SEHS offers by Tier (for kids that are currently freshmen)

December 30, 2014 at 1:19 pm 476 comments

blog 1230

Always fun to see this data.  I will see if I can find out the # of actual kids (not applications) who applied, but these numbers give you the general gist of things.   Tier 4 kids continue to get roughly twice as many seats as Tier 1 kids.  At PNJY, Tier 4 kids comprise 42% of the freshman class.

Other Fun Facts:

  • Whitney young had the most applications overall
  • Lane had the most Tier 4 applications
  • Acceptance Rate among Tier 4 kids (as a % of Applications:)
Westinghouse 27
King 24
Lindblom 21
South Shore 19
Lane 18
Brooks 13
Jones 7
Young 5
Northside 5
Payton 4

This comes in a timely manner – my 6th grade son told me last night that all the kids in his class know where they want to go to high school and college.  He doesn’t know any of these schools yet.  I (maybe stupidly) have kept him in the dark about the whole process, vaguely alluding to 7th grade as the year I’ll crack down on homework and grades.

I really don’t look forward to explaining all this to him.  Any pointers?


Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

New School Ratings out today Fun Quiz – what type of CPS parent are you?

476 Comments Add your own

  • 1. ptk  |  December 30, 2014 at 1:48 pm

    What is the “cutoff score” that is referred to in the last column? What test?

  • 2. betsyotomas  |  December 30, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    How do we find out what tier we are in?

    Thank you, Betsy Olesker Tomas


  • 3. cpsobsessed  |  December 30, 2014 at 2:04 pm

    CPS Tier Calculater:

  • 4. cpsobsessed  |  December 30, 2014 at 2:05 pm

    Unofficial Tier Calculator (easier to use, but is best confirmed with CPS)

  • 5. edgewatermom  |  December 30, 2014 at 2:05 pm

    For the “applied” number, are you just counting the kids who put it as their first choice, or if they listed it anywhere on their application?

  • 6. cpsobsessed  |  December 30, 2014 at 2:06 pm

    The cutoff score is based on the Scoring Rubric of 900 points and can be found here: It includes grade from 7th grade, standardized test scores from 7th grade, and the SEHS entrance exam (taken in 8th grade)

  • 7. cpsobsessed  |  December 30, 2014 at 2:07 pm

    @edgwatermom, but the sheer # of applications listed, I would imagine it refers to anyone who put it anywhere on their list.

  • 8. IBObsessed  |  December 30, 2014 at 2:07 pm

    Ironically(in view of all our moaning about SEHS admissions), far more offers are made to Tier 4 than to the other Tiers by the northside SEHSs.

  • 9. cpsobsessed  |  December 30, 2014 at 2:10 pm

    Right, I think last year we determined that 40% of Tier 4 kids who apply get a spot.
    Not too shabby.

  • 10. Bonnie  |  December 30, 2014 at 2:15 pm

    Happy New Year….anxiously waiting results in FEB for our 8th grader. Question, it appears that Tier 1 & 2 have a lower cut off. Any idea why?

  • 11. edgewatermom  |  December 30, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    @10 Bonnie The tiers are supposed to “level the playing field” by giving students for disadvantaged areas a fair shot. Presumably, a kid growing up in Tier 1 did not have the same advantages as a kid in Tier 4 and would have lower test scores. You are competing against kids in the same Tier. In theory there are equal number of kids from each tier, but because of the high number of kids in Tier 4 who are selected by rank, there are more Tier 4 kids in SEHS.

  • 12. Bonnie  |  December 30, 2014 at 2:28 pm

    So…it looks like the tiers have recently changed. Bummer, I always thought we were in 3 and were using those extra 25 points. It now appears we are in 4. Any idea when they changed?

  • 13. cpsobsessed  |  December 30, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    They change once a year now, I think. Some years a lot will change, others years only a little will change. Yeah, that is a bummer. I know a few people who went from 4 to 3 this year.

  • 14. Bonnie  |  December 30, 2014 at 2:35 pm


  • 15. cpsobsessed  |  December 30, 2014 at 2:37 pm

    Bonnie, is your child in 8th grade this year? It could change again next year…

  • 16. Bonnie  |  December 30, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    Yes, he is. And we are a stones throw from Lane…I hope it change.

  • 17. cpsobsessed  |  December 30, 2014 at 2:43 pm

    I don’t think it’ll change for this application process, unfortunately.

  • 18. Pantherettie  |  December 30, 2014 at 4:38 pm

    Thanks for posting this – very interesting data.

  • 19. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  December 30, 2014 at 6:25 pm

    Would be nice to have the number admitted by rank alone and the number of those admitted by rank from each tier.

  • 20. Chris  |  December 30, 2014 at 8:07 pm

    27,495 CPS (including charters) 8th graders this year. Probably about 36,000 total 8th graders. Somewhere around a quarter of that number don’t qualify to apply, and some more certainly don’t for whatever reason–maybe 25,000 actual applications.

    So, yeah, that “Applications” number is counting the number of times each school appears anywhere in a ranking on an application.

    re: “last year we determined that 40% of Tier 4 kids who apply get a spot”

    That would imply that there were 4,542 T4 applicants; I doubt it’s quite that high. Wouldn’t be surprised if it’s under 4,000 (3,500 is even possible), and the real ‘acceptance rate’ more like 45%, and would be even higher if all of them listed 6 schools.

  • 21. Wendy  |  December 30, 2014 at 8:37 pm

    @19, I think the goal for each is 20% strictly by rank and then 20% for each of the four tiers after rank. If I understand the system correctly (and really, can anyone really understand it fully?), that’s how there can be a higher percentage of tier 4s than others. The rank and tier cut scores are posted here:

    That doesn’t show the actual number for rank, but if you know the number of freshmen seats available you could probably do the math. Assuming that’s really how it works, that is.

  • 22. ACs?  |  December 30, 2014 at 10:44 pm

    Hey CPSO! Love this data! Any way for you to get last year’s AC data? Thanks either way if you can! I am curious! My youngest was accepted into an AC last year! BTW–my oldest who is in an SEHS and the AC student were talked to by me in 5th and 7th grade and I threatened both on the first day of school–yes I was a mean tiger mom! I told them I needed As in reading, math, science & social studies! What is hilarious to me is that in both those years both boys were principals scholars (all As all subjects all 4 quarters) AND they had NEVER done that before! 🙂

  • 23. Robin in WRP  |  December 31, 2014 at 6:00 am

    @22 – When my daughter started 5th grade, she knew that if she wanted to get into Whitney’s AC, she needed the grades; She had straight As the entire year (6th grade, too).

  • 24. cpsobsessed  |  December 31, 2014 at 8:07 am

    @robin, how did she know about/have an interest specifically in WY in 5th grade?

  • 25. Suzanne  |  December 31, 2014 at 10:11 am

    I think the tiers are “refigured” by CPS every year around September, if memory serves…very arbitrary lines, always.

    CPSO, we didn’t talk to our oldest daughter (now in 8th grade in an AC) about ACs at all because our early experience at a selective enrollment/lottery school (magnet) was negative and we were very happy with our neighborhood school. She found out about it from her friends who were testing in 6th grade, asked to test (after all the open houses had passed but before test registration deadline), and scores got her into Lane (her first choice). It has been an excellent fit for her, but it wasn’t even on our radar at the time. Her younger siblings now know about it just through our experience. Her sister tested last year and turned down an offer of a spot at her 2nd choice because our neighborhood school offers more to her than the 2nd-choice school would. Both of their younger siblings are aware of the schools now, but we won’t push – if they want to test when the time comes, great. If not, no big deal.

  • 26. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  December 31, 2014 at 11:38 am

    @21 In theory you are correct. Knowing that the first 30% go by rank alone and the remaining 70% is divided among the 4 tiers, which leaves a target of 17.5% for each tier, we should be able to back out the number accepted by rank alone from each tier.

    But that doesn’t work accurately using these numbers. Payton accepts one fewer in tier 1 and two fewer in tier 2, even if we round up the the number admitted by rank alone from 75.3 to 76. Likewise, Northside admits two fewer in tier 2 than it should under such a system.

    It would be nice to have the full breakdown, both for acceptances and for enrollment.

  • 27. Robin in WRP  |  December 31, 2014 at 1:18 pm

    Whitney’s AC was (my daughter is a college sophomore) the expectation of most Decatur kids, going back to the days when they were automatically accepted (without testing)

  • 28. NS Dan  |  December 31, 2014 at 2:50 pm

    Newsweek’s America’s Top High Schools Ranking 2014

    Illinois schools in Top 100 and their national ranking:

    Northside College Prep #3 (nationally)
    Lake Forest High School #12
    Stevenson High School #55
    John Hersey High School #89

    Congrats to Northside!!!!

    #1 school in Chicago and Illinois!!!!

  • 29. Bill T  |  December 31, 2014 at 2:57 pm

    Does CPS provide data by final enrolled as well? Since there are kids that get offers that go elsewhere it may change the mix somewhat. It would also be interesting to see numbers of those who were offered a spot and turned it down by school and tier.


  • 30. j. ascione  |  January 1, 2015 at 9:21 am

    I want to drink the kool-aid in the worst way, but how are we determining that 40% of tier 4 kids got into a SEHS last year? The stats for this year are showing that only 10% of Tier 4 kids got in (1817 out of 17,485).

  • 31. cpsobsessed  |  January 1, 2015 at 9:29 am

    That is the number of applications. Each kid has up to 6 application spots.
    Only 13k or so kids apply each year and from the number of applications it looks like most do put 5-6 schools on their list.

    I’ll look for last year’s link later today.

    And to clarify, that’s not 40percent of all tier 4 kids, it’s 40 percent of those who apply get an offer at one of their 6 chosen schools.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 32. cpsobsessed  |  January 1, 2015 at 9:32 am

    I’m not online now but for 2012, tier 4 had 3746 applicants and 1617 were accepted to an SEHS on their list. (43 percent.). Numbers per OAE.

  • 33. WRP Mom  |  January 1, 2015 at 9:51 am

    If I’m interpreting this right, I believe the total number of applications for a given tier is not the total number of applicants. I think it is counting all the schools each student is putting on their application. So a kid who puts down 6 schools on their application is counted 6 times on this chart. Of course, they can only get one offer, so the total number isn’t very meaningful, imo.

  • 34. cpsobsessed  |  January 1, 2015 at 9:59 am

    @wrp, correct. And then it makes people says things like “it’s harder to get into a selective enrollment high school than it is to harvard!” Which just isn’t true.

    I think what’s really meaningful to parents is the percent of kids in the tier who get into say their top 3 choices. There’s no way to calculate that and I’m sure it’s lower than most parents would like. But there’s also a lot of tier 4 kids who score very high on the exams so to be in the top of tier 4 means you have to be really outstanding score-wise, not just “really good.”. That’s where the disappointment seems to come in.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 35. HS Mom  |  January 1, 2015 at 1:16 pm

    @32 – CPSO – ” tier 4 had 3746 applicants and 1617 were accepted”

    If you take total applications – 78,423 and assume that most kids apply to 5 or 6 schools that’s 13,000 to15,000 applicants

    So tier 4 makes up roughly 25 to 30% of applicants. If we assume that applicants between tiers is roughly equal (25% ish), we can conclude that only 5% of tier 1 applicants were able to score above 650. This is the greater statement and the disparity between tier 1 and 4.

  • 36. cpsobsessed  |  January 1, 2015 at 1:36 pm

    @HSmom, I’m not sure that conclusion…can you lead me through the math?

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 37. cpsobsessed  |  January 1, 2015 at 2:57 pm

    The chart with the # of applicants during 2012 is in this post. I’ll type them here as well:

  • 38. cpsobsessed  |  January 1, 2015 at 2:59 pm

    oh wait, weird, they magically appeared.
    The line with italics that says “# or % of applicants” is what you want to look at. Tier 1-3 have roughly the same acceptance rate, while Tier 4’s is much higher.

    Still trying to get the # of applicants from CPS for last year.

  • 39. HS Mom  |  January 1, 2015 at 3:00 pm

    say approx 3800 applicants, 950 accepted – that’s 25% – OK, much better – glad to see it. Still low. I was working off the 5% of total applications above.

    The questions/concerns seem to be about certain schools and the disproportionate number of tier 4 students. Along with that is the issue of academic balance. Lowering cutoffs (or capping tier %) – how would this effect the academic environment and what would this do to the desirability of those schools. There is a big difference between 650 and 800. At what point does a selective school become just like any other school that has an honors program?

  • 40. cpsobsessed  |  January 1, 2015 at 3:18 pm

    @HSMom – regarding the 650, two thoughts:
    1. maybe it does make it more like a school with an honors program, but at least you know every kid tested in the top 1/3 or so, so the entry criteria is higher than a neighborhood high school. Frankly that sounds like what a lot of parents with non-SEHS material kids would like to have, but it doesn’t exist on the north side, because of the sky-high cutoffs.

    2. if you believe that kids across all tiers have the same level of intellidence but Tier 1 kids don’t test as well — that should indicate that they have the potential to think more “critically” but haven’t had the educational experience/parenting experience to test well.

  • 41. @39  |  January 1, 2015 at 3:37 pm

    Also remember 650 is the minimum & there are kids at the school that scored in the 700s & 800s. Schools with 650 minimums are still a much better option than most (nearly all) of the HSs on the south side.

  • 42. HS Mom  |  January 1, 2015 at 4:10 pm

    Yes – I do see your points. There is a need/desire for good high schools to service all kids especially those who want to learn and potentially go on to college. Are those selective enrollment schools though? The selective enrollment school concept has gotten very muddy.

    Is testing well the only criteria? It seems like there are other factors causing kids to not test well even though they have the same inherent intelligence as kids who do. Whether low scores are due to intelligence level or outside factors that kid is academically behind their peers for specialized programs such as selective enrollment. I’m completely in favor of giving a kid a break since the environment could greatly boost someone willing to work hard to catch up. The question is will there still be that same benefit if you change the environment.

    And lastly, the question that everyone here asks, what about the kids in any tier that score between 650 and whatever it takes to get a tier seat at a northside school? Why are they precluded in pursuit of tier/racial balancing?

  • 43. cpsobsessed  |  January 1, 2015 at 4:18 pm

    I can’t answer all of it, but to the last point, they’re precluded because scoring a 650 in Tier 4 doesn’t make one a special snowflake academically. It makes you a (probably) above-average kid, selectively. Heck, maybe not even above average, I have no idea. What classes would those kids be in at New Trier/Stevenson where everyone is like… Tier 5. Would they be in advanced/selective classes or just “regular kids” there? (I’m asking hypothetically… I really don’t know enought to speculate.)

    So simple answer: let’s all embrace the neighborhood schools’ IB and AP programs to accomodate those kids. Everyone on board? Yeah!!!

    Btw, I just had the high school talk with my son today. I think it went well. I felt good saying “the kids in your class will be talking about the SEHSs but there are other options too.” I am taking that on faith a little bit right now…. and hoping it works out.

  • 44. HS Mom  |  January 1, 2015 at 6:36 pm

    “It makes you a (probably) above-average kid, selectively. Heck, maybe not even above average,”

    A 650 in a lower tier “should indicate that they have the potential to think more “critically” ” yet higher tier kids scoring in that same range are not given the same consideration? Everyone on the northside is rich and able to buy a score or pay for private to deal with an average child?

    Not sure I’m following this as justification for one child deserving consideration over the other.

    I agree that there is a need to embrace neighborhood schools/programs. I also think there’s a need to re-evaluate the selective system we have.

    Everyone should have equal access. This would mean that Selective programs would provide seats for 100% of all students scoring over a certain score (say 700 or 750 if 650 is “not even above average”) and they should be reasonably accessible.

    Politically, this will never happen. Let’s face it, having the top performing schools in the state is a benefit to Chicago. Having schools that upper tier colleges frequently look to pluck from is a benefit to many. Having public education that rivals top private schools in the city is a huge boon to the city attracting businesses whose execs and employees need to raise their kids in the city……the list of bene’s does go on. Unfortunately, IMO, this is why neighborhood schools will have difficulty flourishing…..especially as the economy gets better.

  • 45. Melissa Dippel  |  January 1, 2015 at 10:35 pm

    In terms of grades, does “final grades” on the rubric mean Quarter 4 report cards? Or do they look at the whole year?

  • 46. cpsobsessed  |  January 1, 2015 at 10:41 pm

    Its the whole year, cumulative.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 47. pantherettie  |  January 1, 2015 at 11:10 pm

    I’ll be curious to see how MAPS scores change the overall admission scores. With the adaptive nature of the MAP test, I suspect that kids who have attended schools in ‘tier 1’ and ‘tier 2’ neighborhoods and had less exposure to certain skill areas will have lower scores than their counterparts that attended SEES or even higher performing neighborhood schools. That said, looking at these numbers I see that kids in tier 1 and 2 still fewer seats than their tier 4 counterparts in many schools. What would happen if people in tier 1 and tier 2 neighborhoods really looked at these numbers and asked if the tier system is actually bringing the economic balance it was supposed to?

  • 48. J Barrett  |  January 2, 2015 at 5:54 am

    “What would happen if people in tier 1 and tier 2 neighborhoods really looked at these numbers and asked if the tier system is actually bringing the economic balance it was supposed to?”

    The answer would be “yes”, because without the allowed discrimination against Tier 3 & 4 kids there would be close to no Tier 1 or 2 kids in SEHS (at least in the good SEHS schools). Just look at the NYC demographics on their selective schools that don’t discriminate based on someone’s address.

  • 49. pantherettie  |  January 2, 2015 at 8:49 am

    @JBarrett – I don’t think kids from tier 3 and tier 4 are discriminated against in the SEHS admission system, but I understand your opinion. That said, I have a hard time understanding how anyone could see this data and think that kids who live in tier 4 neighborhoods are not getting their share of the SEHS “pie”. Just curious, By “good SEHS” you mean the northside ones only?

    CPSO – is there any data out there about how kids do while attending SEHS broken out by their admission scores or by other demographics (e.g. race, elementary school attendance, sec, e.g)?

  • 50. renee  |  January 2, 2015 at 9:52 am

    Is there data available on where the graduates of these particular schools attend college? I would like to see the various institutions these students are, at the very least, accepted to. I think that data would be just as valuable as test scores or grad rates.

  • 51. Robin in WRP  |  January 2, 2015 at 9:57 am

    At the end of the school year, Whitney publishes which college it’s graduates are attending, along with scholarship rewards (as reported by the graduates). I seen to recall Northside publishing what schools each graduate is accepted at.

  • 52. Chris  |  January 2, 2015 at 10:45 am

    p’ettie: “By “good SEHS” you (read: *everyone* who uses such a phrase) mean the northside ones only?”

    PaNJY, and sometimes Lane. It’s bizarro vowels.

    Also: 2 of those four are south of Madison, and so not actually ‘northside’.

  • 53. Chris  |  January 2, 2015 at 10:48 am

    “Northside publishing what schools each graduate is accepted”

    Here’s info for the class of ’13 (i’ve seen other years, too)–note that the asterisks denote the schools kids actually enrolled into:

    Click to access Profile.pdf

  • 54. Chris  |  January 2, 2015 at 10:51 am

    here is what is a 5 year cumulative for Payton:

    Click to access Profile%202014-15%20Final%20low%20res.pdf

  • 55. Chris  |  January 2, 2015 at 11:02 am

    And here is some partial info on New Trier (matriculations starting at p.11), class of ’13:

    Click to access Profile%20Class%20of%202013%20-%20Final.pdf

    After the first page (‘level 4 only’–ie the equivalent of kids taking all the ‘hard’ classes at PaNJY), the other lists are just samples, rather than every college attended.

  • 56. Dean W  |  January 2, 2015 at 10:04 pm

    “here is what is a 5 year cumulative for Payton:”

    To be fair, you need to adjust for affirmative action admissions.

  • 57. Robin in WRP  |  January 2, 2015 at 10:10 pm

    Dean – are you speaking of the Governor Elect’s child?

  • 58. cpsobsessed  |  January 2, 2015 at 10:23 pm

    That Payton list is interesting and impressive that 98% of the kids go to college (and handy for thinking about which colleges will be options someday.)

    I *think* Dean W is referring to any affirmative action program that can help Tier 1-2 kids (or perhaps any minority kids) get into top quality schools that Tier 4 kids may have a tougher time getting into due to competition.

    On the other hand, I believe many families with limited income have to decline some offers due to costs that aren’t covered for travel, incidentals, etc. and choose something cheaper or more local so the kid can work, live at home etc.

  • 59. cps alum  |  January 3, 2015 at 12:45 am

    @43 & 55— new trier has 4 levels

    Level 4- kids score in the 99th+ percentile nationally (a lot of kids with 98th percentile attempt these courses and have trouble)

    Level 3- generally kids scoring in the high 7th, 8th, 9th stanines nationally
    Level 2- generally kids scoring national average 4,5,6,7th stanines

  • 60. klm  |  January 3, 2015 at 10:48 am


    People have been discussing this sort of thing for years now, but I’ll go ahead and say what I’m always saying.

    In theory, Tiers are a great tool of social engineering for using a legally permissible (per the U.S. Supreme Court) tool based on criteria to increase racial and ethnic diversity (i.e., the number of black and Hispanic kids –the Tier are not there to increase economic diversity, but it is a consequence).

    Problem is, that when individuals are reduced to the census data used to create a certain kind of freshman class, there are so many instances of people benefitting or being hurt by a seemining arbitrary Tier being attached to them.

    For example, the housing projects on North and Orchard –virtually 100% African-American and by definition low-income. However, those kids are Tier 4. But a family living in the luxury rentals (complete with door man) near the big Whole Foods (a short walk away) is Tier 2. Some immigrant families are living in basement apartments in Rogers Park that are Tier 4, but they arrived a few years ago with nothing and still don’t have much. Or people living in Section 8 housing in Mayfair, etc. In these cases, the Tier 4 families aren’t hiring private tutors or sendinf their kids away to SAT camps in Oregon (but the Tier 2 family may be doing just that).

    Yes, (now I’m not directing this at you, but just at people I’ve heard and observed talking about this) it’s obviously pretty easy to feel like using Tiers the way CPS does make perfect sense when one lives in some parts of Lincoln Park and the Gold Coast (where by definition any family that can afford a single family home [or similar space in a condo or co-op] is ‘well off’ by just about any standard definition), especially if one grew up in the North Shore, Wayzata, Bloomfield Hills or a similar middle/upper-middle class place with good schools and surrounded by lots of adult role models. People like that rightfully feel “privileged” and can easily wonder why certain people don’t understand the obvious need for Tiers when there kids living in places like Lawndale that are suoopsed to compete with rich white kids that went to City Day, Catherine Cook or a quality public school like Lincoln or Bell, etc.

    Problem is, Tiers are so imprecise on an individual level, in terms of determining who is somehow the “right” person to get into a SEHS with lower scores or with the requirement of (much) higher scores.

    I guess what I’m trying to say id that if every Tier 4 family were upper-middle class and had all of the of advantages that come with that and every lower Tier family was “disadvantaged” on some level it would be a fairly criticism-free proposition for most people.

    But, it’s not like that, so often people are fairly justified (IMO) when they scratch their head and wonder why their kid has to get such a higher score than the kid literally accross the street sometimes in what is effectively the same neighborhood and life circumstances (that happens, especially in places like Rogers Park).

    As such, lots of Tier 4 folks (especially those that don’t have much money and live in modest circumstances without the possibilty of paying for private school or moving to a suburb with good schools) will continue complaining, especially when it seems so objectively “unfair” in many cases.

    No amount of explanation from upper-midlle-class white people in Lincoln Park is going to convince many working-class South Asian immigrants or people came to this countrynot long ago with refugee status (and not knowing English), raising their kids in cramped apartments, etc., that the Tiers system is completely fair and justified even when it hurts their kids and that if they only tried to “understand” (like all the ‘good people’ do), they’d realize how wrong they are to complain (I mean, just look at the above statistics, right?).

    BTW, the people in the above paragraph are based on actual families that I know –one with a taxi driver dad that I like and use fairly regularly and the other with a cleaning woman who comes to my house fairly often. These are not “privileged” people, their kids attend CPS schools and they’ve expressed to me thier worries over HS, since they’re somehow both in Tier 4 neighborhoods of Rogers Park.

    Now, people will say, “Well, that’s not typical.” Maybe not, but it happens enough to make some people less than thrilled about the use of Tiers.

  • 61. Pantherettie  |  January 3, 2015 at 11:34 am

    @klm – I absolutely see your point, especially given the two real life examples you have given about people in tier 4 neighborhoods who don’t have the same resources as their more affluent neighbors. I understand that personally as I live three blocks away from the POTUS and there is absolutely no way that I have anywhere near the resources of some very wealthy folks in our ‘tier 4’ neighborhood. So I think that your pointing out the disparities within tiers rather than the fact that there are significant differences between the resource opportunities between tier 1 and tier 4 neighborhoods – right?

  • 62. klm  |  January 3, 2015 at 2:24 pm



    There is a not infrequent disparity between assigned Tiers for certain individuals and their actual life circumstances (either up or down) at least in terms of when people talk and genralize about income, advantages, privilege, etc., and casually make assumptions when people discuss this stuff (e.g., all Tier 4 kids get private test prep, etc. –as if).

    Many Tier 4 families are working class people, some are even low-income enough for their kids to qualify for free or reduced lunch (look at the stats online –there are plenty of CPS Tier 4 neighborhood elementary schools with a good number of low-income kids –are those kids spending time with private tutors and at private test prep class? No way)., but there’s often a base assumption that since they’re Tier 4, they’re so much “better off” than other people, (when often they are not), so they should just count their blessings and stop whining about Tiers and about how they need lots more points to get into Lane than a family (that very well may be much better off than theirs on every level) that lives 3 blocks away, but is somehow Tier 2 because they have more rentals on their block.

    It’s that kind of stuff that I think people have a point about –they’re typically not saying that kids that live in $2.5m homes, are driven around in luxury SUVs by their nannies that are recent college grads (there are obviously some Tier 4 kids like that, but most live nothing like that kind of stereotypical lush life) and that go to Glencoe-like-achieving CPS schools like Lincoln Elementary or quality private ones like Chicago City Day shouldn’t have to score higher than a kid from Austin that went to a crap CPS school in order to get into WY or Jones. Ther’re saying: we’re not well off, we can’t afford a private school, we live in a very modest home, etc., so why do people assume we’re “advantaged” and why do our kids have to score so much higher, when we’re nothing like how people keep describing “Tier 4 families.”

  • 63. cpsobsessed  |  January 3, 2015 at 2:24 pm

    Now that I’ve had the “high school talk” with my son, I have been looking at the cutoffs (for MAP) and the rubric (I am really losing some of my obsessiveness if I’m just looking now, right??)

    Anyhow, based on the cutoffs and rubric it looks like to get into Lane (cutoff 793, I’ll say 800 to be safer) a Tier 4 kid would need:

    Scenario 1
    4 A’s
    MAP scores 83%
    SEHS exam 83%

    Scenario 2
    3 As’, 1 B
    MAP scores 87%
    SEHS exam 87%

    Am I doing something wrong? That certainly seems to allow for a “bright kid who works hard” entry into Lane Tech, no? I guess we’ll see how the actual score cutoffs fall out this year…

  • 64. cpsobsessed  |  January 3, 2015 at 2:28 pm

    @KLM and I posted at the same time – common topic about kids not getting into Lane

  • 65. cpsobsessed  |  January 3, 2015 at 2:39 pm

    @KLM, it’s kind of like how families with decent (but not super-high) household income fall into the top 10% of america households. One would imagine a life of vacations, mansions, etc if you’re in the top 10%, but by nature of income distribution, people who feel “upper middle class” are a lot better off than most of the country.

  • 66. Tacocat  |  January 3, 2015 at 3:10 pm

    @cps, how are you estimating an 800-point cutoff for Lane Tier 4 AC? Last year the cutoff was 849. Are you anticipating a sharp drop because of the change from ISAT to Map scores?

    Also, do you know when the AC cutoffs will be published?

  • 67. cpsobsessed  |  January 3, 2015 at 3:13 pm

    @Tacocat, CPS has posted revised cutoff scores, based on a projection comparing MAP scores with ISATs.

    (Although I just noticed that the CPS site says the cutoff scores will likely fall somewhere between these and last year’s high scores. So these are probably the lowest possible cutoffs)

    Click to access Revised%20cut%20scores%20for%20SEHS%20with%20NWEA%20points%20formatted_v4_kbh.pdf

    They also have a revised rubric to go with it.

    Click to access Scoring%20Rubric%20–%20Selective%20Enrollment%20HS_2014.pdf

  • 68. cpsobsessed  |  January 3, 2015 at 3:15 pm

    @Tacocat, CPS has a revised projected AC cutoff here:

    Click to access Academic%20Centers%20-%20revised%20cutoff%20scores%20using%20NWEA%20scores_v3.pdf

    Again, it’s hard to predict where these cutoffs will actually land…

  • 69. Tacocat  |  January 3, 2015 at 3:26 pm

    Thanks. But that doc says 849 for Tier 4 Lane. Where are getting 800?

  • 70. cpsobsessed  |  January 3, 2015 at 3:36 pm

    @Tacocat, I’m talking about High School, Lane Tier 4, Revised Cutoffs using NWEA. It says 793, no? I don’t see the 849.

  • 71. Tacocat  |  January 3, 2015 at 3:38 pm

    Got it. Thanks. I was confusing AC with high school. My bad.

  • 72. cpsobsessed  |  January 3, 2015 at 3:41 pm

    Ok, thanks for looking! This is exactly why I wanted to double check what I’m looking at before I say anything to my kid about whether he might be eligible for any of these schools.

  • 73. (ex) CPS Parent  |  January 3, 2015 at 4:25 pm

    @54. Chris, thanks for posting that Payton Profile! I had not seen the cover – two of those kids are at Yale – one of them is mine.

  • 74. walker  |  January 3, 2015 at 9:28 pm

    @73 I was actually surprised to see that only a few students got into Yale, Harvard, and Stanford. Why is that? Can you please share your insight? Thanks.

  • 75. HS Mom  |  January 3, 2015 at 10:17 pm

    So if the tier 4 cut off for Lane last year was 836 this translates to roughly 800 with NWEA. Still says the same thing…..tier 4 will need to test high to get into the lowest entry school on the northside.

    I’m hearing what everyone is saying about the mission of the tier system and agree that it’s a good one. Some schools need to have lower scores to fill seats and to service their neighborhoods. These schools serve a function and provide a top education with all the depth that selective schools have. This is exactly what’s lacking on the northside and other areas of the city as well.

    If we say approx 25% of tier 1 applicants score above 650 and get offers and you believe that 650 is average then tier 1 students are being served. Really, I wish more kids did score higher (and I acknowledge that some T1 kids knock the socks off the test/system) If, approximately 60% of tier 4 applicants do not get offers and a good share of those kids score over 650 then they are not getting the same opportunity – whether they drive around in a luxury SUV or drive taxi’s. It just shouldn’t matter when it comes to education.

    It seems simple to me – yet I know it’s not. We have 2 good examples (and there’s more) of schools – Bell, Coonley – that have a regular and selective program. People are happy to attend either program because the school overall services everyone. Why can’t we install as many selective HS’s as we need – like the new Hancock model?

    Maybe then we can stop talking about who’s getting the better deal, bigger share, racism etc.

  • 76. cpsobsessed  |  January 4, 2015 at 12:16 am

    @hs mom, but if 40 percent of tier 4 kids currently get an offer, expanding beyond that isn’t really being “selective” is it? Being in the 50th percentile for tier 4 can be a semi-slacker kid I’d think.

    It seems like the neighborhood IB programs and AP classes (which could expand to fill the need) (or AP track) would replicate the coonley/bell plan (of course the very top kids would be skimmed off for the SEHS.)

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 77. HS Mom  |  January 4, 2015 at 1:26 am

    That’s 40% of applicants. A large number of qualified applicants of all tiers do not get offers. Where do you draw the line and why should that be different for certain kids and not others.

  • 78. (ex) CPS Parent  |  January 4, 2015 at 9:50 am

    74. walker The simple answer is – because it’s very hard to get in.

    It’s basically the kids who never had less than an “A” since kindergarten, maxed out all standardized tests, scored all 5’s on AP tests, 800’s on all SAT2’s etc. AND were genuinely involved with a couple of the same extracurriculars for several years. Having said that, you could argue that there are an unusually high number of kids going to these schools. The vast majority of high schools in the US almost never or never send kids to the top 3-5 universities. Payton routinely sends a couple, some years a handful to Yale alone. A kid who makes it into a top SEHS school is not by default top 5 university material.

  • 79. klm  |  January 4, 2015 at 9:52 am


    When one looks at how crazy difficult it is to get into those kinds of colleges, those stats are actually quite impressive.

    Most just plain smart kids are never, ever going to get into Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford, Columbia, Amherst, etc. —those schools have way, way, way more qualified applicants than spaces. Without some special “hook” even kids who score 33, 34, 35 or even 36 on the ACT are just another “same old, same old,…yawn –we have enough of those already” applicant for which there are tons (relatively-speaking) of academically “qualified” kids than actual spots. So, wiith nothing to really add to the “diverse, representative, well-rounded” (in terms of athletics [world-class], geography, race, ethnicity, leadership, muscal ability/accomplishment [world-class], etc..) freshman class that those schools want, etc. Even a braniac with a 34 ACT is likely going to be rejected, unless s/he is Class President and also captain of the soccer team and also all-state in that sport while startng a league for underpivileged kids in their spare time and bagging goceries at Jewell part-time, while also volunteering on week-ends at PAWS. And even then, they will likely be rejected by Harvard.

    Accordingly, I’m personally totally impressed by which colleges and in what numbers those kids are admitted/marticulate. It’s really an awesome result, IMO.

  • 80. HS Thoughts  |  January 4, 2015 at 10:47 am

    I am also very impressed. The lists of schools were incredible! I don’t want to get anyone fired up, but I wonder if there is different criteria for students from large urban districts instead of, let’s say, New Trier. I have a student (SEHS) who was accepted to an Ivy. He scored 33 on his ACT and had a good, 4.6 weighted, GPA. Compare this to data on the Naviance site which records this particular Ivy’s average accepted GPA of 5.7 and ACT of 35. Knowing his app, I knew there were not many extra curriculars. This student belongs at this school. He is thriving. I think that his attendance at a CPS HS gave him a leg up on admissions and it was well deserved. That being said, I personally know a child at a high performing Suburban HS who had higher scores/gpa and a fine list of extra curriculars but did not get admitted to a single Ivy.

  • 81. klm  |  January 4, 2015 at 12:15 pm


    The “big” variable is race and ethnicity. Payton has lots of smart underrepresented minority kids who get into Ivies since their race and ethnicity fits nicely with the goals of those schools to have an undergraduate population refelective of the country’s demographics.. New Trier does not. In terms of who gets into Harvard, Princeton or Yale or not, it makes a huge difference. the New Trier kids will be compared with other upper-middle-class+ white kids who have had every advantage in life, so that’s the niche that they’ll have to compete within (including with kids that grew up in Greenwich and the Upper East side and went to Groton and Exeter, etc.). Ivies already have enough of those kinds of kids –some say “too many.”

    I looked online at New Trier’s newspaper where it states at the end of the year where every graduating senior was going to college. Lots of impressive schools, but not a single one going to Harvard. If not even a single student in the 1,000+ graduating class at New Trier can get into Harvard, you know it’s next to impossible and not something people should plan out as likely.

    Again, given this context, Payton’s college roll call is impressive (even if it is helped by having so many ‘hooked’ candidates).

    I recall reading a blog from an anonymous college counselor at a Big Name private school. She said that lots of schools are having a hard time getting even a single student into Harvard or Yale, some years. The students and faculty aren’t bothered so much, since they know how tough/crazy/hopeless/random it is now, not necessarily a bad reflection of the school. However, it was/is upsetting parents (who pay a fortune in tuition) and alumni (who don’t seem to realize how crazy admissions has become since they graduated in the 60s, 70s and 80s), who seem to think that these kinds of stats are lowering the schools’ status. So, lots of private schools are recruiting and giving scholarships to smart “hooked” students (underrepresented minorities and/or national-class athletes), since they know that these are the students that will have the best chances of getting into Ivies and increasing the admit numbers to those kinds of schools. This in order to make parents and alumni feel better and be happy and make potential applicants’ parents happy (and willing to pay $35-45k/year) in tuition and keep alumni feeling good enough to keep on giving.

    It’s crazy out there, in terms of competetive college admissions!

  • 82. (ex) CPS Parent  |  January 4, 2015 at 12:31 pm

    Very few Payton minorities make it into Yale – much lower than the percentage at Payton. The top east coast boarding schools admit large numbers of kids into the ivies routinely – a good number of those kids are “scholarship” kids. Payton is similar to their admit rate into Yale. Yale seems to be a good fit for Payton kids. The vibe is similar in my opinion.

  • 83. HS Mom  |  January 4, 2015 at 12:48 pm

    @80 There must have been something that stood out about your son in their mind. With similar scores, we did not get into a “near” ivy school which was considered a reach at this level. The school we eventually selected offered a generous scholarship that I believe was in part a result of a connection that developed through interviews and participation in events. I do believe that living in the city is part of that connection.

    I’m sure your son well deserves his seat…..well done! Consider too that sometimes there’s just a randomness factor involved. Count your blessings, but in general, I don’t think it’s a formula that can be counted on being replicated.

  • 84. cpsobsessed  |  January 4, 2015 at 1:30 pm

    Wow, I am surprised too about the lack of New Trier / Harvard matchups. I know what you all say makes pefects sense, but I still envision many of those kids heading to the very top schools in the country.

    Keep in mind the CPS numbers were over 4 years, I think, so if looking at New Trier over 4 years I imagine there’d be a kid or 2 in there.

    As others have reported here, the Ivies also don’t want all their students coming from the same 20 schools, so it’s highly unlikely that more than a student or 2 would get in from any one school, no matter how high-scoring the student body is.

  • 85. cpsobsessed  |  January 4, 2015 at 1:32 pm

    Anecdotelly, my friend’s son from Evanston who is the highest over-achiever I know is headed to Michigan. My neighbor who went to private elem in chicago, then NSCP went to U of I (father went to Harvard.)

    There are many reasons for choosing the schools that kids do.

  • 86. cpsobsessed  |  January 4, 2015 at 1:36 pm

    Hey, back to my discussion of the % of kids per Tier who get in each school. I realized that I have been sort of inaccurately categorizing the kids as though ALL kids apply to SEHS, which they do not. About half do.

    So if 25% of Tier 1 kids get into an SEHS, that is 25% of 50%.
    So the top 12.5% of Tier 1 kids get SEHS placement.

    Assuming half of Tier 4 kids apply (it could likely be higher) then 43% of 50% then the top 21% of Tier 4 kids get placement. (I was incorrectly stating that almost half of Tier 4 kids get in, but it’s half of those who APPLY.)

    I guess my question is whether offering more than 21% of Tier 4 kids a spot is going beyond “selective” – whether those kids could be served with accelerated curriculum in neighborhood schools…

  • 87. Robin in WRP  |  January 4, 2015 at 2:35 pm

    My daughter’s class at Whitney had two (women) go to Harvard. One on an academic scholarship; the other on a hockey scholarship.

  • 88. pantherettie  |  January 4, 2015 at 3:35 pm

    @CPSO – I think that a strong neighborhood school should be able to provide an honors/AP curriculum to meet the needs of smart – but not ‘gifted’ kids. I don’t think that we’re living in Lake Wobegone (where all of the kids are not only above average but gifted). I think that the Northside SEHS have become de facto “gifted only” schools because of the near perfection admission scores. In my perfect world there could be gifted schools for kids who want and need those types of schools and the typical neighborhood schools had opportunities for smart and motivated ( but not gifted) kids to have a rigorous but balanced high school experience. Unfortunately, CPS has decided that they would rather create specialized schools.

  • 89. edgewatermom  |  January 4, 2015 at 5:08 pm


    …In my perfect world there could be gifted schools for kids who want and need those types of schools and the typical neighborhood schools had opportunities for smart and motivated ( but not gifted) kids to have a rigorous but balanced high school experience….

    I think that some of the neighborhood schools are beginning to offer something like this with their IB/Honors programs (Lincoln park, Lakeview, Senn) However, I think that the mindset of SEHS being the ONLY option for bright kids in Chicago persists. Until people are willing to consider these as good options for their kids, things will not change.

    It is difficult though because it still feels like a bit of a gamble. Nobody wants to gamble with their kid’s education.

  • 90. klm  |  January 4, 2015 at 5:27 pm


    In a perfect world, I’d agree with you.

    Thing is, we don’t live in a perfect world. It wasn’t that long ago that CPS was mostly a no-way-in-hell proposition for most middle-class people, especially for HS. Yes, there was Lane, then WY in the mid- 70s.

    But, with (few) some exceptioms, how many people with options chose CPS?

    I think CPS had to create “specialized” (a/k/a SE) HSs in order to convince middle-class (and working-class) people that care about achievement levels that they didn’t need to send their kids to parochial/private school or move to the suburbs, given how genuinely horrible neighborhood CPS HSs had become, perception-wise (and, let’s face it, reality-wise). Anybody want to discuss what Waller HS was like before it became Lincoln Park HS (which in turn only was ‘changed’ b/c of SE IB)?

    I know that people (me too) are upset that Rauner seemed to “back deal” his kid’s way into Payton. However, the fact that a multi-millionaire living in Winnetka (where his kid was guaranteed a place at one of the best HSs in the country) and that could have easily used his influence, wealth and connections (a la Emanuel) to get her into Lab or Latin or I’m sure any number of Name East Coast prep schools, instead had her enroll at a CPS HS, says a lot.

    So the offspring of a super wealthy businessman from the North Shore wanting to use his Chicago condo address to get into a Chicago Public School for HS? That would have been science fiction not long ago.

    I’m not saying that we need rich kids in a HS to make it “good,” just that it’s remarkable how much things have changed.

    And I’m pretty much 100% sure that things would not moved in the positive direction that they have if CPS had simply tried to incrementally “improve” neighborhood CPS HSs. I mean, Rauner’s condo is zoned for Wells HS. No amount of trying is going to get people with real money and options to send their kids there (no offense to Wells, it’s just plain true).

  • 91. cpsobsessed  |  January 4, 2015 at 6:24 pm

    CPS OAE kindly suggested that I submit a FOIA request to find out the # of actual students who applied to SEHS and ACs last year. I have submitted my first FOIA request… will see how this goes.

  • 92. cpsobsessed  |  January 4, 2015 at 6:26 pm

    “It is difficult though because it still feels like a bit of a gamble. Nobody wants to gamble with their kid’s education”

    This is the big sticking point to overcome… and what I’m hoping we can help the neighborhood schools figure out… how to get people past the feelings of gambling.

  • 93. cpsobsessed  |  January 4, 2015 at 6:26 pm

    FYI, the FOIA form asks if you’re a member of the media.
    Um…. sort of???

  • 94. HS Mom  |  January 4, 2015 at 8:30 pm

    @90 – FYI the Rauner situation situation happened years ago – pre Emanuel and pre tiers – back when admissions were race/sex based and an abundance of “discretion” in the process. Back then, white girls had to score the highest to get in and there was always the “principal pick” option. A Chicago address anywhere was all that was needed.

    The list of schools that people consider “no way in hell” is extensive and throughout the whole city. I certainly feel that way about mine. There’s a need for something more than offering IB and or A/P classes.

  • 95. cpsobsessed  |  January 4, 2015 at 9:01 pm

    @HSmom – more meaning….?

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 96. (ex) CPS Parent  |  January 4, 2015 at 9:36 pm

    @95 For me “more” is more charter schools. This problem is structurally solved – the city just needs more charter high schools.

  • 97. pantherettie  |  January 5, 2015 at 7:11 am

    I think that there are neighborhood schools that have been providing “more” than AP/IB classes for years. I’m thinking LPHS on the northside and Kenwood on the south side have been very strong and pretty well balanced neighborhood schools for decades. There programs are not new and I think they could (and should) be replicated in other neighborhood schools successfully. That’s not to say that there are not some total failure high schools out there, it’s just that there *is* a model for how balanced neighborhood schools can work and there is a history of these schools successfully educating kids. It’s just that CPS decided to put resources in creating more specialized schools (SEHS). I think that issue is ( as someone else already said) that there is this widespread concept of “SEHS only” – which isn’t healthy for kids or for us “obsessed” parents. Then it gets even worse when it becomes “the *best* SEHS only” mentality.

  • 98. @pantheretti  |  January 5, 2015 at 8:48 am

    Good point! I have a son in Kenwood’s AC in 7th grade (oldest already in SEHS) and have already decided to leave him there! Kenwood has just as many AP and honors classes as the SE schools. They also have dual enrollment at U of C or one of the City colleges during the school week for the academic center students that stay at Kenwood starting Junior year! I think Kenwood is a perfect blend of everything and a great model for all schools. If it turns out my son “sucks” at math (and it’s looking like that) I can always opt for a “regular level class” if need be. I am not stressed out about the 7th grade grades and just tell my son to do his best because I know it must be daunting for a 12 year to be in a HS setting. I will still have him take the SE test but won’t be sweating because he will be attending Kenwood for HS, which isn’t my neighborhood school!

  • 99. 8th Mom  |  January 5, 2015 at 9:05 am

    Anybody else feeling like CPS’ projected cutoff scores for SEHS this year are low? I could very well be wrong, and I’m sure they have data to back up these estimates, but the total scores, (for those revealing them) I’m hearing from current 8th grade families sound near the scores from previous years.

  • 100. @99  |  January 5, 2015 at 9:17 am

    One of my friends kids did the early testing and has 896/900. The 4 point loss was on the NWEA scores. First choice is WY!

  • 101. CPS IG Report  |  January 5, 2015 at 9:31 am

    Look at what the IG caught on abuse of SE admissions

  • 103. cpsobsessed  |  January 5, 2015 at 9:33 am

    I too thought they seemed low, but cps makes a point of saying they are likely low because the kids did not consider MAP a “high stakes” test when they took it, thus the readjustment is probably lower than the reality will be.

    On the other hand I don’t know if judging by the very top kids is a good indicator though. As we know, the people who report in here tend to have very high-scoring kids — and these kids may continue to hit those top scores no matter what test they take.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 104. Robin in WRP  |  January 5, 2015 at 9:42 am

    There is zero evidence, in Chicago and nationally, that charter schools perform (on average), better than public schools. Add to that, their special ed exemptions, and they likely perform lower. Illinois only requires that 2/3 of charter school teachers at each school be qualified to teach.

  • 105. 8th Mom  |  January 5, 2015 at 9:49 am

    And thus I wonder if the Tier 4 scores will drop to CPS’ predicted level? We’ll know in March, that’s for certain.

  • 106. cpsobsessed  |  January 5, 2015 at 9:58 am

    @CPS IG report – wow, thanks for the link. Sad how undersourced they are.
    I can’t believe cps employees lied about their addresses of all people. Glad to see the IG actually took action on these few cases.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 107. Yon  |  January 5, 2015 at 10:04 am

    A significant number of students at the top schools never even took the Map because they came from private schools. The adjusted cutoffs for at least the rank and tier 4 scores will certainly increase at maybe the top 5 schools now that private school students are required to take the Map.

  • 108. Take 5: Catching up on the news | Chicago Activism  |  January 5, 2015 at 10:21 am

    […] last week, published data showing that 44 percent of the students admitted to Jones this year were from the highest income of the four tiers that make up the […]

  • 109. Newcomer  |  January 5, 2015 at 10:55 am

    Ah, so the adjusted cutoff range is based on CPS students only? Not taking into account the private kids’ MAP scores?

  • 110. Yon  |  January 5, 2015 at 10:58 am

    That’s what I’m assuming. Private school students did not take the MAP.

  • 111. Newcomer  |  January 5, 2015 at 10:59 am

    That seems ….. careless and irresponsible of the OAE. Unless the private school applicant base is insignificantly small. Why publish surmised adjusted cutoff scores, anyway? It will only get people’s hopes up.

  • 112. 8th Mom  |  January 5, 2015 at 11:09 am

    Private school current 8th graders took the MAPs this Fall for the SEHS entrance scoring. It was required by CPS. But, their scores would not, no, could not have been considered by CPS when they published those adjusted cutoffs. I know a lot of people took those adjusted lower scores to heart. Could be a new kind of March Madness in Chicago this year.

  • 113. Newcomer  |  January 5, 2015 at 11:18 am

    So I guess the big question is: How many of the Rank admittances are from private schools? If it’s more than 50%, then the cutoff scores should stay pretty consistent with last year. But wouldn’t the OAE know that??

  • 114. Yon  |  January 5, 2015 at 11:20 am

    And that is significant because I remember reading a report that as much as 30% of the freshman class at some of the top schools come from private elementary schools.

  • 115. 8th Mom  |  January 5, 2015 at 11:28 am

    If I remember right, which is always questionable, CPS does not share the data on private verses public on who gets in to SEHS. Has anyone ever seen this data?

  • 116. cpsobsessed  |  January 5, 2015 at 11:48 am

    There was an NPR story a couple years ago about the percent of kids at sehs from private schools. Didn’t break it out by school, but one would imagine it is skewed towards pnjy (and now maybe lane too.)

    I’ll try to find the link to the story.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 117. CPS IG Report  |  January 5, 2015 at 11:58 am

    here is the full IG report

    Click to access cps-inspector-general-2014-report.pdf

  • 118. cpsobsessed  |  January 5, 2015 at 12:21 pm

    @newcomer – cps simply took the map scores of the kids they had and made a converted score. They acknowledge on the site that the final scores will likely be between these “low scores” and last year’s high scores – so I think they’ve given a decent caveat.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 119. ELT  |  January 5, 2015 at 12:41 pm

    @116 CPSOB: Here’s the link:

  • 120. cpsobsessed  |  January 5, 2015 at 12:45 pm


    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 121. Chris  |  January 5, 2015 at 1:08 pm

    Walker: “@73 I was actually surprised to see that only a few students got into Yale, Harvard, and Stanford.”

    The numbers for Payton are (I’m *nearly* certain) the numbers actually enrolling in the schools–thus, can’t compare directly to the NSCP numbers.

  • 122. Newcomer  |  January 5, 2015 at 1:10 pm

    I did hear that four Payton students just got into Yale on early admission. Would be interesting to see the whole list of early admin success across the SEHS schools.

  • 123. Chris  |  January 5, 2015 at 1:32 pm

    “as much as 30% of the freshman class at some of the top schools come from private elementary schools.”

    And those are, of course, kids who come from all 4 tiers–if I were definitely sending my kids to private school thru at least 8th grade, I’d seriously contemplate living in a (cheaper) not-T4 neighborhood.

  • 124. otdad  |  January 5, 2015 at 1:43 pm

    @97. pantherettie:
    ” I think that issue is ( as someone else already said) that there is this widespread concept of “SEHS only” – which isn’t healthy for kids or for us “obsessed” parents. Then it gets even worse when it becomes “the *best* SEHS only” mentality.”

    Probably parents are just being realistic. Only about 10% of Chicago high school students are college ready(know basics), that’s a pathetic percentage. I think 80% of the students are just “don’t care”. As the “obsessed” parents, we want our kids to stay as far away as possible from those “don’t care” crowd.

    The real issue here is the anti-intellectualism culture. With so many people “don’t care”, funding/charter school……or whatever helps little. The bigger part of the problem is the students themselves.

  • 125. klm  |  January 5, 2015 at 2:06 pm


    I’ve made this point before, but I’ll make it again.

    There are private schools (St. Whoever parochial school filled with lots of working-class and low-income kids whose parents pay what they can in order to keep their kids out of a CPS failure factory where the local gangbangers go and that you or I would never considergood enough for our kids, either [for no other reason than public safety issues]).

    Then there are PRIVATE($$) SCHOOLS (Latin, Lab, City Day, Sacred Heart, Chicago Grammar,…. et. al.) where well-off families send their kids when they don’t want to deal with CPS or feel happy/able to just simply pay $18-35k per child for a good education.

    They are NOT NOT NOT (I guess you get where I’m going) the same thing.

    Lots of Chicagoans whose kids go/went to small-p private schools are not the kind of Big-P Private School, privileged, moneyed I-can-just-buy-my-kids-a-good-education-and-if-CPS-will-give-it-to-me-for-free-after-8th-grade-then-why-not-and-take-the-place-of-another-CPSK8-kid-with-less-options people that seems to be suggested here.

    If somebody’s talking about “public” vs. “private” there needs to be context, at least if somebody’s trying to suggest who is more deserving of places at a CPS SEHS. Private schools like Cristo Reyes (and the similar K-8 parochial ones) serve mostly poor families and are effectively charities in many cases. Some CPS schools like Lincoln, Bell, etc,, are filled with the offspring of professionals with impressive degrees and high incomes that drive Range Rovers, Volvo XC90s and Mercedes ML350s to their cottages in Michigan (for real –there are plenty of people exactly like that at my kids’ CPS schools, just like there are plenty of low-income Hispanic kids at parochial schools whose parents can’t even speak English well enough to get a higher-paying job).

    I guess what I’m trying to ask is, “Who cares if kids went to private school before attending a CPS SEHS and why does it matter?”

    Again, I’d bet really good money that the kind of “private school” kids going on to CPS SEHSs are more kids from “regular” families that went to parochial school, rather that partners at Sidley Austin who sent their kids to Sacred Heart or City Day.

    As long as a person is a legal resident of Chicago, they are entitles to a public education. Period.

    Why is it an issue, other than wondering if they are admitted using a different strandard/test (which has now been resolved by CPS)?

  • 126. HSObsessed  |  January 5, 2015 at 2:28 pm

    I found the link to the 2013 Northside graduates’ accepted and enrolled colleges list @53 from Chris very interesting, especially in terms of where kids actually enrolled. There were a few enrollments at places like Stanford, Yale and Princeton, but many others at colleges that are relatively easy to get into, including UIC, U. Iowa, Northeastern Illinois U, NIU, Illinois Wesleyan. These are all solid schools that offer good educations as far as I know, and as was said in the thread by someone else, many factors go into deciding on where a kid enrolls in college based on finances, logistics, etc etc. I’m just surprised to see so many go to colleges with far lower standards of admission, given that Northside graduates have an average ACT score of 30.

  • 127. Newcomer  |  January 5, 2015 at 2:53 pm

    @klm My point about private school admissions numbers was related to the estimated SEHS cutoff scores for this year. I wanted to know if CPS jumped the gun in sending out their score projections since they didn’t have the private scores in, or if it was really relevant.. Other than that, no of course it shouldn’t matter, residents of chicago should be able to apply where they want. I will say that having multiple kids in private schools is onerous for everyone but a select few, so being able to funnel one’s 9th grader into CPS while the younger ones continue at private (until 8th grade) is necessary for some people.
    I am surprised that Jewish school is never mentioned in the discussion of CPS vs parochial vs Latin/ Lab etc. There are three k-8 jewish schools in Chicago which all send their 8th graders to top high schools. There are two Jewish high schools that cater to city kids (as well as suburban) which send their graduates to great universities. And they do give financial aid to those who need it.

  • 128. @126  |  January 5, 2015 at 2:57 pm

    I bet it has to do with going were you get a “free ride” vs having to pay half, some or any money at all!

  • 129. HSObsessed  |  January 5, 2015 at 2:58 pm

    Thanks for providing this interesting data, BTW. I also want to add that I think maybe we should think about the “Acceptance Rate among Tier 4 kids (as a % of applications)” that you list in a different way. Given that the number includes any applicant that listed the school as any of 6 choices, the schools with lower cut off scores likely have much higher acceptance rates than seems to be reflected here.

    As an example, King’s stated acceptance rate for Tier 4 kids is listed as 24% because 127 of 523 Tier 4 applicants were offered a spot at King. However, the 24% is only accurate if all 523 ranked King as their #1 choice, which is unlikely. It’s more likely that many of the 523 applicants listed King as their #2, #3, #4 or lower choice, and they received offers from other schools that actually had higher cut offs, thus giving King no chance to make them an offer.

  • 130. (ex) CPS Parent  |  January 5, 2015 at 3:03 pm

    Where kids from the “top” SEHS’s end up is complicated – not an just an ability vs. university rank rubric. Finances are an issue, travel distance (some families just won’t consider out-of-state). For Hispanic girls, daddy won’t let her leave the house – a real problem for many well qualified and smart girls from traditional families and that Payton tries to address with Spanish language counselling meetings with students and their parents.

  • 131. HSObsessed  |  January 5, 2015 at 3:03 pm

    @128 – That’s true. I heard recently for the first time at a college information night that some private colleges with lower admission standards “buy kids” (the presenters’ words!) with higher scores with offers of free rides, to boost their statistics. I went to a state university with $0 scholarships; I had no idea. Of course, tuition was $1,000 per semester back then, LOL. I’m having total sticker shock at the prices nowadays.

  • 132. (ex) CPS Parent  |  January 5, 2015 at 3:13 pm

    Since I’m speaking to a receptive audience – when you do become part of good CPS high school community donate whatever you can to the “Friends of” organization. The dollars you give, which buys the computers for the school, more importantly, frees up money so that the additional guidance counselor can be hired so that it frees up time to have the meeting with Hispanic parents so that the really smart girl can go to Vassar (where she got a full ride but her father was reluctant to let her go) and she becomes the first Latino president of the country. See how that works?

  • 133. 3rd grade - neighborhood school parent  |  January 5, 2015 at 4:04 pm

    130 et al,
    That’s true and also is similar to SEHS enrollment decisioning. Some kids receive acceptances to SEHS but don’t end up enrolling because of after-school jobs, family needs/priorities, concerns about leaving a neighborhood, commuting challenges. And sometimes this decision-making impacts where a student applies for HS. I see this at our neighborhood elementary school… prospective parents are interested in the ‘track record’ of where grads go – but the back stories to the stats are important.

  • 134. Chris  |  January 5, 2015 at 6:26 pm

    128: “I bet it has to do with going were you get a “free ride” vs having to pay half, some or any money at all!”

    Yes, of course it does. HUGE amounts. Also relevant: application fees–fee waivers seem to be fairly limited, and if your kid is borderline for [College Tier X], it’s tough to fork over $60-$100 times 10 for reach schools–even if any of them might cost less than Directional State, after financial aid. I know that affected how many schools I applied to 25+ years ago.

    And if you only apply to *one* reach school, your chance of getting in to *A* reach school diminishes a lot compared to applying to 10 reach schools. If *every* NSCP senior applied to all of the “top 20” (however defined) schools, you’d see a lot more acceptances.

    131: “I heard recently for the first time at a college information night that some private colleges with lower admission standards “buy kids””

    That, too, happened 25 years ago–I had *many* friends who chose School X because it was free (or close to it) over even bothering applying to others–many of them were faculty/staff kids at a local, small, private college, and some could have gone almost wherever (for “wherever = one of various ‘top 10’ schools”).

    Public schools do it, too, with some scholarships, and honors colleges and stuff like that.

  • 135. HSObsessed  |  January 5, 2015 at 7:55 pm

    @134 – I’m first generation to go to college in my family, so I had no information, no insight, and no help from any school counselor that I can remember. My blue-collar, immigrant parents could never have afforded most private college’s tuition and I had no clue that private colleges reduce tuition for lower-income students, so I didn’t consider it a viable option, in spite of strong grades and test scores.

  • 136. HS Mom  |  January 5, 2015 at 9:12 pm

    Regarding college choices – The money is a big thing. A couple kids I know going to UIC from elite SEHS’s were recruited. One was given a scholarship (which UIUC was not able to provide) plus he works as a TA. He has a number of AP credits and plans to get 2 degrees within 3 years. The other one, a top ranked student, is planning on med school.

    And, lastly, many kids apply to top tier schools but really pick the wrong ones – either they can’t get in or they can’t afford it.

  • 137. Robin in WRP  |  January 6, 2015 at 7:06 am

    @HSObsessed – The big ten schools offer great financial aid packages to the top (30%?) graduates of the selective enrollment schools. My daughter was offered nearly identical packages from Illinois, Minnesota and Mizzou. I’ve heard this from other parents, including UT-Austin and UW-Madison

  • 138. Robin in WRP  |  January 6, 2015 at 7:14 am

    The trend, sadly, is for many private universities to give admission preference to those who can afford the school;George Washington seems to have started this trend. My daughter spent her freshman year at American; despite being on the dean’s list, her aid was cut for her second year (fortunately, we were prepared; she had reapplied to Illinois, and they give her a fantastic aid package)

  • 139. HS Mom  |  January 6, 2015 at 8:24 am

    137/138 – Interesting that our experience was exactly the opposite. Mizzou and Iowa offered some attractive packages. Illinois offered nothing or very little. In fact they went so far as to send a letter retracting their small scholarship because they didn’t have the money!! Privates on the other hand had nice, real 4 year scholarships. We applied to 4 universities and 4 private colleges and it came down to a choice between 2.

    A friend of mine went through the “40 Colleges That Change Lives” book and applied to 10 of those schools. Lots of great offers with 4 year scholarships, wound up at Denison.

  • 140. klm  |  January 6, 2015 at 8:44 am

    re: Where CPS kids go to college

    I think one thing to keep in mind is WHAT kids are studying and its role in where they go to college.

    For example, if one wants to go into computer (or any other) engineering or computer schiece, then have a career in Silicon Valley or another hotbed of computer geekism, then UIUC is one of the very best places, not just in the country, but the world. And its graduates get great jobs with some of the highest starting salaries in the country.

    Michigan’s engineering program is also world-class with plenty of employers from all over the country scrambling to hire its graduates.

    I could see a student that wants to go into engineering picking UIUC or Michigan over, say, Georgetown, Middlebury, Haverford, etc.

    So, some people might wonder why a student with a 33 ACT, high GPAS, etc., is goiung to UIUC instad of a more “prestige” school, but in terms of engineering prestige, UIUC’s right up there (and its average ACT score [32+] reflects this.

    Now, if somebody wants to major in English and move to New York after college and get an entree-level editing job at a prestige publication or publishing company, Gergetown, Middlebury or Haverford might impress some Ivied managers who are into that whole East Coast if-you’re-smart-and-ambitious-you-go-to-a-name-college/if-you’re-not-you-go to-a-lower-level-college, then a degree from the University of illinois may not be as valuable.

    I recall a big sort of “top graduatring area seniors” article in the Sun Times or Trib a few years back. The kids all had 36s and 35s on the ACT (or similar SAT scores). While many were going on to Harvard, Stanford, the University of Chicago, etc., quite a few were going on to UIUC (many to study engineering) –one was going to Michigan State to study science (likely on a full-ride).

    Also, as we’ve discussed, if a student is really smart (34-36 ACT) but not really “well-rounded” in terms of extra-curriculars, leadership, community involvement (i.e., like most teens), they’re not going to get into an Ivy where they want smart kids like that (high test scores) AND the kinds of personal qualities that make one “most likely to succeed” (i.e., popular with peers, etc.) and/or really awesome in a sport. For many nerdy, computer science-loving, quiet (one of my kids is just like that –really smart, but never happier than staying home reading or figuring out computer programing and with absolutely no interst in sports or creating a large circle of friends) getting into an Ivy will be difficult, but the engineering schools at Michigan or UIUC (where they care more about academic skills than some sort of undefined ‘personal quality’) are a perfect match.

    Actually, if one’s an engineer, Illinois and Michigan ARE Prestige Name Schools –much more than Middlebury (where’s THAT school?) or Vassar.

  • 141. HS Mom  |  January 6, 2015 at 8:56 am

    @95 – CPSO – I guess I should say “different” not “better”. We do have a couple great models and I certainly understand the value of IB. It seems to me that IB is more of a “niche” and LP has been able to do it right by taking it to a whole different level and using IB as an anchor to elevate their other programs. Like I said, this is great. Thinking about this as I would/have for my own child, I have no interest in my own neighborhood school. The only thing that would attract me to another neighborhood school is something stellar like LP’s IB program. LP’s IB is just as hard if not harder to get into than SE.

    There are now a bunch of different IB schools/programs with not so much demand for IB. There seems to be much more demand for a broader college prep experience that would fill the needs of kids who need to work to do well academically along with smart and gifted kids. Not to mention, as illustrated above, the many kids who are challenged in one area. This is why you have the “It’s selective enrollment or nothing” attitude……..because that’s how people feel! Including myself. If selective enrollment programs were added to existing schools people would come. They’d still all want to get into certain schools (at first anyway) but so what. My plan B is someones plan A.

  • 142. Robin in WRP  |  January 6, 2015 at 9:55 am

    HS Mom – There are many other factors, such as when you file your FAFSA, are you applying to specific programs, etc. I know there were kids who were offered more money from Mizzou and Minnesota than Illinois; my daughters offers from the three were fairly identical, with scholarships and grants covering 85-90%

  • […] SEHS offers by Tier (for kids that are currently freshmen) CPS Obsessed: Tier 4 kids continue to get roughly twice as many seats as Tier 1 kids.  At PNJY, Tier 4 kids comprise 42% of the freshman class. Whitney young had the most applications overall Lane had the most Tier 4 applications. [144 comments!] […]

  • 144. klm  |  January 6, 2015 at 10:10 am


    What you say is so true.

    Thing is, going along with your points, there are plenty of CPS open-enrollment neighborhood elementaries that provide just as good or even better results (in terms of achievement, test scores and preparation for a rigorous college-prep curriculum in HS) than schools in the (typically affluent) suburbs with “good” public schools. People are happy to send their kids to these schools, since they know that their kids are getting the kind of public education normally reserved for kids in Northbrook, Lake Forest, Hinsdale, Deerfield, etc. (where the public schools are so good, most people don’t even bother with private ones, no matter how much money they have).

    However, when it come to HS, there is such an enormous gap between open-enrollment CPS HSs and open-enrollment suburban HSs. And it’s not just a big one, but one that seems to indicate a difference of several years in average achievement. That where the SE-or-nothing feelings come in.

    Yes, LPHS is now considered OK by some (but by no means all) of the neighborhood families that would otherwise go private or move to Wilmette or Burr Ridge for HS, but that’s only because of selective IB and the “honors” programs that are directly related. If LPHS simply was the kind of school it was before (an open-enrollment neighborhood CPS HS) then with some AP classes and IB later offered to make it “better,” it would still be a no-way-in-hell place for most middle-class families in the neighborhood (i.e., the feeder school for Cabrini Green –a bastion of anti-social, dysfunctional behavior — complete with gangs, violence, sexual assaults int the bathrooms [it happened], etc.).

    If CPS HSs want to attract more people who otherwise would never consider a neighborhood CPS one, they need to have some kind of suburban-like or CPSSE-like quality “school within a school” (again, like LPHS). Otherwise, people don’t want their kids to be taking civics, English and science classes with kids who are, on average, 4 grades behind, when if they lived in Buffalo Grove, their kids would be sitting with kids that are, on average, 1 or 2 grades ahead. And I know it’s exagerated and not really fair to explain it that way, bit it’s the perception that exisits –and test scores don’t lie.

    I will also say this. I’ve been inside and observed some classes at CPS HSs like Wells. Wells, despite its reputaion, was clean, orderly and had some truly awesome teachers that really cared and made sure that the kids were learning. I sat in a pre-calc class and was impressed. The teacher was a gem and the students were engaged and seemed happy to learn. However, given its rock-bottom test scores and all the bad stuff that happens outside of school with too many of its students (i.e., gangs and teen parenthood), I still would not my kids going there. It’s not a snob thing, it’s a not-putting-my-kids-in-an-environment-where-too-many-fail-in-life thing.

    The days of teachers reading newspapers instead of teaching and counting the years until their pension are over. There are wonderful, motivated teachers in CPS that WANT to be teachers, not just have a paycheck and health insurance with summers off. There are now bright, motivated people who went o Name Colleges that go into teaching instead of investment banking and many work in urban public schools (I know that it’s not a pro-typical ‘urban public school,’ but i know of 2 teachers at Payton with undergraduate degrees from Harvard, for example. One of my neighbors went to Northwestern and she’s a CPS teacher, ….these are people with many options in life but they chose to be educators in CPS).

    However, even with all that, way too many CPS HSs seem to have students that are way underperforming, relative to their middle-class suburban peers. That’s the issue. It’s nice that some HSs offer AP classes, but it doen’t mean much if hardly anybody’s getting a 3 on them, never mind a 4 or 5. Oh yeah, and every once in a while a student gets shot dead at a party where the guests are mainly other students from his/her school.

  • 145. cpsobsessed  |  January 6, 2015 at 11:13 am

    ** Note: I posted the # of applicants for SEHS and AC in the image space at the top. First time I’ve seen the AC numbers.

  • 146. Private School Kids in SEHS  |  January 6, 2015 at 11:18 am

    125, I have a different point of view. I believe that there probably is a bigger percentage of “big name” private school kids in SEHS because there is more cache in a lot of those schools’ names, over, even the Latin school. I cannot say this for a fact, however, but I don’t believe you can argue your point as a fact, either. I’d love to know, though.

    However, for me that is irrelevant. I hold the very minority POV that kids graduating from CPS 8th grade should have priority over ANY private school students. Yes, private school kids are paying taxes, but their kids are not participating in public school. Ostensibly, they’re not coming from the same school district.

    We all know there’s a big difference between paying taxes and being actively involved in a public school. HUGE difference.

    Of course, it’s not something that can be legally done (or can it). I just don’t see why more people don’t have the same view I do.

    If you’re not in CPS, why should you have an equal opportunity to attend a CPS high school? I know. Throw out the legalities. I’m not saying my POV is legal. But, in my opinion, it is right.

  • 147. otdad  |  January 6, 2015 at 11:50 am

    @ 146:
    If you’re not in CPS, why should you have an equal opportunity to attend a CPS high school?

    Aside from legalities, there are many practical reasons:
    (1) people move: If a family just moves here, their kids can’t attend CPS?
    (2) people’s situation change: If a family suddenly cannot afford a private, their kids can’t attend?

    I think more private school students in CPS is not at all a problem and can only make CPS batter.

  • 148. Nope37  |  January 6, 2015 at 11:56 am

    146 You are entitled to your opinion, but get serious. As long as the students live in the city, and are using their rightful address, no problem. It doesn’t matter where they went to grammar school or home school. Some of those private school kids help CPS grad rate and ACT scores. Think about it.

  • 149. otdad  |  January 6, 2015 at 12:00 pm

    @144. klm:
    “If CPS HSs want to attract more people who otherwise would never consider a neighborhood CPS one, they need to have some kind of suburban-like or CPSSE-like quality “school within a school” (again, like LPHS). “

    You are spot on. Another way to achieve the same is: Merge the attendance boundary of every 3~5 high schools. A student goes to one of these schools based on test scores. Selective enrollment for all within a bigger neighborhood.

  • 150. Chris  |  January 6, 2015 at 12:23 pm

    HSO: “I’m first generation to go to college in my family, so I had no information, no insight, and no help from any school counselor that I can remember.”

    My HS counselors were mostly worthless–they once gave a presentation to a group of ‘smart’ kids about the options available if you didn’t graduate in the top 2/3s of the class (which at the time earned automatic admission to my state’s second tier colleges–now I think it is ‘top 3/5’).

  • 151. michele  |  January 6, 2015 at 12:35 pm

    Not sure where to post this information. Thought CPSO parents may be interested that CPS issued their 2014 request for new school RFPs only to Charters and Options High Schools. Thoughts?

    See link.The information went out on Dec 30th,

  • 152. Thanks CPSO!  |  January 6, 2015 at 12:46 pm

    Thanks so much CPSO! I was the one who asked for the AC data. Interesting that the largest percentage of people applying to ACs are from tier 4 and quite a bit from tier 3. I wonder if parents in tier 1 and 2 even know about the ACs???

    Hate to be greedy BUT can you get the breakout by school. I suspect OAE may give you grief because of Morgan Park & Harlan’s enrollment numbers—they are very low.

    I’m in tier 4 an greatful my child was offered and we accepted a seat in the last admission of AC students. He wasn’t being challenged at his elementary school and didn’t have to study much or sometimes at all to get an A. BUT oh boy–now there are times I want to tear my hair out but I am glad he is being challenged and by Freshman year he will be a different student (or at least I hope so)!!!!

  • 153. cpsobsessed  |  January 6, 2015 at 12:56 pm

    @michele – what other types of schools would we expect to see on that list?

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 154. klm  |  January 6, 2015 at 1:16 pm


    Knowing a fair number of private school families (on my block alone there are Latin, Parker, British School, City Day and St. Someone-whose-name-I-forget [not St. Clement] ones), I do believe that for many of the K-8 private schools where people obviously HAVE to find a school for 9th grade, yes, Payton or Northside are many times THE more impressive “dare to dream” option, since Tier 4 kids have to be straight-A, top test-taker types(the HS equivalent of getting 32+ on the ACT) to get into these schools (harder than getting into Latin for 9th, in most cases or even Lab). Plus, there’s a certain smugness some urban families feel about being able to say, “See, we are not at all snobby –our kids attend HS at Chicago Public Schools along with lots of non-rich kids, and lots of inner-city minority ones, so isn’t that (aren’t WE) wonderful?”

    Look under “Stuff (well-off) White People Like” and you’ll find “Diversity,” but only if it means that they still get to live in a “nice” neighborhood and that their kids get a top-notch educatuion.

    OK, I’m exagerating the smugness factor (but maybe not in some cases), but there’s some of that “We love Diversity because we’re good, caring, wonderful people that live in the city instead of Lake Forest in order to expose our children to all kinds of people –that’s how cool we are (as long as it involves our kids getting a New Trier-like or quasi-Latin School -type education)” -type vibe.

    However, for the N-12 private schools (Latin, Lab, Parker), I’m sure that it does happen that some kids leave to get an equivalent education for free CPS SEHS (especially among the non-rich and there are those at all 3), but I think it’s pretty rare. This is especially true since I’m sure that most kids at these schools aren’t getting straight-A’s in 7th grade and top 1-2% scores in 8th grade (which is what they need to get into Payton or Latin). Plus, as much as many kids likely would love to get away from all the same people that they’ve known since junior kindergarten, many kids want to stay with their friends, etc.

    In other words, in terms of competition for spaces at PNJY, nobody needs to worry too much about kids from Latin, lab or Parker taking too many spots. Lots of the city kids that did go to Sacred Heart, Catherine Cook, City Day, FXW, or Anshe Emmet would have been living in Northbrook (which is not a good thing for the city’s vitality) or have attended Lincoln, Bell, Ogden, LaSalle, Decatur, Blaine, (and in a few years 8th graders at Coonley and Audubon) etc., so they’d have been applying to SEHS in 8th grade all the same, just not from private grade schools.

    Are you OK with private HS kids attending public colleges (so the low-income, inner-city kids from Cristo Rey couldn’t go to UIUC, but rich kids from New Trier could) or this also something that would not be allowed if you were Emperor of the World?

  • 155. klm  |  January 6, 2015 at 1:22 pm


    Sorry, i didn’t mean to come off as snarky as I now know i did after reading back what I wrote. I should have said, “in a perfect world would you….” rather than make that Emeror of the World comment.

    Again, I know it’s too late, but sorry.

  • 156. klm  |  January 6, 2015 at 1:22 pm

    I meant @146 –guess it’s time to take a nap.

  • 157. mom2  |  January 6, 2015 at 2:03 pm

    FYI, a senior from Lakeview High School was just offered a full ride to Princeton, so it isn’t always just the top 5 SEHS that send kids to Ivy schools.

  • 158. cpsobsessed  |  January 6, 2015 at 2:07 pm

    That’s awesome. I know lvhs sent a kid to univ of chicago within the past couple years too — someone who was brilliant at math but didn’t nail sehs admission.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 159. averagemom  |  January 6, 2015 at 2:11 pm

    Someone I know from preschool times sent their kid to Latin then Payton. They said several other kids did the same. While they lived in a nice tier 4 neighborhood, you can live in some very nice, expensive property west of Wells and south of North, and be in tier 2. That area’s neighborhood elementary school would be Manierre I think.
    I think everyone, even upper middle class, wants to save that high school money for college.

  • 160. klm  |  January 6, 2015 at 2:40 pm


    Amen to that.

    I’ve looked into what private school used to cost a generation or two ago, then used a “inflation calculator” to see what things used to cost in today’s dollars.

    It’s fun, but upsetting. Things have gone up so much more than inflation and incomes. Ivy League colleges used to cost around $20k/year foe EVERYTHING (tuition, room and board) in today’s dollars in the early 60s, now it’s $60k.

    It’s stunning.

    Schools like Latin and Parker cost so much more than they did 40 years ago, adjusted for inflation. I know somebody (a Lincoln parent who lives in the house she grew up in) that was raised in Old Town that went to Parker in the 70s with a pharmacist and nurse (i.e., middle-class, not particularly affluent) parents. And there were 3 kids in the family. Today, there’s no way a pharmacist and nurse could send 3 kids to Parker. For that same person (a Parker alum), Parker’s become a non-issue-crazy-expensive-luxury-for-rich-people type of place (at least that’s what she tells me). She applied for financial aid and was offered a little, but it wasn’t enough, so “Hello, CPS!”

    In 2015, if a person has three kids, it cost over $100k (really, more like $110k with fees, and ‘voluntary’ contributions) in AFTER-TAX income to send them to Latin, Lab or Parker. Now multiply that over 14 or 15 years.

    Even many surgeons and radiologists would have to work extra weekend jobs at a Ready Clinic to afford that. It’s insane.

    Given that, who could blame anybody for considering a quality, tuition-free CPS option? Not me. Nor should anybody else, IMO.

  • 161. otdad  |  January 6, 2015 at 3:07 pm

    @159. averagemom:
    I think everyone, even upper middle class, wants to save that high school money for college.

    Another part probably is the education quality. Private and SEHS are both ways to stay away from problematic kids. One is selection by money, another is selection by merit.

  • 162. IB Obsessed  |  January 6, 2015 at 3:53 pm

    Regarding neighborhood schools and SEHS or nothing-

    OT Dad-“Only about 10% of Chicago high school students are college ready(know basics), that’s a pathetic percentage. I think 80% of the students are just “don’t care”. As the “obsessed” parents, we want our kids to stay as far away as possible from those “don’t care” crowd.”

    klm-“The teacher was a gem and the students were engaged and seemed happy to learn. However, given its rock-bottom test scores and all the bad stuff that happens outside of school with too many of its students (i.e., gangs and teen parenthood), I still would not my kids going there. It’s not a snob thing, it’s a not-putting-my-kids-in-an-environment-where-too-many-fail-in-life thing.”

    I am puzzled why you 2 think there is a significant risk that one of those schools would morph your kids into a education apathetic, pregnant at 16 gang member. OT Dad you are the one who stresses that acheivement is all about parental influence. Can’t imagine you having a kid who would go way off the rails simply because some in his class do. Klm, that goes double for you 🙂 Seriously, you are parents who read to your kids practically from birth, provide secure stable homes, and I’ll bet you watch their social interactions closely. This notion that however their HS is, academically and socially, portend a child achievement is wrong headed IMHO.

    My kid will continue to be a geeky Shakespeare reading in free time, World War 1 momento collecting, blossoming culture critic, gifted writer no matter where she goes to HS, because that’s who she is. The thought of her hanging with gang members and thinking learning is a bore makes me giggle. Now, there being a sufficiently large pool of other kids with whom she could have a healthy social circle is a concern for me, but worry that our neighborhood HS will result in a foul mouthed, crack dealing, teenage trainwreck is not.

  • 163. softball Mom  |  January 6, 2015 at 4:01 pm

    Comment deleted at request of poster.

  • 164. Pressure00  |  January 6, 2015 at 4:08 pm

    163 You are correct…this has all been said before. Good luck in the suburbs or GO PRIVATE!

  • 165. @162  |  January 6, 2015 at 4:15 pm

    Sometimes it is a matter of safety too, so please don’t forget that! My oldest attends one of the SEHSs on the southside and I am grateful for the seat! I’m not worried that he would turn into ” foul mouthed, crack dealing, teenage trainwreck,” I would fear for his safety everyday if he went to the neighborhood HS. Even if I drove him to school as I do now, I don’t think he’d make it a week there without getting beat up. Not that he’s a wimp or a small kid, he’s just a really nice kid. BTW–I live in a very nice middle class south side neighborhood, but no one around here goes to the neighborhood school. The teens in my neighborhood all attend either magnet, SE, charter and in some cases private (catholic) schools for safety reasons.

  • 166. luveurope  |  January 6, 2015 at 4:18 pm

    Catholic High Schools placement test this saturday. Check your school for details. You can qualify for financial aid at the school where you take the test. Good luck.

  • 167. klm  |  January 6, 2015 at 4:26 pm


    OK, I know I’m starting to dominate this conversation (kids sick with flu that’s going around and haven’t been out lately, etc.) , BUT….

    When you say that CPS SE and pricey private schools both involve “selection” for the “right kind” of kids that people want for their kids (i.e., not gangbangers, losers, slackers or druggies) in terms of school mates and therefore likely friends and peer role models that shape their life direction, you are so, so, so right on.

    Plenty of middle/upper-middle-class people totally love the idea of their kids going to school with other kids from fairly representative populations, in terms of race, income, etc. Look at the Big Name private schools in Chicago — “Diversity” is something they proclaim to love and it’s more or less a quasi-religion in terms of thinking, recruitment (both for students and faculty), etc. When there’s a black kid from the inner-city that’s enrolled and goes on the an Ivy, the “smug alert” meter is off the charts at places like Parker and Latin –they feel so, so good about themselves for giving that kid such a wonderful “opportunity” and are so happy that their kid gets to sit in English clas next to another person that’s from the ghetto (therefore, showing how they ‘Embrace diversity and are open-minded’).

    Problem is, maybe apart from a few CPS SE schools, there is no such wonderfully integrated, socio-economically mixed Nirvana, at least in terms of “high quality” schools.

    Sure, places like Latin, Lab (where rich black people in Chicago love to send there kids, like the Jarrets and Obamas) and Parker are aching to get more high-achieving black and Hispanic kids enrolled (often to increase their numbers of admits to Yale and Stanford, IMO), but i understand if many people of color are turned off by the “token inner-city scholarship kid” thing/stigma, at least in terms of how one’s judged or treated (i.e., people assuming you’re a ‘scholarship kid from the ‘hood’ because you’re black –I’ve heard of it happening from black people I know that went to expensive private schools[namely my spouse and others])). I know I may be exagerating, but on some level there’s truth to what I have to say.

    That’s why I like the idea of CPS SE HSs for my black kids. Their race will not be a factor in admission, so they won’t have to deal with the whole “tokenism” thing (real, assumed, imaginary or not), plus all the other kids there will be “good” students that, by definition, will have had to do well in school to be admitted, no matter their race, ethnicity, neighborhood, zip code or family income.

    So, i’m raising a glass to Whitney Young, Jones and Payton (and pray that my kids can go there so that we don’t have to pay private school tuition or move).

  • 168. mom2  |  January 6, 2015 at 4:34 pm

    @163 – we are in a similar boat as you or maybe just slightly worse shape when it comes to test taking. Would you consider Lakeview HS or Amundsen? I think if those schools took in all the kids that just missed the Lane cutoff, eventually those kids that could get into Lane and Northside would just stick with Lakeview. All it takes is a few families from each middle school with kids that value education and expect to go to college and it turns around.

  • 169. mom2  |  January 6, 2015 at 4:41 pm

    @162 – I think many people realize the impact of peer pressure when kids get into high school. Along with safety which is my number one concern, even with a kid raised to value education and tons of support at home, you cannot discount peer pressure influencing some high school behavior changes. If my kid is surrounded by others that think it isn’t cool to do your homework right after school or its fine to pass notes during class or its fine to have a baby while in high school (or whatever), I do fear that some (not all) of it could rub off. That’s one reason why the neighborhood schools that do well have special programs – it draws in a solid group of kids like those that attend SEHS that are more guaranteed to hold at least some of those same values we are all hoping will stick with our kids.

  • 170. Vikingmom  |  January 6, 2015 at 5:02 pm

    @163–you mentioned “I am on the fence with programs within an average or lower performing high school (like Von Steuben) because I want her to feel a part of the entire school, not one of a hundred kids in a special program created because the general high school curriculum isn’t good enough.”
    I am wondering if you have visited VS or any other “average” school? If not, you may find yourself pleasantly surprised at the vibe a school is putting out. We live on the NW side as well and our neighborhood HS was also not an option for us. My daughter was heartbroken at not getting into Lane at the time but now, as a junior in the IB program at Amundsen, she is doing great. I agree, the IB program is not for everyone—you really have to be self-motivated. But what about AP classes, etc? My gal does not feel shielded or separated from the general population at her school because she is in IB. Naturally, many of her friends (of all races) are in the program since they are classmates, but she is still friends with some of the kids who are no longer in the program, as well as her sports teammates, many of whom are part of the general population. And I assure you these “general population” kids are not gangbangers/drug dealers/addicts/team moms. They are good kids.
    @162 your points are right on. It’s the kid, and if you did all you could as a parent and feel your kid is on the right path, the chance that the kid will fall off because there are a few bozos around is pretty small. i kind of feel the opposite is true — my daughter is more apt to trumpet being an “IB nerd” when she hears about students (at any school) doing stupid things.
    I work for a large cultural institution and am in charge of hiring interns for our department, and have done so for over ten years. These are mostly upper level undergraduates or grad students. And I quickly came to the realization that the NW/UChg student is in no way superior to the UIC/Loyola kid. Maybe that is what also helped form my “your kid has the opportunity to do well at a non SEHS school and have a good overall experience” attitude.

  • 171. Vikingmom  |  January 6, 2015 at 5:05 pm

    oops….”teen moms’ not “team moms” (which is worse??)

  • 172. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  January 6, 2015 at 5:09 pm

    It is worth comparing Chris’ @54 with this list from the Lab School, since it covers the same years. Lab School HS is a little over half the size of Payton.
    JNPY are excellent schools that are public schools, but they are not like Lab or Parker — they can’t be simply because they have to follow all the CPS and ISBE rules.

    I would agree w/ almost all of klm’s points in this thread, with one addendum: Ivy/hyper-elite schools do not want anything close to a “well-rounded student”. In fact, many highly selective colleges do not want someone like that. Rather, they want bright kids who have done something outstanding or have pursued a particular passion in a spectacular way, e.g., scientific discoverer, violin virtuoso, bicycle-racing champion, successful community activist, patent-holding inventor. Chem club doesn’t cut it; Intel semi-finalist does. Less impressive legacies and college-sport athletes also fill slots along with disadvantaged ethnic minorities who lack the non-academic spectacular accomplishment. But if you are white (or Asian-American), middle class and not an alum and you’ve trained your child to get into an SEHS and not allowed them to take risks along the way, well, your kids unlikely to be a strong hyper-elite candidate. And it doesn’t matter because they are likely to have a happy, productive life anyway.

  • 173. klm  |  January 6, 2015 at 5:23 pm


    I totally get your point.

    I’m also old enough to know that who one hangs out with and where one hang out affects ones’s direction later in life, no matter how good one’s parents are (I mean, after 12 or 13 how many of us cared more about what our parents thought of us than what our friends did [other than caring in terms of not getting ‘caught’ and punished for going to a parent-outta-town party instead of a friend’s house to study Chemistry and other lies many of us told]?).

    Also, as I’ve mentioned in the past, I grew up in projects and trailer parks. I saw so many kids with potential get into trouble, hang out with the “wrong” people (biker gangs were a real presence), have a baby or 2 before their 18th birthday, live a life of bad relationships (because once one’s a teen welfare mother one’s attractiveness to people with their lives together kinda’ wanes, fair or not), food stamp Christmases, bad teeth, no opportunity to move because there’s no money to do so, a world view that’s narrow and defined by the trailer park or the projects, etc. I recall my mother going ballistic when my sister was planning a baby shower for one of her friends who was 16 at the time. I thought she was being horrible and unfair at the time, but i now realize that she was afraid that we’d accept this as “normal, OK behavior and a valid life choice” rather than something totally negative that would ruin our chances of getting out of the trailer park and moving up in the world, like really did happen quite often.

    There is a real problem with gangs and violence with lots of kids that go to Wells. i’m not making it up. Maybe I’m being a little paranoid, but having lived where I did, i know how bad decisions as a teen can maybe not “ruin” one’s life, but at least make it more difficult in the long run. I saw it way too often.

    All HS’s have toxic sex rumors, drugs, mean girls, a** jocks that act like dictators and othe bad stuff. However, many CPS ones have that PLUS gangs, guns and too much teenage parenthood.

    Paranoid and unfair? Yes, I admit that. But still, it is what it is.

    BTW, if one of my kids was going to Payton, Jones or WY and had a friend from one of the low-income, gang-plagued areas zoned for Wells, or from Englewood or Lawndale, I’d be thrilled (really)–that’s what people want from a school: One that’s “good” academically but where high-achieving kids from every part of the city (rich, poor, middle-class, whatever race and ethnicity) come together, learn, socialize and become friends. It’s not the socioecomic makeup of Wells that an issue for me, it’s the fact that 0% of kids are exceeding standards, very few are meeting them and, Oh yeah, there is a well-know issue with gang violence among some of its student population, so what’s going to happen in terms of peer-related socialization, at parties, etc. All this, notwithstanding the fact that it’s not the kind of “war zone” dysfunctional failure-factory that people imagine when they think of urban public high schools. No, it’s not that THAT bad, but it’s not very GOOD either, at least in terms of kids being prepared for rigorous, college-level academics, even if it has so many great teachers and an adminstration that really cares –it’s still a school with an average ACT of 15 (!!).

  • 174. IB Obsessed  |  January 6, 2015 at 5:50 pm

    “you’ve trained your child to get into an SEHS and not allowed them to take risks along the way, well, your kids unlikely to be a strong hyper-elite candidate. And it doesn’t matter because they are likely to have a happy, productive life anyway”

    There is so much wisdom in this comment and its implications, and I like so many things about it, I can hardly begin to explain… Creativity v, good little bubble test fillers…..Not afraid to fail because no “I’m gifted” expectation to live up to…..Can invent because not afraid to fail….

  • 175. Chris  |  January 6, 2015 at 6:03 pm

    “a pharmacist and nurse (i.e., middle-class, not particularly affluent) parents.”

    That is, today, likely a $200k+ family income–that’s an upper middle family, and would have been in the 70s as well.

  • 176. Chris  |  January 6, 2015 at 6:19 pm

    “It is worth comparing Chris’ @54 with this list from the Lab School”

    Let’s also compare the number of those Lab School kids getting in on legacy preferences, and/or using the University’s faculty tuition benefit to go to (say) Yale for $12,000 tuition (25% of UC tuition) even w/o qualifying for financial aid, v the number from Payton (plus NS, plus Young) doing the same.

    Apples and oranges in more ways than one. But still interesting.

  • 177. CPS cancels School!  |  January 6, 2015 at 7:44 pm

    OMG! CPS cancelled school tomorrow due to the frigid temps! Wow! Amazing!

  • 178. cpsobsessed  |  January 6, 2015 at 8:34 pm

    Just another plug for the book “how to be a High School Super Star” which addresses the idea mentioned above about how some of the elite school look for kids who do unique, standout stuff, rather than academic achievement + president of student body, member of band, etc.
    Personally I’d love a kid who could turn an interest/passion into something cool like the examples in the book.

  • 179. cps alum  |  January 6, 2015 at 9:21 pm

    @ cpsobsessed , Re: map cut off scores: My cousins son is applying this year to SEHS. My cousin is convinced that the cut scores will be a lot closer to last years than cps has predicted. Her son consistently scored in the low 80s in the NWEA in the past. He told me that the MAP was so tedious no one would bother to read the passages because you would read a long passage to answer only one question, and then have to read an entirely new passage for the next question. He never cared about the MAP before so why bother. Since MAP counted this year he actually tried and scored a 99 and 98. No tutoring involved.

  • 180. HS Mom  |  January 6, 2015 at 9:43 pm

    IBO – KLM and mom2 are hitting it on the head when they say that you can never tell what can happen to the best of kids. I think it really depends on the personality of the kid too.

    Last summer my son befriended a kid who lives across the street from us. Regular kid whose parents weren’t around much. He in turn had this rag tag group of friends – one was homeless because his parents kicked him out, one carried a machete in his backpack and there were a few other not so nice activities like smoking (both kinds) and etc. Let’s just say school was not a priority for this group. My son, who is pretty laid back and defines himself as being “open” enjoyed their company. This situation put a lot of stress on our family. I let the kids use our yard so that they weren’t wandering around the neighborhood aimlessly. It was a real nail biter because the more we tried to interject in the situation the more he pulled back from us. To make a not so long story short, as soon as school started I wanted to kiss the ground in front of Jones. My son got busy and they went off and did their own thing. He is now “open” with his intimate group of college buddies. He’s “open” with his professors who engage their students to do things like star gazing and wigwam building.

    We laugh together about the “machete” as he finally figured out that this might have been a bit disconcerting to us. I’ll take that “risk adverse” route any day – thank you.

  • 181. pantherettie  |  January 6, 2015 at 10:10 pm

    Thanks for the info on AC admissions. I’m surprised that there were less than 2,500 applicants citywide but I’m glad that there was a 42% admission rate. I’m wondering if those numbers will increase as well. I know this is a blog populated by northsiders, but I continue to surprised at the level of committment to only PJNW. Really rather move out of the city than to attend another school – wow. No other SEHS or magnet or IB program in the entire city would be good enough? What incredible pressure to put on a kid. Maybe this is just my weird little view, but why do people on this board focus so much on comparing suburban school systems to CPS? CPS is not and never will be a small suburban school district. We live in a huge urban setting with the 3rd largest district in the country. We have a city full of urban strengths and urban problems. If a parent lives in a city with 10 SEHS and is only willing to consider 4 of them and then puts crazy amounts of pressure on a kid by letting them know the entire family will need to move if he/she can’t score a near perfect score and perfect grades, then I hope that money has been placed in a savings to cover the out-of-pocket costs for long term therapy.

  • 182. cpsobsessed  |  January 6, 2015 at 10:27 pm

    @Pantherettie, I was surprised by the low # of AC applicants too.

    comparing to suburban schools, I think many people get pressure from suburban friends and it’s nice to be able to state some facts to support the “what are you, nuts??” comments.

    I don’t get those because I don’t associate with anyone if they move to the suburbs beyond OP/Evanston.. haha, although I guess i’m proud to say I don’t many people who have made the move outward.

    But I think many of us still wonder if doing so would be better for our kids.

    The “school xyz or move/private” philosophy is certainly there in some parents.

  • 183. IBobsessed  |  January 7, 2015 at 2:14 am

    HS Mom, I think C Ball meant letting your child take intellectual and academic risks, not risks to their safety.

    HS Mom and klm – Neither would I send my kid to a HS where few of the students consider themselves college or career bound, do not perform anywhere near grade level, and where many/most have troubled backgrounds and dangerous habits. I have in mind the Lakeviews, Senns, and Amundsens neighborhood HSs out there. These are schools that arguably have enough of a critical mass of students who want a future for themselves and have programs, faculty and administration to support them. I just don’t believe that one of klm’s kids could go off the rails simply because they attended Senn instead of an SEHS. There might be other reasons not to choose a Senn or an Amundsen, but I can’t see how “the failure is contagious” concern is a reason based in reality with these schools.

    And I can’t believe it was solely or even mostly Jones HS that saved your son from a future of machete toting and smokin’. Your son would not have moved onto those productive interests and activities offered by Jones if he wasn’t already the kind of kid who could be distracted away from what you were seeing as failure bound behavior.

    My overall point is that the alternatives are not as black & white as ‘SEHS or significant risk of no adult future success’ for kids like ours.

  • 184. Robin in WRP  |  January 7, 2015 at 6:50 am

    @pantherettie – for us, it was proximity. We live 7500 North. My daughter was in the AC at Whitney; we insisted that she test for Northside, and I’m pretty sure she underperformed on purpose (though she denies this) because she wanted to stay at Whitney. It is interesting to hear the kids’ perspectives on the different cultures of the SEHSs

  • 185. pantherettie  |  January 7, 2015 at 7:40 am

    @CPSO – I really wonder if people know much about ACs? Sometimes I still get the “huh?” look from folks when I tell them that my kid has been at an AC since 7th grade. That said, the gap between T1 and T4 admits is striking. T4 kids with 39% of the seats and T1 with 13%. I wonder what % of AC kids go on to attend SEHS ( their own like Lindblom, Lane or WY) or another ( Kenwood, MP or Harlan)? Would be interesting to see where these smart kids land for high school.

    @ Robin and CPSO – I get the very important issues surrounding school proximity, transportation and travel safety concerns. There is absolutely no way that we would let our kid travel from Hyde Park each day to NSCP, Lane or even Payton. I think I’m just still surprised at the fact that there seem to be such strong feelings that well performing and varied neighborhood high schools can’t be good enough for smart motivated kids or their families. I also understand CPSO ‘s point about why some parents make many comparisons to suburban schools. I have friends who live in a wealthy northern suburb (frequently referenced on this site) that send their kids to the local public school – the same one their parents attended – and they have some of the same issues that existed in our strong, local CPS neighborhood elementary school. They have more resources in many ways but the lack opportunities that city kids (and parents) take for granted. A trade off we make to live in the city is dealing with the CPS admissions system. It’s up to the city to provide options – which it has – and it’s up to us to take them (or not). I don’t think the weight should be on our kids to feel that their school performance could cause the entire family to move.

  • 186. Robin in WRP  |  January 7, 2015 at 8:07 am

    pantherettie – I don’t think that (at least for us) it was about performance; it was as much about luck as anything else. Way back when, we had a four year old reading chapter books, who had her classical and gifted scores marked down because of an August birthday. The (long since retired) head of the gifted program suggested we send her to Boone, and he would make sure she was in at least first grade groups for math and reading. Instead, we choose the private route; a small, Montessori based school that sends most of its graduates to SEHSs. A bored five year is disruptive and obnoxious, and it was a stressful (and expensive) two years. If she hadn’t been accepted at Decatur (or another challenging program) for second grade, we would have moved

  • 187. Robin in WRP  |  January 7, 2015 at 8:09 am

    Also, the year she tested for Whitney (she’s a college sophomore), there were nearly 10,000 applicants for the 200+ spots

  • 188. WRP Mom  |  January 7, 2015 at 8:16 am

    My daughter went to LTAC and is now a Lane freshman. About 90% of her AC class stayed at Lane. Most of those that left are now at Northside and Payton.

  • 189. @pantheretti  |  January 7, 2015 at 8:47 am

    My son attends Kenwood’s AC (currently a 7th grader)! We BOTH love it! The principal told us at orientation that Kenwood retains about 80% of its AC students (sometimes more & sometimes less). He decided by October that he was staying for HS! Its really a great place & I think a lot of neighborhood HSs could learn a lot from their model. It’s a great mix of neighborhood, magnet and with the AC students that stay, the school is able to meet the needs of ALL students who attend through a mix of regular, honors and AP classes. AC students who stay are guaranteed dual enrollment at either U of C or the city colleges starting junior year! Junior & senior year the students spend half their day at Kenwood and the other at the college. I was pleasantly surprised by everything Kenwood has to offer. My intention was to have him leave after the AC for SEHS but I have since changed my mind!

  • 190. HS Mom  |  January 7, 2015 at 8:49 am

    @142 – I think it may have more to do with the application year. Illinois has no money.

    @183 – Other than the homeless kid, these kids do go to neighborhood schools. Yes, my sons a great kid and I like who he is and his “openness” (he’s outgoing, caring, kind of a modern day hippy). Yet, here he was, hanging out with these kids. Influences that could basically F up your life. Once kids are 16/17 – heck earlier – you have little control over them. The best you can hope for is to have some control over their environment. Jones is not the only factor in his life but it sure helped him in many ways. I know there are many names you can substitute for “Jones” and that is the high school quest for many parents.

    This is seriously true. The only kid we know to have gone to Lake Forest is involved in heroin. Do I think LF is a heroin den, bad school or not a good place for the majority of kids? No. Is it a factor for me to consider how this kid could have gotten into trouble if I were to consider this school. Yes – especially since it’s the only view I have of them.

    I’m not sure how a kid is “trained” to not take intellectual and academic risks. I don’t think this goes hand and hand with Selective Enrollment kids. Is it even possible to get through HS and into college without learning from your mistakes and experimenting?

  • 191. klm  |  January 8, 2015 at 10:26 am



    I do feel that, among a certain element of CPS parents (ones that are ‘open-minded,’ love Diversity, etc., which great, of course, but not when these feelings make one blind to the real things that may affects one’s kids negatively) there’s almost an ideological attachment to the idea that there’s no such thing as a “bad” public school or that any child will get a good education and do just as well in life as kids anywhere, if only the parents provide the right kind of intellectually stimulating environment and make sure that their kids do their homework.

    I’ve pointed out how my sister had to drop out of college and restart with some remedial classes at community college, since her HS was so lousy (and she had good grades there). Some people on this site responded by suggesting that it wasn’t the school’s fault for graduating a pre-college student with good grades that wasn’t actually prepared for college, it must have been my sister’s attitude or decision to take easy classes, etc. (not true, she was ‘college prep’/honors). In other words, they couldn’t fathom that there are public schools that really are “that bad.” These are the same people that often believe that it’s wrong to dismiss a HS, just because of its scores (those Bad Old standardized tests are more or less worthless since they’re biased, assess only test-taking ability, not what counts, right? Who cares if only 3% of students get over 20 on the ACT –that fact is meaningless to individuals that really want to learn).

    Now, I don’t know, but I suspect that many of these people grew up middle-class, went to good public schools, have kids that attend good CPS schools and are happy with them. They never experienced a school where many/most kids are grades behind, smart kids are dismissed as social kryptonite, violence lurks on the walk to/from school, where a significant number of kids end up in prison and/or become parents before their 18th birthday. If they had, they’d likely see things a little differently, or at least realize that not all people that refuse to send their kids to low-performing schools where lots of gang members also attend (even if the school is a safe, orderly place, what happens when teens socialize outside of school –it’s not all Bible Study and sock hops).

    Bad life decisions early on can and will ruin people. What’s wrong with trying to keep one’s kids out of a social sphere (and that’s what school is, ultimately) where clearly more people are making bad life decisions that at other places/schools.

  • 192. klm  |  January 8, 2015 at 10:26 am

    I meant @190

  • 193. IB Obsessed  |  January 8, 2015 at 12:13 pm

    Klm, I’ll state it again. There are Fenger HSs and then there are Lakeviews, Amundsens, and Senns. No one here is saying it won’t impact your child to attend a Fenger. The parent you are describing is a caricature of middle class parents who consider sending their children to the better neighborhood HSs. I don’t know anyone who takes those extreme views, certainly no one posting here.

    The point I’m trying to convey, is that after a certain threshold of positive academic and social critical mass at a HS. (And the Fengers, Sullivans, and Farraguts do not have it ), the HS itself has less and less impact on the life success of the student. And after that threshold, the wisest decision of where to send your child is multifactoral and is about the best fit for the child. SEHS is not the only good alternative for a bright, talented kid

    And that’s why… surprise….. We moved out of the city recently. No IB HS or SEHS for us..

  • 194. 8th Mom  |  January 8, 2015 at 12:55 pm

    My guess on the lower application numbers for ACs is that if the student isn’t interested in the attached HS, they don’t want to risk attending the AC and perhaps getting a “B”. Lane’s AC curriculum is for the most part Freshman and Sophomore level classes. Getting straight “A’s” takes work, lots and lots of work.

  • 195. Chris  |  January 8, 2015 at 1:01 pm

    IBO: “after a certain threshold of positive academic and social critical mass at a HS. [], the HS itself has less and less impact on the life success of the student. And after that threshold, the wisest decision of where to send your child is multifactoral and is about the best fit for the child. SEHS is not the only good alternative for a bright, talented kid”

    Totally true, as well as the pointing out that the hypothetical doofus ‘librul’ parent is essential a strawman/boogieman. There are several viable HS options in CPS outside of SEHS, as well as dozens of not viable ones.

    IBO: “And that’s why… surprise….. We moved out of the city recently. No IB HS or SEHS for us..”

    Wait…what? “and that’s why”? How does that follow??

  • 196. IB Obsessed  |  January 8, 2015 at 1:48 pm

    It was meant to follow from, “ about the best fit for the child.” I’m convinced that IB is an excellent prep not just for college work (at least for non-STEM types), but for forming intellectually curious, life long learners, and I’m disappointed my child won’t be exposed to it.
    However, it is a very structured curriculum and does not leave many opportunities for electives. My child wants to be free to take music, art, theater, photography. We had concerns about the social/cultural fit at the neighborhood IB program. My child does not want to be part of a tiny minority. Wants the diversity comparable to a Jones HS. I hated the idea of my child taking the red line alone to LPIB for safety reasons. See, I am not oblivious to safety issues. We had a shot at Lane, IF she re took the MAP for likely somewhat higher math scores. Went to suburban school info night where friend is on faculty and their kid attends, and realized the school had everything we were looking for except it wasn’t in the city. Got over that. I knew there was a reason I didn’t buy since I sold in 2006… 🙂

  • 197. way@GO  |  January 8, 2015 at 2:46 pm

    196. Bravo! Here’s hoping your student has a great high school experience.

  • 198. HS Mom  |  January 8, 2015 at 8:48 pm

    ” I knew there was a reason I didn’t buy since I sold in 2006…”

    And good timing too!

    Sounds like you did your homework – congratulations.

  • 199. HS Mom  |  January 8, 2015 at 8:52 pm

    For anyone worried about your 14 year olds (esp girls) taking the El – this passes quickly. They are not alone,,,,,at certain hours the trains are more like a school bus than a commuter train.

  • 200. Newcomer  |  January 8, 2015 at 9:25 pm

    @196, IBObsessed: I am very sorry to hear this about LPIB. My kids were recently in an IB school overseas, they loved the school, and academics were only one fifth of the curriculum (the other four are Outdoor Education, Global Service, Personal and Social Education, and Activities [music, art, etc]). So learning to kayak and do photography and make cupcakes and sell them to raise money for orphanages were all equally as important as studying for your math test. In fact, if you happened to be building houses in an impoverished country or playing in an international music festival which made you miss a few days of school, they wouldn’t expect you to study or even make up the homework. Now that we are back in Chicago, we hoped to enroll our oldest, (8th grader) in an IB school here, but he hasn’t felt confident about any of the feedback he has heard about CPS IB. IB is extremely popular in Asia and Europe, where we have lived previously. It’s a shame it hasn’t caught on here.

  • 201. CPS is Bizarre  |  January 9, 2015 at 1:04 am

    So, CPS closes Wednesday & Thursday because of the wind chill, but tomorrow there is a wind chill advisory (predicted -20 to -25) and they open! It’s a Friday and I’m sure teachers are pissed for not being paid for the past two days, yet the previous two days are the same as tomorrow! Now teachers can call in sick and get paid! I don’t get it! Many of my kids classmates say they aren’t going to school (and the schools are selective enrollment), so its gonna’ be a cluster $%@!#! It will be a wasted day from school buses not showing up, to teachers and students not showing up! What a mess!!! I drive my kids to school so its no biggie for me and both are mad because I am taking them to school when so many of their friends said they weren’t coming to school! What’s the difference between tomorrow and the past two days!!! Fools that send their kids out in outwear that can’t handle this cold will also be a mess. God bless CPS!

  • 202. 3rd grade - neighborhood school parent  |  January 9, 2015 at 9:44 am

    201- I think it’s clear that CPS doesn’t really rely on a set policy to determine closings. While I don’t agree to the two day closing decisions that were just experienced, I think it’s more important that parents demand and participate in defining a clearer policy.

    These closing decisions can ‘cheapen’ the school importance… thus ending up with kids who play hooky as stated above which impacts the whole environment.

    We need to stop playing politics with the school closings and demand a clearer policy that defines why/why not invoke closings.

  • 203. Peter  |  January 9, 2015 at 10:00 am

    What politics with school closings? Like 50% occupied buildings. A student body that lost 30,000 students in a decade? It was a rational decision to close schools.

  • 204. pantherparent  |  January 9, 2015 at 10:02 am

    I think the policy used to be pretty clear. If snow makes it impossible to travel and get to school safely, then they’d close. For some reason, cold has entered the equation. I’m not aware of any frostbite cases in the past on the way to school but I’m sure one kid one day had it happen so let’s change the policy for 400,000 students.

    I’m just glad someone stepped up and said enough is enough. Otherwise, with this current “policy” CPS would probably have to cancel 10 days come February.

    And it does impact the schools today. Northside, which normally has block scheduling (meaning 4 classes), moved to an 8 period day today so kids could be in each class. Lessons aren’t prepared for this limited time so the classes end up being essentially wasted.

  • 205. 3rd grade - neighborhood school parent  |  January 9, 2015 at 10:05 am

    P, What is the policy that make the weather closings rational?
    My thought is that the weather closings were supposed to ingratiate the mayor to parents (voters).
    The weather-closing decision was opposite to the school closings which did not ingratiate the mayor to parents (voters).

    Or at least that’s how I see it.

  • 206. IB Obsessed  |  January 9, 2015 at 10:30 am

    @204 Children wait outside for school buses that are delayed because diesel engines do not do well in frigid temps. Some wait outside alone because parents have already left work. Kids do not have the judgment to determine when they have been out too long and they should go back in even though their bus has not come yet. The majority of CPS kids walk to school. You must live over 1 1/4 mile from school in order to get bus service. How many of our kids have really walked a mile to school in -22 temperature? We would drive them. Alot of families do not have cars or flexible work hours. My face hurt walking 2 blocks to the train yesterday, but this is not just about discomfort. Asthma is rampant among inner city kids. Frigid air can trigger asthma attacks. Not sure why we would want to impose on 6 year olds a hard ass, get tough solution of ignore that pain in your fingers and so what if you’re wheezing kid.

  • 207. (ex) CPS Parent  |  January 9, 2015 at 10:37 am

    Oy vey!

    Weather closings – Issue —-> public safety

    School consolidations – Issue —-> shrinking population causes combined classrooms (30 second AND third graders in one classroom in CPS that means kids who can hardly read to reading at grade level – try teaching to that spread), two principals, two janitors, two security guards with not much to do as opposed to one of each with a normal workload, etc, etc.

  • 208. pantherparent  |  January 9, 2015 at 11:01 am

    @206 Wow. I guess we have our answer. Asthma and 6 year olds. If a parent feels their kid shouldn’t go to school based on cold, then keep them home. The CDC says 9.3% of kids have asthma. That means 91% don’t. So why make policy for the 9%?

    I’m not trying to be the old man, hard-ass guy but yes, it’s cold in Chicago in the winter and here’s the key part, it always has been. I must have missed the reports on the student deaths and frostbite cases in the frigid late 70s.

    But I guess in modern society, the phrases “public safety” and “we’re smarter now” are the two crutches used whenever a poor policy needs to be justified.

  • 209. 3rd grade - neighborhood school parent  |  January 9, 2015 at 11:26 am

    panther – i’m thinking the same thing. my kids attend a neighborhood school of 1,000 kids that is majority disadvantaged, of color with many immigrants. I’m aware of asthma cases and homeless cases and poor clothing decisions but i’m also aware that the overwhelming majority of kids navigate to school on foot safely.

    My policy proposal would be to serve the majority of our students first, then extend exceptions to protected classes (medical, asthma exclusions for tardiness or absences), etc. Which means that CPS policy should be supporting the opening of schools unless it contradicts Travel Bans or the similar. There were CPS/city gov.t messages going out over the last two days that were encouraging use of park districts & libraries….. it just seems like a contradiction.

    Also, as a neighborhood parent I don’t really follow the busing impact. From my perspective, busing provides for a few families to by-pass their neighborhood school based on a lottery win. The bulk of kids in CPS don’t ride a school bus to school as far as I can tell.

    Immigrant parents often ask me to explain why CPS closed the school, folks from Poland, Ukraine, Liberia question the decision. Many are happy to spend more time with their kids but most don’t agree given the conditions. Maybe they have given so much to be here (in this city/country)… that their expectations are different.

  • 210. ELT  |  January 9, 2015 at 12:39 pm

    Such short memories, Folks! Remember last year when CPS didn’t keep the kids home and then Karen Lewis had a field day criticizing the Mayor and CPS as being heartless Northsiders who all drive their kids to school and are out of touch with the majority of CPS families who don’t have that luxury?

    I’m pretty sure that’s still fresh in up-for-reelection Mayor’s memory.

    Sadly, what this says is all CPS actions are politically driven, but, hey, we knew that.

  • 211. Chris  |  January 9, 2015 at 12:43 pm

    IBO: “Not sure why we would want to impose on 6 year olds a hard ass, get tough solution of ignore that pain in your fingers and so what if you’re wheezing kid.”

    So why’d they open the doors today? That’s the real question. It’s slightly warmer today, but just a little, and the streets/sidewalks are in a lot worse shape.

    Official Temp (and wind chill) at MDW at 7:53 am last 3 days:

    Wed: 2; -20 WC
    Thurs: -3; -22 WC
    Fri: 5; -12 WC

    and at ORD (7:51 am readings):

    Wed: -1; -23 WC
    Thurs: -6; -26 WC
    Fri: 3; -16 WC

  • 212. Chris  |  January 9, 2015 at 12:47 pm

    “heartless Northsiders who all drive their kids to school and are out of touch with the majority of CPS families who don’t have that luxury”

    As a heartless Northsider, the true luxury is having a ‘school of choice’ close enough to walk to, even when it’s this cold. Driving your kids to school is a PITA.

  • 213. edgewatermom  |  January 9, 2015 at 12:50 pm

    It does seem like they need to come up with a standard policy for this, rather than deciding day to day. With snow it is much more difficult to call, because you can’t necessarily just go by prediction of inches of snow. When it comes to temperature, it seems like it is time to decide on a policy.

    I don’t know what the right answer is though. Yes, MY child could have easily gotten to school safely every day this week. We live one mile from school and we have the ability to provide (or arrange) a ride to and from school when it is not nice weather for walking. She also has warm boots, gloves, hat, scarves etc.

    I know that there are many other kids who do not have the same options. I am not sure what the best solution is.

  • 214. IB Obsessed  |  January 9, 2015 at 1:03 pm

    And so, Panther Parent because we didn’t consider frigid temps in the 70s, well there’s your unassailable reason to not do so now. Rock solid.

    Rate of childhood asthma in Chicago for black children-20%
    hispanic children-12%
    CPS is majority black and hispanic.

    But g-d forbid the NCP students should be inconvenienced.

  • 215. LuvEurope  |  January 9, 2015 at 1:24 pm

    I thought this was the topic…SEHS offers by Tier (for kids that are currently freshmen)

  • 216. Peter  |  January 9, 2015 at 1:41 pm

    Our kids walk to school, including today. We are on the Northside.

  • 217. ELT  |  January 9, 2015 at 1:55 pm

    I’m not supporting any position/statement. Just reminding folks that this was a political hot potato a year ago and assuming it played into decisions made this year.

    Frankly, had CPS not gotten the pushback from CTU last year, I don’t think they would have closed the schools. And now, they’ve set a precedent…..

    I agree with everyone that they need to start thinking these things through and come up with a reasoned policy rather than responding with ad hoc decision-making.

  • 218. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  January 9, 2015 at 2:17 pm

    @208 Chicago schools were closed on 28 Jan. 1977 and 11 Jan. 1982 due to extreme cold. Another extreme cold spell in late Jan. 1985 occurred over the weekend, rather than mid-week, so schools opened Monday. That’s from a quick check of Tribune records. I’m sure there were others. Schools were closed for a week in Jan. 1979 because of snowstorms.

    There is a policy: when the NWS issues a “Wind Chill Warning” for Chicago: “A wind chill warning is issued when wind chill temperatures are life threatening.”

  • 219. Chris  |  January 9, 2015 at 3:14 pm

    “There is a policy: when the NWS issues a “Wind Chill Warning” for Chicago”

    Definition of a “wind chill warning” (from the NWS website): “Widespread wind chill values around -35° or colder, with at least a 5 to 10 mph wind”

    A “wind chill watch” has the same definition. A “wind chill advisory” is issued when the forecast calls for -25 or lower WC.

    Look at Skilling’s weather blog, and you will see that Wed & Thurs were covered by a “wind chill advisory”, not a watch or a warning

    There was *also* a wind chill advisory issued for this morning (Friday), that was withdrawn at 10:07 am–that is *after* school started. Again, looking at Skilling’s blog, the “wind chill advisory” was in place as of 6 pm yesterday for 4 am to Noon today.

    So, what you are saying, CB, is that there is a policy, CPS didn’t follow it, and they weren’t consistent in the mis-application that they in fact used. I know that no one is surprised.

  • 220. Chris  |  January 9, 2015 at 3:16 pm

    PS: at no point this week did the forecast call for 35 below WCs, at least on a widespread or sustained basis, and .

  • 221. Waste of time today!  |  January 9, 2015 at 7:15 pm

    If you child went to school, ask them how many kids showed up! Mine both said their classrooms were half empty. My oldest in HS said that because several teachers didn’t show up and the school couldn’t get subs many classes were held in the auditorium where one employee could supervise multiple classrooms. In a few classes they had some classwork otherwise it was a free day. A few teachers assigned homework and my kids attend selective enrollment schools! Ridiculous waste of learning time, but hey they are both still in the running for perfect attendance. I drive both to school & could have done it on Tuesday & Wednesday. I’m not from the north side though! I’m a Southside!!!

  • 222. Pantherettie  |  January 9, 2015 at 7:54 pm

    I’m actually glad that school was cancelled earlier this week. I know that the Crossing Guards, Safe Passage workers and Bus Drivers who often work incredibly hard conditions, should not be outside in weather that is “only -20 degree” wind chill. If those folks don’t come to work, many of our kids won’t be as safe as they could be. Maybe folks who are complaining about school closing because it wasn’t cold enough should offer to help with crossing guard and safe passage routes for kids who need them. #firstworldproblems#

  • 223. cps alum  |  January 9, 2015 at 8:01 pm

    @209 and others….
    It’s not only about having a winter coat, hat and gloves. It’s about having the right type of clothing.

    The people in Europe know how to dress for the cold. It is difficult to even get appropriate undergarments here in the USA and terribly expensive. I’ve spent a fortune on merino wool underwear for my kids since they were infants. I buy them online from places like Germany, Sweden, Denmark. My youngest who is very sensitive to fabric (she won’t wear jeans because they bother her) has never complained about to soft wool long johns I put her in on days like these. My daughters used to complain they were cold at recess when I put them in cotton tights. Now they wear wool tights and wool socks I’ve bought from smartwool or online from the UK and they never complain. My kids love it when they get to wear their warm socks! My kids have down filled winter coats rated for negative temps. But this costs TONS of money!

    I would have felt 100% comfortable sending my kids to school because I have appropriate clothing for them. The fact of the matter is that most kids in chicago don’t have the right clothing. Some immigrant families come for climates where they lack the knowledge of how to dress in this weather. Others couldn’t afford the right stuft anyway. Low income families can’t afford to go to REI, LLBean and buy Northface. The warmest coats they sell at Target, and Walmart, tjMax and Marshall’s just aren’t warm enough. Sears has Lands End, but their warmest coats are more than $150.

  • 224. michele  |  January 9, 2015 at 8:22 pm

    #221 and others “kids had class in an auditorium that was supervised and they had some class work”. That sounds to me like a fair entry back into an interrupted week. Your observation proves the point even if there had been school on Wed and Thur many parents and kids most likely would not have shown up, CPS’s whole school quality assessments hinge on attendance numbers. If kids don’t have adequate means to get to school on such cold days, the school attendance numbers falls and the whole rating for a school falls. Weather can effect a disproportional amount of school quality measure because ability to get to school correlates with method of transportation which correlates with income. Lower income limits access to the ability to make it to school in adverse conditions, CPS recognizes this as well. Projected empathy with purpose is my point.

  • 225. HS Thoughts  |  January 10, 2015 at 9:18 am

    I teach at a SEHS and I had about 80% attendance in my classes. I believe if I am going to work, and there are students in my class, I am teaching. I did my full lesson plan, originally scheduled for Wednesday. Unfortunately, there were students who were not in school. They are responsible for making up the material on their own time. (One of the students NOT in class lives one block away). If I thought I was going to have to babysit a bunch of kids in the auditorium, I would have stayed home as well.

  • 226. Sonny I  |  January 10, 2015 at 9:57 am

    U of C Lab School was open during the cold. So now those kids are not only much smarter, they are tougher as well. Boo hoo, it’s cold out. Wimps.

    Let the sob story BS excuses begin….

  • 227. pantherettie  |  January 10, 2015 at 10:16 am

    @226 – Good, gives them a chance to catch up with our CPS kids 🙂

  • 228. edgewatermom  |  January 10, 2015 at 10:19 am

    @226 Sonny

    U of C Lab School was open during the cold. So now those kids are not only much smarter, they are tougher as well. Boo hoo, it’s cold out. Wimps.

    I wouldn’t exactly call that a valid comparison. How many kids from the Lab school had to either walk to school or walk to the bus stop and then wait out in the cold? I’m guessing 0. How many of them have appropriate clothing for dangerously cold weather? I’m guessing 100%.

    Schools with a student population that can be safely driven to school in a warm car should be open during the cold. Unfortunately, that is NOT the majority of the CPS population.

  • 229. michele  |  January 10, 2015 at 2:38 pm

    @226 Hopefully these same U of C Lab parents are volunteering at their CPS neighborhood schools – maybe even providing support for transportation services and warm clothing to the kids so they have a safe way to get to school.

    My neighborhood school where I volunteer has over 20% of kids in a transitional living circumstance – those are kids some of whom as young as 3 may not even have a bed of their own – and they are lucky to their parents who have access to and can hang onto belongings as they move from place to place. I only pray that @226 isn’t really suggesting this is a real comparison and is using this blog for some kind of weird entertainment.

  • 230. Rod Estvan  |  January 10, 2015 at 6:39 pm

    Here is what I think, I think I am always amazed at how these threads on CPS obsessed transition between topics. From the social composition of selective high schools, to elite college acceptance rates, to school closings due to weather. I also am always amazed at how confident Kim is in making arguments whether it is the idea that there are some or possibly more than some low income people in tier 4 demographic areas or a good number of minority students who graduate from Payton who go on to Ivy League colleges without any clear reference to data, possibly these estimations are correct, possibly not, I can’t tell.

    I do think putting all of your cards on where your high performing child goes for their undergraduate degree may be a mistake, unless the child is totally convinced or fiscally strapped that they want to go directly from college to work without a graduate school stop and plan on heavily leveraging alumni association connections for an entry level position.

    So all of you who know me also know that my youngest daughter who graduated from Payton in 2008 with very high ACT scores in math and somewhat lower scores in all other areas just made the cut for Northwestern, but elected to go to U of I Urbana with some pressure from our family. It was a decision that saved our family thousands of dollars and has resulted in an outstanding education in the field of agricultural economics. After completing her Masters in ag Econ at U of I on full academic scholarship she was accepted for a PhD program at U Cal Davis where she is now, she is also during the summers a researcher at the U.S. Department of Argriculture in Wasington DC.

    Our daughter is also carrying no student debt and we were put under no heavy fiscal stress in paying the U of I tuition. Students like our daughter graduating from the top CPS schools do not have to get into the most selective colleges in order to be successful, but they do need to do exceptionally well in college, maintain high GPAs, and have strong GRE scores. I would caution families that getting into Yale or Northwestern is not necessarily critical for success in life, today graduate school is becoming more and more a right of passage into the upper middle class, so success at the undergraduate level is critical. It’s really hard but helping your high performing child to think beyond the undergraduate admissions process can pay off big time for their future and keep thousands of dollars in the pockets of upper middle class parents whose children are not going to be eligible for many non-academic grants and scholarships at the undergraduate level.

    Rod Estvan

  • 231. otdad  |  January 10, 2015 at 7:54 pm

    ” I would caution families that getting into Yale or Northwestern is not necessarily critical for success in life, today graduate school is becoming more and more a right of passage into the upper middle class…”
    I totally agree. Like money, there is also inflation of college degrees. Graduate/professional school is the new college. What/how a kid does after getting in is more important than where s/he goes to college. Sometimes finances affects a lot of college decisions. I know a Naperville family that sent 3 girls to Ivy league (one Harvard, two Cornell). Surprisingly, all were cheaper than in-state tuition of UIUC. one of the Cornell girls actually went back to get graduate degree from UIUC.

  • 232. Robin in WRP  |  January 10, 2015 at 8:26 pm

    What Ivy costs less than Illinois?

  • 233. otdad  |  January 10, 2015 at 9:48 pm

    None, but with merit or need based financial packages, they can be cheaper than in-state.

  • 234. Wow! Meeks!  |  January 10, 2015 at 9:53 pm

    Rauner appointed Meeks as the chairman of ISBE!

    Here comes the beginning of the end of public education. Meeks is a proponent of vouchers I believe…

  • 235. Robin in WRP  |  January 10, 2015 at 9:54 pm

    My daughter was offered much more financial aid the last two years from Illinois and Minnesota than from private schools. We will see what this year brings with the new governor’s 30% cuts to public universities

  • 236. Robin in WRP  |  January 10, 2015 at 9:56 pm

    Rauner supports vouchers and cutting funding for K-12 education. Everyone who voted “against Quinn” voted against public education

  • 237. Grace Ti  |  January 10, 2015 at 11:42 pm

    “has voted against public education”

    Thats a bad thing? Public school education is a disaster. High school graduates reading at 7th grade level is the best they can do. Things have been getting worse. Lowering standards to improve “results” is not the answer. Flushing more money down the toilet hasnt helped either. Of course Illinios politicians fear an educated public, therefore, things wont change, so relax. Congrats!!!

  • 238. Newcomer  |  January 11, 2015 at 1:24 am

    Thank you, Rod!

  • 239. klm  |  January 11, 2015 at 10:22 am


    People discuss college because it’s the end-game of HS. People look at where CPS SE kids go to college (compared to elite private schools like Lab), not because they’r into gossipy banter about high-fallutin’ schools and like to rank who goes where and “judge” for the sake of competition or something negative. People talk about this stuff because they want to know if CPS kids at “high-perming” school do as well as their peers at “high-performing” private schools in terms of where they’re heading in life (and that includes things like where they go to college), are they being encouraged to look beyond obvious choices for college, etc.

    Nobody on this site thinks that their kids will automatically have an advantage in college admissions simply because of HS they attend. However, if lots of kids from a particular HS end up attending impressive colleges, it says a lot about the level of expectations and the possibilities that students are exposed to. Likewise, if students at another HS go almost exclusively to only a relative few local and in-state colleges, it may indicate that that HS hasn’t done a very good job at exposing its students to different possibilities and options, other than ones they already know.

    So, people talk and discuss this stuff because it seems relevant to the initial top, which is SEHS admissions (i.e., are CPS SEHSs worth stressing over, how will where we live impact my kid’s chances, how unfair Tiers can be,etc.).

    I don’t think anybody on this site presumes to be an oracle of knowledge, just people who share their feelings, (limited, but still real) knowledge, experiences and anecdotes.

    In terms of admissions to prestige colleges, a big factor is “diversity.” That’s not my opinion or feeling, it’s accepted fact. Accordingly, if HS A has lots more high-achieving underrepresented minority students than HS B, then it’s kinda’ a big factor and maybe it’s not so out there to consider this fact when looking where kids matriculate for college.

    BTW, I’m always one of the people on this site that (like you) downplays the all-or nothing value some people put on college names.

  • 240. HS Mom  |  January 11, 2015 at 11:38 am

    Rod – I agree with everything you’re saying about colleges and this is very useful information.

    It amazes me sometimes the emphasis people put on Ivie’s and the analysis put into how many from each school go where and why are Northside Prep kids going to UIC and NIU. All I can say to this is you’ll find out…not necessarily while you’re researching and applying but in the end when you have the offer/award letters in hand.

    To add, both Northwestern and UIUC are much more difficult to get into now than they were in years past. It would be very difficult to get into NW with only one very high subject – all subjects need to be up there. The environment is a bit different but the idea still applies – choose the college that you can afford and can excel at.

    I will also say this about UIUC since I attended this school yet it was a big disappointment for us. The approximate $33,000 that it costs to attend for in state students is a moderate price compared to the benefits offered by this first rate school. I also realize that there are many middle/upper class families who have this kind of money in a college fund. Some choose other schools for the scholarships and opportunities offered elsewhere. Some just decide that they can get a lot more bang for the buck (like grad school or retirement) if they use the college fund more wisely.

  • 241. MLD  |  January 11, 2015 at 3:08 pm

    @HS mom

    Why was UIUC “a big disappointment”?

  • 242. Robin in WRP  |  January 11, 2015 at 5:28 pm

    I was also surprised to see that comment about UofI. Half of my daughter’s class from Whitney is there; she transferred after a year at American in DC (and a huge cut to her financial aid). Besides getting an amazing aid package from UofI, she said that the classes are more challenging, and loves the variety of options available at a larger school.

  • 243. cpsobsessed  |  January 11, 2015 at 5:33 pm

    My understanding is that the price of UofI is much higher than those of other good state universities.
    Does the school truly offer something to make it better than the other midwestern state schools to justify the higher price?
    I don’t know that the univ’s “ranking” (I say that in quotes because we know that isn’t the true end-all-be-all) doesn’t nec justify the higher price either, does it.

    Once people on this blog tipped me off to the price differential for UofI I did some quick research and it’s frustrating to me that the price is so high. I’d love to hear some justification or reason to blv its worth it.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 244. HS Mom  |  January 11, 2015 at 5:39 pm

    It was for us – I loved it but my son thought it was too big and there were too many distractions. I thought we’d be going to Disney Land when we toured. Our tour of the business school was poorly conducted and there was a continual bombardment in how selective they were, how lucky we would be IF accepted overall kind of snobby. The student presentation was “canned”. Our student left wanting nothing to do with the school even though I thought this would be our first and only tour. I practically had to submit his application for him and when it came back with an award that was less than $1,000 (and was later rescinded when he didn’t accept right away) it pretty much hit the reject pile. Altogether we traveled and toured 8 colleges – large universities as well as small privates – UIUC was the worst…..for us. We came out of it feeling as though they obviously have the demand so they weren’t particularly looking to impress. I had the same blow off attitude when we tried to sign up for summer enrichment and wound up at U Iowa instead. He had a blast and received a very nice offer from them. This is why I understand how kids from Northside wind up at U Iowa (which is a fantastic school by the way so not sure how it wound up on the “surprising” list).

    All this said, I completely acknowledge that it’s about fit. I never imagined that my son would not want to go there. We would have found the money for that school if he had. He doesn’t want to be anonymous, wanted a small class experience working directly with professors and intends to study abroad. He also decided against a big university because of the party aspect. He doesn’t want to extend his undergrad experience over 5 or 6 years. He wanted a school where he could study intensely, get it done and move on.

  • 245. Robin in WRP  |  January 11, 2015 at 5:50 pm

    Depending on the major, a degree from UofI is more marketable than from other state universities.

  • 246. cpsobsessed  |  January 11, 2015 at 6:18 pm

    What are the top marketable majors there?

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 247. @CPSO 246  |  January 11, 2015 at 7:23 pm

    I know engineering is one top marketable majors there! All areas of engineering too!

  • 248. Robin in WRP  |  January 11, 2015 at 8:18 pm

    Engineering, Business

  • 249. MLD  |  January 11, 2015 at 8:58 pm

    @ HS mom…thanks for elaborating. Your college tour experience at UIUC is very similar to what also ‘sometimes’ occurs at SEHS open houses & the next thing you know that school you really thought your child would love/attend is at the bottom of the list.

  • 250. Robin in WRP  |  January 11, 2015 at 10:16 pm

    I guess we were wise to stop touring schools after preschool

  • 251. cpsobsessed  |  January 11, 2015 at 10:17 pm

    I never toured any colleges.
    Just showed up at indiana university, sight unseen.
    Can’t say I’d do it again that way.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 252. Mech C.  |  January 11, 2015 at 11:24 pm

    I am curious on your thoughts regarding 7th grade and the pressure to perform well, since we all know so much is based off of this grade. Would you be upset if your child’s 7th grade teacher did not have an active endorsement to teach math, but only a grade 6-8 science endorsement and an application for the self contained endorsenemt (which would then allow the teaching of other subjects)? Due to this arrangement, the students do not switch teachers. My child has the same teacher for 3.5 hours, no break, goes to lunch and specials (gym, music, etc), then to the science and math teacher for 2 hours. Would it seem that 7th grade would not be the best time to be experimenting with teachers who are not experienced? I’m upset at this discovery and not sure if I’m being unreasonable or not, LOL. Any input is greatly appreciated!

  • 253. cpsobsessed  |  January 12, 2015 at 12:07 am

    @Mech: so you’re saying the Math teacher isn’t an “active endorsed” math teacher but rather a sciene-endorsed teacher?

  • 254. IBObsessed  |  January 12, 2015 at 2:35 am

    @252 In a perfect world an endorsement to teach math would guarantee your 7th grader would get competent instruction. Endorsement’s don’t guarantee anything. You could have a stellar math teacher who has no endorsement. Look at the topics in your 7th grader’s math text book. Has your 7th grader mastered them;do they feel confident about that? If so, you have no worries.

  • 255. IBObsessed  |  January 12, 2015 at 2:40 am

    HS Mom-Many middle class parents have college savings to cover 30k a year for each of their kids? Or even 30k total? Middle class parents have this amount to contribute? Really?

  • 256. HS Thoughts  |  January 12, 2015 at 7:12 am

    Having just spent the last year of my life investigating colleges, one thing I feel for sure: the money that you would put into UIUC would be better spent at a smaller, private school. UIUC is a great school, but quite overpriced for the academic experience. Private institutions will offer middle class families wonderful aid that UIUC will not.

  • 257. Robin in WRP  |  January 12, 2015 at 7:28 am

    HS Thoughts – not at all our experience. For the current school year, UofI gave my daughter $17,185 in grants/scholarships, plus a $1,500 interest free loan; this was not close to anything offered by private schools past freshman year. That said, with the governor-elect’s announcement of a 30% cut to State University funding, I don’t know what will happen in the upcoming school year.

  • 258. HS Mom  |  January 12, 2015 at 8:30 am

    255/256 – Could be my misconception. I typically get a kind of sideways look when I mention that I would have to borrow money to go to U of I. Absolutely got the better deal money and otherwise with private schools. We had more than one commit to 4 year scholarships.

    257 – Sounds like they really wanted your daughter which is a good thing on their part. I’m not sure what it takes, but none of the crowd that we know (and we know some pretty stellar kids) were offered anything. I guess part of my disappointment is their lack of commitment to in state kids vs, their quest to recruit and cater to foreign students,

    @252 – I wouldn’t be as concerned about the teacher accreditation as I would about the newness. Not knowing how a teacher grades and what the expectations are in reality (not just what they say in a syllabus) would certainly add to the stress. Another concern would be having this same unknown for more than one of the 4 core subjects. 7th grade teachers should certainly be vetted in another grade. You’re about halfway done now, is there anything that can be done about it even if parents wanted to?

  • 259. Robin in WRP  |  January 12, 2015 at 9:44 am

    HS Mom – what we saw with the Achies is that the ones who went to UofI seemed to get the aid packages they needed. A few went to the small, liberal arts schools through Posse and other programs.

    Bottom line, start applying for college scholarships now (and as early as 7th grade)

  • 260. BusinessMajor  |  January 12, 2015 at 10:17 am

    257 The foregin students pay the ENTIRE TUITION versus instate students looking for money. Who would you take?

  • 261. MLD  |  January 12, 2015 at 10:59 am

    @WRP…found your insight re: American/U of I interesting. Currently have stepchild that wants to attend American for international affairs degree (current cost 60k plus, have not heard re:scholarships). Due to financial constraints we have suggested U of I as more practical option. With income at $90-$100K do you believe there is any chance of scholarship money? Was your daughter’s $ from U of I merit/need based?

  • 262. Robin in WRP  |  January 12, 2015 at 11:36 am

    Business Major – don’t kid yourself. Many of those foreign students have grants and scholarships

  • 263. Robin in WRP  |  January 12, 2015 at 11:38 am

    MLD – my daughter heard similar stories from friends; one took out $40K in private loans for this school year (insane, right?).

    The U of I money was both merit and need based. Has the stepchild been applying for scholarships? There is a lot of money out there, but it takes a lot of work to find and receive it.

  • 264. Chris  |  January 12, 2015 at 11:47 am

    “HS Mom-Many middle class parents have college savings to cover 30k a year for each of their kids? Or even 30k total?”

    Since ‘middle class’ and ‘upper middle class’ have such very very (very!) different meanings to different people, have to understand what someone means by MC.

    I agree that a family making median family income (currently ~$70k in IL; and the “median family” should fit anyone’s ides of MC) for the past 20 years is *very* unlikely to have $120k+ in a college savings account. But $100/month over 20 years (with gains) is well over $30k, so 30k wouldn’t be exceedingly rare.

  • 265. @252  |  January 12, 2015 at 12:05 pm

    Middle School (6th, 7th & 8th grade) & HS teachers MUST be endorsed in the subject they teacher. It is a CPS rule. Are you sure the teacher isn’t endorsed? I check my kids teachers out every year on the ISBE site. You can do a public search on

  • 266. Mech C.  |  January 12, 2015 at 12:30 pm

    i was picking my child up early for a Dr. Appt and there was a gentleman forn a university checking in for a teacher evaluation. Since I was having an issue with the teacher, it struck me as odd, and I looked it up. He has a PEL with science endorsement grad 6-8, and a biology high school designation, but has only applied for a self contained endorsement which allows teaching other subjects in one class room. My child sits for 3.5 hours in one class, no breaks, then has lunch, and a special,then sits in this math and science class for 2-2.5 hours. Seems like its not in the students best interest to have a new math teacher who must only have a provisional endorsement.
    There are a few girls who have had embarrassing accidents due to sitting for so long and wearing tan uniform pants. I was told they could slip the teacher a note, he has sisters, so it’s no big deal.

  • 267. HS Mom  |  January 12, 2015 at 1:10 pm

    Yeah I guess, silly me for thinking that U of I would give more consideration to kids from it’s own state – not to mention Alum.

  • 268. Robin in WRP  |  January 12, 2015 at 2:24 pm

    Except charter schools. Illinois requires charters to have a minimum of 70% qualified teachers.

  • 269. mom2  |  January 13, 2015 at 12:41 pm

    Agree totally about UIUC. They offered nothing for most of our stellar friends and when the school says that in-state tuition is 12K they are just fooling people. $33,000 per year is what it takes and that is crazy. Our tour was also very “snobby” and while it sounds like a good school once you are there, they need to do better and do more for in-state students. Compare in-state prices for other states and in most cases, you will be shocked at the difference.

  • 270. Chris  |  January 13, 2015 at 1:35 pm

    “when the school says that in-state tuition is 12K they are just fooling people. ”

    Yeah, the “campus fee” thing is nonsense–they should just admit that tuition is $16k (or more for some programs).

    And room and board is kinda high for the location (maybe $1500 higher than other similar state schools)–but it’s basically the same as Michigan, and aren’t the cheap(ish) off-campus option fairly plentiful in Champbana? $1200 a month for room and board is pretty generous, if one is willing to ‘live like a student’.

    The rest is basically the same everywhere, give or take a few hundreds.

    The UIUC fees remind me of the UC system that until recently still “charged no tuition”, but was charging fees in the thousands.

  • 271. mom2  |  January 13, 2015 at 2:02 pm

    For example – college data dot com shows UIUC at about $30,000 per year for in state while Madison is $24,500, Purdue and Ohio State at about $23,000 and Iowa is just under $21,000.

  • 272. Chris  |  January 13, 2015 at 2:45 pm

    “while Madison is $24,500”

    Tuition is $10,400 (not Biz (+1k) or Eng (+1.4k)), inclusive of fees. So the difference is almost all in tuition and fees.

    Madison gets 2x the research money, 2x the alumni giving, and has 2x the endowment compared to UIUC, and gets less than 3/4 as much from the state.

  • 273. HS Mom  |  January 13, 2015 at 10:03 pm

    Chris I think the stark difference when comparing college costs is the number of colleges, public and private, that will admit Illinois kids at lower (sometimes significantly lower if you have “the right stuff”) than Illinois UIUC. They have even recognized that they are losing good Illinois kids to colleges that offer scholarships and/or low cost tuition to out of state kids.

  • 274. CUNY admissions  |  January 14, 2015 at 10:57 am

    Hello, friends, did you see this piece about NYC’s City Colleges and how admissions are changing there? Wonder what you all will make of this:

    The gist is, Black and Latino kids–even high-achievers–aren’t being admitted in the numbers they once were. CUNY leadership chose to raise SAT requirements for admission to its leading four-year campuses, and those schools now skew heavily white and Asian, where they didn’t years earlier. The article profiles a Puerto Rican valedictorian with a significantly higher than average Baruch entrant’s GPA who still was nixed.

  • 275. College Personality Tests  |  January 14, 2015 at 3:17 pm

    Article in January 9 Wall Street Journal on college personality assessments. It features DePaul. If this link does not work, you can look it up by its title: “Colleges Turn to Personality Assessments to Find Successful Students.”

  • 276. IB Obsessed  |  January 14, 2015 at 4:37 pm

    @275 Can you copy/paste the article? Subscription is required.

  • 277. GPA inflation, another sort  |  January 14, 2015 at 4:49 pm


    GPA’s unqualified use in comparing applicants is questionable. Instructors often control how big a portion of a class can get A- and above. A 3.9 from one school may be less worthwhile academically than a 3.5 from another. For a similar reason, some high schools now don’t rank their students.

  • 278. Chris  |  January 14, 2015 at 7:25 pm


    Google it. For now, linking from a google result gets you around a lot of newspaper paywalls.

  • 279. Gobe  |  January 26, 2015 at 12:22 am

    While we are waiting for letters…

    We’ve touched on the topic of talking to your kids about the SEHS process here. But how do you talk to your kid about the tier system? It’s somewhat easy to explain the concept of a selective institution and the points needed to get there. However, explaining the need for tiers and the difference between the scores is hard. A lot of kids have never seen real discrimination towards other people or the disparities that can exist at different income levels, etc. I think especially for kids in some CPS schools that have “controlled” environments – ex: magnet schools with an ideal racial/socioeconomic makeup – this idea that some kind of social engineering is necessary to level the playing field might be a completely foreign concept. If they see the cut scores and tiers without context it could be confusing. Any thoughts or advice on this?

  • 280. Robin in WRP  |  January 26, 2015 at 5:55 am

    You would be surprised what the kids pick up on their own, especially if they have friends with older siblings That said, the concept of kids from poor neighborhoods getting extra points is pretty simple.

  • 281. walker  |  January 26, 2015 at 10:27 am

    @280 @279 I agree kids can pick it up very fast. My 7yo already told me about it and we had a conversation. Basically I told (and keep telling) him that life is unfair and he needs to adapt. If it’s necessary to get almost perfect 900 score to get into a good SEHS, then work harder, explore all options, and don’t tell me that it’s unfair… any argument is irrelevant. If you can legally use the system to your advantage, well, then use it.

  • 282. IB Obsessed  |  January 26, 2015 at 10:59 am

    @280 That concept may be simple but it’s not factual. No one gets “extra points” for being from a poor neighborhood.

    One way to explain how Tiers count to a Tier 4 kid is to simply say that there is stiffer competition in Tier 4 because there are more high scoring students and more parents who apply only to SEHSs.

    Granted, this side steps explaining the whole “social engineering”aspect of Tiers.

  • 283. cps88@@  |  January 26, 2015 at 11:15 am

    282 Nice sugarcoating…totally agree with 280

  • 284. edgewatermom  |  January 26, 2015 at 11:18 am


    One way to explain how Tiers count to a Tier 4 kid is to simply say that there is stiffer competition in Tier 4 because there are more high scoring students and more parents who apply only to SEHSs.

    That is a REALLY good point. It is not that the city sets a lower point threshold for the lower tiers. You are only competing against kids from the same tier and Tier 4 just happens to have some very tough competition because everybody seems to want to get into a SEHS.

    We watched “Central Standard” (the PBS documentary on the SEHS process) with our daughter. I think that made it a bit easier to understand the tier system.

  • 285. 19th ward mom  |  January 26, 2015 at 11:19 am

    Speaking of tiers. Last year there was a spreadsheet posted here that had a breakdown of all the individual scores for SEHS for a prior year.

    I believe it was a spreadsheet, but could also been a website.

    So for Tier 4, you could see how many kids actually scored perfect scores, etc. It had all the scores (of course stripped of any personal identifying information), so you could look at this for other tiers as well.

    Does this ring a bell for anyone? Does anyone know where it is?


  • 286. edgewatermom  |  January 26, 2015 at 11:21 am

    @283 How is that sugar coating? Do you think that kids in lower tiers are given “extra” points?

  • 287. 19th ward mom  |  January 26, 2015 at 11:30 am

    On another note. My kid tested this weekend for the SEHS exam.
    After having my niece test at Whitney Young in November, and it was absolute craziness and we had to stand outside in the cold while she waited to get in, we signed our child up to take the test at King.

    Much better experience. My child also indicated that the test was “easy” especially compared to the Catholic exam they took earlier in the month. I hope that “easy” translates into a good score. On pins and needles until the letters come out.

    One thing though at the King test site. My child indicated that they allowed the students to leave and go to the bathroom in the middle of the timed sections. The student didn’t get to make up the missed time, but if they wanted to go, they could.

    I thought this was craziness. One from the prospective that they could be phoning a friend for help in the bathroom. And another from the prospective as a parent, that I would have been mad if my child left a critical test like this to go to the bathroom. I know there are medical conditions that need free access to the bathroom, but for all others either go before or hold it. We are not dealing with Kindergartners. My child indicated that one person went at least twice on these bathroom breaks. And isn’t that creating a disturbance for others, with the constant exit and re-entry of these students.

    Anyone know if other test sites follow a similar model around bathroom breaks?

  • 288. IB Obsessed  |  January 26, 2015 at 11:34 am

    @283, Can’t imagine why anyone would want to “totally agree” with a statement that is false. An argument could be made that the the results of the existing Tier system is equivalent to giving extra points to kids from poor neighborhoods, true. But it seems ill advised to begin to explain the system to a child by not beginning with the actual way points are awarded.

  • 289. otdad  |  January 26, 2015 at 12:18 pm

    ” It is not that the city sets a lower point threshold for the lower tiers. “
    For NSCP, Tire 4 needs 894 but Tire 1 only needs 804, that’s 90 points lower threshold. A student with 804 is inferior academically than one with 894.

    ” Tier 4 just happens to have some very tough competition because everybody seems to want to get into a SEHS.”
    Just happens or the politicians wanted it that way?

  • 290. Chris  |  January 26, 2015 at 12:51 pm

    “” It is not that the city sets a lower point threshold for the lower tiers.“

    For NSCP, Tire 4 needs 894 but Tire 1 only needs 804, that’s 90 points lower threshold.”

    Oh, OTDad appears to have found a secret chart with firm cutoff scores set by CPS (probably by Rahm himself, that dirty cheat).

    Or did you intentionally miss the point being made?

  • 291. Newcomer  |  January 26, 2015 at 1:31 pm

    They don’t “need” lower scores, they “need” to get the highest scores in their neighborhood. If there are some neighborhood regions that tend to score lower, and you start thinking about why that is so (quality of education available to them, etc) then it becomes rather easy to explain to one’s children, I think. No it’s not a perfect system, there will always be deserving kids who won’t get their first choice. But at least it is taking one step towards addressing inequality.

  • 292. otdad  |  January 26, 2015 at 2:19 pm

    That’s last year’s cut off score. I don’t understand why it has anything to do with the mayor.
    The point is to explain to the kids about the tier system. I would explain to the kids like this: Sometimes people are treated differently by the society. Instead of complaining, you have to do your best.

  • 293. IB Obsessed  |  January 26, 2015 at 2:39 pm

    @292 yes, OTD some kids are treated differently by society virtually from birth. Go tour a Tier 1 elementary school that doesn’t have a library Those kids can’t do their best because the system is rigged against them. The Tier system is an ineffective attempt to unrig the system for those kids. But, sigh, we’ve been down this road before with you and you seem have a need to believe that anyone can succeed if they just try real hard, no matter their circumstances so carry on with your comforting fairytale…….

  • 294. HS Mom  |  February 1, 2015 at 9:57 am

    292, 293 – I get what OT Dad is saying loud and clear. Instead of complaining, everyone has to do their best given their circumstances. Kids who have parental guidance to help them nurture their abilities do well. Kids who don’t have someone guiding them at home or school will likely not flourish. I don’t see how this means the system is rigged. If the system does not provide the necessary support for at risk kids is it the fault of the “system”, the guardian, the school, the teachers, the politicians? If some or all of these supports are failing, what do you do……complain or trudge forward while holding your own end by doing your best. The system can’t change life circumstances.

  • 295. IBObsessed  |  February 1, 2015 at 2:52 pm

    HS MOM I do not discount at all the necessity of trudging forward and doing your best. Not at all. I praise my child for hard work and effort, not grades or her innate intelligence, because I know work is an essential part of success. But I do think some are in circumstances where even trying their best will not give them success. I believe in complaining about the system, because it DOES sometimes determine life circumstances. The system is rigged against the poor and whose parents are uneducated and for those for whom societal expectations are low. This is an example of what I am talking about. An interesting read. Check it out.

  • 296. IBObsessed  |  February 1, 2015 at 2:56 pm

    “The system can’t change life circumstances.” This implies the system is a level playing field and if you are not successful it is completely your own fault and if you complain you are making excuses. The system is not a level playing field where all children start out with the same opportunities for education success.

  • 297. Riis  |  February 2, 2015 at 4:35 pm

    IB Obesessed. I agree with you. It is weird to me that others don’t see the necessity of the Tier system. Its not perfect, but it’s something to give kids who get no breaks (through no fault of their own) a chance at a better education. You’re talking the Valedictorian of the class in many cases. They have done well at what was given to them, but that education was not the same education that the Tier 4 kid from an area with good neighborhood schools on par with the SEES received. It seems unbelievable that it happens, but it does. And as much as we hate to see our kids do their best and still not get what they want or what we want for them, it happens. Its a life lesson really. It happens to those Tier 1 and 2 kids constantly. At least, if my kid doesn’t get in, they have me to help make the best of whatever opportunity is made available to them. Some of the kids don’t have anyone who cares enough about their education to do anything. I say stop comparing your kids score to the scores of kids in other Tiers and compare them to kids in their own Tier because that is who they are competing with. Your Tier has X amount of seats and your kid has to compete with other kids who presumably have had a very similar playing field as your kid to get one of them.

  • 298. Tacocat  |  February 3, 2015 at 1:41 pm

    @297, I guess where I disagree with you is your last sentence, “Your Tier has X amount of seats and your kid has to compete with other kids who presumably have had a very similar playing field as your kid “.

    On my block, there are millionaires, welfare recipients, and middle class. The city isn’t like the suburbs where are the wealthy people live in the same neighborhood or subdivision.
    There is nothing about my address that would tell CPS what socio-economic class my kid is.

  • 299. NS dad  |  February 3, 2015 at 2:29 pm

    Wouldn’t it be better to impose the tier system in early grade classical, options and magnet elementary schools so that kids from poorer neighborhoods can develop good academic and study habits earlier? Then, for ELITE high schools you just take the best students from the entire city and you don’t water down the quality of the student body.

  • 300. IB Obsessed  |  February 3, 2015 at 2:36 pm

    The classical, gifted, and magnet elementary do admit according to the Tier system. But these kids represent only a tiny minority of the entire CPS population. What about the kids who don’t have parents savvy enough to apply to these options when they are 5?

  • 301. IB Obsessed  |  February 3, 2015 at 2:45 pm

    @298 The Tier system is ineffective, as has been discussed ad nauseum on this blog. The design does not work for urban areas that have many areas with diverse incomes. That’s kind of no brainer for anyone who actually lives in Chicago. I wonder if the individual who designed it was a Chicago resident and what their qualifications are. Ed.D? Urban planning? None of those? Dividing Tiers by income and parental education level would capture more of the truly educationally disadvantaged kids. If CPS can manage all the elementary SE and HS applications and scores, and grades, and test dates etc., don’t see why they couldn’t handle sorting through that data.

  • 302. @299  |  February 3, 2015 at 2:45 pm

    Where’s the proof that they are “watering down” the quality of the student bodies by using the tier system? ACT scores at all the selective high schools have only gone up since inception of the tier system.

  • 303. @299  |  February 3, 2015 at 2:56 pm

    I remember reading an article from Northside Prep around the time they were forced to drop their 850 minimum cutoff score for all applicants. They were worried there would be a significant drop in the talent level among their incoming freshmen classes. To their surprise, the students admitted under the tier system have outperformed prior classes on all relevant metrics including the Explore, Plan, and ACT tests. I have yet to see any data that supports the notion that any of these schools have been “watered down”.

  • 304. walker  |  February 3, 2015 at 4:35 pm

    It would be interesting to see Tier distribution among, let’s say, top 20% of SEHS graduates. The cutoff score gap between Tier 4 and Tier 1-2 is pretty huge and I’m skeptical that the gap can be significantly shrank over 4 years.

  • 305. Wondering Also  |  February 3, 2015 at 10:29 pm

    That was my question on another post. How do the kids do in SEHS, those who have low entering scores, those who have high numbers and did lots of test prep, and those who have high scores with no prep at all? Are there vast differences? Are the schools “better” for one type of kid? Or are they, in fact, good all around schools for different types of learners and achievers?

  • 306. pantherettie  |  February 4, 2015 at 6:55 am

    @Womdering – really good questions. I think that CPS would say that SEHS are good all around schools for the kids who enter them. When you look at the graduation rate, college acceptance rates and college graduation rates for all of the SEHS except Southshore and Westinghouse(ISBE site) you’ll see that they do better than many other city and suburban schools in the state. That said, I personally know that kids who attend SEHS who are not academically prepared for the rigors of the school struggle. Period. Most of the kids I’m familiar with who have struggled at WY, Jones, WP, Lindblom or Brooks have lived in either tier 3 or tier 4 neighborhoods. They went to strong public, private or parochial schools and have engaged parents. Sometimes the school isn’t the right fit academically ( e.g. Kid struggles with block scheduling or sequence of classes, or homework load) or socially ( e.g. School’s too big, too small, doesn’t feel like he/she belongs, atmosphere is too intense/not intense enough). Either way, I think that both CPS and some posters on this board see SEHS admittance as #the# goal rather than really looking at the entire kid to see what the best fit for high school could really be. I think that CPS has the data to provide answers to your questions and I think that people on this board with kids who attend SEHS could answer honestly about their kids experiences if they wanted to talk about more than scores and the ‘unfairness’ of the tier system.

  • 307. Robin in WRP  |  February 4, 2015 at 7:04 am

    pantherettie – You bring up a really good point, though the same can be said even more so for elementary schools: every school is not a good fit for every kid. That said, the larger high schools do offer more opportunities for students to find their fit: a range of class levels (regular, honors, AP), a range of extra-curriculars (Seinfeld club to Habitat for Humanity), and extra help (tutoring, writing lab, etc.).It’s in the school’s best interest for students to succeed,and they do try to make that happen

  • 308. OTDad  |  February 4, 2015 at 1:06 pm

    There is a study about NYC selective enrollment schools (test score only).The study shows that: For a ‘marginal student’, the benefit of attending a school with elite peers is little to none.
    ‘marginal student’ = those have barely enough scores to get in.

    Click to access dobbie_fryer_shs_07_2013.pdf

    Many Tier 1, Tier 2 students in Chicago are probably not even qualify to be ‘marginal’. They are substantial lower performers. Someone should do similar study on Chicago’s SEHS. It can be a good paper material.

  • 309. IB Obsessed  |  February 4, 2015 at 1:36 pm

    @OT Dad the Tier 1 and Tier 2 students admitted to SEHSs are not lower than “marginal” or even “marginal” students. Some of them are not as high scorers as the other Tiers, but you cannot be admitted to an SEHS with below grade level or 50th% tile scores or less than ‘C’ grades, no matter what Tier you are from. Look at the Tier cut off scores and look at the scoring rubric. Or do you define ‘marginal’ in a different way? Doesn’t ‘marginal’ suggest ‘below norm’? And less than marginal, ‘substantially below norm’?
    And if this is true, it does not seem unrealistic to think an average, on grade level student could get real academic gains from attending an SEHS.

  • 310. Riis  |  February 4, 2015 at 1:51 pm

    @298, yes I know this is the situation in many of the neighborhoods which is what makes it flawed. I tried to account for that by saying presumably, but I know that is an understatement. There ARE areas in Chicago that are simply unaffordable for many unless they have section 8 or some other public assistance. Some people find ways to afford to live in these neighborhoods even if they can’t afford it just to be in a “better/safter” neighborhood. But if you choose to live in these areas and are planning to start a family or already have one and plan to use the CPS system to attend a SEES, or SEHS, you must account for the fact that, hey, CPS thinks this is an upper income level neighboorhood and my kid has some stiff competition if I want them to test into these schools. It is flawed and shouldn’t be this way, but until all neighborhood schools are equal, this is the best they can offer to those underserved smart kids who’s parents can’t send them to private or just move to the suburbs if their kid doesn’t get in.

  • 311. IB Obsessed  |  February 4, 2015 at 1:53 pm

    The study conclusion also admits that it “social capital” gains for “marginal scorers” important for things like career and income success were not addressed by the study.

    I see now that “marginal” is defined differently than I understood. But I wonder if our Tier 1 and Tier 2 students score at a level comparable to the ‘marginal’ students in the study, so that an inference can be made that the conclusions of the study apply here with CPS HSs.

  • 312. Chris  |  February 4, 2015 at 2:19 pm

    IBO: “@OT Dad the Tier 1 and Tier 2 students admitted to SEHSs are not lower than “marginal” or even “marginal” students.”

    Marginal means those with scores close to the cutoff. “Lower than marginal” would be the kids with scores 50+ points lower than the T4 cutoff scores (the last kid in fro T4 is also ‘marginal’).

  • 313. Riis  |  February 4, 2015 at 2:36 pm

    @walker 304, I would be interested in seeing those numbers too. I really do believe that many of the kids getting in with the lower scores in these Tier 1’s and Tier 2’s have lower scores because they weren’t exposed to higher level material. If they get into an SEHS and are exposed to more and therefore achieve more, that would say alot.

  • 314. Riis  |  February 4, 2015 at 2:45 pm

    I was thinking the same thing about OTDad’s comment. Clearly, “marginal kids” aren’t getting in. So while, yes, Tier 1 and Tier 2 has marginal and lower than marginal students we aren’t talking about those students. The cutoff score isn’t the highest score achieved to get in, its the lowest. There are kids in the lower Tiers that get scores on par with Tier 3 and Tier 4 kids and probably outscore some and by the same token, Tier 3 and 4 kids that are marginal or lower than marginal.

  • 315. North Center Mom  |  February 4, 2015 at 3:31 pm

    “If they get into an SEHS and are exposed to more and therefore achieve more, that would say alot.”

    Your comment suggests that by being in an SEHS, a student from a lower performing elementary school can make up or catch up to their peers from higher performing elementary school programs. That is not my experience of how the SEHSs work. The student’s exposure to classes will be limited by the level from which they entered.

    Let me give math as an example: a student with limited elementary school options would enter at Math I, a student who passes out of Algebra would enter at Math II, a student (mostly from Academic Centers) would enter at Math III. If the students take one math class per year, the limited exposure student can complete, at most, Math IV while the more advanced students will get into AP Calculus and AP Statistics.

    Moreover, when the limited exposure student takes Math II as a sophomore, they will have freshmen in their class. When they take Math III, they will have freshmen and sophomores in their class. So there is a social component too.

  • 316. Alan Bloom  |  February 4, 2015 at 3:42 pm

    The tier system turns the concept of an “elite” school on its head by excluding higher scoring students in favor of lower scoring students. This is another government-driven social engineering experiment redistributing opportunities from those most deserving (based on scores) to those less deserving (based on scores) due to the color of their skin. In other words it is affirmative action on a massive scale resulting in a lower overall standard (based on average cutoff scores) for our elite schools. Of course every child should have the opportunity to go to a clean, safe, high-quality public school. However, I already pay over $20,000 in property taxes. How much more am I supposed to pay when my kid (combined score of 888) is excluded from the top schools simply because I had the means to live on the north side of Chicago?

  • 317. TierIck!  |  February 4, 2015 at 3:55 pm

    316 “The tier system turns the concept of an “elite” school on its head by excluding higher scoring students in favor of lower scoring students.” Yep, that’s right it is affirmative action. Your points are correct and exactly what folks on this site don’t want to hear.

  • 318. Alan Bloom  |  February 4, 2015 at 4:01 pm

    When I took the tour at Whitney, the Principal observed that if you compared the ACT scores from the top 200 kids at Whitney versus the top 200 kids at Payton or Northside, the Whitney kids have higher scores. This is probably because at Whitney, which is much bigger, the vast majority of the top 200 kids are from Tier 4 and at the smaller schools the top 200 include kids from all 4 tiers. More evidence that the overall quality at the elite schools is watered down by the Tier system.

  • 319. Chris  |  February 4, 2015 at 4:14 pm

    “Yep, that’s right it is affirmative action. Your points are correct and exactly what folks on this site don’t want to hear.”

    Um, who, exactly, amongst the even occasional commenters, “doesn’t want to hear it”? The only people who seem to “not want to hear it” are those complaining about the ‘unfairness’ of it. Which seems like a thin veil for complaining about “affirmative action”.

    Hell, the whole point of the tier system was *always* trying to get similar admissions results as under the old race-based (and sex-based–remember, boys and girls had separate pools, too) admissions system AND comply with US SCt restrictions on race-based admissions programs by public schools.

    Seriously, who do you think is “not wanting to hear” factual information??

  • 320. Robin in WRP  |  February 4, 2015 at 4:17 pm

    OTDad – someone should figure out how to improve the crappy schools in the lower tier neighborhoods

  • 321. Riis  |  February 4, 2015 at 4:39 pm

    @315 I get what your saying and that scenario is true for some. In my own personal experience, I went to WY, albeit years ago, and started with Algebra I, did well and was able to take Honors Geometry which put me on course to take Calculus before graduating. Back then, we only needed 3 years of math, not sure what it is now, but still……

  • 322. Riis  |  February 4, 2015 at 4:44 pm

    @318 Due to the color of their skin? Is that what is boils down to for you? I don’t see the schools as “elite” per se. I think of it more as a more challenging environment for those with the aptitude to handle it.

  • 323. Riis  |  February 4, 2015 at 4:47 pm

    I agree Robin in WRP

  • 324. Alan Bloom  |  February 4, 2015 at 5:46 pm

    @322 the tier system is a proxy for race and it was only implemented in response to the illegal and unconstitutional racial quotas that CPS was using before they were ordered to stop. Also, of course the schools are “elite” they are designed to admit the top students in the city. I’m trying hard not to flame here, but your comment seems obtuse.

  • 325. Robin in WRP  |  February 4, 2015 at 5:59 pm

    The Ackies at Whitney take honors algebra in 7th grade and honors geography in 8th grade. Most take math all four years of high school

  • 326. Robin in WRP  |  February 4, 2015 at 6:00 pm

    Since the tier system was introduced, the percentage of black students decreased at Whitney

  • 327. Alan Bloom  |  February 4, 2015 at 6:11 pm

    @326 So what? The tier system was put in place as a proxy for the illegal quotas. All you are saying is that it isn’t a perfect proxy.

  • 328. Chris  |  February 4, 2015 at 7:02 pm

    ” The tier system was put in place as a proxy for the illegal quotas.”

    No, it was put in place to replace quotas in compliance with law, once the actual terms of compliance were finally fairly clearly spelled out. The quotas were there as a response to/bulwark against the political reality of Chicago.

    Try to find one elected official in Chicago who would take an on-the-record stand against “affirmative action” in CPS selective-enrollment admissions. The mayoral candidates would range from “the tier system seems to be working pretty well” to “bring back quotas”, with a stop thru ‘elect a school board’ that would almost certainly tilt toward the ‘quota’ side of that spectrum.

    You’re tilting at windmills on that on one, at least for the foreseeable future.

  • 329. pantherettie  |  February 5, 2015 at 7:00 am

    @Alan Bloom- the 20K per year that you pay in property taxes would not cover the cost of any quality high school education let alone one at the highly resourced SEHS. I think that you may be forgetting that your property taxes also include police services, fire services, sanitation services (including snow removal) and other public services in addition to contributing to public education. So, at least in my mind, no – your 20k a year in property taxes doesn’t entitle you to access to a SEHS, it entitles to and your family to the city services that you receive and access to public schools in your community. That’s it. You could always take that 20k you’re paying now and add another 30-40k to it and move to Oak Park and receive those city services and send your kid to General admission OPRH.

  • 330. Robin in WRP  |  February 5, 2015 at 7:22 am

    A well-educated population is of value to all of us.

  • 331. pantherettie  |  February 5, 2015 at 8:16 am

    Agreed Robin.

  • 332. walker  |  February 5, 2015 at 9:43 am

    @329 There is a flaw in your calculation. High school is 4 years and property tax is whole life. If you take it into account, the conclusions will be different.

  • 333. walker  |  February 5, 2015 at 9:54 am

    I agree with @Chris that the Tier system will stay here for the foreseeable future. Chicago is just not ready to go to the next level and make SE admission based on pure academic ability criteria as well as provide strong public education to everyone. Not so long ago race-based and sex-based segregation was acceptable and it took more than one generation to move forward. Well, in some point in time Chicago will be ready to do it too but not for the foreseeable future…

  • 334. Robin in WRP  |  February 5, 2015 at 9:55 am

    The primary flaw is that taxes are to pay for the “commons”, streetlights, filling potholes, Lincoln Park Zoo, parks, schools, police officers, paramedics, etc.

  • 335. pantherettie  |  February 5, 2015 at 10:06 am

    @Walker – I’m thinking about pre-school, K-8th grade, high school, public universities and colleges, trade schools and anything that an entire family would access. Alan’s statement refers specifically to his child’s entitlement to attend a SEHS based on his yearly 20K property tax bill. The 12/14 CPS OIG report(pg 34) indicates that CPS is seeking $50,198 in tuition recovery from a teacher and her husband who falsely enrolled their *one* child in a CPS elementary school. As you read the report, you’ll see CPS values the tuition from a low of 20K to 62K. So again, stating that one year’s property taxes – which includes a variety of city services along with public education – entitles enrollment in an SEHS in a manner not designated by the current tier system.

  • 336. IB Obsessed  |  February 5, 2015 at 10:20 am

    Regarding residency fraud in CPS. My new suburban school district just adjacent to the city border would not allow us to apply or enroll for ANY programs or testing until we produced not only a copy of a mortgage contract or lease, but 2 other documents proving residency. They were examined, photocopied, and placed in a paper file.

    Our CPS school glanced at a single utility bill after we had been offered and accepted a spot. This is stupid.

  • 337. Alan Bloom  |  February 5, 2015 at 10:40 am

    I never suggested the $20k per year entitled my kid to a spot at a SEHS. His score, which is far above the cutoff scores for tiers 1,2 and 3 should entitle him to a spot. He put in the work, studied, got the grades and the scores. That is the basis for his entitlement.

    The 20k per year comment was connected to my unwillingness to pay more to improve schools throughout the City when my child is being discriminated against in favor of kids whose parents pay little or no taxes.

    And @329, if I and all of the people like me who actually pay taxes move to Oak Park and Glencoe, then your kids will have even fewer options of where to send your kids because the City will have no money.

  • 338. Alan Bloom  |  February 5, 2015 at 10:52 am

    Sorry bit of a typo in that last post.

    Regardless, while I know it is useless to argue with the socialists on this board, I will give a final shot. The redistribution of wealth and opportunities from people who have worked hard for what they have to people who have not is a method that has failed over and over again throughout history (Russia, China, North Korea, France, etc..)

    Chicago will soon look a lot like Detroit if things keep going this way.

    I’m done.

  • 339. Robin in WRP  |  February 5, 2015 at 10:54 am

    Most of those people who pay “little” taxes likely pay a higher percentage of their income in taxes than you

  • 340. Pantherettie  |  February 5, 2015 at 10:59 am

    @Alan – I think that I understood your comment pretty well. I agree that your son should have a spot in a SEHS with a score of 888. Interestingly, there are SEHS that your son could go to with that score, but they may not be your (or his ) first choice. I think that it’s the height of entitlement to say that your son can’t attend an SEHS when there are SEHS to attend and then wrap it up in the idea that you’ve paid “enough” property taxes to ensure that entitlement.

    BTW, I pay just as much for property taxes in Hyde Park as you do on the north side of the city. My kid already has fewer options (geographically speaking) than your kid does on the north side for SEHS. I don’t think that people who feel that their property taxes could go further and would be better spent in a suburb rather than Chicago should stay in the city.

  • 341. Chris  |  February 5, 2015 at 11:21 am

    “Our CPS school glanced at a single utility bill after we had been offered and accepted a spot. This is stupid.”

    It is stupid. Egregiously stupid.

    Not as stupid as letting out of state folks use the “tier” of their current out of state residence for application to CPS schools, but stupid nonetheless.

  • 342. otdad  |  February 5, 2015 at 11:22 am

    @335 patherettie:
    $20K property tax is for a house worth more than $1 million. It has to be enough, where else can the money come from? Largest chunk of the property tax goes to education, dwarfs police/fire/….. combined.

    According to the State Board of Education, per pupil operational spending in CPS is $13,433.

    In comparison, the Catholic schools of the Archdiocese of Chicago are $7,577 per student.

    I think you misunderstood Alan’s statement. His complaining seemed about his kid not getting in SEHS with a score of 888, while others with much lower scores can.

  • 343. Chris  |  February 5, 2015 at 11:32 am

    “The redistribution of wealth and opportunities from people who have worked hard for what they have to people who have not is a method that has failed over and over again throughout history…”

    aristocracies, Robber Barons, etc etc etc.

    It’s not just socialism that steals from those who “work hard”.

    “Chicago will soon look a lot like Detroit if things keep going this way.”

    That’s basically a corollary to Godwin’s Law applied to discussions of Chicago’s future.

  • 344. Alan Bloom  |  February 5, 2015 at 11:51 am

    I cant help myself:

    @patherette: The height of entitlement is a socialist from Hyde Park saying that kids with lower scores are entitled to admission to a school because of where they live or the color of their skin. To say that arguing for a meritocracy is equivalent to entitlement is a baseless argument.

    @343: I advocate an objective meritocracy. As for the Detroit comment it is simple math that drives the comparison. There are many economists who see default in Chicago’s future if the pension systems are not reformed.

    On a personal level, my kids go to a neighborhood school on the north side. Not a classical school, not an options program, not a magnet school. At their school there are kids selling drugs, marking the walls with hate and gang symbols and bullying others. Their school gets the same per-pupil funding as every other Chicago public school. I fail to see what unfair advantages my kids have had other than the active involvement and interest of their parents in their educational success.

  • 345. edgewatermom  |  February 5, 2015 at 12:06 pm

    @344 “I fail to see what unfair advantages my kids have had other than the active involvement and interest of their parents in their educational success.”

    The tier system just means that your child is competing against other kids who are more likely to have parents who are actively involved in their educational success.

    And I doubt that you really believe that the fact that you are interested in your child’s educational success and most likely have the means to assist them (by buying books, taking them to museums etc) does not have a significant impact on their success. I also doubt that you would have chosen your neighborhood school if your research did not show you that it would provide a decent education for your child.

    Do you really believe that a student who grew up in a very disadvantaged area with little or no parental involvement should not be allowed to compete against peers from similar backgrounds and should have to compete directly against your child?

  • 346. walker  |  February 5, 2015 at 12:12 pm

    @338 I grew up in one of those countries and not all ideas were wrong. It had a good education system based on following: All kids are equal. It means that all neighborhood schools got pretty much the same resources all over the country. Teachers got free education but had to work at least 3 years in any government assigned school. As a result, my school (almost in the middle of nowhere) got a few fabulous teachers. There were the same standards in each school (like CCS) and it was easy to move from one school to another and from grade to grade as it all followed the same standards. Moreover, the standards were well-polished and designed to fit many levels of student proficiency at the same time. In Math, HW often included the required part and 1-2 challenging optional problems for those who wanted to push it further. Parents were held accountable. It wasn’t unusual for a teacher/principal not only to talk to parents but also call parents’ employers if there was a problem with their kid. All SE schools had academic-based admission criteria more like subject-based contests (like Mathcounts competition). There were no “more equal” applicants or “leveling field” nonsense for race/income-based discrimination. It was plain simple: we treat all kids the same way regardless of race, income, gender, geography, etc. But it also included powerful mechanisms to influence parents and keep all neighborhood school strong as well as all programs accessible for every kid. Of course, there were disadvantages too (low teacher’s salary, too slow to adapt to changing world especially in HS) but it doesn’t mean everything was bad.

  • 347. Alan Bloom  |  February 5, 2015 at 12:14 pm

    @345 Yes. I actually believe that admission to an elite school should be based on objective measures. I also believe that the top-scoring kids should go to the top schools without reference to race, color, religion, wealth, sexual orientation etc.

    I also agree that my interest in my child’s academic success has led him to where he is. I don’t see why he should suffer for that.

  • 348. IB Obsessed  |  February 5, 2015 at 12:28 pm

    @338 Forgive me. I can’t resist.

    If you really think “Russia, China, N. Korea, France” have equivalent “socialist” economic systems and are all complete failures, then I question the educational advantage your child has.

  • 349. Alan Bloom  |  February 5, 2015 at 12:37 pm

    @348 Obviously those countries are not equivalent, but in the past century each had economic systems based on the redistribution of wealth. In each case those economic systems failed.

  • 350. IB Obsessed  |  February 5, 2015 at 12:40 pm

    Go visit France.

  • 351. Alan Bloom  |  February 5, 2015 at 12:46 pm

    I have been to France plenty of times. Read some history about what happened to the French tax base when they imposed a wealth tax. Talk to some French business people about how they feel about the French economy and their ability to be successful under the current government policies.

  • 352. cpsobsessed  |  February 5, 2015 at 12:46 pm

    Here is the logic I see laid out:
    1. Some of us can give our kids a leg up which helps the kids score well and get into SE schools

    2. This will likely perpetuate the advantaged familes getting the top spots and disadvantaged famlies not getting spots

    Are you ok with perpetuating this?
    If you are, do you think you would answer the same way if you were a family without the advantages (college educated parents, english speaking parents, access to tech, books, lessons etc)

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 353. pantherettie  |  February 5, 2015 at 12:49 pm

    @Alan – I don’t believe that I’m a socialist, but it’s ok for you to think that I’m one based upon my neighborhood. It’s not an insult to me
    🙂 I do believe that I spoke about entitlement when I stated that you indicated that your son’s score of 888 didn’t allow him admission to any SEHS. I’m saying that that there are SEHS for which he would absolutely be granted admission – it just might not be your (or his) first choice, it might require you to travel outside of the north side of the city, it might require him to be a minority (maybe regarding race, geographic location, gender, ect.). My comment about entitlement stems from the implied notion that if your kid doesn’t get a seat at WP, J, WY or NS then there’s not a place and therefore you and your family have somehow been “wronged”.

    Also, from my Hyde Park “socialist” point of view – I do believe that my kid has had more advantages than those who don’t have two college educated parents, live in a stable home and has attended a local neighborhood school than those who have not had those same experiences. She’s had a lot fewer advantages than the kids of the millionaires that live in the neighborhood too. The tier system attempts to address those advantages/disadvantages. Just because I believe that, it doesn’t mean that I believe that anyone should not work hard for the admissions to schools or work hard to stay at the schools once they arrive.

    I really like this blog post about discussing fairness with kids and the accompanying picture. It shows the difference between “equality” and “justice”. Check it out.

  • 354. Alan Bloom  |  February 5, 2015 at 12:56 pm


    I’m fine with it. My father came to this country as a 17 year old holocaust survivor with no money, no formal education, no English and having experienced worse violence than anyone living in Chicago today. He became an engineer at night school while hanging up dresses in a department store during the day. He prioritized his kids’ education and sent 3 kids to ivy league colleges. He did all of that in the face of institutionalized anti-Semitism though force of will and hard work.

  • 355. Alan Bloom  |  February 5, 2015 at 1:06 pm

    @353 I believe in equality.

  • 356. Marginal Students  |  February 5, 2015 at 1:18 pm

    “your son’s score of 888 didn’t allow him admission”

    No way to compare directly but I’d guess an 888 is probably around the marginal admit at Stuyvesant (perhaps a little higher), so perhaps nothing lost by not attending SEHS.

  • 357. cpsobsessed  |  February 5, 2015 at 1:29 pm

    That’s a very impressive story (one told by many immigrants of that era.). I do wonder what factors allowed for the success of these families? I think merging into schools was easier for jews then than it is now for minority students. But impressive nonetheless — all very selfless efforts of the parents to put the kids’ education first.
    Are you saying your grandfather wasn’t educated when he came here? Were his parents? I’m curious about how he earned his way into and paid for engineering school. Also very impressive.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 358. Alan Bloom  |  February 5, 2015 at 1:55 pm

    It was my father, not my grandfather. He was 12 when the war started and received no formal education during the war. His father was an infantryman in the Austro-Hungarian army and then owned a general store in a tiny town in Poland. His parents were completely uneducated. After the war he taught himself chemistry and math in a displaced persons camp. He applied to Cooper Union in New York which is a privately-funded, free school for those able to get in.

    He was barred from most established engineering firms in the 60s because he was Jewish so he ended up starting his own.

  • 359. 888 score?  |  February 5, 2015 at 2:03 pm


    With a 888 tier 4 score your son had several SEHS options…just because he didn’t get into NS or Payton doesn’t mean the system is wrong…he could have attended several other SEHSs…WY, Jones or Lane to name a few.

  • 360. Chris  |  February 5, 2015 at 2:10 pm

    ” I advocate an objective meritocracy.”

    So, you’re a Randian. Fair enough.

    “As for the Detroit comment it is simple math that drives the comparison.”

    No it’s not. Detroit has lost over 60% of its population. Detroit got smaller (by %) before 1980 than Chicago has gotten currently (down ~25%). At the last decade’s rate of decline (-6.8%), it would take *9* decades for Chicago to shrink as much as Detroit already has

    Detroit’s homicide *rate* has been higher than Chicago *peak* rate (early 90s, crack war era) every year since ’67.

    “There are many economists who see default in Chicago’s future if the pension systems are not reformed.”

    And the likelihood of the systems remaining unreformed is …?

    There are economists who saw the US economy being decimated by Japanese competition, too. And who saw the ’02 to ’07 growth home prices to be a permanent market shift. Economists are wrong a lot, even when they do account for the relative unlikelihood of everything continuing on current trend.

  • 361. Chris  |  February 5, 2015 at 2:11 pm

    “he could have attended several other SEHSs…WY, Jones or Lane”

    Those schools are for proles.

  • 362. Pantherettie  |  February 5, 2015 at 4:19 pm

    @361 – “Those schools are for proles”


  • 363. IB Obsessed  |  February 5, 2015 at 4:56 pm

    @362 See “1984” George Orwell. Proles are the commoners, the working class. Chris was using the sarcastica font.

  • 364. Pantherettie  |  February 5, 2015 at 6:19 pm

    Got it – the Proliteriat

  • 365. HS Mom  |  February 6, 2015 at 8:24 am

    @340 – BTW, I pay just as much for property taxes in Hyde Park as you do on the north side of the city. My kid already has fewer options (geographically speaking) than your kid does on the north side for SEHS.

    Hyde Park SE options – Jones, Young, Payton, South Shore, Lindblom, King

    Northside – Northside, Lane, Payton and maybe Jones and Young

  • 366. HS Mom  |  February 6, 2015 at 8:29 am

    Speaking a little bit about school snobbery (since I don’t feel as though I personally have that), I would probably be more than a little pissed if my kid had an 888 and his/her best option was Lane (which is a great school—–love it and would go there), I understand how he feels.

  • 367. pantherettie  |  February 6, 2015 at 8:41 am

    Actually it’s Brooks, Lindblom, King and South Shore.

    WY and Payton are not on the southside

  • 368. pantherettie  |  February 6, 2015 at 8:53 am

    Really can’t stand the school snobbery on this board.

  • 369. Northsider  |  February 6, 2015 at 10:06 am

    it may be snobbery for some people. But please don’t consider that is the case for everyone. for us it is simply an issue of logistics. Commuting from my location on the northside to downtown can take anywhere from 45 min to an hour. I want my children to be well rounded. To have a full, rich high school experience. Not spend hours commuting. We toured payton this year and I kept asking the current students that were there what they would change about the program. One girl said the location because it took her over an hour to get there from the far south side. My point here is that it is true We personally are not considering the south side sehs schools. But we also did not consider Whitney for the same reason. Just can’t get there from here in any reasonable time frame. When it came time to rank schools we talked about a number of things. location and transportation were high on that list. They weren’t the only thing. But they were a factor. For that and other reasons my child ranked jones lower. One of the few kids in her school to do so. We did limit our choices then. But we went in knowing the reality of the situation and the consequences of our choices.

  • 370. pantherettie  |  February 6, 2015 at 10:38 am

    @369 – I totally understand the issues regarding the commute. From Hyde Park, we didn’t even consider WY, WP, Lane or NSCP due to the commute alone. Just as you pointed out, it really, really hard to have a balanced life when the commute to school is over an hour each way. Although WY is not geographically far, the challenge of driving through the loop every morning and every afternoon or using public transportation through the winter months just wasn’t an option for us. WP, Lane or NSCP were even farther. I really get it. It just bugs to read some comments that seem like snobbery to me. I didn’t mean to make assumptions or insult everyone who chooses to send their kids to north side SEHS – sorry if it came across that way.

  • 371. cpsobsessed  |  February 6, 2015 at 11:29 am

    @Pantherettie: I agree with you about being bothered by the snobbery. On the other hand, I think it is pervasive among many CPS parents, just at different levels. I think we all know that many parents want an “other families like me are okay with this school” stamp of approval before they’ll consider it.

    It’s easy to call out snobbery when someone turns up their nose at Lane. But I don’t know many parents who will consider Westinghouse right now. Amundsen and Lake View are still working to feel “truly sold” to the neighborhood parents. And there are plenty of (what I assume to be) good neighborhood elem schools that aren’t on the hot list and likely overlooked by local parents.

    so I think you and I are both bothered by the “creme de la creme” snobbish. The education one percenters, if you will.

  • 372. 888 score?  |  February 6, 2015 at 12:14 pm

    @HS mom “I would be more than a little pissed if my kid had a 888 and his/her best option was Lane”

    Am I missing something? Last year (and most likely this year due to the transfer over to MAP) an 888 allowed a tier 4 kid to attend ALL SEHSs except WP or NS…I guess I don’t see the issue (& this is coming from a tier 4 parent whose child scored 891 & did not end up attending his first choice school).

    On another note, does anyone know how to go about getting a PE waiver? Is it an impossible task? My child has several AP & other academic classes he is interested in taking during his junior/senior year but will be unable to because of 4 year PE requirement.

    Any ideas? Our school does offer 0 period gym starting at 7:00 am but due to the approx. 1 hour commute to school, 7:00 am doesn’t really seem realistic every school day for an entire year.

  • 373. cpsobsessed  |  February 6, 2015 at 12:20 pm

    I think it’s very hard to say by using the NWEA projections. Everyone I’ve talked to (including those here) suspect those feel very low.
    888 “feels” like a high score, of a kid who worked very hard (and/or is naturally smart, had lifetime advantages.)

    Click to access Revised%20cut%20scores%20for%20SEHS%20with%20NWEA%20points%20formatted_v4_kbh.pdf

  • 374. robin in WRP  |  February 6, 2015 at 12:29 pm

    We live 7200 North, near Touhy and California. My daughter was an Ackie, and wouldn’t hear of leaving Whitney for high school. Her commute was sometimes close to two hours each way (bus-train-bus or bus-train-train); she learned to do homework on the train, and made a couple of great friends in her commuter group. The diversity of the school offered an amazing education outside of the academics.

  • 375. Chris  |  February 6, 2015 at 12:49 pm

    “Am I missing something? Last year (and most likely this year due to the transfer over to MAP) an 888 allowed a tier 4 kid to attend ALL SEHSs except WP or NS…I guess I don’t see the issue (& this is coming from a tier 4 parent whose child scored 891 & did not end up attending his first choice school).”

    Nah, you’re not missing anything. Lot of folks seem to live in Rancho Lake Wobegon Estates, where all the kids are *way* above average.

    For all the ‘disappointed by Lane’ folks–would you also be disappointed by any suburban HS? Disappointed if your kid “only* got into 5 of the 8 Ivies?

  • 376. Northsider  |  February 6, 2015 at 12:49 pm

    @370. Completely understand. I didn’t take your comments as an insult. Just wanted to point out a possible reason why some might not consider certain schools.

    @371. Lakeview is our neighborhood school. We had a conflict the day of the open house and couldn’t make it. It is possible we will still end up there, if not this time then with the younger siblings still in the pipeline. I did tour Amundsen on one of their drop in tour days. I really wanted to like it. Heard the principal speak at a different event and she sold me. Unfortunately the tour we had did not highlight the program. The individual leading it spoke nothing about the curriculum. Instead he talked about what the pool used to look like and things of that nature. The tour group spent 20 minutes in the health care clinic they have on site. Overall, It didn’t completely turn me off but it didn’t make me want to commit to the program either. Will have to try the open house next time. It might give a better feel for school. In any case, we would choose them over Lincoln park for IB.

    @374. I am sure Whitney is a wonderful school. As are brooks, lindlbloom, Westinghouse, etc. we made a choice based on location and commute and some good programs were sacrificed. Just a choice that was made.

  • 377. Patricia  |  February 6, 2015 at 1:10 pm

    We are not considering Northside because it is so hard to get to. I live in Lakeview. Commute is a HUGE factor. Of course saying this to a “Northside or nothing” parent did cause them to look at me like I had at least three heads…..LOL!

    I agree that ANY of the SEHS are going to provide an excellent education. (many of the neighborhood HS too) Yes they have great teachers, solid curriculum and high expectations, however, I believe the biggest benefit is the peer group who all value education and are happy to be in the school. Yes, that peer group includes the Tier 1 kids who certainly deserve to be there.

  • 378. Patricia  |  February 6, 2015 at 1:26 pm

    Speaking of the Tier thing. I think both sides are correct, but there are two separate problems.

    1) Problem 1 is trying to level the playing field for Tier 1 kids. A true problem in society in general. When my son was complaining about how hard it is for Tier 4 kids (also a true issue) I pointed out to him that his Tier 1 friends (all great kids BTW) are very deserving to “get a break” so to speak. I pointed out that these kids overcame odds of being in a school where “being smart” was dangerous because other kids would ostracize, criticize or even bully them thinking they were trying to be “white”. I also pointed out that he has never had any other issues laid on him except to learn and do well. He doesn’t have to worry about making it home safe, about watching cousins or siblings, missing school because of heavy family issues. My kids have a pretty charmed life by comparison. I have to say that I am in awe of his friends parents (mom’s really) who have kept their sons on a path to success despite the odds. HELL YES they deserve to be in a SEES or SEHS .

    2) Problem 2 is that it is crushing for Tier 4 kids to get into SEHS. it truly is undue pressure on the kids and families. The problem is NOT tiers as much as it is there are not enough viable options that are appealing to Tier 4 families. Yes, increasing SEHS seats is a good thing IMO, for the shorter-term crunch. The true answer is the longer term improvement of ALL neighborhood HS. The stem, ib and other programs are good to hopefully generate momentum and interest. It is a true and real frustration if your kid misses a cut-off and it is easy to blame the tier system, but the true problem is improving the neighborhood HS. It is happening. However, it sucks for parents who have 8th graders now and probably the next 3-5 years. I remember when my oldest was 3 and it seemed like only a handful of neighborhood elementary that we would consider……………today there are a ton of great elementary schools. I believe and truly hope the HS wave is here and moves quickly.

  • 379. Northsider  |  February 6, 2015 at 1:27 pm

    @377, agree completely.

    Several years ago a math teacher at our school made the comment that all of the sehs schools are the same. At the time I thought the comment was odd. After going to the open houses though I could understand what he meant. Yes there are some differences(size, number ap classes, etc). But you will get a good education at any of them. We didn’t approach it as one school is better than another. Hopefully that way our child will not be disappointed with where they end up.

    Should add that, while we didn’t make the lakeview open house, we knew of others graduating this year that did. While those families are still trying for a sehs they were perfectly comfortable with lakeview as the backup. Hopefully in the coming years we will all see it as a first choice.

  • 380. Patricia  |  February 6, 2015 at 1:36 pm

    @353 Love the picture of “equality” vs. “justice”.

    One variation would be that there are those parents like Alan’s father who did not seek a box, he instead got on his hands and knees and provided that extra “box” or “lift” for his children. You have to admire this. I myself have all immigrant grandparents and am first generation American on one side. The grit, hard work and determination to have their kids get an education were the ticket out of poverty.

  • 381. Gobe  |  February 6, 2015 at 3:28 pm

    Ugh, school snobbery. My child really truly loved Lane after the tour. And yet, I feel like he will need to wear a sandwich board proclaiming: “I got a perfect 900; Lane was not my backup.” It’s maddening.

  • 382. Chris  |  February 6, 2015 at 3:35 pm

    ” I feel like he will need to wear a sandwich board proclaiming: “I got a perfect 900; Lane was not my backup.” It’s maddening.”

    Why does it matter beyond him telling anyone who asks that it was his first choice? Whatever his scores are, he ranked it first, and got in.

    Couldn’t ask for more, right?

  • 383. Gobe  |  February 6, 2015 at 3:54 pm

    @ Chris – Oh, I agree it shouldn’t matter, but parents/kids make so many comments about schools that I think he is starting to feel weird about it. Of course, I have had told him all about how it doesn’t matter what other people think, etc, etc, etc, blah, blah, blah. But he is still a teenager and we all know how that can be sometimes.

  • 384. private9  |  February 6, 2015 at 3:57 pm

    381 that matters to adults not teens.

  • 385. Chris  |  February 6, 2015 at 4:13 pm

    “so many comments about schools that I think he is starting to feel weird about it”

    Bunch of morans [sic] that he should endeavor to ignore.

    But understand the difficulty.

  • 386. HS Mom  |  February 6, 2015 at 10:43 pm

    367 – Your point was that the SEHS options in Hyde Park were limited. Hyde Park is approx. 5000 S – Brooks is 11100 S, young is 200 N and Payton is 1,000 N – Both are similar or closer than Brooks and I dare say that most Hyde Parkers would consider Payton or Young an option. I get what you are saying about commute which is why, as mentioned, Northsiders do not consider some of the same schools as folks in Hyde Park. My point is that your statement that Hyde Park does not have as many SEHS options as the Northside is false.

    Depending on how far north you live, the options may only be NS or Lane. I don’t agree that all SE schools are the same. NS and Lane are distinctly different and appeal to different people NOT just because of brand name just as Jones was our first choice (before new building) even though my kid qualified for higher ranking schools. Someone who chooses Lane feeling the need to wear a sandwich board declaring their perfect score should not discount those who would wear a board stating that they scored 888 and all they got was “good job”. Or maybe “I made it in to NS with an 898 by the skin of my teeth and proud of it.

  • 387. HS Mom  |  February 6, 2015 at 10:55 pm

    @371 CPSO – “so I think you and I are both bothered by the “creme de la creme” snobbish. The education one percenters, if you will.”

    I’m the first one to say that if your kid can’t get into the 1st choice school go to plan B, adjust and get over it. That doesn’t mean that I don’t sympathize with their conundrum or follow the logic in their opinion of the tier system.

    How is your Mom?

  • 388. HS Mom  |  February 6, 2015 at 11:15 pm

    Doing some catch up here

    @295 – IBO – I hear what you say. I guess my objection has to do with the word “complain”. You can protest, advocate, lobby, seek assistance, sit in, petition, submit proposals, suggestions, volunteer, make a presentation, go on record, go to the press… get what I’m saying. Sitting around complaining is probably the least effective.

    @297 – I never suggested that I was against the tier system. To be clear, I am in favor of the concept and against the margin of error. Any error, as it impacts a child, is unacceptable. I would favor a system that provided SE seats to all kids above a moderately high score as part of a neighborhood plan for as many kids as needed. Given that we have what we have, I think it still needs work even though we have settled into acceptance.

  • 389. michele  |  February 7, 2015 at 11:27 am

    Have you all seen this. Alderman banding together for neighborhood High School education.

  • 390. Patricia  |  February 7, 2015 at 2:33 pm

    @386 HS Mom. I do not think you were referencing my comment, but the comment you referenced was in response to a comment I made………how is that for a word problem LOL!

    My point was that ALL the SEHS offer an excellent education. They all have great teachers, curriculum’s, high expectations and smart kids who test in. That was not to imply that all SEHS are the same as the follow up comment stated. They clearly all have their distinct “personalities” and offer different strengths. If you kid is a strong athlete, Northside is probably not the place for that kid. If you want math team, Whittney is the place to be, etc. So I completely agree that they are not the same, but all offer an excellent education.

  • 391. Patricia  |  February 7, 2015 at 2:39 pm

    @389 GREAT to see the Alderman driving momentum. Good for them and IMO long overdue. Alderman have a good amount of power and they should be doing things like this to improve the neighborhood HS. I like the strategy of focusing on the feeder schools which cross ward lines.

  • 392. Question  |  February 7, 2015 at 5:16 pm

    Is Payton accepting a larger freshman class starting this year or next year?

  • 393. Newcomer  |  February 7, 2015 at 9:05 pm

    I am only the “Newcomer,” but it seems like things are changing. PLENTY of high-scoring (even perfect-scoring) kids are now putting Lane and Jones down as their first choice. As the schools get “older,” people are seeing clear differences within their programs, so families can make their own decisions as to which school is the right fit for their child (based on commute, extracurriculars, etc).

    As a side note, I have a friend who teaches math at Westinghouse. She says the kids are AMAZING and continue to impress her every day. She really couldn’t speak highly enough of the caliber of the students and the rest of the faculty. So FYI, for the people who are still not so keen on it, maybe go visit!

    I am also wondering If our gracious host is seeing improvement in her mother’s condition!

  • 394. Payton  |  February 8, 2015 at 1:22 pm

    @392 next year Payton will most likely be accepting more freshman as new addition will be complete.

  • 395. Jones AP Capstone & Loyola Program & Columbia Arts  |  February 8, 2015 at 5:45 pm

    Exciting things are happening at Jones!
    -Jones will be the 2nd CPS school to have the AP Capstone Program starting in Fall 2015 for Juniors & Seniors. Lane got it this year. There will be 11 in the state.
    -Jones will offer dual credit courses for Juniors and Seniors – this means H.S. students can take college level courses and receive H.S. and college credit starting in Fall 2015. Students who opt for this opportunity and are approved will pay only $65 / credit hour versus Loyola’s $650/credit hour fee. Not sure yet if they will offer scholarships for some students or not. Classes are tbd.
    -Jones received a grant from Columbia College to expand their after school Arts Program. Students will be able to more deeply explore Fine as well as Performing Arts after school. Program is 5 hours per week. This will begin this semester.

    Jones just keeps getting better under the leadership of Dr. Powers!

  • 396. Interesting Question  |  February 9, 2015 at 2:09 am

    My child is sort of struggling at a SEEH! Unweighted avg C & weighted avg C+! I would like him to leave and go to a great neighborhood option but he won’t! Loves his school! Rank is in the middle of the pack too! Should I force him out to the neighborhood school where maybe he would have fewer honors classes! He is a sophomore!

  • 397. Robin in WRP  |  February 9, 2015 at 6:44 am

    Has your son discussed his options with his guidance counselor? Why do his teachers say that he is struggling? The issue could be so many things from needing to learn better study skills to laziness to an undiagnosed learning disability.

  • 398. pantherettie  |  February 9, 2015 at 7:09 am

    @Interesting question – has he always struggled or is this something new? Sometimes kids go through a ‘rough patch’ socially and/or academically that improves with time. I agree that you and your family need to discuss things with his guidance counselor together. Does he have a ‘faculty advisor’ of sorts who could help? At Lindblom the kids are divided into ‘houses’ and they have the same advisory teacher for the entire 4 or 6 years they are at the school. A person like this maybe a good starting point to help you connect with the right people in the school to talk about what’s going on. I don’t think that the best choice is leaving unless the school environment is emotionally or physically harmful to your son. There are times when things get rough and staying and figuring out how to do better is something that will help him in the future. The key is not to shame him about his grades/class rank *or* shame him about the fact that he wants to stay. Instead try to see what he needs to make it work better – even if it’s only a “small” change.

  • 399. HS Mom  |  February 9, 2015 at 8:08 am

    @396 – C grade is not struggling. C means he is doing satisfactory work, in the middle of the road. Do not force him out. Let him continue as long as strives to do his best. You will still have great college options with average grades coming from a good school with challenging classes than the other way around. Make sure you get acquainted with his teachers, maintain contact while the issues are happening as opposed to after the fact. If he’s getting mostly C’s maybe a D maybe a B Freshman year he’ll likely be fine. It takes some kids time to get in the groove. You are not alone……most people just don’t talk about it.

  • 400. otdad  |  February 9, 2015 at 8:10 am

    Is he motivated about doing well in school?
    Other factors could be:
    (1) foundation:
    How well has he mastered the academic contents up to that point? If he has a weak foundation, he needs to revisit the relevant old contents to make it up, otherwise, as contents getting harder and harder, he’ll struggle even more.
    Is he focused and following the teacher in class? When I was in high school and college, I found that previewing class material before class made life so much easier. After previewing, you bring your questions (things you don’t understand well) to the class. It helps a great deal in terms of fully utilizing class time and efficiently master the contents.
    (3) friends: At high school stage, friends have big influence on each other.

    Changing school is probably the last resort.

  • 401. walker  |  February 9, 2015 at 9:02 am

    @396 As others noted, the main question is why he gets Cs. The better you understand it, the easier it will be to find a way out. Changing school is a solid option and I know people who were in your shoes and it helped after they tried other options. At the same time, it’s just one of many other options (but irreversible one) and may not help if the “whys” are not addressed.

  • 402. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  February 9, 2015 at 11:20 am

    @396. Your son is a 10th grader? Not sure if you meant SE elementary school (SEES) or SE high school (SEHS). I didn’t think CPS had +/- grades, so I’m guessing that his weighted GPA is a 2.3.

    Like @399 H.S. Mom stated, in CPS a ‘C’ means he is meeting grade-level standards. Getting a C in a hard course looks better to colleges than getting a B in an easier course or at a less challenging school.

    Is he getting Cs across the board, or is he doing very poorly at some subjects and doing well at others?

    From the happy family perspective, if he loves the school, I would not recommend switching to another school unless he has lots of good friends there; otherwise, you’re going to have one pissed-off kid, and so you may be trading Cs at a hard school for Ds at an easier one if he knows mom & dad are themselves teed off at the Cs.

  • 403. Tutor  |  February 9, 2015 at 11:55 am

    #396. Changing is a mistake. Teaches him he can run away from challenge versus standing and delivering. Why not have his teachers require him to go to tutoring? Teachers at SEHS can and actually do this when they see kid needs help. I’ve had teachers ask me if I wanted them to do this. Other parents hire tutors, but in reality this is kind of taking ownership away from the child (but as a helicopter parent I do hire tutors sometimes).

    My experience at a SEHS is that the supports are definitely there. The student has to be willing to get off their butt, stop making excuses and get the help that is readily offered just about every day of the week. And it is ok to get a C. C at a SEHS is a solid grade, though it is hard to stomache for parents. If child is getting all Cs, may be lack of effort / interest or may just need extra help that is readily available. Some Cs are understandable as not everyone is good at everything or loves every topic.

    Even if not as prepared as others at his SEES, better to be challenged and learn how to learn and catch up now versus be unchallenged and learn how to just coast at a local school. So many smart kids are experts at coasting.

    Plus the kid is 15 or 16 now and will be an adult soon. If he doesn’t want to move, why move him? Let him own his education.

    Good luck!

  • 404. cpsobsessed  |  February 9, 2015 at 12:03 pm

    Really great pov Tutor, thanks for weighing. I ponder this with my son in an options elem class a lot.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 405. IB Obsessed  |  February 9, 2015 at 1:40 pm

    What supports do SEHSs have for a struggling student? I have never heard about that.

  • 406. ExCPS0  |  February 9, 2015 at 2:29 pm

    406 Lane will do anything to help a kid pass a class. The problem is many students are offered help but they won’t take it.

  • 407. robin in wrp  |  February 9, 2015 at 2:37 pm

    I can only speak to Whitney. Peer-to-peer tutoring, some teachers have after-school help sessions. It all starts with your child asking for support.

  • 408. Tutor  |  February 9, 2015 at 2:37 pm

    405. Every SEHS has tutoring. Some require you to sign-up the night before you want to get tutored and others you can just show up. Even if you can’t get to a scheduled tutoring session, some teachers will offer to meet you before or after school.

    The SEHSs want your child to be successful. It is not sink or swim. Student has to step up and get the help they need. Not so easy to get a high schooler to do this, but it is part of owning their education which they will have to do more and more.

    You can email your child’s specific teacher (by subject) to find out more about tutoring or to discuss your child. You don’t have to wait until Report Card pick-up at a SEHS.

  • 409. Vikingmom  |  February 9, 2015 at 4:31 pm

    RE: AP Capstone program — Disney II will also be implementing this and is the only non-selective school to do so.

  • 410. ELT  |  February 9, 2015 at 6:02 pm

    Re: RE: Actually, that’s not correct. Disney is but 1 of 17 schools that are all part of the same cohort pursing Capstone. Alcott College Prep is another one.

  • 411. Jones AP Capstone & Loyola Program & Columbia Arts  |  February 9, 2015 at 7:15 pm

    409 & 410. All great news for CPS students who need and want more challenge. Great if it is going to non-SEHS too. Kind of what lots of folks have been looking for at the local level.

  • 412. HS Mom  |  February 9, 2015 at 8:58 pm

    403 tutor “Changing is a mistake. Teaches him he can run away from challenge versus standing and delivering.”

    Precisely! What kind of a message does it send to a kid that when you get challenged, you quit and go on to something else. Especially since it sounds like he wants to continue……support and praise him where you can.

  • 413. mom2  |  February 10, 2015 at 10:17 am

    Did anyone go to the meeting this past Saturday regarding Lake View and Amundsen? I heard there were over 200 people there and tons of excitement over these schools but I didn’t hear details on what they discussed. Was there talk about limiting enrollment from outside their boundaries to only kids with a certain test score or grades? I thought they were implementing that but don’t see it on their web sites. Any talk of Lake View moving to or building larger facilities? Someone told me that it will be too small for the number of kids planning to attend. With the huge amount of kids from feeder schools, they will need a school the size of Lane 🙂

  • 414. cpsobsessed  |  February 10, 2015 at 10:29 am

    My understanding is that it was a gathering to reiterate support across alderman for a K-12 neighborhood school experience. I don’t believe anything new was announced.
    I heard there is talk about combining the zone so a kid in either zone could choose either school — but that is still just an idea at this point.

    I think the efforts to coordinate between the feeder elementaries and the HS, working with all the administrators is a great idea.

    Is there anyone here with an 8th grader who is looking at lake view or amundsen as an option? Curious to hear if there is enrollment in the works…

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 415. mom2  |  February 10, 2015 at 10:47 am

    “I heard there is talk about combining the zone so a kid in either zone could choose either school — but that is still just an idea at this point.” — I love that idea!

    We do know at least two families considering both schools right now. They are Lake View families but like the size of Amundsen and the IB program as an option. They love the computer options at Lake View. Nice that they have choices!

  • 416. mom2  |  February 10, 2015 at 10:50 am

    Oh, and without them admitting it, I think one thing pushing them toward Amundsen over Lake View is that they can say their kid “got into” the IB program where Lake View doesn’t have a selective program that they can brag about. That’s why I keep mentioning that Lake View needs something like that. It will help those families on the edge of wanting that neighborhood high school, but needing something to brag about.

  • 417. Vikingmom  |  February 10, 2015 at 2:02 pm

    @410 that’s great about Alcott College Prep too! Will they start next year? Disney II is; I had seen somewhere about them being the only non-selective school; maybe that is based on the start date.

  • 418. HSObsessed  |  February 10, 2015 at 11:50 pm

    @389 – Another article about the three aldermen combining efforts to rally for Amundsen and Lake View. So great to see this happening. Aldermanic ward boundaries are screwy already, and when you overlay high school attendance boundaries over it, it makes sense for everyone to take a big picture approach.

  • 419. mom2  |  February 11, 2015 at 10:06 am

    Thank you HSObsessed. Love this part, “At this point,” she added, “it’s all about everybody holding hands and jumping into the pool together.”

    Wendy Vasquez is one parent willing to make that leap.

    “I have a seventh-grade daughter,” which she called a “great conversation starter” at social gatherings.

    “Everyone wants to talk about the stress of seventh grade,” said Vasquez.

    Given the uncertainty of the selective enrollment process, Vasquez began taking a closer look at Amundsen a year ago.

    “It feels a lot like the small town high school I went to in all the best ways,” said Vasquez, who eventually joined the board of Friends of Amundsen.

    Amundsen is now tied for her daughter’s top choice of school, said Vasquez.

    “Not her back-up,” she emphasized. “Top choice. She’ll be well cared for. We’re not stressed at our house anymore.”

  • 420. Riis  |  February 11, 2015 at 11:20 am

    I missed so much since the last time I posted here. It’s very interesting to read the responses. “trying not to flame…..”, “schools for the proles” LOL! (not poking fun, just funny) It’s amusing how people believe the schools make the kids. It’s the kids that make the schools. NS picks all the highest of the highest performers so of course they would be the highest performing. NS and Payton attract all the up and coming top performers because, hey, it seems that is where they are supposed to go, right? High achievers want to be recognized as high achievers, they want that badge that says they are a high achiever and getting into NS or Payton gives it to them, right? What if the highest of the highest don’t pick those schools as their first choice? Do you think if more high performing kids attend schools other than NS or Payton as their first choice, that would level the playing field? All SEHS are probably very good schools and will adjust the rigor to the student ability. Are there any parents or kids brave enough to even try this?

  • 421. mom2  |  February 11, 2015 at 11:44 am

    “Are there any parents or kids brave enough to even try this?” Yes! I’m hearing it a lot lately. You are totally right. If parents all got together and said that they are sending their top performing kids to neighborhood school XXX, that school will become greater each year as people see the scores going up and the “good” families picking that school. That’s totally how it works.

  • 422. cpsobsessed  |  February 11, 2015 at 11:47 am

    Totally agree — just need to get the tipping point of families on board each year to do it, and the change will happen.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 423. mad beans  |  February 11, 2015 at 5:16 pm

    letters are suppose to come out soon. who else is excited!

  • 424. Vikingmom2  |  February 11, 2015 at 5:53 pm

    Haven’t checked into this sight in a while, but was curious when a colleague mentioned she was waiting for her son’s hs letter. I remember this is a tough time of year. For anyone considering Amundsen, my son is VERY happy, making tons of friends, and learning a lot. The sports program is growing quickly and there are many options. I picked up his report card last night and can’t say enough about the teachers, how much they care, how thoughtful they are. Amundsen is a great overall experience. I agree with the poster above, feels like a small town school, and we’re living it in the city!

  • 425. edgewatermom  |  February 11, 2015 at 7:43 pm

    @42 vikingmom I LOVE hearing so many great things about neighborhood schools. I really believe that the biggest “problem” with high school options for CPS is NOT that it is so difficult to get into SEHS, it is the *perception* that so many have that SEHS are the only option!

    By definition, SEHS are designed for the very top students – and we cannot ALL have top students. I think that there are good neighborhood options and we have to get out of the mindset that it is SEHS or nothing.

    My daughter does very well in school and will most likely qualify for at least one SEHS. However, I don’t think that they are necessarily a good fit for her and I am thrilled that we have a good neighborhood option (Senn). I am very happy that there are good things happening at Amundsen, Lakeview and Senn (and I am sure that there are others). Strengthening neighborhood schools is god for ALL of us.

  • 426. HS Mom  |  February 11, 2015 at 8:15 pm

    @420 – “NS and Payton attract all the up and coming top performers because, hey, it seems that is where they are supposed to go, right? ……What if the highest of the highest don’t pick those schools as their first choice?”

    Not having a child in NS or Payton I can say with certainty that not all the “highest of the high” kids go to those schools. Labeling school preference in order of school test scores became less of a criteria for many once the “multiple offer/ needing to rank certain schools as #1 in order to get in” was dropped. Now people rank based upon the school and they are uniquely different. I agree that they are all good schools so you can’t make a mistake. While I suggest that NS/P isn’t necessarily “the place to go” for all the top kids, I also recognize that these schools are majorly attractive to many top students because of their academic culture, national ranking and reputation (perpetuating their image of being sought after by top tier colleges) etc……things that you can find at other schools….. but likely high priority for kids trying to get into NS/P. So, with an 888, I suggest that it’s not snobbish to want to go to NSP above all else or to be disappointed in the system in general favoring a merit system.

    If you’re talking about a world where the highest or the above average student chooses a neighborhood school over a SEHS…..this too is possible if it’s the right school with the right program. Why would someone choose LP over SE – for the IB or arts program, not necessarily for DH.

  • 427. IBObsessed  |  February 12, 2015 at 12:54 am

    Lopsided kids who really need advanced HS curriculum in just one area, and need peers who share their nerdiness and interests in this area are still not well served by the CPS HS options. What’s available for kids who are at 99%tile in one area and just at grade level in another? 99th% in reading or math, and average scores in the other, plus all As, 1 B, even with 97%tile on the SEHS will not give a Tier 4 Northsider any SEHS option or LPHS for IB. And we’re not going to do a commute to Southside SEHS. Just not. It’s too far. Utmost admiration for those who ferry their HS kids 8 miles, but no, most won’t/can’t.
    What does a student who needs AP level Humanities , History, Political Science, French Literature courses, who also wants to dabble in theater, visual arts and music, do? IB in the neighborhood schools does not accommodate this. Most bright, motivated kids outside the Lake Wobegan of CPSObsessed are uneven in their achievement or below the 90th %tile in every subject. There need to be other advanced (I refuse to say ‘selective’) options besides IB in the neighborhood schools. It sounds like Lakeview might be evolving toward this, and that would be great. If there could be neighborhood schools that accommodate everyone on a college bound track, we’d be ok in this city. If every neighborhood school could offer the courses and activities that Lane HS does…. But we need to wake up and realize that the neighborhood HSs have been neglected in terms of shiny bells and whistles that attract middle-upper middle class families. Updated facilities etc… There have been inequities. Upper middle class families would not have tolerated the paucity of non IB advanced course selections and quality extra curricular activities that have existed for years at the neighborhood schools. Senn, Amundsen, Lakeview and others need to leverage their “Friends of” clubs and do fundraising. And I’m incredibly sad I won’t be a part of that, but all my kid’s needs are met at a suburban HS, and the way things are now, they are just not met at the neighborhood HSs. (What I’m hearing about Amundsen is making me question my conclusion, though!)

  • 428. HSObsessed  |  February 12, 2015 at 10:09 am

    @IBObsessed, I’m sure your child and you will be happy in the suburbs you’ve chosen to move to. For others reading, I’d add that LPHS already offers the “total” high school experience you’ve described, in that there are four levels of classes that kids can enroll in or get placed into, based on interest and abilities. (So they can take advanced levels in one subject, but less advanced in others.) There’s sports, languages, arts classes (don’t have to be in the fine arts program to take most of them), clubs, all that stuff.

  • 429. mom2  |  February 12, 2015 at 12:06 pm

    Regarding the culture at LPHS, I’ve heard from some that the school administration doesn’t really care about the average kids and everything is about their special programs and especially their IB program. Is that really true?

  • 430. Robin in WRP  |  February 12, 2015 at 12:41 pm

    My daughter and I took the half-day tour of the IB program, and we both came away with that feeling (but this was 5-6 years ago)

  • 431. mom2  |  February 12, 2015 at 1:25 pm

    Yes, my only experience with LPHS was also several years ago. My kid got into the IB program but I called the main school number to try to get some information. They never answered the phone the first two times I called. They answered the third and said they would have to call me back and then they didn’t. I called the IB phone number and got through right away. I was sort of hoping that things have changed since then.

  • 432. HSObsessed  |  February 12, 2015 at 2:29 pm

    My child isn’t in the Diploma IB track, so I guess I don’t know what all the special perks are that they have, but I’ve never gotten the feeling that the 80% or so of the school’s population who aren’t in Diploma IB are somehow being short shafted. Many of the teachers who teach IB also teach double honors courses. The curriculum in the DH courses is very rigorous. My child came into high school with a strong academic background that included easy As for most of her life, and that’s all changed now. Double honors program kids were always expected to take AP courses in their junior and senior years, and now they can also take individual IB courses if they’d like. Those courses end with an exam that leads to a course certificate and something to mention on college apps. Yes, it’s a big school and the communication with families is only so-so, although the principal (Mr. Boraz) is very accessible and responsive. I think there are too few resources for teachers and staff members to spend a ton of time talking to parents, but it’s because they’re busy focusing on teaching students.

  • 433. HSObsessed  |  February 12, 2015 at 3:48 pm

    Since I’m bored at work, I was perusing 2014 ACT scores to see where things stand. LPHS schoolwide’s average in 2014 was 22.7, which sounded OK but not stellar to me (not that test scores are everything!), but then I saw that there are many desireable suburbs like Evanston, Buffalo Grove, Downers Grove, and Orland Park whose high schools’ average ACT are nearly the same, so I guess it’s a solid score, especially taking into account that more than half of LPHS’ kids are low income.

  • 434. mom2  |  February 12, 2015 at 4:19 pm

    Thank you HSObsessed. Do schools ever take out the selective portion of the school and then provide the average test scores? What would LPHS be without the IB and double honors kids? What would Von Stuben be without their scholars kids? etc.

  • 435. cpsobsessed  |  February 12, 2015 at 4:24 pm

    Cps doesn’t break out those scores. Sometimes if you go on a tour the school will mention the scores for a certain group, but those are “unofficial.”

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 436. mom2  |  February 12, 2015 at 4:53 pm

    Thank you, cpsobsessed. I wonder this all the time because it would really help parents looking at the non-selective programs to see how the kids in those programs are doing in comparison to neighborhood schools. I think it could be very telling.

  • 437. Robin in WRP  |  February 12, 2015 at 4:59 pm

    Nope. School test scores also include Special Ed students

  • 438. mom2  |  February 12, 2015 at 5:41 pm

    As far as I know I all schools have Special Ed students but not all schools have selective students. If you want to know how neighborhood school XXX compares to the regular program at school YYY, but school YYY mixes in all their “gifted” kids, you can’t tell anything.

  • 439. HSObsessed  |  February 12, 2015 at 6:00 pm

    @434- I agree with CPSO that CPS doesn’t provide that data regularly, and to be fair, I don’t think it’s due to some kind of cover up, but rather that the data is hard to come by due to blurry lines. By the time senior year rolls around at LPHS, for example, only about 20 or 30 kids out of 500ish seniors are still enrolled in all the classes and “extras” needed to try to achieve the IB diploma. The others who started in the program freshman year might still taking an IB class or two, as well as AP, double honors, honors, regular, etc. — just like the kids who are in the double honors program from the beginning.

    However, Linda Lutton at WBEZ did the legwork on this issue anyway to examine average ACT scores for the IB programs within neighborhood high schools, link below. Keep in mind that this data is about 2-3 years old, but it might help you. Would have been useful to publish the school wide scores for each of these as well.

  • 440. HSObsessed  |  February 12, 2015 at 6:08 pm

    I see that Lake View HS’s website (under “At a Glance”) is showing that their schoolwide average ACT is 18.1 but the “top quartile” average score is 23.

    They also provide the interesting fact that 23% of their enrolled kids are from within the neighborhood boundary. This is higher than I would have guessed.

  • 441. Chris  |  February 12, 2015 at 8:45 pm

    “If you want to know how neighborhood school XXX compares to the regular program at school YYY, but school YYY mixes in all their “gifted” kids, you can’t tell anything.”

    Well, if you know the number of “gifted” kids, you can get a pretty good estimate–you just assume (somewhat inaccurately) that the “gifted” cohort scored the same as the kids at a comparable all “gifted” school, and then it’s simple algebra.

    So, if a ‘mixed’ school has a 22 average, and (to make the math easy) 900 ‘regular’ kids and 300 ‘gifted’ kids, and a ‘comparable to the gifted-level’ HS has a 27 average, you take [3*x + 27]/4 = 22 and solve, and see that a decent estimate of the regular kid average at the mixed school is 20.3.

  • 442. HS Mom  |  February 13, 2015 at 8:03 am

    @437 – “Nope. School test scores also include Special Ed students”

    Please explain who “Special Ed students” are and how you perceive that they bring down scores.

  • 443. Robin in WRP  |  February 13, 2015 at 8:12 am

    Mentally/intellectually disabled students. A class of 20 students with IQs in the 60-80 range will pull down the average ACT scores of a school

  • 444. Vikingmom  |  February 13, 2015 at 4:50 pm

    @424 so glad to hear that your son is having a great experience; sounds very similar to my daughter, who is in her third year (where does the time go)? Amundsen has, imo, a lot of school spirit and sense of community. My daughter rarely comes right home after school — stays for sports practice or to watch basketball games, participates in the Open Gym (which is a great Friday activity) etc. And if sports are not your thing there are plenty of other clubs and activities. @419 also glad to hear it is considered a top choice for a prospective student.

  • 445. Robin in WRP  |  February 13, 2015 at 6:14 pm

    I have to say, I am envious that your child was able to attend a neighborhood high school. My daughter went from a two block walk to elementary school to a 1.25-2 hour commute each way to high school. She loved Whitney, and never complained about the commute (she’s currently a college sophomore), but a fifteen minute bus ride to Mather would have been so nice!

  • 446. HS Mom  |  February 13, 2015 at 9:46 pm

    “Mentally/intellectually disabled students.”

    I’m not sure which schools have classrooms of “mentally disabled students” but I do know for example that a school like Jones has a “low incidence” learning program for kids who need individualized learning. This program has some inclusive time yet is separate in that these kids may or may not be in a college prep track, therefore not necessarily taking the same classes or the ACT.

    From the Jones website – “We chose to name our department Individualized Education Services (“IES”) instead of Special Ed because we believe that IES better represents the type of services we provide. We hope to help break the stigma associated with the term “Special Ed” and seek to avoid labeling our students in a way that limits them”

    I assume that your definition does not include kids with IEP’s and 504’s who are not “mentally disabled”. As an aside, the one kid who got a perfect 36 (not a 35 and not a 34) in the class of 2014 had an IEP. He was also voted homecoming king.

    So how do you weed out the “undesirable” scores. Along those lines, maybe we should take out the kids who aren’t good at math, have test anxiety, grew up in poverty, or just in general having a bad day. With the 20 kids that are left we can then determine who the really smart kids are and how good the school is.

  • 447. Robin in WRP  |  February 13, 2015 at 10:07 pm

    I think looking at a high school’s graduation rate and college attendance rate is at least as good an indicator of the quality of education as an average test score

  • 448. Tier4Mom  |  February 13, 2015 at 10:30 pm

    Sorry if this is a silly question but… if I live in a tier 3 neighborhood but my child attends a SES, it does not bump me to a tier 4 does it? Thanks.

  • 449. Gobe  |  February 13, 2015 at 11:49 pm

    Tier4mom – Your tier is just based on your adress. No worries.

  • 450. cpsobsessed  |  February 14, 2015 at 1:12 am

    You’d be tier 3 if that’s where you live.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 451. karet  |  February 14, 2015 at 11:29 pm

    Tier4mom, You raise an interesting point, IMO. It does seem like kids who attend SEES should all be tier 4 doesn’t it? I’ve said here before that I think that for students entering HS, it would make a lot more sense for tiers to be based on the quality of the elementary school the kid attends, since that is by far the biggest influence on the student’s education. Once a kid has gone to Edison or Skinner North, it’s very difficult to argue that they’ve had “disadvantages.”

    No one seems interested though! (I have no personal reason for arguing this, since I live in tier 4 and my kids both go to schools that would be tier 4 if that was the system — just seems more fair to me).

  • 452. WRP Mom  |  February 15, 2015 at 10:57 am

    Karet, I think many of the kids from schools like Edison & Skinner North get perfect 900’s or close to it and are getting rank spots, so whatever tier they live in doesn’t matter. These kids score really high on standardized tests and because they are doing accelerated work, they do well on the HS test, too.

  • 453. Tours  |  February 15, 2015 at 6:16 pm

    451. karet | February 14, 2015 at 11:29 pm

    Actually, I think anyone who attended an elementary SEES and did well should automatically be accepted into a SEHS. As a whole, they actually had more challenging courses and overall more stingy grading than the typical neighborhood school. At the SEHS, an Honors A and an AP A is worth more in terms of GPA than a regular A. Shouldn’t it be the same at the SEES?

    WRP Mom, yes many do, but not all. Everyone can have an off day.

  • 454. Robin in WRP  |  February 15, 2015 at 6:20 pm

    Tours – I heard that argument made by many Decatur parents (regarding acceptance in the Academic Centers) when my daughter was in sixth grade.

  • 455. Flora Q  |  February 15, 2015 at 8:13 pm

    453 – If the kids from Sees “get perfect 900’s or close to it and are getting rank spots” then don’t they essentially have automatic acceptance? What’s your point? They shouldn’t have to take a test like everyone else?

  • 456. edgewatermom  |  February 15, 2015 at 8:39 pm

    @453 Tours

    …Actually, I think anyone who attended an elementary SEES and did well should automatically be accepted into a SEHS

    While I can possibly see offering weighted grades at the SEES like they do at SEHS, I think that it would be pretty unfair to say that when a student is accepted into a school at 5 (or 6 or 7 or whatever) that they have automatic entry to a SEHS.

  • 457. Tours  |  February 16, 2015 at 10:08 am

    456. Agreed. It would be equally unfair to follow the following suggestion.

    451. karet | February 14, 2015 at 11:29 pm

    Tier4mom, You raise an interesting point, IMO. It does seem like kids who attend SEES should all be tier 4 doesn’t it? I’ve said here before that I think that for students entering HS, it would make a lot more sense for tiers to be based on the quality of the elementary school the kid attends, since that is by far the biggest influence on the student’s education. Once a kid has gone to Edison or Skinner North, it’s very difficult to argue that they’ve had “disadvantages.”

    Overall, as it has been said many times before, folks often want to change the system to be more advantageous to themselves.There really will never be fairness in the system as fairness is a perception based on your point of view.

    As a SEES parent I look at my very smart non-SEES kid and fellow classmates and think of how much less they have to work to get the same grades. One point of view is that the SEES kids have worked about 3 times as hard as the non-SEES kid from K-8th or K-6th, thus there should be some extra advantage for them having worked their butts off for so many years. And yes, my non-SEES child goes to a top neighborhood school.

    As a parent of a SEES and non-SEES attending child, I can tell you that the amount of work assigned (forget challenge, just plain work) is much greater at a SEES – from my perspective 3X more. Kids give up a good part of their childhood.

    Neither here nor there. Just another perspective.

  • 458. HSObsessed  |  February 16, 2015 at 10:12 am

    If you look at the actual data, you’ll see that by 8th grade, a significant chunk of kids at SEES are not performing above average. They’re still “meeting standards” on the ISAT (or whatever test is being given system wide), but not even hitting the “exceeds standards” category. So yes, of course there are some kids at SEES who are scoring very high, but there are some kids at magnets and neighborhood schools who are doing so as well.

    I think that when standardized test data is reported and schools like Edison have the number 99% next to it, people misinterpret that to mean that the average kids is scoring in the 99th percentile, which is not what the data means at all.

  • 459. karet  |  February 16, 2015 at 3:12 pm

    @457, Actually, my kid at a Magnet gets a lot more daily homework than my kid who attends Skinner North. I’m sure it varies from school to school. They are both in lower grades, though, so that may change!

  • 460. HS Mom  |  February 16, 2015 at 9:05 pm

    @459 – Thank you! Consider too that some kids need or choose to work twice as hard as the average kid to get ahead so that they can get into good HS programs. They also work on their art, their instruments, their writing and other talents. It’s not just SEES kids who do “so much work”. The suggestion that SEEs kids should have guarantees over private, magnet and neighborhood school kids is beyond the line of fairness being a point of view. It’s really an outright unfair idea. This is coming from a non-sees mom whose kid worked his a** off to get into a SEHS.

  • 461. nervousdad  |  February 17, 2015 at 1:20 pm

    Anybody get a SEHS acceptance letter yet for 2015?

  • 462. nervousmom  |  February 17, 2015 at 1:30 pm

    @nervousdad: Not yet. But I did notice something. As recently as last week CPSOAE’s website said that notification letters would be send out “by February 20.” I just looked at it and now it says letters will be mailed “in late February.” I hope this doesn’t mean that they’ll be delayed. My kid’s anxiety level is through the roof as it is.

  • 463. nervousmom  |  February 17, 2015 at 2:26 pm

    Yep, it’s true! I just called OAE and they said there was a delay and that it would be “a little later” than originally stated. Couldn’t say how much later though.


  • 464. Chris  |  February 17, 2015 at 2:51 pm

    “I think that it would be pretty unfair to say that when a student is accepted into a school at 5 (or 6 or 7 or whatever) that they have automatic entry to a SEHS.”

    Nevermind ‘unfair’. Just inaccurate. Guarantee the “top quarter”? Maybe makes sense (until you think of the effect on the classroom environment). But to distill the decision down to the results of a single 20 to 45 minutes when a kid is 4 or 5 or 6 is kooky (even tho I understand why the parent of a SEES kid would like to see that).

  • 465. SoSideMom5  |  February 17, 2015 at 3:30 pm

    Oh CPS time. You never fail to disappoint.

  • 466. 3rd grade - neighborhood school parent  |  February 17, 2015 at 4:57 pm

    Please explain the “politics” of the 900point scale. Yes, there aren’t enough seats for all applicants but that’s been true since my kid was 3 y.o. How does this benefit RE? Seems like delayed sending could backfire more than benefit….. Does the delayed sending sound political to the obsessed on this board? And why?

  • 467. Chris  |  February 17, 2015 at 5:07 pm

    “Please explain the “politics” of the 900 point scale.”

    The ‘politics’ is that the Anyone But Rahm crowd gets to blame Rahm for another thing that they don’t like. So it’s good politics for his opponents to claim that Rahm is playing politics with the letters.

    Pretty simple, really. Had the letters come out, the disappointment of those not getting in would have been blamed on Rahm too–and they also blame Rahm for wanting to add SEHS seats, and not having enough SEHS seats. Politics: Whatever the other guy is doing is wrong!

  • 468. HSObsessed  |  February 17, 2015 at 6:12 pm

    From the DNA Info article:

    ‘Garcia echoed that, saying the majority of students who apply for selective-enrollment schools end up frustrated.

    “That will end when I’m mayor, because we will invest in educating all students,” he added, “The lack of seats for qualified gifted students is only one example of [the administration’s] neglect.” ‘

    Thanks for the laugh, Chuy. In the last four years, CPS has added more seats at Jones, is building an addition to Payton, is converting a southwest side HS to a SEHS, is rolling out numerous new and expanded IB programs, lengthened the high school day, allowed more charters to open where the neighborhood was demanding them, and more. All this hasn’t solved the problem completely, but we’re in a way better position than we’ve ever been in Chicago. I’ve been following CPS closely for 14 years now, since my kid was a toddler, and I’m a little envious of the people with kids who are just in grade school now because the system is getting better and better, with more and more solid options for everyone.

  • 469. Newcomer  |  February 17, 2015 at 6:14 pm

    I called the OAE twice today, got two different people who both ASSURED me that all HS letters are going out this week!!!!!

  • 470. cpsobsessed  |  February 17, 2015 at 6:25 pm

    I wil start a HS thread tonight.
    Can’t believe it’s that time again…

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 471. Tacocat  |  February 17, 2015 at 7:56 pm

    Will the letters going out this week include Academic Centers?

  • 472. Robin in WRP  |  February 17, 2015 at 8:03 pm

    Not only that, Chuy, “gifted” is 3-5% of the population. The rest are smarter than average and/or work really hard

  • 473. nervousmom  |  February 17, 2015 at 8:35 pm

    Maybe the Mayor is taking pity on my kid. CPS has reversed itself.

    CPS Reverses Field, Says Selective-Enrollment High School OKs Out Friday

  • 474. Chicago School GPS  |  February 18, 2015 at 1:03 am

    @471- the Academic Center letters come out the week of March 20, with the SEES batch, since 7th grade is still considered elementary school.

  • 475. pantherettie  |  February 18, 2015 at 7:05 am

    I wasn’t inclined to think that the delay was political *until* CPS magically figured out a way to get all the letters out by Friday. That ship is way to big to turn around that quickly. They must have made the decision to delay the letters for a reason and then reversed it. That said, I get why someone would want to delay this. Educated, engaged parents ( the very ones who are waiting for this letter) are more likely to vote and those whose kids don’t get accepted are more likely to look at the flaws in the system. No matter what there will be at least 10,000 rejection letters mailed. Lots of potential voters there…

  • 476. Jose  |  May 2, 2015 at 7:54 am

    Does the tier system work the same for elementary schools?

What do you think?

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

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

Google photo

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

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed




Blog Stats

  • 6,169,456 hits

%d bloggers like this: