Huberman's SuperSecret™ Magnet Schools Plan [corrected]

Yesterday Ron Huberman et al rolled out the outline of the proposed new magnet / selective enrollment plan.  But, as with the infamous violence prevention plan, there are no details being provided.  No briefing memo.  No backgrounder.  Not the research that was conducted to come to the final recommendation to the Board.  Not even a PowerPoint presentation.*

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It makes a lot of sense for them not to give anything out.  Why give out specifics when you can get the reporters to cover your plan without them?  Why get into details when they'll only lead to complicated questions from parents and the public and maybe even the Board?  This is Huberman's SuperSecret™ Magnet Schools Plan.  Shhhhh!

*Click below for the link to the PowerPoint a reader found on the WBEZ site.  Not really that much detail there, but not nothing either.

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  • It is super secret AR--you are correct. Worth the repeat: It is a continued evil to give the 5% (any) pick to CPS; AE administrators /consultants have for years been picking politically selected candidates who magically appear on 'lottery lists.' So this 'new' rule only 'allows' AE to do what they have been doing for years--this way only Daley's friends can get their kids in on the action. It will now be a 'legit' way of doing favors for aldermen--and getting patronage in return. If principals select, they will sign a document that they understand the rules. Then there is a way to punish those principals who succumb to aldermen and politicos requests and pushing, to get their favored into the school. With CPS doing this, no one will be held responsible as the aldermen and politicos get their favored kids into the 'lottery.' Principals and administrators in CPS are afraid for our jobs and top brass has no interest in listening to us or to our concerns about this 'policy'. Will Ron really get an honest and independent group to review principals' picks--or will it be froth with 'do me a favor types'? This is a big win for Daley-exactly what he wanted and Ron is his tool.

  • Well, there is this:

    It contains a fair amount of detail.

  • Good catch, SteveKub -- thanks.

    Twenty seven pages long, lots of numbers and graphics. Still not that much detail but at least it's something.

    Remaining questions -- you may have more or better ones:

    -- why the big boost for neighborhood and siblings when doing so seems so likely to *decrease* diversity at high-demand schools?

    -- what do the computer runs show that this would look like if applied to last year's process? (you know they did them)

    - why base admission on vague and outdated census tract data rather than specific individual data (ie, family income, educational attainment, etc)?

    -- will the proposal change over the next few weeks if public hearings or outside comment reveal problems?

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    Some of my hunches would be:

    1. neighborhood priority-- I suspect that they will make a couple more selective enrollment schools on the west and south sides. Having the neighborhood priority can help to make sure these new schools actually serve their communities and have community buy-in.

    2. sibling priority--some parents do decide to move when they wind up having to drag their children to two separate schools. This removes that possibility.

    3. vague and outdated census tract data does not lie. People lie about their income, lie about their education. Also, it may make iffy areas look more appealing to higher income folks who want to boost their chances. That could help the city's real estate taxes.

    I doubt public hearings will change a thing. These things are held because they are required to be held. This wouldn't be publicly proposed if it had any real opposition among those that matter in these decisions.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    From looking at the ppt it would seem now that at-risk students will have a less of chance to to enter a selective enrollment school and that the pass for testing orientated "public access" schools will become the norm in Chicago. The proposed process is so convoluted that it shows the inexperience of the huberteam and continuation of the disenfranchisement of minorities in CPS.

    Good neighborhood open enrollment schools for all students is the only answer that do not punish and terminate experienced educators.

    John Kugler

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    The purpose of this is to end busing more $ to spend on Ron's friends), have more school slots open for Daley's partons and last and lease, keep the upper middle in the city and ghetto kids out of the SE schools. Don't beleive it?--watch.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    Less educational opportunity for able, smart but "disadvantaged" (i.e., non-white)kids and we'll see what kind of war zone this city eventually turns into. Making black neighborhoods even harder to escape and providing fewer opportunities for new generations to "integrate" (a word being swiped from our vernacular)is a sliding slope not only for the city, but for the nation. How odd is it that this happens through the Obama years?

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    here's a five minute segment from this morning's eight forty eight show featuring rick kahlenberg (pro- income deseg) and harvey grossman (aclu)

    still not sure how --in a city where segregation is so high and high demand schools are skewed out of latino and black neighborhood -- giving neighborhood kids a big admissions bump makes sense.

    i also still don't get why we're moving backwards from an individual measure (a child's race) to a community measure (census tract income, education)

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    btw --

    grossman from UCLA argues that the supreme court did NOT prohibit use of race in making admissions decisions as we're being told by CPS, and that the proposed plan is HIGHLY likely to decrease diversity at high demand schools.

    the hope is to maintain the diversity currently for the 25k kids in these programs, he says.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    First off, is Grossman from the ACLU or UCLA? both?

    Race based admissions criteria was struck down at both the university and high school level. The CPS consent decree basically *forced* the district to use it as a criteria in an attempt to integrate. That consent decree was vacated, thus, no longer applied. Had CPS continued to overtly use race based criteria, they would be sued, plain and simple. Happened in Seattle, Louisville, etc., feel free to look it up.

    CPS had to find a way to maintain integrated schools where possible without using race as the criteria which is ultimately next to impossible. I also don't understand why this plan is "HIGHLY likely to decrease diversity", is this strictly because of the siblings issue? If anything, it gives priority to disenfranchised kids who fall into the 4 buckets, they will have to have high representation.

    I understand when the Kuglers of the world find a way to bash everything the city/cps does but usually you're more fair than this, Alex, I am kind of surprised.

  • In reply to win22:

    "Priority to the disenfranchised?" I don't think the new policy will do that, ESPECIALLY in the high school level. Since test rank will still be used even for the socio-economic seats in the Selective Enrollment process, more than likely it will be the white middle class kids who happen to be living in all those buckets who will get those coveted spots at the Selective Enrollment high schools (because their parents had resources to expose their kids to various things, hence higher test scores).

    I agree with Alexander....CPS is going backwards, from an individual measure (which happened to be race/gender) to a community measure (census tract income). This is not good for maintaining diversity in our public schools

  • In reply to win22:

    dear breejoe: In the article, the little italy parent who said she was looking forward to more children from her communiity going to her son's lottery school, so her child would have some neighborhood friends to play with--along those lines...
    And there it is--how many low income families live in little italy? have you looked at maxwell street lately--lined with condos, townhomes, etc. No McDonald's in sight. Some of these lottery schools get 5-7 EXTRA teaching positions: free-tech coordiantors free--full time art teachers, 4 language teachers, full-time kindergartens FOR FREE, while lower income and 'ghetto' schools have to pay out of their poverty funds for art or even a tech to get the grading and report card system together--no 'extra' foreign language here--heck, not even a teacher to teach English to non-English speaking children. There are so many parents who do not know about the form or even cannot figure how to fill it out and their children suffer for it.
    All schools should be treated like lottery schools--THAT, my dear breejoe would really make things equal, fair and void of patronage. But who wants that?

  • In reply to win22:

    To the Poster above: Although I AGREE wiht your sentiment, I don't think you have your facts correct. "Lottery" schools do not get 5-7 EXTRA teaching positions from OAE just for being a magnet school. Based on their size, maybe 1 - 3. It is in fact the lower income schools, those with many students who qualify for free and reduced lunches, that would get more $$ thru Chapter 1 funds. Many Magnet Schools with their higher income student population, do not get large pockets of Chapter 1 funds (though of course they can make $$ off of fundraisers!)

    so, yes, I agree that the current CPS policy (the new one) is not equal nor fair, but your examples aren't quite accurate

  • In reply to win22:

    great comments, everyone -- so interesting to get everyone's take on this.

    especially revealing to me was the reminder from rod that the "even-steven" buckets are going to decrease diversity in SE schools by adding upper income kids to the test-based group that's already affluent.

    so, effectively, wealthy white families are getting two bites at the apple, while poor black and brown families are getting barely one.

  • In reply to win22:

    two tidbits:

    -- the CPS plan was conceived of by a dc-based researcher named richard kahlenberg who's been pushing SES-based deseg (as opposed to race) for years now. simply put, he doesn't think racial deseg works. you heard him on wbez.

    -- chicago's decision to leave race out entirely is a contrast with cincinnati's new plan which uses race, socio-economic level and parent education of neighborhoods to assign kids. why did CPS leave race out?

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    Cincinnati may be a much smaller school district than Chicago (35,000 students vs. 400,000), but the percentage of white students is much greater (24% for Cinci, but just 8% for Chicago Public Schools).

    I think that's why Chicago left out race, while Cinci didn't. You cannot integrate 92% with 8%.


  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    Danny--more whites may now apply instead of sending their children to private school--economy as well asa better chance to get in now.

  • In reply to win22:

    I think even without race as a factor more poor minority students could be given access to the best magnet and selective schools. The CPS plan stacks in favor of middle class parents, Kahlenberg in 2001 wrote a book called "Creating Middle-Class Schools through Public School Choice." This plan reflects that theory to some extent.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    Liberal social Democratic policy has created the horrible situation that now exists--schools that are majority low SES and comprised of children from dysfunctional families.

    Newsflash to Socialists: Lower SES-class families desire to become Middle-class (or higher).

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    to 3:15--sorry to say, but the extra postions are accurate. lottery schools, in elementary get more free positions--the language academies get about 5 or more and fine arts get free arts and music and tech. The lottery schools have full day kindergarten too--so dear breejow is accurate--it would be great if someone got an FOIA on the positions at lottery schools. Why do you think parents fight to get in? As for chapter 1 funds- very disappointed with your inaccuracies here too--lottery schools get make-up funds for NOT having poverty $--about $150,000 worth annually and it does not go through the LSC! A check out the Friends of W. Young Assoc, et. al.,fundraiser amounts or at other schools and see the $100000s they have to spend. (There is a parent who shared how at LaSalle, she was informed of how much $ she would have to bring in each year as part of teir fundraiser--required! So much so that she neglected her other child's school that was not a 'lottery' one, hioping to get the sibling break/selection with her fundraising prowess.) The question is: Would you rather have your child in the lottery school or the one that has to spend its poverty funds on a tech person and getting that extra PE in to just meet the CTU requirment so that teachers get a break 3 times per week. AND yes, lottery school teachers get more breaks per week too for planning. (Why so many teachers vie for these positions and are NBCT.) 3
    :15--you are really not in touch here. Where is your infor from?, not from OAE one hopes.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    I'm confused...are you saying "lottery" schools get extra funds from downtown CPS (the "make-up funds" you mentioned) or are you saying they get extra funds through the fundraisers held by their Friends of ____(name of school)?

    I would think that if they get extra funds from downtown CPS, the school's LSC WOULD see it.

    Clarification, please!

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    Why? Because...the white city is becoming the white city.

  • In reply to win22:

    Back to the future. These magnet schools will be, for all intents and purposes, neighborhood schools again. Nice for the neighborhoods they're in, right?

  • In reply to win22:

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    The census track data component of the post desegregation consent decree plan is very problematic in the context of Chicago. The CPS power point presentation provides additional information on the problematic nature of the approach. I have discussed this issue before, but it needs reiterating. Current data indicates that the median family income for Chicago is $63,211, the median family income for the census track that I live in is $53,526. Using the CPS model my census track median family income is 84.7% of the city wide median family income. However, in reality my family income is over $200,000 a year or over 316.4% of the city wide median family income. In no way is the track data reflecting our family income.

    Because of how many more wealthy families like my own live in census tracks with far lower median income data , educational attainment data, etc this is far from a perfect approach. I can not suggest a better approach using that data set. If one looks at the power point presentation you will note four subgroups are created using census track data. Each group will create a pool for the selective schools testing system and the students scores will be ranked inside each of these groups. The poorest group pool is the same size as the richest student pool. This effectively means that automatically 25% of students from this system will likely be solidly middle class or upper income.

    In the selective schools given the system established by CPS the vast majority of the students granted admission purely based on test scores will likely be from families well above the free/reduced lunch poverty line. According to the CPS model the pure test in group will constitute 50% of the admissions to schools like Payton and it is fair to assume that no more than about 10% of this group will come from low income families. (This is based on grade 7 ISAT scores for low income students testing at level 4). Blog readers can look at the CPS slide titled

  • This seems to be a sore point with you since several times per week you mention it no matter what the topic of a thread might be. But since you changed the topic, let me tell you that you're wrong.

    My neighborhood general high school does not have an extended instructional day. Nor do I want to see one. I think the 322-minute instructional day the students have now is quite sufficient.

    We do have, however, thanks to a visionary principal and a faculty that votes to waive its contract day in favor of a restructured day, a 100-minute block of time one day a week where we "can meet to look at data (student work and other), plan, evaluate, etc."

    Schools where both the principal and faculty wishes to establish professional communities may do so now through the waiver process. The current contract with the Chicago Teachers Union expires in 2012.

    What would you have Mr. Huberman do? Break the contract and establish through fiat a PD program that faculties have not bought into?


  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    I's day there is much that teachers haven't bought into.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    Alexander I can't find the link to the power point. Where is it?

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    sorry about that -- here it is (a pdf of the powerpoint deck)

    let us know what you think


  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    i don't really mind the "social engineering" part of this (or any other magnet school plan) - i just want it to be transparent and likely to be effective,89840

    / alexander

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    what about relocating some of the current magnets to buildings in black or latino neighborhoods and then seeing how people felt about that?

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    great idea AR. Right and just, but it will never happen.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    The plan might work for SE but this is really half assed communication. I think "test score" must been the past formula of 7th grade scores, grades and SE test based on the example in the powerpoint--but who knows? "John lives in a Group 2 tract and has a 950 test score"

  • In reply to chicagomom:

    Yes, test score is probably that combination of grades/ISAT's/entrance exam. The CPS example (in PowerPoint) is outdated, since attendance is no longer part of the "equation" this year, the score will NOT be over 900! Ever! God, CPS can't get much right, can they....

  • In reply to chicagomom:

    To 2:49....this might be of interest to you, it is several years old, but the report is not as clear cut as you are in saying that "lottery" school get more funding than your so-called "poverty" schools:

    The report states: "A school at the district

  • Did the consulting firm that updated the Census data for CPS magnet/SE admissions eligibility account for the massive economic shifts in the neighborhoods, what with massive job loss, massive foreclosures, etc.? Considering the tidal wave of formerly Catholic and private school student into CPS schools in some neighborhoods, CPS has to know these shifts are happening.

    Why can't Chicago have decent neighborhood schools, with a few exclusive schools for those parents and students who believe they just havta have it?

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