Siblings & Neighborhood Kids Prioritized In New Magnet Process


There's just over a month left until magnet and selective enrollment school applications are due, and yet CPS has yet to roll out its new revised priorities and procedures.  But go ahead and have that second baby if you've already got one kid into a selective school.  According to this Sun Times story (Magnet Makeover), siblings and neighborhood kids are going to get a bump in the proposed but as yet unseen process.  Not that siblings didn't already have good odds.  (Check out this list (PDF) of sibling accept rates to see what I'm talking about.)  The real question is whether CPS can get the other new criteria -- income, parents' education levels, etc. -- right so that magnet schools don't get even whiter and wealthier than they already are.  (Not that there's anything wrong with being wealthy and white.)  The Board's other concern?  Making sure that the new process doesn't have the clout problems that the current one apparently has. 

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  • there's going to be a press conference about this at the board at one pm today -- more to come.

  • First I want to thank Alexander for posting the percentage of siblings accepted at various magnet elementary schools in the CPS system. Ms. Rossi and Mr. Golab in their Sun Times article today provided enough information that we can begin to see how this admissions policy will be implemented at a real school.

    The school I have picked is LaSalle Elementary Language Academy located at 1734 Orleans Street. This school has two full classes for kindergarten, around 62 slots. In 2009, this school was 33.8% white,27.4% black, 22.5% Hispanic, 15.7% Asian, 0.7% Native American.

    If we take these 62 slots and apply the new admissions standards, here is one possible picture of what the 2010-2011 kindergarten class may look like. Based on the data Alexander supplied the school could have 28 slots taken up by siblings. (Actually it could be more or less but I used last year

  • What about legacy? i.e. parents went there?

  • What's disconcerting to me is that they are basically becoming neighborhood schools. So, why not just change the boundaries? I guess the example above about LaSalle strikes too close to home. I have a Kindergartener (class of 2010), and am now torn between Lincoln and LaSalle. The deciding point had been that I wanted the neighborhood school. So, if we were to win a spot at LaSalle, we still would likely have chosen Lincoln. Now, if we win a spot at LaSalle, what will we do if we want a neighborhood school? And how is it that magnets will still have magnet funding, and, I'm assuming restricted class size (unlike true neighborhood schools) if they have localized lotteries? Still so many questions. And the timing could not be worse for us.

    BTW, I know. Tough position to be in ... Lincoln, or perhaps LaSalle. I recognize that. But, having neighborhood kids in your actual neighborhood school was always important to me. But now this decision will divide the neighborhood even further.

  • here's the press release they just sent out, which includes a bunch of hearings leading up to a board vote:

    CPS Officials Announce New Policy for Admission to

    Selective Enrollment and Magnet Schools

    Socio-economic data will be used instead of race-based criteria

    Chicago Public Schools officials today unveiled a policy proposal that would utilize socio-economic factors drawn from U.S. Census tract data for admissions to the District

  • Does this include Academic Centers?

  • So this means that 7th grade grades and test scores are out and the only thing that matters is how well you test on a certain day?

  • The system for selective schools is interesting. Clearly based on existing test data for CPS the 50% of the class admissions based on pure rank order for test scores will cause that pool to be largely white and Asian. One needs only to look at the grade 7 ISAT scores to see this. The percentage of white students testing at level 4 in reading is 33.5%, Asian 34.1%, Black 8.6%, and 9.6% Hispanic students.

    Now in the other pool that will be admitted based on test score rank order within the socio-economic groups, clearly the highest socio-economic group can not be completely excluded so some additional white students may also get in through that path way. Given that there are significant numbers of low income Asian students who are high performing they will also take a chunk of the slots in this pool also.

    It will be interesting to see how many black and hispanic students will make the cut to get into Young, Payton, and Northside.

    Rod Estvan

  • I wonder if you now have to have minimum stanines from 7th grade to test or whether it is open to everyone? I assume that if you have already submitted a selective enrollment application based on existing criteria, you can resubmit it--it makes a difference for ranking purposes.

  • Trust not academic enhancement nor sir ron for they will do only what king daley wants. The middle class will rule in the enrollment selections and they will be of white and asian. It will be important to claim sibling, even if be only cousin. Claiming native american, will boost your chances as well. Your living in a midle class area, like Little Italy (where no poor do live) will get you a boost too. We must thank our king's judiciary for this decree as well.

  • here's the abc7 story

    "magnet schools will admit any siblings. Then, of the remaining slots, half will go to kids in the neighborhood lottery. The other half will go to kids in a citywide, socioeconomic group-based lottery.

    "For selective enrollment schools, half of the students are admitted by test scores and the other half admitted by test scores within their socioeconomic group."

    or, of course, clout.

    / alexander

  • Rod, I wish you were an education reporter. Thank you for your comments!

  • I wonder: Will the "principal pick" option permit consideration of race in an effort to create more ethnic diversity, or is that illegal now?

  • By the way, this new system puts a lot of faith in old or funky Census data. You know there are "problems" with the Census data, right?

  • All those Taylor homes long gone as well as other public housing. This CPS 'system' will need great and objective oversight. So many lies on who will be a sibling. How will there be proof, esp. for extended families? White and asians will rule and are most wanted by these schools for the high scores they bring. Woth cheating on the admission requirments.

  • catalyst's sarah karp notes that neighborhood priority going from 35 to 50 percent will mostly be a boost for white and asian families who live near most of the top magnet schools.

    black and latino families who generally don't live near the top magnets? SOL.

  • From CPS OBSESSED blog: North Side High School Initiative

  • "The new policy takes the 5 percent discretion out of the hands of principals and sends it downtown. Bond says that she does not know if CEO Ron Huberman is going to review the list of circumstances under which students can be granted discretion." Catalyst

  • the tribune weighs in with this addition:;

    "The district also announced Tuesday that it would put on hold the controversial practice of allowing magnet school principals to select 5 percent of their students. Principals at so-called selective schools still would be allowed the principal's discretion, but they will face more scrutiny from the central office, like being required to sign affidavits saying that no third party exercised undue influence on their decisions."

  • Alexander--can you post the proposed policy? Anyone?

  • wbez's report on the new policy notes that other cities have seen decreases in diversity when they moved away from race based admissions:

    "The opposite has happened in other cities, but school officials argue Chicago

  • roz rossi follows up with more details:,CST-NWS-magnet11.article

    Magnet principals at such schools would lose their "principal pick'' powers for at least a year until new "safeguards'' are created, Huberman said.

    CPS attorneys said some of the nine college preps will be allowed to set minimum scores for admission, so at those schools, not all economic groups may be equally represented.

    In another big change, eighth-graders this year can list their four top college prep preferences, but they will be accepted by only one -- rather than as many as four.

  • 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 the '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.'

  • Well this just bumped up the real estate markets near the magnet schools.
    I see one potential issue with this, and I know it can happen because it used to happen where I grew up (not Illinois). Parents who can afford it start testing their kids early, and if their child is falling under the seeming benchmark, in 6th and 7th grade you rent in a poorer neighborhood to establish residency, and slide into the top there since it is census tract based and not family based.
    Now I don't think wealthy families will be moving to West Pullman, but if you live in the top socioeconomic census tract, and 10 blocks over the census tract is a level down, people will do it.

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