Posts tagged ‘CPS regional gifted center’

What’s with all North Side gifted programs?

OK, I admit it – I am excited to have my kid in a gifted program.  It is probably the closest I’ll come to being able to “brag” about my kid in any way.  I’ll never utter the words “My son goes to Harvard” unless his Dad and I plan to sell our house and live in a box under Lower Wacker Drive to pay the tuition.  I’m quite sure I’ll never be saying “My son, the doctor” since he currently freaks out like a wild banshee if he has to look at a scrape on his own knee.  So his greatest educational achievement may have come about from a test he took at age 4.  Go figure.

So although I am thrilled to have scammed into this opportunity, I can’t help but wonder what is up with this plethora of Gifted Programs on the north side.  Edison, which used to be located way-too-far-to-consider (unless your child is really really smart and needs to be with like-minded smarties,) is moving to Albany Park this Fall.  Coonley is located curiously close to Bell.  Beaubien is up north, and of course Decatur skims off some of the pool.  So in an fairly narrow locale there are 4 accelerated classes that a kid can test into.  It begs the question, “Isn’t it a wee bit inefficient?”   Does it make sense to have Bell and Coonley existing with similar programs like little RGC “twins?”


It’s a good idea on several counts:

1. In theory, the principals of Bell and Coonley can pop over to visit one another to share best practices (let’s face it, in this day and age I’m guessing they’ll just be emailing each other, if anything.)

2. It makes it easy for the French teacher who will work in both programs. (Maybe this was all HER idea! Merci Beaucoup! – I hear she is fantastic, BTW.)

3. Perhaps Coonley is being positioned to take the overflow of Bell, which is close to bursting at the seams.

4. CPS has something up its sleeve.  (Conspiracy Woman emerging here.)  My personal suspicion is that Coonley is being set up as the buffer for Bell.  If the Bell neighborhood continues to grow, they’ll have to either redraw the school boundaries or move someone out of the school (choices are the Deaf program or the Gifted program… who would you feel worse about booting?)  And the RGC could easily be phased out grade by grade, starting at the bottom.  Or heck, they could just move it all out of Bell in one fell swoop like they did with Edison.

5. The Coonley neighborhood is ripe to transition into a Bell-esque neighborhood – with a strong school that attracts families and drives up property values.


The downside of having several gifted programs clustered together is:

1. Well, it just doesn’t seem fair.  Most people choose schools that are generally close to home.  So I have to figure that kids in certain neighborhoods, whose parents may lack reliable transportation are stuck without a gifted option, even if they test well.

2. Terrorists could pinpoint Chicago’s epicenter of youthful intelligence and wipe out a chunk of smart kids with one well-directed missile. (Just kidding, that is only in the Hollywood version of the CPS story, which will clearly never be made into a motion picture.)


Only time will tell whether it was a good “business” decision or if my paranoid conspiracy radar is working accurately.

July 13, 2008 at 10:43 pm 4 comments




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