Alderman Pawar’s Note on Neighborhood High Schools (Lake View and Amundsen)

July 13, 2014 at 3:49 pm 107 comments

I attended a meeting last week at the alderman’s office North Center about Lake View HS.  The school has a new principal (imagine a young Ken Jennings) and he has the backing of the CPS district office and the local Aldermen.  Lots of parents from the Lakeview feeder schools attended, and there is great excitement about making LVHS into a desirable neighborhood high school option.  I’m hoping to get some time on the new principal’s calendar soon to talk more about his vision and I’m currently working on a meeting time with the Amundsen Principal.  That school just had a big improvement in their IB pass rate this year, which is a very impressive accomplishment for both students and staff.  So I hope to continue sharing more about these north side high schools.

Here’s is a post from Pawar’s Facebook page.  Links are below to the LVHS and Amundsen support groups.

By Alderman Ameya Pawar (47th Ward: Lakeview and Amundsen HS)

Why building a neighborhood K-12 is important:

Last Thursday, my office hosted the rollout of the new ‘Lake View Partners’ with Principal Scott Grens, Lake View High School STEM partners (Northwestern University, DePaul University, Microsoft), Ald. Tunney, Ald. Cappleman, and over 70 of our neighbors. The event was a tremendous success! People had an opportunity to meet Principal Grens and learn more about the university and technology partnerships. Most importantly, everyone had a chance to hear about Principal Grens’ vision to make LVHS a solid choice for everyone in our community. In sum, complete ‪#‎GROW47‬‘s vision to build a neighborhood K-12 system in our community.

Neighborhood schools have been my ‘all-in’ since taking office – but I still hear some skepticism about neighborhood high schools. But here is what I know: People move to our community for elementary schools, but move to the suburbs for high schools when their children reach the sixth or seventh grade (sometimes much earlier). Why? Families and students are living in a pressure-cooker. If you live in Tier 3 or 4 of the CPS Tier system, your child has to get straight A’s, never miss a day of school, and test in the 95-99% percentile to test into a selective enrollment high school. For many families, the stress is just too much and they move to the suburbs. What do they get in the suburbs? Suburbs make schools the starting point for everything they do. Property values, economic development, and community sustainability is tied to the school districts. So one tax bill nets a family an entire K-12 system. This means there is no stress about getting into the right high school to get into the right college as everyone goes to the same high school. There is more stability and equity for all kids. And this allows kids to be kids and families to live with some peace.

To combat the suburban outflow, I launched GROW47. The goal: give families in the City what they seek out in the suburbs — a neighborhood K-12 system.

The completion of a neighborhood K-12 system in our community begins with you and me. And it begins with shaping our perception of neighborhood high schools. Everyone has to get involved-parents, homeowners, renters, business owners, etc. It doesn’t matter if you have children. You can do your part by running for Local School Council. Or join your school’s parent organization. Volunteer at an event or put a sign in your window. At a minimum, spread a positive message about your neighborhood school. How does this help? Because performance follows perception.

If you and your family are tired of living in a constant state of stress, I urge you to take a second look at Lake View High School and Amundsen High School. Both schools have transformative principals, vision for excellence, and great programs. What’s missing? Buy in.

Shaping school perception begins with you. And again, performance follows perception. So what can you do? Get involved. Here’s how:

– Join the new Lake View Partners –
– Join the Friends of Amundsen

– Work with both principals to set up school tours

– Begin a dialogue on your block about neighborhood schools – and name the time and place and I will do my best to be there to give your neighbors my pitch on building a neighborhood K-12 system. Email to make arrangements.


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WTTW Digital Series on Selective Enrollment High School Admission – 5 students Local Enrollment for Neighborhood High Schools

107 Comments Add your own

  • 1. klm  |  July 13, 2014 at 5:24 pm

    I applaud the effort to make these 2 CPS HSs”viable” options for middle-class people in their enrollment zones.

    I know that people like me are the problem:

    On the one hand we want better CPS HSs for our kids, since the non-SE ones are so crappy, perception-wise.

    On the other, we don’t want our kids to be in the first cohort of kids from families with options going to these “turning around” schools, since their test school are so objectively bad –and I don’t mean kinda’ bad, I mean really, really bad.

    These school are in a “damed if we do,” “damned if we don’t” position. People demand a better neighborhood HS, so these schools try to provide it, but people (like me) are reluctant to put their (kids) feet in the water, given abysmal test scores, the perceived gang issues (fair or not), etc.

    If they could provide, like LPHS, a genuinely good IB-type school-within-a-school program with somerequirements for admission (like at LPHS 30+ years ago), then maybe they rest of the school(s) can piggy-back (again, like LPHS).

    Meanwhile, I’m not going to send my kids to a school where between 0 and 1% are scoring “exceeds” on the PSAE (when open-enrollment suburban schools have 1/4-1/3+ of kids doing so) and where 3/4 of kids are scoring “below” or “warning”, compared yo open-enrollment suburban schools where 15% or less of students do so.

    Again, I know that it’s my attitude (and those of similar parents) that will keep these schools from performing better, but until things improve, it’s a “no way” option for my family.

    I know I’m not alone.

    if things are better, scores-wise in a few+ years (and I hope that they are) then maybe I’d consider them. However, as of the 2013 11th grade info from the Illinois State Board of Education, no way –and I don’t care what names people call me. Education is too important to gamble with, sorry.

    I know people will throw stones and call me names, say I’m the reason things don’t get better at schools like LVHS, etc., but I don’t care. Shaping my kids’ futures is too important.

  • 2. CarolA  |  July 13, 2014 at 5:39 pm

    Kim: You have valid points. I’d like to hear more about funds that are available to make these neighborhood schools more appealing right now…not years down the line. If programs were in place and high expectations were set, there might be more buy-in quicker. Turn around schools get quick funds and plentiful funds. They get computer class, arts and/or language programs, etc. right from the start. “If you build it, they will come.” LOL

  • 3. momo3  |  July 13, 2014 at 6:31 pm

    Alcott College Prep is a neighborhood PreK-12. The Principal and the community are amazing! The high school program is a diamond in the rough. You should check it out if you are in the Lincoln Park area!

  • 4. North Center Mom  |  July 13, 2014 at 8:10 pm

    Alcott is a Level 2 high school.
    PSAE 25.1% (CPS avg. 32%)
    ACT avg 16.9% (CPS avg 17.6%)

    2957 N. Hoyne doesn’t seem like Lincoln Park to me; more like Lakeview.

    I fail to see the amazing.

  • 5. cpsobsessed  |  July 13, 2014 at 8:28 pm

    I am likely pointing out the obvious here, but for those who are new to learning about how test scores work in CPS, basically, they follow gentrification. The same schools that had “meh” test scores, are now the schools that look “amazing” when you judge on test scores. Often it’s the same principal, the same staff, the same curriculum. What changes are the inputs. The students. Granted, along with the students come involved parents who fundraise, volunteer, and tend to hold the school to higher standards. That helps too. But the biggest predictor of test score output is test score input, aka socio-economic level, aka “Tiers.”

    Parents like klm who need to see the test scores FIRST won’t be the ones to make the change happen. Other parents, who were the front-runners at schools in the LVHS and Amundsen area like Coonley, Waters, Ravenswood, etc who recognized potential and believed that the test score would follow the students were rewarded with a strong neighborhood school early on. It’s not for everyone. You need to have confidence in your ability to spot a strong leader and teachers. You need to be willing to step up to help make things happen and BE the parents who hold the school to high standards and attend the LSC meetings and ask questions.

    The risks feel much higher in HS so it’s going to be more difficult to make the leap.

    It felt like that to me when I was was sending my only child to Kindergarten (in hindsight, I realize it wasn’t that big a deal.) But just as I tackled that task with research, I intend to do the same for the high schools. I need to feel comfortable that the academic rigor is there. That the classes will adequately prepare my son for college. That there are enough kids who are taking HS seriously to set an academic-focused tone for a good share of the kids in the school.

    The ridiculous amount of research I’ve done over the past 6 years has taught me not to focus on test scores all that much. If all the feeder schools to LVHS decided to send kids there next year, I guarantee the scores would look wholly different in 3 years. And suddenly the schools would look “amazing.”

    BUT, what it takes will be the “holding hands and walking in together” a la Nettelhorst. I sensed the momentum for this at the LVHS meeting the other night. The mass interest was palpable, from the same parents who believed in it at the elementary level. I think the tipping point is close.

  • 6. klm  |  July 14, 2014 at 7:50 am


    I think that much depends on one’s own experiences growing up. If one grew up (like my spouse) with good public schools, dedicated teachers, seeing kids from these same public schools grow up to go to good colleges, be successful, etc., then one tends to have confidence in public schols, generally. So, giving LVHS and Amundsen one’s trust is not so difficult. And that’s kinda’ understandable.

    If one had expeience growing up (like me) with often dysfunctional public schools, complete with teachers who seemed to have given up, other students whose m.o. involved anything but things related to actual learning and who hated on anybody that seemed to be “smart,” (their gang affiliations, many ending up dead or in prison), after-school beatings, genuine fear over one’s own personal safety, having seen people who graduated from those schools struggle in college for lack of preparation, compared to kids who went to HS in middle-class suburbs, etc. then one will maybe be a little reluctant. And that’s kinda’ understandable.

    I see this difference when I talk to friends who grew up in places like Northbrook and Libertyville vs. my friends who grew up ininner-city Gary, Detroit or East St. Louis, at least in terms of general confidence in “public school.”

    There’s no reason why LVHS and Amundsen can’t be “good” HSs if people are willing to roll up their sleeves and get to work. They are not in violent, blighted neighborhoods. Some kids in them may be in gangs (one can say the same about LPHS), but the gangs don’t control the schools. CPS has tons of wonderful teachers that work hard and want nothing more than to see their charges be successful.

    If these schools can work with families to alleviate The Fear Factor (which is what appears to be happening), then there’s no reason it can’t happen.

    However, I’d still wait for things to objectively “change” before I send my kids there. I’m too gun-shy.

  • 7. Norwood  |  July 14, 2014 at 8:22 am

    Wow! What a great article. Who is this amazing Alderman? He’s not blaming anyone, decrying injustice, demanding more funding to close gaps. He’s just doing something.

    This is one of the main reasons why the south side is doomed. Their leaders like Aldermen Pat Dowell and Jesse Jackson are going to keep on blaming others while their communities and schools continue to suffer.

  • […] Alderman Pawar’s Note on Neighborhood High Schools (Lake View and Amundsen) CPS Obsessed: Lake View HS has a new principal (imagine a young Ken Jennings) and he has the backing of the CPS district office and the local Aldermen.  Lots of parents from the Lakeview feeder schools attended, and there is great excitement about making LVHS into a desirable neighborhood high school option. […]

  • 9. L Stu  |  July 14, 2014 at 10:12 am

    “making LVHS into a desirable neighborhood high school option”

    Maybe desirable relative to the rest of the disaster know as CPS. Its easy to get achievement test scores up over time with drilling (like the SEHS schools do). But the kids true abilities still fall short. Hence the large drop off in college GPA for all Chicago high schools, both “good” and bad. Overall, kids abilities will continue to trend down like that have for the last 40 years.

  • 10. Counterpoint for Discussion  |  July 14, 2014 at 11:07 am

    The alderman’s post should not include the attendance part. That was eliminated years ago. The reason why the parents move out of Chicago is because the savage has taken over the CPS system. Kick the savages out and the schools would be great.

  • 11. klm  |  July 14, 2014 at 11:12 am


    Not all of CPS is “bad,” much less a “disaster.” As I posted on previous threads, many CPS schools do as well or better than schools in school districts in communities with schools that are considered “excellent.” Moreover, while I’m sure some CPS schools do the drill and kill stuff, my kids’ CPS schools do not . One of them is very proud of this fact, given the idea that a well-educated student doesn’t need to be prepped for an achievement exam.

    There are so many examples of kids in my neighborhood that went through CPS K-12 then went to colleges like Yale, Amherst, Johns Hopkins , University of Chicago and Stanford (actual schools that actual CPS K-12 kids near me went to) etc. –and these were upper-middle-class white kids, competing with other similar kids from all over the country, not ones admitted with lower standards to meet some “diversity” goal of having more lower-income minority kids from the inner-city, like some people like to say/imagine whenever a CPS kid does/competes well. They were competing with kids that went to Exeter, New Trier, Latin, Lab, Scarsdale HS, etc., and still got in because of, not despite, the education they received from CPS.

    Hard to imagine for some people, but it does in fact happen.

  • 12. Chicago School GPS  |  July 14, 2014 at 11:41 am

    Lake View HS has some summer programs in conjunction with Northwestern University that are a great, and sometimes FREE way to see the school in action and are targeted to middle schoolers to get beyond the front doors and get a glimpse of what is going on inside. The buzz is building because all their camps are full at this point, which at the beginning of the summer was not the case.
    Lake View also has a lot of technology from the Microsoft STEM initiative that is just now finally getting utilized as intended due to the will and drive of Principal Grens’ new administration.

    Amundsen has increasing neighborhood buzz which is always a good sign for a school and the active Friends of Amundsen, along with their visionary Principal Pavichevich, is definitely making great strides and worth a look.

    Alcott Colllege Prep is small enough to nimbly adapt every year and is increasing its course offerings to be an AP Capstone school. It is a small school with all honors level or above courses. It has been under the radar but is changing rapidly due to great new administration that realized the lost opportunities of the past admin.

    Westinghouse has a large breadth of programs, including a unique one with Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine for anyone truly interested in pre-med prior to college. Its demographics are changing over time and the LVHS principal came from there.

    Senn is a very international school with not only a strong IB & fine arts focus but new programs in Digital Journalism and Global Environmental studies.

    Bottom line, while preconceived perceptions do exist, they may be outdated or wrong. As with students, school test scores are also just part of the picture. Visit a school before dismissing it because the landscape is changing rapidly. Schools like Payton, Northside & Jones (which all only offer honors and above courses), are not suitable for every child and are not the only school options. By middle school, families can tell what type of student their child is or what interests their child. Some “off the radar” schools may have programs better suited to your child, and considering colleges look at grades through all 4 years, those “top scoring schools” with challenging academics may not make for a happy high schooler. There’s much to be said for “little fish/big pond and big fish/little pond”.

  • 13. momo3  |  July 14, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    @12. Excellent points. To decifer whether your neighborhood high school is a viable and desirable option for your children you really need to look beyond “test scores” and numbers published in arrears. As more SE “type” students move from high performing neighborhood schools (like Alcott) to the neighborhood high school, the “numbers” published for neighborhood HS’ s will also rise and “appear” more desirable down the road. Right now Alcott is a gem to be seriously explored by those who didn’t get the SEHS of their choice.

  • 14. Chris  |  July 14, 2014 at 12:56 pm

    North Center Mom:

    “2957 N. Hoyne doesn’t seem like Lincoln Park to me; more like Lakeview.”

    Ironically, it doesn’t merely ‘seem like’, but is in fact, neither Lake View nor Lincoln Park, but rather North Center.

    More specifically, Hamlin Park, if you go in for kinda-made-up sub-neighborhoods. Or Lathrop, if you’re feeling surly about it. And probably “Roscoe Village”, if you were trying to sell a house across the street.

  • 15. mom2  |  July 14, 2014 at 3:33 pm

    The buzz is starting. I received several emails from fellow parents about Lakeview and how we should all sign up for the emails. “From Every Block neighborhood blog:

    “Amazing things are happening at LVHS. Reminds me of some of the neighborhood feeder K-8 schools a few years back, hidden in plain sight and on the verge of becoming primary options. The new principal, Scott Grens, is asking parents to sign up for the mail list, so he can communicate directly with the community. I’ve spent a lot of time with him in the last few months – he’s the real deal, and this place is going to be the Audubon/Blaine/Nettelhorst/Bell/etc of the HS world in no time. Take a few seconds and sign up below.”

    And then the link that was posted above to get on the email list.

    We will seriously consider Lakeview for high school for our child, but only if fellow parents also consider it. The principal needs to get group confirmation with parents at each feeder school that they will send their child there. If he can get everyone to do it together (and see/hear their fellow parents agree to it as a group), it just may work.

    I do agree, however, with KLM’s post, “If they could provide, like LPHS, a genuinely good IB-type school-within-a-school program with some requirements for admission (like at LPHS 30+ years ago), then maybe they rest of the school(s) can piggy-back (again, like LPHS).”

    As I’ve stated before, they need to offer some sort of “exclusive” “honors” “gifted” “you must be invited” type program at the school. I think it is one much more guaranteed way to get some parents to be willing to give this a shot. If they can say, “my child “got into” the “very selective” program at Lakeview, then they won’t cringe when they say their baby is going to Lakeview. Instead, they can say it with pride. Once that happens, others will follow.

    Once all these “smarter” kids are going there, others that may not test into the gifted program will go for the general neighborhood admissions and feel fine about it. It really starts with needing a special program – maybe not IB since that is becoming overused at this point, but gifted or double honors or some really special and impressive sounding name (with the AP classes, cool science labs, etc. that go along with it.) As we deal with college, it is unreal how many parents just want to brag about their child “getting into” XXX university. Irritating, but very true.

  • 16. Amundsen IB  |  July 14, 2014 at 3:44 pm

    I’m excited to see this hype starting at these schools. My son is a bright kid, with mostly Bs and some As, usually testing in the 80s. He’s hard to motivate academically and sports are his thing. He and three of his friends, similar students, are all attending Amundsen IB this fall. All four students are coming from sought after elementary schools, regularly mentioned on this blog. The IB program will challenge him, and I think it’s a good fit. I will admit, it was easier to make the decision knowing all four friends were going together.

  • 17. Preschool Dad in North Center  |  July 14, 2014 at 4:37 pm

    Just to put some #s on the feeder elementary vs respective high schools: LVHS zone is Bell, Blaine, Burley, Most of Audubon, Nettelhorst, Greeley, Jahn, ~50% of Ravenswood and ~20% of Coonley.

    Taking enrollment figures from CPS(.edu), LVHS currently has 1400 students (divided by 4 grades = ~350 per grade level), though that may not be representative of capacity.

    It’s elementary schools have total enrollment of 4,700 (divided by 9 grades (k-8) = ~525 per grade level).

    So you need ~67% of the 8th graders to choose LVHS in order to fill the school with neighborhood kids.

    Obviously you will lose some to Test-in HS, private schools like St. Ben’s and the ‘burbs, but that’s not that daunting of a number. Plus you should see test scores improve with just a toehold of those.

    I can’t find data on the % of LVHS kids that are “in-neighborhood” today, but according to CPS, LVHS is 11.5% White & 88% Low Income today. Anyone familiar with those elementary schools can see that this is not representative of the neighborhood elementary kids.

    Ran the same analysis for Lincoln Park High to get a comparison. Interestingly I get ~400 8th graders in public feeder elementaries and ~570 9th graders at Lincoln Park High (= 140% of 8th graders). Which means unless I screwed up somewhere, there are a serious # of private school k-8 kids that enroll at LPHS.

    Anyone familiar with the school that can confirm or correct that hypothesis?

    (An aside to sit and ponder is what does it do to the culture of the school when the message is: “Hey current students let’s improve the school so people who live in the area will enroll and there isn’t room anymore for kids from your neighborhood who are dragging the test scores down.”)

  • 18. mila mom  |  July 14, 2014 at 4:55 pm

    Lincoln Park has both a neighborhood program and citywide magnet programs (the IB and arts programs). It draws kids citywide for the magnet programs whereas LVHS does not (As far as I know) have citywide magnet programs, and so would take attendance area kids first, and only, if/when it reaches capacity.

  • 19. 2nd grade parent  |  July 14, 2014 at 5:07 pm

    17 – i think your thought process is correct. although, i believe that CPS does the ‘math’ on each of these schools already. you just need to find the ‘In boundary’ percentage on the school’s profile.

    For my neighborhood hs, Senn, I believe that the ‘in boundary’ percentage was 30% or so about 10 yrs ago when i moved here… now, i believe that Principal Lofton touts the ‘in boundary (neighborhood attendance)’ number at 70%.

    I do think that LVHS has fallen ‘behind’ Amundsen & Senn … and not been able to attract the neighborhood kids at the rate that the area Elem. schools have. I do hope LVHS can change that trajectory and shake the rep.

  • 20. cpsobsessed  |  July 14, 2014 at 5:13 pm

    Of LVHS, Amundsen, and Senn, LVHS has the highest test scores:

    School / PSAE / ACT / % attend college
    LVHS 36 / 18 / 66%
    Senn 31 / 17 / 51%
    Amundsen 24 / 17 / 54%

    All have roughly the same % of low income kids (85-91%)

  • 21. Chris  |  July 14, 2014 at 5:49 pm

    “Lincoln Park High to get a comparison. Interestingly I get ~400 8th graders in public feeder elementaries ”

    Looking at the 13-14 20th day numbers, I only get to ~300 by including a much higher number for Ogden than I think is accurate. Most of Ogden a-area is in Wells HS a-area.

    Altho if you look at the 13-14 3d grade numbers, it is more like 400, even w/o assuming 1/3+ of Ogden lives in LPHS a-area.

    My impression of Lake View–prior to this past year–has been that 80-90% of the kids are out of attendance area. Things I have seen gave the impression that that number went down a fair amount for last year’s freshmen.

  • 22. cpsobsessed  |  July 14, 2014 at 5:55 pm

    I blv the previous LVHS principal was going to try to make it so out-of-area students had to be above-average scorers to gain admission. Not sure if that happened or not.
    Part of Senn’s change has been to be strticter about which out+of-area kids get to stay at the school. I assume if a student is a trouble-maker etc the principal is harsher about sending them back to their own school.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 23. Bell  |  July 14, 2014 at 6:19 pm

    There is a big push at Bell to get parents and students involved at Lake View. I think it’s a great thing, and I hope to see more of it at other neighborhood high schools.

  • 24. HS Mom  |  July 14, 2014 at 6:50 pm

    I’m all in favor of developing neighborhood schools. I think there’s more going on than we give credit. I wonder about the target audience and how to appeal to them.

    The alderman cites the issue as SE being a pressure cooker experience and people leaving by 6th grade in order to avoid that. I don’t see that as a large population. If there are real numbers of people leaving to avoid the pressure of SE why would they stay for a school like Lakeview when they are willing to give up on not only their SE chance but also all the magnets and IB programs that exist? What would be the draw?

    If in fact the freshman class has a large % of local kids, the numbers will go up and as others mention a reason to take a look at the school.

  • 25. Esmom  |  July 15, 2014 at 6:24 am

    24, HS Mom, I think the draw is the suburban district model he described here: “This means there is no stress about getting into the right high school to get into the right college as everyone goes to the same high school. There is more stability and equity for all kids. And this allows kids to be kids and families to live with some peace.”

    To me this local, community connection and the peace of mind that go along with it are more valuable than an IB or magnet program in some other potentially far-flung area of the city.

    It’s what really nagged at me about the amazing elementary school experience we had (at one of the LVHS feeder schools) — that it just ended after 8th grade with the kids scattering all over. To take that experience that begins so early — with kids learning alongside some kids they have known since K — and extend it through high school is what would transform a CPS education into a true community K-12 experience as Ald. Pawar outlines. Just my two cents.

  • 26. Paul  |  July 15, 2014 at 8:09 am

    “There are so many examples of kids in my neighborhood that went through CPS K-12 then went to colleges like Yale, Amherst, Johns Hopkins , University of Chicago and Stanford”

    Just like CPS, those schools have “quotas” too.

  • 27. CLB  |  July 15, 2014 at 9:12 am


    On the one hand we want better CPS HSs for our kids, since the non-SE ones are so crappy, perception-wise.
    On the other, we don’t want our kids to be in the first cohort of kids from families with options going to these “turning around” schools…

    This is the central dilemma. No politician can make the school “good” so that you can then come. Instead, we must go there and make it good.

    As Pawar explains, the suburban communities have built K-12 systems — there is no “choice” or “selective enrollment” — everyone goes to the same HS. Tax $ goes into making that school good. Chicago, however, is the 3rd largest city (by pop.) in the country. It cannot have one HS. But its sub-units can have excellent local HS.

    The alternative is to go the NYC route, which is for the most part entirely a chance-for-choice HS system. You must apply to get into a HS. There are only a handful of zoned HS and none in Manhattan. Thousands of students do not get into any of the 12 schools they prefer and are for all intents and purposes assigned to where space is available.

    @12 Thank you for the informative post.

    @7 Pawar is leading but he is asking for $. If you read what Grow47 wants, it is for parents, neighbors, and businesses to invest in the ward schools. He will guide TIF $ for bricks & mortar but he is calling on “Friends of…” to start up or increase fundraising for the schools and ward businesses to sponsor (i.e., fund) the schools and “Friends of…” The south side lacks the wealth — affluent residents & businesses — to do what Pawar is asking.

  • 28. HSObsessed  |  July 15, 2014 at 10:29 am

    Pawar is an amazing alderman, and the ward is so lucky to have him. We need to duplicate him 49 times over for the benefit of the city! It’s exciting to see the movement toward making LVHS and Amundsen viable high school choices for the newest generation of kids in those areas. As has been said before on this blog, there are plenty of kids who would be miserable at any of the SEHS because they just don’t want/need the pressure of high level academic classes in all topic areas. Schools like LVHS and Amundsen are primed to meet kids at the level they are in terms of academic rigor.

    My kid is in the double honors program at LPHS. We are in boundary. The last I heard, about one third or slightly higher of the 1600 freshmen enrolled were within boundaries. They came from feeder schools like Lincoln (about 50 kids in my kids’ graduating class went from Little Lincoln to LPHS) and Ogden, but many also are in-boundary kids who went to other CPS K-8 schools (LaSalle, Newberry, Franklin, Bell) or to private schools (Catherine Cook, Immaculate Conception, St. Clements, St. Joseph). The other two-thirds of freshmen are drawn from citywide. Many of my kids’ new friends from outside LP boundaries live in Lakeview and North Center, and went to Bell, Blaine, Hawthorne or private schools. So although LPHS is a “neighborhood school”, 2/3 of the kids are from outside, and that works out just fine, since they have to show their academic credentials before being admitted. (Even the drama/fine arts program kids have to have a certain level of grades/scores to be admitted.)

  • 29. HSObsessed  |  July 15, 2014 at 10:31 am

    re: 28 – It’s about 2200 kids in the whole school, so about 550 in the freshmen class, not 1600. Not sure where that number came from — brain freeze.

  • 30. cpsobsessed  |  July 15, 2014 at 10:53 am

    @HSObsessed: how would you chacterize the rigor of the double honors program?
    Ie, how diffiicult, study-intensive, etc.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 31. NWside parent  |  July 15, 2014 at 12:29 pm

    Taft is working on the same project – convince the neighborhood school parents to give it a chance. They have implemented a full-school IB program, are in the midst of an extensive building update, and have a new principal starting this month who was an AP at an SEHS. “Perception is Reality” is Taft’s overwhelming problem as well.

  • 32. HSObsessed  |  July 15, 2014 at 1:03 pm

    @30 – Hard to say, since my kid barely shares anything with us about what they’re learning, and has never been a studier! She got mostly As in K-8 with very little effort. Now she puts in some effort (between 0 and 90 minutes an evening) and gets more Bs than As, with 8 total subjects. The quality of the assignments seems good to me, not too easy or hard for a bright freshman. The double honors classes are in math/English/history/science. Not sure if any of that helps.

  • 33. IBobsessed  |  July 15, 2014 at 1:18 pm

    What does the ‘double’ in double honors mean? How is it different from plain ‘honors’?

  • 34. cpsobsessed  |  July 15, 2014 at 1:21 pm

    Good question! (Sounds like marketing to me. Smart marketing.). 🙂

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 35. HSObsessed  |  July 15, 2014 at 1:41 pm

    @33 – At one time, there were four levels of classes offered for all of the core subjects: Regular, Honors, Double Honors, and IB. The “regular” classes were actually remedial but no one wanted to call them that. The honors was actually regular. The double honors was actually honors. During the transition to a wall-to-wall IB school, they’re doing away with some of the levels, but for now, the HH (double honors) is still in place for all the core subjects.

  • 36. pantherparent  |  July 15, 2014 at 2:15 pm

    There was talk very early on with Jean-Claude Brizard (remember him?) about whether SEHS should even exist. If they go away, then all the neighborhood kids would have to go to the neighborhood high school thus making them all better.

    But good luck trying to convince the mayor to close the top 4 or 5 high schools in the state to improve the others.

  • 37. luveurope  |  July 15, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    36 nope, more students would go private or move. Adding lower and deadweight students won’t improve a school. It just adds more trouble.

  • 38. Rod Estvan  |  July 15, 2014 at 3:24 pm

    Alderman Pawar wrote: “For many families, the stress is just too much and they move to the suburbs. What do they get in the suburbs?” From his comment it appears there are significant numbers of middle class families from the north side leaving the city after grade 8. Has anyone seen any statistical evidence for that?

    I have seen statistical evidence that young families are leaving the city prior to kindergarten, based on live birth data for the city and CPS kg enrollment figures less an estimation of those kids in private schools. But I have never seen such an analysis done for grade 8 students.

    Rod Estvan

  • 39. cpsobsessed  |  July 15, 2014 at 3:32 pm

    @rod, I don’t know that familes pick up and leave at grade 8 per se, but anecdotely people slowly leave over time with HS as a big looming factor.

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  • 40. SoLo MaMa  |  July 15, 2014 at 4:35 pm

    @38-39: Speaking from personal experience, our family will more than likely flee the state by the time H.S. rolls around. So far, we’ve been able to “make do” with CPS for the elementary years. H.S., though, is a whole other animal and frankly, I have no interest in subjecting my children (as smart as they are) to the competitive nonsense of SEHS admissions that’s magnified times 1,000 due to the lack of quality neighborhood options. On top of that, it bugs me that these kids grow up together — many since kindergarten — only to be split up at the ripe age of 14 or so. It seems like cruel and unnecessary punishment.

  • 41. Jones2  |  July 15, 2014 at 5:10 pm

    Can anyone explain the difference between Honors & IB? I’m familiar with SEHS honors classes & the homework load & so far it has been very manageable.

    When I’ve spoken to parents with children enrolled in the LP IB program…I keep hearing the teachers are great BUT the homework load is ‘unmanageable’ and even described as ”inhumane’. Most of their children dropped out & are now taking a mix of double honors & AP classes. Hence, with the rollout of IB programs across the city, I’m curious if all IB programs are the same or if there are differences between the various IB programs.

    My child’s RGC has been described as a ‘pre-IB’ type program beginning in 5th. Child is now a rising 8th grader & it has been a great fit. Are some HS IB programs similar to a continuation of the gifted program? I’m not interested nor is my child in 4-6 hours of homework a night. As I live in the attendance area for Amundsen…is anyone familiar with their IB program?

  • 42. Rod Estvan  |  July 15, 2014 at 5:34 pm

    I think if people, especially Aldermen, believe that white middle class flight from Chicago is taking place at the transition point from grade 8 to 9 in a significant way then we need to know what percent of families we are talking about. Steve Bogira in his Reader article in September 2013 “Three families tell us why they ditched CPS” really could produce no serious data so he compared the census data on the percentage of families in Chicago who had children under age 18 who are low income to the low income percent in CPS. He found CPS was 33% poorer than the population data for Chicago indicated.

    All that really proves is many families above the poverty line might be putting their children in private schools, not that they left the city. We all know Chicago’s white population has declined from what it was in the 1950s and the overall population of the city has declined. The Chicago region has the slowest population growth of the nation’s 10 biggest metro areas, according to estimates released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau last year.

    The community area of Lakeview is about 81% white, the community with the 3rd highest percentage of white residents in the city of Chicago. The non-Hispanic White population of the city from 2000 to 2011 actually declined by 52,449, or 5.78%, but white flight wasn’t happening in Lakeview, the primary area appeared to be the northwest side of Chicago where the Hispanic population replaced the white population.

    I have no problem with Lakeview becoming a better high school, I graduated from Lakeview. But if the theory behind all of this is some type of significant white middle class flight from Lakeview I think there needs to be more evidence of that than what the Alderman has said about stress on families in getting into high schools. I don’t deny young white families leave the city, I have seen it up in my community in Andersonville. But how significant is it in the Alderman’s community, that I really don’t know.

    Rod Estvan

  • 43. Esmom  |  July 15, 2014 at 6:17 pm

    I’m guessing Ald Pawar is basing his assumptions on anecdotal evidence, because that’s basically all he’s got. My family is one from his ward who reluctantly decided to leave the city because of the looming high school process, but we didn’t do it between grades 8 and 9 (although we know of a few who did just that when their kids didn’t get into a SEHS), which I thought would be too late to move to and settle into a new community. Plus we wouldn’t avoid the mythical seventh grade “hell year” if we waited that long.

    We chose to move when my oldest was entering fifth grade because that would give him one year in elementary school before transitioning to middle school (which is how our new district is structured). I’m guessing any flight that happens can happen really at any point during the elementary school years, which makes it really hard to track.

    Back to Ald Pawar’s vision of a K-12 community model, I think he’s on the right track because as I alluded to above, people seem willing to pour their time, energy and money into fledgling elementary schools (as we did), but much less willing to “buy in” at the high school level. One of the main reasons I heard over and over was that “high school is only four years, that’s not enough make me want to invest in a school like we have for 9 years at the elementary level.”

    But maybe if people were able to stop thinking of elementary and high school in CPS as two distinct and separate entities and instead think of it as a 13-year (even longer if you include pre-K) investment in their neighborhood elementary & high school,a package deal of sorts, this notion would finally get some traction.

  • 44. HS Mom  |  July 15, 2014 at 7:01 pm

    ” If they go away, then all the neighborhood kids would have to go to the neighborhood high school thus making them all better”

    Not all. In this scenario, some schools would be good by nature of higher income and all the educational benefits shown to be associated with that. Out of boundary families will look at that and want to send their children to the “good” schools. It really becomes a trade off with the system we have now.

  • 45. Missy  |  July 15, 2014 at 7:34 pm

    “The non-Hispanic White population of the city from 2000 to 2011 actually declined by 52,449, or 5.78%, but white flight wasn’t happening in Lakeview, ”

    Meaningless stats, for city wide and neighborhood. That’s a net change. Older whites with families moved to burbs while younger whites with no kids moved in to city (and Lakeview). Unless you see the average age of whites to be 11 years higher over that time period. Most likely average age remained about the same.

    Quit trying to manipulate stats to fit your story.

  • 46. IBobsessed  |  July 15, 2014 at 9:06 pm

    @41 @ LPHS the all the honors(single, double) are distinct from the IB diploma program. The actual IB diploma(hey maybe they should call IB diploma’triple’ honors! )courses don’t actually start until 11th grade because LPHS has not had the official middle years IB program, although I understand that students intending to do IB diploma were grouped together for courses. Now that there is wall to wall IB at LPHS, any course could be taught using the IB rubric, but the courses intended for students who want the full IB diploma are separate.

    Regarding the homework load at LPHS, you will hear different accounts of its severity from different sources. Students at the LPHS IB open house last fall said publicly that there homework load is manageable and they have time for other activities. I have heard from parents of former LPHS IB students both that only the slackers have a homework problem and that the homework load is hellish , as is the IB Math, ie. ‘don’t consider it unless your kid is truly exceptionally bright and hardworking’. So go figure. I have also heard the LPHS administration quoted as saying that few (can’t remember the stats) stay in the IB diploma, and others quoted that that is not true. Its clear as mud. However, there is so much lore about the heavy homework load at LPHS, maybe, using that time honored scientific principle ‘Where there’s smoke, there’s fire’ ; ),
    I remain leery of the amount of homework assigned in the LPHS IB program. And there is little doubt is considered the most rigorous track at the school.

    The IB programs at other CPS HSs are NOT the same. Senn and Amundsen IB diploma programs are geared more toward bringing along good, but not top-top standardized test scorers. A faculty member at Senn characterized the difference between LPHS IB diploma and the others to me as different faculty expectations of the help students will need to be successful. Sounds to me kind of like sink or swim at LPHS IB diploma, and that is not the impression I got from Senn.

  • 47. Rod Estvan  |  July 15, 2014 at 10:31 pm

    So Missy are you saying the percentage of white families living in the Lakeview community area with school aged children has declined from let’s say 2000 to 2010? They have been replaced by younger whites and who are buying multi-bedroom homes and condos in Lakeview. That doesn’t fully fit the story I see in Lakeview.

    I see very wealthy families that if necessary can easily afford a private eduction for their children moving into Lakeview. I also don’t blame them for wanting a good public education for their children, but when you drop $800,000 to over a million on a town home I think you know what you are buying into. In fact some of these families hire educational consultants to look at educational options for their children before they buy. Some of those consultants I suspect even read this blog.

    In fact we are seeing this now in Andersonville, a good free public school is great if you can get it, but these families have pretty deep pockets for a private education for their kids if they need to go that root and there is no reason to stress out.

    The families I see moving are often those with younger children and with condos who are under some fiscal pressure. A good number of these parents grew up themselves in suburban communities and are also much more at ease raising their children in a suburban environment and I can understand that. But there is no crisis in Lakeview or for that matter in Andersonville or we would not see large single family homes selling the way they are. But as a Lakeview graduate I would like nothing better than to see the school continue to improve for all students.

    Rod Estvan

  • 48. cpsobsessed  |  July 15, 2014 at 10:40 pm

    Ron, so what is the point you’re trying to explore with your question? Whether there is an actual “crisis” (aka exodus of families leaving lakeview for better high schools outside the city?) Or are you saying that perhaps the situation isn’t “alarming” (as pawar may have implied) because the residents have financial options?

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 49. ***  |  July 16, 2014 at 6:51 am


  • 50. klm  |  July 16, 2014 at 7:27 am


    My feelings exactly and I know for a fact that many K-8 Alcott families feel the same way (I talk to them in social situations and like so many Chicago parent conversations, it often turns into one about schools).

    It’s great on some level that Alcott’s trying to create a viable N-12 (like the Parker/Lab/Latin -type schools) educational experience, w/o all the stress of SE admissions. Same with Ogden.

    However, the problem is that these schools (as of now) have the repuation (among local parents) of being “last resort” schools for kids that can’t get into a SEHS or whose parents don’t have the ability to pay private school tuition or move to a place like Glenview or Naperville.

    I know it’s not fair, given what they’re trying to create, which is actually very laudable –but it is what it is. Until test scores move in a better direction, a school like Alcott HS will be viewed less favorably, I don’t care how great its teachers or curriculum.

    For most parents, it all about “Show me the money!” in terms of objective measures of achievement. And why shouldn’t it be? Education’s just too important to settle for mediocre results, IMO.

    If worse comes to worse, people can just rent a plain townhouse apartment for the same or less that they’re paying in Chicago and have their kids go to a suburban HS with an average ACT of 25 or 26 for a while.

  • 51. HS Mom  |  July 16, 2014 at 8:16 am

    KLM – same goes for suburban schools. Just because you have a “no pressure” situation, doesn’t mean the school will provide a higher-grade level of education (if that’s what you want and many people do).

    Is there any consideration to the fact that all the prep, tutoring and 7th grade “hell year” all go into making CPS kids and schools better academically. I know for a fact that my kid would never have spent summers working on writing and math skills unless he had a vision. The problem as I see it is that for all the extra work and study there needs to be a reward – broaden the SE program.

    So, while the wave of people (which I agree with Rod that I’m not seeing) leave the city because of the perceived pressure, suburban families are trying to get into rigorous schools like CPS SE.

  • 52. klm  |  July 16, 2014 at 8:35 am


    Well, no, there are never guarantees.

    Thing is, I’m pretty sure that going to a HS where the ave. ACT is 16 or 17 really IS different than going to a HS where the ave. ACT is 25 or 26. Yes, both schools will have rock star teachers and a few duds, both schools wil have kids that care and are motivated and kids that hate school and smoke pot before school starts.

    However, the “tone” or vibes one gets in terms of expectations and norms will be different. Many parents want their kids to go to a school where the ave. ACT is 25 or 26, not because they expect any guarantees, but because they want their kids surrounded by kids who are learning and achieving at a fairly high level, objectively-speaking. They want peers for their kids who are averaging 25 or 26, not 16 or 17 on the ACT there’s a big differencce. Knowing how important peer influences are with kids, I can see the point.

  • 53. cpsobsessed  |  July 16, 2014 at 8:57 am

    So here’s a question, because I can’t remember how high school works. If true that we want our kids surrounded by ACT25/26-minded kids, if a whole new cohort starts LVHS at the same time and they are “like-minded,” will they be interacting, academically mainly with each other? Meaning say all the LVHS feeder school kids who don’t get into SE schools all attend the local high school. Would it “feel” like a different school to them? Or do grade mix often?

  • 54. Rod Estvan  |  July 16, 2014 at 9:57 am

    Responding to CPS obsessed the situation is not alarming and does not create additional demographic pressure on the city. The white working class has largely left Chicago, what we have left are white college educated professionals. As in all things there are exceptions, for example white non-college educated city workers who are clustered in certain communities and white ethic pockets where a large percentage of these children are educated in religious schools.

    We also all need to understand where we as a school district and city are going fiscally and the choices that are going to have to be made. To transform Lakeview HS into something Kim and others want for their children does not come without a cost. By the way I find Kim refreshingly honest, even if I don’t agree with much of what she writes. I think it could be done in a way without forcing out lower performing students and creating a bifurcated situation similar to Lincoln Park HS where you have the IB/honors and the regular programs more heavily populated with minority students.

    I owe Lakeview a lot, if I had not gone there for my senior year, I transferred from old Waller HS (now Lincoln Park), I would have never been a college level athlete and gone to the University of North Dakota on a full ROTC scholarship. It was a life transforming experience for me.

    As all can see in the Chicago Sun Times today an article by Fran Spielman titled “Alderman warns of ‘re-segregation’ of top public high schools,” there is a clear amount of resentment against middle and higher income whites in this town in relation to public schooling. Ald. Latasha Thomas is reflecting an underlying sentiment in the African American community of Chicago, as are in my opinion the polling numbers for CTU President Lewis.

    If there is a real exodus of white middle class families from Chicago it would be a concern to Ald Thomas, as is the decline in our city’s African American population overall. But there is some real doubt about the reality of the white middle class flight theory because we continue to see private schools with very expensive tuitions expand the number of seats they have and more white students gain admissions to SE schools.

    Rod Estvan

  • 55. @Rod Estvan  |  July 16, 2014 at 11:12 am

    The ‘Illinois Report Card’ data on racial diversity at these schools showing a 5 year trend from ’09 to ’13 does not seem to support the argument that white enrollment is “surging” since the elimination of race as a factor:

    White enrollment
    Jones: 30% W in ’09; 31% in ’13
    Payton: 36% W in ’09; 37% in ’13
    NS: 38% W in ’09; 42% in ’13
    Young: 30% in ’09; 30% in ’13

    Jones: 25% ’09; 23% in ’13
    Payton: 25% 09; 21% in ’13
    NS: 6% ’09; 8% in ’13
    Young: 31% in ’09; 24% in ’13

    So the only school with significant decline in AA enrollment is Young?

    I fail to see the large shift that needs to be corrected…

  • 56. North-side Parent  |  July 16, 2014 at 11:36 am


    I think you are looking at the bigger picture, whereas many are approaching this as a very local, north-side issue. The question is alarming to whom? It is alarming to me and my neighbors that we may have to move out of the neighborhood we love or face paying 15-25K per year per child to attend a quality high school.

    In the Lakeview (and south Admunson) High School neighborhood boundaries, you have very many families that include high performing children in neighborhood elementary schools (Bell, Blaine, Burley, Audubon, Coonley, Nettelhorst, etc.).

    Many of these families are not “middle-class” by broader standards, they are “rich”, even if they don’t consider themselves so.

    Many of them *could* afford to put their children in private schools if they chose to do so.

    Many of them look at the cost of doing so (especially for multiple children) and reluctantly make the decision to move to the suburbs.

    They would prefer to stay in the city and have a guaranteed free option (neighborhood) school they are proud to send their children to, namely an improved LVHS.

    White-flight is not some made up scheme. We are not saying “give us more of our tax dollars back or we will leave and the city will rot”. We are saying “we would love to stay, let’s work together to find a solution”.

    In terms of source of funds, Alderman Pawar is advocating use of Ward 47 TIF dollars and parent fundraising, but more than $, he is trying to “change the perception” to neighborhood parents, which costs very little.

    What do you think is wrong with that? What “costs” do you think are necessary to improve LVHS? What are the sacrifices from the rest of CPS that you are implying to improve this school?

    In theory, why not say to heck with parents and focus on the crime rate? Hire more cops! After all, only ~30% of Chicago households have children under 18, they are in the minority!

    As to Alderman Thomas, whose ward (17th) on the Southwest side (Gresham/Englewood) is 97% black:,-87.62724817968748,11,17

    I doubt very much whether she cares about an “exodus of white middle class families from Chicago”, real or not. And that’s not race-baiting, I mean to say that I doubt any Alderman cares very much about anything other than representing their local constituents and getting re-elected, no matter what their color or creed.

    I would however, argue that the “clear amount of resentment against middle and higher income whites in this town…reflecting an underlying sentiment in the African American community” is not a new phenomenon.

    And to the extent it’s driven by disparities in public schooling (which are certainly only one of the many areas of disagreement), I would argue that Rahm closing ~50 south-side neighborhood schools and shoving a charter system down their throats that was largely unwanted is the newest and most primary factor. But that decision was one that Rahm has to own for better or worse, it wasn’t something that was being pushed by North-side parents to my knowledge.

    But we covered the SE high school debate two posts ago, so let’s not start beating dead horses.

  • 57. mom2  |  July 16, 2014 at 12:01 pm

    Just an FYI, we are one of those white families that live in Lakeview that are seriously considering moving to the burbs for high school. We cannot afford private school, we are not Catholic, and we don’t feel our child will get into an SEHS that doesn’t require an hour long commute or in what we consider an unsafe neighborhood. Our child is a sweet, funny, kind, athletic and talented B student with occasional A’s and C’s and doesn’t test well.

    We know about the other options such as drama and arts programs at other schools, but what we really want is for Lakeview High School to be the choice for the feeder neighborhood schools so our kids can stay together and so they can go to school near their home and have that community feel, etc.

  • 58. Viking mom  |  July 16, 2014 at 12:56 pm

    I am so glad that I looked beyond the test scores when enrolling my daughter in high school. Had she been a year older she would have easily gotten into Lane (her first choice at the time) but as we all know the point systems have changed dramatically year by year.
    I visited Amundsen with and without her and got good vibes each time: on a general tour, at the IB orientation, and at the fall volleyball tryouts. She is now a junior in the IB program, has an excellent GPA, and plays varsity sports–she’ll be one of the co-captains of softball next spring. She is having what I think most of us would consider a great high school experience: good grades, challenging classes, extra-curricular activities, and a wide circle of diverse friends who enjoy hanging out together after school at any one of the neighborhood’s options: Starbucks, Wendy’s, Budacki’s (sp?) and the candy shop on Damen, before she has to get on the bus for a relatively short commute home.
    @16 — welcome! I hope and imagine your son and his friends will have a similar experience. The sports teams, especially volleyball and softball (both boys are girls) are doing well. Football, well, hope the boys can improve this year!
    @41 — we expect the IB program to get much more intense this year. My daughter is a bit worried but she is a good time manager. Her homework load fresh-soph years was not outrageous, but with the long-term projects, good planning is key.
    And Amundsen had 17 students earn the IB diploma this year!

  • 59. CLB  |  July 16, 2014 at 1:36 pm

    @54 There is evidence of fewer white families with children ages 6-17 in the city. The number of “white-alone” husband-wife families with own children ages 6-17 declined 23% from the 2000 to 2010 censuses v. an 8% decline in h-w families w/ no own children under 18 and a rise — a 25% rise — in h-w families w/ own children under 6. So white families with K and lower are more abundant, but families with K-12 are less so and at a greater rate than families without non-adult children.

    This is consistent w/ Pawar’s scenario. I would not expect the changes to occur suddenly at 8th grade. People will not move only because of fear over poor HS chances and so many move earlier. If they have more than one child, they may also take K-7 children with them, which would mask the effect by age. But white family flight could be due to a number of factors (change in employment, racism, more space) other than HS educ. obstacles.

    It would be worrisome if children were leaving the public school system to attend private high school w/in the city. Their parents then would have less of an interest in supporting public secondary schools. Since they would be more affluent on average (able to afford private school), they are more likely to be politically active, and so there would be fewer active voices for public school.

  • 60. luveurope  |  July 16, 2014 at 2:18 pm

    Check out Hidden Gems High School Fair – scholarsip + financial aid available at most private high schools.

  • 61. Alderman meeting  |  July 16, 2014 at 3:11 pm

    Link to article in Sun-Times re: meeting on SEHS diversity issue:

  • 62. Rod Estvan  |  July 16, 2014 at 4:28 pm

    Amundsen HS is right now still in a different economic world than Lakeview HS finds itself. But the truth is east of Damen Ave to Ashland inside the Amundsen boundaries has a number of single family homes in the $800,000 and up range. There are also converted two flats that are now single family homes that are equally expensive.

    My primary comment related to the Alderman’s position that families were moving out of the Lakeview community to the suburbs because of the lack of high school options not for the most part the community in the intake area of Amundsen. I live two blocks east of that intake area and we have homes in the Lakewood Balmoral area worth well above one million, and some families have their children in CPS schools, some in private schools like Parker, Latin, or the British school. Very few of those families are under much stress just like Lakeview.

    My own daughter who graduated from Payton if she was not admitted would have probably gone to a private school, it would not really have stressed us out fiscally as we were grossing over 200K a year back then. I think the Alderman is radically under estimating the kind of incomes of families in some areas of the north side and their ability to find options for their children. In the best of all worlds wealthy and poor alike would have good and safe public schools, but that isn’t the world we live in. We are in a situation of limited resources.

    I have actually met Alderman Thomas and I do believe she would be concerned if there was significant white flight in a community like Lakeview in particular if it led to lower property values and less revenue for the city as a whole. There is no indication it is happening and many people in minority communities believe north side upper income families want it all for themselves including the very best public schools. To be honest its not a good place our city is at right now and Alderman Thomas’ comments are reflective of the problems in race relations in this city.

    Those of us who grew up in Chicago are well aware of how bad things can get, including seeing really bad rioting in the late 1960s into the 1970s. One reason Lincoln Park High School is called what it is now is because the old name Waller was associated with bad memories of race rioting and it needed an entirely different face in order to enroll white students even though the immediate neighborhood has for the most part had been a majority white and middle class since the late 1960s.

    CLB your post is consistent with my first post that most of the information I have seen indicates white families leave the city before or at the KG level. But there also have been a white exodus from the far northwest side from 2000 to 2010. But those areas went from deeply ethnic white areas to Hispanic relatively fast and also experienced many foreclosures. I don’t see evidence that it is happening in the Lakeview community area for 8th grade students going to high school.

    Rod Estvan

  • 63. pantherparent  |  July 16, 2014 at 5:44 pm

    Kudos to John Barker for making the case that you need to look at all the SEHS when looking at race, not just the Big 4 (Sorry, Lane.) From the article @61 posted.

    On Tuesday, CPS Chief Accountability Officer John Barker argued that minority enrollment at all 10 selective high schools has increased — from 75.7 percent the year before the consent decree was vacated to 78.5 percent last year.

    He urged aldermen to “look beyond” the top four selective enrollment high schools and consider what’s happening at all ten, some of which are on the cusp of becoming educational “gems

  • 64. @62  |  July 16, 2014 at 6:00 pm

    What makes a school a “top school”? Is it the building? Teachers? Location? Although good teachers are important, I would suggest that what makes a school perceived as a “top school” is the test scores. So who are those students achieving high test scores & thus increasing the perceived desirability of a particular school? The SEHSs programs are essentially the same. However, the academic ability of the students attending them (in terms of performing well on standardized tests) are not. So perhaps the goal should focus on how to spread out the top test scorers among all 10 SEHSs.

  • 65. HS Mom  |  July 16, 2014 at 7:32 pm

    RE and CLB – I’m not convinced that using 2000 and 2010 numbers are completely representative of what is happening today – a boom year to a bust year. Yes this is dependable census data but not reflective of the “other factors” CLB suggests. Namely loss of jobs and net worth of families in the professional and service industry. Owning an $800,000 home (valued when?) does not necessarily mean one can afford to send their kids to expensive private schools.

    I find the stats in @55 interesting and wonder why they vary so greatly with the Times article.

    @56 great post/info – until that last bit. There are plenty of families who willingly chose and rely on charters.

    @62 “To be honest its not a good place our city is at right now and Alderman Thomas’ comments are reflective of the problems in race relations in this city….Those of us who grew up in Chicago are well aware of how bad things can get”

    sadly, I agree with this.

  • 66. anonymouse teacher  |  July 16, 2014 at 8:31 pm

    Its also important to consider the whole context of a school district that is not able to sustain itself financially. I can’t imagine CPS can go more than another year or two without a massive breakdown. I wonder if the state will have to step in and take over or what will happen.

  • 67. HSObsessed  |  July 17, 2014 at 8:17 am

    There are so very many kids of mixed race in Chicago, and as far as I recall, CPS still doesn’t give them the option of checking more than one race. Maybe that leads to false outcomes when the final “data” is looked at. Before the consent decree was lifted and race was a factor in SEHS admissions with more seats available to non-white applicants, there was a natural incentive to check the non-white box for any kid of mixed racial heritage. Now, I believe that the application still asks for race, although it’s not used as a factor in selection. Maybe more biracial kids/parents are simply checking a different box?

  • 68. Rod Estvan  |  July 17, 2014 at 9:04 am

    Last night at the CPS budget hearing held at Wright City College Alderman John Arena of the 45th ward made a statement that included something similar to what Alderman Ameya Pawar said about families leaving his ward and the city around the 8th grade to 9th grade transition point because of high school options. Again like Pawar, Arena had no data from which to base this claim, he also claimed it was lowering property values.

    If one looks at Portage Park Real Estate sales (which is in the heart of the 45th ward) in the past two years the sale prices of homes are down 0.2%. The average listing price is down 0.8% over the last year. If one looks at price per square foot for homes in Portage Park it was $160 in 2009 and in 2014 it’s $237 a square foot. This does not do much to support Arena’s claim. I do know this community took a big hit in 2008, but clearly that wasn’t based on access to better high schools.

    If you want to see a beating in real estate values look at North Lawndale on the South Side where the average price per square foot in homes dropped from $120 in 2009 to $50 a square foot.

    Rod Estvan

  • 69. Chris  |  July 17, 2014 at 10:49 am

    “price per square foot for homes in Portage Park it was $160 in 2009 and in 2014 it’s $237 a square foot.”

    Source? I don’t see any evidence that Portage Park homesales in 13/14 are averaging (or that the median is) over $200 psf, much less as high as $237. Evidence I find leans more toward it being close to the $160 psf you cite for 2009.

  • 70. @rod estvan  |  July 17, 2014 at 11:01 am

    You seem quick to point out that the NS alderman have no data to back up their claims that lack of HS options is causing families to move to the suburbs. However, the SS alderman have also failed to present any data to support their claim that the overturning of the consent decree (and the adoption of the tier system) has led to a decline in AA enrollment at PaNYJ. Yet, you appear to accept that statement at face value.

    If the lack of race as a factor in enrollment decisions is leading to a decline in AA enrollment, why isn’t it affecting any of the other races previously considered under the old consent decree formula?

    Has anyone looked to see if their has been a decline in AA SEHS applications over the past 5 years?

  • 71. michele  |  July 17, 2014 at 11:13 am

    To the posters on the board in these North side neighborhoods. Some one much smarter than me once said “be the change you want to see”. For every success in a school there are parents who made those changes possible – some parent even wrote a book about school transformation – think Nettlehorst. You’re right if you think this will be a risk, a lot of hard work, and maybe a disappointment or two along the way. But don’t think you can’t make this change happen. Your child can get the education you had hoped for. I have been at 3 CPS schools and I know each one is a better place today than the school was before. Persistence and Patience needed, faint of heart need not apply. (PS Amundsen was my neighborhood high school albeit in the 70’s) Best of luck to all.

  • 72. @HSObsessed  |  July 17, 2014 at 11:19 am

    You make a very good point regarding how individuals under the old 65/35 system would classify themselves in terms of race. I recall many families of mixed race using this to their advantage at the time & it could be skewing the numbers today.

    I’m a little fuzzy as to the % CPS required for a students to claim minority status. Was it 1/2 minority, 1/4, or less?

  • 73. Kow Z  |  July 17, 2014 at 11:31 am

    “If one looks at price per square foot for homes in Portage Park it was $160 in 2009 and in 2014 it’s $237 a square foot. ”

    More bogus data conclusions, unless it is based on the exact same homes in 09 and 14 and not just an average of all homes sold in the area those years. Of course it is just an average of different homes.

    Don’t use stats unless you understand what they mean.

  • 74. Rod Estvan  |  July 17, 2014 at 11:48 am

    Chris the standard source for this is Trulia, Inc. It’s not perfect but its used by professional real estate investors. The Portage Park data is stronger than the North Lawndale data because of far more transactions.

    Rod Estvan

  • 75. HS mom  |  July 17, 2014 at 11:53 am

    HSO & 72 – at enrollment, SE families are required to fill out a racial declaration. If they don’t fill it out (which is your right) race will be determined based upon physical appearance. There is a declaration for bi-racial and a very small representation in some schools. I don’t think that’s a large factor.

    Regarding home values – this in todays news,0,1686856.story

    “Foreclosure activity in some parts of the nation has dropped down to levels not seen since before the housing crisis, but that isn’t the case in the Chicago area”

    @70 also no definition of what an “acceptable” level of AA students would be versus all other ethnicities/races. While John Barker is quick to point out the stats within the entire SE system, no one appears to be listening or care – especially the Suntimes. Curious if the potential fallout to 5 other predominately AA schools is considered in this quest to gain a larger representation within 4 schools only.

  • 76. Lake View HS Volunteer  |  July 17, 2014 at 11:56 am

    I was at the same meeting as CPS Obsessed and echo the comments.

    Please join the mailing list so you can get updates on Lake View High School. You can join the mailing list here:

  • 77. HS mom  |  July 17, 2014 at 11:57 am

    Also this article discussing the issue of this thread –

    “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.”

  • 78. mom2  |  July 17, 2014 at 12:11 pm

    “There is no indication it is happening and many people in minority communities believe north side upper income families want it all for themselves including the very best public schools. ” – Rod, I am so tired of comments like this. Others have tried to explain this, but no one seems to be listening. The “very best public schools” are the schools where the “very best” test takers go. The school where the major of kids come from families that have spent the time and energy with their kids growing up, stressing the value of education, doing your homework, reading, etc. If there are more of those kids and families on the north side, and the kids from the north side go to school x and y, those schools will be “the very best”. If you put all the kids from the minority communities into school x and y, will it continue to be the very best? Really?

    Not sure what you are driving at with your various comments. Do you want Lakeview High School to become a school of choice for those that live in the neighborhood or are you trying to prevent that?

  • 79. klm  |  July 17, 2014 at 12:40 pm


    That’s a good question re: % ethnicity to “qualify” for an admission advantage or disadvantage.

    When I worked in college admissions, there were lots of white kids with names like “John Smith” and “Margaret White” checking a box that they were Hispanic or Native American (think of Elizabeth Warren using the fact that she was 1/32 Native American to her advantage when applying for a faculty position at Harvard Law School –and then HLS happily touting this fact to bolster claims of faculty diversity, etc.).

    At the state college admissions office where I worked, I asked once if anybody ever checked out to see if self-reported claims of minority status were true, etc., given that being Hispanic automatically gave an applicant an extra 20 points (100 required for admission, so was a huge advantage), automatically qualified them for reduced tuition (even if their parents were millionaires), etc. I was told “no.” Not to mention, there was so much pressure to increase non-Asian minority enrollment that I’m sure there was virtually no real motivation to do so, since it would only hurt the all important “diversity” numbers.

    Then again, how would they do that? A Nazi-like investigation into an applicant’s family tree for the “right” blood line? A genetic test? Obviously, that would be offensive and illegal. Not to mention, how would they go about it? Knocking on peoples’ doors demanding to see what kinds of food they eat, demanding documents to see where older relatives were born? Ew and yikes. There’s no way that could or would happen.

    If anybody’s ever been to Argentina, they know people are as likely to be of German ancestry (the current President has a German family name) as Spanish and more likely to be Italian than anything. However, anybody from Argentina is Hispanic.

    People sign applications swearing that the information they give is true, but where’s the stick along with the carrot? Can there even be one?

  • 80. CLB  |  July 17, 2014 at 1:37 pm

    @62 The decennial data are consistent with a claim that white families with children are leaving at kindergarten or later but not earlier since we have a 25% increase in white families with children under 6, but a 23% drop in such families with children ages 6-17. Now, that drop might not be in Lakeview, and we cannot tell whether it occurs primarily when these children are in early elementary school or at middle school or even high school itself, but it is a sign that white families with school age children are leaving. Pawar isn’t necessarily off-base.

    @69 @72 The Trulia data supports Rod’s position. In the past 5 years, average price per sq. ft. has gone up from $176 to $221. The peak was $237 in 2013. This year over last the av. $/sf is up 15%. There’s no sign that housing prices are suffering at all, as Arena allegedly claimed.

    But Pawar is emphasizing the anxiety that placing a child in a good HS in Chicago creates. Even if you can afford a private school, doesn’t mean there is space, especially if your child is a good student but not an excellent one. Parents don’t want the chance of a choice of a good school; they just want a good school.

    In this way, the question of minority enrollment at PNJY is a distraction from the real problem. Increasing African-American shares at PNJY is not going to solve the problems confronting most A-A children in Chicago. Just as expanding the number of seats by a few hundred at those schools is not going to alleviate the anxiety of white tier-4 northsiders.

  • 81. CLB  |  July 17, 2014 at 1:38 pm

    @62 The decennial data are consistent with a claim that white families with children are leaving at kindergarten or later but not earlier since we have a 25% increase in white families with children under 6, but a 23% drop in such families with children ages 6-17. Now, that drop might not be in Lakeview, and we cannot tell whether it occurs primarily when these children are in early elementary school or at middle school or even high school itself, but it is a sign that white families with school age children are leaving. Pawar isn’t necessarily off-base.

    @69 @72 The Trulia data supports Rod’s position. In the past 5 years, average price per sq. ft. has gone up from $176 to $221. The peak was $237 in 2013. This year over last the av. $/sf is up 15%. There’s no sign that housing prices are suffering at all, as Arena allegedly claimed.

    But Pawar is emphasizing the anxiety that placing a child in a good HS in Chicago creates. Even if you can afford a private school, doesn’t mean there is space, especially if your child is a good student but not an excellent one. Parents don’t want the chance of a choice of a good school; they just want a good school.

    In this way, the question of minority enrollment at PNJY is a distraction from the real problem. Increasing African-American shares at PNJY is not going to solve the problems confronting most A-A children in Chicago. Just as expanding the number of seats by a few hundred at those schools is not going to alleviate the anxiety of white tier-4 northsiders.

  • 82. HSObsessed  |  July 17, 2014 at 2:07 pm

    @72 – There is no “required percentage” of racial-ness before one is allowed to check a box. It’s all just self-reported, and as klm @79 says, how exactly does one check on that? Make them submit their family tree, complete with photographs?

    Since the aldermen in question are complaining about the drop in enrollment of AA kids in the northside SEHS, I note that the percentage of AA students in CPS as a whole dropped from 45% in 2009 to 40% in 2013. Perhaps the decrease at the northside SEHS is partially reflective of the smaller overall pool of AA applicants.

  • 83. HS mom  |  July 17, 2014 at 2:27 pm

    CLB – I don’t see how you can have a discussion about meaningfully changing the NS neighborhood HS’s without including the impact of SE. At the base of the “everyone hold hands and walk into Lakeview argument” is how to attract the student population that does not get into SE before they opt out somewhere before grade 9 and attract students from SE. Both are necessary for any real change. A change to the SE process further limiting white families from entering SE would change the demographics at all schools. IMO we are already very close to a tipping point – if further restrictions are placed on tier 4 families with qualified children in order to gain admission to these schools, it would certainly impact schools like Lakeview the most. Or do we look at another white flight scenario, which I believe Rod E. is suggesting.

    While there will always be those that go private or flee (e.g. there are plenty of Lincoln Parkers who do not attend LPHS) the question becomes do we just let go of 4 coveted schools and create something different, more toned down?

  • 84. Andre  |  July 17, 2014 at 2:47 pm

    “complaining about the drop in enrollment of AA kids in the northside SEHS”

    And the negative is?

  • 85. cpsobsessed  |  July 17, 2014 at 3:59 pm

    I’ll make a post about it once I have dug in, but this is an incredible set of data and interactive charts from WBEZ reporter Linda Lutton about the ingoing test scores “sorting” kids within the city into different “tiers” of schools. Think some schools are “amazing?” It’s probably driven by their student body more so than anything else.

    I can’t wait to dig into this:

  • 86. klm  |  July 17, 2014 at 4:12 pm


    This all seems so creepy. I’m thinking about the old “one drop” rules in the pre-integration Deep South, apartheid in South Africa. rules about family ancestry in Nazi Germany.

    Not to mention all the genetic intermingling (I’m white, but I’ve been told one of my great-grandfathers was Native American, my spouse is black, but some white genetics are in there, given how different the shades of skin that exist in the extended family).

    Do our kids need a genetic test to be properly “minority.” Does a blonde afro not qualify for “minority” hair because it’s not the right color, despite its texture? Is “straight” hair not the right kind for checking a box for “black”?

    What about genetic flukes? We’ve all seen those within our oen and extended families.

    If the Alderman above really wants to reintroduce “race” in CPS admissions (despite its legal prohibition per the U.S. Supreme Court), how will these kinds of questions be answered? If somebody checks “Hispanic” who’s job is it to investigate? Why would/should such a job exist?

    Given that all humans are genetically derived from the first humans from what is now Africa, who is and isn’t “African” on some level?

    Don’t get me wrong. There’s the glaringly obvious point about the present effects of past discrimination. I get that completely.

    However, in 2014, in the USA (even in segregated Chicago) one’s race and ethnicity does not determine one’s life chances. However, one’s family circumstances and financial situation too often do.

  • 87. Chris  |  July 17, 2014 at 5:58 pm

    “the standard source for this is Trulia, Inc. It’s not perfect but its used by professional real estate investors”

    Garbage in, garbage out on that PSF number–the average home in PP is *not* 1000 square feet. That *may* be what the assessor has for the square footage, but it isn’t representative of the actual, current, living space in the homes.

    Trulia has 414 current listings in PP. 9 of them are listed as being over 2,000 and asking over $450k. You can’t (on the free site) bracket for size, but there are only 142 listings of over 1,000 sf with asking prices of $250k+. The highest priced, non-distressed, property Trulia has listed–that includes a SF number–is listed for $193 psf.

    There is *no way* that the actual average PSF for *all* actual sales in Portage Park is $237. NB: I’m not saying that Trulia is juking the stats, but the listed SF of homes in Chicago is rarely accurate.

  • 88. CLB  |  July 18, 2014 at 10:45 pm

    @83 Even if SEHS schools still operate, there remain many families of good students that want high-quality, local HS either because they lose out in the SEHS and selective IB school race, or because they don’t want their children to run an academic gauntlet in 7th grade.

    For the purposes of learning what one ought to learn in HS, if you have a college degree, are middle-class on up, and pay attention to what goes on at your child’s school, it really doesn’t matter much where your child goes to school. It is, however, much easier to learn French or Mandarin or Latin if your school offers these programs. Learning AP Physics or Calculus is only possible if your school offers these classes. You don’t need to go to Payton to get these things, but if you do go to Payton, you are sure to have access to them (maybe not Latin).

    Whether a HS is considered “good” is judged rather arbitrarily by a snapshot of mean ACT scores or CPS school rankings, rather than by more thorough review of the school’s programs. What the WBEZ analysis mentioned above shows is that most of the “top” CPS schools start off with a concentration of students who are already doing well at school. Here is where it is important to ask what the valued-added of the SE schools is (a question that one should equally ask of Parker, Latin, UC Lab). Few faculty at elite college believe that they do a better job teaching or instructing the students than a colleague at a state university. Rather they have an easy time w/ students who are already excelling.

  • 89. HS Mom  |  July 19, 2014 at 9:29 am

    @88 yes, I agree with all the things you say. I’m sure there are many families outside of SE that would make a great school environment and that Lakeview has great possibilities.

    Here’s what I’m saying about SE – If you look at Lincoln Park as a neighborhood model for a high school. Their test scores are high enough. The published EXPLORE graph shows a wide range of abilities with over 80% above average and a strong group that excels. How did they get there? Yes, they have the great neighborhood and the various programs. They also have the history of being a choice for IB back when there were no SE schools and have since been the choice for a good number number of kids over SE. They are also located in an area that attracts top students from the southside and midway. Without students from outside of LP and those that chose LP over SE, they would not have been able to boost their numbers with attendance following.

    Lakeview has a challenge, the location is not as accessible to other parts of the city if they want high scoring out of area kids and enough kids would need to choose LV over Lane in order to make change a reality. Even though Lane has gotten tougher to get into, it’s still a big school that takes in many kids from the NS. On top of that, LV would need to attract and retain families that leave AND be a choice for them over other options that they have.

    If I were looking to promote LVHS, I would be watching the SE process and the potential for change with interest. I would also look to add a SE component to the school and combine it with a CTE neighborhood component like they have at Jones. Embrace the change and make it work for you.

  • 90. IBobsessed  |  July 19, 2014 at 9:50 am

    “If they want high scoring out of area kids and enough kids would need to choose LV over Lane in order to make change a reality.”

    Huh? I thought the Alderman’s plan is to have LV become a great neighborhood HS (attracting in boundary area kids who are strong, college bound students), not turn it into a highly coveted magnet.

    CLB, there was a thread here a few years ago where some data was put forth on the % of increase from the EXPLORE test taken as freshman to the senior ACT scores of SEHS students. The increase was not impressive, although the final ACTs were significantly higher than the CPS average. This maybe supports your claim. It’s not that the SEHSs themselves are so superior in instruction; strong students in-strong students out.

    I’m going to try to find that thread. CPO or anyone remember it?

  • 91. HS Mom  |  July 19, 2014 at 10:00 am

    @90 – Well good luck with that plan. As long as there is choice, the grass will always be greener. LP is still not neighborhood only.

  • 92. IBobsessed  |  July 19, 2014 at 10:19 am

    It could be achieved by giving preference to in boundary students and having a selective program within the school to attract them. You don’t have to exclude out of boundary students completely. LPHS does this with the 50 point bonus for inboundary IB program applicants. Senn does the same and is attracting more strong students from the neighborhood every year, and is now viewed as a real alternative by middle class college bound kids in the neighborhood. Eventually, one would hope, there would be few left over seats for out of boundary kids.

  • 93. HS Mom  |  July 19, 2014 at 10:54 am

    93 – I agree – but your statement that the mission is to be a “great neighborhood” school implies that you don’t want out of boundary kids.

    My purpose in commenting here is that I’m thinking about my own scenario. I live in a NS neighborhood that even if everyone in the neighborhood attended would not be much different. People would still attend catholic and charters and the pockets of wealth within the area will always send their kids elsewhere.

    My suggestion was not to turn the school into a “highly coveted magnet”. I said to add a SE component along with the neighborhood component. And why not upgrade neighborhood education to CTE? There are many tracks within CTE. I’m sorry that using the word “Jones” conjures up images of “highly coveted” but……why not.

    My thinking is that kids get 6 slots for SE. Why not put Lakeview down? When LV comes up as their SE school, that’s when familes will look at it. I know I would. Space would be freed up at maybe 3 of the 4 schools getting all the negative press these days and tier 4 students get a school closer to home. Of course if this is neighborhood only, the point is moot.

    I’m wondering now if there isn’t a problem with creative solutions because of resentment between neighborhood schools and communities.

  • 94. IBobsessed  |  July 19, 2014 at 12:58 pm

    Doesn’t that thinking just add another selective enrollment school? Thought the point was to not have to go out of your neighborhood for HS and not have a 7th grade hell year.

  • 95. HS Mom  |  July 19, 2014 at 1:11 pm

    No – not my point. That kind of thinking adds a desirable component to the school – comparable if you will to Coonley or Bell only at the HS level. If this is geared to “neighborhood only” well, that’s what you have already. And maybe you’re fine with that so then why are people complaining about 7th grade hell year when they have a great neighborhood school that they can just attend? I was under the impression something needed fixing or “a boost”. I could be wrong.

  • 96. Counterpoint for discussion  |  July 19, 2014 at 9:55 pm

    To 84:
    I love your comment. “And the negative is”

    Race is secondary, just like gender. The only thing that should matter for entry into northside (SE) schools is your scores.

    Keep America great, don’t give special entry to a lower performing student because of guilt or gangster like threats of segregation.

  • 97. cpsobsessed  |  July 19, 2014 at 9:59 pm

    So keeping america great requires keeping some people suppressed in lesser circumstances with very little option of changing that inadvertent class system? That does sound great if you’re on the lucky side of the circumstances.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 98. mom2  |  July 21, 2014 at 10:14 am

    Its all marketing and perception. I totally agree that in order to create what people consider a great neighborhood high school option, you need a selective component to get the marketing ball rolling. You need people talking about how Sally or Sam just got into Lakeview’s XXX program. They almost didn’t make it, but they did it! Once all that talk starts, and Lakeview neighborhood parents see that Sally and Sam are going to Lakeview (and they could have gotten into Lincoln Park IB or could have gotten into Jones or Lane, etc.), then they will be willing to just send their child to Lakeview regardless of program.
    My kid wouldn’t get into a selective program, even at Lakeview, but if the better test takers at our ES started going to Lakeview, it wouldn’t feel so bad or scary to pick it for our high school.

  • 99. Marie  |  July 23, 2014 at 6:52 pm

    “That does sound great if you’re on the lucky side of the circumstances.”

    My family was dirt poor when they got here and worked hard to provide for the family. No government assistant. No free phones. No food stamps. We are not rich, be we are middle class now. We were not lucky. Unless you define hard work as luck.

  • 100. luveurope  |  July 24, 2014 at 11:14 am

    99 you are right. I consider myself a Democrat but all the freebies have to stop. People need jobs, strong work ethics without lifetime handouts.

  • 101. CLB  |  July 27, 2014 at 3:36 pm

    @99 A single parent and his or her infant child are going to have a rough time working hard to become middle class today. What work does a two-year old do?

    Median household income in IL is around $60,000 for a family of two. So if all you can get is a min. wage job, well even working 50 hours every week of the year, that’s $21,450 gross. Far from the middle. More like just above poverty.

    And with the area unemployment rate not dropping below 7% until June and starting the year at 8.5%, I wouldn’t say that finding legal employment is not so easy.

  • 102. anonymouse teacher  |  July 27, 2014 at 4:42 pm

    @CLB, for some reason I thought the median income for a family of 2 was much, much lower than 60K. I was thinking it was around 40K for a family of 4. Can you point me to where you found that information? Thanks.

  • 103. CLB  |  July 28, 2014 at 8:42 am


    For DINKs, $60,000 would not be a stretch to be in the middle of the income distribution.

  • 104. Chris  |  July 28, 2014 at 12:23 pm

    “For DINKs, $60,000 would not be a stretch to be in the middle of the income distribution.”

    That “two person family” includes any “family” unit with 2 (and not more) individuals–so that covers SINKs, single parent’s with one kid, retired couples, singles caring for a parent or other relative at home, etc etc etc.

    It is interesting that the peak median is for a 4-person family, and that the number falls off to *both* sides. Seems that implies that a 4-person family is the size that is most likely to have either 2 wage earners, one well above average wage earner or both.

    But that is the data that I reference when I not that the ‘median income’ of Chicago is not the best data to look at when thinking about the income distribution of CPS families–very very few (yes, certainly not ‘none’) CPS students are emancipated minors who would be in single person households.

    CLB–have you seen a similar family income breakdown covering just the city?

  • 105. anonymouse teacher  |  July 28, 2014 at 2:46 pm

    Thanks 103. It just reminds me to be grateful. My family is lucky. Not that we don’t work hard, we do, but we are also really lucky to make what we do.

  • 106. CLB  |  July 28, 2014 at 3:44 pm

    @104 Some time ago I did find a general median for Chicago @ $58k but that was a couple years ago. I couldn’t readily find one this time around.

  • 107. claire  |  August 3, 2014 at 11:27 pm

    Off topic…but does anyone when/if CPS is going to release the ISAT scores from this year? Usually they are out by mid July. Will they release NWEA data too?

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