SEHS Admission by Tier 2016

April 26, 2016 at 8:49 pm 202 comments

SEHS Acceptance Rates 2016I

I got this information a few years ago, but figured it was e for an update.  This shows the # of applications and acceptances to each school by Tier.   I still need to get the # of applicants by tier, so I estimated that for now using the # of applications and the average # of applications by tier from 2013.  (Tier 4 kids apply to fewer schools than other tiers do.)

This shows that overall, Tier 4 kids are more likely to get an SEHS spot than the other tiers are.

You can also see the acceptance rate by Tier for each school (although this is distorted since students can apply for up to 6 schools.)  So while the Tier 4 acceptance rate looks like 17%, some of the applications were likely only putting Lane as a 2nd, 3rd, 4th, or 5th choice.

Overall, ~ 1/3 of the kids who apply are offered a spot at one of their choices.



Entry filed under: High school, Uncategorized.

2016: ACADEMIC CENTER and INTL GIFTED PROGRAM Thread SEHS Principal Discretion 2016

202 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Incoming WY  |  April 26, 2016 at 9:22 pm

    Thank you!

  • 2. Chicago School GPS  |  April 26, 2016 at 9:27 pm

    Thanks for posting, CPSO! Always eye opening. And to emphasize the need to “cast a wide net”, I wanted to let folks know the 5th Annual Hidden Gems High School Fair will be on Sunday, Sept. 25 from 1-4pm at the British School of Chicago, South Loop campus. Mark your calendars!

    We have always had Westinghouse attend and Lindblom has also attended. We hope to have other “hidden gem” SEHS schools attend this year as well.

  • 3. Cps Mom  |  April 26, 2016 at 9:32 pm

    Very interesting! Just wondering where you got the numbers from? Is there information out there for academic centers?

  • 4. Tier3Mom  |  April 26, 2016 at 9:37 pm

    Interesting. Especially considering how many of the Tier 4 parents complain about how unfair this process is on this forum…how it’s supposedly skewed in favor of lower tiers. When the data shows that the most sought after SE schools accept more Tier 4 students in general. You can probably assume that your kid lost his/her highly desired seat to another Tier 4 kid, not the 1s and 2s you’d like to blame for your troubles.

  • 5. Incoming WY  |  April 26, 2016 at 9:58 pm

    @ Tier3Mom
    of cause Tier 4 kids that don’t get in loose to other Tier 4 kids. And tier 1 kids that don’t get in loose to other Tier 1 kids. This is how the tier system is set up.

    All the “extra” tier 4 are from the rank, not from the tier part.

  • 6. Tier3Mom  |  April 26, 2016 at 10:33 pm

    @Incoming WY,
    I get that. I am referring specifically to threads where Tier 4 parents complain about how unfair the process is…my point is it’s unfair to all of us, regardless of Tier. Considering there aren’t many viable options for great high schools across the city.
    But I have seen numerous comments from irate tier 4 posters about lower tier students getting an unfair advantage over them, when that is not the case.

  • 7. pantherettie  |  April 27, 2016 at 6:19 am

    Wow! Thanks CPSO for putting this together. Really interesting information.

  • 8. pantherettie  |  April 27, 2016 at 6:20 am


  • 9. observer  |  April 27, 2016 at 7:12 am

    @6 – the chart supports the tier 4 argument that if admissions were based upon rank then more qualifying tier 4 students would get seats over other tiers. This is not a surprise. This argument is not about tier 4 students losing seats at the expense of 1/2 but whether diversity of race/income/household factors should trump (not the a$$hat Trump) a straight academic admissions. I think most people want and appreciate the diversity….otherwise there are plenty of private options. It’s just a bit tough to swallow when you have a high performing child meeting and exceeding all the criteria who is unable to gain access.

    “it’s unfair to all of us, regardless of Tier. Considering there aren’t many viable options for great high schools across the city.”

    I would disagree with this. There are many viable options across the city.

  • 10. ShockAndAwe  |  April 27, 2016 at 9:01 am

    I think the most legitimate complaint regarding the tier system is that your address does not necessarily reflect ones socioeconomic status in the city. My block, for example, has million-dollar SFHs and renters on welfare. You can go two blocks west and you’ll be in another tier.
    Not to mention the parents who cheat the system.

  • 11. cpsobsessed  |  April 27, 2016 at 9:55 am

    I remember being surprised when we had this info in 2013 how high the rate of admission was for Tier 4 kids (given all the complaining that seems to float around.) I think a full 40% (!) acceptance rate is pretty good. In 2013, Tier 4 kids applied to 4 schools on average (fewer than other tiers) so getting in 1 of your top 4 choices seems pretty good.

    this could be skewed in part (maybe?) by Lane, which has so many seats, being located on the north side. I think this ends up giving a lot of Tier 4 kids an in that wouldn’t be available if the school wasn’t so big.

  • 12. cpsobsessed  |  April 27, 2016 at 9:56 am

    @CPS mom, I got this via an FOIA request. I will ask for ACs also (but I believe CPS has rules about giving out detailed info on smaller class sizes, so not sure if they can provide it, but I will ask!)

  • 13. Cps Mom  |  April 27, 2016 at 10:13 am

    Thank you! That would be awesome. My child was accepted to WYAC for next year and I’m curious to see what the numbers look like. And by the low percentages on this post, I’m extremely happy we won’t have to go through this in 2 years for high school.

  • 14. mom2  |  April 27, 2016 at 10:25 am

    Tier 4 parents will continue to complain, not because of the low numbers of tier 4 kids getting into SEHS, but because of their kids that didn’t get in. When their kid doesn’t get in because they are two points below the tier 4 cut off, but their friend does get in and that friend has a similar family background, went to the same schools as them and may have done worse on tests or grades and lives 2 blocks away (so different tier). That’s very hard to swallow. However, it is still better than when their friend that lives next door in a million dollar home would get in just because their skin was darker colored. That was much worse.

  • 15. cpsobsessed  |  April 27, 2016 at 11:22 am

    @mom2, that is a tough one to explain to a 14yo.

  • 16. ShockAndAwe  |  April 27, 2016 at 11:29 am

    Or their next door neighbor in the million dollar home is wealthy enough to also own rental property in a < Tier 4 zone gets in.

  • 17. cpsobsessed  |  April 27, 2016 at 11:35 am

    That one’s easier to explain. Some people are ***holes and need to use money to buy their kid a spot unfairly. 🙂 Okay, maybe phrased better than that…

  • 18. onegirl  |  April 27, 2016 at 12:20 pm

    I’ll have to share this with my daughter, who is a freshman at WY. Unfortunately, since the students talk a fair bit about tiers, she continues to feel that she doesn’t really deserve to be there, as we live in tier one.

  • 19. Incoming WY  |  April 27, 2016 at 12:57 pm

    @ onegirl
    If she can hold her own academically in class, then who cares what was her score when she got in?? I mean, those that did not get in with higher scores obviously do, but why would current students care about what happened almost a year ago?

    If she is struggling it is a different story, but then she has bigger problems to worry about.

  • 20. pantherettie  |  April 27, 2016 at 1:05 pm

    @onegirl – Even if your daughter is struggling it doesn’t matter which tier you live in. There are plenty of tier 4 kids who struggle as well. It can be tough academically and socially for any kid. I love that you’re helping your daughter see that your home address is just your starting point.

  • 21. cpsobsessed  |  April 27, 2016 at 1:11 pm

    @onegirl, hopefully it’ll make your daughter feel better to see that WY is actually MORE selective among Tier 1 kids than among Tier 4!

  • 22. CromDaun  |  April 27, 2016 at 1:15 pm

    We live in tier 4 and my child made it to WY. The school that my children go to belongs in tier 3 neighborhood. If my child is being educated in a tier 1,2,3, or4 neighborhood then that is what they should put down on their applications. All we have to do is literally move accross the street and we are in tier 3. How is that justice?

    So then you might say….”well then move accross the street and stop crying about it”.
    It’s not that easy and you know it.

    I also think it’s unfair if you live in a tier 1 or 2 neighborhood and go to a tier 3 or 4 school(boundry lines)!!

    That means you are being educated beyond your teir level with the perks of not having to fight as hard.

    In plain simple words:
    What ever teir your school is should be the same tier you put down on your application.

  • 23. Incoming WY  |  April 27, 2016 at 1:57 pm

    @22, CromDaun

    It will not work either.

    Most (all?) charter schools don’t have attendance boundaries – you can live anywhere in the city to apply to any charter school. If a Tier 1 family cared enough about education of their children to drive them every day to a charter school on the different side of the city instead of sending them to a really bad school across the street, it does not look right to penalize them for doing this.

    Same with homeschooling. What tier is the school if it is located at the dinning table? How about public online schools? Where are they located?

  • 24. CromDaun  |  April 27, 2016 at 2:01 pm

    @incoming WY

    All valid arguments. Especially about the homeschooling!

  • 25. Vikingmom  |  April 27, 2016 at 3:28 pm

    fascinating! Thanks for posting this.

  • 26. Chris  |  April 27, 2016 at 3:28 pm

    “your address does not necessarily reflect ones socioeconomic status”

    But that isn’t the system. The system isn’t (and, imo, *can’t*, under applicable law) be about the individual kid’s family situation. So, that your census tract doesn’t reflect you? That is NOT a bug in the system.

    You can think it’s unfair, but that isn’t the purpose–that you or I or any other individual thinks it’s ‘fair’.

  • 27. Chris  |  April 27, 2016 at 3:30 pm

    CPSO: “Some people are ***holes and need to use money to buy their kid a spot unfairly. 🙂 Okay, maybe phrased better than that…”

    Nah, that’s phrased just about right–except it should be broader–it’s not just about money, it’s about being willing to cheat when you’re already ahead.

    Also: I’d turn them in in a heartbeat. Drop dimes all over those cheating ***holes.

  • 28. cpsobsessed  |  April 27, 2016 at 3:38 pm

    “It’s about being willing to cheat when you’re already ahead.”

    Mm, very good point. I’ll have to add that in if it comes up again.

    I was surprised my son suddenly understands that this idea exists. He mentioned it to me last month. I said “Yes, that is something people do. You wouldn’t feel comfortable being in a school when you know you didn’t get in fairly.”

  • 29. Reality check  |  April 27, 2016 at 5:24 pm

    Tier 4 parents: There is really nothing to complain about! According to this chart, your kid has double the chance of the other tier kids for PANJY admittance. And yes it’s heartbreaking for a kid to “miss the cutoff by two points” but your kid will miss plenty of cutoffs throughout her life. Check out what kids have to endure in other countries, France, Singapore, India, China, to learn what fierce competition truly feels like. Your kid has options, which is more than one can say about millions of kids in other countries.

  • 30. ShockAndAwe  |  April 27, 2016 at 6:13 pm

    @realitycheck I respectfully disagree. Excluding the rank acceptances, the same nbr of kids are admitted from each of the 4 tiers. The fact that there are more tier 4 acceptances implies the very best rank scores are mostly from tier 4. For kids on the bubble, being in tier 4 is a severe handicap.
    My kid cannot control what tier he is in anymore than a tier 1 kid can.

  • 31. tier 4 mom  |  April 27, 2016 at 6:56 pm

    @ Reality check
    And why exactly are we supposed to compare our children with kids in different countries and not with the kids across the street? Don’t know about you, but I pay taxes here, not in France, Singapore, or China.

  • 32. NSW  |  April 27, 2016 at 6:59 pm

    @ShockandAwe – but you can’t exclude the rank scores! The point is that when you’re a tier 4 kid who is (most likely) raised with advantages, there are lot of really high scoring kids! Being on the bubble doesn’t cut it for SEHS unfortunately. 40% of Tier 4 kids get a spot. That barely even feels “selective” to me. A bubble kid is nearly in the average range of kids who apply to SEHS. (No offense intended at all to you or your child). Just sayin’ it’s supposed to be difficult to get in these schools.

  • 33. Mom  |  April 27, 2016 at 7:07 pm

    It amazes me what some parents write on this blog. Although it isn’t “fair” for someone’s child to lose out by 2 points, guess what, life isn’t fair. Imagine a single mother having to tell her child that Santa was only bringing them one small gift this year? That although the child behaved all year and did well in school, it didn’t matter. How do you explain that to a child? Having to explain that the kid in class who is well off but is always getting in trouble received everything he/she wanted. Some children in tier 1 and 2 do not have access to a computer or Internet. They still have to walk to the library to do their homework. Do you think these kids don’t deserve the same opportunity as a child that has everything handed to them? Cps is trying to give these children an opportunity for more. They have issues at home such as an underemployed parent(s) and living in a dangerous neighborhood.

  • 34. cpsobsessed  |  April 27, 2016 at 7:17 pm

    To be fair, I can see how it feels unfair to a 14 year old who sees a classmate who appears to be of similar lot in life getting into a school with lower scores. Especially a kid who busted their butt trying to make the grades/scores.

    One has to understand the greater societal benefit of the tier system, which is likely more difficult for a young person.

    This is one of the benefits of integrating the SEHSs by Tier – greater familiarity of different socio economic backgrounds, which I think many Tier 4 kids currently lack (through no fault of their own, it’s the city’s economic segregation.)

  • 35. tier 4 mom  |  April 27, 2016 at 7:24 pm

    Are we looking at the same numbers? I see completely different story:
    NCP – 5%
    WY – 5%
    Payton – 6%
    Jones – 6%
    I would say it is pretty selective, Ivy’s have similar acceptance rate.

  • 36. cpsobsessed  |  April 27, 2016 at 8:27 pm

    @35 – it’s difficult to compare because of the way SEHS applications work with each kid applying to ~4-5 schools among 11 schools. The overlap makes it impossible to compare in an apples to apples way. That 5-6% is % of applications, so by nature the entire base is inflated, which makes the acceptance rate.

    Applications are duplicated for colleges as well, but you can get multiple acceptances, which is not the case in SEHS. So again, that makes the “acceptance rate” look lower than it looks for colleges. Colleges use a base of People, while the chart above users a base of Applications.

    Overall, ~30% of students who apply to an SEHS will get a spot. Maybe not the exact school they want, but they’ll get a spot.
    I imagine that getting into any Ivy League school (even combining the group of them) has a lot lower acceptance rate.

    So.. I guess NCP does take only 5% of the kids who apply, but chances are that 30% of those are getting in one of their other choices, unlike the Ivies. So, individually they are as selective as Ivies, but as a group, probably a lot less selective.

    (Anyone feel free to contradict me if this doesn’t ring true.)

  • 37. cpsobsessed  |  April 27, 2016 at 8:28 pm

    I also can’t believe that 36,000 kids applied to Harvard this year. How on earth do they read all those essays?

  • 38. NWSMomof4  |  April 27, 2016 at 9:52 pm

    @CPSO#37: maybe they hire Pearson employees at $12-15/hr, same as PARCC. 🙂

  • 39. Reality Check  |  April 27, 2016 at 9:53 pm

    @Tier 4 Mom,

    “And why exactly are we supposed to compare our children with kids in different countries?”

    Well, to start, empathy, global awareness, compassion, curiosity, charitable feelings, checking one’s privilege, gratitude, understanding the opposite of entitlement, and, if that doesn’t resonate with you, then because those kids are ultimately going to be competing with your kid for college spots and jobs.

  • 40. Marketing Mom  |  April 27, 2016 at 10:09 pm

    Thanks cpso for requesting this data. It makes me wonder what happens to all the applicants that don’t get accepted to any SEHS? I wonder what percentage of these families move to the suburbs. Seems like a missed opportunity.

  • 41. tier 4 mom  |  April 27, 2016 at 10:41 pm

    @ Reality Check,
    Empathy, compassion, charitable feelings? For the poor French kid straggling to get into a good lycée? Really? :)))
    If your way to make somebody feel better is to show that somebody else is in even worse situation, it is your choice. In my book it is one of the worst ways to pick somebody up, really pushes self-confidence to the floor.

    As for the competition – you are wrong. Neither my, nor your kids kids will be competing for college seats with kids from France, Singapore, and China. International applicants are not competing with the local ones – colleges set their quotas beforehand, they know that they want to have 50% in-state, 40% out-of-state, 10% international students or some other distribution, but whatever it is, it is preset before the application cycle begins. Not to mention the fact that the person has to be either crazy or very-very rich to come study to the US from France or any other European country. They heavily subsidize higher education for the EU citizens, so there is absolutely no reason to pay about 4 times as much for the US education.

  • 42. tier 4 mom  |  April 27, 2016 at 11:03 pm

    @Marketing Mom
    There were couple discussions on the topic somewhere on this board. Some kids got into IB or Double Honors program. Some got into SEHS, but on a different program. I don’t know about other schools, but Jones has pre-law and pre-engineering programs, total 75 seats each year. Don’t remember the details, but if you live in the attendance area, you can apply and in theory it should be easier to get in.

    Some will go into their neighbourhood schools. Depending on where they live, it might not be such a bad option.

    Then there are private schools.

    Some families will move, but not that much. Is is not like SEHS or nothing :))

  • 43. pantherettie  |  April 28, 2016 at 6:16 am

    @Marketing Mom – while I think that there are very significant numbers of kids from tier 3 or 4 neighborhoods that don’t get into a SEHS (or not the SEHS of his/her choice), there are many many more kids from tier 1& 2 who do not either. I think that kids with limited financial resources where private school isn’t an option or transportation to a “better” neighborhood school with an IB or “double honors” program or charter school isn’t an option, they attend their local high school and hopefully become a standout there. It’s these kids (my husband was one) who end up getting a break sometimes when it comes to *some* admission criteria for ivies and highly selective colleges. To me, that’s more than fair. It’s justice.

  • 44. Mom of 2  |  April 28, 2016 at 8:12 am

    @43 Justice? What in the world are you talking about?

  • 45. pantherettie  |  April 28, 2016 at 8:35 am

    Maybe I should have used the word “just” rather than “justice”. I think that it’s just that a student that attends a school that is under resourced and has many many fewer opportunities, should have that considered in college applications. Sorry if that wasn’t clear in my previous post.

  • 46. tier 4 mom  |  April 28, 2016 at 8:41 am

    So traveling from Northside to Lindblom is OK, but transportation from Southside to “better” neighborhood school with an IB or “double honors” program or charter school might not be an option? :)))

    You do know that we all live in a city with working public transportation system, right? And we are talking here about HS students, not kindergartners.

  • 47. Mom of 2  |  April 28, 2016 at 8:50 am

    @45 Maybe you should just call it “affirmative action”?

  • 48. NearNorthMom  |  April 28, 2016 at 9:09 am

    SEES High Schools only serve 12.3% of the Chicago Public School students so of course many kids from all Tiers don’t get in. Conversely Neighborhood CPS High Schools serve the largest group of students (42.5%). There’s been lots of discussion about this observation in the past several years and how it’s impacting students across the city.

    To see info about this discussion regarding policy and their current effects on our city High Schools look at or look at

    Hope you find of interest,

  • 49. pantherettie  |  April 28, 2016 at 9:33 am

    @Tier4 Mom – I believe that multiple people on another thread stated that traveling from the northside to Englewood was not an option for their families for a variety of reasons, including financial. So, yes, I do believe that students who attend under resourced schools with very limited opportunities should have that considered in the college application process. It doesn’t matter the geographic location of the student’s home. I’m not trying to change the focus of this thread, just wanted to point out that this data shows how hard it is for so many kids to get access to a strong education in Chicago.

  • 50. Chose to opt out  |  April 28, 2016 at 2:48 pm

    Am I the only one who opted my child out of the craziness of SEHS testing? I believe my child would have gotten in with straight A’s and MAPs in the 90s – BUT we chose Von Scholars as our first choice, as did some others we’ve met.

  • 51. first time HS application  |  April 28, 2016 at 2:56 pm

    @50 – We chose private. Scored the cutoff, but lost in tie breaker process. Hard to explain to child and heart breaker for sure. Life goes on.

  • 52. luveurope  |  April 28, 2016 at 3:37 pm

    @50 Chose private. Thank God we did not have to rely on CPS past grammar school. Have a nice strike.

  • 53. Chris  |  April 28, 2016 at 3:37 pm

    CPSO: “One has to understand the greater societal benefit of the tier system, which is likely more difficult for a young person.”

    Clearly not only for young people, CPSO…

  • 54. Lose the tiers  |  April 28, 2016 at 5:13 pm

    I am all for “greater societal benefit” but the greatest problem with the system is that it is based on BS data. A student’s tier often does not truly reflect their families socioeconomic status.

    See my post in another thread about double income lawyers in Rogers Park (alleged tier 2) laughing about the system while in Europe on vacation…btw, both their kids are in SEHS. Meanwhile, my neighbor, a single dad carpenter who never graduated high school is tier 4…shocker, his kids did not get into SEHS.

    I agree with the need to help the disadvantaged but the current system helps some that do not need it while screwing others. New system needed!

  • 55. southsider  |  April 28, 2016 at 5:21 pm

    There is so much entitlement from both sides of the Tiers.

    It looks like everybody has a better system to use for SEHS admission, but so far, nothing that would do a better job the the flawed system that is currently in place.

    It is obvious from the data presented that Tier 4 children as a group score better then Tier 1. If you let more Tier 4 kids in, the student body of the best schools will mimic those of the wealthy suburbs, and that is not a pretty sight.

  • 56. southsider  |  April 28, 2016 at 5:22 pm

    @ Lose the tiers, do yo have a better system in mind? Would you mind sharing?

  • 57. Lose the tiers  |  April 28, 2016 at 5:33 pm

    “If you let more Tier 4 kids in, the student body of the best schools will mimic those of the wealthy suburbs, and that is not a pretty sight.”

    Wow southsider…bigoted much?

    Personally I think families should have to submit tax returns…a logistics nightmare but a lot harder to cheat the system.

  • 58. southsider  |  April 28, 2016 at 6:55 pm

    @ Lose the tiers

    If the tiers were just about income, it could be a solution, but they are not.

    Besides logistical nightmare, such a requirement would get challenged in court right away. And talk about opportunity for fraud here. Not a viable solution.

    I agree that the system is flawed, but I have no clue, nor have I read it here how to fix it.

    I don’t think not liking the environment of wealthy north suburban (the only ones I am intimately familiar with) schools makes me a bigot. I’ve lived in one of those suburbs for over 20 years, but fled because my kids needed different education. All the iPads and top of the line technology will not make up for the lack of diversity and open minded approach that SE schools of Chicago offer.

  • 59. Chris  |  April 28, 2016 at 7:21 pm

    “A student’s tier often does not truly reflect their families socioeconomic status.”

    Neither do 1040s, which is the only thing you suggest. Heck, 1040s don’t even “truly reflect” a family’s *economic* status. A 1040 reasonably fairly represents *one year* of income, but any business owner worth a damn can zero out their income for one year; might mean somewhat higher taxes the year before and after, but if it saved $100k+ in Parker tuition? Easy decision.

    Aaaaannnnyway, CPS’s goal in using the tier system isn’t socioeconomic diversity in any event. The goal is racial/ethnic diversity, but any system used has to be without direct reference to race, and any *individual based* proxy would likely result in litigation.

  • 60. karet  |  April 28, 2016 at 7:34 pm

    Everyone once in a while, I chime in with my idea for tiers:
    Assign CPS elementary schools to tiers (you could use the system already in place, Level 1, 2 and 3). You are assigned to the tier of the elementary school you attend.

    The goal of diversity would still be achieved by this kind of system. Anyone applying from outside of CPS would be in the most competitive tier. And all the kids at SEES would be on the same level (unlike now, where you can have kids from Edison or SN or wherever getting a point advantage due to where they live, which seems silly to me, considering the quality of education they’ve received.).

  • 61. tier 4 mom  |  April 29, 2016 at 9:16 am

    @ Karet,

    “Assign CPS elementary schools to tiers”
    So if the family chooses to drive their kids a bit further from home to a better charter elementary school, they will be penalized for it? How does that help anybody?

  • 62. karet  |  April 29, 2016 at 11:18 am

    I guess I wouldn’t see it as “penalized.” Your kid already got the benefit of an excellent education, better than most schools in Chicago. Giving them a point advantage on top of that seems like a *double* advantage to me.

    The kids who really need the benefit of a lower admitting score are those who received an education that wasn’t as strong, IMO (level 2 and 3 schools).

    This system would also discourage cheating, as I don’t think people would flock to the poorest schools to get an advantage when entering HS.

    I have no particular stake in this. I live in tier 4, and my kids go to schools that would be in the most competitive tier. It just seems fairer to me. Are we trying to give an advantage to students who really need it, or not? Kids who attended the best elementary schools in the city already have an “advantage.”

    I’ve mentioned this before and no one ever thinks it’s a good idea. I don’t know why, though!

  • 63. karet  |  April 29, 2016 at 11:38 am

    @61. And, BTW, there are a lot of level 2 charter schools. If you attend one of those, you’d get a point advantage.

  • 64. Chris  |  April 29, 2016 at 12:01 pm

    “Assign CPS elementary schools to tiers (you could use the system already in place, Level 1, 2 and 3). You are assigned to the tier of the elementary school you attend.”

    Ok, but what’s the system for Elementary admissions?

    [of note: The neighborhood* school’s level is one of the 6 existing criteria for Tier determination.]

    Also, which year matters? Is it the school of attendance when applying (ie, 8th grade), or is it the school of principal attendance from k-8? If it’s based on just 8th grade, I bet there are a lot of people who would be willing to play that game–especially if they got one B in 7th grade, but have 95+ test scores.

    And what do you do about Catholic School kids–do they all get put into Tier 4, too?

  • 65. tier 4 mom  |  April 29, 2016 at 12:13 pm

    There are even lvl 3 charter schools (Bronzeville Lighthouse and Kwame Nkrumah Academy), but that was not my point.

    We want people to care about their schools and ideally we want each and every PTO to do everything they can to make their school better, right? Now imagine you are a PTO president of a lvl 2 school and you have a 7th grader in that school. You hear about a grant proposal from UofC to send in 50 students for a full year of free math/reading/writing tutoring. What would you do? Accept this grant, get the help, pull the results of the whole school up and make your school a lvl 1? Or keep quiet for a year until your kid gets into SEHS from a lvl 2 school?

    Is a principal that takes school from lvl 3 to lvl 1 in two years a good principal? Or a bad one, since now the top students at the school have less chances to get into a good HS?

    Do we really want to create a system where these questions can be asked?

  • 66. mom2  |  April 29, 2016 at 12:21 pm

    If tier 3 and 4 students do better educationally, then why not just make every high school in tier 3 and 4 neighborhoods SEHS with the same funding and rules for all. If you live in tier 3 and 4, you can go to “your” SEHS or try for another one via grades and testing like we do now. If you live in tier 1 or 2, these SEHS’s must take 25% (or whatever number) from those tiers by the same selection process they use now. Now you have more SEHS for everyone. This whole thing is started to get crazy. The schools are good because the kids that come in are selected and are good to start with.

  • 67. tier 4 mom  |  April 29, 2016 at 12:33 pm

    “make every high school in tier 3 and 4 neighborhoods SEHS with the same funding ”
    Paid by what money? :)))

  • 68. 2DolphinDad  |  April 29, 2016 at 2:32 pm

    There is no perfect solution besides investing more in the neighborhood schools to create more viable educational options. The tier system was put in place to appease both ends of the economic spectrum; stemming the middle class “white” flight to suburbs and increasing opportunities for a better education the the poor “black and brown” from the rougher neighborhoods. I personally think they should include the number years in public grammar school in the criteria; eliminate the magnet schools and put that money into the gifted and talented tracks at the neighborhood schools to deep the pool to the neighborhood high schools while keeping the SEHS. I would love for my kids to have the ability to walk to their good schools and know the kids who live around them but that’s not realistic right now.

  • 69. karet  |  April 29, 2016 at 3:21 pm

    @Chris and tier 4 mom,

    To avoid kids switching schools for 8th grade, there are a lot of possible solutions. For example, a student’s tier could be based on the school he/she spent the majority of the elementary years. Or, you could look at just the last 4 years and the school in the highest tier is your tier. etc.

    tier 4 mom, So you think schools would deliberately keep scores low to give students an advantage when applying to HS? That is 1. very cynical and 2. counterproductive. If the school’s scores went up enough to be a Level 1 school, then students would be able to successfully compete for SEHS against students who attend other Level 1 schools. If the scores are at a Level 2 range, they would need the “extra” points to get in the HS. It’s a wash. Any ethical teacher or principal would want to raise test scores. Higher test scores would NOT disadvantage the students.

    As for private schools, you could just make them tier 4 (or whatever the highest tier is), or you could apply the same criteria used to rank the CPS schools.

    Chris, I know that neighborhood school level is already part of the tier ranking, but that makes no sense for all the kids who don’t attend their neighborhood school.

    I don’t know how to improve the elementary tier system, but there seems to be less resentment at that level.

    Nobody has ever agreed that this is a good idea, so maybe it’s not!
    But it seems better than what we have.

  • 70. mom2  |  April 29, 2016 at 4:23 pm

    “Paid by what money? :)))” – Well if we are really giving more money to the SEHS’s, then maybe we should stop and distribute the money evenly instead. Why should they/do they get more? For what?

  • 71. feeder schools  |  April 29, 2016 at 8:38 pm

    Because the family of a stereotypical SEHS student is of the right kind that the city wants to keep as its residents.

  • 72. pantherettie  |  April 30, 2016 at 6:50 am

    @2dolphindad – I agree. One good solution would be to get rid of magnet programs and strengthen neighborhood schools at the elementary level. Having more resources for accelerated and gifted learners in their “home” school really might prevent folks from making the “run” to magnet schools. That said, I really like the idea of students having the option to leave their neighborhood for high school to experince a bigger world. I wish that resources were spent making more magnet high schools and not SEHS. This data shows, to me, that there are many, many kids who don’t make the academic cut for a SEHS that do want a challenge or specialized high school experince. Sometimes that is academics like an IB school or sometimes is fine arts, business, military, ect. Now the only choice many people see is that of SEHS vs a couple of strong neighborhood schools. I’m thinking that there should be more along the lines of Chi Arts ( which is charter – and I don’t support charters for a variety of reasons) Chicago Ag
    ( I’m not sure if this a charter?) . I know it boils down to money, but maybe this really is about the fact that there are too many kids applying for schools that might not even fit their needs, regardless of their home tier.

  • 73. Dobbs2  |  April 30, 2016 at 7:55 am

    “I would love for my kids to have the ability to walk to their good schools and know the kids who live around them but that’s not realistic right now.”

    Yes, it seems that’s what most parents want. The thing is I and friends and neighbors were talking about this nearly 15 years ago when my kids were just starting in CPS and nothing has really changed all that much (except that back then the competition to get into the SEHSs was less fierce). So the question is when/how will this finally happen? If it’s not realistic now, will it ever be?

  • 74. @pantheretti  |  April 30, 2016 at 8:53 am

    FYI-Chi Arts is not a charter school. It’s a contract school. Chicago Ag is a magnet HS.

  • 75. klm  |  April 30, 2016 at 9:27 am

    The above stats are interesting, but I don’t honestly see how some people think they’re some kind of blanket vindication towards complaining Tier 4 families (some of whom living in CHA Section 8 units or cram 5 people into a 2 bd. apt. …..etc. [I know some –they go to school with one of my kids]).

    It’s kinda’ like sayng: Asians are overrepresented at UIUC’s engineering school. So, if they need to have much, much higher ACT or SAT scores than other people to get in, it’s NOT in any way something for them to think negatively about. Why? Because that group id OVER-represented.

    Ipso facto, an Asian student (Student A) has absolutely nothing to complain about complain about if they get rejected with a 3.9 GPA and a 32 ACT and 5 STEM AP’s when another kid (Student B) from the same HS gets in with a 25 and 3.2 GPA and only 2 non-STEM APs.

    So, see! No Asian individual ever has reason or grounds to complain (even when they come from a low-income immigrant background) when they don’t get into an engineering school like UIUC’s when they have high grades and scores. They’re ignorant whiners if they don’t look at the student body makeup and understand this, right?

    I get it if people want to use some kind of “equitable” argument, but given the disparate requirements to get into a school like NSCP depending on which block one’s family lives (Tier 1 and Tier 4 are literally across the street from one another in one part of Albany Park), people are not coming out of nowhere when they sometimes feel like things are stacked against some kids, especially when they come from a household that is in no way “privileged.”

    When individuals are reduced to some kind of blanket stamp, according to which block they live on, which ethnicity they are, etc., and opportunities (often seminal ones that have an enormous impact on one’s life) are given or denied accordingly (especially by public institutions for which all we all pay taxes to support), it really is not always so black-and-white.

    So, if people still complain about the enormous disparity between what’s required of their own kid and another kid that lives a few blocks away, I get it.

    Many people like to think only about the positive side about social engineering (opportunities given to a student because of where they live, etc.) but don’t want to acknowledge that sometimes there is a price in terms of some kids with objectively higher grades and scores having opportunities denied to them because of where they live.

  • 76. pantherettie  |  April 30, 2016 at 10:29 am

    Thanks for the correction.

  • 77. Evelyn  |  April 30, 2016 at 10:49 pm

    On the other end, can’t help but notice an inordinate amount of sehs students being geared toward and only accepted to regional state schools. By itself maybe not a big deal but concurrently Noble Charter students, who are not posting better stats, are being lavished with multiple acceptances. Some to smaller or not as prominent schools, but some to big name schools. Mind you sehs students have tested their mettle and succeded. Complaints of Noble inflating Act scores have surfaced. This seems orchestrated to a privatized system. Hey, Rauner and his cohorts definately get paid either way. Are they hedging against non-charters?

  • 78. College mom  |  May 1, 2016 at 10:23 am

    @77 – Are you suggesting that Noble students are getting into better colleges because of inflated ACT’s? The ACT score is provided by an independent agency outside of the school. The score is the score. Colleges will have accurate individual ACT scores.

    If you are saying that games are played in reporting school averages giving some schools an inflated reputation amongst “better colleges”, there’s no doubt this exists and that every school will use every available angle to present their information.

    Top selective colleges do target schools like Lindblom, Noble, Brooks, Urban Prep, King, Kenwood (just to name a few) to actively recruit academically driven URM’s. This is a HUGE benefit to these schools. I just read about some twins who went to Rabi that were accepted at something like 40 schools between the two of them.

    Don’t confuse kids as choosing and only applying to regional schools as not having other options. Also, inversely that going to and doing well in a SEHS qualifies a student for highly selective colleges.

  • 79. pantherettie  |  May 1, 2016 at 10:49 am

    Well said College Mom

  • 80. klm  |  May 2, 2016 at 5:24 am


    You make great points. URMs, especially those from that come from especially disadvantaged (i.e., having gone to public school in an urban area widely perceived to be ‘tough’ like much of Chicago) backgrounds have such an enormous advantage in competitive college admissions. This fact, combined with counselors in some HSs that get kids applying to lots of school, etc. explains why a school like Noble gets its kids into impressive colleges.

    Please understand, I’m not saying anything negative about this, but sometimes when people get into comparing HSs in terms of where kids get into college, etc., thy need to think about these facts. The demographics of the applicant population is such a seminal factor that it’s not always easy to make apples-to-apples comparisons.

    I used to work in college admissions. This is a generalization, but the fact is that, by and large, applicants compete within their own socioeconomic group. If the goal is to have 8-10% of the freshman class to be “X” and there’s a quasi-mandate for this at a particular college (look at the way every competitive college announces freshman profiles every year and once one understand that diversity goals are part of the job description for admissions deans). If demographics of certain groups go down, there’s often heck to pay for people in the admissions department. At one college where I worked, one year some rejected applicants were actually contacted again and effectively offered full-rides, since the yield that year produced too few of a certain demographic (Imagine being rejected by a college, then being called back several weeks later and told ‘Sorry, we made a mistake –we want you so much now that we’ll pay for almost everything.’ It happened). These were kids with SAT scores equivalent to 17-20 on the ACT. This at a school where kids with good grades and SATs equivalent to ACT over 30 were regularly rejected.

    So if kids at schools like Noble get into schools like Wesleyan, Carleton, Bowdoin, Hamilton, UVA, etc., that ‘s great and all, but things should be kept in perspective.

  • 81. pantherettie  |  May 2, 2016 at 6:05 am

    Klm – I appreciate your input. As a former college admissions officer, I do believe that you have unique perspective and insight. So, maybe it would be better to compare the college persistence and graduation rates among the schools. That, I think, would put into perspective how well this group of students were prepared for the academic and social rigors of college. This may also highlight if kids are being provided actual “full ride” financial support vs. “tuition only” deals that make the cost unrealistic past the first year. I would love to see that type of comparison across SEHS, high performing neighborhood high schools and the Noble network.

  • 82. Was that taught there?  |  May 2, 2016 at 11:12 am

    To 55: There is so much entitlement from both sides of the Tiers.

    It looks like everybody has a better system to use for SEHS admission, but so far, nothing that would do a better job the the flawed system that is currently in place.

    It is obvious from the data presented that Tier 4 children as a group score better then Tier 1. If you let more Tier 4 kids in, the student body of the best schools will mimic those of the wealthy suburbs, and that is not a pretty sight

    You comment “that is not a pretty sight” is offensive. You are advocating an anti-white/asian statement that is very easily identified.

    Check your south side status identity at the door. The system that has one test on one day to gain entrance is the goal. I guarantee the cream of the crow would rise to the top. FYI they would be from every social/racial classification, but not in the proportions you advocate.

  • 83. Vicki  |  May 2, 2016 at 12:46 pm

    Thanks KLM for stating this so clearly. If you log onto Naviance through any individual school, you can see which schools accept students and the corresponding ACT/SAT and GPAs. I personally know students from high performing suburban schools with 34 ACT and 6/0 gpa who were turned down from some highly competitive schools. Some students from CPS with significantly lower ACT (under 30) and lower GPA accepted to the same schools.

  • 84. klm  |  May 2, 2016 at 6:26 pm


    I get what you’re talking about in terms of “bait” scholarship (e.g., We’ll pay 80% your tuition 1st year, then continue to do so, so long as you maintain a 3.85+ GPA in STEM subjects, otherwise you’re SOL, …..etc.).

    But I’m talking full-on full-ride tuition, plus room and board. Sometimes even stipends for internships.

  • 85. College Mom  |  May 2, 2016 at 8:32 pm

    81/84 – my take on #81 statement is more about continued support after the money lure. Students in general can have a difficult time adjusting socially but even more so when they are thrown into an environment that is so different from the one they were raised in and know. My son roomed with a kid from the west side. It was unbearably difficult for this kid to adjust. All he did was stay in his room and sleep and never came back after winter break. Some schools do a really good job mentoring and supporting kids along the way. Others, big and small, lose track or make little or no accommodations for academic issues that kids come in with.

    It would be good to get this type of philosophical information in some measurable form because they all say that they provide all kinds of support. Of course it helps if the student actually takes advantage of the opportunities.

    I’m hearing more about African American students seeking predominately black colleges. For as much as our world has become a global network, in some ways it seems as though we have never been more divided. I guess it’s all about culture and comfort.

  • 86. tier 4 mom  |  May 2, 2016 at 9:16 pm

    This data is sort of available, though in a different form. Universities publish their freshman retention rate, 4-year graduation rate, and 6-year graduation rate. If you are looking at two colleges with the same incoming average test scores, then the higher these rates are, the more support students get. Right?

  • 88. Chris  |  May 3, 2016 at 10:09 am

    “Well if we are really giving more money to the SEHS’s”

    Not in student based budgeting, no, not anymore. The capital spending is certainly in favor of the SEHS, as adjusted for recency, and population, but the only way to ‘take that away’ is to swap facilities.

  • 89. Chris  |  May 3, 2016 at 10:14 am

    “Noble Charter students, who are not posting better stats, are being lavished with multiple acceptances”

    Noble Charter students are (typically) ‘slotted’ into the group of schools they are allowed to apply to–I know a kid who got a generous scholarship to a Big Ten engineering program who was prohibited from applying to “Ivies”, as those ‘slots’ were for kids with ‘better chances’ (per the counselors) of getting in.

    I totally support the sort of college counseling that gets kids applying to the right set of schools, but I am adamantly against saying “you can’t apply to Harvard, bc [whatever]” and not allowing transcript/recommendations to be sent.

  • 90. mom2  |  May 3, 2016 at 11:26 am

    @88 – so are you saying that CPS could make more schools SEHS (with a neighborhood component) without it costing more money because they are already funded the same way? If so, shouldn’t they do that in the tier 3 and 4 areas of the city where the students tend to do better due to whatever circumstances previously discussed and defined here?

  • 91. cpsobsessed  |  May 3, 2016 at 1:08 pm

    Specifically, what do you guys think about whether CPS should build this new Obama SEHS? (It was supposed to be ready the year my son starts high school but I don’t know the current status of it.)

  • 92. tier 4 mom  |  May 3, 2016 at 1:14 pm

    How is that supposed to work?
    Let’s say there is a lvl 1 neighbourhood HS somewhere on the North Side, tier 4. Total enrollment right now is 1,000 kids. Which means that every year it gets about 250 new local kids. Probably some of the kids that live there don’t go to this school, but instead go to SEHS or private, so in total there are 350 kids that graduate from elementary schools and live in the attendance area of the HS in question.

    What will happen if you make this school SE? 100 that went before to “old” SE and private will probably still go there. But as a SEHS this school will be able to take only 25% of tire 4 students plus some number by rank. Suppose is will be about the same distribution as it is now, same 40%. OK, 40% of 250 is 100. What is supposed to happen to the other 150 students? Where do you propose they will go?

  • 93. CLB  |  May 3, 2016 at 1:19 pm

    One has a valid complaint about the system if a student with identical scores and identical socio-economic background gets into a school because they happened to live in tiers 1-3. In other words, the tier does not in fact sort by socio-economic background of the applicants.

    Of course, the SEHS were not established to be school for the top-scoring students. They were established as integration magnets for higher scoring students. If they were exclusively academic based, there would be far fewer seats created. Basically the students who were accepted now from tier 4 would be the ones who would be accepted in a score-only competition. Few if any new tier 4 students would make it in.

  • 94. cpsobsessed  |  May 3, 2016 at 1:45 pm

    @mom2 – do you mean something like how Lincoln Park has its double honors program that kids have to gain admission to? I do think that’s something that parents want in the neighborhood high schools (because everyone want their kid to “get into” something beyond a standard program.)
    Lake Wobegone affect.

  • 95. mom2  |  May 3, 2016 at 1:53 pm

    @92 – Well, my first thought was what do people want. From what I’m reading, parents of tier 3 and 4 kids want more SEHS options close to their home in their “safer” neighborhoods. Parents from tier 1 and 2 want to send their kids to the “better” high schools with the “better” students and people have said statistically that would be tier 3 and 4 kids (even those that currently didn’t get into some SEHS just due to their advantages financially or with parents that have more time to focus on education, etc.). So having more SEHS’s in those “safer” neighborhoods benefits everyone.
    Now, if we really have that many more SEHS’s, we could offer a neighborhood component in each school to allow for kids from the neighborhood to attend no matter what. Since they are from those tiers, they fit what people are looking for anyway (I’m really not trying to sound pro higher tiers as I sort of disagree with it, but statistic seem to point this way from what I’m reading here).
    So, if we must allow those from the neighborhood to attend, we cannot keep the same 30% from each tier rule, but with so many more high schools to pick from, if we said each school must take 25% or 30% minimum from out of neighborhood, then wouldn’t all these schools would have the mix people want?
    I have a hard time with the numbers because we are making some assumptions about where people would opt to go without knowing how many choices there would be out there.
    I also don’t really know how many kids each neighborhood has ready for freshman year each year. Do we have those numbers anywhere? If your numbers pan out and there are more kids than spots available at their neighborhood school, and now that school is in hot demand, something would have to be tweaked, but I don’t know if we know that right now. It would be a great problem to have, wouldn’t it?

  • 96. mom2  |  May 3, 2016 at 2:00 pm

    I’m really just trying to think outside the box. I used to advocate for something like Lincoln Park’s double honors for other neighborhood high schools and I still think that is better than what we have now. But I’m not certain people are embracing things like the IB programs at many neighborhood schools, so I went a different way. Making all these school SEHS with the same status/stature/reputation or whatever as all of the SEHS, but allow neighborhood kids to go there (instead of having neighborhood kids having to test to get into a program). If the statistics are right that most tier 3 and 4 kids do better academically, then there wouldn’t necessarily need to be essential level classes for them (other than special ed which is required everywhere). There would have to be regular level classes like they have at Lane and Lincoln Park. And the school would have the diversity people in the city want because it wouldn’t just be neighborhood and those kids that need the accelerated schools and programs would have more choices in those safer neighborhoods.
    Do I sound terrible or does some of this make sense? I’m trying…

  • 97. cpsobsessed  |  May 3, 2016 at 2:16 pm

    “Making all these school SEHS with the same status/stature/reputation or whatever as all of the SEHS”

    I think this is the key challenge. “status” in CPS isn’t easy to create. It seems to happen organically (or with very high test scores.) In theory, can’t we make the IB programs more status-worthy?

    There is a (kind of crazy) chicken and egg phenomenon in CPS where parents don’t think a school is “good” unless other parents with top scoring kids send them there. But nobody will send them unless the school is considered “good.”

    This has shifted more rapidly at the elementary level. But high schools seem to have a harder time shifting reputation.

    I guess the schools could set a minimum (but high) level for those in-school SEHS programs… ?

  • 98. cpsobsessed  |  May 3, 2016 at 2:17 pm

    I do love that you’re thinking this through in such detail! 🙂

  • 99. tier 4 mom  |  May 3, 2016 at 2:43 pm

    From what I understand, level 1 and level 1+ schools are not underenrolled, so it is not like you can easily fit a reasonably sized SEHS and a neighbourhood school in the same building.

  • 100. mom2  |  May 3, 2016 at 3:37 pm

    True, they are not underenrolled, but they are often not getting students from the neighborhood. Instead, kids have to take buses and trains to get to these schools. Wouldn’t it be better for everyone if kids were able to go to their great neighborhood schools close to home, with their friends, with the ability to have study groups and hang out with others near their homes? If those kids that are currently traveling miles and miles to get to these schools could instead go to their own school that is also SEHS, and is still diverse, wouldn’t that be better?

  • 101. tier 4 mom  |  May 3, 2016 at 3:55 pm

    I was talking about neighbourhood lvl 1 and lvl 1+ high schools, not about existing SEHS. By definition all neighbourhood schools are near home 🙂 If one lives on the opposite end of the attendance area it might be couple bus stops away from home, but definitely not an hour ride.

  • 102. tier 4 mom  |  May 3, 2016 at 4:10 pm

    If we are throwing out wild ideas, here is what I think MIGHT work:

    1. create a few highly selective academic schools. No tiers, no income, no race, no nothing – just scores. Currently even testing is not needed as MAP scores (raw scores, not percentiles) should be enough. Small enrollment, say 100 new students per school. Just 3 or 4 schools – enough to make sure that one can get there in under an hour using public transportation from any corner of the city. Same classes, same curriculum, same funding, just different locations. More or less IMSA, only not a boarding school.

    2. In ALL the rest of the HSs divide enrollment into two (equal?) parts – neighbourhood and open enrollment. If the school is popular and gets more applications than there are open seats, then use top scores for the neighborhood part and either lottery or high scores within the tiers for the open enrollment part.

  • 103. mom2  |  May 3, 2016 at 4:36 pm

    @tier 4 mom – I don’t think you understand. lvl 1 and 1+ neighborhood high schools are not underenrolled, but many/most are NOT enrolled with kids from the neighborhood. When they don’t fill up with kids from the neighborhood, they open up slots to kids from anywhere in the city. I was talking about those schools, not SEHS.

  • 104. tier 4 mom  |  May 3, 2016 at 9:01 pm

    Oh, I did not know that. Thanks for explaining.

    When they open up slots for kids from outside the neighbourhood, how do they select who gets in if they get too many applications? Grades/test results, lottery, first-come-first-served?

  • 105. Amy F Williamson  |  May 4, 2016 at 8:09 am

    An interesting upcoming event at Northside, sponsored by Hawthorne – open to the public but the discussion afterward should give you some insights into the schools’ cultures and parents.

  • 106. Amber Commodore  |  May 4, 2016 at 8:28 am

    Where is the Tier syatem (requirements, calculation, etc) published?


  • 107. tier 4 mom  |  May 4, 2016 at 8:38 am

    you can read about tiers here:

  • 108. cpsobsessed  |  May 4, 2016 at 8:55 am

    Thanks Amy. A friend of mine saw the movie this week and said it was really good.

  • 109. mom2  |  May 4, 2016 at 11:08 am

    @104 – tier 4 mom – I have no idea. I wish it was based on grades, but I’m not sure of that.

  • 110. parent  |  May 4, 2016 at 11:33 am

    @104, 109 –
    (from the CPS website):
    Acceptance criteria
    For Open enrollment schools:

    Students who live within the attendance boundary do not need to submit an application
    Out-of-attendance area students may apply and will be randomly accepted for available spaces through a computerized lottery.

  • 111. mom2  |  May 4, 2016 at 12:13 pm

    @110 – Thank you. I find this to be part of the problem with getting people to embrace the neighborhood schools. I wonder if it could change and be more based on kids that show potential by looking at grades and test scores from junior high?

  • 112. dino  |  May 4, 2016 at 12:34 pm

    My minority child, who has friends from all different ethnicities and social classes, assumes that school admissions is all about doing well in her classes and tests. It was hard explaining to her that a big part of the process involves skin color, as well as socioeconomic class. She thought that was ridiculous, but that said, she’s pretty unsophisticated.

  • 113. tier 4 mom  |  May 4, 2016 at 12:55 pm

    technically individual skin color is not part of the process – it was until 2005(?), but then CPS lost a court case and had to switch to something else. This is when they invented tiers.

    But all this is relevant only to the selective enrollment schools, not neighbourhood schools. Which ones are you talking about?

  • 114. Chris  |  May 4, 2016 at 3:36 pm

    “it was until 2005(?), ”

    The last admission cycle before tiers was for Fall 2009.

    Also remember–it was both race and sex (at least for elementaries)–they made sure that the admissions were boy/girl balanced, too.

    Link to a summary report after the first year of tiers, with recommendations for tweaks to the process:

    Click to access BRC%20Final%20Report%209%2022%2010.pdf

  • 115. cpsobsessed  |  May 4, 2016 at 7:08 pm

    @111 – I could be wrong, but my sense is that principals have seemed to have some choice in selecting who to allow into the neighborhood schools. It may be due to there (so far) not being an abundance of out-of-area students looking for spots. It seems to even out. I think.
    Exception is Lincoln Park which seems to not be a shoe-in for admission.

    I think there was the sense that any student who wants to make an effort to travel to another neighborhood school (and high schools make the choice to travel on their own, typically) which requires getting up earlier and making a concerted effort to seek out a particular school was a good candidate for admission. I think the previous Amundsen principal had over-enrolled the school because he couldn’t say no to anyone. I believe the student body is now where it should be to accommodate the building. So perhaps some selection or lottery happened there.

    Anyhow, that is mostly speculation…

  • 116. tier 4 mom  |  May 4, 2016 at 7:54 pm


    Are you saying that at the moment any student from any neighbourhood can apply and be accepted to any Chicago HS, except SE, IB and other special programs?

    In that case why is there an ongoing cry that if a tier 1 or 2 kid does not get into a SEHS it is the end of the wold for him, since his local HS is a level 3?

    LP is probably excluded from the list of schools that can take out-of-area students because they have three other programs in the same building, so they can always fill empty seats by offering them to the next people on the list for HH, IB, or arts program.

  • 117. cpsobsessed  |  May 5, 2016 at 12:30 pm

    @116: I *believe* that to be true.
    I assume any outcry is the same reason the Tier 3 and 4 parents have outcry. they still want their kid getting into the top/selective schools. Not *just* a neighborhood program. Yes, school X may have a better neighborhood program than Level 3 school Y, but it’s still not an SEHS, which is perceived to have all the goodies.

    Also, I think it’s just recently that some of the neighborhood high schools have even moved to level 1. Up until a few years ago, I don’t know that having your kid take a 1.5+ hour bus ride up to Senn was considered that great a score.

  • 118. Chris  |  May 5, 2016 at 1:27 pm

    Unless I misunderstand the list, here is the complete list of ‘neighborhood’ High Schools that are Level 1 or 1+:

    4034 W 56th St Chicago, IL 60629

    5110 N Damen Ave Chicago, IL 60625

    4015 N Ashland Ave Chicago, IL 60613

    5900 N Glenwood Ave Chicago, IL 60660

    6530 W Bryn Mawr Ave Chicago, IL 60631

    6200 S Hamlin Ave Chicago, IL 60629

    2001 N Orchard St Chicago, IL 60614

    5015 S Blackstone Ave Chicago, IL 60615

    1250 W Erie St Chicago, IL 60642

    2111 W 47th St Chicago, IL 60609

    There are magnets and charters and ‘small’ and military and career HS’s too, but the above are it for “good” **neighborhood** HS.

    Which is why it’s a ‘big deal’–there are only a handful of ‘good’ neighborhood high schools, and they aren’t really spread around the city much

    NB: scare quotes on the good, bc I’m not making a value judgment about the other schools, just noting numbers related to the perception that a school has to be Level 1 to be “good’.

  • 119. tier 4 mom  |  May 5, 2016 at 2:17 pm

    For the purposes of this discussion Lincoln Park is not a neighbourhood school – you can’t just apply to it, if you live out of the attendance area, you have to apply either to the HH, IB, or arts program.

    Small schools, on the other hand, are still neighbourhood schools, just with a much smaller area. Especially given the fact that some of them are not on the North Side:

    3120 S Kostner Ave Chicago, IL 60623 (415 students)

    3456 W 38th St Chicago, IL 60632 (826 students)

    4934 S Wabash Ave Chicago, IL 60615 (249 students)

    3120 S Kostner Ave Chicago, IL 60623 (290 students)

    3120 S Kostner Ave Chicago, IL 60623 (328 students)

    Charters should also be on this list as ALL charters use lottery for admission, so that’s another 16 schools:

    3900 W Peterson Ave Chicago, IL 60659

    7212 N Clark St Chicago, IL 60626

    1 N State St Chicago, IL 60602

    1231 S Damen Ave Chicago, IL 60608

    1010 N Noble St Chicago, IL 60622

    7131 S South Chicago Ave Chicago, IL 60619

    1454 W Superior St Chicago, IL 60642

    4131 W Cortland St Chicago, IL 60639

    1337 W Ohio St Chicago, IL 60642

    2040 W Adams St Chicago, IL 60612

    8748 S Aberdeen St Chicago, IL 60620

    1443 N OGDEN Ave Chicago, IL 60610-100

    4248 W 47th St Chicago, IL 60632

    1060 E 47th St Chicago, IL 60653

    2520 S Western Ave Chicago, IL 60608

  • 120. @118  |  May 5, 2016 at 9:58 pm

    I wanted to correct something about Kenwood. If you live outside of the attendance boundaries then you must apply to Kenwood’s accelerated magnet program while in 8th grade. Although the application is submitted to Kenwood, OAE conducts the lottery. Academic Center students gain automatic entry to the HS. There is a transfer application if you live outside the attendance boundaries BUT you must provide transcripts, standardized test scores, tardies and absences. The transfer application is reviewed and based on past academic performance you might be admitted, but they don’t have to admit the student. Pasted from from admissions tab.

    General Education – Non-Neighborhood

    Deadline: None

    Application Requirements
    Not Applicable
    Kenwood does not have seats in this program to accommodate students who live outside of the school’s attendance boundary.
    How to Apply
    This program is not open to students residing outside of the neighborhood.

  • 121. parent  |  May 6, 2016 at 10:05 am


    Calmeca is an elementary school.

    Infinity, Social Justice, and World Language are basically the same HS (same building). Students who live in the neighborhood apply to the focus they are most interested in. The out of boundary application includes an essay (selection is not by lottery).

    Williams is selective enrollment.

  • 122. parent  |  May 6, 2016 at 10:08 am

    And Taft, like Lincoln Park, no longer accepts out of boundary students for the neighborhood program, although there is a selective application process for the IB program and the AC program.

  • 123. Logan Dad  |  May 6, 2016 at 11:28 am

    Hi Folks – Can anyone tell me when the Tiers for the 2016-17 school year will be determined? I’ve been searching all over the CPS site but have not been able to find any info as to when the Tiers update. Thanks!

  • 124. Logan Dad  |  May 6, 2016 at 11:36 am

    OOPS! Meant to say, can anyone tell me when the Tiers are updated for the 2017-18 school year? Thanks!

  • 125. Chicago School GPS  |  May 6, 2016 at 1:11 pm

    In the past, the CPS tiers have been updated in September, whether it was middle or end of September.

    The CPSOAE office is super behind now with all the recent layoffs. They have yet to determine what qualifying tests non-CPS students must take and they are also behind in releasing CPS Ready to Learn PreK program applications. It’s down to the bare bones in CPS and everyone is impacted.

  • 126. mom2  |  May 6, 2016 at 1:14 pm

    Maybe they should just not have standardized tests count and just use grades and the SE exam. Then they don’t have to worry about non-cps kids. Everyone would be the same (other than the typical issues with grading being a bit subjective).

  • 127. tier 4 mom  |  May 6, 2016 at 1:44 pm

    They need standardized tests to limit number of people that take the SE exam. Even as it is it takes them more than a month to come up with the results. If there were many more exam takers, when will we see the acceptance offers? In May?

    Plus tests are the same for everybody, which makes it a bit more fair game than just comparing school grades, that depend on schools and even specific teachers. Level of mastery need for an “A” in one school can easily be a “B” in another and a “C” in the third one.

  • 128. dadhood  |  May 6, 2016 at 2:00 pm

    Fascinating discussion.
    We’re a middle class white family living smack in the middle of a majority African American tier 1 tract. It’s not HS, but our child entering kindergarten was just accepted a gifted program based on tier. It will allow him to attend a school that is racially diverse (though he’ll still be a minority) of a quality far beyond his local school which was simply unacceptable. We kind of feel like we’ve won the lottery, but there is a tinge of doubt as well.

    On the one hand, it’s clear that the tier system was not created to offer the kind of advantage that our child (who has many advantages his neighbors don’t) received based on his tract. On the other hand, one of the intents of the tier system does seem to be to lessen the flight of better-resourced and higher achieving students from the city and it certainly is an incentive for us to stay.

    Is there an article that discusses the Elementary tier numbers in such detail?

  • 129. cpsobsessed  |  May 6, 2016 at 2:29 pm

    Hi – I will inquire about getting data on elementary but I believe that CPS does not release the information by school because when the class sizes are so small, people can make guesses as to who is in what tier (at least that’s what I’ve been told.)

    I’ll see what I can get though…

  • 130. tier 4 mom  |  May 6, 2016 at 3:06 pm

    @ dadhood,

    >one of the intents of the tier system does seem to be to lessen the
    >flight of better-resourced and higher achieving students from the
    >city and it certainly is an incentive for us to stay.

    I doubt that… Most of better-resourced families don’t live in Tier 1 areas, otherwise it would not be tier 1. Very few that do, don’t make much of a difference on the scale of the whole school district.

  • 131. Chris  |  May 9, 2016 at 11:55 am

    “I’ll see what I can get though…”

    Maybe network-aggregated numbers? That would eliminate any chance of identifying anyone, but still be super informative.

  • 132. cpsobsessed  |  May 9, 2016 at 1:05 pm

    Just realized I’d gotten the FOIA request info on the exact number of students by Tier who applied this year (very close to my estimates above, which means that the # of schools kids apply to stayed constant.)

    Tier 1 3635 students
    Tier 2 4236
    Tier 3 4530
    Tier 4 3960
    TOTAL 16361

  • 133. cpsobsessed  |  May 9, 2016 at 1:07 pm

    Average # of SEHS applied to:
    Tier 1 – 5.1
    Tier 2 – 4.8
    Tier 3 – 4.6
    Tier 4 – 4.1

  • 134. cpsobsessed  |  May 9, 2016 at 1:08 pm

    % of students applying:

    Tier 1 – 22%
    Tier 2 – 26%
    Tier 3 – 28%
    Tier 4 – 24%
    TOTAL – 100%

  • 135. HSObsessed  |  May 9, 2016 at 1:22 pm

    I think the data @133 is really interesting. It looks like the applicants in the lower tiers have a greater number of schools that they would enroll in; they’re willing to commute further; and/or they’re willing to travel to a greater range of neighborhoods.

    I’m surprised that the average numbers of high schools applied to across all tiers aren’t higher, given that the maximum number is six. My kid only listed three schools, and I thought that was a rare exception, but perhaps it’s more common than I thought.

  • 136. Incoming WY  |  May 9, 2016 at 1:42 pm

    I think there might be a big difference in these numbers for those that took the early test and the regular one. Probably the kids that knew their test results by the application deadline had much fewer schools on their list and here we are looking at the average for all applications.

    My kid applied to just one school – there was no reason to put in anything else as she was going to get her first choice anyway. Without the test results she would have applied to 3 schools + LP.

  • 137. Chris  |  May 9, 2016 at 5:48 pm

    “perhaps it’s more common than I thought.”

    I think that there are a decent number of private school kids and suburban kids that only put down one or two–they’ll only go if they get into Payton (or whichever), but otherwise will stay with their private/suburb.

  • 138. northsidedad_21  |  May 9, 2016 at 5:57 pm

    Do you think you can start a new thread about the upcoming principal discretion? @cpsobsssed

  • 139. cpsobsessed  |  May 9, 2016 at 6:31 pm

    Ah yes, that is this Friday. Good idea, thanks for suggesting.

  • 140. FeederSchools  |  May 9, 2016 at 7:04 pm

    Can someone post a link to the rate/percentage of elementary school students that are accepted to SEES high schools?

  • 141. cpsobsessed  |  May 9, 2016 at 8:39 pm

    Here is the link to the feeder schools to each SEHS:

    This was from 2012. Once I work my way through the other FOIAs I’ve submitted/will submit I will try asking for this updated. This data from 2012 was obtained via special request from a friend of HSObsessed who is no longer employed by CPS, unfortunately.

  • 142. cpsobsessed  |  May 9, 2016 at 9:04 pm

    ^ a big change in this data is that Coonley and Lane AC were not on the list at the time so I assume those would show up as feeder schools now. Skinner North too wasn’t on there at the time.

  • 143. SLParent  |  May 12, 2016 at 1:02 pm

    @141 Didn’t also have historical statistics that included private school students too. If you can get updated information that would be interesting to review.

  • 144. Bye CPS  |  May 18, 2016 at 6:26 pm

    It’s over for us and CPS. Accepted spot at WY, going to De La Salle. Too much bullshit with strikes, tax hikes and cuts in the classroom while overlooking the students who aren’t even being considered as anything more than pawns.

    A mighty big FUCK YOU to CTU leadership– way to chase off the good students and teachers while gorging at the taxpayer trough.

  • 145. pantherettie  |  May 18, 2016 at 9:08 pm

    Bye – CPS – wow. Did you really need to pose that?

  • 146. luveurope  |  May 19, 2016 at 7:45 am

    144. Understood. Your reasons for leaving CPS were the same for my family a few years back. Good luck at De La Salle.

  • 147. Maria LaMothe  |  June 8, 2016 at 10:23 am

    Just wondering if anyone feels that lane tech principal shouldn’t have been allowed to do the pd since she was leaving. No way that CPS can say they didn’t know. She is following the previous principal. Had this information been disclosed, some parents probably wouldn’t have applied at all.

  • 148. Incoming WY  |  June 8, 2016 at 1:04 pm

    Of cause CPS did not know! Principals, as everybody else, are required to give two weeks notice. Why would anybody in their right mind make it two months?

    As for PD – I would say it just means that it was more fair this year, as the principal knew that future school donations did not matter to her.

  • 149. harry potter  |  June 8, 2016 at 1:33 pm

    @147, anyone who feels comfortable enough to apply to a CPS school in the current climate isn’t going to be dissuaded by a singular principal leaving or worry about her doing PD. That’s comparable to not worrying about a nuclear bomb having gone off but instead worrying about stubbing your toe while running away from the mushroom cloud.

  • 150. Juanita R  |  June 10, 2016 at 9:06 am

    @143 “@141 Didn’t also have historical statistics that included private school students too. If you can get updated information that would be interesting to review.”

    CPS is probably keeping the public/private acceptance split under wraps since after switching to all kids, public & private, taking the same 7th grade standardized test, NWEA. The privates are probably doing even better in acceptance percents. I think many people figured the privates had an unfair advantage with the ability to use other tests for 7th grade. Now that it is a “level playing field”, and if the privates doing even better than before, it looks bad on CPS & CTU. Maybe they should deduct points for kids that are applying from privates. Sure their families paid property taxes to fund the public schools while also paying private tuition to give their kids the best, but it is not fair the kids received a better education.

  • 151. cpsobsessed  |  June 10, 2016 at 10:14 am

    Why would it matter that an exiting principal did the PD picks? Also, given the sheer number that Lane receives, I have to imagine she had someone assisting her.

  • 152. renting from CPS  |  June 10, 2016 at 3:05 pm

    I know this is a complete off-topic here, but I don’t know where else to ask.

    Does anybody have any experience with renting a classroom for a weekend use at a CPS school? I am looking for a space to run small scale kids program in their heritage language and two or three small classrooms would work perfectly for us. I found rates for a lot of other cities, but not for Chicago. Does anybody know how I should go about it? Who do I contact? Principal? CPS? Do I have to be a registered educational non-for-profit or I can do this as a private person?

    Thank you!

  • 153. harry potter  |  June 10, 2016 at 6:15 pm

    @152, I don’t know the specifics but I do know they won’t even consider you unless a) you will pay for the engineer to be there (which means overtime pay for all the hours you are there for the engineer) and b) you have liability insurance that will cover very large claims. Maybe 10 years ago now a church renting from a CPS building had one of their members injure themselves in a school and sued the district for millions of dollars. I believe they won. Now CPS has strict regulations around rentals, staffing and insurance guarantees on the part of the renter.

  • 154. renting from CPS  |  June 10, 2016 at 9:39 pm

    @ Harry Potter
    Thank you! Insurance is a must anyway, so it is not a problem.

    Do you by any chance know who I need to contact to start the process?

  • 155. Chris  |  June 13, 2016 at 1:50 pm


    Start here:

  • 156. renting from CPS  |  June 13, 2016 at 3:53 pm

    Chris, thank you!!

  • 157. Mia L.  |  June 14, 2016 at 7:43 am

    @152 Call the principal or business manager at any school. I have rented classroom space and auditoriums for varying amounts.

  • 158. Ms C  |  June 14, 2016 at 10:25 am

    Common Core Does Not Prepare Students for College, New Report Finds

    excerpt from ACT National Curriculum Survey:

    “However, alongside this reported degree of alignment between the Common Core and college instructors’ expectations about college readiness, the percentage of college instructors who
    reported that their incoming students are well prepared for college-level work in their content area has declined (Figure 1). In 2009 and 2012, the two previous surveys in which we asked
    this question, 26% of college instructors reported, on a four-point scale, that their students’ level of preparation was in the top half of the scale. This year, the percentage was only 16%.”

    Source: ACT survey – link in website in signature

    Comment: I thought for sure that an education program coming from Central Planning in Washington DC would be a huge success. Boy was I wrong!

  • 159. WC301  |  June 14, 2016 at 1:53 pm

    Does anyone know when the new annex at Payton will increase enrollment?

  • 160. Chicago School GPS  |  June 14, 2016 at 1:57 pm

    Payton’s annex is opening this Fall and their incoming freshman 2016-2017 class was increased by about 75-100 spots as a result.

  • 161. WC301  |  June 14, 2016 at 3:21 pm

    CS GPS, thanks!

  • 162. Lucinda  |  June 14, 2016 at 4:49 pm

    How many of the entering Freshman to Payton are coming from private schools? How does it compare to earlier years? It seems like the share of private school kids has increased over the last couple of years.

  • 163. Chris  |  June 14, 2016 at 7:07 pm

    “It seems like the share of private school kids has increased over the last couple of years.”

    Based on … ???

  • 164. Goblue!  |  June 15, 2016 at 9:20 am

    If I were the awarding the spots for principal discretion, I would take the private school kids all day long. Why? Because their parents are conditioned to writing checks. You should look at how many PD spots at Payton go to private schooled kids. I’m not say it’s right, just a reality.

  • 165. Goblue!  |  June 15, 2016 at 9:20 am

    *the one

  • 166. cpsobsessed  |  June 15, 2016 at 2:48 pm

    Well, Payton only took 12 PD kids this year, so even an extra kid or 2 from a private could skew the numbers. I’m not quite sure how any parent would know how many of the PD spots were from private schools.

  • 167. Goblue!  |  June 15, 2016 at 3:37 pm

    ^ because Northside private school parents talk to each other about it. We get one kid in every year from Pd and at least three or four in the normal way and we are just a small catholic school. One of the many small private schools on the Northside. With the budget constraints, parents are being asked to write big checks. It’s a lot cheaper than private high school so people are doing it. Free public school is not really so free.

  • 168. harry potter  |  June 15, 2016 at 6:11 pm

    @167, it is not surprising that private school kids secure some spots by PD and through testing in. Its sort of the same as saying 50-60% of Hawthorne or LaSalle kids get into SEHS’s. My response is, “Of course they do.” Parents who make more money than most of the city send kids to private schools and good publics in higher numbers than those who struggle financially. Being relatively wealthy almost all but ensures entrance into a decent school, be it public or private. No big deal.

  • 169. feeder schools  |  June 15, 2016 at 6:17 pm

    An interesting question is, of those richer parents, how many care less about the financial aspect than having their children hang out with smart kids, a la Gov. R.’s daughter.

  • 170. Jermeriq  |  June 15, 2016 at 6:18 pm

    “Based on … ???”

    Private schools publishing acceptance results. Now good luck using FOIA to get the data from CPS. If the privates are doing worse, CPS should be happy to provide the data. Let us know how your FOIA request turns out.

  • 171. cpsobsessed  |  June 15, 2016 at 11:24 pm

    “parents are being asked to write big checks.”

    Can you put some context around that?

    Regarding private, so assuming slightly more private kids are getting in now (statistically, it’s unlikely that it’s a “lot” more) — what is the implication/conclusion about that? (in other words, why do we care?) I’m asking hypothetically, not snarkily.)

  • 172. harry potter  |  June 15, 2016 at 11:28 pm

    @169, for many folks, anyone having anything to do with Rauner or Madigan or Emanuel or any other politician in this state is a negative, not a positive. My response if I had to send my kid to school and have to see Rauner at events? Ewwwwwwwwwwwww, gross. Majority of politicians and other pseudo celebrities are nasty and I wouldn’t want my kids around that kind of name-throwing-entitled-Yale-swimmer-rapist-type-slime balls. No thanks.

  • 173. feeder schools  |  June 16, 2016 at 11:15 am


    I should have been more elaborate with using R’s daughter as a possible example of being attracted to a school of smart or hard-working kids. Absolutely didn’t mean to use her as an example of smart kids, a la the misinterpretation you seemed to have made.

  • 174. cpsobsessed  |  June 16, 2016 at 11:56 am

    “I wouldn’t want my kids around that kind of name-throwing-entitled-Yale-swimmer-rapist-type-slime balls. No thanks.”

    Ok, that made me laugh.

  • 175. cpsobsessed  |  June 16, 2016 at 11:56 am

    I think that’s a very long way of saying “entitled” 🙂

  • 176. harry potter  |  June 16, 2016 at 6:31 pm

    Yeah, I used a strong hyperbole to say entitled. I also don’t think that Rauner’s kid is automatically assumed to be smart or hardworking. Didn’t she get in because her of who her father was and his quarter million donation? It was my understanding that she did not qualify by test scores.
    Anyone with that kind of money can buy their way into a Payton or a Northside through PD. Not that all kids who get in by PD have bought their way in, but I assume some do. I mean, Kenner at Whitney Young allowed great athletes to “buy” their way into that school with the currency of being excellent basketball players. This is Chicago after all.
    But, yes, I do agree with you, feeder schools, in that most people I know want their kid to go to school with other kids who are smart and hard working. I, for one, believe that its is almost always the kids and the families who send them which makes the school, not the other way around.

  • 177. harry potter  |  June 16, 2016 at 6:34 pm

    cpso, any chance there can be a thread about all the lead testing coming up in CPS? And or a new budget thread? My kids’ school sent home a letter to all parents about how we’d manage to stay open should the budget not allot money to schools. The school I’m employed in has not, but I’ve talked with our superintendent about it. Both suburban. And for those who wonder, why am I still here, its because I have family and friends still working in and as students in CPS and I still am concerned about my old students. And CPS, whether we like it or not, tends to have affect the state as a whole.

  • 178. Chris  |  June 17, 2016 at 9:32 am

    “It was my understanding that she did not qualify by test scores.”

    No one actually knows what her test scores were.

    The official story was/is that she missed days (she was in the last, or 2d to last, cohort that had attendance count) in 8th grade and missed the cutoff due to that.

    It’s possible that w/o the attendance points counting, she still would have been short, but we don’t know.

    And, of course, if she had gotten in with just ‘normal’ PD, it wouldn’t be such a noteworthy thing–it’s bc BR called Arne that makes it really stink.

  • 179. cpsobsessed  |  June 17, 2016 at 5:44 pm

    As a reminder, I think not that far back it was pretty standard for this to happen (same as at U of I from what the news reports.) I’m sure PD was much looser in terms of letting well connected kids into the schools. Heck, it’s probably why it was invented in the first place. :/

  • 180. PD workaround  |  June 20, 2016 at 2:57 pm

    Rauner’s daughter — who lived with the family in Winnetka, another issue IMO — did NOT meet the academic cut-off for Payton, according to this report from the time, quoting the state’s inspector general. The “absenses” thing seems to be a red herring,
    The IG was quoted as saying: *”She tested well, just not high enough to meet Payton standards.”* Rauner made a call to Arne Duncan, rather than go through the normal PD process. He also donated $250K to the school.
    Strange,because the family lived in Winnetka; she could have enrolled at that suburb’s public high school, New Trier.

    Here is the article:

    Thursday, June 26, 2014

    There are questions Thursday about whether clout played a role in helping the daughter of gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner get into an elite Chicago school.

    An inspector general revealed that she was not qualified to be admitted into the school.

    “This is an issue that deals with clout and telling the truth,” said Gov. Pat Quinn.

    The governor resurrected the issue that came up during the Republican primary when candidate Bruce Rauner explained how, back in 2008, his then 14-year-old daughter, who grew up in tony Winnetka and attended elementary school there, was admitted to CPS’s highly-touted Walter Payton High School. The wealthy businessman said repeatedly that residency was not a problem because he also owned a city condominium.

    “My daughter was highly qualified to go to the school,” said Rauner on March 13, “and she’s entitled to go to whatever school she can choose.”

    “The bar was very high for white students,” said James Sullivan, CPS Inspector General. “She tested well, just not high enough to meet Payton standards.”

    Outgoing CPS Inspector General James Sullivan said publicly for the first time Wednesday night that the daughter was not qualified and was admitted only after her father called then-CPS CEO Arne Duncan’s office.

    “There was a phone call made to the CEO’s office by Mr. Rauner,” Sullivan said. “Somebody in the CEO’s office called Walter Payton and his daughter was admitted to the school.”

    Fifteen months later, Rauner made a $250,000 gift to the school he says was unrelated to the admission of his daughter. She graduated from Payton in 2012.

  • 181. Chris  |  June 20, 2016 at 3:14 pm

    ” according to this report from the time”

    A report from 2014 is NOT a report “from the time” of Rauner’s call to Arne. As it sez, “back in 2008”.

    AAAAANNNNNYway, what the IG said was a truism–she didn’t test well enough to get in. Had she tested well enough, she would have gotten in, and there would have been no need to call Arne.

    The point really should be about the clouting, whether or not she missed the cutoff by a point or by 50 points isn’t really material–he was going to get her in either way, given Arne’s intervention.

  • 182. PD workaround  |  June 20, 2016 at 3:47 pm

    @Chris It was a report from the time that the controversy arose.
    But yes, clouting is the entire issue.

  • 183. PD workaround  |  June 20, 2016 at 3:51 pm

    And, I should add, the notion that our sitting governor’s suburban child took a seat from a deserving Chicago student. Would love to meet the family whose child just missed getting into Payton that year.
    It has always puzzled me, why, if the governor’s daughter wanted to go to HS in Chicago rather than Winnetka, why he didn’t just send her to Latin and leave the public spot to a city kid who had no other options.

  • 184. Chris  |  June 21, 2016 at 10:17 am

    ” why he didn’t just send her to Latin ”

    Because she didn’t want to go to Latin; she wanted to go to Payton, and BR is someone accustomed to getting what he wants.

    Anyway, CPS could almost eliminate this issue by requiring folks to be city residents *when they apply*. Could allow case-by-case exemptions for families from out of the metro who have employment opportunities, or planned moves.

    NYC requires that the kid be a resident *when taking the test*:

    “I am moving to New York City next year. Can I submit a High School Application this year?

    No. Only current New York City residents can participate in high school admissions. You cannot apply or take the SHSAT until after you have established residency in New York City. ”

    Why is that so hard? If they were living downtown, and she’d been PD’d in, there would be much less focus on it. Of course, the focus that would remain is why Rahm sent his kids to Lab–the only way to fight a presumption of clout would be to release their actual score letters, and *even then* a lot of people would believe that it was rigged.

  • 185. incoming WY  |  June 21, 2016 at 12:55 pm

    >why he didn’t just send her to Latin
    I would think that the answer is college admission. Top colleges are looking for “diversity”, but not the real one. If they could put her in a category of an “inner city public school graduate” it looks for them much better than a person with the same grades, same experience, same everything, but graduating from a private school. On paper Payton and look the same – they both belong to the same urban school district.

  • 186. HSObsessed  |  June 21, 2016 at 1:15 pm

    My kid will be applying to colleges in the next year and I hope that what Incoming WY @185 says is true about colleges looking for the diversity that an “inner city public school graduate” brings. The reality is that the experience at a CPS neighborhood public high school is rougher and with fewer bells and whistles than a student gets at an expensive private school, or in an expensive suburban district like in Winnetka. That should count for something, at least.

  • 187. Chris  |  June 21, 2016 at 3:24 pm

    “I would think that the answer is college admission.”

    She was admitted to the college that has a residence hall and a library with her last name on them.

    I doubt the differences bt Payton and Latin and New Trier affected her chances.

  • 188. Chris  |  June 21, 2016 at 3:25 pm

    “colleges looking for the diversity that an “inner city public school graduate” brings”

    Some do, some don’t.

    No matter what anyone else asserts, that is the dead honest truth.

  • 189. Home Office  |  June 27, 2016 at 7:21 pm

    ^ clueless

  • 190. Momof3fish  |  June 28, 2016 at 6:50 am

    I really don’t think the NS sehs are “inner city schools” maybe the von stubens and the Lakeviews or Amundsen’s are. Looking for diversity isn’t because u attended a school in Chicago. I think its race and socioeconomic background

  • 191. Chris  |  June 28, 2016 at 10:30 am

    “^ clueless”

    Really? You know what *every* college in the *entire* USA is looking for in their admissions decision?

    Must be nice to be all-knowing. Must suck to be all-knowing, and wrong.

    Agree, however, with the thought that Payton/NSCP/WY certainly do NOT count as “inner city public school” for those colleges that care about that ‘diversity’.

  • 192. karet  |  June 28, 2016 at 11:55 am

    The idea that admissions officers can’t tell the difference between Payton and Lakeview because they are both CPS high schools is absolutely inaccurate. The national rankings of HS are well known and easily available. It is also well known which schools (and programs) require testing and which are open admission. There aren’t that many large metro areas in the US. It is *very* easy to keep track of the most competitive schools and programs.

    I am guessing that Rauner chose Payton due to a kind of intellectual elitism … I want my kid to go to a school that not everyone can get into. I want her to get the absolute best education. This school is ranked higher than New Trier, etc. – and Payton was more convenient than Northside due to the proximity to their downtown condo.

    I totally agree with Chris that residency should be a requirement when students apply.

  • 193. Chris  |  June 28, 2016 at 3:39 pm

    “the proximity to their downtown condo”

    …that they bought just in time for school to start. The deed was recorded on August 22, 2008.

  • 194. HSObsessed  |  June 29, 2016 at 11:36 am

    @192 – Which national rankings of high schools are well known and easily available, and used by admissions counselors? I’m not sure if you mean the US News/Newsweek type rankings, or if there is a ranking used widely within the industry.

  • 195. College  |  June 29, 2016 at 2:31 pm

    College admissions receive a “school profile” for each applicant HS. This provides them with average GPAs, APs taken, ACT scores etc…applicants are compared to their peers & how they stack up next to them.

  • 196. HSObsessed  |  June 29, 2016 at 3:33 pm

    @195 – Thank you! So what you added goes exactly to what I’ve been wondering recently, so perhaps you or others have insight: Does the average admissions person tend to look more favorably at an applicant who got good results while at a lower “ranked” school? To make it more specific, let’s say one applicant has an ACT score of 27 at Whitney Young, where the average ACT score is 27, and another applicant has an ACT score at Taft, a neighborhood public high school with an average ACT of 19. Is the score just an absolute 27, or does the Taft student get an advantage there? I know there are no absolutes… just musing here… remember, the word “obsessed” is in the blog name for a reason… 🙂

  • 197. Newcomer  |  June 29, 2016 at 3:57 pm

    @HSobsessed: All you have to do is look on Naviance to see the basic stats of each kid who applied and got accepted/ rejected to each university. It would also be interesting to compile some figures that would show if acceptances from Taft vs WY vs wherever followed national percentages. My guess is that the Ivies, for example, accept kids from PANJY at the same national rate, even though the kids are pre screened so they should be at a higher level than the national average at other high schools. At the non selective CPS schools, the averages can be lower, or possible much higher. If only one kid from Lakeview applies to Princeton and he gets in, that’s a 100% acceptance rate. What does everyone else think?

  • 198. karet  |  June 29, 2016 at 5:35 pm

    193, OK, but a downtown condo would be a more attractive investment and location for them. I’m sure this was a huge part of the decision making process, don’t you think?

    I agree 100% that it didn’t matter where she went to HS, in terms of college admissions. Dartmouth was a given.

  • 199. Chris  |  June 29, 2016 at 5:53 pm

    “I’m sure this was a huge part of the decision making process, don’t you think?”

    Nah, I think that she wanted to go to *Payton*, not the “best” HS in Illinois. So even if it had been totally accepted at the time that NSCP was better than Payton, I think it still would have been Payton.

    But that’s 1,000% speculation.

    And, the condo they bought isn’t really that close to Payton, either, given its view over Millennium Park. I also don’t necessarily doubt they would have bought the condo, anyway, but the timing of the closing is basically at the last possible moment to ‘prove’ residence before school started, so it has an appearance of a connection.

  • 200. HSObsessed  |  June 30, 2016 at 8:20 am

    @197 – Yes, Naviance is useful in that regard. I just went on it for the first time in months and now that we have an updated GPA and ACT score in hand, it’s more useful since I can do a very narrow search and find the acceptance rate for each college for students with the same stats as my kid. Of course, for less popular schools, the number of applicants is only a handful, but still, it’s interesting to see.

  • 201. College  |  June 30, 2016 at 10:29 am

    @HSObsessed…depends on college…a 27 ACT would likely not be high enough for top tier schools that often spend more time reviewing applications & use more holistic approach. That said, if 27 did place student in running, the 27 from Taft would be more impressive if average 19 whereas the 27 from WY (if 27 avg.) makes you that – an average student from that school. Further, if other students from WY also applying to same college and they have ACT higher than 27 – that will affect their chances of acceptance but not student from Taft.

  • 202. Chicago School GPS  |  August 2, 2016 at 11:43 am

    CPSOAE finally has something out about non-CPS students taking the NWEA MAP test this fall!

    This is from TestPrepChicago who shared the news:
    “Incoming 8th graders who attend non-CPS schools but who are planning to apply to CPS Selective Enrollment High Schools will have to take the NWEA MAP exam this fall/winter.

    CPS will be administering the NWEA MAP exam on four dates in October (dates listed below), and on one date in January (date not yet determined). To test in October, parents must submit an NWEA MAP registration form by Friday, September 9. If a parent misses the September 9 registration deadline, he/she must apply before December 9 so his/her child is eligible to test in January. To access the NWEA MAP registration form, please visit:

    October NWEA MAP Test Dates

    Saturday, October 8
    Sunday, October 9
    Saturday, October 22
    Sunday, October 23

    (There will be two testing times on each of the dates listed above: 9am and 12pm).

    If your child attends a CPS elementary school, his/her 7th grade 2016 spring NWEA MAP scores will count for 1/3 of the admissions process.”

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