Increasing diversity in Selective Enrollment high schools

June 24, 2014 at 9:05 am 317 comments


Blog reader, RLJulia sent me a link to this NYTimes article yesterday where Richard Kahlenberg, inventor/advisor to CPS on the Tier model writes an Op-Ed piece encouraging New York city to adopt a similar model to increase diversity in their SE high schools.  Currently their system is all based on one test which results in very very low % of Af-Am and Hispanic students in the top schools (they don’t mention the very very high share of Asians who get in which was the topic of another interesting NYTimes article last year.)

Blurb: New York City schools have never been subject to a citywide desegregation suit, and the state’s schools are now more segregated than Mississippi’s. But the unfortunate reality of segregation can be leveraged to promote a positive outcome in the city’s elite schools. Isn’t it time for New York City’s top schools to recognize that excellence can be found among students of all racial and economic backgrounds?


I then saw this Reader article this morning urging the same – more diversity in top schools to help more minority kids get to college. I’m happy they’re covering more CPS topics, with more people authoring the articles and this provides a great overview of how the Tier system came into place.

Link to full story, feel free to comment there as well.


Chicago’s entire school desegregation strategy needs a turnaround


When the City Council holds hearings on Chicago’s selective enrollment high schools this summer, I hope aldermen consider the larger questions about racial and economic segregation.
The article discussed that since the shift from racial balancing, there are fewer spots at the top 4 SEHS schools (Payton, Jones, Northside, and Whitney Young) for minority kids, and that there are good piplelines for college.  Does this potentially mean that the formula needs to be modified further to ensure that more Af-Am kids are getting spots?
The article also questions whether the SEHS current strategy is meeting the goal of socio-ec and racial diversity in these schools (which the NYTimes story points out is WAY more diverse than the NY SE high schools.)
It also give a good overview of the history of the consent decree and shift away from it a couple years ago and the resulting shift to a high % of white kids in the top schools:
“To ensure that the magnets weren’t racially segregated, they were required to be 15 to 35 percent white. Soon the magnets were the city’s best schools, with intense competition for admission. So the result of the consent decree was ironic: it was supposed to mainly help rectify the harm done to minority children by the district’s segregated system, but its main achievement was a set of prized schools to which white students got disproportionate access. By 1988, white children were only 13.5 percent of all CPS students, but they were 27 percent of the students in the magnets.
Even with the “special little programs,” the proportion of white students citywide kept declining; today the enrollment is only 9 percent white. And access for white students to the elite selective enrollment high schools has become even more disproportionate: the combined enrollment of Payton, Jones, Northside, and Young is now about 33 percent white.”
Importantly it points out the main rub with tweaking the Tier Formula: What about the rest of the kids?
“But while tweaking the formula might get a few more high-achieving black students into the top selective high schools, it would do nothing to help the vast majority of black and Hispanic CPS students. They remain stuck in schools that face long odds because of their high-poverty enrollments. Just under 40 percent of students at Payton, Jones, Northside, and Whitney Young are from low-income families, but 85 percent of the citywide enrollment is low-income, and many CPS students are in schools whose enrollments are virtually all low-income.”
And to conclude, “more ideas are needed.”  Indeed, but what?  Especially given the CPS budget restrictions.
“No one approach will (work). More ideas are sorely needed. The hearings on the selective enrollment schools could be an opportunity to consider such ideas. The selective schools are part of a system, and the hearings about them should focus on the problems afflicting the vast majority, not just the luckier few.”

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317 Comments Add your own

  • 1. 60660  |  June 24, 2014 at 10:04 am

    Maybe the obvious course is to close the SE schools and fund the neighborhood schools so every kid can get a decent education?
    Equalizing ed. funding across IL (or even just Cook Co.) would be a good idea too.
    SE schools are effectively schools for the (upper) middle classes. Families with means prep or pay for tutoring to get an edge, the end result is testing that measures family resources rather than student ability.

  • 2. Chris  |  June 24, 2014 at 10:44 am

    “Students who graduate from those four schools—Payton, Jones, Northside, and Whitney Young—are “pretty much guaranteed a seat at a good college anywhere in this country,” Dowell told the Sun-Times ”

    Treating that dopey comment like it’s legit analysis is embarrassing. Not backing it up with *any* data makes the article read as (poorly drafted) advocacy.

  • 3. Just a thought  |  June 24, 2014 at 10:54 am

    And once again they leave Lane Tech out of the discussion. Fascinating.

  • 4. xCPS  |  June 24, 2014 at 11:21 am

    2 – that’s all fine, but all students will have to produce in college or drop out. Anyway, the C students run the world. HA!

  • 5. SpaghettiForDinner  |  June 24, 2014 at 11:22 am

    Those 4 schools are not the ONLY good schools! What about Lane, Lincoln Park IB?!

  • 6. genxatmidlife  |  June 24, 2014 at 11:36 am

    SE schools are not for the (upper) middle classes, because they can only fit so many kids and there are far more “qualified” applicants than they can admit. So if you are a Tier 4, B in gym but As otherwise, above-average (but not stellar) test-taker, you have no shot at SE. What other public school options do you have? Few.

    Strengthening neighborhood schools seems like the best solution to many problems. Regardless of what percentage of minority students attend SE schools, there are plenty who aren’t well-served because they didn’t make the cut. Same with white kids. And what about those kids who are B students and don’t make the cut regardless of their Tier? It seems like a feast-or-famine system, and the line of people waiting to feast is growing very long. Some are forced to take famine because they have no choice. Those who have a choice are opting for privates or moving. None of this is good for the system.

  • 7. Tiersystemhelpsveryfew  |  June 24, 2014 at 11:49 am

    Well said genx!

    Maybe chicago should hire an outside firm to manage cps so resources might be used more wisely. The issue here to me is misuse of our tax dollars.

  • 8. Statistician Wannabe  |  June 24, 2014 at 11:54 am

    For measuring whether any particular (in this case, white) racial population is over- or under-represented at SEHS, it seems the relevant population base to use is not the CPS population as a whole (that population may not reflect the high school aged population and it excludes the entire private school population), but the Chicago high school aged population as a whole (including both CPS and private high schools).

    IF (and this is a big if) the population as a whole corresponds to population by age, then white over-representation at SEHS is much smaller (or maybe even statistically insignificant). According to 2010 census data I saw, the overall racial population of Chicago appears to be around 31% white (and 32% black and 28% hispanic).

    I doubt the high school age population completely tracks the overall population, but I also doubt that it tracks the CPS population as a whole, either. I tried to find the Chicago high school age population by race, but couldn’t seem to track it down. Has anyone seen this information? Or am I thinking about this incorrectly?

  • 9. Mom of 3  |  June 24, 2014 at 12:09 pm

    I would be more inclined to believe that students from Lindbloom or Westinghouse have a better chance at getting into colleges of their choices.

    Strong neighborhood schools can be the only fix that would be fair to all.

  • 10. Counterpoint for Discussion  |  June 24, 2014 at 12:48 pm

    Totally offensive article and comments.

    Fair is one test on one day. The children have 13 years to prepare for the test. Stop making excuses for poor life decisions, choices, or lifestyles.

    America has consequences, and the consequences for not preparing for the test must be no admittance to a top school.

    PS. If you feel so sorry for kid A or B or C because his mamma doesn’t strive harder, become a Big Brother/Sister and mold the kid yourself. Catholic charities also does a great job for dysfunctional youth.

  • 11. NeighborhoodSchoolMom  |  June 24, 2014 at 12:56 pm


  • 12. NeighborhoodSchoolMom  |  June 24, 2014 at 1:05 pm

    I hit “send” too soon. LOL. I’ve been preaching too long about that here, realizing this is the wrong forum for it. After all, this is a forum originating on the rush for magnet and SE schools.

    I don’t believe in the magnet system as it currently stands, either. I don’t think the magnet or SE systems (elementary or HS) are really serving the people they were meant to serve.

    When CPS has a white population of 9 percent or so and numbers are well in the double digits at most SE or magnet, I have a problem with it. When CPS only cares about high-achieving kids and their schools are filled with low-achieveing kids, I have a problem with it. When CPS throws EXTRA funding at magnet schools and SE schools with controlled populations and generally higher-income populations, I have a problem with it.

    When a child who scores one B or even several Bs is made to feel like they haven’t worked hard (that crazy troll #10 aside), I have a problem with it.

    Unfortunately, it seems that people only start to care when their own child doesn’t make it into an SE. I wish we’d stop this craziness, stop the Obama school idea, and start re-focusing on neighborhood schools of all levels (elementary to SE). They’re what really keep neighborhoods strong.

  • 13. Chicago School GPS  |  June 24, 2014 at 1:13 pm

    High school is much more than WHAT school you go to, but HOW you do at the school you are in. While many families feel like the end game is to get into the “top” 4 or 5 SEHS, the real measure is being successful at whatever school you are in. There really are more and more options beyond the SEHS that families should take another look at. We will highlight over 30 at our Hidden Gems High School Fair on Sept. 28 but just digging a little into matching what kind of student you have with what schools offer will be extremely worthwhile in the long run.

  • 14. cpsobsessed  |  June 24, 2014 at 1:15 pm

    Yes! Love the hidden gems fair last year.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 15. luveurope  |  June 24, 2014 at 1:15 pm

    10. I don’t feel sorry for them. If parents did what they were supposed to (love, educate, feed, etc.), we wouldn’t have to worry about the ramifications of dysfunctional offspring. Time to vote republican.

  • 16. Family Friend  |  June 24, 2014 at 1:47 pm

    I question the implication in these articles that, because it has historically been so, good education does not occur in segregated schools. If that is true, we should just throw in the towel — our schools are 91% minority, with most of them highly segregated.

    But we are starting to see results, in Chicago, showing that good education can be achieved wherever the will and the will to work are there. Lindblom and King are two obvious examples of success in a segregated environment. But the first graduating class of Urban Prep’s Englewood campus is now finishing college, and early returns indicate that most — maybe 70% — will have a bachelor’s degree within six years of graduating from high school (a standard measure). That compares to a 5% expectation for the average male CPS high school freshman, so even if you assume as much as 50% attrition during high school (and it’s not that high), the results are impressive. Additionally, the Noble Street schools have seen most of their graduates finish college from the very first, and many of them come back to teach at Noble Street.

    It can be done. A really terrific Superintendent of Schools for a small (100K) city with many of the same problems as Chicago once told me the question educators ask themselves is not, “How can we improve education?” because the “how” has been known for a long time. It’s “Why aren’t we doing it?”

    So we need the find the will, as citizens concerned about our city and the people in it, to insist that our educators look at the research (U of C does a lot of it), and do what has been shown to work.

  • 17. MarketingMom  |  June 24, 2014 at 2:05 pm

    I reject Alderman Dowell’s comments as she makes it seem as though if your child does not get into a Selective Enrollment high school, their chance of going to a decent college is zero.

  • 18. Joe D  |  June 24, 2014 at 2:30 pm

    De Blasio is a disaster for New York. As a Chicagoan, I love it! Go, Bill, Go!

  • 19. SL Parent  |  June 24, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    You can’t fix SE high school diversity ratios by adjusting the entrance criteria for the SE high schools.

    Kids that start kindergarten ahead of their peers are going to have a tendency to finish 8th grade ahead of those very same peers. Over that time period, there is precious little extra time for catching up and passing those ahead of you.

    We need to make sure that ALL kids are prepared for school on day one of kindergarten. We need to make sure that ALL kids have access to summer enrichment programs, and on and on.

    SE HS diversity ratios are a symptom. They aren’t the problem.

  • 20. CPS tiers suck  |  June 24, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    I’m a fan of diversity and I believe everyone should be treated equally. Everyone should work equally hard to earn that SEHS spot. It seems as if White and Asian students are doing better on academically than African and Hispanics. And most Asian students are from very low-income families too. So, CPS shouldn’t be giving any special treatments to any race who live in low income families by giving them easier access to the SEHS. I think using Tiers are bull craps.

  • 21. Chris  |  June 24, 2014 at 2:48 pm

    “if you are a Tier 4, B in gym but As otherwise, above-average (but not stellar) test-taker, you have no shot at SE”

    What does the “B in gym” have to do with anything? Kid could get As in gym, and it won’t make any difference if the kid is a ~90th%-ile test-scorer.

  • 22. Chris  |  June 24, 2014 at 2:51 pm

    “High school is much more than WHAT school you go to, but HOW you do at the school you are in.”

    Yes, this.

    The kid who finishes last in their class at Payton (straight Cs and Ds, or worse, whatever it takes to be last by a lap and a half) is *not* going to be automatically gifted great college opportunities. Dowell is ignorant on the subject and should not be quoted as if an expert.

  • 23. Chris  |  June 24, 2014 at 2:52 pm

    “most Asian students are from very low-income families too”

    Cite, please. Especially w/r/t those Asian students getting into PaNJY.

  • 25. SoxSideIrish4  |  June 24, 2014 at 3:44 pm

    22. Chris | June 24, 2014 at 2:51 pm

    ITA…and I think ppl would be very surprised by how kids getting Bs & Cs are not getting into their college of choice.

  • 26. cpsobsessed  |  June 24, 2014 at 3:54 pm

    Also yesterday, the Senn Principal, Susan Lofton, asked that CPS support more neighborhood high schools with good programs to attract families. Senn has drawn a lot more neighborhood kids lately. I would contend it was more HER and her staff rather than CPS who made the impact, but ideally some of these ideas can be rolled out across the city…?

  • 27. cpsobsessed  |  June 24, 2014 at 3:58 pm

    The NYtimes article last year focused on newer immigrant families who work hard/spend their limited income on test prep to get their kids into the top high schools.
    I don’t know if the socio-economics are quite the same in Chicago.

  • 28. cpsobsessed  |  June 24, 2014 at 3:59 pm

    Here is the story on Asian immigrants in NYC – very interesting article.

  • 29. RL Julia  |  June 24, 2014 at 4:18 pm

    What annoys me about these types of articles is this concept that PJNW (and sometimes Lane and Lincoln P) are THE ONLY SEHS’s and that they are disproportionately white/one race where in fact there are TEN SEHS’s many of which are more than 85% African American – in a school system which is only 40% African American – where are the predominantly Hispanic SEHS’s? 45% of CPS is Hispanic these days. Where is the discussion about the racial demographics of the non-white SEHS’s and the discussion about the cultures and communities in those fine institutions? Yes, it is easier to get into those SEHS’s but they are great places to go to school and for some reason, they remain not so integrated. What’s going on there? If we are going to talk integration – we have to talk about all of it – white kids are only 9% of the story here.

    Yes, I believe that if you are college-bound, an SEHS (and I mean any/all of them) is probably a better place to go to school (unfortunately – since I really do think that the every neighborhood should have a decent high school) but remember – it’s not golden ticket – you still have to work after you’ve been admitted and every SEHS has kids who transfer out, drop out, don’t make it to college or end up at non-prestigious school. There is a bottom quartile to every class – even the unranked ones at Northside and Payton.

  • 30. RL Julia  |  June 24, 2014 at 4:28 pm

    One more thing – what really remains so incredibly disheartening is how these articles insist on playing the race card in their arguments -when I believe that the real indicator of disadvantage is income/poverty. It does no one any favor to perpetuate this idea that all people of one color or race are automatically rich or poor or illegal or etc… can’t we get beyond these types of incendiary and simplistic arguments in these editorials? We live in a country that is increasingly mixed race anyway.

  • 31. Tiersystemhelpsveryfew  |  June 24, 2014 at 4:39 pm

    I think if one was to look at how many “white kids” there are attending schools in chicago, it’s probably way higher than 9 % …..

  • 32. Counterpoint for Discussion  |  June 24, 2014 at 4:58 pm

    Race only matters when you talk about it. One entrance test and no tiers is the only ways to eliminate racial bias. At that point noone can take the achievement of getting into a SEHS away from a child because of tiers (cough/cough race).


  • 33. SoxSideIrish4  |  June 24, 2014 at 5:09 pm

    31. Tiersystemhelpsveryfew | June 24, 2014 at 4:39 pm

    I think it may be less than 9%, unless an awful lot of white kids are signed up for next year.

  • 34. Cps All-Star Dad  |  June 24, 2014 at 5:35 pm

    Better idea: CPS is only 9% white, so make it so that only 9% of the slots can go to white children. And raise property taxes too. That’s a fair solution.

  • 35. cpsobsessed  |  June 24, 2014 at 5:36 pm

    CPS data says white kids are 9%. I think those of us who are white are skewed in our perception because of how segregated Chicago is, racially. There are over 600 schools, many of them with virtually zero caucasian students. I was surprised by that number as well the first time I saw it.

  • 36. Questioner  |  June 24, 2014 at 6:42 pm

    @29 how do you know that “they are great places to go to school”? Do you have a child who attends one?

  • 37. tj  |  June 24, 2014 at 8:44 pm

    One thing bothers me all the time for this racial segregation topic is why no one questioned on the diversity of NBA teams. Why we don’t have a ratio of race for a NBA team so that we can get more Asian players to play with top basket teams. Especially when NBA is promoting them in Asia, why they don’t recruit more Asian. Skills shouldn’t be a concern, racial should be considered. ????

    People from different background have their ways of achieving better life. Also, please don’t deny human beings, like animals, have weakness and strength by nature. If you look at sports teams, there are more Asian sportsmen good at those requiring more techniques but less muscle competition.

    There is no good or bad way of achieving your goal but you can’t use race as a reason to achieve your purpose and prevent others.
    If we continue use ratio in SE admission, “Students who graduate from those four schools—Payton, Jones, Northside, and Whitney Young—are “pretty much guaranteed a seat at a good college anywhere in this country,” will be untrue statement very soon.

    Our kids are not only competing with kids in this country, they are competing with kids in the rest of world. We need a real and fair competition. It will only be good for the society and for all.

  • 38. taxpay  |  June 24, 2014 at 8:56 pm

    This is a total clusterfuck anyhow, so why not just go full-on race-based?

    White kids get 33% of the slots. It’s a lottery of all the top scoring white kids, within the 97th percentile.

    Black kids get to compete with the top scoring Hispanic kids BUT they only have to score in the top 80 percentile. Then they can pick their school based on the lottery.

    CPS, quit insulting our intelligence with the tiers bullshit. It’s flat-out race-based selections, just under a cutesy-poo little disguise. I’d actually be more than ok if they went with this, rather than trying to snow us.

  • 39. Not MJ  |  June 24, 2014 at 9:17 pm

    @37 My only issue with your point is that individuals can function quite well in world without an NBA contract. Lack of quality educational opportunities on the other hand creates a bit of a social headache.

    Many times when the topic of diversity is broached, those who are benefactors of the current system associate greater opportunity to diminished standards. How about we agree that a different set of high standards be utilized for SE admission. The college admission rubric of test scores, grades, essay and ability to add value to the student body is nice start.

    Go Jeremy Lin!

  • 40. caramore  |  June 24, 2014 at 10:17 pm

    A few thoughts:

    1. I think the focus on PaNJY is so offensive to other selective high schools (or high school programs). Why is the discussion focused on PaNJY, without considering the SIX other selective enrollment high schools, other selective high school programs (honors, IB, etc.), and other high-performing high schools or high school programs? I am not familiar with all of them, but it seems Lindblom and Westinghouse are very high-performing schools with a high-minority student body. Why ignore them as opportunities on par with PaNJY?

    2. The biggest impediment to making schools (especially high schools) diverse is the fact that the City, itself, is so segregated. Of course there are some diverse areas of the City, but most of the diverse schools are located downtown—accessible to all areas of the City. The location of schools limits a lot of families—many cannot or will not have their child travel to the other end of the City for a school. If the City really wants more diverse schools, they should consider the geography, it should locate them downtown.

    3. I don’t think PaNJY is a golden ticket. Not every PaNJY student gets into their “school of choice.” Kids going to any of these selective enrollment high schools (or programs) have great opportunities, but have to work hard to maximize them–at any school.

  • 41. tj  |  June 24, 2014 at 10:28 pm

    I used to respecting people graduating from elite schools. I respected and admired our current president and his wife because they graduated from Harvard.

    But after I understand the admission scheme in college, I started to question myself. Those people from Elite schools, did they get specially consideration because of their race? When we look at our kids who worked hard for great schools and failed, should we tell them that you failed because of your skin color or your family financially status? Should we tell them that they have to be humble and give the opportunities to others who are not as good as them because they have no other choices?

    What impression will we give to our kids? What will be the impacts for our kids’ future?

    If Helen Keller’s parents, instead of having Anne Sullivan to train her in a tough way, gave her all the life supports, would we remember Helen at all?

    I don’t have a solution but I think we need a system that encourages confidence and hard working.

  • 42. Chris  |  June 25, 2014 at 7:22 am

    “CPS, quit insulting our intelligence with the tiers bullshit. It’s flat-out race-based selections, just under a cutesy-poo little disguise. I’d actually be more than ok if they went with this, rather than trying to snow us.”

    Well, you get on the US Supreme Court, get four other justices to agree with you, and I am sure that CPS would love to go back to the quota system they used to use.

    The tier system exists to comply with the law of the land, and for no other reason. If you’re white and you think your kids would be better off under the old system, you are more likely than not wrong.

  • 43. klm  |  June 25, 2014 at 8:10 am

    I have 2 relevant points, here:


    Am I the only one to remember the bad ol’ days when virtually all of CPS was a no-way-in-hell option for middle-class+ people that stayed in the city? Oh, yeah, and the city was going the way of Detroit back then, too, not simply in terms of “white flight,” but more accurately “middle class fight.” Sure, rich people in the Gold Coast had Latin and Parker and there was the parochial school option for middle-class, Bungalow Belt city employees, but with very few exceptions, almost anybody with a middle-class income (of all races) and aware of how bad most CPS schools were/are either sent their kids to St. Whoever or moved to a suburb with decent schools if they cared about their kids’ education. It’s sad, but true.

    It wasn’t that long ago that 90%+ of people that had decent jobs moved to the suburbs when they had kids.

    Chicago now has –and who would have believed this 30 years ago– some genuinely great public schools. Guess what? The people that used to automatically move to Northbrook, Oak Park or Naperville once their oldest was about to start kindergarten are now staying in Chicago, since their kids can go to CPS schools –magnets, SEs and even some neighborhood elementaries– with ISATs that are as good or better than public schools even in places like Hinsdale, Wilmette, Lake Forest, etc… I know of families that moved to Chicago from the suburbs, places like Glencoe and Deerfield, so that they can live in the city and send their kids to excellent public schools with ISAT scores even high than the schools they left behind. That would have seemed like science fiction even 20 years ago.

    Some people don’t like the demographics in high-scoring CPS schools, so they now want to either dismantle those schools (e.g., people suggesting that CPS get rid of SE, magnets, etc.) or make it even harder for kids from the “wrong” group to get in over kids from the “right” group (don’t we already do this in SE admission through Tiers?).

    How did that work out before? Oh, yes, the 1970s and 1960s –the good ‘ol days of a dying city with a huge wave of middle-class people leaving for the suburbs. At least the numbers of kids at good CPS schools from the “wrong” groups were going in the right direction for some people back then, I guess. I mean, if we didn’t have so many high-achieving white and non-low income kids living in Chicago, taking “too many” places at SEHSs, then we wouldn’t have the current “problem” of too many white and non-low income kids at these schools. Maybe they should just move, so that there aren’t so many of them around to take places from lower-scoring, but apparent more “deserving” low-income and non-Asian minority kids.

    I guess they want more middle-class people to just leave Chicago (and that’s what they’ll do, just like before …15, 20 years ago), since no middle class person (of any race) is going to send their kids to a HS with an average ACT of 14,15,16 when they can just up and easily move to a suburb with a guaranteed-admission HS with an ave. ACT of 25,26, 27.

    Sure, it would be nice if Whatever-Neighborhood CPS HS didn’t have gang issues and had more than 0-1% of kids scoring in “exceeds” categories on tests, but it doesn’t. I’m not going to send my kids there, not because I’m prejudiced or a snob, but because I know that K-12 education is a “one shot” deal in life and I’ll rent a matchbox in Naperville or Deerfield first, rather than send my kids to such a school. Kids in communities all over Illinois are going to HSs with high levels of achievement, but I’m supposed to send my kids to Low Achievement HS to show that I can somehow feel morally superior to “snooty” people that move to Wilmette so that their kids can go to New Trier?


    Yes, again, I’ll say it: “It’s the achievement gap, stupid!”

    By 8th grade black kids are 3 years behind their white and Asian peers, on average, in this country. Hispanic kids are almost as far behind, too. We need to do something about that, not get all mad when this sad statistic creates SE HSs that are whiter and more Asian than some people would like (and this is even after using Tiers that are expressly designed to increase the numbers of black and Hispanic students).

    These are the numbers for 7th grade students in CPS, in terms of % for each race “exceeding” ISATs in 2013:

    White: 35% – Reading, 31% – Math, 45% – Science

    Black: 7% – Reading, 4% – Math, 9% – Science

    Hispanic: 10% – Reading, 8% – Math, 14% – Science

    Asian: 33% – Reading, 39% – Math, 42% – Science.

    Low-Income: 9% – Reading, 6% – Math, 12% – Science

    Non-Low-Income: 36% – Reading, 31% – Math, 43% – Science

    The above scores are the reason why some SEHSs are “too white” and too “non-low income” for some peoples’ tastes.

    Maybe we should do something about increasing the achievement of black, Hipanic and low-income kids, rather than bemoaning the fact that white and non-low income kids are achieving too much and “taking” more than their fair share.

    Again, go ahead and tell white, Asian and non-low income families that their kids are getting “too many” spaces at “good” schools, so make it even more difficult with the Tiers, etc, than it is now. As it is it’s already much easier for a Tier 1 kid to get into NSCP than a Tier 4 kid to get into Lane. What more do people want? Even larger, more disparate standards, depending on Tiers? I guess so, but at some point, if this happens and people whose kids get rejected from schools despite the fact that their kid scores at the 98th or 97th percentile and has straight A’s over a kid with the “right” demographics with scores at the 70th percentile and lower grades, more people will just throw up their hands and move to Naperville and Libertyville.

    So, if one’s non-low income, white or Asian, there are too many people like you at Jones, Payton, WY and Northside, so certain “good” people that care about low-income and non-Asian minority kids will be working to make it harder for you to go to these kinds of CPS schools. Since your group is taking too many spots that should be going to kids from the “right kind” (i.e., not like you) of kids, you’re now the “wrong kind” of person, in too many cases.

    What kind of message is that?

  • 44. LearningCPS  |  June 25, 2014 at 9:38 am

    Opening up dialogue about the process for selection is not a bad thing, however the dialogue needs to be broader than “there aren’t enough non-Asian, non-white kids getting into PaNJY”. Where is the conversation about the other SE schools, or those with IB or other high-level achievement programs? I personally don’t know much about them or most of these schools, as we’re no where near HS selection yet, but if they aren’t performing at the level of PaNJY what can/needs to be done there?

    The article made me want clarity as to what the purpose of the SE schools is…is it to create more opportunities to increase racial and economic diversity in school by allowing kids an option beyond their neighborhood school? Is it to provide a more challenging academic environment to kids who are high achievers? Those two goals don’t easily work together…if you are asking kids to test into a certain threshold to get in, it will inherently keep some kids of all backgrounds out and potentially a disproportionate number of those not accepted will have had less support and resources from their home life. Where is the discussion about ways to provide more support to these kids as they go through their elementary and middle school years so they are better positioned to get into an SE school? By the time they get to the SE application process for HS, it’s sadly too late for some kids to get up to the level they need for admission and just changing the selection process won’t change that.

    Finally, I completely disagree that kids coming out of PaNJY are pretty much guaranteed acceptance to college, especially elite colleges. They absolutely can gain much from those high schools that can make them attractive applicants, but there are no absolutes. Colleges look at creating diversity in their worlds too. My uncle was a college admissions recruiter for years and when I was applying to college he told us how closely colleges watch how many kids they are accepting from different states, city sizes, backgrounds, etc. I graduated from a completely unimpressive small town school in the top 5 of my class. Of the five of us, one went to U of C, one to the Air Force Academy, one to NYU and I went to Northwestern. A girl in the class below me went to Harvard. Nothing about our high school education rivaled anything the kids at PaNJY are probably getting but we worked hard and attending a small unknown high school didn’t keep us from getting college opportunities.

  • 45. RL Julia  |  June 25, 2014 at 9:42 am

    I have kids at WY and NCP. I know kids or the parents of kids from probably ALL of the SEHS’s except for Brooks.

  • 46. Rod Estvan  |  June 25, 2014 at 2:27 pm

    Kim I found this comment interesting: “How did that work out before? Oh, yes, the 1970s and 1960s –the good ‘ol days of a dying city with a huge wave of middle-class people leaving for the suburbs.”

    I have not seen census data that indicates that the Median household income in Chicago has risen that much to support the idea that I think you are attempting to express.

    Using what is called Historical Inflation Adjusted Median Household Income for Chicago here is the data going back to 2005 and up to 2012.

    2005 – $64,346
    2006 – $64,921
    2007 – $65,618
    2008 – $65,366
    2009 – $62,868
    2010 – $60,136
    2011 – $58,463
    2012 – $59,261

    If we look at Chicago’s medium household income in a non-adjusted manner we find for example that the medium household income of Chicagoans was $43,628 in 2011 — nearly $7,000 less than the national figure of $50,502 according to Census Bureau.

    The U.S. middle class shrank markedly between 1969 and 1989, as the number of Americans who were rich and poor increased.
    In 1969, 71.2 percent of Americans were “middle class.” Twenty years later, 63.2 percent were middle class, the Census Bureau in a study found. The study defined middle class as anyone with income ranging from 50 percent to 199 percent of the national median, or midpoint, income level. The same thing happened in Chicago.

    My reading of the data is that in the last 15 years some of Chicago’s poorest families have left Chicago due to the destruction of public housing, more wealthy families have expanded in very limited areas of the city, the lower middle class (50 to 80 percent of the national median) has continued to decline in the city.

    While the free and reduced lunch data for CPS is far from a perfect indicator of non-poor students in CPS it does provide some information to reflect on. In 2000 14.4% of CPS students were non-low income and in 2013 that number stood at 15.1. Not that big of an increase over a period of 13 years. The biggest factor was the loss of poorer African American students in the city, not an increase in the middle class in my opinion.

    Rod Estvan

  • 47. RL Julia  |  June 25, 2014 at 4:40 pm

    At this point, the biggest exiters from the city are actually middle class African American families leaving the south and west sides.

  • 48. PatientCPSMom  |  June 25, 2014 at 7:30 pm

    The process for selection into SE High Schools begins with equal access to educational opportunities for all CPS children in grade school. When the South and West sides of the city do have have the same access to good magnet schools and neighborhood schools, the odds are stacked. (the 6 mile limit on transportation limits choice) Their is a disproportional amount of Charters in these South and West side neighborhoods. Many Charters do not have track records like successful magnet schools on the North side. Maybe if we had some Disney 3’s. Jackson 2’s, and LaSalle 3’s on the South and West side the CPS kids would have more of a chance. Then again maybe not – but we will never know because there is unequal CPS educational choice sets across city neighborhoods and until we balance this out there will continue to be a larger racial disparity than what would normally be expected at the High School level. This disparity is exactly what the original consent decree sought to overcome. Middle class AA and Hispanic families see this disparity as well but they can’t wait for it to change because their kids are in schools now.

  • 49. taxpay  |  June 25, 2014 at 8:50 pm

    @49 This is going to sound really bad, but here goes: Most of the kids at underperforming schools are the offspring of parents who have little to no education, so uneducated parent has uneducated kid, who then becomes uneducated parent and has an uneducated kid.

    You could give the kids in this cycle EVERY educational opportunity, the most tricked out computer labs, the best teachers, the safest environments, but because of their lives outside-of-school, a 30% success rate would be WILDLY successful.

  • 50. Questioner  |  June 25, 2014 at 11:37 pm

    @47 Since you have kids at WY and NCP–schools with great test scores and learning environments, near the top of the rankings for Chicago, then even if you don’t agree, you should see why Ald. Dowell wants more AA kids to attend instead of AA enrollment declining at these schools. Why point out that the predominantly AA SEHSs are “fine institutions….yet they remain not so integrated,” if you didn’t send your kids there. You obviously understand the desirability of WY and NCP; yet it seems you’re saying that while not right for your kids, they are “fine” for everybody else’s kids.

  • 51. Questioner  |  June 25, 2014 at 11:39 pm

    “they” meaning the predominantly AA SEHSs.

  • 52. you guys are missing something  |  June 26, 2014 at 6:22 am

    What makes a great school? Smart kids. Where do smart kids get their smarts? From their mother and father. The scientific consensus is that IQ is about 0.6 heritable. Want a smart kid? Nookie with a smart person usually leads to that.

    The acheivement gap exists because different races have different mean IQs. This acheivement gap has proven to be intractable. For fifty years every sort of intervention has been tried and non of them really worked. Oak Park has gone so far as to now have social workers enter the homes of African Americans from their xhilds birth to boss the parents around and convince them that they are raising their children wrong. This won’t work. The only intervention that will work is deciding who to sleep with 9 months before birth.

    For many people this may seem depressing but it is the scientific truth. Some people get depressed about global warming, but that does not mean we ignore it and pretend to do something that cannot work.

  • 53. Chris  |  June 26, 2014 at 9:44 am

    ” you should see why Ald. Dowell wants more AA kids to attend ”

    She told us “why”. The “why” is wrong. Until she articulates a different “why”, we have to take her at her word that she doesn’t understand.

  • 54. Poe Parent  |  June 26, 2014 at 4:45 pm

    While I’m sure many students from these schools do well as measured by societal values, PaNJY don’t hold a monopoly on successful people matriculating from Chicago schools. One has to ensure that the student finds a school that is a good fit. This is when a child will thrive so (gasp!) PaNJY may not be good for even very bright students.

    @ 41 tj – You asked “did they get special consideration because of their race?” People seem to be reluctant to talk about the legacy cases that get “special consideration.” I think most people admitted to Ivy League schools have qualities that the school is looking for and are very bright even if they score a few points lower on a test than the highest scoring few. These schools tend to look for skills such as creativity, leadership, community involvement, etc. There are folks that didn’t complete college and probably would not have been admitted to an Ivy League who are extremely successful. Suze Orman being one example.

  • 55. pantherparent  |  June 26, 2014 at 5:31 pm

    @2 Chris. I’m all for data but what do you want? A footnote with the matriculation list of the four schools mentioned? I think some shortcuts are allowed and think even you would agree that the statement is accurate.

    When a sportswriter says that Chris Conte is a terrible safety do you need him to link to statistics and video proving it? Or can we all agree to the point and press on.

  • 56. Chris  |  June 26, 2014 at 5:41 pm

    “you would agree that the statement is accurate”

    No, I do not agree that the statement is accurate. It’s politician BS. That’s why I am bothered that it is quoted as fact.

    Unless you twist her plain language around to have “good school” mean *any* 4-year no-for-profit college, and/or “anywhere in this country” to mean “somewhere (possibly including places the kid doesn’t actually want to live for college)”.

  • 57. HS Mom  |  June 26, 2014 at 8:05 pm

    KLM – I so get what you’re saying. Been there (60’s, 70’s) done that. Do people actually believe that if there were no magnets or selective schools that folks would just buck up and attend the neighborhood school…..especially middle to upper income families?

    So, Ms. Dowell, exactly how unattainable do we want to make SE schools for white families of any income? And, exactly how much do we want to twist demographics by including a north side school located in a largely white neighborhood and excluding Lane (the largest HS in Chicago majority Hispanic) and 5 other majority black schools?

    Not the suburban type but another state…..looking more and more appealing and not only because of the school options. I don’t think it will take much these days for people to flee and messing around with school options should just about be the nail in the coffin for many. This type of press focused on disjointed facts and theories can only be meant to incite. This doesn’t help at a time when we should be looking at all the accomplishments and programs that people mention and focusing on real solutions to real problems – not which school gives my child the best chance at the Ivies. The answer to that is none of them!

    @54 “I think most people admitted to Ivy League schools have qualities that the school is looking for and are very bright even if they score a few points lower on a test than the highest scoring few. These schools tend to look for skills such as creativity, leadership, community involvement, etc”

    Absolutely agree. These kids, no matter what their race, have something special going on that the school wants. Without it, doesn’t make a difference if you attend Payton, Brooks or UIC prep.

  • 58. OTdad  |  June 27, 2014 at 2:38 pm

    Why racial diversity in SEHS is a problem at all? In Chicago, the racial composition is largely related to the location of the schools. Schools like Northside and Payton are called “elite” only because of they have large percentage of White and Asian.

  • 59. Poe Parent  |  June 27, 2014 at 4:16 pm

    @ you guys are missing something
    My child is AA and she scores in the 98th %ile on all the tests that the schools give. Is she just a freak? No, I know many other AAs who score the same. It’s more of an issue of economics but some people need to feel superior to somebody or some group to feel good about themselves.

  • 60. taxpay  |  June 27, 2014 at 5:09 pm

    @59 If she were white, she’d still have a hard time getting into a school like Payton or Northside. Nearly all white areas are Tier 4.

  • 61. K D  |  June 27, 2014 at 9:43 pm

    This is truly the best place to hear the racial resentment that people in Chicago don’t express publicly these days.

  • 62. pantherettie  |  June 28, 2014 at 8:02 am

    @tax pay – a black kid who scores in the 98th percentile and lives in a tier 4 neighborhood has just as difficult time getting into NSCP, WP, J or WY as his/her white counterpart. The issue is economic tiers not racial ones. The assumption by many people on this board is that AA kids don’t live in tier 4 neighborhoods and therefore are not part of the 98th percentile scoring, straight A “victim students” who don’t get into NSCP, WY, J, WP.

    As a parent of a Lindblom AC student totally reject the premise that the only SEHS worth attending are those mentioned earlier.

  • 63. taxpay  |  June 28, 2014 at 9:08 am

    @62 Read my comment again: Nearly ALL white neighborhoods are Tier 4. Working class areas like Canaryville, Ashburn, Midway, Jefferson Park are all Tier 4, whereas very few black neighborhoods are Tier 4 (Pill Hill). Obama lives in a Tier 3, and Jackson Park Highlands is Tier 2! So, in the up-is-down world of CPS, a white dude from Ashburn working at Midway is in a better socio-economic status than Barack Obama and Dr. Eric Whitaker.

    If you’re a white kid living in a white neighborhood in CHI, a 98 percentile means you still have a difficult chance of getting into SEHS.

    Try to spin it all you want, but that’s the way CPS sets it up.

  • 64. pantherettie  |  June 28, 2014 at 9:48 am

    @ tax payer – What CPS tier map are you using? Obama’s house is not zoned tier 3. It’s tier 4, just like all of the mansions in Kenwood. Just like the condos and apartments across the street from those mansions in Kenwood. Sections of JP Highlands are considered tier 4 and others, on the boarder of some dicey south shore streets are considered tier 2. Do you actually know the addresses that you grouped together?

    What I’m saying is that AA families live in tier 4 neighborhoods. Period. So I’m not getting why you’re saying that AA kids who live in tier 4 neighborhoods have an easier time getting into certain SEHS than their white peers. Is your argument now that CPS discriminates against non-black neighborhoods (and subsequently white students) by systemically placing these neighborhoods in a higher tier erroneously? I’ve heard that argument before and I don’t agree at all.

  • 65. CPS alum  |  June 28, 2014 at 9:56 am

    I wonder where the majority of posters on this board grew up and I wonder about the demographics of their schools. I find that most people form thier ideas of what a suitable school looks like based on their own school experience– good or bad.

  • 66. HS Mom  |  June 28, 2014 at 10:41 am

    Pantherettie – your point is absolutely an issue that is often overlooked here. Any tier 4 student has a very high threshold to achieve.

    Tiers in general were developed to address the achievement gap while maintaining a certain academic standard. Specifically, higher income white families based upon census criteria are the intended target for tier 4 (I could cite the blue ribbon committee analysis and adjustments to the SE process in terms of racially diversification) although there are many exceptions (legit or not).

    When I hear politicians step in to say that certain schools are “too white” or that there are “not enough blacks” I have to ask How is that? What would you like to see? and How would you go about achieving that in an equitable manner?

    I am further exasperated by blanket statements like this when – as others have mentioned – the bigger picture is not considered. Certainly, as pointed out in the Steve B. article above, the very few additional kids who may get in past the cut-off score would be trading out SE schools from the other 6 SE schools or special programs.

    @65 – I think people are perfectly capable of assessing the “suitability” of schools based upon their own criteria. The fact that certain schools are just as bad or even worse than when we were in school speaks volumes.

  • 67. Cps All-Star Dad  |  June 28, 2014 at 10:45 am

    @pantherettie For the record, if you go to CPS Tier map on the cps website and enter 5046 S Greenwood in “What tier am I in?”, it comes back as Tier 3. Interestingly, can you

  • 68. pantherettie  |  June 28, 2014 at 11:15 am

    @CPS All-Star Dad – point well taken. I haven’t checked the tier maps over the past six months because my dd is at an AC. I live very close to that address in HP and during the 2011-2012 and part of the 2012-2013 school year we were considered tier 4.

  • 69. pantherparent  |  June 29, 2014 at 2:42 pm

    @61 KD. It may be racial resentment in your eyes but it doesn’t make the basic question any less valid.

    Why should a student who is poor (aka black) get into a SEHS with a lower score than a student who is rich (aka white)?

    It’s a question so profound its been in front of the Supreme Court on more than one occasion.

  • 70. parent  |  June 29, 2014 at 5:51 pm

    Why is this conversation focused on AA vs. white students? CPS’s Latino population is 45% (AA is 40%). The article in the Reader does mention Latino students, but still falls back on references to black students as if they are somehow more important. If you look at all of the SEHS (not just PaNJY), what is the percentage of black, Latino, white students? I am guessing that the hugely under represented population is Latino, not black. Would like to see some data though.

  • 71. OTdad  |  June 29, 2014 at 9:18 pm

    Based on the data from CPS, all 10 SEHS have 13477 students:

    Latino 4027 29.9% 45.2%CPS
    Black 4661 34.6% 39.7%CPS
    White 3128 23.2% 9.2%CPS
    Asian 1218 9% 3.5%CPS

    Black is ‘under represented’ by 5.1%
    Latino is ‘under presented’ by 15.3%

    Basically, this ‘increase diversity at SEHS’ thing is targeting at schools where White & Asian families would like to sent their kids, which locations play an important role.

  • 72. taxpay  |  June 29, 2014 at 9:57 pm

    @71 If black students had 80% of the slots for SEHS, race baiters like Dowell would still insist that more black kids got into WP, WY, Jones & Northside.

  • 73. parent  |  June 29, 2014 at 10:11 pm

    @71, Thanks for doing the math. I agree that location is important. So where do the Latino students go to HS, if they want an option other than neighborhood schools? Charters. Each of these charter HS has a majority Hispanic population (none of the SEHS do):

    CICS Northtown
    Noble – Bulls
    Noble – Muchin
    Noble – Golder
    Noble – Pritzker
    Noble – Rauner
    UIC College Prep

  • 74. WRP Mom  |  June 29, 2014 at 10:38 pm

    Lane Tech has more Latino students than any other group:

    Latino 46%
    White 31.7%
    Asian 10.5%
    Black 8.5%
    Other 3.2%

  • 75. parent  |  June 29, 2014 at 11:00 pm

    @76, Thanks. I believe it’s the only one.

  • 76. What  |  June 29, 2014 at 11:49 pm

    CPS is only 9% white, but the whole city is a bit over 31% white (non-Hispanic). So is 33% white at SEHSs really an outrageous percentage?

    As a poster noted way up top, it would be helpful to know the percentage of white school aged children in the city…not just in CPS.

  • 77. OTdad  |  June 30, 2014 at 12:47 am

    Chicago racial demographics 2010:
    White 31.7% SEHS 23.2%
    Latino 28.9% SEHS 29.9%
    Black 32.9% SEHS 39.7%
    Asian 5.4% SEHS 9%

    Only White is under represented.

  • 78. pantherettie  |  June 30, 2014 at 6:37 am

    @What – Why would you include the percentage of all white school age children in Chicago vs. the 9% that attend CPS? I’m not understanding your reasoning as to why all of the kids, regardless of their attendance in a CPS school, should be considered part of the CPS population. To me that would like including the income of say a millionaire who sends their kid to Lab, in the calulation of the average parent income for that local public school. In this case, it would be like saying the Obama’s income of at least 500k should be used when calculating the average parent income of their neighborhood school, Kosminski, which currently had over 50% of the kids receiving school lunch. That doesn’t make sense. Only the kids who attend the schools incomes are considered just like only the kids who attend the schools races are considered. That’s why when only 9% of CPS students are a particular race in the overall population, but represent over 20% of the SE school population there are questions. That’s not race baiting, those are just numbers. To me it’s not about blaiming white kids and parents, it’s about an honest discussion about why these inequities exist.

  • 79. taxpay  |  June 30, 2014 at 7:41 am

    @79 Most parents aren’t going to send their kids to schools like Bogan, Kelly, or Clemente if they can get a better education at a private/parochial school. Very VERY few people segregated into Tier 4 by CPS will send their kid to a neighborhood high school, Lincoln Park and Lake View notwithstanding, and will pay additional money to send their kid private. Or move.

  • 80. RL Julia  |  June 30, 2014 at 9:42 am

    @65 – I totally agree!

  • 81. Chris  |  June 30, 2014 at 9:48 am

    parent (70): “The article in the Reader does mention Latino students, but still falls back on references to black students as if they are somehow more important.”

    Because the foundational “fact” presented in the article is Dowell’s ridiculously ill-informed statement, and Dowell’s constituency is approximately 0.00% chicano/Latino.

    pantherettie (78): “Why would you include the percentage of all white school age children in Chicago vs. the 9% that attend CPS?”

    Do you *actually* believe that only kids who attend CPS elementary should be allowed to attend CPS high school? If not, then what’s the objection to counting all school-aged kids of whatever skin color?

    If so, that attitude makes me more sympathetic to the (narrow-minded) folks who complain about property taxes bc “my kids don’t go to public school”. If the public schools aren’t genuinely public, then there’s a problem.

  • 82. CPS tiers suck  |  June 30, 2014 at 10:42 am

    I think the tier 4 residents should receive a big tax cut on their property taxes because it seems like CPS wants their kids to go to private schools instead — TRYING TO MAKE SO DIFFICULT FOR THE TIER 4 KIDS GO TO SEHS!

  • 83. parent  |  June 30, 2014 at 10:56 am

    OT Dad, Do we know what the percentages by race are for HS age CPS students? That would make an even better comparison than the useful data you found @71 — SEHS vs. all CPS HS students (rather than the entire CPS population). I would guess that the white population percentage goes up when you just look at CPS HS students, but I could be wrong.

  • 84. RL Julia  |  June 30, 2014 at 11:00 am

    @78 – I am not sure how seriously to take the information is about the race breakdown of the city v. the race breakdown of the SEHS’s but it is interesting. Lots of people of all races chose non-CPS schools for their children’s elementary information. However, given the SEHS’s reputation and standing as exemplary schools, I think there is something to consider that many, many people throughout the city (and sometimes in the suburbs as well) who don’t necessarily send their kids to CPS but do consider the SEHS as a desirable high school option for their kids. Thus it is meaningful to compare the racial breakdown of the City overall to the racial breakdown of the SEHS. It would be more meaningful if this comparison could be done with the racial breakdown of the 10-20 age group…. which I just happen to have.
    For kids ages 10-19, according to 2012 census data, the racial breakdown is the following:
    White – 25.7% (SEHS 23.2%)
    Hispanic -27.8% (SEHS 29.9%)
    African American – 31% (SEHS 39.7%)
    Asian – 2.7% (SEHS 9%)
    Pacific Islander/Alaskan Native – .02%
    Native American – .2%
    Some Other Race- 12.5%

  • 85. Chris  |  June 30, 2014 at 11:13 am

    parent (83): “I would guess that the white population percentage goes up when you just look at CPS HS students, but I could be wrong.”

    While I agree that is a reasonable guess, it is wrong–

    The white %-age of HS students was 7.8% (8,756) of the 112,029 HS kids this past year (and 9.6% of elementary, with over 10% of k to 3). A-A was 43.4 of HS (but only 38.5% of elem) and “hispanic” was 43.0 of HS (but 46.1% of elem).

    Go here:

    and look at the racial/ethnic report, and the second sheet (excel) thereof for the breakdown by grade level. The next sheet–broeaking out by ‘network’–including charters as a network–is also interesting.

  • 86. OTdad  |  June 30, 2014 at 11:20 am

    @78 pantherettie:
    “That’s why when only 9% of CPS students are a particular race in the overall population, but represent over 20% of the SE school population there are questions. “
    That probably an easy question to answer. Chicago has 31.7% white population. Many don’t consider CPS an option unless SEHS. 23.2% is not at all over represented. Even 33% at Payton, Jones, Northside, and Young is very appropriate.

    Dowell asked “I want to know why that’s the case. I haven’t heard a good explanation.” Here is one: location, location, location. Chicago is the most racially segregated big city in America.

    Dowell probably doesn’t have anything better to do other than playing race card. If we consider all 10 SEHS, and also the high drop out rate of black students, blacks are probably over represented in SEHS.

  • 87. Pantherettie  |  June 30, 2014 at 11:49 am

    @81 I never said or implied that only kids who attended CPS elementary schools should be able to attend CPS SEHS. The question is if the total population of the city should be taken into consideration when looking at possible racial inequities in SEHS populations. The reader article was about looking at the CPS STUDENT population, not Chicago’s overall school age population. It seems to me that you’re changing the parameters of the argument to fit the conclusion that white students are not over represented in the CPS SEHS when the fact remains that they represent 9.2% of student population in CPS but represent 23% of students attending SEHS.

  • 88. Chris  |  June 30, 2014 at 1:07 pm

    87: ” I never said or implied that only kids who attended CPS elementary schools should be able to attend CPS SEHS. ”

    You are certainly implying it. Otherwise, what matters is how many white, school-aged, kids live in the city, not how many attend CPS. The data show that around 25% of school-aged kids in the city are white, and that’s right in line with the percentage attending SEHS. That 60% of that cohort opt out of CPS–unless they get into SEHS–is not instructive about over/under representation, unless opting out is considered a bad fact.

  • 89. Pantherettie  |  June 30, 2014 at 1:57 pm

    @88 Chris – I did not state or imply that only kids who attended CPS elementary schools should be able to attend CPS SEHS. You’ve taken my point and twisted it into fitting your view on how *you* think I view this subject. I never have and never will say that public schools should be limited to anyone. I think that the premise of your argument is false because you’re trying to make the number fit your hypothesis – that white students are not over represented in SEHS.

    Let me take a stab at your argument. So all white school aged kids in Chicago, approx. 26% of all of the school age kids in the city, should be considered to be part of the CPS student population even though they do not attend a CPS school. So when the article says that white students make up 9.2% of the CPS student population, you believe that it should read 26% of the CPS student population?

  • 90. Chris  |  June 30, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    Pantherettie: “fit your hypothesis – that white students are not over represented in SEHS”

    Where do I hypothesize that? Are you conflating me with other posters? My hypothesis is that Aldercritter Dowell doesn’t know WTF she is talking about.

    How ’bout I restate my ‘argument’, as it relates to the ~25% white SEHS kids, as clearly as I can (using *approximate* numbers, to avoid repeated disclaimers):

    1. All children living in Chicago are *indisputably* eligible to attend a CPS school, regardless of what school they attended last year.

    2. About 25% of those children, of school-age, are ‘white’. (NOTE–I’m relying on the posted stats; if they are inaccurate, that changes things)

    3. *Notwithstanding* the fact that about 60% of those kids opt to attend non-CPS schools, they remain *eligible* to attend CPS.

    4. It is unreasonable to describe ‘about 25% white’ to be an over-representation, when 25% of the *ELIGIBLE COHORT* is white.

    The 9.2% is *only* relevant if one believes that attending CPS *last year* should confer an advantage for attendance *next year*.

  • 91. OTdad  |  June 30, 2014 at 2:27 pm

    I have to say that using the 9.2% white to argue about over representation is based on very flawed logic, because CPS should serve all tax payers, including those didn’t attend CPS elementary schools.

    The numbers mentioned by 84. RL Julia, only consider kids of ages 10-19, give us a better idea. Black is actually the most over represented racial group in SEHS.

  • 92. pantherettie  |  June 30, 2014 at 2:37 pm

    Ok Chris and OT Dad – you win. Chris – White children in Chicago are appropriately represented in CPS SEHS. OT Dad – Black students in Chicago are *over represented* in the CPS SEHS student population. I wonder if anyone outside of a few folks in the CPSO community would by that argument?

  • 93. OTdad  |  June 30, 2014 at 2:54 pm

    Figures are right there. Surprisingly, Black as a racial group has the least excuse to complain about ‘under representation’.

  • 94. Chris  |  June 30, 2014 at 3:51 pm

    “Chris – White children in Chicago are appropriately represented in CPS SEHS”

    You keep pointing to the irrelevant-to-the-discussion-of-under/over-representation percentages of current CPS students, rather than current, eligible-to-attend-CPS, kids. You’re choosing the wrong denominator, in order to present a biased conclusion that befits your preconceived view about under/over-representation in SEHS.

  • 95. RL Julia  |  June 30, 2014 at 4:12 pm

    So it seems like there are two points to be made. 1. if one is to look at the racial distribution of Chicago children ages 10-19 v. the racial distribution of children attending SEHS’s the numbers align somewhat with African American and Asian students being over-represented in the SEHS’s and Hispanic students being slightly over-represented and white students being slightly under-represented.

    2. If one was to look at the total population of CPS (only) students – K-12 one would come to the conclusion that Hispanic students are quite under-represented, African American students under-represented are white and Asian are over-represented in the SEHS.

    Both statements are more or less true. The non-SEHS population of CPS is much more African American and Hispanic than it is white and Asian. More families who are African American and Hispanic chose to send their kids to CPS schools all the way through K-12.

    However, for SEHS (and I’d imagine SEES, some charters and magnets as well), the enrollment is much more in line with the racial demographics of Chicago’s entire population of kids – not just the kids who attend CPS schools. I think that ultimately what this ends up saying is that (to no one’s surprise) there are a chunk of families (most of whom are white) who are not going to send their kid to a non-test into CPS school. It is either a SEES/SEHS or etc… or private or parochial or moving to the burbs. It is NOT the neighborhood elementary or high school.

  • 96. PaNJY  |  June 30, 2014 at 4:29 pm

    What about PaNJY? What are the right comparisons there?

  • 97. RL Julia  |  June 30, 2014 at 5:01 pm

    Looking to compare PaNJY (and Lane)- on average these schools are waaaay more white (35.38% on average – compared to 23.2% SEHS overall and 9.2% CPS total), way more Asian (12.8% on average compared to 9% SEHS overall and 3.5% CPS total), way less African American (16% on average, 39.7% SEHS overall and 39.7% CPS overall) and slightly more Hispanic (30.80 on average, 29.9% SEHS overall and 45.2% CPS overall). I bet that these schools also have lower free/reduced school lunch subscription as well….

  • 98. Chris  |  June 30, 2014 at 5:53 pm

    Columns are Total count, then % White, AfAm, NatAm, Hisp, Multi, Asian, HI-PI, Not Avail, all from the 2014 report:

    Lane Tech HS 4,120; 30.0; 8.7; 0.6; 45.7; 2.3; 10.4; 0.3; 1.9
    Jones CPHS 1,124; 28.8; 21.0; 0.4; 31.0; 3.1; 9.5; 0.3; 5.7
    Northside 1,069; 40.1; 9.1; 0.4; 25.3; 4.3; 17.9; 0.3; 2.5
    Payton CPHS 819; 36.4; 17.5; 0.4; 22.5; 4.6; 9.6; 0.2; 8.5
    Young Magnet 2,196; 30.2; 24.2; 0.3; 26.8; 3.6; 14.7; 0.1; 0.0

    If we look at the three centrally-located schools (as has been discussed ad nauseum, the non-central schools are seriously inconvenient for at least 50% of the city, and if I lived in, say, Hyde Park, I would consider *prohibiting* my kids from applying to Lane or NSCP), and look at just the big four race categories (just flat out discounting the ~7.5% who don’t id that way), we have 3827 kids who are:


    Which seems to be a fairly decent estimate of location-adjusted (that is, recognizing that the city is segregated, and few families are going to put up with a 75+ minute one-way commute) percentages in the SEHS.

    So then I went digging for that 2012 age 10-19 census data by race, and can’t find it. Looking at the under-18 by race category numbers, and applying some adjustments to simplify to the same big four (with a little guessing about the overlap bt AfAm and Hisp, which is why it doesnt add exactly to 100), it looks more like (tho this is *inevitably* not exactly accurate, either):


    Which leads to an easy conclusion that, at the 3 central schools, whites are almost 2x over-represented and asians about 3.5x compared to their city-resident population. But then (1) the factoring is somewhat misleading, and (2) anyway, what’s your (and I address that to everyone) solution? Let’s say (counter reality) that you could set exact count quotas–what would you do? What’s enough/too-much?

  • 99. CPS Teacher Married  |  June 30, 2014 at 6:49 pm

    What is enough/too much?> Well….look at it like this… AA children need as many resources as they can get in this city to break out of the vicuous poverty cycle. Instead of doing it to help the wealthy white chiildren, CPS should throw all its efforts in the direction of breaking the AA children (many on public aid) out of living in poverty. White and oriental children can afford to pay for private, as is shown by the %9 CPS rate, while the AA children are in crisis. I think that if your family makes more than the poverty rate, than you should only be elgible for SE if there are seats available OR if you pay a tuition.

  • 100. OTdad  |  June 30, 2014 at 6:59 pm

    Your suggestion is very short sighted. Many families will move out of the city. The property value will decrease. CPS will have less money to help children in need. Want a proof? Detroit.

  • 101. HS Mom  |  June 30, 2014 at 7:31 pm

    @83 and others – % of high school students alone would not be a telling factor since it would not include families that moved out of Chicago because they could not get into the school of their choice. I think school age children K-12 or all children under the age of 18 will probably give a better sample – not necessarily the entire Chicago population, as you point out.

    @78 “To me that would like including the income of say a millionaire who sends their kid to Lab, in the calulation of the average parent income for that local public school.”

    And….that’s exactly what they do when CPS bases tiers off census data. Some of those millionaires even go to CPS.

  • 102. CPS Teacher Married  |  June 30, 2014 at 7:33 pm

    To OTDad,

    No it would not. Chicago would be a destanation for families looking for great education for they’re kids, and people who where not in the poverty rate would a) pay money for the great education, and b) would be willing to do this and become heros for the deserving children of this city. I certainly would.

  • 103. HS Mom  |  June 30, 2014 at 7:53 pm

    @99 – I’m assuming – and anyone can correct me if I’m wrong – that AA families want to attend schools with white children just as much as white families desire schools with a variety of ethnicity and races and most (fill in your race here ______) desire rigorous academic curriculum at a selective FREE public school. Otherwise, why else would it be imperative, according to the alderwoman, to get kids into PaNJY as opposed to any other school? Your assumption labels all whites as rich, able to afford pubilc school and that blacks are not and need a selective school as their ticket out of poverty.

    Creating black only selective enrollment schools would not resolve what Ms. McDowell perceives as a problem.

  • 104. HS Mom  |  June 30, 2014 at 8:05 pm

    make that – you are assuming that all white can afford PRIVATE school.

  • 105. walker  |  June 30, 2014 at 8:14 pm

    @100 So agree with OTdad.

    I also think something has to be done to parenting rather than to CPS schools.

  • 106. CPS Teacher Married  |  June 30, 2014 at 9:20 pm

    HSMom, OTDad and Walker,

    Well, yes the white people CAN afford to send the white children to private bc otherwise there would be more than %9 in Chi Public Schools and the tiers with white people show that they can. So look at those totals and ask where the Chicago white kids go NOW and how would that change if they focused efforts toward breaking the vicuous cycle of the AA children in CPS?

    And yes, walker, something needs to be done about parenting BUT how you going to fix parenting unless you focus on developing AA kids and getting them to meet they’re full potential? If CPS did this, the parenting problem would be addressed.

  • 107. What  |  June 30, 2014 at 9:22 pm

    99 – You want to be the hero that saves all the black kids, but then you call Asians “orientals.” OMG.

  • 108. HS Mom  |  June 30, 2014 at 9:23 pm

    @106 – did I miss something in the stats. I thought that 9% of CPS students were white not that 9% of white kids go to CPS.

  • 109. CPS Teacher Married  |  June 30, 2014 at 9:34 pm

    HS Mom, well, it is 9% of the CPS student body, so that means the other white children of this city go to private schools, so it would not be changing that much. Look, of all the races of children in this city I feel that AA kids are most at risk and DESERVE to have the most money spent to get them out of poverty and on a track to success. Chicago will not get better until this unfairness is solved.

  • 110. CPS Teacher Married  |  June 30, 2014 at 9:36 pm


    I am sorry but oriental and Asian are not meant to be offenisve, just a standard term from people from China & Japan and other places in Asia.

  • 111. HS Mom  |  June 30, 2014 at 9:45 pm

    9% of the CPS student body is not the same as 9% of total white kids. If there are only 9% of whites students in CPS now, what is the complaint?

    I don’t know your race but I don’t think that the AA population would think that 9% is an adequate number of white students in these selective schools. Is that the intent/desire? Seriously. Whites don’t make a contribution in any way by attending the same school as blacks? The “friends of” and supporters and volunteers make no contribution to the success of the school? Really -what kind of a statement is it to make that White people need to pay for public school but others don’t. You can’t possibly be minimizing this discussion to suggest that whites don’t deserve a top notch education for free like anyone else.

  • 112. CPS Teacher Married  |  June 30, 2014 at 10:04 pm

    HS Mom,

    The complaint is that the white children in CPS have it much better than the AA kids, and if you look at test scores it is proving that! Instead of continuing throwing the money at the white schools which do not need it, CPS should spend more $$$ on the AA kids and getting them to the same level. You see, white people have a option to send they’re kids to a private school but AA kids do not likely have that option.

    If CPS focuses on the AA children more, the white children will still do well, as the 91% of the white children who DO NOT attend CPS are doing right now, obviously most of them can afford it. It will also help break the poverty cycle that the white children do not partipicate in. If that means a white child has to pay for a private school or pay a tuition to attend a school like WY, then that is like the status quo. In the end, it will lead to a better Chicago for all of us.

  • 113. pantherettie  |  June 30, 2014 at 10:11 pm

    @98 – Chris – Are you saying that white students are over represented in the CPS SEHS population at Jones, WY, and WP? What’s the solution you propose? If anyone on the board even implied that race should be used in the consideration of admission for SEHS he/she/it would be called a racist. Additionally, I believe that it’s illegal to do that anyway. So I totally agree with what CPS has done by setting up tiers to try to give kids whose neighborhoods don’t have as many resources a handicap in the race to an SEHS. I fully expect that my dd, who lives in a tier 4 neighborhood, attended a strong neighborhood school and has two college educated parents should have to score better on a variety of measures than her peer who did not have those same advantages. It doesn’t matter the race of the peer. In Chicago it so happens that her peers from tier 1 and 2 are more likely to be black or Hispanic. One possible remedy at these 3 schools, could be to increase the percentage of students from tier 1 and tier 2 neighborhoods. This would most likely increase the number of AA and Hispanic kids, but it would also give less affluent white kids a better chance at an SEHS too. This could be done by eliminating the whole category of kids who get in by scores alone (who I believe tend to be from tier 3/4 neighborhoods but I could be wrong). Just make it an even amount for each tier. So what happens to kids who don’t live in Chicago when they apply? Hmmm, I don’t know. Would love to hear ideas on that subject.

  • 114. HS Mom  |  June 30, 2014 at 10:30 pm

    @113 Pantherette – thank you. Some realistic solutions that don’t preclude any race are needed.

    IMO, there’s a fine line between maintaining the desired level of academic rigor and opening up enrollment to lower scoring students (not that I have any idea what the perfect or at least good enough mix would be). I think that it’s important to have these now nationally recognized schools that attract both upper income kids who might otherwise go to exclusive private schools along side kids who are struggling economically and all those who are in between.

    I think your ideas would work if we had more additions to existing “desirable” schools, adding seats like the Payton plan. I worry about gutting the other schools but on the other hand, if we have so many highly qualified tier 4 candidates, why can’t we figure out how to best keep that talent and use it to help bring others up.

  • 115. walker  |  June 30, 2014 at 10:43 pm

    @106 About parenting …. My older son’s best buddy is AA. He is a wonderful kid, pretty well-rounded for his age, Minecraft encyclopedia and with 99% Reading test score. And you know why? Because his parents DO care about him and his success in school.

    About money… I’ve spent at most $200 over two years on my son extra Math prep and ~20min a day (I could do it with $0… well some paper and pencils). He has ended up above 99% MATH threshold on the Spring NWEA. No private tutoring, no expensive stuff, just systematic hard work. Unfortunately, I can’t do any experiment but I don’t think that giving away money to the poor will work. Without parental involvement nothing is going to happen.

  • 116. What  |  June 30, 2014 at 11:08 pm

    This is ridiculous. So very tired of hearing how great things are for ALL tier 4 kids…they should just suck it up and accept that they must achieve a perfect 900 to get into SEHS. They should be thrilled to undergo that kind of pressure at the age of 12/13, otherwise they are racist entitled jerks. If they wind up with 890, well too bad! They should have tried harder! And if their parents can’t afford private school…wait…it’s tier 4…of course they can! All of them! I’m so pleased to have won the white lottery…am eagerly awaiting my check for a million dollars and the personal phone numbers for every Fortune 500 CEO in the country.

    What really bugs me about this seemingly never ending argument over too many white kids/not enough black kids is that I don’t understand why the onus is on this city’s children to fix what is ultimately a segregation problem. They aren’t old enough to vote, but we expect them to forge the path to desegregation/equity while maintaining straight As and getting a black belt.

    Chicago is incredible segregated. We all know this. But rather than the adults in the room finding solutions, we expect children to deal with it. I understand, of course, that magnet schools were created under the guise of desegregation. However, there is no way that a few racially integrated schools could fix the situation.

    It’s all fine and good to talk about how much you would sacrifice for the common good. But when it comes down to your own damn kids….F that. No. I’m not going to pay for public school that I already pay for via taxes (not that I could afford it). And, no, I can’t afford private school. No. I’m not going to send my kids to an inferior school for diversity’s sake alone. No. I’m not going to encourage them to commute 2 hours each way to a “more diverse” school. No. I’m not going to let my children be little pioneers into some possibly-maybe-hopefully-up-and-coming neighborhood school. No. I’m not going to accept the constant tweaking of the tier formula until there is no option but a perfect 900 (get rid of rank entry and that’s what will happen).

    The numbers have been referenced repeatedly. There really isn’t a diversity problem at SEHS. Why is it not ok for NSCP to be 40% white, but it’s perfectly fine for Lindblom to be 70% black? Can my Alderman get a hearing on that?

  • 117. CPS Teacher Married  |  June 30, 2014 at 11:19 pm


    Well, you have already deminstrated your own racially-slanted bias. You said Chi is already segregated, well, who makes it like that? And yes, it *is* perfectly fine to have more AA children at Lindbloom and Brooks because they need the most support, while 40% of the white seats at NCSP *is* too much because those children will never suffer the hardships that the AA children do. Also, I hate to say it, but there is a degree of “white guilt” that is still in play in America today, and this is one avenue of reparations for the injustice of the past 300 years.

  • 118. pantherettie  |  June 30, 2014 at 11:37 pm

    @What – As a proud Lindblom parent of an Ackie (who will most likely stay at Lindblom for high school) let me be the first to welcome you and your family to our fantastic school. If you live in a tier 4 neighborhood you don’t need a 890 or 900 to receive admission and to receive a strong education. BTW, I think *lots* of alder people would love to talk about Lindblom’s success. Just ask The Sun-Times, Tribune, The Golden Apple Foundation, U.S. News & World Reports, ect. I bet your alderman/woman might not mind a photo opp. at a successful SEHS.

  • 119. What  |  July 1, 2014 at 12:16 am

    CPS Teacher Married – saying the city is segregated is just a fact. It’s not bias or opinion. I didn’t say that I liked it, just that is the way it is. I have no idea how to change it. I thought when I moved here anywhere I lived would be diverse because it’s a big city, but that is not reality. I live in a predominantly Hispanic neighborhood, does that help?

    Also, how do you know that those white kids have never suffered hardship? Seriously? How can you make assumptions like that? My neighbors apartment is considered tier 4, but they both work two jobs, have no education, and the parents don’t speak English. You think they haven’t seen hardship?

    Pantherettie – I think Linblom is awesome. It’s simply too far/too long of a commute. Which is the point a lot of people are trying to make. It’s about location (and therefore the inherent segregation that exists here already).

  • 120. pantherettie  |  July 1, 2014 at 6:27 am

    @HS Mom – I think that you’ve articulated the problem of tiers and racial equities in the many SEHS schools. For many people tiers in Chicago are a proxy for race and an honest discussion about race is always hard. I think at the heart of the matter is the assumption (and I’m not saying that you made this assumption) that increasing the numbers of kids from poor neighborhoods would decrease the quality of the schools ( for at least WY, J and WP) . I think that’s the real debate.

  • 121. WPx8  |  July 1, 2014 at 8:30 am

    Eight year WP parent here. Do not make assumptions about skin color and income. At WP there are significant numbers of non-white kids from wealthy or comfortable homes and there are plenty of white kids whose families struggle as much as anybody. What is rare is any parent of any color or economic background who is not involved and caring about their children’s education.

    Over the years I’ve became acquainted with many Payton kids of all flavors and have never, ever, met one who “decreased the quality of the school[s]”

  • 122. cpsobsessed  |  July 1, 2014 at 8:35 am

    Is the heart of it about the quality going down?
    My sense is that it’s really about what parents perceive as the unfairness of they’re high-performing kids not getting a spot (thus the need for more spots for any kid who scores “well.”)

    That is my interpretation, but I’m sure there is a range of pov’s on why tiers are a bad thing.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 123. RL Julia  |  July 1, 2014 at 8:41 am

    Chris – if you send me your e-mail via cpsobsessed, I’d be happy to send the census data I used. I had to add together some age categories (10-14, 15-17, 18-19).

  • 124. Jones2  |  July 1, 2014 at 8:46 am

    @97 RL Julia
    Re: low-income reduced lunch numbers…I recall posting this previously on a different thread. Here they are in order of lowest to highest:

    Payton 31.4
    Northside 35.9
    WY 37.2
    Jones 45.3
    Lane 58.2
    Lindblom 65.9
    Brooks 69.4
    King 72.2
    Westinghouse 81.1
    S.Shore 87.4

    There does seem to be a direct correlation to the % of low income & the stated ‘desirability’ of the SEHSs.

    @HS Mom/pantherettie
    I agree with most of the points you have made…

    @CPS teacher/married
    I’m curious as to what CPS school you work at…involved parents are often the key to a successful school…if you remove all the students not qualified for ‘reduced/free lunch’ how do you think that will affect the quality of the school? Based on the list above, I contend that it would have a negative effect.

  • 125. Jones2  |  July 1, 2014 at 9:02 am

    @121 “What is rare is any parent of any color or economic background…not caring about their children’s education?”

    You hit the nail on the head…exactly what I have experienced.

    @CPS obsessed: I have had children enter SEES/SEHS under both the racial 65/35 mix & now tiers. I prefer the tiers only because I feel it ‘attempts’ to target those who may need more help (i.e. Low income students of ANY color). I sometimes wonder if “some” individuals on this blog have never met the many successful/educated/dedicated parents of color in this city.

  • 126. cpsobsessed  |  July 1, 2014 at 9:18 am

    It’s also key to point out that percent of low income tends to correlate with the school’s entry scores and ACTs which then drives desirability (and becomes a perpetuating cycle.)

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 127. WPx8  |  July 1, 2014 at 1:42 pm

    During my eight years at WP I volunteered every year to help with the open house for prospective parents. I always chose the meet-and-greet job; talking to kids and parents outside in the long lines to get in and I talked to 100’s of people.

    Consistently, the major concern for parents who lived south and west (correlates with lower income families and skin color) was the issue of safety at Payton. When you don’t know that neighborhood it’s adjacency to Cabrini Green was the primary concern. I’m positive there were many south and west side qualified kids who did not apply to WP who were leery of the neighborhood.

    Now that Cabrini is gone, it must be less of an issue.

  • 128. CLB  |  July 1, 2014 at 3:30 pm

    There’s a fundamental difference between NYC’s “specialized high schools” and Chicago’s “selective enrollment high schools. NYC’s SHS were never intended to deal with segregation. The first three were created before WWII as schools for top-level students. This is why exam-only admissions was eventually adopted.

    By contrast, Chicago’s SEHS were designed to further desegregation but became schools associated with high achievement. The problem is that you cannot maximize both racial diversity and academic excellence (add in family-income diversity as a value and things get even more mucky).

  • 129. Kenwood Parent  |  July 1, 2014 at 4:20 pm

    @ What

    No one has said that ALL white kids have it easy, but there is no denying that more white kids are economically advantaged that than African American kids. Educating the poorest kids in the CPS system will not only improve the quality of CPS schools, but ultimately lead to a more educated and safer city (dare I say nation?). But many Americans are too damn selfish, which will ultimately lead to our decline (and maybe rightfully so).

    With regard to the “Tier 4” debate, as a parent, you are free to move to any Tier that you choose. Your highly educated child should have no problem entering Northside Prep from your new Tier 1/2 apartment. I never understood this debate. While you cannot change your race, we now have a Tier system. You are free to move to any Tier that you choose, IF your child’s education is really that important to you.

  • 130. Chris  |  July 1, 2014 at 4:44 pm


    Julia (123)–I don’t doubt that you were reporting honestly and from a real source, I just couldn’t find that breakdown, and the numbers I found seemed to comport better with what I perceive to be the reality. I also find the inclusioon of 19 yo problematic, bc that will inevitably include a bunch of HS grads/college students living in Chicago who skew white compared to the school-age population.

    Pantherette (113)–It initially depends what one means by “over represented”–there are definitely more white kids, and many more asian kids, at PaJY than if the students were selected by lottery from every 8th grader in Chicago. That is certainly ‘over represented’ under one reasonable definition. But whether that is the “right” definition turns on what the student body “should” be–if we are trying to have a perfectly representation of the City, we will *always* fail; some group will *always* be able to play the aggrieved.

    What’s my solution? Try harder and/or deal with it and/or get over it. Life ain’t fair; any competition (and make no mistake–admission to any selective school is a competition) is going to give someone or another an advantage. I don’t think that making the process more like college, where 100% of the seats are chosen based on myriad criteria would be a good alternative, even notwithstanding the cost and time involved.

    A better ‘solution’: More and/or bigger SEHS that are in/near downtown–Jones’ new building was a boon. The expansion of Payton will be a good thing. A new school in the Greektown vicinity, or near the Chicago blue line stop would be another good thing. Obama prep’s proposed location isn’t awful (and is necessary to that proposal, bc of land + TIF fund issues), but could be better.

    Then we get into the murk of what is the purpose of SEHS–if we have 15-20% of CPS HS kids going to a ‘selective enrollment’ school, and another ~20% going to charters/magnets, doesn’t that put the non-selective schools into a death spiral? What do we do with the ‘bottom’ 60%?

    Jones2 (124): “There does seem to be a direct correlation to the % of low income & the stated ‘desirability’ of the SEHSs.”

    Pretty true for elementary schools–SE, magnet and neighborhood, all–too.

  • 131. Kenwood Parent  |  July 1, 2014 at 4:47 pm

    @ walker

    Regarding your son’s AA best friend, is his family lower class or under the poverty line? I’m just curious, namely because the discussion of academic achievement correlates mostly with parental education/income (not race).

    Also, I think it is short sighted to believe that many parents don’t care about their children or their children’s academic success. If you come from a low income/ low education background, at some point, your parents will be unable to help you based on their limited educational experiences. That is just a fact and a major cause of the poverty cycle.

    My son learned to read at 2 years old because I constantly worked with him. At now three years old, he reads on a 1st-2nd grade level. Should I shame the other upper middle class parents that I know because their children do not know how to read at 4 & 5 years old? Should I say that these parents don’t care about their children or their children’s success in school because they didn’t focus as much on early childhood education? No, because everyone’s situation is different.

  • 132. walker  |  July 1, 2014 at 9:54 pm

    @Kenwood Parent ” If you come from a low income/ low education background, at some point, your parents will be unable to help you based on their limited educational experiences. That is just a fact and a major cause of the poverty cycle.”

    Are you suggesting that majority of Tier 1 parents doesn’t have enough education background to teach 1st grader how to read and how to do simple math? I’m asking about 1st grade (the same is pretty much true for K) because the gap starts early and then only grows.

    @Kenwood Parent “because everyone’s situation is different.”

    Yes, it’s different and my older son started to speak (to say complete sentences) only at 4.5. And we didn’t focus enough on his early childhood education. Yes, you can definitely say that we didn’t care enough and I’m not going to blame CPS or demand special approach/money. My fault. Lesson learned.
    I’m not suggesting that every kid should read at 2 year old, but we as parents are responsible to help our kids develop their gifts from the beginning. My son’s 1st grade class was pretty diverse in all directions. I was shocked when he told me that one girl didn’t even turn in HM! no HM everyday! So, is it the low-income problem or parenting? If we give her parents money, will it help her? What kind of educational background limits do her parents have to teach a simple task: to do HM?…. it’s not rocket science, especially in 1st grade.

  • 133. anonymouse teacher  |  July 2, 2014 at 1:07 pm

    @132, My colleague across the hall had a child who didn’t turn in any homework in K. None. Yet her parents were able to get her to school each day, taking 3 buses. She moved back and forth between whatever shelter or family member would take them for a few days. She was homeless. We thought she was awesome. Not only that, she was the smartest kid in the class by miles. Miles.

    I have no idea what the majority of tier 1 families can do or not, because I don’t know them. I do know that the difference in vocabulary, even the sheer number of words between a child living in poverty and a middle class kid is massive. And, most people know the research that points to the fact that a 5 year olds’ vocabulary knowledge is a bigger indicator of what their 8th grade reading level will will–much stronger indicator than their kindergarten reading level, even though CPS demands an incredibly high reading level by year’s end in K. So, yeah, when a kid comes from poverty, no matter the tier, one of the biggest issues is vocabulary. Personally, I think we are doing early childhood completely wrong, but that’s kinda typical of CPS.

  • 134. RL Julia  |  July 2, 2014 at 2:53 pm

    Chris – I used the 2012 census data found in the American Community Survey. The age group delineations are: 10-14/15-17, 18 and 19. Hence the inclusion of 19 year olds.

  • 135. OTdad  |  July 2, 2014 at 4:01 pm

    @133. anonymouse teacher:
    “a 5 year olds’ vocabulary knowledge is a bigger indicator of what their 8th grade reading level will”

    I’m not sure the vocabulary at 5 is definitely a telling sign of how well a kid will perform later. I know at least one girl who didn’t speak English when she was 4 and no English at home, attended CPS preschool for all (2hrs/day). 1 year later, she could speak English fluently and earned a highly competitive SEES seat in Tier 4. She is now performing at above 3rd grade level in both math and reading after 1 year of Kindergarten.

    The point is, while home environment and income etc. are important factors, the most important factor seems the quality of time a kid spend in school. When a kid spends 7 hours in school, we shouldn’t over stress the time s/he spends at home. Even without any teaching from the parents, a kid can fully capable of academic success by fully utilizing the time in school.

  • 136. anonymouse teacher  |  July 2, 2014 at 4:36 pm

    @OT dad, please look at the copious amounts of educational research available tying vocabulary development to reading achievement. I am referring to Chrys Dougherty’s work, a senior research scientist with ACT and his piece on “College and Career Readiness: The Importance of Early Learning”. He says, “Kindergartners’ general knowledge of the world was a better predictor of those students’ eighth grade reading ability than were early reading skills. This is consistent with research that reading comprehension, particularly in the upper grades, depends heavily on students’ vocabulary and background knowledge.” (pp.1-2)

    This was being discussed in an article through the Illinois Reading Council and how there has been a dramatic shift to teach reading at a child’s instructional level (Fountas and Pinnell’s methodology which includes all the differentiation we currently see in schools today) to requiring all children to read on grade level, regardless of whether or not they can actually read the text (this is a Common Core implementation matter). Vocabulary matters a lot. Most schools in the city are struggling in the area of vocabulary, whether they host high population numbers of ESL kids or not. The ISAT and NWEA back that up. I can tell you that I’ve worked in 5 different districts and they all struggle in vocab.

    The reality is, statistically, poor children arrive at school with 50% less (or more) vocabulary words than middle class children. This dramatically affects reading comprehension. In the world of reading, comprehension is KING. No comprehension? Then it isn’t what educators consider reading. Its merely decoding. One anecdotal about one kid who didn’t speak until they were 4 doesn’t make good research.

    Yes, kids spend 7 hours a day in school. This amounts to about 4.5-5 hours of instruction once you factor in lunch, transitions, breakfast, attendance, getting ready to get home, assemblies, etc. That’s about 23-25 hours a week. 180 days a year. My kids are with me at home between 4-9 p.m. (awake) M-F, plus all the days off, plus weekends and summers. That’s far more than the time they spend in school. And maybe other people don’t see their kids as much because their work day starts and ends later while mine starts and ends earlier. But in any case, parents and caregivers spend more time with children than teachers do. Vocabulary matters, home life matters more simply because more hours are spent out of school than in. Not saying school isn’t influential. It is highly influential.

    I expect there will be a major shift from differentiated reading groups at kids’ levels to expecting and attempting to equip all children to read at grade level (with support) regardless of the fact that most of our schools’ children won’t be able to do that without intensive, long term (think PreK-12th) interventions, if they can do it at all. Unfortunately, like it always seems to go in the Ed world, the pendulum will likely swing too far to the side of “grade level” instead of artfully incorporating the best of both worlds-grade level challenge and instructional level small groups.

  • 137. What  |  July 2, 2014 at 7:45 pm

    Kenwood parent – I disagree that lack of formal education/poverty is an acceptable argument for everything. I grew up out of state in government housing. Got the cheese and butter from the gov truck every month. I’m a high school drop out with a GED. Yet, somehow I managed to teach my kids to read by the age of 4 and paid attention to their education. I made better choices for them than I did for myself.

    Your suggestion that I move from tier 4 to tier 1/2 for the purpose of selective enrollment acceptance is pretty telling. If everyone from tier 4 moved to tier 1, then what would happen? Everyone would start screaming about gentrification, etc. People on this board have blasted this practice for being disingenuous, and rightfully so. I’m not going to teach my kids to ‘work’ the system.

  • 138. walker  |  July 2, 2014 at 11:52 pm

    @anonymouse teacher “Yet her parents were able to get her to school each day, taking 3 buses”

    It means her parents DID care. I don’t know whether I would took 3 buses each day to get my kids to school. Sometimes just “taking 3 buses” is the best and most important help parents can provide. What would happen if her parents decided not to take 3 buses? What would happen to the girl?

    @OTdad “When a kid spends 7 hours in school, we shouldn’t over stress the time s/he spends at home.”

    Let’s don’t forget that school is 1:28 and home is 2:(1-3). Kids are also different with different learning styles and with all respect to our wonderful teachers, not every teacher can handle all kids at the same time at their individual best level/learning style. Most parents here have “99%” kids but what about other 99%? Well, let’s say 50% kids? They have probably the same teacher and spend the same time in school.

    Moreover, a gift can be outside of school metrics (reading/math). How about gifted dancers, basketball players, doctors, pilots or architects? Steve Jobs was kicked out of college if I remember correctly. I believe parents are here to help recognize and develop those gifts that are beyond the school system. If they don’t have enough educational background, then just “taking 3 buses” could be the best help ever.

  • 139. duh not good at tests lol  |  July 3, 2014 at 4:20 am

    “Steve Jobs was kicked out of college if I remember correctly.”

    You don’t remember correctly. He dropped out of college of his own accord. And in elementary school his reading and math test scores (or “school metrics” as you call them) were off the charts and his school recommended his skip ahead two grades. His parents only moved him ahead one. Jobs was bored with school. The “school metrics” caught it.

    I’m pretty sure quality doctors and pilots also had good “school metrics”. And this country does not need more basketball players and dancers. Anyone can play basketball or dance. Most can’t perform surgery or fly a plane.

  • 140. Tax and Spend Spend Spend  |  July 3, 2014 at 4:50 am

    Keep Raising Those Taxes Illinois!!!!

    “Illinois created only 500 private-sector jobs in the nine months of this past school year – August 2013 to May 2014 – the worst of any state in the Midwest and the second worst in the country [for reference, WI created 31,000 and IN created 35,000].

    For context, that’s one job for every 300 high school seniors in Illinois, another terrible stretch of job creation for a state that already ranks last in the Midwest for job recovery from the Great Recession.

    Illinois tracks last of all states for private-sector job creation in 2014, one of only four states to be negative for jobs on the year [down 26,000 jobs for the year].

    Private-sector payrolls in Illinois are now at the same level as they were in September of 1997.

    Texas, ever the star student, set the national curve and created 280,000 private-sector jobs in the same time period. That is equal to the number of private-sector jobs Illinois has created in the last 20 years combined” [Texas has 2x the population and created 560x the jobs]

  • 141. walker  |  July 3, 2014 at 5:18 am


    “During his years at Homestead High School (1968-1972), Jobs averaged a 2.65 GPA, meaning he got mostly Cs and Bs.” There would be no SEHS for Jobs even if he lived in Tier 1 area.

  • 142. pantherettie  |  July 3, 2014 at 6:20 am

    I’m curious about other suggestions to adress diversity issues at WY, WP, and Jones. Walker,OT Dad?

    @CPSO – I totally agree with your observation that the question for many folks that live in tier 4 neighborhoods is a question of opportunties for smart kids who don’t score exceptionally high on tests or make straight A’s. But I think the other side of that is for folks from tier 1/2 neighborhoods how do you meet a threshold that is so high that your kids don’t even get a chance to be considered. I think that the alder woman in this article has a good point but horrible delivery and bad messaging. There is something off with a school system that doesn’t prepare the majority of students who attend it attend their best schools. Of course it’s not only CPS’s responsibility to educate their students well, it’s also parents responsibilities as well – that’s a given. Of course one group of kids should not be disenfranchised to make way for another group – but this admission/diversity issue is an issue that will need to be addressed over time. I think that the new Obama High school announcement highlighted the fact that many folks are giving a look at how SEHS populations reflect( or don’t reflect) the population of CPS students. Chris – I’m not speaking about potential CPS students because over the past 5 years at least white students have *never* made up close to even 20% of the CPS student population. So talking about this group of potential students who, for whatever reason they choose, have shown that they won’t attend CPS is not a point I’m going to address further.

  • 143. Jones2  |  July 3, 2014 at 7:24 am

    Instead of looking at the total population of CPS (which also includes pre-school children in its numbers) OR the total number of school age children in Chicago…perhaps the better measure is the breakdown of the CPS population for grades 9-12 only. Many parents send their children to private schools (for a variety of reasons) for K-8 but switch over to CPS for high school – especially if their child gets a spot at one of the SEHSs.

    Does anyone know that number & the correlating racial breakdown?

    I agree that focusing on the most centrally located schools makes sense. Presently, Jones is 54.8 (AA & Hispanic) or 59.3 if you include ‘other’; Payton is 45.8 (AA & Hispanic) & 54.5 including ‘other’; WY is 48.1 (AA & Hispanic) & 52.5 including ‘other’.

    For those seeking increased diversity…what would the ‘right’ number of minority students look like? What percentage? Should the focus be on skin color or socioeconomics?

  • 144. Chris  |  July 3, 2014 at 9:52 am

    “Chris – I’m not speaking about potential CPS students because over the past 5 years at least white students have *never* made up close to even 20% of the CPS student population. So talking about this group of potential students who, for whatever reason they choose, have shown that they won’t attend CPS is not a point I’m going to address further.”

    Then you aren’t being serious about the discussion. They are part of the eligible cohort, and you are “disenfranchising” them because they have the resources to opt out of attending Schurz or Clemente or whatever. They are a part of why there is a skew in PaNJY enrollment toward whites and asians. If you choose to ignore them, you are ignoring a big part of the ‘why’.

  • 145. Chris  |  July 3, 2014 at 9:54 am

    “the breakdown of the CPS population for grades 9-12 only”

    Even less white. The % of CPS that is white is dragged up by the younger kids–up to grade 3 (SY 13-14), CPS is over 10% white, and under 40% AfAm, but it flips among the older kids.

  • 146. Chris  |  July 3, 2014 at 9:57 am


    I was looking at the 2012 ACS. I did not find that breakdown of ages with races for Chicago City data. Doesn’t mean it’s not there–I’m not a census data pro.

  • 147. @143  |  July 3, 2014 at 10:20 am

    @143 Chris posted that info @85.

  • 148. Kenwood parent  |  July 3, 2014 at 12:06 pm

    @ walker

    I also disagree that lack of formal education/poverty is an acceptable argument for everything. However, we also have to be realistic. I also grew up under the poverty line, in government housing, etc. I remember a few instances where my family (and I) had to search under furniture for pennies, just so I could take the bus to school that day. My mother was a high school graduate, but is also a product of the same school system we are currently debating. The reality is that her school barely offered algebra. There was no way that my mother would be able to assist me with my algebra, geometry, and Trig., especially because I was in a selective enrollment (Kenwood AC). My mother is the reason that I was well prepared for elementary school, but at some point, many parents are unable to assist their kids due to their own lack of knowledge. A kid with educated parents may have greater access to such knowledge. The fact that I have a Ph.D. in science will undoubtedly impart advantage to my children; easier access to both math and science knowledge.

    The fact that you were able to teach your child to read at 4 years old does not necessarily reflect if you will be able to help your child in the future (e.g., high school). But I do agree, that most parents do have the ability to at least teach their children basic reading and math skills.

    My suggestion that you move from tier 4 to tier 1/2 for the purpose of selective enrollment acceptance is common sense. First, would it be gentrification if your background really is as you say (with a GED)? Second, would it be “working the system” if you moved to say Deerfield for the school district? Plenty of people move to a different area or suburb for their child’s education and don’t consider it “working the system.” I certainly will not be working the system if I decide to move to a different neighborhood in the city for a better neighborhood school if my child is unable to gain admission at one of the SEES. As a parent, I will do whatever necessary for my child’s educational needs.

  • 149. taxpay  |  July 3, 2014 at 1:56 pm

    @148 Let me see if I have this right:

    You have a PhD in science, but advocate moving from a Tier 4 (where college educated people like yourself reside) to a Tier 1 or 2 (where people typically without your bona fides reside) in order to give a child a better crack at a SE school?

    I’m not judging you, I just want to know if I am understanding your position.

  • 150. Jones2  |  July 3, 2014 at 2:05 pm

    It seems you have answered your own question..neither parents with college educations nor money is necessary for kids to succeed. However, a parent at home stressing the importance of education & making sure that said child attends school, does their homework, and seeks extra help if needed is necessary for success. No outside party can replace the vital role that parents play in making sure their kids take education seriously.
    I also think you overestimate the ability of even college educated parents to ‘help’ their children with homework, definitely at the high school level & often even in middle school. Yes, we may have taken Algebra/Trigonometry but let’s face it, that was over 30 years ago & if you are not using it in your current profession, most of us are ‘more than a little rusty’. I spent endless hours on Khan Academy (a FREE online service) this year trying to re-teach myself trigonometry to assist my now rising 8th grader with math for the MAP test. I am unable to ‘help’ my high schooler with homework but I do track him closely on the CPS parent portal to make sure all homework is done & that he is maintaining good grades.
    Your suggestion that people ‘just move’ is also not feasible for everyone. Moving costs money. In addition, it may mean moving away from family/friends that play an important role in providing child care etc…especially for those that may have 1 school aged child but younger children still at home.
    All CPS high school students are required to provide at least 10 hours of community service per year. My older child chose to travel back to his elementary once a week to assist coaching an academic team to meet this requirement…he just as easily could have provided tutoring services at his former elementary for those in need…perhaps this would be a way for these fortunate SEHS kids to give back to their community while also satisfying their community service hour requirements.

  • 151. Pantherettie  |  July 3, 2014 at 2:34 pm

    @ Chris – I am interested in having a serious discussion, I’m just completely unwilling to have one based on your premise that when discussing this topic about current CPS student populations we are required to shift the discussion to potential student populations. I find interesting that even when you did an analysis that included all potential students, AA and Hispanic students were still under represented at WY, J and WP. Yet, even when you got these results, you still have made caveats about the numbers not being an accurate representation of the situation (maybe depends on what the definition of *is* is).

  • 152. HS Mom  |  July 3, 2014 at 7:06 pm

    Pantherettie – “I’m not speaking about potential CPS students because over the past 5 years at least white students have *never* made up close to even 20% of the CPS student population”

    OK, you said that correctly but I’m not sure people (including a teacher??!!) understand how the % work when considering racial populations. I say this because I’m reading “whites are only 9%” or “they’ve never been more than 20%” so they are not a significant factor.

    To use an example.

    There are approximately 600K students in CPS – 9% white = 54K

    – If there are 108K white school age children K-12 then 50% of white children in Chicago are in CPS
    – 180K = 30% whites in CPS
    – 77K = 70% whites
    – 600K = 9% whites

    etc – see how that works?

    It’s possible that you could be talking about a significant percentage of whites who do attend CPS. It all depends upon the size of the white school age population in Chicago (which I don’t know).

    Also would like to bring up that there are a number of African American and Hispanic students that also attend parochial and private school as well as charters. Should we not include those students as contenders for SE even though they opted out of CPS neighborhood schools for something else? Guess what, certain public schools have gotten so good that more white families (and everyone else) want to attend and contribute to that success. Why should white families be the only race counted out when they opt out for private or parochial?

    We could better serve the city, create more seats, by not enrolling suburban families. I think this is low hanging fruit that could make an immediate impact and be acceptable to many.

  • 153. CLB  |  July 4, 2014 at 10:45 am

    FYI, using the Census’ 2012 ACS 1-year est. data, there are ~19K white (non-Hispanic, non-Latino) students enrolled in grades 9-12, give or take 1k. This includes public and private schools. The total enrollment (all racial categories) in 9-12 is 134k, give or take 4.5k, so whites (Anglo-ish) make up ~14% of the total 9-12 enrollment in all schools, CPS and private.

    In 2000, the white public v. private split was 51% public, 49% private in those grades. There is no 2010 data available yet.

  • 154. anonymouse teacher  |  July 4, 2014 at 12:37 pm

    I wonder how or if CPS will keep track of poverty percentages now that every student, regardless of income, can get free breakfast (same as previous years) and lunch (new)?,0,6007059.story

  • 155. HS Mom  |  July 4, 2014 at 12:46 pm

    CLB – thanks for that. My guesstimate is somewhere around 50% of whites in public vs. private. Lab school, that everyone likes to talk about as if it’s the mecca for white people, has around 1,800 students total K-12. If there are even 10 schools like that we’d be talking around 18,000. Catholic schools in total are not predominately white.

    So when I read things like #112 CPS teacher “if CPS focuses on the AA children more, the white children will still do well, as the 91% of the white children who DO NOT attend CPS are doing right now, obviously most of them can afford it.” This coming from a teacher who is supposed to understand math – there is no wonder that misconceptions abound about the “9%” of whites in CPS.

    The fact that approximately 50% of the white school population makes up 9% of CPS tells me that there are not a lot of white children in the city of Chicago, at least compared to other races. If that 50% who want or have to be in CPS are looking at further cuts because schools they are qualified to enter are unattainable there will be even fewer white children in Chicago with a snowball effect effecting private schools and Chicago’s economy.

    Changes to the tier system? I think the choices are to either trash the idea entirely for something else or leave it alone. Removing rank seats or increasing certain tier % at the expense of others would make tiers tantamount to a race based system and challengeable.

    @142 Pantherettie – “Of course one group of kids should not be disenfranchised to make way for another group – but this admission/diversity issue is an issue that will need to be addressed over time.”

    We’ve heard from a teacher who says the solution is easy – prohibit whites from a free education and admit blacks instead. No one else has articulated exactly what “the issue” is. If whites are “over represented” who should go and who should come in? Are we talking 1, 5, 10, 20%?

  • 156. cpsobsessed  |  July 4, 2014 at 12:47 pm

    That’s an interesting question A-Mouse. Will people still need to fill out the lunch form, reporting income anymore?

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 157. @155  |  July 4, 2014 at 1:58 pm

    @155. RL Julia posted the racial breakdown of the city for ages 10-20:

    White – 25.7% (SEHS 23.2%)
    Hispanic -27.8% (SEHS 29.9%)
    African American – 31% (SEHS 39.7%)
    Asian – 2.7% (SEHS 9%)
    Pacific Islander/Alaskan Native – .02%
    Native American – .2%
    Some Other Race- 12.5%

  • 158. anonymouse teacher  |  July 4, 2014 at 2:08 pm

    @156, I don’t know. All I could think when I read it was how happy my former CPS colleagues will be not to have to deal with lunch money and collecting it. That was a hassle.

  • 159. walker  |  July 5, 2014 at 7:48 am

    @ pantherettie “I’m curious about other suggestions to adress diversity issues at WY, WP, and Jones. Walker,OT Dad?”

    1) Accept that any tier system is discriminatory. There should be no reason to deny an access to public school for kids with high test scores but with undesirable race/socioeconomic statuses. Knowledge/Achievement should be the only criteria.

    2) Accept that a definition of diversity based solely on race or socioeconomic status is very narrowed and can be used only as an indicator.

    3) Instead of “sugar – covering” with tier systems, focus on the reasons that lead to the socioeconomic education gap. As I mentioned earlier the gap starts in K-1st grade or even earlier. So, it should be addressed namely at that age category. A few examples:
    – programs that provide parents with support in early development. It could be free books for 2-5 kids, charities that would encourage others to help families in need, etc.
    – teaching parents importance of education for their kids. It’s better to start as early as possible, probably for expecting parents.

    HS: Switch from 1D admission criteria (test score) to 3D admission criteria. It might include achievements that an applicant has got including success in activities that are not covered by Math/Reading.

    I’m sure that CPS leaders understand the true reasons much better than me and from their point of view I assume the main challenge is how to resist to political populist pressure. It’s hard to do the right things when some truly believe that “denying the whites access to public school” is a solution and the race is the only measure of diversity.

  • 160. CPS Teacher Married  |  July 5, 2014 at 11:48 am

    HS Mom, yes the white families can afford it more than the AA children, so I stand by my statement . Why should AA kids be excluded from the real good selectvie enrolment schools in favor of white kids who will do well at a private school? AA children need as many benefits as they can get and we as a city of taxpayers should help out OUR children.

  • 161. OutsideLookingIn  |  July 5, 2014 at 12:22 pm

    Reading some interesting messages here:
    – We as a city should help out our children….but only if they are AA.
    – Keep whites out of public schools; they belong in private schools!
    – the new definition of a selective enrollment school should be: “for AA only”
    – If you are white, you can afford to pay $20k+ per year, per kid for high school.

  • 162. pantherettie  |  July 5, 2014 at 2:00 pm

    Just to be clear – it is not my opinion and never will be that SEHS should be for only one racial and/or ethnic group. I do not believe that white students should be excluded from SEHS nor do I agree (at all) with the blanket statement that AA students are in need of more resources than their peers of any other race. I, especially do not agree with the idea that whit parents can afford private school and should therefore be excluded from public school resources. That said, I do believe that economics play a significant role in the pipeline students have to SEHS. I agree with the tier plan because it addresses this inequity. I’ve also been sharing this debate IRL to think about other ways of thinking about this issue. I hear the point that the potential pool of white CPS students in the city should be considered, but I’m still not convinced of the argument. I think that what it comes down to for me is that I feel puzzled/bothered about why there is a feeling that if a kid lives in a tier 4 neighborhood there he/she has not had a different set of resources and experiences than a kid from tier 1 or 2. I think it’s especially bothersome to me because many of the scores that preclude admission into NS, WY, J or WP would easily get a seat in other SEHS. It’s hard for me to hear the argument that there are no seats available for certain groups of kids when there are – just not at the place where they want to go. So I guess it’s just that for me it’s other issues aside from just over/under representation.

  • 163. OTdad  |  July 5, 2014 at 2:28 pm

    @142. pantherettie:
    “I’m curious about other suggestions to adress diversity issues at WY, WP, and Jones. Walker,OT Dad? “

    I think the key is starting from early childhood, we invest more resources to help low-income children to achieve. Not lowering standards for children of certain race. CPS provides free pre-school for low income families. That seems in the same line of thinking.

    Children of today will face global competition on the job market. The sad reality is: CPS’ selective few (SEES kids) are probably just working at average level if in some other countries.

    I don’t understand why skin color is of any importance. For example, few people here would have a problem if the top schools are 100% AA, if the only academic performance was considered for admission.

  • 164. OTdad  |  July 5, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    @160. CPS Teacher Married:
    “Why should AA kids be excluded from the real good selectvie enrolment schools in favor of white kids who will do well at a private school?”
    What makes some schools “real good selective enrollment schools”? It’s the quality of students! The schools by themselves are not much different. Some schools are ‘elite’ BECAUSE they have large percentage of students with high academic achievements, and happen to have large percentage of white and Asian. If we bring in more students of any race that has less academic ability, those schools will be no better than Brooks or Kings. Get the dilemma?

    You seem obsessed at race relations than education. Is “excluded” accurately describing the situation?

  • 165. pantherettie  |  July 5, 2014 at 2:47 pm

    OT Dad – I’m in agreement that CPS has to do a much better job in early childhood education than what’s going on now. I don’t think that ‘most people on this board’ would be ok with the idea of a 100% AA SEHS if the admission was only based on achievement. I think that many people have expressed the desire for their kids to attend a school that is diverse – in many ways. Many AA parents I know feel particularly strongly about this because their kids will most likely be in situations – their whole lives not just academically – where they need to be comfortable functioning well in a diverse environment.

  • 166. CPS Teacher Married  |  July 5, 2014 at 2:47 pm


    Reading some interesting messages here:
    – We as a city should help out our children….but only if they are AA.

    YES,until they caught up to the white and Oriental children and the acheivement gap is closed!

    – Keep whites out of public schools; they belong in private schools!

    They pay for it now as they are only %9 of CPS, so this would not be that big of a inposition.

    – the new definition of a selective enrollment school should be: “for AA only”

    NO. White and minority children should be able to attend but if they are willing to pay a tuition, like they are CURRENTLY doing right now.

    – If you are white, you can afford to pay $20k+ per year, per kid for high school.

    No HS in chi is $20,000 so that is made up and not something anyone said.

  • 167. walker  |  July 5, 2014 at 4:59 pm

    @CPS Teacher Married

    I’m just curious, in your system of values where do you place hard work by AA children and their parents? Is it #20 or not in your system at all? If you are a CPS teacher, then how do you treat your kids? AA first, whites second? just to close the gap faster, right?

  • 168. @CPS teacher married  |  July 5, 2014 at 5:40 pm

    Tuition at ‘elite’ private Chicago high schools (& most comparable to top SEHSs – same parents that send their kids to these schools would also most likely consider PaNYJ). However, the reality is…the majority of white children residing in Chicago CANNOT afford these schools.

    University of Chicago Lab School $29,424
    Parker. $33,150
    Latin. $29,985
    St. Ignatius $16,300
    Loyola $17,085
    DeLaSalle $12,275

    So for the majority of us white parents that cannot afford these schools…how much tuition do you think we should pay to go to a CPS school?

    Keep in mind we already do pay for CPS thru property taxes. This year my property tax that went directly to CPS marked on my tax bill as ‘TOTAL SCHOOL TAX’ was $5,863.00. So exactly how much MORE in tuition do you think would be fair? $2,500, $5,000, $10,000 per kid?

    Keep in mind that many of us white parents are also teachers (a salary you should be familiar with). How much can YOU afford to spend in tuition on each of your children every year?

    If you truly are a CPS teacher (which I’m sincerely hoping you are not) you should take a long look in the mirror…perhaps you are the problem…if AA students are experiencing teachers like you it is no wonder that some are not thriving.

  • 169. anonymouse teacher  |  July 5, 2014 at 6:02 pm

    @166, So beside the fact that I don’t believe you are a teacher, but instead a troll posing as a teacher, please-for the love of god-stop calling Asian Americans “Orientals”. What, are you 75 years old and been holed up away from the rest of humanity for the last 20 years that you are unaware of this? Oriental refers to objects, like rugs. Asian refers to people. It is offensive to call a person an “Oriental”. However, I suspect you know this and its a barely veiled attempt to disparage Asian students who outperform so many others.

    There are several schools in Chicago well over the 20K a year threshold so, yes, that is a real thing. No one made that up. My family is a white, two teacher, two kid family and there’s no feasible way we could afford private school for two kids. Your run of the mill nothing special Catholic school is running 10K for elementary and by the time my kids get to HS it will be 15K. That’d be 2-3K per month for us, something we could not afford in our wildest dreams.

  • 170. Ugh!  |  July 5, 2014 at 9:17 pm

    @CPS Teacher Married –

    – you’re a troll
    – I’m going to feed you anyway
    – please learn the difference between there/their/they’re
    – please learn the difference between 9 out of every 100 CPS students being white and the other 91 out of 100 being non-white (reality) and 9 out of every 100 white children in Chicago attending CPS and 91 out of every 100 white children in Chicago attending private school (your pathetic attempt at math)
    – it’s vicious, not “vicuous”
    – it’s destination, not “destanation”
    – it’s demonstrated, not “deminstrated”
    – it’s Asian, not “oriental” or “Oriental”

    Now please crawl back under your bridge. Good night.

  • 171. CPS Teacher Married  |  July 6, 2014 at 9:04 am

    I am concerned with the education of the majority of the children attending CPS, which happens to be AA children, in case you are not paying attention. When you read about children IN CRISIS in this city, it is always AA children you hear about, not white children, so clearly adding them to the equation TAKES AWAY from solving the problem. Do you read about white children not getting into college from CPS? Or dropping out of CPS? NO. You do not.
    So, yes, I am sorry if offends you, but by directing the resources which are proven to work to the group the most in crisis, I believe you will get the best results. The white children, who can already pay for private school, can still get into this revlutionary idea in education but they would take the money they use to pay for a private school to get into a SEHS. They would not be paying any more than they are right now, so where is the loss? How is that so hard to understand?
    And no, I am not a troll, I just beleive that we need a full court press to solve the problem of under-acheiving children in this city, which could be great. Right now, the system is entirely unfair to the AA children & slanted towards whites and Asian-American children.

  • 172. pantherettie  |  July 6, 2014 at 9:22 am

    CPS Teacher Married – I don’t think you’re a troll but I think you’re message is a problem. As an AA woman with an AA child. I think that it’s really not cool to say “black children” are the only “problem” that CPS Should focus on. There is a problem with low quality education for *all* poor kids. There is a significant problem for *most kids* (excluding the wealthy) with under resourced schools. While it might seem to you that you’re not being racist, you are by making assumptions that all AA children are poor and under achieving and that white and Asians (I’m not sure what you think about Hispanics) are overachieving and/or rich. It seems like you want to join the conversation so how about changing your rhetoric and tone so that you can be heard and be part of the conversation instead of being branded a troll.

  • 173. @CPS teacher married  |  July 6, 2014 at 9:51 am

    Please get your facts right:

    Hispanics (45 %) not AA (39%) students comprise the majority of the CPS population.

    The majority of white children residing in Chicago (51%) attend public schools NOT private school. (per 2000 census numbers)

    STOP INCORRECTLY STATING THAT 91% OF WHITE CHILDREN GO TO PRIVATE SCHOOL. That is false & gives the impression that you have no idea what you are talking about.

  • 174. walker  |  July 6, 2014 at 12:06 pm

    Here is my piece of experience that I hope add something to the discussion. In my special HS all kids were from different socioeconomic backgrounds and we all also lived in dormitories connected to the school. We got the wealthy and poor under one roof. There was neither tier system nor SAT-like test to get in. Instead they used contest-level tests (very similar to math/science country-level competitions). So, many “straight As” students failed as the test required original and deep thinking as well as understanding. It wasn’t “two grades above” and didn’t require any knowledge outside of school curriculum. It was all about an original way of thinking about very challenging problems (like build 4 equal triangles using just 6 matches). At that point my parents took “3 buses” and let me take the test because it was the only thing they could do to help me and I’m very deeply grateful for one of the best decisions they ever made!

    In my room there were ~12 kids and I had an old cheap bed with 1 old small box (I think everything were at least 15 year old). That’s pretty much all. Everybody received free meal but it wasn’t “energetically” enough for an average kid, so we had some problems with it. I recall my friend sometimes ate under his blanket at night but I didn’t judge him as he was twice as big and probably was hunger than anybody else. There were 0 resources in Math classes and some pretty basic and cheap stuff in Science classes. The only unique thing we had is FABULOUS teachers! Just brightest stars! What’s so unique about them? They just kept feeding all of us with challenges.

    Looking after many years at my HS class, ~ 1/3 ended up with PhDs and majority got different types of top management positions. When I visited the school a few years ago, the principal pointed to a pile of medals (15-20) earned by the students a few weeks ago at one of international Math/Science competitions and complained that he doesn’t have enough money to repair walls… nothing changed…

    Spending a lot of time among other SE kids led me to my conclusion on what we all has in common. If I look closer, behind each kid in her shadow there was either a fantastic teacher or parent or both no matter from what socioeconomic background she came. In my case it was a chemistry teacher. That’s why I deeply believe that parent+teacher is the main powerhouse to propel kids to success and all those “give us resources” is merely excuses. I happened to visit ISTE2014 a week ago and was impressed by many teachers who were able to do a lot of interesting STEM experiments/projects in classroom by using very cheap/free stuff! You don’t need 1:1 iPads program to ignite curiosity and long lasting eager for knowledge.

    And the last thing, to get out of any vicious circle it’s very important that the person who in that circle really want to get out of it and take sometimes “painful” steps. I’m talking about parents. If you’re that parent, you can blame everything around you but the most powerful weapon is not somewhere outside, it’s just your reflection is a mirror. Don’t have enough educational background? take 3 buses, it can change things forever.

  • 175. SEHSs & location  |  July 6, 2014 at 2:07 pm

    @ pantherettie

    Here is a look at the demographics of Chicago…it helps explain why it is so difficult to obtain diversity at all the SEHSs. The more central the location of the SEHS, the more diversity.

    Click on the link & scroll to the bottom:

    Location of SEHSs by neighborhood:

    NS – 13
    Lane – 5
    Payton – 8
    Jones – 32
    WY – 28
    Westinghouse – 27
    Lindblom – 67
    King – 39
    SShore – 43
    Brooks – 49

    The schools are actually pretty well dispersed around the city. Working on safe transportation (the primary reason cited by parents living closer to some of the southside SEHSs but not attending) might make a difference.

  • 176. CPS Teacher Married  |  July 6, 2014 at 2:28 pm


    Finally. Some one that gets it! Look, I want the best CPS too but when I see the hi-scoring schools are Walter Payton and the north side schools, while the AA schools do not get it as good, that’s a big red question mark. As a city, we need to make sure that all the kids can get the best, and if we focus our time, money and effort to raise up the children at the bottom, we will all win.

    Look, white families *CAN* afford private schools or move, as that what they do now. Would it break a white family to pay a few thousand dollars in tuition for a top-flite school? No, I doubt it.

    Almost all AA families in CPS cannot. So, that’s why the options should be towards the AA families bc otherwise their trapped. Someone said that CPS is mostly Mexican, well, where is this because most school children I see are Afircan American.

  • 177. @CPS married  |  July 6, 2014 at 2:53 pm

    @CPS teacher married

    The stats on the demographics of CPS are RIGHT ON THEIR WEBSITE!!!! Please do some research & STOP spouting false facts.

    NO, the majority of white students CANNOT afford top flight private schools & NO we should not just be told to move.

    By your twisted logic…since 9% of the CPS population is white you seem to believe that means 91% of white students are attending private schools. Well, using that same INCORRECT logic…then 61% of AA children would also be attending private (as they make up only 39% of CPS) & 55% of Hispanic children would be attending private school (as they make up 45% of the CPS population). DO YOU FINALLY GET IT?????

    The reason the top schools are considered the top schools is because they are attracting THE HIGHEST SCORING STUDENTS (regardless of race).

    And, as a side note, not ALL individuals of Hispanic origin are ‘Mexicans’ as you call them.

  • 178. Pantherettie  |  July 6, 2014 at 2:58 pm

    @176 – CPS Teacher Married – I don’t believe that you’re a troll but I absolutely do not “get” why you continue to say that AA = poor and underachieving and white = rich and well resourced. It’s an argument that at it’s core is racist and untrue.

    I also disagree with your premise that schools on the northside, like WP, some how “get it better” than southside schools. As a parent of a Lindblom student, I can tell you that all of the SEHS schools in the city are very well resourced. So if you’re saying that neighborhood schools and magnet schools don’t get the same resources as SEHS, you’re right – just look at the CPS budget that was released last week. BUT you’re not saying that, you keep saying that SEHS should exclude white people because they can afford to pay for private school and include AA because they can’t. I’m AA and I can afford to pay for private school for my kid but that should not have played a role in her ability to attend an SE school. I would never agree with anyone who would like to exclude groups of people based on their race.

  • 179. pantherettie  |  July 6, 2014 at 3:07 pm

    @175 – I appreciate the map and I agree that the question of SEHS location plays a big role in parent and student choice about schools. I think that there are also several other reasons that people choose (or choose not) to send their kids to SEHS that are less racially diverse.

  • 180. CPS Teacher Married  |  July 6, 2014 at 4:39 pm

    I just believe that we should help out the children that statsitically are at the highest risk. Serious question to white families: If your white child did not get into a SEHS like Payton, what would you do? You would probably move to the suburbs or pay for private. Now ….. what if the education your child did not receive at Payton went to an AA child, and your child and the AA child received the best education in the state, then both those children would win. Chicago would win.

    When Harold Washington was elected mayor of the city, the AA community had so much hope bc he knew that a better Chicago started with bringing up the children in the community. Unfortnuately, like the legacy of Dr. MLK, this legacy was not unfinished due to his untimely demise. We as a city need to see that it IS finished.

  • 181. anonymouse teacher  |  July 6, 2014 at 5:38 pm

    Here are the mobility rates listed for all of CPS. Look at the mobility rates for the schools in very poor areas. Take Chalmers for example with a nearly 40% mobility rate each year. They lose 40% of their students because they move during the school year. Clearly those students, due to school performance and the unsafe neighborhood it is in, are at risk. Yet, somehow 40% of them could afford to move last year.

  • 182. cpsobsessed  |  July 6, 2014 at 6:28 pm

    @A-Mouse, I don’t know the circumstances for the moves, but I recall in my old neighborhood, when it was gentrifying, the principal said that every time a building went condo, he lost 30 kids from the school. I don’t know that those families could afford to move or not, but they had no choice. I don’t know the Chalmers area – if it is gentrifying, buildings being shut down (we know the areas where schools have closed are losing people, likely buildings will follow…)

  • 183. cpsobsessed  |  July 6, 2014 at 6:33 pm

    @CPS Teacher Married, I believe your intentions are noble – helping kids in need with more than just the regular school system would certainly help our city in many ways, beyond just those kids.

    It’s difficult to prioritize one race, as others will always feel that it’s unfair. I think the bigger challenge is how to make it happen. Most of us acknowleged that a range of services to help kids learn early, thrive, stay out of trouble, get help in school over 12+ years would go a long way – but that is a huge undertaking and a highly expensive one, well beyond what CPS could save by making more affluent families pay for school. And sadly, not all people in the city would agree with the investment. Heck, we can barely get enough money for the schools to function as they are. It’s an interesting mental exercise, for sure. And one that usually comes back to needing much much more in support services, smaller classes, etc. It would be great if we as a country/state/city could make sure that each child who needs all this could get it, regardless of race

  • 184. CPS Teacher Married  |  July 6, 2014 at 8:49 pm

    @cpsobsessed – I believe that you also get it, but unfortunately we have our work cut out for us. Yes, AA children need the most intervention and hence it makes sense to provide the most attention and money, even if it means more affluent kids (white, Oriental) do not get the seats at the schools they get now. I think that that effort, along with reparations, will help get us all on equal footing.

  • 185. @184  |  July 6, 2014 at 9:03 pm

    You lost me at “Oriental.”

  • 186. CPS Teacher Married  |  July 6, 2014 at 9:22 pm

    Just wondering how can Oriental be offensive when they got the Oriental Theatre and the Oriental Museum at Univeristy of Chicago>?

  • 187. walker  |  July 6, 2014 at 11:00 pm

    Here is a story that can be offensive for someone (I sincerely apologize) and @”CPS Teacher Married” won’t get it, so don’t even read it. But for others I think it’s a good illustration why just money is not a solution and I cite the story here because if we want to dive deeply into socioeconomic statuses, then we won’t face always nice things. Anyway, here it is:

    My friend goes to XYZ college in Chicago. One of her teacher was a AA woman. She is a good teacher but liked to use “everyone owns to AA” rhetoric pretty often. At one point, one Asian girl (foreign) stood up and said: ” Sorry, but that’s all your fault. I pay pretty high tuition to be here and I’m studying hard. A half of my group are local AA who get all it for free and even some government money to cover pocket expenses. Usually in the middle of a quarter they get money and I don’t see anyone next day until the next quarter. Why does your government waste money if they don’t even want to learn anything!”. The teacher wasn’t happy but didn’t say anything…I assume she was aware of the issue.

    I don’t agree with all the girl said but I believe she described a real situation. From other examples I can say that the story has nothing to do with AA but rather with poverty. So, I do suggest to use the socioeconomic status rather than the race as it more precisely reflects the problem. Do you think the story represents a big issue or it’s just a small issue that can be ignored? Do we need to focus on jobs? psychological help? just on kids and isolate them from their parents? Do you know any examples where the problem has been successfully solved? If yes, how?

  • 188. HS Mom  |  July 7, 2014 at 7:30 am

    @186 – I don’t expect you to look beyond your world but here goes…..

    Oriental is not offensive when it is used in reference to things that come from the east (not people) – rugs art etc. Not sure where the Oriental Theater got its name but that too is outdated. Just because we have a footfall team called the Redskins doesn’t mean its OK to call people Redskins.

    This is from Yahoo, not the best source but I thought it was a good explanation.

    “During the age of colonialism many western peoples used a callous, pejorative system of classifying races. For example, in the Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th edition (about 120 years old I think), it classifies “Negroes” as the weakest, most barbaric race and “Orientals and Mongoloids” as in the middle with “caucasians” as the top. The term oriental is the epitome of western colonials “discovering” “savage” peoples and classifying them based on their own view. Think of it as the n word for non-blacks.

    Furthermore, to call something “oriental” generally reflects an enormous ignorance on the side of the labeller. Since 1750, the word “Orient/oriental” has referred to the near east (Israel-ish), native Americans, every form of Asian person (including S. Asian), and some N. African groups. Of course it’s absurd to group so many peoples under one title but that was exactly the attitude of the colonials. The world was just a mass of barbarity to them that required civilizing and the “exotic orient” was just a less-than-totally-backwards-but-still-un… area.”

  • 189. OTdad  |  July 7, 2014 at 11:53 am

    @179. pantherettie:
    I think location has the determining impact on the SEHS racial composition. Downtown traffic, as a natural barrier, discourages people going across town.

    Northside Prep: 37.4%W, 8.8%B, 17.4%A
    Nearby Neighborhoods:
    North Park: 49%W, 3%B, 26%A
    West Ridge: 43%W, 11%B, 23%A
    Lincoln Square:63%W, 4%B, 11%A
    Albany Park: 29%W, 4%B, 14%A
    Forest Glen: 75%W, 1%B, 11%A
    Jefferson Park: 69%W, 1%B, 9%A

    Payton: 37.9%W, 16%B, 11.5%A
    Near North: 72%W, 11%B, 10%A
    Lincoln Park: 83%W, 4%B, 5%A
    Lake View: 80%W, 4%B, 6%A
    Loop: 62%W, 11%B, 16%A
    Near West: 42%W, 32%B, 15%A
    West town: 56%W, 8%B, 4%A

    Jones: 30.7%W, 19.4%B, 10.7%A
    Similar to Payton, but slightly more accessible to south siders.
    Near South: 48%W, 28%B, 15%A

    It seems quite clear that SEHS racial composition reflects neighborhood demographics. NSCP is the perfect example. The low % of AA, and high % of Asian.

    We live in Lincoln Park. Payton and Jones are probably the only two schools that are reasonably located.

  • 190. pokingthebear  |  July 7, 2014 at 11:01 pm

    “Serious question to white families: If your white child did not get into a SEHS like Payton, what would you do? You would probably move to the suburbs or pay for private.”

    OK. I’ve read this blog for years and I rarely comment, and I know I’m about to kick the hornet’s nest, but here goes.

    Apparently my school-aged child is the obscure white offspring that roams the economically challenged jungle. A seldom seen breed that just has to suck it up and somehow survive. Though rarely seen, they do exist. The poor white child. Urban myth suggests that they’re here but many deny the validity of the stories. Last year our family lived on the amount of the tuition for Lab school. We lived on that in a so-called tier 4 neighborhood. My oldest child was lucky enough to test into an Options program with a 148 for first grade. He had the same score for K but they still had the racial decree at that time and his lame mother didn’t realize you should list as many schools as possible. I listed two NS schools who didn’t accept any Caucasians with scores below 150 that year. And funny enough, in his current, diverse class, three of the most economically challenged kids are white. I know this is not the norm, but we do exist. What I wonder is how many students from each “racial group” apply to SE? If more from one group applies doesn’t it probably follow that more of that group might be accepted? We look at the racial make up of the ENTIRE CPS population and compare it to the population that gets in. That’s not correct. Take the total racial make up of the population that APPLIES and compare that to the total makeup of the acceptances. How many AA apply to NSCP? How many Caucasians apply to Lindbloom? How many from each racial group apply at all? It might still be disproportionate, but at least it would be a valid comparison for discussion.

    Honestly, high school terrifies me. Our local high school is not an option. I’d love to be a trailblazer, but since he gets bullied now at a well regarded SEES I doubt he’d survive our local HS. If he doesn’t get a spot at an SE we will be moving. Not to the suburbs. Back to my parent’s house in another state. So he can go to the public high school there. The city’s crappiest RC high school is beyond our reach tuition-wise. While our circumstances are not the norm, it does happen. And so (CPS Teacher Married) your whole “white folks can just suck it up and do it” really pisses me off. Will my son ever have to deal with so much of what some minority children in this city deal with? No. Hopefully not. So, in that regard he is blessed. But, it doesn’t make him any less deserving of a decent education. You wouldn’t hold an AA parent’s situation against their child, so why is it OK to do that to any other child of a different race?

    Let the evisceration begin…

  • 191. pantherettie  |  July 8, 2014 at 6:04 am

    Really good post ‘Poking the Bear’. I think that a lot more parents fall right where you do financially and just don’t post about it. So here’s my question to you – would you send your kid to Lindblom or another south side SEHS rather than move back to another state? I totally get that the local HS isn’t an option – but is it WY, J, NSCP, WP for your son or nothing at all? I don’t judge you at all, just curious.?

  • 192. OTdad  |  July 8, 2014 at 10:44 am

    I, for one, don’t mind sending my kids to a south side SEHS provided that the school is high performing academically, safe, and the location is logistically doable. Racial diversity is the last thing I would consider, because the kids are living in a big city with plenty of diversity around them already.

    It’s time to look beyond skin colors and worry more about the low standards (dumbing down) in America’s schools. Academics cannot be stressed enough, because it is definitely not simply remembering things and know-hows from the book, it is actually life training: problem solving, mental endurance, dealing with difficult situations….

    I don’t understand why racial diversity is of any importance in terms of academics. No school can magically transform a poorly performing student to an outstanding one. Only the student himself can do the magic through hard work and determination. Placing more sub-par students (from any race) to the top schools, except dumbing down those schools, accomplishes nothing else.

  • 193. Just a thought  |  July 8, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    Is anyone else amazed a supposed CPS teacher uses the term “Oriental” and double negatives?

  • 194. Kenwood Parent  |  July 8, 2014 at 4:42 pm

    @ OTdad

    What a privileged life you must have lived. Racial diversity is not of any importance in academia?

    How long have you been in this country? Many African Americans are in financial ruin due to hundreds of years of our free labor and then over a hundred years of blatant discrimination. In America, education is often a good means of ending the cycle of poverty. You underestimate the impact that a good education and well regarded school can have on a low income student. Chicago’s selective enrollment program was integral to my success and essentially helped to end my family’s cycle of poverty.

    I do believe that education can be a tool used to lift many students out of poverty (of all “races”). I may not be extreme enough to believe in eliminating white students from SE’s, but I do support most initiatives that increase AA representation in SEs.

    I won’t go into this, but there are obviously many more benefits bestowed by having a racially diverse student body; it appears that your children can benefit from exposure to students of different backgrounds.

  • 195. HS Mom  |  July 8, 2014 at 9:14 pm

    @191 – “I think that a lot more parents fall right where you do financially and just don’t post about it”

    Yes they do. Here’s the other thing that falls under the category of “white peoples problems”. White and poor do not equal grants and scholarships. Race will give underrepresented students a huge advantage money and admission wise. The average white B student will need to attend a stand out school with a rigorous program and achieve a very high ACT score in order to stand out as a candidate worthy of affordable admission. Many families no longer qualify for private loans either.

    Tying that into your question about considering Lindblom. …assuming families are good with that (I would be, I’m familiar with the area and trust the security system and I know that it is not “dumbing down” in any way) the next decision would be in moving to another Chicago neighborhood (which would be no for me) and also what the out of state options are. Family is one consideration and also the possibility of moving to a state that offers flagship quality schools at much lower prices to residents than Illinois does.

    Yes, I agree, this “problem” cannot be compared to the reason why blacks are underrepresented in colleges. But, just like the selective enrollment schools in Chicago, universities are lowering admissions as much as they can to get qualified white, black and Latino students in – as many as they can, top students all the way around.

    In the meantime. No one has defined exactly what the diversity issue is – other than to say there’s a problem “too many whites”.

    And to switch that question around – do you want to attend Northside prep from the southside? Are you willing to move closer if given the opportunity? Just wondering about the fascination in NSP. We live nearby and it’s not an option for us.

  • 196. pantherettie  |  July 9, 2014 at 6:07 am

    HS Mom – You pose a really good question. Do I want my dd to attend NSCP while living in Hyde Park. The reason is absolutely not – for a variety of reasons. 1) I think that my kid would not benefit from a daily 40-50 min car ride to school each day. That type of schedule would prevent her from participating in extra curricular activities that are important to her. 2) There are several fantastic SEHS closer to home that would meet her academic and social needs. 3) NSCP does not have an Academic Center. We made the decision that we were not going to be forced to go through the h.s. admission stuff in 7th-8th grade.

    That said, we didn’t consider Lane Tech for reasons 1 and 2 either. We did not choose WY because the culture of the school – the heavy sports presence and the overt competitiveness that we saw at the open house and we know personally from WY students and parents didn’t sit well with my dd. So, for our family at least, we looked at a variety of things to make the best decision we could about the school. I realize that I’m really blessed to have a smart kid who scored well on the ISAT and admission tests with fantastic grades but we also live in a tier 3/4 neighborhood (depending on the winds of CPS). If she had not had the bona fides to get into her first choice of AC, then we would have paid for private school for middle school and tried again for high school. If she couldn’t get into a SEHS than she would have attended Kenwood. The reason would be that we’re still saving for college – no ones throwing scholarship money at middle and upper middle class AA kids either!

  • 197. pantherettie  |  July 9, 2014 at 6:17 am

    OT Dad – I hear from many people that skin color doesn’t matter from folks who have the privledge of never being in the skin of a person of color. I know what it’s like to attend an prestigious college and walk into a lab or classroom and have fellow students (and professors) assume that you can’t do the work. I know what it’s like for the campus bus to pass you by because the driver doesn’t assume you go to the school. I know what it’s like now to attend academic conferences and have other professionals assume that you’re less educated, ect. So I’m saying yes my skin color does matter. It’s not a crutch or a complaint it just is what it is. I’m not asking for anything because of my race but I’m sure not going to say that it doesn’t play a factor in my life when it does.

  • 198. taxpay  |  July 9, 2014 at 7:18 am

    @197 Getting rid of tiers would help in making people think you earned it on merit, not by accident of birth.

  • 199. HS Mom  |  July 9, 2014 at 7:43 am

    @196 thanks for your thoughtful response.

    I suspect that many families that live on the south side would feel like you do about NSP and rank school choices according to criteria that best suits their situation/needs. This is a source of constant frustration since the press continually cites NSP as being too white and uses the demographics at this school to skew “elite schools” as having a diversity problem. Along those lines, I never see a school like Lindblom considered in with those “elite” schools nor any discussion of their contribution in offering a stand out education.

    I’ve mentioned before that we personally know a student that attends Lindblom. She would be the first to say that by going to a school like Lindblom, her GPA was not the highest – so I am not telling tales out of school when I say she did not have a stellar (but still OK) academic record. The money offers that she got from 20 schools that she applied to would make you want to cry (tears of happiness for her and frustration for me). She spent much of her senior year traveling all over the US to colleges – that too was paid for by the colleges. With your daughter doing as well as she does, there will be plenty of scholarship opportunities.

  • 200. pantherettie  |  July 9, 2014 at 8:37 am

    @HS Mom – I think that it’s a somewhat limited view that Libdblom’s academic stats aren’t well known. I think that *on this board* and in many communities (especially on the northside) there is the WP, NS, WY, J or bust idea about schools. But places like Lindblom and Brooks are seen as highly regarded and highly desirable schools by many, many people. Additionally, Lindblom has a long tradition as a destination school on the south side that goes back many decades.

  • 201. cpsobsessed  |  July 9, 2014 at 9:02 am

    Agreed, if you watch the WTTW documentary you’ll see the Brooks is highly regarded (and from the kids featured, you can see why.)

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 202. RL Julia  |  July 9, 2014 at 10:12 am

    @197 – I totally agree with you. As the rare white person who has had the experience of integrating a small (all AA) school where I worked for three years, I can only say, it was really challenging and sort of lonely in a lot of ways. Thank goodness I went to elementary and high schools where I was a racial minority – so at least I wasn’t completely ignorant when I got there. Obviously, I learned a lot from the experience (and since I was a teacher, I’d hope that at least some of my students did too). There is a lot of racism all the way around and most of it stems from just sheer ignorance and stereotypes that are so ingrained, many people don’t even know they have them – and this goes for people of all colors.

    If I learned anything from the experience it was to see young people as young people (especially boys! ) regardless of their race – eye contact and a smile goes a long way. Also to be cognizant that as a person whose skin color equates power and privilege to lots of people (even if I am not particularly powerful), I will be given a lot of power and privilege without even asking by people of all races. I believe it is these unconscious dialogues that go on in the back of our collective brains is what makes these types of conversations so difficult.

  • 203. Jones2  |  July 9, 2014 at 10:20 am

    @200 Although ‘some’ NS parents may adhere to the “WP, NS, WY, J or bust” sentiment…that is not the majority of families I know. Lane is often a top choice & I’ve noticed a dramatic shift in how Lane is viewed by middle/upper class families over the past 10 years. In fact, it is now attracting tier 4, perfect 900 scorers every year. I would also add LP double honors or IB, Von Steuben Scholars & Disney 2 to the list of schools considered by many families living on the NS.

  • 204. anonymouse teacher  |  July 9, 2014 at 12:30 pm

    @196, could you really get from Hyde Park to NSP in 40-50 minutes? I wonder, with rush hour traffic, if it’d be closer to double that. I think you are being smart to rule NSP out, even if it would *only* be 40-50 minutes each way. That kind of commute is difficult for adults. Kids shouldn’t have to do that yet.

  • 205. HS Mom  |  July 9, 2014 at 7:50 pm

    @200 – I can certainly see where you would think that. I am also in agreement with Jones2. My point is that the press is over sensationalizing the SE school program by dwelling on 4 schools only. The head of catholic schools, an alderwoman all reacting by a bit of news concocted by the press for……readers and controversy. We have the NS and SS both believing of each other that it’s do or die with 4 schools.

    Yes, CPSO, haven’t gotten through the videos yet but there are many different stories – who’s to say which is better/more successful and what direction life will take with any of the choices.

  • 206. taxpay  |  July 9, 2014 at 9:28 pm

    @206 Who’s to say? well, statistically, Westinghouse, Brooks, King, South Shore, continue to perform in WPaNJY’s shadow…

  • 207. pantherettie  |  July 9, 2014 at 10:52 pm

    @198 Taxpay – I don’t get your comment. Why would it be up to one person to disprove another person’s racist stereotypes? Specifically, why should I have the burden to ‘prove’ I earned my spot rather than someone else having the ‘burden’ to accept that achievement and ability is not tied to skin color?

    @204 – I think that I *could* make it most days in about 45 mins based upon the work commute I currently do 4 data per week. That said if there’s bad weather, the taste, presidential visit, ect. All bets are off and it could take up to 2 hours. No kids should go through that everyday.

  • 208. Counterpoint for discussion  |  July 10, 2014 at 1:24 am

    To 180: Yes I have a problem with your statement. The goal is not to uplift the lower class. The goal is to select the highest scoring children for SE schools. Your confusing the CPS goal of educating the youth in order to have a responsible electorate in the future.

    Stop twisting the role of SE education to fit your social agenda. I’ve been at too many CPS directive meetings to have you spew off misinformation.

  • 209. walker  |  July 10, 2014 at 6:49 am

    @207 pantherettie

    With a tier system it’s not a stereotype. If someone gets into school leveraging the tier system, it means on average a person from Tier 1 will have lower achievements than a person from Tier 4. It’s a statistical fact. If you get rid of tiers, then there will be no reason to believe that any person is an underachiever and then I will totally agree with your that such behavior would be correctly labed as a racial stereotype.

  • 210. pantherettie  |  July 10, 2014 at 7:34 am

    @Walker – the racist stereotype is the automatic assumption that being AA = being from a tier 1 neighborhood and therefore less qualified to be at the school. It’s not at all the responsibility of one group of people to *prove* their right to be part of a group because of the assumptions of another group people. It’s everyone’s responsibility to judge the people around them fairly.

  • 211. HS Mom  |  July 10, 2014 at 7:40 am

    @206 – I don’t get it either? Who is “statistically speaking”? You are twisting the point. All SE schools have high achieving kids to varying degrees. The point that myself and others here are trying to make is that a good school and academic success are not limited to 4 select schools. People need to (and are) making school choices to fit the talent, aspirations, logistics and just plain “likes” of the student. The fact that admission doesn’t always jive with the “like” is what many families have to grapple with. Plus the fact that the “like” is not always these 4 schools is another good point here.

    Yes, I guess we all need to hear it again – WPaNJY are among the best schools in the city, the state, the US, maybe even the world. How does the rest of the world make it without having gone to school here?

    @208 – I’m going to go out on a limb and agree with something you say. A discussion about diversity in the SE high school system is not about providing above grade level education to kids learning below grade level. There are many things that need to happen way before HS for all kids to get there.

  • 212. taxpay  |  July 10, 2014 at 8:37 am

    @210 When you support a concept like CPS Tiers, don’t be surprised if people think you made it on a technicality, due to being graded on a socio-economic curve.

    No, not all blacks are Tier 1, and not all white children who live in Tier 4 and can afford anything & everything.

  • 213. Jones2  |  July 10, 2014 at 8:45 am

    @211 HS Mom…thanks for your post…you articulated a lot of my thoughts.

    Even though the tier system isn’t perfect & I realize that it means my kids will most likely NOT be attending NS or Payton (or Jones/WY for that matter, unless they apply themselves & work hard) I still prefer it to the old 65/35 racial formulation.

    I do believe that diversity adds something to a student’s overall educational experience. Having students of different races, backgrounds, and life experiences in a school provides something that is hard to explain in a blog post…but it is definitely noticeable to a parent at home that sees what I would almost describe as a ‘maturity growth’ in their children at home.

    However, I don’t think the current rank/tier system should be further tweaked (at least at this time) for the purpose of increasing diversity. As it is, the tier system does allow some students admittance that are performing significantly below the level of their SEHS peers. This can be a problem…especially at those SEHS that do NOT offer regular/honors tracks (NS, Payton & Jones). For example, in child 1’s honors English class this year, there were a few students that truly did not have a firm grasp on what a ‘verb’ was…thus, several classes were devoted to bringing these students up to speed. The teacher needs to be able to do this while also trying to keep the other 27 students engaged…a difficult task.

    If you add more students to the class that are lacking fundamentals…at what point does the class cease to be a Honors English class? Also, it is obvious that these students are going to need more of the teacher’s time/attention in order to succeed in a SEHS environment. If you continue to add to their numbers, then THESE students (the ones already gaining admittance) are going to suffer. That is not going to beneficial for anyone IMO.

  • 214. Pantherettie  |  July 10, 2014 at 9:26 am

    @212 – “@210 When you support a concept like CPS Tiers, don’t be surprised if people think you made it on a technicality, due to being graded on a socio-economic curve.”

    Huh? I’m not from Chicago and attended a regular public high school in my small town. There were no tiers and no SEHS. I should expect people to make racists assumptions about me and because I’m AA, I should expect that people should assume that I “made it on a technicality” – even people who don’t know what I feel about tiers or anything to do with various admission practices? What interesting thoughts to have about the justification of racism.

  • 215. taxpay  |  July 10, 2014 at 10:31 am

    @214 It’s basically what happens when quota-like systems are implemented. You can say it’s racist, but when one group gets a handicap based on economic & socio-cultural statistics, it’s hard for the other groups to think they got in based on merit alone.

    C’est la vie.

  • 216. HS mom  |  July 10, 2014 at 10:41 am

    @209 – I don’t see the value in this conversation of defending a comment (made intentionally or inadvertently) that has a tone of “putting things in their place”. Pantherettie has been rightfully offended so don’t downplay that.

    Pantherettie – Keep those posts coming. I like hearing various POV’s and opinions. As you mentioned, race can be a delicate subject that I feel you handle very well.

  • 217. taxpay  |  July 10, 2014 at 10:47 am

    @216 Sorry, but it’s hard to see how it can be otherwise.

    Let’s do this: We have a basketball game, comprised of Team A & Team B. Because Team B statistically and historically have not scored a lot of points, they will be awarded 20 more points at the end of the game.

    The game is played, and Team A wins in regular competition 80-61 BUT when you add the 20 make-up points, Team B is considered the winner.

    When Team A says “Well, we really won on a head-to-head basis but Team B technically won because they were awarded bonus points”, they’re right.

    And that’s wrong.

  • 218. luveurope  |  July 10, 2014 at 11:25 am

    217 looks like your comment made everyone here speechless. I concur.

  • 219. Pantherettie  |  July 10, 2014 at 11:50 am

    @217 Taxpay – what if Team A has had top of the line equipment, an air conditioned gym, high energy food and access to excellent coaching staff while Team B was playing outside, with a flat ball and with swim coaches leading the team. I know many people who feel, just as you do, that Team A’s win is all that matters,even if the win was over an opponent that did have the same access to resources. I don’t agree with that at all. I think your example provides an excellent support for tier based admission in CPS. There are students who attend well resourced schools and have opportunities for learning (in and outside of the school) – Team A that many student don’t have at all (Team B). I do think that Team A needs to score higher than Team B for a win but I reject the idea that this is a win-lose scenario. Why is it that Team A loses because Team B is given a more level playing field?

    @216 – Thank you.

  • 220. HS mom  |  July 10, 2014 at 12:28 pm

    @218 – my comment also references #206, I’m speechless alright but not because the “basketball game” is a dead on example of how things should work in selective enrollment. The implications are offensive. We don’t need a continual ranking and competition made out of everything to the point of demeaning the second, third, fourth and honorable mention runner ups.

  • 221. taxpay  |  July 10, 2014 at 1:46 pm


    If you favor the scenario above (Team A loses to Team B via bonus points, even though Team A outperformed Team B), you’ve got absolutely ZERO right to complain when you think others are judging you or your kids for succeeding only through technicalities, like tiers, quotas, or other methods to “level the playing field”.

    Can’t have it both ways.

  • 222. Ugh!  |  July 10, 2014 at 1:57 pm

    Pantherette – I know what you’re saying re:assumptions, and it must be very annoying I have witnessed people assuming that AA students or colleagues got where they were purely because of affirmative action/easier standards. You would think that eventually experience would show them that that’s not the case.

    Unfortunately, the assuming goes both ways, as witnessed by “CPS Teacher Married” assuming all white people can afford private school.

    When I was in college my work-study job was for the Dept. of Residential Living at my school and once I week I had to do rounds of the dorms to make sure that the graveyard shift front desk workers showed up. Some dorms were special interest dorms – arts, foreign language, AA studies. The AA studies dorm was almost 100% AA, and one of the students asked me how I got my job. They were totally blown away when I told them that it was my work study job – they simply assumed that no white students qualified for financial aid. In addition to loans and my work-study job, I also received a lot of grants from my school. I couldn’t believe that they were shocked that there were white people at the school that qualified for financial aid – I though that was pretty hilarious.

  • 223. OTdad  |  July 10, 2014 at 3:41 pm

    @194. Kenwood Parent:
    I’ve been in this country for 20 years, long enough to know race and politics are often not good topics for conversation. I’m comfortable to say that racial issue has no place in academia. If someone is good, he is good. There is no white good, black good, Asian good, Hispanic good…

    Selective enrollment schools are supposed to “provide academically advanced high school students with a challenging and enriched college preparatory experience.”

    Currently, AA students take about 40% of the SEHS seats, with 31% of the population in that age group. I’m not sure that is ‘under represented’. Yes, the percentages at NSCP, Payton, Jones, WY are lower. That is not an issue by itself, rather it reflects some deeper problem such as segregated neighborhoods and the large academic achievement gaps. Without addressing those social issues, the only way to increase AA or low income percentage would be lower the admission standards, which will further foster racial stereotypes, and have detrimental effects on education of kids from all races, including those talented AA students. If we look at the average ACT scores, NSCP and Payton barely edge out some open enrollment suburb schools.

    I think SEES should be about educate advanced kids at a higher level. If you walk into a top tier science/engineering graduate school, a high tech company, you will understand why I’m saying this. There is no short cut in education. Helping low income kids should start from Pre-K, provide quality education at elementary school stage.

  • 224. pantherettie  |  July 10, 2014 at 4:00 pm

    @221 Taxpay – I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree. You will continue to think that I’m a person who only graduated from an elite college and later grad school upon the “technicality” of my race and I’ll think that you’re an unapologetic racist. The world will go on.

  • 225. taxpay  |  July 10, 2014 at 6:01 pm

    @224 Wow, ok, so you bitch about how you feel that people (mis-)perceive you as someone who achieved success due to hand-outs, quotas and set-asides, even though that’s not the case.

    My response: Eliminate things like tiers and quotas, giving freebie points to people based on socio-economic factors, and reward people based on merit and accomplishment. That way there’s no way people can think you didn’t make it on your own skills and abilities.

    Your response: I want to keep the tiers. You’re a racist.

    That’s the problem with race-based conversations. The knee-jerk reactionaries believe that when someone doesn’t agree with them, it’s due to the color of their skin, not because their argument is flawed. As soon as someone starts yelling “RACIST! RACIST!”, it’s kind of silly to continue a conversation.

  • 226. pantherettie  |  July 10, 2014 at 6:18 pm

    Actually Taxpayer- I shared my experiences – even telling you that I didn’t attend CPS and that my kid is in a tier 3/4 neighborhood – and you stated that I should *expect* people to misjudge me and my family because of my race. I consider that racism as clear as day. This is a public forum and I’m not going to continue this conversation with you. I wish you the best and I hope that you’re kid gets a perfect 900 so that he/she has the choice of SEHS.

  • 227. taxpay  |  July 10, 2014 at 9:26 pm

    @226 – Typical page from the playbook. Can’t defend your argument, call the other person a racist and think you “proved” something/you’re the “victim”.

    Oh well. :-/

  • 228. Cps All-Star Dad  |  July 10, 2014 at 9:45 pm

    @Taxpay Goodness gracious, I wish people would stop using “That’s/You’re Racist!” in a futile attempt to justify their position. FFS, its 2014, we have an AA President, we live in a diverse city with daily interactions between all races, etc.

    Just because someone thinks your position is wrong doesn’t make them racially intolerant.

  • 229. pantherettie  |  July 10, 2014 at 10:11 pm

    @228 Taxpayer isn’t a racist because he/she doesn’t agree with me. I used the term racist because of his/her repeated statements in support of making generalized and incorrect assumptions about a group of people based soley on their race. I think that honest discussions about race are hard and always inflict some level of discomfort on the participants, I’m
    Ok with that. However, there comes a point where you need to call things as they are and end the discussion. My hope that people continue the discussion about the diversity at the schools as originally intended. As I said before, I hope that Taxpayer’s kid(s) get the 900 points he/she feels is necessary to attend the SEHS of his/her choice. Maybe then there wouldn’t be such a strong feeling of unfairness/victimization at the hands of CPS, tier 1 communities, ect.

  • 230. Cps All-Star Dad  |  July 11, 2014 at 7:40 am

    @Pantherettie I guess you would consider me a racist, then, because I think that CPS’ Tiers System stinks; Way too many kids are misclassified based on their address (Malia Obama needs a break on SE admissions? Really?), almost arbitrary assignment of scores, etc.
    I feel that it also perpetuates the assumption of “You wouldn’t be here but for a sliding scale” that diminishes kids achievements & accomplishments that they got without “help”. It just seems that a person can’t be for things like tiers but then turn around and act all hurt when someone assumes THEY made it via help from a tiers-like system.

  • 231. Pantherettie  |  July 11, 2014 at 9:03 am

    @230 – I think that you’re making a deliberate effort to misrepresent what I said. I’ve clearly stated, many times, that I don’t believe someone is a racist because they don’t support the CPS tier system. I also never “acted all hurt” because of the experiences I have had with racism. In fact, I said clearly that “it is what it is”. Maybe you don’t understand what that means so I’ll clarify. Being AA in this country means that some people make assumptions about me that are not based in fact. The assumptions are based on the perception that because I’m AA, there are a whole set of experiences, expectations, privileges, ect. that I have received. There are people on this thread who have shared similar experiences and they are not AA. *All of these examples/ experiences are valid.* I do believe that some people become extremely uncomfortable experiences of racism are shared and immediately move to diminish those experiences by saying, “you’re acting all hurt” or “you’re being too sensitive”. I think that is what has happened in this thread. I don’t understand why it is important to diminish another person’s experience in order to prove a point. We can disagree about the importance/role/fairness or CPS tiers without trying to invalidate another person’s experiences.

    I stand behind my comment that taxpayer is racist. Here’s why, everyone has biases and prejudices. That’s life and that’s normal for most people. For me racism is the willful decision to continue to make untrue generalizations about people *in the face of* clear evidence that disproves those generalizations. When a person says, you should *expect* to be treated poorly due to your skin color, that’s racism. I understand that calling someone racist is pretty much the equivalent of a four letter word and I don’t use it lightly. I grew up in the deep south in the 1980’s and 1990’s and I am fully aware of how it feels to have someone call you the “n” word. I grew up hearing my family called “colored” (yes, that was a readily used term in the late 20th century), so I know what “overt” racism is. No one on this board (I hope) would say that I should expect to be called “colored” or the “n” word because I’m AA. If that’s the case why should someone routinely say that I should *expect* that people should assume that I didn’t earn my spot in college or that my dd didn’t earn her spot at a SEHS? I was taught by my parents and I have taught my dd that she has the moral obligation to judge people based upon who they are and not on what she thinks they might be or what she thinks they might have or what privileges she thinks they might have received. If you don’t feel that way, that’s your choice.

  • 232. HS mom  |  July 11, 2014 at 11:39 am

    @231 – I understand what you’re saying and I’m honestly confused about some of the reaction here. We don’t always agree, went back and forth about private school population as a CPS SE consideration and we may or may not agree on the “perfect” level of diversity or how to get there but your comments are valid and potentially illustrative of concerns other than our own. The radical views of one poster were not appreciated by anyone – including and especially you.

    I thought the discussion was productive as we took a step back from 4 schools and talked about all the considerations when choosing a school. Just when I insisted that white people are not fixated on 4 schools only – wham – the comment that the other schools (all known to be predominately AA) are “in the shadows” of these other schools. It’s not necessary and I do see what you mean. I’m more than a little amazed that others don’t.

    I don’t expect people to change their minds. I certainly don’t expect them to be “heros” for someone else when they have to be concerned about their own kids first. I do expect people to listen to each other and quite possibly some positive solutions can come from that.

  • 233. taxpay  |  July 11, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    @Pantherettie I don’t advocate that anyone presume someone else got their success on anything other than their merits. However, when you advocate tiers, quotas, set-asides, etc., don’t be surprised if someone thinks you got your position using things like tiers, quotas, etc.

    I don’t see why you can’t grasp that concept.

  • 234. Jones2  |  July 11, 2014 at 3:43 pm

    It’s obvious that some individuals have strong opinions re: tiers/quotas etc…just curious if anyone has similar strong opinions on Title 9 & it’s effect on college athletic programs/opportunities.

  • 235. OTDad  |  July 11, 2014 at 8:22 pm

    IMHO, tiers based policy is not racist, racial quota based policy IS. Though I’m against tiers in SEHS admission, I think whoever came up with the idea is pretty smart.

    The cut off scores of
    NSCP T2: 841 T1: 804
    Payton T2: 840 T1: 838
    Jones T2: 825 T1: 805
    WH T2: 827 T1: 806

    Brooks Rank mean: 828 Max 898
    Lindblom Rank mean 812 Max 873
    King Rank mean 753 Max 845

    Obviously some quality students don’t want to go north.
    Keeping the status quo, I think if CPS simply provides bus service (for example, from a fixed location at southside to NSCP, Payton, Jones, WY), that alone will increase AA percentages at those schools, also will strengthen the education quality at those 4 (at the expense of south side SEHS schools).

  • 236. Kenwood Parent  |  July 11, 2014 at 10:29 pm

    @taxpay – When I hear someone spout off this sentiment, I find it completely hilarious. What do you think many African Americans have thought about whites for the last few centuries? Racist policies, legacies, and nepotism and on and on…A lot of African Americans believe that many whites have succeeded not based on personal merit, but due to many other factors. Our opinions regarding white Americans and how whites get into schools, get jobs, etc. doesn’t appear to matter to most whites in this country. I certainly do not care what your opinion is and still support the tier system (which, by the way, really isn’t a race-based system).

    @OTDad – So you believe that “Helping low income kids should start from Pre-K, provide quality education at elementary school stage.” I whole-heartedly agree. However, should we give up on those currently in K-12?

    Also, you said “If you walk into a top tier science/engineering graduate school, a high tech company, you will understand why I’m saying this.” Fortunately, you’re having a discussion with someone with intimate knowledge and in-depth experience in a top tier science program(s). I have a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in Chemistry and was a post-doc at Northwestern. I’ve even worked in pharma. The competition out there is tough, especially in field that is approximately 50% foreign. However, I find, that one rises to the occasion under these intense environments; namely, through studying and very hard work (e.g., being in lab 6-7 days/week). I’ve always scored very well on standardized test, which is a major reason why I’ve had the level of success that I’ve had (after all, that’s the American system). However, I am not convinced that scoring a few points lower (or even 50 points lower on a SEEs test) on a standardized test automatically renders you less intelligent than your higher scoring counterparts. The more I work with my three year old son, the more I understand that “exposure” to certain subject matter greatly increases your chances of doing well on these tests, which doesn’t necessarily correlate with intelligence. Furthermore, if you were familiar with the field, you’d know that hard work and creativity are EXTREMELY important and can help one excel in STEM fields.

    @Pantherettie – I think we’ve had similar experiences. Being a scientist, I have routinely been the only African American student/worker in many situations. I was the only African American graduate student in my department for FIVE years. And as expected, people relegate you to the pool of people that didn’t really deserve to be there. Nevermind that if America was truly on an extensive racial quota system (i.e., giving away jobs/fellowshipsto AAs, etc.), I wouldn’t be the only AA student in any department, nor the only African American professional at my current company (which, by the way, is located in downtown Chicago). There will always be Americans that will not be satisfied until there are ZERO African Americans represented in academia/professions, so they can finally profess that everyone is there “based on merit.” It’s ridiculous.and actually pretty hilarious.

  • 237. walker  |  July 12, 2014 at 5:56 am

    @Kenwood Parent ” if you were familiar with the field, you’d know that hard work and creativity are EXTREMELY important and can help one excel in STEM fields.”

    I’m familiar with the field and I totally agree that standardized tests are pretty lousy in catching “creativity” part that is indeed extremely important in STEM fields and your “50% foreign” comment says a lot.

    @Kenwood Parent ” However, I am not convinced that scoring a few points lower (or even 50 points lower on a SEEs test) on a standardized test automatically renders you less intelligent than your higher scoring counterparts.”

    Creators of standardized tests like to say that their tests are good predictors of success in school. So, if you mean grades, then scoring 50 points lower will probably mean lower grades in school. It’s how those tests are designed and calibrated.

    @Kenwood Parent & @Pantherettie

    Although I strongly disagree with any approach that is not merit-based no matter how ridiculous it may sound to you, I still would like to hear your opinion on the achievement gap.

    Any idea what to do in Pre-K/primary grades? Are teachers are paid less in Tier1/2 neighborhoods? What’s the reasons of the achievement gap in Chicago? If you need resources, what kind of resources do you believe are crucial?

  • 238. pantherettie  |  July 12, 2014 at 10:05 am

    @236 Kenwood Parent – well said. It does indeed sound like we’ve had many similar experiences. I’m glad that you’ve shared your experiences.

    @237 – I agree with Kenwood Parent that a score on a standardized test is not always an indicator of future academic success (e.g. grades). You probably know that some colleges have moved away from using the ACT or SAT as the primary admission tool because the lack of predictive value of these tests. Even schools that continue to use these tests have been influential in forcing the College Board to address why the predictive value is not as high as previously suggested and to change the tests. So I’m saying that I don’t necessarily believe that a kid with a lower SEHS entrance score is going to be less likely to graduate from the SEHS than one with a higher one. I would love CPS to do some longitudinal research that looks at the SEHS admissions score, high school grades, college acceptance rates and college graduation rates. There isn’t (at least available to the general public) information available about this. On this board I’ve read a lot of stories about how kids with lower admission scores were not as prepared or successful as their higher scoring peers. I’m curious if this is a long term trend with these students or a “moment in time” situation.

    Walker, I’m not sure why there is an achievement gap in Chicago. I’m not a professional educator or a sociologist. I can say that my opinion is that there are schools in Chicago that are not as well resourced than as others. I know that there are parents who don’t value education the same way that I do. I can’t say the reasons.

  • 239. CPS Teacher Married  |  July 12, 2014 at 10:51 am

    @Pantherite We all know why there is an acheivement gap in CPS, and that is because this city will spend millions in schools to keep the white children, but does nt provide the quality of teaching or resoucres for AA. If they did, then there would be no acheivement gap.

    And yes, I agree with you and HS MOM, that this city is very segregated and racist, thank you for finally having the guts to say it on this board!

  • 240. HS Mom  |  July 12, 2014 at 11:13 am

    @236 “…start from Pre-K, provide quality education at elementary school stage.” I whole-heartedly agree. However, should we give up on those currently in K-12?”

    This is the common response that IMO keeps us from moving forward. Does the whole problem have to be solved in order to start making progress? Wouldn’t it be easier and more effective from a strategizing and financial standpoint to go ahead and start at the heart of the problem?

    @238 “You probably know that some colleges have moved away from using the ACT or SAT as the primary admission tool because the lack of predictive value of these tests.”

    I’m not convinced that the “no test” requirement stems from “the lack of predictive value” as much as giving lower scoring students that can afford to pay for college the opportunity to do so.

    This is anecdotal. We applied to one such school with a very high ACT. Midway we pulled our application due to other options. We’ve since received a letter asking us to re-apply because they cannot fill their seats. Problem for the school – lack of test scores lowers their ranking on those lists that no one believes in but everyone looks at and high GPA usually means high test scores. Those kids are choosing highly ranked schools. All highly ranked schools require test scores.

  • 241. HS Mom  |  July 12, 2014 at 11:24 am

    Yes the city is segregated – we all know that. Racist? I think that’s a matter of personal opinion. It’s not a word I would use to describe this city.

  • 242. CPS Teacher Married  |  July 12, 2014 at 2:16 pm

    @HS Mom — Tomatoe, tomahtoe

  • 243. Ugh!  |  July 12, 2014 at 10:50 pm

    @239 – CPS has moved to a per pupil funding method, so how do you figure that white kids are given more resources in CPS? What about Title 1 funding, which is based on the % of kids that are low-income?

    My white daughter attends a school that is 40% black and 20% white. Do you think that somehow, miraculously, she is receiving better teaching and more resources than the AA students who are sitting in the same classroom as her?

    As to your statement that Chicago is racist – that’s rich coming from you. You’re one of the most racist people on this board, and you’re too blind to see it.

  • 244. walker  |  July 13, 2014 at 6:05 am

    @ pantherettie “I know that there are parents who don’t value education the same way that I do. I can’t say the reasons.”

    I’m obsessed about education and pretty sure that 2/3 of my older son’s success is because of me and my wife. Our influence is huge and it’s not money. Now, what would happen if we didn’t care about education? Assume there are parents who don’t care about education, what has to be done? Keep kids in school longer? Educate parents about education? Can any teacher in Tier 1/2 neighborhood comment on that? How important parent involvement is in Pre-K/primary grades? compare to other factors?

  • 245. CPS Teacher Married  |  July 13, 2014 at 8:05 am

    @ Ugh! Well…. I am working hard trying to make things better for the AA kids in our city and clearly you do not want to, so I think we ALL know who is who…

    In regards to your child, she is probably in an honors setting or somethiing, so yes, she probably gets a better education, and do not think that is by accident. People like pantheretie can tell you what that is like when they segregate with in the class room too.

  • 246. pantherettie  |  July 13, 2014 at 8:58 am

    @Everyone – please note that I did not say that the city of Chicago is racist. We are a segregated city and there are racists in the city but I don’t believe that the entire city is racist. That statement is too broad and just plain false.

    @HS Mom – I hear you about highly selective schools and their ongoing use of the ACT/SAT. That’s really interesting too about the re-apply request. If you’re open, I’d love to hear more about that school. Was it a small liberal arts?

    @244 Walker – I really stay out of the “why is their an achievement gap” debate because I’m not speaking with much personal or professional experience in that area. Personally, I come from a family that highly valued education. I was *not* the first generation in my family to attend college. My husbsnd’s family also values education and while he and his sibs were the first generation college grads in the extended family, their family valued hard work, perseverance and education. My friends ( throughout my life) have been similar to me regarding educational values and ethics. Professionally, I’m not a teacher or a sociologist nor do I work in a field where I routinely deal with people who have the challenges of poverty and generations of limited education. So given that background, who am I to say “why” there is an achievement gap between students in Chicago. I can say that there “is” a gap and it needs to be addressed. I think that there does need to be a focus on primary school education but I also think that we have some things right now that can address upper grade/ high school education as well. 1) get rid of SEHS and commit to strong neighborhood high schools that meet the needs of a variety of students. There can be shop classes and AP classes in the same school and kids will be ok.
    2) Require CPS to follow the state’s guidelines on student attendance and truancy. There is a significant problem with this in Chicago and it seems that CPS has just thrown up their hands and said that “x percent of kids just won’t come to school”. To me, it’s a crazy and short-sided view of things. Personally, I get at least three robocalls a week about a kid who is chronically absent. I called the school twice a month for three months to explain that they have the wrong number and nothing was done. That’s not a teacher issue, that’s an administrative decision to not address the problem because there are no consequences for the school.
    3) Stop calling every school a ‘college prep’ and get serious about providing good skilled labor training/education for kids at trade schools that have similar resources and support as SEHS.

    @244 Walker – I tend to believe that my dd’s academic success is attributed primarily to her. Specially, I say that 2/3 of it comes from how her brain is wired and 1/3 of it comes from the support from us as parents, opportunities she’s had (academic and otherwise) and community she’s been raised in. I don’t believe that if she was an “average” student I could make her into a “gifted” kid. I think that we can teach our kids values, educational study habits, provide extra support to improve areas of relative weakness and connect them ( when possible) to the best learning environment for them. This push to perfect scores makes us all think that we’re raising bona fide gifted kids when we’re not. We’re raising kids who are smart, with good study habits and can take a standardized test well. I’m not trying to knock you Walker, it’s just my opinion that a kid who achieves *over time* is naturally inclined to do so and as parents we help that along. We can’t fundamentally change the way our kids’ brains work. JMHO.

  • 247. HS Mom  |  July 13, 2014 at 10:57 am

    @246 – “please note that I did not say that the city of Chicago is racist. We are a segregated city and there are racists in the city but I don’t believe that the entire city is racist”

    We all understand that. This poster keeps trying to push their own POV as that of others when it is obviously not the case.

    Yes, the school I was referring to was a small Liberal Arts. I won’t mention the name so as to not speak badly about a school we have no experience with.

    I’m a big proponent of test scores as an “equalizer” for a student pool that has many variables in school and course rigger including foreign students. I also believe that these tests are an excellent measure of academic abilities and a good gauge of what students are able to take on. I wholeheartedly agree that tests don’t measure things like organizational skills, creativity, and ambition (a student who does more than the minimum). That’s why it’s important to look at the whole picture (including tests). In our case, grades did not match test scores because my student lacks organizational talent. Fortunately, because he has so much potential, it was easier (IMO) to find schools willing to work with him because of his proven ability. He’s an exception. Just like there are exceptions the other way around – high grades/lower tests – for other reasons. For the most part high test scores = high grades with both being very good predictors of performance.

    @244 – I don’t know if you’ve looked at the student profiles in the WTTW thread but there is an example of one such kid. A girl with Spanish speaking parents who goes to the neighborhood now turn around school. The parents love their kids but due to work/language/culture are hands-off regarding education. Seems to me like the school is really providing all the guidance. The girl got into Whitney Young and the mom at the end was saying that she wasn’t so sure that WY was any better than the neighborhood school. Seems to me that the student was much more in tune due to the guidance at school.

  • 248. OTdad  |  July 13, 2014 at 11:02 am

    @ pantherettie:
    “1) get rid of SEHS and commit to strong neighborhood high schools that meet the needs of a variety of students. “

    I think the whole “neighborhood” school model is actually the main culprit for many problems discussed in this thread. Because whoever within the neighborhood is entitled to attend that school, we are including those who absolutely have no interest to learn in the student body and there is no easy way to get rid of them. Just 1 or 2 bad students will ruin the school experience for everybody else in a class.

    Instead, I would make most high schools selective enrollment. Leave those hopeless and trouble makers to a big neighborhood school, just for them to have somewhere to go.

    That will have significant impact on the education quality, especially in poor neighborhoods.

    I grew up in a country where secondary education (high school) is not mandatory. All high schools are tested in. In the high school I went to, many top performers are from humble family background, because they appreciated the opportunity and worked hard, intelligence has nothing to do with income. There is definitely no such giant gap between high income and low income students.

    Is that so hard to just give those smart kids from poor neighborhood A CHANCE to learn without the distraction and bad influence from those bad seeds? Neighborhood high school is the problem.

    “2) Require CPS to follow the state’s guidelines on student attendance and truancy.”
    You are asking too much from a school. Can we force somebody to learn if he has no interest (even for a 3-year old, let alone a 15-year old?)

    “3) Stop calling every school a ‘college prep’ and get serious about providing good skilled labor training/education for kids at trade schools that have similar resources and support as SEHS. “

    Things may be more complicated than that. I know that surrounding a good student with bad ones, in time, he will be dragged down. Same with teachers. If a high school teacher is asked to deal with discipline problems, deal with students with 4 grades behind, many students only came to school for fun, in time, how can sh/e not be discouraged and just coasting along?

  • 249. pantherettie  |  July 13, 2014 at 11:45 am

    @OT Dad – I really disagree about neighborhood schools vs SEHS. I think that in all parts of life there are people who do a great job, show motivation and are really successful and there are folks who just don’t do anything close to right. I think that there can be high schools where kids all go to school together without it being destructive. Kids who are taking AP classes don’t take classes with kids below grade levels (except gym or art or music). Why would that be so bad? There isn’t a SE workplace or SE grocery store or a SE world in general. 🙂

  • 250. Neighborhood Mom  |  July 13, 2014 at 1:00 pm

    @pantherettie — Couldn’t agree more! OTdad’s plans are nothing more than segregation by intelligence. It would only widen the achievement gap, thus creating more problems and solving nothing.

  • 251. HS Mom  |  July 13, 2014 at 3:34 pm

    I’m with OT dad on this one. None of the 4 kids who had a choice wanted to attend the neighborhood school. All of the parents were concerned about the environment for high school. The only option considered for kids who attended predominately low income schools was SE, private boarding school or charter. Unless your HS is one of a very few outliers, wouldn’t you be doing the same? If the SE program was broadened, it could provide more focused education to a wider spectrum of student talent. The powerhouse schools will remain an option for top performers and more kids would benefit from academically focused education. Nothing wrong with taking a positive approach and calling a school college prep – whether the kid winds up going to college or not. I think that’s better than pigeon holing a kid at 13 or 14 into a trade they may not be cut out for either. College prep is much broader and can lead to many more options – including trade and specialty careers.

  • 252. walker  |  July 13, 2014 at 10:11 pm

    @pantherettie “I say that 2/3 of it comes from how her brain is wired” & “We can’t fundamentally change the way our kids’ brains work.”

    Actually we can change it (at least some of it) and modern neuroscience supports this point of view. Anyway, it’s a bit off-topic, and we can discuss it here:

    @HS Mom

    I saw a very motivated dad who spoke English and their other kid was also trying to get into SEHS (probably with good grades too). Well, if her school is the key then why didn’t so many kids even meet the state standards? Honestly I saw behind each WTTW kid a very strong parental support.

  • 253. HS Mom  |  July 14, 2014 at 6:30 pm

    252 – there were 2 Latino families. Regarding the girl that got into Whitney Young – she said that they never saw the father because he worked two jobs. He was interviewed briefly and did not speak fluent English. It was the school that recognized that she understood concept when you told her things. It was the school that corrected her ranking and recommended WY first. It was at school that she practiced for the exam. It was the school that led the student to believe that she could do more than expect to attend the neighborhood school. Obviously they had good material to work with and a student willing to do what it takes.

    I say this positively. I was surprised. In this case, the parents provided a loving home but it was the school that stepped up to offer guidance. This is an example of a system that worked and would be good to replicate. I found one of the principals comments at the end inspiring. She said (something to the effect of) – education as we know it is completely changing and we are on the cusp of great things happening. I agree with her.

  • 254. PR Spin  |  July 14, 2014 at 6:51 pm

    @253: As a public relations professional, I have a hard time seeing through the spin on the WTTW series. I highly doubt it’s a coincidence the producers selected a few Latino students with non-English speaking parents who have earned their way into Chicago’s top high schools. These types of success stories make for good TV.

  • 255. HS Mom  |  July 14, 2014 at 8:22 pm

    Taking a closer look you may have noticed that of the 2 Latino students only 1 had non-English parents. The results were realistic – good students get into good schools. What would you do differently if you followed 5 kids trying to get into a good high school? I think the situations were very encouraging all the way around. What’s your point?

  • 256. PR Spin  |  July 14, 2014 at 9:01 pm

    Considering the stats often reported on here, it’s unrealistic that 4 out of 5 “good” students would’ve gotten accepted into SEHS . . . and if memory serves me correctly, 3 were their first choices. These kids were clearly hand picked because they’re success stories. If I were to produce a similar documentary, it would show different kids from different walks of life and the reality of the situation — there aren’t enough SEHS slots to properly serve the current need of “good” to “great” students.

  • 257. WTTW Series  |  July 14, 2014 at 9:14 pm

    “Considering the stats often reported on here, it’s unrealistic that 4 out of 5 “good” students would’ve gotten accepted into SEHS”

    It’s really 4 out of 4. The fifth student was in Wilmette and didn’t apply for SEHS.

    I was wondering whether the producers cut out any students that they initially followed because they performed poorly. Both from a PR perspective as you would suggest and perhaps also from not showing a really difficult time for a kid. Some of the extra videos on the web site feature students who did not get into SEHS.

  • 258. HS Mom  |  July 14, 2014 at 10:25 pm

    Why is that unrealistic? 2 of the 4 were accepted to schools that many tier 4 students can attend but chose not to. One student had several rejections. No doubt they pre-selected high performing students to see what would happen and where they would go. I don’t see how these kids do not represent “all walks of life”. I can’t say whether the outcomes/stories were manipulated but if I were trying to portray the process, I would have hoped to have picked someone that did not get into any schools to illustrate that impact. I’m going with luck of the draw and the group was not based upon outcome. Great group of kids – like a lot of other kids.

  • 259. walker  |  July 14, 2014 at 10:26 pm

    @253: You meant Gina. I agree that in her case it looks like a good combination of a loving home, school, and her personality. I think all three components are important and crucial. But she was an outlier in school with 51% below state standards. In other words, the same school wasn’t able to provide solid education to the majority of students. Why? What’s the difference then? I believe that many parents just don’t value education. Additionally, as OTDad mentioned, a few “bad” kids can ruin the school experience for everybody else in a class.

  • 260. PR Spin  |  July 15, 2014 at 6:41 am

    @259: THAT’S my point, HS Mom. There are a lot of great kids in the city and each year, we hear of many of them not getting into SEHS. It’s heart breaking. Hence, my belief the WTTW series — although an interesting watch — is more of a feel good puff piece than honest-to-goodness reporting. Perhaps my years in PR have turned me into a cynic, who knows.

  • 261. HS Mom  |  July 15, 2014 at 6:48 am

    @259 – yes, I agree. But, getting back to the original question of what can be done – that same school put into place systems that prevent or lessen the impact of a disturbing few. From the little bit that we saw, seems to be making a difference. This shows that it is possible for the school to make a major impact on a kid. Gina, being who she is, found success in spite of her environment and lack of academic support at home with the help of her school.

  • 262. Kelona  |  July 15, 2014 at 8:01 am

    ” 2 of the 4 were accepted to schools that many tier 4 students can attend but chose not to.”

    You’re right. We even know families who turned down offers to either Payton / Northside (you can also see this in the sun times data where they show acceptances and those who declined). Looks like some even treat Payton & Northside as backups.

  • 263. Lars  |  July 15, 2014 at 8:10 am

    “Actually we can change it (at least some of it) and modern neuroscience supports this point of view. ”

    Someone has been watching (and believing) too many of those Lumosity TV commercials.

  • 264. ChiTown 2  |  July 15, 2014 at 8:13 am

    Why is it all about race – not enough black or hispanic kids getting into SE schools – vs the real issue which is: why are black and hispanic kids performing so poorly in the first place? Don’t punish kids who are doing well (98% percentile and still can’t get into some SE school) by giving away a spot to someone who is at the 80%-8% level. The discussion should be on how to elevate the kids in ELEMENTARY school for all races. If you wait until 7th or 8th grade, it is too late and all you can do is pull the race card for SEHS. Get the black and hispanic kids to perform as well as the ones getting into SEHS. Kids should get in by merit, not by the color of the skin they were born in.

  • 265. The Spoils  |  July 15, 2014 at 10:13 am

    By far the biggest abusers of the SE system are Asians. To a degree that cannot be attributed to chance, they possess, as a group, certain traits and habits that are particularly advantageous in academic settings. Asian parents indiscriminately transmit these advantages to their progeny (who, of course, are no more and no less deserving of these advantages than other groups’ progeny).

    Too many Asian children unfairly inherit
    1) a culture that venerates academic achievement
    2) expectations to achieve at a very high, even dominating, level
    3) an ethos that hard work, much more than innate intelligence, is the key to success
    3) the full resources (economic or otherwise) of at least one (but usually two) parents who themselves may already be highly educated and highly compensated (due to past leveraging of the above advantages by previous generations of Asians)

    It has been proven time and again that left unchecked, successive generations of Asians will continue to leverage their (unearned) advantages to ensure the success and prosperity of their offspring.

    And, at least in Chicago, they do it–and will continue to do it–through the SE system.

    Measures have to be taken to “level the playing field,” to ensure that Asians do not take up any more than their fair share of spots from children, equally deserving but less privileged, of other racial groups. Given their inherited advantages, admission to Asian students should be restricted only to the very best among them–perhaps the top 5%, or more conservatively, the top 1%, depending on the needs of the non-Asian racial groups. In particular, at the schools traditionally deemed most competitive and desirable (NSCP/WP/WY), the more conservative cutoff can be used, while the less restrictive cutoff can be used at the remaining SE schools. Regardless, the percentage of Asians at each SE school should not exceed the percentage of Asians in the city (currently approximately 5%).

    This is only a preliminary step, and time and experience may indicate that further measures may be necessary, e.g. a ban on “cramming” for standardized exams. Little political blowback should be expected, given the well-documented Asian tendency to quietly redouble one’s efforts in the face of increased barriers, rather than seek political solutions to such challenges.

    It’s an easy fix. Let’s end the abuse with this modest proposal, and get on with more intractable issues.

  • 266. HSObsessed  |  July 15, 2014 at 10:35 am

    So now the city council will hold hearings to find out what to do about increasing the enrollment of minority students at the “elite” SEHS on the north side. Discuss. 🙂,0,3147259.story

  • 267. walker  |  July 15, 2014 at 11:18 am

    @Lars “Someone has been watching (and believing) too many of those Lumosity TV commercials.”

    Nope. Someone’s just spent a lot of time on reading neuroscience research articles, studying neural nets, and applying some findings to own kids… and a little bit more 🙂 By the way, I don’t really believe in Lumosity effectiveness in comparison to other methods. So, I don’t buy their ads either.

    @ The Spoils: Yep, let’s punish top performers instead of learning from them. It’s much easier than work hard with own kids, right?

  • 268. wow  |  July 15, 2014 at 11:52 am

    @ The Spoils
    So, Asians turn to be blamed? Nice work!!! You are trying to use some intelligent words to cover racism.

  • 269. averagemom  |  July 15, 2014 at 12:16 pm

    Well, as the parent of Asian students, I read The Spoils post as sarcasm. It gave me quite a laugh!

  • 270. averagemom  |  July 15, 2014 at 12:23 pm

    But on a serious note, it didn’t take many generations for our family to go from non English speaking people with very little education to SE type students. How could other groups be helped to make the same jumps forward? I don’t have the answer.

  • 271. hilarious/pathetic  |  July 15, 2014 at 12:29 pm

    @The Spoils
    Hummmm.. You are being a hater. It is fueled by jealousy. If Asians had nothing, on one would hate Asians. No one would hate Asians if Asians has no ability, no achievement or no possession. Yes, it is a quite hilarious/pathetic comment by such an ignorant.

  • 272. ChiTown 2  |  July 15, 2014 at 12:53 pm

    Whether it is Jews, Asians, Polish, or any other hard working, education focused group, they will succeed and be “blamed” for getting ahead. Too bad lazy, non-interested parents, non-interested students, kids with attitudes don’t get the same success.
    Seems to me that this how the real world works – kids who work hard, study hard, lucky to have with people who guide them (parents, neighbors, coaches, teachers or other mentor) will get ahead. Those who think they should get ahead just because of their skin color will always feel that society owes them. Let’s get away from racism and focus on how to get kids in elementary school successful and valuing education so it becomes a non-issue by the time they want to go to HS. Lowering the bar for SEHS will just lower the bar for everyone else – teachers reviewing and slowing down to let the 1-2 kids catch up while the other 30 kids yawn and lose interest.

  • 273. parent  |  July 15, 2014 at 12:57 pm

    Oh, come on people. “The Spoils” even calls his suggestion a “modest proposal” at the end. Jonathan Swift anyone? It’s called satire.

  • 274. Norwood  |  July 15, 2014 at 2:01 pm

    @273 parent

    Thanks for pointing out the literary device of satire to the rest of us. I didn’t read enough of spoil’s diatribe to see it. I think @270 average mom asks the right question.

  • 275. Jones2  |  July 15, 2014 at 3:39 pm

    @274 If the piece is satire…the answer is listed as points 1-4. Do that…and success will follow.

  • 276. Chicago School GPS  |  July 17, 2014 at 3:37 pm

    Interesting article by Linda Lutton of WBEZ regarding “the Big Sort”:
    Here’s the beginning:

    This spring, at grammar schools all across Chicago, thousands of eighth graders donned caps and gowns and walked across auditorium stages to receive their elementary school diplomas. This fall, the graduates from each of those schools will scatter—to more than 130 different Chicago public high schools, and counting.

    But who goes where?

    Over the past decade, Chicago has opened more than 50 new high schools, and will open more this fall. The school district is trying to expand the number of quality school options and offer students a choice of where to go to school. And in many ways, Chicago high schools seem to be improving. Graduation rates are inching up. The city now boasts five of the top ten high schools in the state.

    But a new WBEZ analysis shows an unintended consequence of the choice system: students of different ability levels are being sorted into separate high schools.

    WBEZ analyzed incoming test scores for freshmen from the fall of 2012, the most recent year data is available. That year, the district mandated that every high school give students an “EXPLORE” exam about a month into the school year.

    The 26,340 scores range from painfully low to perfect.

    But WBEZ found few schools in the city enroll the full span of students. Instead, low-scoring students and high-scoring students in particular are attending completely different high schools. Other schools enroll a glut of average kids.

    Think of it as academic tracking—not within schools, but between them.

    (see graphic in article)
    See how student achievement relates to high school choice in an interactive chart linking each score in 2012 to a school. Sort schools by type, demographics or location, and explore and compare the distribution of scores at each school.

    The findings raise some of the same long-running questions educators have debated about the academic and social implications of in-school tracking. But they also raise questions about whether the city’s school choice system is actually creating better schools, or whether it’s simply sorting certain students out and leaving the weakest learners in separate, struggling schools.

    WBEZ’s analysis shows:

    Serious brain drain. The city’s selective “test-in” high schools — among the best in the state — capture nearly all the top students in the school system. There were 104 kids who scored a perfect 25 on the EXPLORE exam. One hundred of them — 96 percent — enrolled in just six of the city’s 130 high schools (Northside, Whitney Young, Payton, Lane, Lincoln Park, and Jones). In fact, 80 percent of perfect scorers went to just three schools. Among the city’s top 2 percent of test takers (those scoring a 23, 24, or 25 on their exam), 87 percent are at those same six schools. Chicago has proposed creating an 11th selective enrollment high school, Barack Obama College Prep, to be located in the same area as the schools already attracting the city’s top performers.

    Clustering of low-performing students. Fifteen percent of the city’s high schools are populated with vastly disproportionate numbers of low-performing students. More than 80 percent of incoming students at these schools score below the district average. The schools enroll 10 percent of all Chicago high school students.

    Black students are most likely to be affected by sorting. WBEZ’s analysis shows African American students are doubly segregated, first by race, then by achievement. Of the 40 most academically narrow schools in Chicago, 34 of them are predominantly black. Even though just 40 percent of students in the public schools are African American, Chicago has black high schools for low achievers, black high schools for average kids, black test-in high schools for high achievers.

    Within neighborhoods, more sorting. Schools within a particular community may appear to be attracting the same students demographically, but WBEZ finds significant sorting by achievement. Especially in neighborhoods on the South and West sides, the comprehensive neighborhood high school has become a repository for low performers; nearby charters or other new schools are attracting far greater percentages of above-average kids.

    The dozens of new high schools Chicago has opened since 2004 fall on both sides of the “sorting” spectrum. New schools with the widest range of incoming test performers include Ogden International IB on the Near North Side; Goode, a Southwest Side magnet school with preference for neighborhood students; and Chicago High School for the Arts, which admits students based on arts auditions. New schools showing the least amount of academic diversity include Daniel Hale Williams (where incoming students score at about the district average); also low-scoring DuSable Leadership Academy Charter (in the same building as Williams, ordered in 2013 to begin phasing out), Ace Tech Charter, and Austin Business and Entrepreneurial High School.

    The idea behind school choice is to to let families pick the type of school they want for their kids, something more affluent Americans can do by moving or by paying for private school. Choice is also seen as a way to improve all schools by injecting more market-based competition into the school system.

    But the sorting of students by achievement into separate high schools seems to be an unintended consequence.

    (see rest of article at link above)

  • 277. Chicago School GPS  |  July 17, 2014 at 3:49 pm

    Very cool interactive graphic to go along with the article:

    The list of high schools can be sorted to show different dynamics. For instance, there is a visible relationship between incoming test scores (EXPLORE) and a school’s average ACT score. Sorting by school type shows how the city’s top students are concentrated in selective enrollment schools, and how low scorers tend to go to neighborhood schools. Sorting by academic diversity shows that neighborhood schools are some of our most and least academically diverse. Trends can also be seen for race, class, and school size.

  • 278. 2nd grade parent  |  July 17, 2014 at 4:24 pm

    thanks for posting this cool graphic,CPS GPS and thanks for producing it, WBEZ.

    it clearly shows how the ‘average’ of most of the schools doesn’t actually portray any single student (exception to the top SEHS’s). Kinda wish they made this kind of graph for elementary schools… maybe folks would put less emphasis on those darn test scores.

    I’m not following the author’s new term: sorting
    It sounds negative to me…. and I’m not sure what is being implied.

  • 279. Chris  |  July 17, 2014 at 5:31 pm

    “I’m not following the author’s new term: sorting”

    I take it as a Harry Potter reference.

  • 280. J M  |  July 17, 2014 at 6:03 pm

    “Sorting by academic diversity shows that neighborhood schools are some of our most and least academically diverse. Trends can also be seen for race, class, and school size.”

    Just “sort” by race, everything else is just a proxy.

  • 281. cpsobsessed  |  July 17, 2014 at 6:38 pm

    Well, around 20-30? years ago kids were “tracked” and put in classes by ability. This went out of favor when it was realized that keeping low performing kids with others wasn’t really helping them that much AND likely became a self fulfilling prophecy for kids who knew they were in the “dumb” group,

    I think LL is showing that this is inadvertently still happening to some extent at the HS level, with the result being that there are few high schools with a normal mix of high and low performing students, which is probably and ideal environment (although who knows, maybe not the most efficient.)

    So even if it’s more efficient, it’s setting up the neighborhood schools to look ineffective and create a “brain drain” for the kids who have no options but to stay.

    Sorry…I probably just stated the obvious there — well beyond what “sorting” is.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 282. cpsobsessed  |  July 17, 2014 at 6:39 pm

    What is the Explore test? Does everyone take that?


    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 283. cpsobsessed  |  July 17, 2014 at 6:49 pm

    Ok, saw the explore info in the story — first month of HS the test is given.

    So I guess I am curious how the charters’ fare in terms of incoming students – if this “cherry picking” thing is true.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 284. anonymouse teacher  |  July 17, 2014 at 8:09 pm

    Kids are tracked in suburban high schools all the time. There’s the honors/AP track kids, the regular kids, and everyone else. There isn’t a ton of mixing between these groups. Some, yes, but not much.
    My kids will attend a very nice suburban high school with an average ACT of 23. But if you removed the honors/AP kids’ scores from that average? My guess is the average would be below 20. If you take my old neighborhood high school in CPS with an average ACT of 15–if that high school had a track for college bound kids, it could potentially shoot up to an average of 18-20. In other words, a normal high school in Illinois. Sort of.
    The complicating factor is that this CPS high school had a lot of shootings and violence, some from students, directly around the school. The police presence was constant and the shootings were in the news a lot. I personally walked around police tape and blood stains more than once. Few parents who have any other options will allow their kid to attend a school with serious violence issues, no matter how great of a “college/accelerated” track is available.

    I don’t know the answer to this problem, but I do feel that CPS’s change in suspension policy recently will only make the problems worse. If urban schools will not remove and contain the violent and or seriously disruptive students, then parents who can leave, will, be it for private, suburban, or SEHS.

  • 285. HSObsessed  |  July 18, 2014 at 8:04 am

    The data is fun to play around with. None of it surprises me, though. When we have a system in which kids are admitted to high school programs based on grades and test scores, then we get high schools full of kids that are largely sorted based on their test scores. There are a handful of exceptions that serve a wide spectrum of kids of many different abilities, but many people on this board seem reluctant to send their kids to any school in which there are any students who are average or below average. I don’t get that mindset, but it seems to be out there.

    One thing I found very interesting is that the data reflects that the charters draw a group of kids whose scores are above average, although they are supposed to be admitted via lottery only, with no excluding due to past grades or test scores. However, systems like Noble get around that law by throwing up barriers to applying, to make sure only the most motivated parents’ kids are admitted. I’m glad to see in the article that CPS has told Noble that they need to cut out the barriers. That line by the Noble rep trying to explain that their freshmen scores are above average because the kids have had the benefit of one month of Noble teaching before they take the Explore is pretty laughable.

  • 286. HSObsessed  |  July 18, 2014 at 8:38 am

    PSA: The “sorting” issue will be discussed this morning at 9:00 am on WBEZ 91.5. Call in to comment 312-923-9239.

  • 287. cpsobsessed  |  July 18, 2014 at 8:42 am

    Cool! I heard the story this morning on NPR and interestingly BBB says that no evidence points to sorting/tracking being a good thing. Yet this is the outcome of this choice model (my words, not hers.)

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 288. tracking/sorting . . .  |  July 18, 2014 at 9:58 am

    But, isn’t some tracking necessary/desirable at the HS level, at least within a school? Shouldn’t high-achieving kids be afforded the opportunity to take calculus (and other AP classes), even if other high school students cannot?

    What I don’t get is why everyone is so focused on sorting smart kids by school. At my regular, run-of-the-mill HS (out of state), there were about 1500 kids at a mix of levels, but there were enough bright kids to to fill one class in each AP subject. So, what does it matter if it’s an entire school of AP-types v. a mix of kids with enough kids qualifying for AP to run the class? Admittedly, there are probably fewer AP/honors opportunities, but it was enough that bright, hard-working kids could get a great, challenging education.

    I thought this was how most HS around the country are set up. With different levels (i.e., tracks) for kids who achieve at different levels). And, isn’t this how most CPS neighborhood HSs are set up?

    For example, my neighborhood HS is Schurz (a level 3 school that has been on probation for over 10 years). It has 2500 students, but still has a small set of high-achieving kids who take AP classes and honors-type classes. Of course, the “scores” of these students have little/no impact on the school’s overall test scores, because it its size. It seems everyone ignores these opportunities, and instead the school is labeled a “failure factory,” and is shunned by middle-class families.

    Is there a reason high-achieving students can’t achieve in this kind of environment? Why do all bright kids have to be segregated into schools?

  • 289. NeighborhoodSchoolMom  |  July 18, 2014 at 12:37 pm

    @288. I couldn’t agree with you more.

  • 290. Chris  |  July 18, 2014 at 12:43 pm

    “Kids are tracked in suburban high schools all the time. There’s the honors/AP track kids, the regular kids, and everyone else. There isn’t a ton of mixing between these groups. Some, yes, but not much.”

    The HS I went to had no “tracking”–we had the full range from Ivy matriculants to the 20%+ who dropped out/took 5+ years to graduate; half those who graduated didn’t go on to *any* post-secondary education in the fall. What would be an average-ish suburban Chicago HS, but with pretty good test scores, bc it was 90%+ white and middle class-ish.

    That said, by my selection of courses, I ‘tracked’ myself so that, with one or two notable exceptions for required courses, I very rarely came across kids from the bottom half (academic achievement wise) of the school. For the most part, I could have been “tracked” into a different building, and it would have been 90%+ the same kids in all my classes (ignoring the kids from other HS who would have been tracked into the same building).

  • 291. Pantherettie  |  July 18, 2014 at 1:15 pm

    I thought that WBEZ’s story and additional data was pretty interesting. I believe, and I’ve said it on the board before, that there is value in having neighborhood schools be the destination point for all students. I’m not bothered at all by the fact that there is “tracking” aka “sorting” within schools, but the idea of “sorting”/ “tracking” by school really does. I think that there are good examples of what #288 describes – where parents dismiss schools without realizing that there are resources within that school that will meet the needs of many, many students (high and low achieving). I think that really bothers me though was the example of Marshall, where there are no honors or AP courses, which means that a high performing kids *should* not go there because there are not resources for them. I think that’s the real issue – how can CPS get out of this cycle if there are not resources for high performing kids in certain neighborhood schools?

    I’m also glad that CPS is making Noble Charters make the admission process more accessible. I wonder if there will be a change in their admission rates and scores for the 2015-2016 (too late for it to make a difference this year).

  • 292. Neighborhood Mom  |  July 18, 2014 at 1:17 pm

    Stating the obvious here . . . . . . . as long as the top percentage of students continue to be segregated into SEHS, it’ll be awfully difficult for neighborhood high schools to significantly increase their test scores. And without better scores, middle to high income families (especially Caucasians) won’t consider staying in the city for these schools. Especially not when there are better options via privates or in the nearby ‘burbs. Like it or not, these are the kinds of people that need to be retained as they tend to be more active politically and involved monetarily with a steadfast commitment in their children’s education. In the current system, this vicious cycle — which benefits a select “lucky” few, but far from all — will never cease to exist.

  • 293. anonymouse teacher  |  July 18, 2014 at 2:19 pm

    My question is this: if you have a super low performing high school that offers honors or AP classes, are those classes operating at a truly high level or are they merely working at the level of the highest kids who attend the school? My point is, when I teach, I have a huge range of differentiated reading groups. My high group is only as high as the highest kids who attend my class. Some years, that has meant my highest kids read at a strong kindergarten reading level. (I teach K) Some years it has meant my high kids read at a 2nd or 3rd grade level.
    Are the neighborhood high school honors classes doing honors work or are they doing average work and the “regular” classrooms are really doing remedial work? This is important to consider. Just because a school labels a “track” honors or advanced, doesn’t mean it really is.

  • 294. cpsobsessed  |  July 18, 2014 at 2:31 pm

    @A-mouse, to me, that is the BIG question I have about the neighborhood schools and whether I’d be ready to send my son there (high performer, possibly not SEHS material though.)
    That’s what I’d like to find out, and what’s hard to find out from all the materials about the school.
    Do you have any ideas on how to assess this?

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 295. anonymouse teacher  |  July 18, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    Well, one way to assess is to find out how many student pass the AP exams. Another option could be to see if information is available regarding the total breakdown of ACT scores. So, say the average ACT is 15, what percentage of the total score above 20? above 24? above 28? (and so on) Reality is, you could have a significant portion of students scoring in the single digits that drag down the average so badly, masking the college bound scores (anything above 20 can get into school somewhere). I don’t know if that is common, but it is possible.
    If you have a close friend who teaches at a high school, they can also give you the real low down. Teachers won’t often tell the whole story to just any parent who asks, for obvious reasons, but those are the people who really know.

  • 296. HSObsessed  |  July 18, 2014 at 2:48 pm

    @293/294 – If schools would release the test scores of their sub-programs, that would help a LOT to reassure parents that their kids will be in good company at a special program within a larger school. Or heck, if they would post not only the mean of all ACT/PSAE scores of their seniors, but instead the distribution, that could help the stats geeks out here “read” it better. In a way, the Explore data given by WBEZ yesterday gives a nice snapshot of the “input” freshmen, but how about CPS now providing finer-grained data on the finished products of the high schools?

  • 297. HSObsessed  |  July 18, 2014 at 2:51 pm

    @295 – Jinx! But about AP scores — the problem is that some schools only allow the best-qualified kids to even take an AP course, while other schools push as many kids as possible to take them, believing that they will benefit from the rigor, even without much chance of getting a score high enough to get college credit. This makes it hard to rely on AP test pass rates as being consistent.

  • 298. IBobsessed  |  July 18, 2014 at 3:56 pm

    @294 cpo, I agree. Parents hesitant, but open, to sending to neighborhood HSs would be reassured (hopefully) if they knew the mean ACTs of the programs within the schools. Even if the ACT is a few points below SEHS level, most educated parents will be optimistic that their child will be above the mean (since most of us come from Lake Wobegon).

    Hello, IB diploma and STEM neighborhood HS principals. Are you listening?

  • 299. pantherettie  |  July 18, 2014 at 4:22 pm

    @A-mouse – I have several teachers in my family and I totally agree with you regarding the best way to get info about the schools. I also agree that there is very significant variance among the quality and content of AP classes at different schools – with there being even more variance among honors level classes. I don’t think that there is value in having “honors” or “AP” classes when they can’t be really be taught at those levels. The thing is many families who have high achieving kids would never even consider a school without an honors track. It’s a big problem….

  • 300. Chris  |  July 18, 2014 at 5:18 pm

    HSO: “This makes it hard to rely on AP test pass rates as being consistent.”

    Well, then, just raw numbers would probably be better.

    Even in an AP course with a *great* teacher, and smart, dedicated students, you aren’t going to get 100% 4s and 5s. But if you are comparing (say) a math program that nets out 80% 4+, but has 25 kids taking AP Calc, with a program that has 30% 4+, but puts 100 kids thru the course, I know which one I think is doing the better job of teaching–the one that gets 1.5x as many kids a 4+.

  • 301. Chris  |  July 18, 2014 at 5:25 pm

    “I don’t think that there is value in having “honors” or “AP” classes when they can’t be really be taught at those levels.”

    There most certainly is value. Perhaps the value is not sufficient to outweigh the cost of the resources allocated to it, but there is value to offering the courses–it allows the motivated student who is at that “bad” school to demonstrate that motivation by taking the most ‘challenging’ course available.

    One AP class I took was completely pathetic–good textbook, ok basic curriculum, *awful* teacher who did a horrible job with teaching the curriculum. Had I not had that class available, would have been relegated to a worse situation, with a worse textbook, weaker curriculum, and quite possibly the same teacher. There was “value” in the offering of the course, even if the course wasn’t particularly good.

  • 302. anonymouse teacher  |  July 18, 2014 at 8:12 pm

    The thing I like about an honors track at the high school level (or at least we seem to see it most in high schools) is that a student who is advanced in one subject can take advanced work in that subject, but can take grade level work in a different subject. One of the weaknesses of CPS’s gifted programming is that a child has to be able to do above grade level work in both reading and math. They don’t offer much for the child who only needs enrichment in one subject. And I don’t know of any public elementary that offers gifted coursework in science or music or art, etc. So, if it is offered in high school, and many high schools do offer it, I think that’s terrific.

  • 303. anonymouse teacher  |  July 18, 2014 at 8:15 pm

    I meant to say, CPS’s gifted programming at the elementary level does not offer the option of gifted/advanced work by singular subjects. I’d like to see schools that offer test in programs for kids who are accelerated in either reading or math.

  • 304. HS Mom  |  July 18, 2014 at 9:50 pm

    @288 “So, what does it matter if it’s an entire school of AP-types v. a mix of kids with enough kids qualifying for AP to run the class?”

    Yes, I agree, in and of itself having a school full of high achievers really doesn’t matter. It’s everything that goes along with that, as Chris and others mention. Lost opportunities that can never be reclaimed. Remember, many of these kids have been “sorted” since kindergarten. They need more than what the neighborhood school offers, plain and simple.

    “Sorting” is not a new concept. When I grew up in Chicago that meant that you sent your kids to Catholic school to get a better education. Our system now allows lower income families to break away from an unproductive or negative school environment and that’s a good thing. Can you blame people for wanting something better for their kids? HIgh school in the suburbs, much like your own was mostly white middle income families with a population of roughly 4,000, something for everyone. Looking at our local HS, there are approximately 300 freshman with the majority of students (67%) performing below average. We don’t have this ideal mix of kids going at all.

  • 305. pantherettie  |  July 19, 2014 at 8:54 am

    Chris – I see your point and totally understand your example. I had some excellent AP teachers in high school and others that really didn’t get the job done well at all. There is value in exposure to challenging subject material. That said, I’m not cool with some of the trends in pushing “AP for Ap sake”. I think that when kids are are not prepared for the rigor of AP work in the previous grades, the courses don’t have the value that they are supposed to have – which is to provide entry level college coursework to motivated kids. I think that The Baltimore Sun’s August 2013 piece on the differences in results, teaching and curriculum in various AP classes around their city highlights this issue well. Google it if you have a chance.

  • 306. CLB  |  July 19, 2014 at 9:50 am

    @295 @296 I agree that data is badly reported. At the very least, they should report mean, median, and range, but the full distribution would be best. So why isn’t this done?

    The conclusion I have reached is that the score reporting is not about trying to help parents make the best informed decision. Rather, it is aimed at making a politically satisfactory claim that schools are held accountable.

  • 307. 7th  |  July 24, 2014 at 12:59 am

    Going back to the issue of demographics, the reason we should count all school aged children (not just current cps students) when we figure race percentages is because CPS does!

    “Once the district has given a ‘Socioeconomic Score’ to each tract, the tracts are sorted from lowest to high. Going from low score to high, the district puts tracts into Tier 1 until 25% of the city’s SCHOOL AGE CHILDREN are in tier 1 (from the census, the district knows how many school age kids are in each tract). Once 25% of kids are in Tier 1, then the district adds tracts in order of socioeconomic score to Tier 2 until 25% of kids are in Tier 2. The same happens for Tiers 3 and 4. At the end, there should be about the same number of SCHOOL AGE CHILDREN living in each of the four tiers.”

    (Emphasis mine)

    So the tiers are made up of all available school age children, not just those enrolled in CPS.

  • 308. Chris  |  July 28, 2014 at 12:31 pm

    “So the tiers are made up of all available school age children, not just those enrolled in CPS.”

    That’s just fuel for the fire…both against the tiers and supporting the exclusion of the non-CPS kids when contemplating ‘fairness’.

  • 309. HS Mom  |  July 28, 2014 at 7:45 pm

    @308 – Chris, are you sure about that? There are a number of tier 1kids who attend private school. Many at little or no cost.

    To really compare the size of the total possible SE applicants within each tier you would also need to drag out the “how many students actually meet the minimum criteria in order to be eligible for SE” argument

    Likely tier 1 has fewer candidates in total (regardless of public/private) and better odds at tier seats. Which is neither here nor there just something that really does not come up when discussing “fairness”.

  • 310. Chris  |  July 29, 2014 at 10:23 am

    HS Mom: “Chris, are you sure about that?”

    I believe that the only appropriate response is QED.

    You made two more points that could be construed as indications that the Tiers are not ‘fair’; sure those arguments don’t (haven’t) really come up, but that was what I was getting at–digging into the numbers (in the fashion 7th did) points out that the Tiers don’t separate out the CPS kids into approximately even quarters, so that isn’t “fair”.

  • 311. HS Mom  |  July 30, 2014 at 7:37 am

    @310 good point about the “even” pods of children. Another point would be ages/grades within the group being skewed one way or another. QED

    As far as “fairness” of tiers is concerned, I have no issue with a system that is designed to allow lower scoring AA students entry into selective enrollment. I do take issue when the imperfect results, (skewed even further by focusing on 4 schools only) from an imperfect system are used as a basis to make further adjustment to the system. This adds a whole new meaning to “selective enrollment”.

  • 312. Chris  |  July 30, 2014 at 5:31 pm

    “when the imperfect results … from an imperfect system are used as a basis to make further adjustment to the system”

    At some point, the refinement would get challenged as a pretextual race-based preference, and be found unconstitutional (bc it would, at that point, be a pretextual race-based preference).

  • 313. HS Mom  |  July 30, 2014 at 8:23 pm

    Right – question is have we reached that point already.

  • 314. OTdad  |  July 30, 2014 at 8:29 pm

    The problem is: allowing more lower scoring students in SEHS will undermine the quality of those schools. At kindergarten level, one can make argument about exposure, family resource… etc. factors to justify tiers based system, but after 8 years of schooling, a student with 100 points less is indeed a inferior academically. Currently, AA takes 40% of Chicago’s SEHS seats. In NYC, only 5%. AA is not at all underrepresents (why race is an issue in this case?), actually way over represented already.

  • 315. Chris  |  July 31, 2014 at 5:35 pm

    “question is have we reached that point already.”

    Nope. As *everyone* complains about, the tiers are not fine grain enough, and ‘miscategorizes’ too many families.

    Of course, it is impossible to miscategorize someone in the tier system, as it exists, *except* by having their address assigned to the wrong census tract. The categories that go into the tiers are each objectively race neutral, and would survive any court challenge that was premised on the tiers being an impermissible *race-based* preference.

    Perhaps there is another legal theory to pursue, but I don’t see it (not that I spend my time trying to come up with one).

    “actually way over represented”

    perhaps somewhat over-represented. Definitely not “way over”.

  • 316. Chicago School GPS  |  September 9, 2014 at 1:15 pm

    Take surveys for whatever they are worth, but apparently Newsweek did try to account for heterogeneity (or lack thereof) in conventional, comprehensive rankings by looking at the socio-economic makeup of the student bodies at the schools they ranked for 2014. They produced two lists, one for overall performance and one adjusted for “beating the odds” due to higher low income populations.
    Northside College Prep is #3 overall and #7 when adjusted for low-income student population
    Lane is #455 overall and #67 on low-income
    Young is #155 overall and #69 on low-income
    Jones is #214 overall and #44 on low-income
    Brooks is #235 on low income
    Lindblom is #288 on low income

  • 317. Survey  |  September 9, 2014 at 3:50 pm

    Does Payton not participate in this survey?.

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