Neighborhoods: Nettlehorst Vs. Blaine

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Chicago magazine weighs in with a glowing look at Nettlehorst Elementary School (Remarkable Turnaround) which will, invariably, raise the longstanding questions about the school related to the neighborhood gentrification and the replicability of the effort.  But it's this tidbit, tucked in the middle of it all, that grabbed my attention:  "Despite the donations and the parade of politicians, Nettelhorst has yet to break into the top tier of elementary schools academically, with its test scores lagging behind some of its stronger-performing neighbors...Nearby Blaine Elementary School, on West Grace Street... boasts higher test scores and a longer-standing reputation."  Maybe it's not ALL about gentrification, after all?


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  • The picture on the wall is, as i remember, from a repurposed retail sign and has nothing to do with the former principal. thanks for the ugliness, tho.

  • truth of what? you said the sign was an ego stroke, but it's a retail sign. who cares if a person in the story makes money somewhere years later? and why would the "truth" of someone getting paid hurt? lots of people make money doing whatever they do. certainly lots more than $300 a day. don't get how this relates to the story, but grind that axe, eugene. unless you wan't to follow the "if you don't have anything nice to say" rule. seems like most people in this country don't want to.

  • that doesn't answer the question unless the neighborhood surrounding blaine is really all that much better than the one surrounding lakeview, which i don't think is the case. anyone know the tiers, or have any other theories why blaine is doing so much better?

  • love seeing some rational, spite-free commentary. didn't get why this was one-against-another either. that was one sentence or so of the whole story, but this is how america works. drum up conflict, ignore the problem because it's too complicated. congrats to the parents who did the work. to the posters on this board, get back to your daytime tv. and alexander, you have a responsibility to frame these conversations. the article wasn't about anyone vs another.

  • In reply to val23:

    thanks for weighing in, val -- but i have to disagree about at least some of your comment. there's been no shortage of praise for the parents of nettlehorst in the media, including in this recent story. so the idea is to go a little deeper, not to create competition but to ask a question which is why nettlehorst isn't actually as good as it's press clips would indicate, and why another nearby school is doing better. again, it's not really about competition but critical questioning -- the nettlehorst kids deserve (need) the best, and maybe there are some lessons there around rigor and special needs kids. thanks again / alexander

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    I agree with your point, but there is no "vs." necessary. As the article points out (text below), the school admits it is several years behind Blaine, and only one test result is given -- Nettelhorst at 86, Blaine at 94. Is that even so far apart, given the timelines for each school? And is one test score a fair basis for a "vs." comparison? Also, Nettelhorst went from 35 to 86 in ten years. Looks like an upward arrow. I just ask what value "vs" has when this can be looked at as a case study and not immediately compared with a school that happens to be above it? Why not "Nettelhorst vs. the Thousands of Schools That Perform Worse?" I work with a lot of schools, and this article just wasn't nearly deep enough to inspire the kind of conversation you want to start, though I agree that the conversation is important. I'd love to see more of it, and love your newsletter in general.:)

    >From the article: At the same time, the principal is staging her own push

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    Everything about CPS is a competition, thanks to the GE Six Sigma corporate-ization of public education. Competition to get into top high schools, competition to qualify for gifted elementary schools, lottery contests to get into magnet schools. Of course these two schools compete - for the yuppie parents who can donate the most time and money.

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