Friday IB Expansion Roundup

Updated:  Note in comments news and commentary about the proposed expansion of IB programs in CPS that was announced Friday. Or just click here: WBEZNBC, City Hall, Consortium study, Tribune, Sun Times (got it first, I think).It's Friday and in the news they're still talking about the primaries -- but also about the LSC deadline (today), the statehouse debate over Noble Street and its system of fining students. Meanwhile, weather-wise, it's summer already.


The in box. 24 hours and too close to call Fred Klonsky:  Nearly 24 hours after polls closed in Illinois’ Democratic primary election, the race between incumbent Rep. Toni Berrios and insurgent progressive candidate Will Guzzardi in the 39th State Representative District remained too close to call.

Crowdsourcing the Lobby Effort School Tech Connect:  My hypothesis is that in that particular district, the margin could have been covered by people who work in schools but didn't have a clue about who was the real education candidate.


LSC Deadline is Friday 3/23. Does your school have candidates? CPS Obsessed: I know someone mentioned that it is “just once a month – no big deal.”  Keep in mind that members need something like 8 hours of training.  That takes time.  If your school is going through a principal contract renewal or anything where you may want to survey the school, that takes extra time.

Local School Council Race Lacking Candidates, Friday Deadline To Register Chicago Talks:  State Rep. La Shawn K. Ford (D-Chicago) recently introduced legislation that would provide merit pay to LSC members, using lottery money to fund the idea, as a means to get more participation in the councils.


Lawmakers praise Noble Street, but vote against charter's fines Catalyst: Noble Street Network of Charter Schools Superintendent Michael Milkie brought a busload of students with him to a Senate Education Committee hearing at the Capitol in Springfield on Wednesday. The affection those students had for Milkie was obvious.

Education activists call Emmet Elementary's play yard, field house a safety hazard AustinTalks:  Representatives from the Chicago Teachers Union made an appearance and voiced concerns about the learning conditions at Emmet and other Chicago schools.

Comings & Goings: CASEL, Burnham Park Network Catalyst: Paul Goren, Jennifer Schneider, John Price, Marvin Hoffman

Vallas: Study Vindicates Rigorous International Baccalaureate Program CBS2: Former Chicago Public Schools chief executive officer Paul Vallas says new research from the University of Chicago vindicates a program he instituted that had many doubters.

Lincoln Square - your kids' education depends on it ChicagoNow:  You don’t have to live in the suburbs to send your kids to the best schools when you land in Lincoln Square. This traditional Western European neighborhood in Chicago’s North Side is the home of many fine schools, teaming up to promote your family and children’s’ success.

Suburban school districts have board members' relatives on payroll Tribune:  Chicago-area school boards are spending millions of public dollars employing board members' relatives, a practice exacerbated by weak laws, little oversight and limited disclosure about who gets jobs.

CPS going after freebie firms Sun Times: The mayor is equally adamant that the companies that gave those gifts — Chartwells-Thompson Hospitality and Preferred Meals Systems — pay a price for alleged transgressions uncovered …

The Dangers of Growing Up Black Chicago Tonight:  In the wake of the Trayvon Martin killing by a neighborhood crime watch volunteer in Florida, we examine the "talk" African-American parents give to their kids to keep them safe.

Filed under: Daily News Roundup


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  • Does anyone have the details on the expansion of the IB program announced today? This story told me very little I could not find the CPS press release, it appears to have not yet been posted.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    This just shows the arrogance and ignorance of Brizard and Emanuel. A school has to apply and be accepted to be an IB school. The process can take two years.

    Furthermore, IB has not expressed interest in expanding within Chicago where few students receive the IB diploma. Quite the contrary, the organization has expressed dissatisfaction with CPS.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    It's a commitment by teachers to be IB certified. The announcement is the approval of that program. How is that arrogant and ignorant?

    I believe Ogden is newly certified for next year. So the IB organization may "express dissatisfaction", but they're still certifying CPS schools. Some teachers and principals are excited by this. Why put it down? The AP programs seldom produce higher scores at many schools. May as well try something else that has had some success.

  • In reply to Donn:

    Dong- It is arrogant and ignorant because they think they can merely declare there will be ten new IB schools in a year and a half when in actuality schools must apply and be approved by IB. Emanuel and Brizard do not understand the process of becoming an IB school. You just don't declare these things to exist. These aren't fly-by-night charter schools. This is a real program, not something Emanuel can just demand to be in place in 10 schools come 2013.

  • In reply to Donn:

    Donn, there is a difference between stating an opinion and making misinformed statements. You don't really understand IB or AP, that is evident. Maybe your kid or a neighbor or a buddy from the corner tap room teaches IB and AP, but you don't. I teach IB and AP, so listen up.

    AP and IB are two completely different animals. The only thing they really have in common is that both are higher level. I'll go into detail about this later if you really to learn. Anyway...

    Chicago schools produce very few IB diploma recipients. Similarly, rates of student success on AP exams- those who score a 3 or above- are low as well, yet occur at a higher rate than students who earn IB diplomas. IB is a multiyear program, AP courses are single courses.

    Despite low achievement, both programs "work". The study of the IB program concentrated on college success and persistence, not earning an IB diploma. IB helps students learn how to study, write, and read in college.

    Urban Prep brags about getting kids to apply and gain acceptance to college, but they do very little academically. IB prepares students for college, not standardized tests.

    AP students have similar success. AP scores are low in Chicago s well, but students who take AP classes in high school learn what to expect in college. Rigor and writing are part and parcel of any AP course.

    Emanuel, Brizard, and the ignoramus "Donns" of the cybersphere can label me a failing teacher because of the school I work at, but every year I have former students who return to visit and thank me for how I prepared them for college. They don't thank me for ACT test prep or helping them fill out an app, rather they mention what they learned, both in content and skills. These are both IB and AP students. Their success in college is more valuable than an ever-so-slightly higher ACT score or an acceptance letter from Phoenix, Nova, Strayer or Grand Canyon.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    I don't know any failed teachers. The CTU teachers I know do a professional job with whoever happens to show up that day.
    But I can consider you the first failed teacher I've 'met' if that works for you.

  • In reply to Donn:

    You are as arbitrary and poorly informed as your heroes Emanuel and Brizard. I pray you do not have any power or position of authority... I'm guessing you don't. Cheerleaders and fanboys are usually very weak.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Very weak, but I do look good in my cheerleader outfit.

    Unfortunately I represent ideas close to the majority opinion. Some of you guys need to get out more.

  • In reply to Donn:

    as do you post opinions...nothing more.

  • In reply to Donn:

    The majority of what? Your friends??? Oh wait, you don't have any.

  • In reply to Donn:

    Seems Donn, the new District 299 "troll", has no clue on how high performing public school districts operate. Read my brother, read. Better, visit functional public school districts and compare it to what Rahm's Flunkies are mandating, NO RESEARCH BASED policies, on schools and teachers.

  • In reply to Donn:

    It is unfortunate if you represent majority opinion, because that means the majority is uninformed and prone to regurgitating the "opinions" of the powers that be.
    Hmmm, just who is this majority you claim to represent. Could it be the majority of educators? No. The majority of Chicagoans? Nope. The majority of talk radio parrots? Probably. The majority of morons who incessantly yack online about things the don't understand? Certainly.

  • In reply to Donn:

    Donn is right, the press release makes this clear: "The five full school IB Programmes and five additional IB Programmes within schools will open in fall 2013 with final authorization set for 2016." What the CPS is saying is that it will attempt (and intends to succeed) in getting additional certified IB schools.

    One thing I've learned from this blog is that for some commenters, CPS can do no right. That pre-conception colors reactions to every action CPS takes or announces.

  • In reply to WestLooper:

    Donn is right? That's can't be good.

    I have to say that tonight I'm thinking about a student of my oldest daughter. He was killed on Friday on his way home from school. He was goofing around on the El platform and contacted the third rail.

    While we may disagree on specifics, it has to be about the students. Sometimes they aren't around too long.

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    IB is an international program based in Wales. If the Wilmette Ballerina and his sidekick The Haitian Sensation expect to swear, intimidate and clout their way to 10 new IB schools they got another thing coming.

    IB will not invest in a system where their program could be threatened by turnarounds and fly-by-night charter schools.

    Finally, IB is REAL, not test prep bs. It is impossible to integrate standardized test prep nonsense into an IB program. It would be nearly impossible to truly implement IB at a test prep charter or any school where crap like Kaplan, Work Keys and the like are pushed.

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    Rod, CPS has finally put out their press release on expanding the IB program on the CPS website.

  • As I have written before the IB program is absolutely
    real. No BS at all. IB decides who to accept .I was at Bogan
    When we earned both the Middle Year program
    And the diploma program. IB makes a kid think
    Then express their thoughts by the written word.
    Power Points are verboten except as a general
    Outline .By using the electronic transfer of knowledge,
    Can we all say amen to Google Books? Even a small
    Library like Bogan’s can accommodate the demands
    of IB students.
    Everybody related to the program worked
    Their asses off but it was a labor of love which
    Apparently is finally being acknowledged for the
    Success it had become.

  • My question was more simple, CPS is expanding to ten additional high schools according to NBC. Does anyone know which ones?

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    The answer to your question is simple. JB shot off his
    mouth before the mayor named the schools.
    He doesn’t know what schools are included.
    But they better be careful the IB program is not a slam dunk.
    Bogan did not get accepted the first time around.
    it took three evaluations for it to make the grade.
    I was involved in all three If anybody on Clarke street
    thinks whipping up a power point will get a school
    accepted they are wrong. We had teachers from all over the world
    evaluate us. They can smell a phony from across the room.
    And the first thing they ask you is how much classroom
    experience you have, not who is. your clout

  • No, nobody knows which schools because they have to apply and IB then has to evaluate and accept applicants. Many schools have to reapply because they are not accepted the first time around. JC Brizard can name all the schools he wants, they still have to apply and be accepted by IB. Emanuel has no clout in Cardiff, Wales. If they announce schools, they are merely announcing applicants.

    CPS lost a valuable employee when IB Diploma director Margaret Venckus retired in the fall. Seems she had enough with the Brizard regimes bull. She would have been the best person to lead the effort to mass IB certification. Keep in mind, Emanuel and Brizard aren't primarily interested in doing the real, hard work that would improve education for all Chicago children.

    Finally, CPS needs to get its financial house in order. IB funds for 2011-2012 were not released to schools until last month. This was the fault of bureaucrats and paper pushers at 125, not the people running IB.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Actually, Meg Venckus was the MYP/PYP administrator for the district. The IB Diploma Programme was not her thing. There has been and still is a highly competent administrator for that program...just ask anyone who teaches in or coordinates one of them. As to whether the expansion will be a successful endeavor, that has as much to do with how and where top officials decide to roll it out and the personnel in those schools as it does how implementation is supported by the administrator.

  • In reply to ChicagoEducator:

    Can a high school have a diploma programme without a middle years program. My uderstanding was that you had to have a MYP before you would be approved for a DP.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    MYP is certainly not a requirement for DP. Most (all?) of the neighborhood IB programs in the report started with only the DP. We started our MYP program at Senn only last year. I believe that was part of a broader MYP expansion at the time.

  • In reply to Todd Pytel:

    An all IB high school would have to have both MYP and DP, right? How long would this take to implement?

  • In reply to district299reader:

    I don't really know what the structure would look like. Perhaps an all-IB HS would have partner elementary schools to cover the 6-8 component of MYP? Or maybe the 9th-10th grade would just be honors level courses? Who knows what the board has planned?

  • Yeah, what's wrong with Brizard? He's had 10-11 months to turn around a half century of failure.

  • Alexander, please go to They have a good article giving additional information on the IB program. Please post this information. Thanking you in advance.

  • Brizard doesn't really make any decisions, he does what his boss wants him to and nothing more.

    Even if he did call the shots the fact remains that his actions are more of the Duncan/Daley status quo. Education will continue to founder under the anti-academic policies of CPS. JCB is neither a visionary nor an innovator. The charters and turnarounds he promotes do not out perform regular schools despite all of their unfair advantages.

    If JC was independent and honest he would promote smaller class sizes, social services, increased support for special education, and increased funding for neighborhood public schools rather that vouchers.

  • Geez... seems like an awful lot of spite in these comments where we should be celebrating a success story. I've taught mathematics in Senn's IB program for the last decade. We've long known what the CCSR reports states - our graduates are well-prepared for college. They come back and tell us that year after year, in no uncertain terms. As others have noted, the "formula" is pretty simple - a lot of student and teacher hours devoted to actual learning and instruction, rather than an endless dance of test prep and quick fixes. It's a ton of work. But both our diploma rate and our absolute number of diploma winners are among the best in the city, so it's worthwhile work.

    So I'm happy to hear that CPS wants to expand the program, though this decision smells to me like something that was cooked up between 9am and 10:30am after some higher-up read the Sun-Times article this morning. CPS will never find enough capable teachers and strong professional communities to do that much at once - we've spent a decade building up our staff, our curriculum, and our contacts in feeder schools, and we still have work to do with all of those. But even if they manage to open only 3 respectable programs in neighborhood schools, that's 3 more great places for our students to get an education, and I applaud them for that.

    On a separate note, the CCSR report really is extremely powerful stuff. In particular, it's one of the few pieces of research on Chicago high schools I've read that rigourously addresses the issue of selection bias in assessing student outcomes. We all know that students who choose an IB program (or a selective enrollment, or a charter like Noble Street, etc.) have a level of family support and motivation greater than that of the general CPS population. The CCSR report states that - *even accounting for that* - IB graduates enjoy tremendous advantages in college acceptance, college enrollment, and especially college persistence. That's a big deal.

    Todd Pytel
    Mathematics Department Chair
    Senn High School

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Todd you mention that your school's "our diploma rate and our absolute number of diploma winners are among the best in the city," could you provide those numbers for the last several years along with the average for the city as a whole? Lastly I wonder if you could address the question posted below on the IB program and students with disabilities. About how many have been given access to the program at your school and what is their success rate?

    Also I have looked at how the IB test is allowed to be modified for students with disabilities in England, is your school following those modification guidelines or using some other practice?

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    Rod, I don't have exact numbers at hand, having only seen them in various PPTs over the years. I don't believe any of this is publically available anywhere, which is unfortunate and typical. I would estimate that our overall diploma rate over the entire 10+ years of the program is around 30-40%. In the last few years, it's been 40-50%. Like most of the neighborhood IB programs, we have a single section of IB seniors (often a relatively undersized one), so we're maybe pushing 100 diplomas total? I'm not sure, as the first few years had extremely small sections. If you'd like exact values, you might try contacting Claire Saura, our IB DP coordinator.

    I'm not going to post numbers about other schools' programs. You could try Sara Leven downtown. I'm not sure she'll be able to help you, though.

    The special ed question is an interesting one. I can only recall one or two kids with IEP's from all my DP classes, and they didn't require any modifications. Take from that what you will. I also have no idea what, if any, policies the IBO has about modifications to exams and assessments. It's a good question, though.

  • but here's a fact...youv'e managed to piss a lot of people who teach kids off...don't worry...I've always had an innate sense of who was going to get their ass kicked for being a prick in class...but on the blogs?

  • Brizard is proposing "wall-to-wall" IB programs. Ironically, this was tried at Marquette Elementary, one of the "failing" schools he has ordered to be "turned around".

    "Wall-to-wall" IB schools will fail, although I doubt IB would even approve them. Even IB schools that filter and select their students lose a large number due to lack of interest, lack of motivation, and lack of ability. An IB program cannot be successful with large numbers of students who cannot read and write at grade level. A "wall-to-wall" IB school with no application process will not work.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Marquette was the elementary component of The IB middle year program That partnered with Bogan . This was a 6th grade through sophomore program.It is separate from the diploma IB program .Each program at Bogan was a Separate entity. Not all MYP students opted to join the Diploma program.And not all Diploma students started In the MYP. Turning an entire school into an IB academy is an intriguing idea.
    I will research the topic and see if I can find if it has been done anywhere.It takes at least two years to put together an IB application and undergo the required tasks to be accepted. That would preclude any immediate new programs.

  • Are Emanuel and Blizzard saying that success can be better measured by college persistence rather than standardized test scores? IB programs eschew standardized test prep. I would like to see the college persistence rates of the test prep fatigued students at Urban Prep.

  • Does anyone know how students with disabilities such as ADHD fare in IB programs? Any insight?

  • In reply to district299reader:

    They have to have the ability to read/write/do math at grade level -- if they have the ability to do the work, a 504 is used to allow extra time for classwork, in-class exams, and homework. However, it is very difficult to get any modifications for the IB examinations/requirements themselves, as they are regulated by the IBO, and they are very very strict. From my experience working with students with ADHD, they are able to master the content in the courses over time and do well on the examinations without additional modifications.
    Another thought on ADHD (in my humble opinion) -- by the time a student is 18 (which is when they are taking the IB examinations), they have often outgrown the "behaviors" that get them diagnosed in early adolescence, so I think that for many students, it is overdiagnosed.

  • In reply to deskjockey:

    ADHD/ ADD is not something you grow out of. Many adults including myself struggle with it everyday.
    I do think that schools have created an epidemic of falsely diagnosed
    children with ADHD because they expect so much to early, especially with boys. The lack of a creative curriculum and outside activities have created these over-diagnosed and over medicated children.

  • I have only had one student with an IEP successfully participate in our IB program. She is currently enrolled and has not yet completed the program, but I believe she will. A student needs to have the motivation, skills, and behaviors to participate fully in IB. Students with disabilities are always welcome to apply to IB. The support is available. It may be because the program requirements are just too much for them.

  • I am aware of how difficult the IB program is, but I am not clear whether or not the program for example allows students with LD to use computerized programs such as Dragon speak to turn spoken word into text to complete the writing requirements of the program. Many parents have asked me this question, it seems as though there is some confusion on this issue.

    Could someone please give me the IB diploma completion rate for the city and or their schools. I am seeing vague references to it being considerably below the national rate for the program. How much below are we talking about here?

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    What are the right questions here?
    If we are talking about the DP *pass* rate, this is not an important question as it compares unlike parts and is likely to lead to misperception. The demographic of DP students in CPS is significantly different from that of DP students elsewhere. Most DP students in the US and globally are more like those at LPHS (disaggregated in the CCSR study for this reason) than they are like the rest of the DP students in Chicago. CPS is certainly not completely unique in this respect, but it does stand out as the most prominent counter-example of a program in which the vast majority served are still middle/upper class. (As a side note, contrary to some prior posts, IB actually likes what is happening in Chicago as it highlights and advances the notion of 'access', a mission they are increasingly emphasizing as an organization.)

    Earning the IB Diploma is a very nice reward for the highest acheiving of our DP students, but the study explicitly demonstrates that this is beside the point. IB..and any college prep curriculum..can be said to be effective if it prepares students to be successful in college. That is happening with our IB students, regardless of whether or not they earn enough points to get the Diploma. We should avoid the reductionist logic applied to ACT and other standardized tests that emphasizes reaching a magic number. There is a quality to the IB Programme, captured nicely by CCSR, not so easily reduced to a number. To attempt to do so is, I believe, a mistake.

  • In reply to ChicagoEducator:

    Obviously, this study proves the value of IB in terms not measured by standardized tests. The problem lies in that the DOE, CPS, charters, and future teacher evaluations rely on standardized test scores to measure improvement. All educators know the current focus on standardized test scores is counterproductive, the challenge is getting studies like this, which are more nuanced, traction in the public sphere. NCLB, Race to the Top, Bush, Obama, Duncan, Brizard et. al. have promoted the use of bubble test scores for so long the American public would need years of "reeducation" in order to understand that there are other, better measures of success for students.
    I'm not sure that this study is the type of information that the edu-prenuers and complexity sellers who currently dominate the discussion want to see examined. A lot of money can potentially be made through standardized tests, test prep, charters, and the privitization of public education. This study is a nail in the coffin of those who wish to profit off of public education.

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    Sorry for not responding sooner. This post was done using
    Dragon software just to illustrate how non invasive it is.
    I am positive some students with IEP’s would flourish
    In IB programs if they got the opportunity.
    If IB bares the use of Dragon nobody ever told me and I oversaw
    IB students typing papers every day.

  • In reply to rbusch:

    I think there is confusion on the issue of using software of this type for LD kids. The confusion in part seems to be that because IB is writing intensive, a LD student who would not require computer software in let's say your standard English II class, might require it in a writing intensive IB class. The problem has also appeared with corridinators who have advised families of children who have these types of accomodations written into IEPs that the IB program's writing components are beyond the capabilities of the students. I think this persepective is based on a lack of understanding of the modern capabilities of software like dragon speak.

    Rod Estvan

  • it's not much but ...
    Emanuel press release on IB expansion proposal

  • PDF of new consortium study on IB results in Chicago via @sethlavin

  • new story from WBEZ with some additional info: Chicago plans big expansion of International Baccalaureate | WBEZ

  • Chicago Public Schools to expand baccalaureate program -

  • Yes, I just found the data on diploma completion rates in the consortium study. Here is what the study says:

    “Across the IB Diploma Programme (IBDP), the Diploma receipt rate has been relatively constant over the past eight years, staying at approximately 80 percent worldwide. While there is no published data on the U.S. rates specifically, the Diploma passing rate is slightly lower at 70 Percent for the IB program in the Americas. Over the past four years, IBDP students have maintained an average of 29 total points on the IB exams, scoring an average of 4.6 points on each exam. Worldwide, it seems, passing both individual exams and the wider diploma requirements is the norm."

    “Chicago IBDP students have a vastly different experience with their exams. Between 2003 and 2008, about 20 percent of diploma candidates in CPS received a diploma, significantly lower than the overall average of all IBDP students. Moreover, the average individual test score received on an exam for CPS IBDP students is 3.5, a full point less than the IBDP average as a whole.”

    This is a really significant problem relating to program expansion even with the positive effects on the 80% of CPS students who are never awarded the diploma. We are argue that there are many demographic factors involved here and the low rate of CPS students who are not awarded the diploma can be rationalized. But there is something deeply wrong with expanding this program without a critical analysis of this low award rate. The consortium study only makes the vaguest guesses as to why there is such a low rate of diploma awards.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    I agree that expansion should be done carefully, but please see my post above re: the problem with the argument about Diploma pass rate.

  • In reply to ChicagoEducator:

    I do not agree that an international diploma award rate of 80% or a US diploma award rate of 70% compared to a CPS rate of only 20% can be ignored. In my opinion the issue here is providing significant additional supports to the lower income students who may be the key to the CPS much lower completion award rate. But is CPS willing to spend the money to improve this award rate, I would suggest not.

    Instead what we get are arguments that actual achievement of the IB diploma "is beside the point." Actually part of the sales process of the IB program is the possibility that is held out to parents of high achieving moderate/low income students that with completion of the IB program up to a full year of college credits could be awarded to the student, which adds up to $20,000 or more depending on the college. Therefore, it seems apparent that greater supports need to be in place for these students.

    I don't think we have to argue that the program is not of value as it exists, but we do have to realize it may not work to the maximum extent for those who lack "social capital" as Headache 299 points out. Also I found it to be very disturbing that teachers in the IB program were reluctant to post the diploma award rates or said they did not have the data. One would think that having a 50% lower award rate than the average IB program in the US would be a bit shocking and disturbing so as to allow for rapid recall of the award rate. By the way to argue as some on the blog are doing that the program expansion will cause the diploma award rates to plummet seems absurd, the rate is already very bad what difference would it make pushing it even lower.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    Including more students without the ability or interest in an IB program would water it down further. While diploma award rates are low, 1 out of 5 students do achieve the diploma. Open door acceptance at a "wall-to-wall" IB school would weaken the program even further. There is a big differene between 20% and 0%. Some Chicago IB schools have never had a single diploma awarded. IB programs need to become more selective and more competitive in order to best serve students who are up for the challenge. Emanuel and Brizard's wall-to-wall "plan" will hinder strong students trapped in academically weak IB schools.

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    Dear Rod
    The IB experience is what matters not the IB Diploma.
    Here we find a program in general high schools that works
    And right away come the numbers game. Most IB kids I taught
    Have no real desire to receive the diploma. it is a non issue.
    Not a goal.
    I made the mistake of bragging to one IB evaluator that the
    Bogan Library had 45,000 patrons the year before what she said
    Next put me in my place “ This is not a numbers game” she said.
    IB is a real difficult classical education that prepares the student
    For intellectual progress .it is not ruled by data. Instead of
    Worrying about what percentage of IB students go for the diploma
    We should be celebrating the knowledge and intellectual mastery
    The program provides .IB is a true Chicago success story.
    the miracle on 79 th st.

  • In reply to rbusch:

    Then a better study would have looked at outcomes for the participants who did not receive a diploma. Looking at the results from mostly white and asian north side graduates doesn't seem particularly useful.

    I don't believe the expansion of the program is driven by Brizard. I believe it's principals wanting an externally certified honors program. That's a smart move on their part. They need a robust college prep program to hold their better local students. AP doesn't get that done for their type of HS.

  • In reply to Donn:

    Donn, did you read the study? It was explicitly about all DP participants, not just diploma awardees.

    And "mostly white and Asian"? Where do you get that from? The IB program demographics are nothing like the SEHS demographics you seem to be thinking of. The report made a big point out of that as well. You should consider reading it.

  • In reply to Todd Pytel:

    I read the news report, not the study. The news report said "graduates".

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    The report seems to pin the blame on ‘social capital’ or lack thereof.

  • An "wall-to-wall" open-door policy will cause diploma rates to plummet and weaken the program overall. IB cannot function with large numbers of students who do not have above-average reading and writing skills or who have behavioral issues.

    In data-driven CPS it is ironic they would expand a program that achieves such a paltry rate of diplomas. Hmmmm, maybe there are other ways to measure success... JC, are you listening. Lets compare IB college persistence rates with charter schools like Urban Prep.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Let's compare it to Noble, and not one like Urban Prep that exists solely to serve the lowest performing youth.

  • The "secret sauces" of charters and IB are dissimilar but share one primary ingredient- the ability to kick out students who are not meeting standards. A wall-to-wall IB school would make it very difficult to remove a student who was not up to par. Perhaps students who are "let go" from wall-to-wall IB schools can transfer to their local charter school who can then prep them for the ACT.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Noble seems to take in transfers if space is available and the student will likely fit behaviorally with older classmates. A student who doesn't "make it" in IB might be a good candidate for Noble.

    More organized students may fit with IB, less organized students likely benefit from the explicit structure at Noble.

  • Curie High School has a very informative Exam Results page on their website in regards to it's IB Programme- May 2011. It compares the subject areas test averages with it's programme to the test averages of CPS/World. Keep in mind, these are only 1 year results..

  • "I do not agree that an international diploma award rate of 80% or a US diploma award rate of 70% compared to a CPS rate of only 20% can be ignored."

    Nobody is suggesting it should be ignored - it clearly reflects important academic and social needs of our students. We can and are constantly working to improve our students' academic preparation and support. Nonetheless, *all* students are benefitting from the program. There is certainly still room to improve, but your argument is making the perfect the enemy of the good.

    "Actually part of the sales process of the IB program is... college credits."

    The Diploma Programme is designed to be a rigourous college-preparatory curriculum, which is exactly what the CCSR report measures. The IBO does not promote it as a replacement for college coursework. Neither do I. I can't speak for others.

    "Also I found it to be very disturbing that teachers in the IB program were reluctant to post the diploma award rates or said they did not have the data."

    I guess that's aimed at me? I'm a full-time teacher with 150 students on my rosters, not a full-time data analyst sitting in an office. My flash drive is filled with lesson plans and student handouts, not data on every aspect of our school. I gave the best data I could, along with places you could look for more. I'm not sure what more you expect on a Saturday morning.

    Also, surely you can understand that individual teachers are not sanctioned spokesmen for their entire school or district? We don't have carte blanche to answer every question about our own schools, much less the whole district. We're part of professional communities, not lone wolves.

    "The rate is already very bad what difference would it make pushing it even lower."

    It could make an enormous difference if academic standards aren't upheld. It's not about the rate at the end - it's about the learning experiences on the way there. The CCSR report makes that clear.

  • In reply to Todd Pytel:

    According to the CCSR report 38% of the IB students do not even enter into the junior year IBDP, so that is why I say it would make little difference. The 38% of students that do not make it to the junior year of the IB program are not counted as far as I can tell in the comparative data for diploma awards that the CCSR presents on page 27 of the report because for comparison purposes it was only those who stayed in IB through their junior year that were counted.

    So if we looked at the data from freshman entry to the award of the IB diploma the percentage would be even lower than 20%.

    The report indicates that the 38% of students who leave IB before their junior year are no worse off for the effort so increasing the IB program probably would only increase the numbers of students who leave before the junior year. There is no indication that increasing students in IB would lower the award rate because most of the weaker students would not make it to the IBDP level in their junior year. But if more supports were added to the program more students might make it through the program, supports that would raise program costs.

    Apparently my comment that it was disturbing teachers were not presenting the diploma award data was aimed at you, I can't believe you didn't have a ball park figure if you could confidently state your school's award rate was above the city average. Please recall it was you that stated "But both our diploma rate and our absolute number of diploma winners are among the best in the city, so it's worthwhile work." By the way I don't disagree that your work and the program are worthwhile.

    As to the statement: "The IBO does not promote it as a replacement for college coursework," you can go to the IBO website and find lists of colleges and the various credit hours that can be granted for an IB diploma. If that is not promotion what is? By the way it is also true and parents are not unaware of that aspect of IB given the financial realities of college costs and student loan rates. They are not aware of the fact that the vast majority of students who enter IB in CPS will not get that benefit because they will not be awarded the diploma.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    "But if more supports were added to the program more students might make it through the program, supports that would raise program costs."

    Rod, I admire your concern for access. The IBO shares it, too - there's a substantial portion of schools' authorization and renewal applications devoted to access plans. We discuss attrition and support regularly within our school's IB meetings. Obviously, if we had limitless funds, we could do more, but I would strongly object to any suggestion that we simply expect our students to sink or swim (not that you suggested that). But ultimately, there are only so many levers available for us to pull when it comes to student support. If you talk to our students who started in IB and then left, a large majority will tell you quite plainly that they just didn't want to do that much work. We can try to motivate them and show them (and their parents) the value of that work, but we can't make that choice for them. We continue to work at improving our support for the relatively small number of students that leave due to factors that we *can* address more directly.

    "I can't believe you didn't have a ball park figure if you could confidently state your school's award rate was above the city average."

    I did, and I provided it to you in the reply to your post - we've been around 40% over the last few years. Perhaps you didn't realize that was me? I just signed up for this personal account after making that post. I didn't post systemwide pass rates because they hadn't been publically available before, and I forgot they were included in the new report. Again, I'm not an official spokesman for my own school, much less CPS.

    "You can go to the IBO website and find lists of colleges and the various credit hours that can be granted for an IB diploma. If that is not promotion what is?"

    Well, for starters, promotion would be what's listed in the official promotional flyer. You can find it at:

    Please read it and tell me whether it promotes the DP as a replacement for college.

    Now, some colleges and universities *do* offer credit for IB coursework, especially the HL-level courses, which are truly demanding. But that's not the point of the program. *Every* IB workshop leader I've ever met - and I've been to many IB workshops - emphasizes that the IB is about offering an education informed by the highest-quality educational ideas from around the world, not one that serves as a college cost-containment measure.

    If you have parents coming to you saying their children have been promised college credit, then you should inform them they're being misled.

  • The Difference.

    I just read the entire 72 page report and found it to be accurate
    except it failed to list Bogan as a IB school when in fact we have both
    IBMYP and IBDP.
    The reason for the seemingly wide gap between IB DP students
    In the program and those who receive the diploma is a matter of
    personal choice. Many american colleges and universities are
    rather ignorant about the program and since not many IBDP
    students in Chicago are the children of diplomats planning to
    attend Oxford or Heidelberg our kids see no advantage in
    getting the diploma.
    The rigorous standards are enough for most IB kids I know.
    For those not familiar with how demanding the program
    Is let me give you a real example.
    Most world history classes touch on the Silk Road in passing.
    Perhaps there might be a question on a standardized exam.
    The IB kids had to write a ten page paper on the
    Silk Road for their extended essay. Is it any wonder these kids
    Are better prepared for college?

  • Anyone who is an educator and has spent time in Europe is aware of the difficulty of the IBDP. However, in Europe the national tests and their practical components that are almost the same as the IBDP are presumed to be too complex and difficult for the vast majority of students. Most of my European experience has been in Hungry and Romania where parts of my extended family live. There are three kinds of secondary schools in Hungry:
    ▪ Gimnázium (non-vocational; prepares students for higher education; teaches at least 2 foreign languages)
    ▪ Szakközépiskola (vocational school but also prepares for higher education)
    ▪ Szakmunkásképző Szakiskola (vocational school)

    After finishing secondary school, students take a school-leaving exam (Matura or final exam, érettségi vizsga in Hungarian). Pupils complete final examinations in five subjects, of which Hungarian language and literature (written and oral), history (oral), mathematics (written) and a foreign language (written and oral) are compulsory. The fifth subject is an elective. Students who pass the examination are awarded the Gimnáziumi Érettségi Bizonyítvány (the gimnázium certificate of graduation).

    The final examination can be taken at middle or higher level, and the result affects their possibilities for entering into univerities in Hungary. These exams also serve as an entry exam to universities and colleges. Students who take the middle level exam and pass it are generally denied admission to university. Very few students who attend Szakközépiskola are even offered the higher level exam and none of the students from the Szakmunkásképző Szakiskola.

    The final certificate awarded by the szakiskola is called the szakiskola érettségi bizonyítvány (qualifying final examination of secondary vocational education). A diploma from a szakiskola is at a considerably lower level than a diploma from a szakközépiskola. The szakiskola érettségi bizonyítvány does not grant access to higher education in Hungary.

    In Europe the IB system is a very harsh sorting tool, CPS has opened up access to what is effectively a European based testing system designed to sort out children. If you are going to do this then you have to create the support system necessary for these children to succeed. CPS based of the failure of 80% of IB juniors, not inclusive of the students who exit before that point, to be awarded the diploma is not doing this. In fact the CCSR report does not inform the reader in terms of demographics who the lucky 20% are, I would suspect aside from highly driven children of immigrants these winners are disproportionately non-low income students as compared to the 80% who fail to get the diploma. CCSR clearly has this data whatever it is and chose not to focus on the more problematic aspects of the IB program, therefore it does not appear in the report.

    As to IBO not selling the program based on the diploma eliminating freshman level classes. The reason I am aware of this is because when my own daughter was entering high school five years ago we attended an IB presentation at Lincoln Park H.S. this information was clearly presented at that time to parents. My daughter went to Payton and now is a graduating senior at U of I Champaign who will be entering here doctoral program next year in economics. Since that time I have also talked to numerous parents of middle school children who were fully aware of the economic power of the IB diploma in terms of credit grants at colleges. So we will have to agree to disagree about that.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    "I would suspect aside from highly driven children of immigrants these winners are disproportionately non-low income students as compared to the 80% who fail to get the diploma."

    Purely anecdotally, I do not believe this is true.

  • In reply to Todd Pytel:

    Yes, I agree it is based on no data because as I stated CCSR report avoided the issue. But at page 19 the report does state:

    "We found that students who are likely to be in the IB Cohort in ninth grade are not necessarily the same students who are likely to be in the IBDP by the junior year. Moreover, we found that race/ethnicity operates quite differently for enrolling in the IB Cohort versus staying in IBDP. That is, while white and Latino students are only slightly more likely than African American students to enroll in the IB cohort in the ninth grade, they are far more likely to stay enrolled in IBDP by junior year."

    Statically white CPS students are far less likely to be low income students than are either African American students or Latino students. Hence based on this statement alone in the CCSR report there is evidence for my speculation, which I admit is speculation. So again I disagree that my statement is purely anecdotally based, it is based on something called statistical inference. A practice which is dangerous when misused, but does not equate to a perspective based on purely anecdotal evidence.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    I bet your daughter would be in the same place if
    She had matriculated the Lincoln park IBDP .
    You can apply some of the same attributes of
    The Hungarian system to Chicago:
    Selective enrollment College prep
    Vocational schools manual training and college prep
    General High schools a total disaster.
    IBDP are only in the otherwise chaotic general high schools
    And they are working. Apparently this came as a surprise
    to the powers to be. Imagine a community of scholars
    flourishing amidst all that chaos?
    You are correct about the support Being a librarian
    I n a IB school was a workout but the internet saved
    us. We had two books on the silk road
    In our library .We did get a little money for IB materials.
    But we also had eighteen hundred other kids to serve.
    We taught the whole IB group how to research online
    Their freshman year. Google books has thousands
    Of full text volumes on the Silk Road so we were able
    to get the job done.
    The IB diploma is an abstract term to those students.
    Their goal is a first class education .And that is exactly
    What IB gives them.
    Data driven assessments and worrying about percentages
    Do not compute in their world.

  • "Rahm Emanuel to middle class: Don’t leave for better schools" - Chicago Sun-Times

  • 50 pct increase in elementary SE applications, 5-10k fewer families leaving Chicago per year, says Crain's

  • Have the school sites for the IB program been announced yet? Can't find that in any of the PR. I've got to think that would be a deciding factor as to whether this will be a successful program.

  • fb_avatar

    I have one simple question - why does CPS seem to announce these new initiatives on Friday afternoon? Didn't they announce the new calendar last Friday afternoon?

    It reminds me of an old episode of "The West Wing" in which they saved stories they wanted to bury for Friday afternoon, because no one read the papers on Saturday.

  • Agreed =Brizard and Denoso send out their CEO/CEdO newlettters and edics to principals on Friday evenings too. There is method to this madness.

  • Word on the street is that special education aides are going to be privatized--or is this just to frighten CTU?

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Special education aides are not in the teachers union. They are in Local 73 due to the diapering and toileting component/liability in their job description. CTU covers all teacher members and instructional/school aides (excludes SECAs) and clerks. Janitors, security guards, lunchroom, engineers are in other locals.

  • Headache299
    Interesting question about the Friday coverage:
    Friday, the IB expansion was the headline, drowning out coverage of Noble Street Charter franchise expansion, and after all the recent Nobel coverage, you’d think that might make the lights….but like all things Chicago, when one touted program expands, it means an expense for another. So who will it be? No coverage on that front.

    Brizard said that start-up IB costs for the existing programs ran about $170,000 each, but no comment on the ‘maintenance’ cost. As for the price of the five schools that will be devoted ‘exclusively’ to IB, you’re guess is as good as mine, in the millions.

    But it’s always kind of interesting to hear from the people who are directly affected and disaffected by district-wide school reform.

    Dr. Carmen Palmer on Wendell Smith Elementary School: “Some of the losses have been: no library, no reading coach, no math coach, we lost that. Art program; the disciplinarian; teacher assistants; 90% of the after school tutorial services; overcrowded classrooms; split classes at the primary level and beyond; teachers expected to teach two years of curriculum to two different sets of children in one classroom; we have an ongoing and continually growing population of homeless babies; at this point we have over sixty; and for our IEP children we have over 70, but we have absolutely no additional funding to support their success in their academic performance.”

    It’s also a bit interesting to compare media coverage; one, Labor Beat: The Shell Game, at

    spotlights the underreported CPS process of “death by a thousand cuts” at Wendell
    and, the other, Fox, at

    depicts the understandable reactions of stakeholders when they are ‘made’ unaware of the larger political and economic context.

    Unfortunately, the Fox coverage, while aired eight months ago, is the ‘brand’ of reporting Chicagoans have come to regularly consume and digest, and makes no attempt to expose the budget cuts, and/ or resource reallocations that precipitate and suspend the problems of our traditional schools.

    So, does anyone have inside budget info on teachers and children that are scheduled for ‘hospice’ to breath life for IB and Noble Street?

  • In reply to district299reader:

    The mention of 'hospice' is interesting.

    I'll argue that a more comfortable 'hospice' is all that the CTU is offering as a plan for typical students. Noble going to 16,000 students will demonstratively change lives. Increasing all school budgets a few percent will likely not change outcomes for anyone.

    Not to mention that Noble will come up with most of the capital costs associated with expansion on their own. That's extra dollars in the system. Big ideas with good evidence of efficacy can attract big philanthropy dollars. Fair or not, few donors are willing to continue to give to CTU schools.

    Nobles fundraising goal is a modest $30 million. Last decade large donations were made to CPS. What did those donations change?

  • In reply to Donn:

    Headache 299

    The Hospice Award belongs to the Chicago Electorate, as 24% of registered voters were reported living, and 76% pulseless at the latest Illinois Primary.

    It should come as no surprise that both CPS and CTU excrete crap decisions when more than 75% of the voters in this town are too lazy to make decisions for themselves.

    The CTU sucks in large measure for the same reason - its’ membership, and CPS sucks for the same.

    Even the kids scored better – the Overall Academic Performance on All State Tests for Chicago is reported as 66.3% meeting or exceeding.

    Given that the kids made 66.3% and the adults only made 24%, seems like the kids should be setting the standard for us.

    When Rahm said 25%, he meant to say 76

  • Donn, have you read the CTU's "The Schools Chicago's Students Deserve"? There's a partial list of that vision below. It can hardly be described as hospice in nature.

    CPS is charged with educating *all* students. That is incredibly costly and time intensive and requires supports that CPS, reformers, charters, and corporations are reluctant to or unwilling to provide.

    I think a foundational element of the reform movement is, in fact, limited access; it does not seek to, or desire to, or attempt to meet the needs of all students. In that regard, charters and other selective schools are a more attractive philanthropic investment. From a capitalistic perspective it makes sense to invest in students who are in some way better equipped to handle the strict disciplinary, academic, and family requirements of a reform type school rather than to invest in everyone.

    Here's a partial rundown on CTU's The Schools Chicago's Students Deserve

    1. Recognize That Class Size Matters (CPS has some of the largest class sizes in the state)
    2. Educate The Whole Child, (a well rounded, rich curricula)
    3. Create More Robust Wrap-around Services (meet the support levels recommended by national professional associations)
    4. Address Inequities In The System (actively deny resources to needy schools then close them - a Tim Cawley admission )
    5. Pre-k and full-day kindergarten (accessible to all students)
    6. Respect And Develop The Professionals (time for collaboration and planning, opportunity to exercise professional judgement)
    7. Teach All Students (a no brainer, isn't it?)
    8. Provide Quality School Facilities (no more leaky roofs, non-functional windows, asbestos-lined bathrooms)
    9. Partner With Parents (encourage and *help* parents participate)

  • In reply to district299reader:

    A document with "deserve" in the title and "apartheid" in the text has a limited audience.

  • I bet Clemente will be a wall to wall IB school. They have been spending lots of dollars on renovations for last couple of years. I also heard that Rahm visited Clemente today.

  • Guatemom, I think there is some truth to what you say, yet....
    I went to elementary school in the 1960's and I remember all my male classmates keeping their little butts in their desk chairs all day with no "special consideration" that boys need some kind of extraordinary outlet for their energies. As I recall, both boys and girls let it all out on the playground and then returned to seats for the rest of the day. I just don't get this new thing that boys have this special need that girls don't have...girls get just as tired of sitting as boys do.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    I too was in a CPS elementary school in the 1960s and in a very good one too, Lincoln School. Here is what happened to the bad boys (most likely ADHD), mostly those teachers called "hillbillies," they spent endless hours even in primary grades sitting on a bench outside the principal's office. I was a border line bad boy with a very difficult home life and spent time on that bench myself.

    When they got to the upper grades, mostly being over aged because of repeated retentions some were sent to CPS disciplinary schools. I was lucky, I was relatively smart and never was retained. I knew of two kids sent to a CPS school on the far northwest side called the Chicago Parental School which was residential. Parents had no appeal rights for their children, CPS could back in the good old days do simply what they believed was best. By the way the most disruptive boys were denied recess regularly as a disciplinary action. Maybe you recall that aspect of the good old days.

    Rod Estvan

    Lincoln Elementary School class of 1967

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    Rod -do you remember Principal Cullen, Hazel Bauman and my favorite Mrs. Costas!
    Yes, they were called Hillbillies with to much energy!
    Yes, recess is still taken away at most schools. I see it everyday at my daughters school.
    Unfortunately I think most Cps schools think that parents easily pay off a doctor and then use the iep and the 504 for a shield.
    I have to remind my daughters teachers that she does have a 504 and needs considerations, not many but the ones she has she needs to survive in the world of cps.

    Lincoln Elementary School class of 78

  • In reply to Guatemom:

    Yes I knew and had all the teachers you named. Ms. Bauman is still alive and as of last year was tutoring in a CPS school, I believe she may have just turned 100 years old according to the story I saw on the news. To their credit I never saw either Ms. Bauman or Costas wack a kid's hands with an offical CPS pointer stick, what the Appalachian kids called the "licking stick."

    Ms. Cullen only came when I was in grade 8 if I recall correctly, before her we had a Scottish terrorist principal whose sister was a counslor at Lane Tech H.S., her name was McTide or McTyde I don't recall which. When I was in probably third grade she pushed my head into a wall for talking in line on my way to lunch. She sent a lot of Appalachian kids to CPS discipline programs.

    By the way the gym coach who became Ms. Cullen's AP evenutally, who was a great gymnast in his own right, also wacked kids with a vengence. He liked me and only asked me if I wanted to get wacked, having cringed sufficently he never hit me.

    A great school with many strong teachers, but with a discipline practice that took no prisioners in the 1960s and had little concern for what happened to those they sent to never never land. McTide used to tell the little bad boys, including me, we were going to end up in never never land like in Peter Pan stories by the Scottish writer J. M. Barrie. To this day I hate Peter Pan and wouldn't let any of my children watch any Disney films with the character.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Yes, of course girls need activity during the day. I have a girl with ADHD. Most girls tend to have the less active day dreamer ADD. They get told they are spacey or not attentive. I was not singling out boys but they tend to have the Hyper end of ADD.

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