"Tier" System Favors Private Schoolers

Lots of political news related to education in today's news -- campaign donations from IEA, Berrios vs. Guzzardi -- along with a few other things like HIV infection rates and LSC lawsuits. There are also three pieces about selective enrollment, one of which (the WBEZ story) shows that the "tier" system results in wildly disrpoportionate acceptance rates for white, well-off, private school kids: "In spite of logarithms and formulas, if you walk into the city’s best high schools, freshmen from the wealthiest parts of town outnumber freshmen from the poorest areas by a ratio of two to one." The Catalyst story notes that, meanwhile, competition for second-tier SE schools has ramped up.  Seriously, this is pretty messed up.  Some of you didn't like my headline from a few days ago (Hard To Get In - Unless You're White).  But four elite high schools for a city the size of Chicago just isn't enough, public school parents are being muscled out by private school ones, and the "tier" system that replaced race-based integration doesn't seem like it's anywhere near fair.


Who gets in, who doesn't WBEZ: We found that 29 percent of current freshmen at Walter Payton College Prep graduated from private grammar schools. At the other elite high schools, the number is right around 20 percent. And private school kids make up only around 12 percent of those testing to get into these schools.

Selective admissions Catalyst:  Hundreds more students from lower-income areas applied for spots, creating more competition at some of the city’s nine selective schools and forcing these students to post higher scores this year in order to be offered a spot.

New Web App Makes It Easier For CPS Students To Get Into The Schools They Want Chicagoist: Chicago Public Schools places every part of the city into four socio-economic "tiers," and requires selective enrollment schools to establish equal quotas for students from each tier.


Obama Campaign’s Vast Effort to Re-Enlist ’08 Supporters CNC:  The heart of the president’s re-election campaign can be found in a Chicago office complex, where political strategists, data analysts and other workers search online to reconnect with supporters from four years ago.

Big campaign cash flowing into General Assembly races Crain’s Chicago Business: The biggest donor in 2011 and 2012 combined: the Illinois Education Association, the big teachers union, at $555,100, followed by the Health Care Council ($513,000) and the Associated Beer Distributors ($510,400).

Berrios Uses Mailer, Money To Fend Off Guzzardi Progress Illinois: The bill, which allowed the Chicago Public Schools to unilaterally impose a longer school day, among other provisions, is part of an education policy approach that “under funds and vilifies teachers,” Guzzardi contends.

Emanuel vows transparency, low risk in new infrastructure bank Crain's:  Mostly, it will act as a matchmaker or bridge, hooking up city and related agencies — such as Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Transit Authority — that have innovative ideas that need money and could spin off some cash with private investors ...


CPS, Chicago organizations confront rising HIV numbers among youth Medill Reports: The experience of Chicago Public Schools officials confirms Razzano's perception. CPS spokesman Frank Shuftan said they know that students are misinformed and have limited knowledge of basic sex health concepts.

Quinn Proposes Adding $50 Million in Scholarship Funds Chicago Talks:  As part of a broader 1 percent increase to education funding in a budget proposal characterized by deep cuts, Gov. Pat Quinn said he’d like to see an additional $50 million of funding for college scholarships in hopes of getting more Illinoisans into jobs.

LSC lawsuit hearing and rally Monday 3-12 PURE:  There will be a court hearing Monday March 12 on the lawsuit challenging CPS’s disempowerment of LSCs of probation schools. Following the hearing, there will be a rally against the CPS status quo.


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  • Private school students on the northside are using tier 1 and tier 2 addresses when they live in tier 4. That is the truth. Cps has no record of there address. Make some home visits for private school students that got into these 2 schools and you have a great story. Totally wrong and they hold be busted.

  • 14,000 applicants for just 3,000 seats http://ow.ly/9yJlA

  • In reply to Alexander Russo:

    No talking point wating lists here.

  • Linda Lutton's story in particular as it relates to Walter Payton does not surprise me in the least since my youngest daughter who is now a senior attending the University of Illinois at Champaign Urbana graduated from Payton. I have often told the story of a ski/snowboarding trip I made with some of my daughters friends from Payton when she was a high school sophomore. On the way back to Chicago after the trip I commented to one of my daughter's friends that I was impressed with her skiing and asked if she skied frequently. She told me her family spent just about every Christmas holiday skiing since she was very little and that her grandmother had a home at a ski area.

    I asked if her grandmother's mountain home was in the west, and she said "no actually it's in the Alps at Chamonix France." I was simply blown away since I had in the past skied Chamonix and knew that to actually own a chalet is very, very expensive. During the course of our discussion I learned she had attended Latin School and prior to that the Brearley School in NYC which costs around $33,000 a year. So given that experience and during the course of my daughters attendance at Payton I met many other students who had attended private elementary schools Ms. Lutton's story did not shock me in the least. By way of disclosure my youngest daughter who is not disabled attended Newberry Math Science Academy prior to Payton. Only two Newberry students the year she graduated from 8th grade were admitted to Payton, with my daughter being one of the two.

    But I digress, really what I thought was most interesting about Ms. Lutton's article was the suggestion that CPS look at the Texas model Top 10 Percent Rule and possibly apply it to selective high school admissions. This rule means in Texas if you graduate in the top 10 percent of your high school class, these students are guaranteed admission to the public college of their choice. The discussion in the WBEZ report suggested that this rule opened up the University of Texas at Austin to graduates of lower performing high schools.

    Since Linda's story opened this can of worms a little more needs to be said about the impact of the top 10 percent rule on UT-Austin. The law has been blamed by some for keeping students not in the top ten percent but with other credentials, such as high SAT scores or leadership and extracurricular experience, out of UT-Austin. UT-Austin argued for several years that the law has came to account for too many of its entering students, with 81 percent of the 2008 freshmen having enrolled under it. Under legislation approved in May 2009 by the Texas House UT-Austin was allowed to trim the number of students it accepts under the 10% rule; UT-Austin could limit those students to 75 percent of entering in-state freshmen from Texas. The university would admit the top 1 percent, the top 2 percent and so forth until the cap is reached, beginning with the 2011 entering class. The University Chancellor and UT-Austin President had sought a cap of about 50 percent, but lawmakers brokered the 75% compromise rule.

    In January of last year the National Bureau of Economic Research released a study that showed that high performing students were transferring to lower income and lower performing high schools and were in some cases displacing minority students from the top ten percent pool. This study can be retrieved at http://papers.nber.org/papers/w16663. In the fall of 2011 the black and Hispanic undergraduate percentage of enrollees at UT was 24.6 percent, still unrepresentative of Texas where black and Hispanics make up nearly 50 percent of the state population.

    There is worse news the 10 percent rule written to assist minorities groups that suffered historic discrimination, Black and Hispanic students, appears instead to have dramatically increased the Asian-American student population at UT. That group claimed 19 percent of the freshman class in 2008, though Asians comprised only 3.4 percent of the Texas population. So far the track record of the 10 percent rule in Texas indicates that it is probably not a solution to the problems relating to enrollment at the CPS top four schools that Ms. Lutton's story highlights.

    Rod Estvan

  • How many low income kids are really ready for a true honors curriculum? When I look at the average ACT of 20 of Linblom I conclude "not many". But I haven't looked at the data in detail.

  • The black middle class has suffered from this process. These black students reside in tiers 3 and 4. Their direct competition is the middle and upperclass white students who have more money and access to more resources. This is partially why the number of black students has declined over the past three years.

  • By definition the white middle class does not have more money than the black middle class. A white middle class family that can't afford private school does not take pleasure in the upper income private school students at Northside.
    With my kids now in and past college, I'm calmer about schools and now believe that the only thing that's important is rigorous college prep. Life outcomes do not depend on getting in a top select school. But I do admit that it doesn't feel that way when waiting for a high school or post secondary acceptance letter.

  • In reply to Donn:

    Actually students living in tier 4 can come from income levels in the millions because there is no upper end to the census track data. However, I think Tracy is not correct in her perspective based on the data the issue is a little more complex. Below is an article that discusses this issue [http://www.chicagonow.com/chicago-muckrakers/2011/08/in-chicago-even-wealthy-black-families-live-in-poor-neighborhoods/]

    In Chicago, even wealthy black families live in poor neighborhoods

    By MeganCottrell, August 8, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    Unlike the Jeffersons, affluent minority families aren't always "movin' on up." A new study of recently released census data shows that wealthy black and Hispanic families often live alongside much poorer neighbors.
    White families in Chicago making more than $75,000 a year live in neighborhoods where only 7.6 percent of their neighbors make considerably less money--$40,000 a year or less. But black families at the same income level have more than twice as many neighbors--17.9 percent--making less than $40,000, and wealthy Hispanic families have nearly double the white percentage at 12.7 percent.
    In Chicago, wealthy white families have fewer poor neighbors, and black families more, when compared with New York and Los Angeles. Sociologist John Logan, director of the US2010 project at Brown University did the study, looking at 2005-2009 census data. He says the trends underlie existing segregation patterns.
    "Separate translates to unequal even for the most successful black and Hispanic minorities," Logan says. "African Americans who really succeeded live in neighborhoods where people around them have not succeeded to the same extent."
    Logan says white families at these income levels have many options to move into neighborhoods where everyone is like them--same race, same income level. But wealthy African-American families don't have as many options. If they move into a neighborhood where people are the same race, they'll likely have poorer neighbors. If they go by income level, they'll likely be one of the few black families living there.
    It seems to be closely related to the wealth gap data that we've talked about recently--showing that minorities have significantly less wealth than white families, and that gap has grown since the recession. When this gap reinforces where you live, it can lead to significant problems for families, even ones who have a higher socioeconomic status, says Roderick Harrison, sociologist at Howard University.
    "Even though they have income comparable to whites, they don't have access to schools or other neighborhood amenities that would be comparable to those available to white families," Harrison says. "Some better-off black and Hispanic families are nevertheless living with the same problems poor blacks and Hispanics are living with."
    Of course, Chicago has been trying to encourage this kind of settling--"mixed-income communities"--where the poor live alongside the rich, with often much larger disparities than $75,000 to $40,000. I've always wondered how realistic it is to create these communities. People want to live in neighborhoods where people are like them, right? Where they fit in. The trouble for wealthy minority families is that they don't quite fit in anywhere. That's sad when successful families don't have a place to belong.

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    I have said before, when a student living at 80th and Oakley or Jeffrey and 91st is considered to live in a "Top Tier" neighborhood along with Gold Coasters, Lincoln Parkers, and Sauganash residents there needs to be at least 3 more tiers at the top income brackets.

  • In reply to Donn:

    Donn: You say "I'm calmer about schools and now believe that the only thing that's important is rigorous college prep", yet you throw your support behind a TEST prep charter school network.

    In addition, what about students NOT interested in college? Many students are interested in trades. What about students who for a host of reasons will never be college ready?

  • In reply to Donn:

    I guarantee you that there are more white millionaires in Chicago than there are black millionaires. There is no salary cap on the tiers.

  • Wealthy blacks fit in Beverly.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Didn't a black kid get a noose put around his neck in Beverly just a few months ago?

  • In reply to Tracy A. Stanciel:

    Didn't that occur in Mt. Greenwood? Different 'hood.

  • @seth lavin asks if SE is good for the district:

    "By my count there are 72 CPS schools that contain some kind of SE program and those schools represent ~50K students. That’s ~13% of the whole district. Huge!

    "Is SE good for the district? Some people say it’s the gem of CPS. Others say it’s a life-raft designed to keep affluent parents from abandoning Chicago, which, along the way, unfairly concentrates resources, faculty and attention on a few schools and students while crippling the rest of the left-behind district."

  • In reply to Alexander Russo:

    "Some people say it’s the gem of CPS"

    Well, consider that the thousand student top SE Northside draws on a couple million people to get their vaunted test scores . The top thousand students at both New Tier West and Hinsdale Central about match those scores drawing from populations of 30-40,000. That's not an education gap between city and suburbs, but an educational grand canyon.

    The lowest test score SE school is equivalent to a very average middle class suburban school.

    Not trying to be a bummer here. But consider why new mayors and superintendents tend to want to aggresively redo CPS schools. Especially if that mayor went to New Trier.

  • In reply to Donn:

    That educational grand canyon to which you refer is more accurately described as an income and parenting grand canyon.

  • A CPS world language elementary academy gets 7 extra teacher positions for under 450 students + one full-time counselor +all day kindergarten.
    A CPS neighborhood elementary school of over 1300 students gets nothing--nada + only 1 and 1/2 counselors, and lots of extra special ed students and a 2.5 hour kindergartens.
    The SE schools keep intelligent and connected parents in the city.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    You imply that SE students and their families live all live in the city. What ever happened to the investigation of WY students who were arrested for drinking at the state BB tournament? A number of them lived outside of the city. A relative who attended a second-tier SE high school said there is a small, but significant minority of students who live outside the city limits but sit in CPS SE HS seats.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    In relation to out of district students enrolling in SE schools see [http://www.cps.edu/About_CPS/Departments/Documents/OIG_FY_2011_ AnnualReport.pdf ]

    Based just on this report it appears OIG is continuing to find out of district students getting into SE schools. It also appears the W Young's principal operates in a protected zone in relation to this issue.

    Rod Estvan

    The OIG report states:

    Selective Enrollment and Magnet Schools
    After the Office of Academic Enhancement (“OAE”) conducted an audit of the student assignment (enrollment) process for the 2010-2011 school year, the OIG conducted five investigations to follow- up on audit exceptions. The goal of the audit was to ensure that students enrolled in magnet entry grades were selected through the lottery process and that students enrolled in selective enrollment elementary and high schools were enrolled through the selection process. After reconciling the audit findings, OAE identified five schools with unresolved audit exceptions, three elementary schools and two high schools.

  • Does Academic Enhancement still allow parent applicants to use city business addresses when they apply for SE schools?

  • what is law dept doing about this? hey mr Cawley-get this dept to work!

  • The issue is what to do with the middle and affluent classes who live in Chicago. Do you create school options within the district that are appealing to them as well as to those living in poverty or do you level everything and dare the affluent and middle class to abandon the school district? It seems to mean that the SE and magnet options create attractive options while providing really rich opportunities for high poverty students.

  • Exclude the upper and upper middle class from Northside and the ACT average won't be 29.You can't chase the majority of the highest performing students away from Chicago public schools and still have elite school.

    Why doesn't the south side have high performing SE schools? Because there aren't 1000 high achieving public school students to occupy the school.

    Chicago isn't lacking in elite select school seats . It's lacking in rigorous college prep for capable low income students. Too many better (not best) minority students are not prepared, in academics or study habits, to enter colleges other than the specific Chicago institutions designed for CPS grads. This is what should concern policy makers and activists. Not whether changing a formula will move 20 black freshmen from Lane Tech to Northside.

  • In reply to Donn:

    Unfortunately, Donn has a legitimate point. While we do not have available ACT scores broken down by race for the big four prep high schools we do have math and reading scores on the PSAE broken down by race. At Northside in 2011, 83.5% of white students were exceeding state standards in reading, while only 9.8% of African American students were reading at a similar standard, and 50.8% of Hispanic students were exceeding reading standards. We see a similar huge gap in math skills with 62.9% of white Northside students exceeding standards and only 3.8% of black students functioning at that level.

    Clearly the race gap at Northside is in good part driven by socioeconomic status, because we can see big gaps between the percentage of students eligible for free and reduced lunch and those who are not eligible when it comes to the percentages of students exceeding state standards.

    The PSAE gap between whites and minority students in terms of the percentage exceeding state standards in reading and math at Young High School while far less than Northside is still significant. That gap is also reflected to a degree between the percentage of students eligible for free and reduced lunch and those who are not eligible. Payton has very significant PSAE gaps between whites and minority students in terms of the percentage exceeding state standards in reading and math and even Jones which has lower percentages of white students exceeding state standards than the other three schools exhibits this gap.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Donn:

    Is that group of local colleges the City Colleges or are there others too?

  • In reply to district299reader:

    That question is for Donn.

  • In reply to Donn:

    @ Donn

    "Exclude the upper and upper middle class from Northside and the ACT average won't be 29.You can't chase the majority of the highest performing students away from Chicago public schools and still have elite school."

    Yes, but I wouldn't call them the highest performing necessarily. A 10 -year DePaul study found high correlation between parent income and ACT score. They also found that high ACT scores don't necessarily mean college ready based on their Freshman enrollments.

    All of the ranking of SE high schools are based on ACT scores. There are reams of research that found the ACT to have significant amounts of bias (Class, Gender, Race) http://www.fairtest.org/facts/act.html

    So like you alluded to, high income = high ACT. Add to that racial and gender bias, and it may explain why SE perform as they do.

    The ACT is what CPS uses to gauge "college-readiness" at high school level. DePaul, and several other schools (Wake Forest, Bard http://www.fairtest.org/university/optional#5) took it a step further and stopped requiring ACT for admission. Since many of us don't know how to measure school success accurately, we accept a flawed method.

    ACT was also part of the group that created the Common Core State Standards that will be implemented next year, and you can bet our kids will be tested on this.

  • In reply to Eric:

    Good point on the ACT. Is the bias quantified?

  • In reply to Donn:


    It's funny that you ask this cause a reason many schools have gone test-optional is because many things that make a good student can't be quantified like leadership skills or commitment.
    DePaul's thinking is that they will get better diversity AND good students who are underrepresented in many college campuses.

    In the accuracy section you'll see that ACT doesn't predict college readiness, and there is too much variability scores:

    Wake Forest has a good blog about test bias and test-optional:

  • I'm not sure about that. Brooks routinely has about 2,000 students test for about 200 openings per year. I'm sure that of the 1,800 that don't get in 200-250 or so are qualified but excluded due to lack of openings. Also, there are plenty of kids on the southside that take the train and/or bus to attend Young, Jones, etc. If another SE high school was built on the southside I think CPS would have not problem seating 800-1,000 qualified students.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    I don't think that Donn's point was that there were not qualified African American students to attend the SE schools, his point was that without the higher income students the big four or three SE high schools would not have the high ACT scores that they do have.

    If we look at Brooks we can see again a massive white and black achievement gap in terms of the percentage exceeding state standards in reading and math. This is the case even though in 2011 there were only 10 white students in the school, there were 5 white juniors who were tested of whom 2 exceeded standards in reading. Only 8.4% of African American students in 2011 were exceeding state standards at Brooks in reading. In effect at an overwhelming, 86.1%, African American SE high school in 2011 there were only 13 students reading above state standards and 2 of these students were white or 15% of the high skilled reading students in the junior class.

    Again we see a large performance gap among those exceeding state standards between student eligible for free reduced lunch and those not eligible. In 2011 at Brooks 150 of the 177 students that took the PASE were low income. Only 9 of these 150 low income students were reading above standards and only 2 were able to exceed state math standards. Of the 27 students who were not poor, 4 exceeded reading standards, and none exceeded standards in math.

    These scores explain why Brooks had an average ACT score of 21.7 compared to Northside's much higher average score. This data does not make me happy in the least and it does not mean the many African American students at Brooks who are testing at state standards will not have great success in life. But it reflects what Professor Sean Reardon of Stanford Uniiversity in his chapter in the book titled Whither Opportunity? Rising Inequality, Schools, and Children's Life Chances simply and clearly states: "As the children of the rich do better in school, and those who do better in school are more likely to become rich, we risk producing an even more unequal and economically polarized society."

    Chicago is one of the best examples of a polarized society in the developed world today.

    Rod Estvan

  • But the students commuting from the southside are already choosing to pass up schools like Linblom. We can assume that a new southside SE school would not be considered more elite than Lindblom. In fact the total ACT of southside SE schools would likely decrease with more seats.
    That decrease many be O.K., depending on the purpose of SE schools. With 22% of Lindblom's students scoring under 20 ACT, there's already a portion of that population that wouldn't be considered the very best students. (Lindblom does have a substantial special ed department, so perhaps that's a large portion of that group).
    An advantage low income youth have at the top SE school is exposure to highly confident white people and privileged minorities. That has to be beneficial when attending the highly select colleges where almost all these students go.
    Realistically, building a lot of SE schools becomes more segregation. Not by race, but by behavior in middle school. Considering the state of many neighborhood high schools, perhaps that's the way to go. But it's a long way from the original purpose of SE schools. In theory the magnets provide the next level down.
    I wonder how the SE principals feel about the bottom 25% of their seniors (excluding special ed students). Do they feel those students didn't belong at their school?

  • In reply to Donn:

    If you built a top-level SE HS on the southwest side (many of us thought the new school on 77 and Kedzie was going to be SE) you would easily fill the seats with qualified students. Not only would you make more space for the Brooks applicants who are "on the cusp", you would also skim the top layer of students from Curie, Hancock, Hubbard, Bogan, Kennedy, Morgan Park, AG, etc. The biggest group of applicants would perhaps come from students who would otherwise go to Marist, Brother Rice, Mt. Carmel, Leo, St. Laurence, Queen of Peace, Mother McCauley, Maria, and St. Rita. Many SW side parents would much rather save money on their child's education if a superior SE HS school was present.

  • Donn- You say "I wonder how the SE principals feel about the bottom 25% of their seniors (excluding special ed students). Do they feel those students didn't belong at their school?" Ugh... c'mon man, maybe these principals understand, accept, and appreciate the "bottom 25%". Why do you have to assume the most negative option. The "bottom 25%" at a SE schools are still good students. Most of us who actually work with young people realize it is impossible for everybody to be in the top echelon. Many of my favorite students are from the "bottom 25%". Heck, some are in the bottom 1%.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    That was an actual question, not statement. I don't have an opinion regarding the academic bottom of an SE school beyond wondering if those student would have advanced further at another style of school. The answer to that question might determine if adding more SE schools would be beneficial.

    I bring the question up looking at ACT scores. In good school areas gifted/near gifted are entering high school with ACT of 20+. Did the group graduating below ACT 20 belong in an SE school? I think some of the Noble students who graduated with a 20+ ACT would not have done well at all in an SE school. They needed a lot of structure and direction to become good students. I don't see running SE schools that way.
    In the same way a self directed good student will go further at an SE school than Noble.

  • I guess it depends on what the vision is of a college prep high school. I don't think the CPS has an actual vision. Are we preparing students for competitive colleges or for non-competitive colleges? Clearly the big four or three preps are preparing students for more competitive colleges.

    By the way 28.5% of Brooks students in 2011 had composite ACT scores below 20, so Lindblom looks better than Donn might think. Brooks had only 6 of 177 students in its junior testing pool with disabilities in 2011 so that doesn't explain the scores either.

    Rod Estvan

    Rod Estvan

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    Not to mention that Brooks in selecting 200 of 2000 but only modestly exceeding Noble's ACT performance.

    I'm not down on Lindblom at all. I hear it's an excellent school with a great principal. I suspect Brooks is good too. They obviously get to pick the good kids. That makes for a nice school.

  • The article that started these comments said something to the effect of the tier system favoring private school kids. The reason why private school students make up such a large portion of SEHS is because they have a large amount of middle and upper class students. It has nothing to do with the tier system favoring them. It has everything to do with the size of their parents' wallets.

  • I know that the corporate model is looked unkindly here, but we are also talking about one size does not fit all, which is what businesses address very well.
    If the mission was to shrink the achievement gap, then the structures should maybe be in place to do so. But these structures might be distasteful to many, but it may be efficient. For example, if we know that the south side SEHS's do not do as well as their counterparts on the northside, mainly due to an income gap, then perhaps we have to supply even more resources than normally goes to the northside, and accept that additional support and interventions (social and instructional) must be provided. This may mean that the northside schools receive fewer resources, but that's the tradeoff to get equity. Maybe all elementary students should go through the same review process SEHS candidates undertake, and be assigned to schools that specialize in a particular proficiency, with resources being more heavily weighted on the lower proficiencies. This is to say that maybe tracking has to be done on a grand scale to take advantage of the economies of scale.
    So I guess I'm saying that schools should be more segmented, and recognize that the only way to not have one size fits all is to have students go to schools where they do fit. What's worse, being stigmatized by the school that you're going to, or not having a future.

  • In reply to LTwain:

    I agree that in order to even the playing field more resources probably should go to the south side SE high schools. But I also have little doubt that the "friends of" organizations from Payton Northside, etc, would more than make up any differences in cash flows for their own children.

    As the WBEZ story correctly points out its the elementary school experience that gives some clear advantages to higher income often Northside mostly white students. These wealthier students also have richer childhoods with more travel experiences and paid enrichment experiences. There is no simple solution here, but it is discussions like the one on this blog that actually recognize that these types of problems exist that can lead to movement in the direction of addressing this issue.

    The longer school day for sure is not going to close the gaps among these higher level CPS students. It requires more than just time on task.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:


    It’s not what you get that matters it’s how you use it that counts.
    The bottom line is this : The principal decides where the money goes
    Period .In all my 41 years I worked for 16 principals in those South Side High Schools only two were
    fair in their distribution of funds. For decades Libraries had a line
    Item in the budget.5310 was the number. The amount was
    calculated by a Byzantine formula ,but was about six dollars per student.
    From that we purchased all library materials, AV equipment and
    newspapers. Today there is no line item – gone- you get the crumbs
    left over from money used to pay for the principals friends.
    Ineffective security guards, wondering teachers and anything
    Else the principal fancies. Clueless LSC’s and insane SIPP’s
    Complete the process. Personally we can shovel money into schools
    And it will not change anything. The classrooms are still starved

  • To say that the tier system favors private school kids is absurd. Exactly the opposite is true. The tier system in essence sets a quota for the number of SE spots for high-scoring students from Tier 4 census tracts, restricting their access to SE schools, in the name of alleged economic (and racial) justice. But for the tier system, likely SE schools would have MORE private school entrants.

  • In reply to WestLooper:

    I live in what is now a tier 3 community in Uptown, it used to be tier 2. But we have blocks with private homes that start at $500,000 and go over $1.5 million, including the one I live on. Very few if any of the chidren growing up in these homes, including those who grew up in the one my family owns send their children to local elementary schools.

    Effectively within our tier 3 track we have families that are very wealthy. We also have very poor kids who live in CHA townhomes. It is very common for children coming from wealthy families to at least see if they can get into Payton or Northside, regardless whether they went to a magnet school or Latin School. I don't blame these families because every dollar they save in private school payments is a dollar to pay for college. Do those of us who have more wealth have an advantage over those who have less within our track, you bet we do.

    I would recommend that blog readers look at the work of Annette Lareau who has studied extensively the advantages middle class and upper class families of all races have in our nation's education system. Her most interesting book is titled Unequal Childhoods.

    Rod Estvan

  • Actually private schools game the GPA portion of the selective enrollment application. (Several, if not most, of the better know private schools do not give letter grades therefore everyone is a 4.0 student in the core subjects.) Additionally, most private schools offer the SelectivePrep sessions as in-school options further increasing their student's chances. Of course other measures such as classroom size, parental involvement, parent education levels, etc. also weigh heavily in favor of private school children here as well.

  • I am currently a private school student, and I got into Lane Tech. But guess what? Not all of us "private schoolers" got into a SEHS. Don't make ridiculous statements without knowing the facts. I go to what is considered one of the "elite" private schools, and actually there are quite a few kids on full scholarships. So, not everyone is a "rich" as you all think. Last time I checked, there are no rules against people paying for their kids to go to a test-prep tutor, or our having our high school admissions teacher talk to us. Each person chooses to spend their money in different ways than others. Our parents choose to spend their money on their kids' educations. Part of the reason why I'm at a private school is because being the environment caters my needs. Also, are you going to get upset with kids who have IEPs because they go in a separate pool, and their scores don't have to be nearly as good as the kids without IEPs?

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