanda Ripley follows three Americans embed­ded in these countries for one year. Kim, fifteen, raises $10,000 so she can move from Oklahoma to Finland; Eric, eighteen, exchanges a high-achieving Minnesota suburb for a booming city in South Korea; and Tom, seventeen, leaves a historic Pennsylvania village for Poland.

Through these young informants, Ripley meets battle-scarred reformers, sleep-deprived zombie students, and a teacher who earns $4 million a year. Their stories, along with groundbreaking research into learning in other cultures, reveal a pattern of startling transformation: none of these countries had many “smart” kids a few decades ago. Things had changed. Teaching had become more rigorous; parents had focused on things that mattered; and children had bought into the promise of education.

A journalistic tour de force, The Smartest Kids in the World is a book about building resilience in a new world—as told by the young Americans who have the most at stake.

Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

What Do Levels Mean? Americans – decidedly below average on school-ish skills?

26 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Greedy CPS? | District 299: The Inside Scoop on CPS  |  October 10, 2013 at 9:00 am

    […] Documentary about SEHS needs 8th graders, and idea for CPSO book club CPSO: Are you or your child considering Whitney Young Magnet High School as your First Choice School and do you plan on attendingthe Open House on October 20th? Let me know if anyone is interested in having this book for a book club.  It covers one of our favorite topics – Finland’s education system! […]

  • 2. neighborhood parent  |  October 10, 2013 at 11:51 am

    the author, Amanda Ripley, was a guest on CNN last night (anderson cooper’s show) and was particularly well-spoken and concise about Education challenges. there maybe clips from the show posted. Also it seems like we have too many “politicians’ running our educational system here in the US.

  • 3. cpsobsessed  |  October 10, 2013 at 12:33 pm

    No way! I’ll take a look online.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 4. Harry R  |  October 10, 2013 at 12:33 pm

    “Also it seems like we have too many “politicians’ running our educational system here in the US.”

    You got that right. First, abolish the department of education and push those funds back to the states. School operations should be local with parent involvement, and not politicians or unions (they are both looking out for themselves and not the children and that is why the pubic school system in the US is an absolute disaster).

  • 5. neighborhood parent  |  October 10, 2013 at 3:45 pm


    RE: Amanda Ripley’s video. the CNN topic was in response to a recent survey on amer. adults but at the 1 min point she makes a connection to Common Core and the rest of the video is broader including elem. ed.

  • 6. Counterpoint for Discussion  |  October 10, 2013 at 11:00 pm

    If we got rid of the Department of Education, could we take the money and pay down debt?

  • 7. Chris  |  October 11, 2013 at 10:41 am

    “If we got rid of the Department of Education,”

    What do you mean ‘get rid of’? US or Illinois or both? If Illinois, do the state tax $$ still get distributed to the districts, or not?

  • 8. Counterpoint for discussion  |  October 11, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    Talk about pressure for a kid. What happens when they don’t get in and that movie is replayed forever because of the internet? This is not healthy. Please have a thread about the number of hospitilizations for Freshman as NSCP, I understand it stands at 4+ for this year. This documentary stuff is great for clinitions but possibly horrific for the lab rat.

  • 9. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  October 11, 2013 at 3:24 pm

    Ripley’s book is focused on HS it seems. There are stark differences between primary and secondary ed in many countries. For 1st-4th grade in Korea, public school is basically 4 hours a day, including lunch. The instructional time is four 40 min. periods, less than half of what Chicago’s 6 hour instructional day. There is extensive private after-school, however. But their 3-year HS is grueling. Imagine going back to school after dinner until 10pm in many cases, and then going to private tutoring after that!

  • 10. RL Julia  |  October 11, 2013 at 4:50 pm

    @8 Counterpoint.
    Hospitalizations? I know of/heard about a number of children who were hospitalized during their freshman year (at NCP and other schools) – but I have to say, none of them were hospitalized only because of school – their hospitalizations were all culminating events of years of adolescent angst that started well before the child’s entrance into high school. Many kids (not just the one’s at NCP or other SEHS’s) that age are anxious, high strung, not particularly resilient to life’s challenges and think they got it all under control when they really don’t.

    Hopefully the filmmakers would be sensitive to a kid they followed who didn’t get into WY and their feelings – but unless the family is completely delusional and/or only applied to WY for high school, that kid will probably get into somewhere else and be perfectly happy with that choice. When handled properly, it shouldn’t be the train wreck predicted.

  • 11. HS Mom  |  October 11, 2013 at 5:01 pm

    RLJ – curious as to what the angle would be for this documentary if, as you say, kids lives won’t be “ruined” if they don’t get into Whitney (al la Waiting for Superman or The Lottery). Any Whitney parents with further insights?

  • 12. cpsobsessed  |  October 11, 2013 at 5:03 pm

    The filmaker has a highly respectable TV background in the city with a high respectable local show that was made here. Parents can discuss the details with her, but I couldn’t be concerned. Of course there is some “reality” element to it that will appeal to some families and not others.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 13. HS Mom  |  October 11, 2013 at 5:39 pm

    Are they alum? Maybe a science fiction trilogy Matrix style? The build up and pressure of SE is all just part of an elaborate program designed to keep humans docile.

    Documentary? They’re going to expose the intricacies and flaws of the tier system? Or follow a of family with 3 kids thrown into pandemonium as entrance requirements change annually. Sure to be a major hit at the box office.

  • 14. IB obsessed  |  October 12, 2013 at 2:07 am

    Getting back to the proposed book selection, I’m totally up for reading and discussing this one, It might have broader appeal than the latest Ravitch book. What this author did sounds fascinating and
    we to be informed by an international perspective on education. It is particularly interesting to me as I have already decided to explore international options for college for my kid. (Canada and EU, since we can get citizenship). Come on HS Mom and RL Julia and others,lets read it and meet for wine to discuss. 🙂

  • 15. IB obsessed  |  October 12, 2013 at 2:08 am

    ‘we need to be informed’ I meant. Typing on phone.

  • 16. cpsobsessed  |  October 12, 2013 at 10:37 am

    Another book possibility is the new Malcolm Gladwell book we talked about, which is now out.

    The theme is “what happens when ordinary people confront giants” – ie powerful opponents from armies and warriors to disability, misfortune, and oppression. I can’t recall now if there was an education link in it and there isn’t a synopsis on Amazon (I guess at some point you get famous enough that people will just buy the book without knowing more of what it’s about.) A review I read said it was “more of the same” of Gladwell (for better or for worse.) Amazon reviewers are kind of mixed, but they say it’s an easy read.


    I’d say we could do the new Diane Ravitch book if a lot of people are interested. I think RYH may have done it as a book club. I enjoyed the book I read of hers last year and I’d recommend that anyone who likes to discussion education should read one of hers. I just feel like one was enough for me, as I know where she stands at this point.

  • 17. cpsobsessed  |  October 12, 2013 at 10:43 am

    Since this is sort of a random thread, I wanted to recommend another book I’m reading. It’s not about education, but it’s about the migration of African Americans out of the south during the 20th century. It’s a beautifully written book based on the true stories of 3 people who left for LA, Chicago, and NYC. But it’s told as a story, rather than as a dry descriptive read.

    It’s very long and pretty depressing, so it’s one to stretch out over a few months.

    But the insight as to how things were in the north during the mid 20th century and especially how Chicago came to be (and is still) one of the most segregated cities in the U.S. is very eye-opening and insightful. As you may guess, it didn’t just “happen” that the city is very racially divided. Mayor Daly (the dad) is mentioned for his part in it as well. Anyhow, worth a read.

    The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson

  • 18. HSObsessed  |  October 12, 2013 at 4:24 pm

    I would definitely be interested in a book discussion on the Ripley book or the Gladwell book, but not so much the Ravitch book.

  • 19. HS Mom  |  October 12, 2013 at 5:12 pm

    @14 – sure, I would read the book and partake in discussion. Thanks.

  • 20. Formerly working mom  |  October 12, 2013 at 7:13 pm

    @CPSO # 17 – I’ve always been intrigued by the “great migration”. I’ll order the book and start the insightful journey. Thanks.

  • 21. cpsobsessed  |  October 12, 2013 at 7:18 pm

    The book weighs like 5 pounds, just fyi. It’s what put me over the edge to buy the kindle. 🙂

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 22. SR  |  October 12, 2013 at 9:13 pm

    The Warmth of Other Suns is also the One Chicago book selection right now, so libraries should have lots of copies. I also highly recommend it (and didn’t find it as depressing as it could have been).

  • 23. Sped Mom  |  October 12, 2013 at 10:04 pm

    Speaking of documentary…This was posted by Rod Estvan at District 299 blog: Access Living’s Town Hall meeting on the state of CPS special education on October 19 at 10 am. It is being held at our offices 115 W. Chicago Ave.

  • 24. Sped Mom  |  October 12, 2013 at 10:24 pm

    @ 4. Harry R | October 10, 2013 at 12:33 pm

    I would really hate to see what would happen to special education if the U.S. Department of Education was eliminated. Please recall, however, that prior to the DOE, there was the national Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW).

    So much of the DOE is bad policy, but I don’t think that’s by dint of it being its own department. Rather, as mentioned, the wrong-minded politicians with the Race to the Top and the like.

  • 25. Kayla  |  October 16, 2013 at 10:17 am

    HS Mom- I am the filmmaker and would love to talk to you in more depth about your perspective. Can you please email me your contact details: WhitneyYoungDocumentaryProject@gmail.com

  • 26. Hilda  |  May 13, 2014 at 9:50 pm

    Thanks for sharing such a nice thought, post is fastidious,
    thats why i have read it completely

What do you think?

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed




Blog Stats

  • 6,163,065 hits

%d bloggers like this: