Overselling Underenrollment?

Today's news includes a pair of WBEZ stories about how CPS has been portraying enrollment drops and the likely increase in the percentage of schools run by nonprofits or for profit organizations, a CPSobsessed report from the EXPO, plus coverage of the CTU cartoon/coloring book mocking City Hall and CPS.


The proportion of privately run Chicago public schools to increase WBEZ: If the district closes 100 schools, and then opens 60 new charters in the next five years, the percentage of privately run schools could jump up to 27 percent.

Truth squad: Enrollment down in CPS, but not by much WBEZ: Overall enrollment in Chicago Public Schools has declined 6 percent in the last 14 years, a loss of 28,289 students. In that time, CPS has opened more than 120 new schools, many of them charters, shifting enrollment patterns.

New School Fair: Field Report cpsobsessed: In the absence of thinking about how charters affect the entire system, it’s hard not to get enthusiastic about the idea of offering parent a CHOICE about how their kids are taught.  Especially parents who may not have a lot of other choices in privates – here is the chance to pursue a different way of learning for their kids.


Teachers union to fight school closings with video, coloring book Sun Times:  A five-minute video of a scary bedtime story, “Stand Up to the Fat Cats,” was released Monday accusing “The Rahminator” and cronies like “Rowdy Rauner” and “Penny Pincher” of privatizing public education. Coming next week in the CTU’s campaign targeting communities at risk of losing a neighborhood school: a coloring book.

Chicago Teachers Union Mocks 'The Rahminator' And CPS 'Fat Cats' Chicagoist: The Chicago Teachers Union takes the "fat cats" to task in a faux-bedtime story cartoon featuring one particularly fat cat named The Rahminator, who "brought in a whole litterbox full of eeeevil fat cats from all over the country.

Teachers Union Mocks Mayor in Satirical 'Fat Cats' Video NBC: The Chicago Teachers Union on Monday unleashed a new tactic in its fight against public school closures: an animated satirical video that pinpoints Mayor Rahm Emanuel as the "fat cat" behind the plan.

CTU May Want Karen Lewis For Chicago Mayor NBC:  Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis, who negotiated through this summer's strike on behalf of Chicago Public Schools teachers, might also be on the list to run against Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Sources close to the CTU said the union "is going to ...


Teen injured after shots fired at school bus in Englewood CLTV: Several shots were fired at a school bus in Englewood Monday night.

Teen Shot On School Bus After Basketball Game CBS2: A teen was shot while riding a school bus after a Chicago Public Schools basketball game in the South Side Englewood neighborhood Monday evening, police said. The bus, which was transporting a basketball team following the game, ...


Latino Dropout Rate Alarms Educators CBS2: A new study is sounding the alarm about the number of dropouts from the Chicago public high schools.

Students at 17 Chicago high schools to get chance to sharpen math, English skills Sun Times:  Students at 17 Chicago public high schools will get a chance to sharpen their math and English skills, earn college credits, and reduce their college tuition costs — without ever leaving their high school classrooms.


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  • CPS SCHOOL ACTIONS HIT LIST FOR 2013-2014 SCHOOL YEAR. According to "The Black and White of Education in Chicago's Public Schools: Class, Charters & Chaos", "88% of students affected by CPS School Actions since 2001 are African-American. Schools more than 99% students of color have been the primary target of CPS school actions-representing more than 80% of all affected schools. These students face a wide range of challeges outside of school, including high levels of violence and trauma, but still expected to serve as test subjects for unproven school reform schemes. The massive school closings that have been a part of CPS' broader strategy dating back to the 1990s have drastic consequences: they tear apart school communities, disrupt deep and strong relationships between students, parents, and teachers, and dismantle organizations which are often students' only centers of stability and safety. CPS' claims about school capacity has varied significantly from year to year, increasing from 65,000 "extra seats" in 2011 to 100,000 in 2012 alone. To the extent excess capacity to talk about underutilization when it has inhabited, acquired or construted space to educate almost 50,000 additional students in the last ten years and has plans to open another 60 charter schools over the next several years." Here is the CPS school actions (closure, consolidation, reassignment boundary change, phase-out, or co-location) hit list for the 2013-2014 school year: T Marshall, Dawes, Foster Park, Joplin, Barton, Douglass HS, May, Lewis, McNair, Voise HS, Emmet, Brunson, Northwest, Belmont-Cragin, Morgan Park HS, Graham, McClellan, Drake, Burke, Robinson, Beethoven, Mollison, Carter, Attucks, Hendricks, Overton, William Middle, Bronzeville HS, Mayo, Dunbar HS, Williams ES, Wells, Avalon Park, Schmid, Neil, Ashe, Brownell, Claremont, Fairfield, Yale, Holmes, Hope HS, Wentworth, Parkman, Earle, Woods, Bontemps, Altgeld, Hendrson, Banneker, Libby, Dewey, Goodlow, Bond, Mays, Bright, Lawrence, Kohn, DuBois, Aldrige, Songhai, West Pullman, L Hughes, Whistler, Garvey, Metcalfe, Gompers, Shoop, Bennett, Owens, Manley HS, Garfield Park, Marconi, Raby HS, Beidler, Ericson, Clemente HS, Lafayette, North-Grand HS, Reavis, Kozminski, Canter, Manierre, Brentano, Darwin, Jenner, Hamline, Kelly HS, Hearst, Peabody, Lozano, Hope Contra ES, W Brown, Smyth, King, Herbert, Mason HS, Henson, Poe, Crown, Mason, Chalmers, Lawndale, Penn, Dvorak Tech Acad, Paderewski, Pilsen, Corkery, Stockton, Gale, Trumbull, Kilmer, Sullivan HS, Wildwood, Hirsch HS, Madison, Revere, Mann, Parkside, Mireles, O'Keefe, New Sullivan, J Thorp, Black, Dumas Tech Acad, Till, Ross, Wadsworth, Fermi and Hyde Park HS.

  • Dawes and Kelly are severely over crowded. What is the deal with that?

  • In reply to district299reader:

    They could be the 'reassignment boundary change' mentioned. Any help on this Retired Principal?

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Dear district299reader, both Dawes and Kelly HS are overcrowded and would be a part of the reassignment boundary change. Dawes has 1051 students with a capacity of 720 students or a 146% utilization rate. Kelly HS has 2691 students with a capacity of 1872 students or a 144% utilization rate. What does this mean? CPS would either have to build a new school in these areas or CPS will change and reassign the boundaries to decrease the utilization rate. In other words, all the students who go to these schools now would no longer be able to go there and would be sent to another school. P.S.- There are other schools on this list that are overcrowded and would be a part of the reassignment boundary changes. Thanking you in advance.

  • Why should the communities of Dawes and Kelly settle for boundary reassignment a.......just demand that CPS,the State or the Federal government build you an additional school, it is only $30 to $50 million dollars. That is what the good folks of Lincoln Park are demanding for Lincoln Elementary. You folks at Dawes have as good or better argument too, your level of overcrowding could actually fill a new school..........Lincoln has a capacity of 750 and an enrollment this year of 780. So go for it my Southwest neighbors, if Lincoln Park and Old Town don't have to settle for boundary reassignment neither should you! Oh, and did I mention that there are two magnet schools and three safe,level 1, under enrolled neighborhood schools within a mile of Lincoln. Can you say that Southwest or Southeast side neighbors?

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Durkin PKand Stevenson schools will open new buidings for more students. Owen-selective, could easily take in more neighborhood children and should.
    This would help CPS close Dawes, accept some kids would have to cross dangerous Pulaski.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    That plan doesn't work. As of last year Durkin Park and Stevenson are both over capacity by a total of 450 students. Owen is underutilized by around 100. Hampton is at capacity. 1000 kids attended Dawes last year according to CPS. Closing Dawes would mean 1300 kids would be redistributed among the four school remaining neighborhood schools putting them all well over capacity. Closing Dawes makes absolutely no sense.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Then selective Owen with 100 openings should take in students from Dawes and Durkin pk since they have too many students. At Dawes theyre in mobiles. Even with durkin pk expansion, Owen should take a fair share of neighborhood kids.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Even if Owen takes in 100 students there is still an over capacity issue in the neighborhood. It is deplorable that CPS allows mobiles to be used for years. Mobile units should just be a year to year quick fix. Some schools have had more than 8 classes permanently housed in mobiles for decades.

    Instead of opening charters schools, CPS needs to open regular schools in many overcrowded neighborhoods.

  • What do you know about the Belmont-Cragin Elementary School? This school has a branch, the Belmont-Cragin Early Childhood Center, located a mile a way from the elementary school, which educates over 360 preschool students and keeps a waiting list of over 100 students each school year. Both building are not underutilized but the elementary school is level 3 and unfortunately affects the NAEYC Accredited early childhood program. Also both building are leased, one from Catholic Archiodiosis and the other from the Greek Archiodiosis. Do you know how the BC and the BCECC are going to be affected?

  • In reply to Preschool Teacher:

    Belmont-Cragin Elementary School is overcrowded and a Level 3 school. They have 613 students with a capacity of 420 students for a utilization rate of 146%. They would be in the boundary reassignment group.

  • There has always been the confusion of the 2 buildings, it seems that CPS forgets that the students are located in two buildings. The main building, unit 26771, the BC elementary school is located at 2456 N. Mango and has the capacity for 250 K-8th students and that is the current enrollment. The branch - unit 26772, the Belmont-Cragin Early Childhood Center is located at 6041 W. Diversey, about a mile away from the main building educates 360 preschoolers during three 2 /12 hour sessions (one session runs from 3:00 - 5:30 p.m.). I don't believe that these buildings are overcrowded, it's just the way that all the students (PK - 8th) look as if they are enrolled in the main building only, this has been a constant clarification that we keep making each year.

  • Black? As in black magnet? This list is odd. RP, How confidante are you in this list?

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Black is a overcrowded and Level 3 school, which means it's on probation! Black has 476 students and a student capacity of 360 students for a utilization rate of 132%. Black is on the list, what CPS will finally do, well we shall see.

  • Which "King" school is listed? Is it the elementary school of the Near West side or King H.S.? Thanks!!

  • In reply to Original Grandma:

    Dear Original Grandma, King Elementary School.

  • Thanks RP!!

  • More lying out of CPS. More stories pointing out that CPS is lying. Rinse and repeat.

  • Why would Morgan Park High School be on the list? Would it attempt to switch to wall-to-wall IB, as floated?

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Dear district299reader, Morgan Park HS is on this list because it is underutilized and a Level 3 school. Morgan Park HS has 1449 students and a capacity for 1824 students or a utilization rate of 79%. Morgan Park HS is a Level 3 school, which means it is on probation. P.S.- In my opinion,It also doesn't help that the LSC can not get together to pick a new principal.

  • Hmmm. Morgan Park is also on controlled enrollment. Many of their excess students are sent elsewhere, to schools like Julian, for instance.

  • Hi Retired Principal,

    Any information as to which of the high schools you've listed face which action?

    Thanks in advance.

  • In reply to reform?:

    Dear reform, there will be no high schools closed in the 2013-2014 school year. The school actions taken against high schools in the 2013-2014 school year will be consolidations, reassigned boundary changes, phase-outs, co-locations and turnarounds.

  • MP is a school that is perfect for a conversion. The neighborhood needs a special school for area residents. Heard it here first.

  • In reply to sammy:

    Doesn't every neighborhood need a special school for area residents?

    What you are really saying Beverly needs a HS besides Ag that nervous white people can feel good about sending their kids to.

    Dunno how you can justify closing MP when it is not severely underutilized.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    I don't think you'll ever see any white kid attend Morgan Park HS again. I think that's just the reality.

  • fb_avatar

    The Fat Cats have landed in Chicago and they are going after our public schools, students and educators. Don't let them bully us anymore! Join the movement to save public education in Chicago.


  • In reply to JohnKugler:

    CTU releases satiric video against the 'Fat Cats' who are trying to destroy public education... Rahm's team, Rauner go crazy after CTU video hits home... Becky Carroll, paid three times more than the average teacher as CPS Mistress of Propaganda, goes off!


  • Headache 299
    The Fat Cats
    Staring Rowdy Rauner & The Litter Box Crew

    Download and print the poster at

  • CPS REMINDS FAMILIES TO EXPLORE ACADEMIC OFFERINGS AS ELEMENTARY AND HIGH SCHOOL APPLICATION PROCESS DEADLINE APPROACHES: December 11, 2012- Chicago Public Schools (CPS) reminds families that the application process for the 2013-2014 school year will close on Friday, December 14, 2014. This process allows families to apply for the District's elementary magnet and selective enrollment schools, and high school offerings including magnet, selective enrollment, International Baccalaureate (IB), military academies and career and technical education programs. P.S.- Parents, what are you to do? Will CPS take a school action against your school? Should you apply for one of these schools before the deadline on December 14, 2012? Well CPS will not tell you until March 31, 2013!

  • Frank Clark, former ComEd CEO and Mayor Rahm Emanuel's pal, who is now heading up the mayor's "independent commission" on upcoming school actions, has a Chicago charter school, Rowe-Clark Math & Science Academy, named after him. Hmmm.

  • Parents, guardians and education advocates, you are invited to be expert witnesses at the upcoming Chicago Educational Facilities Task Force meeting, Thursday, December 13, 2012 at 9:30 am at the Bilandic Building, 160 N. LaSalle, Room N-505 (State ID or Driver's License Required). The CPS 2013 school actions ignore the parent's push for a plan for all of Chicago's schools, not just the underutilized or overcrowded ones. The extention of the deadline to announce the 2013 school actions will result in a tragic number of families seeking schools during the last 3 weeks of the school year and maybe thru the summer. Remind Mayor Emanuel we need a plan for all of Chicago! Whether elementary or high school parents, community members, and most importantly LSC members who work to improve your schools or as part of your larger school communities to improve all CPS schools, now is the time to come out and share.

  • WOW!!! RP, I heard Stewart School and Courtany School were both closing. I don't see them on the list, but do see Stockton, Trumbull and Gale. What happened?

  • In reply to CPS employee/parent:

    Dear CPS employee/parent, Stewart is underutilized and a Level 2 school. Stewart has 256 students with a capacity of 630 students for a utilization rate of 41%, however, it is a Level 2 school. CPS will move first on the underutilized and Level 3 schools. Courtenay is efficient and a Level 2 school.

  • Gale is no surprise, 7 years ago Gale had 1000 students and two buildings, one brand new. I am willing to bet now they are fighting to keep 500. When I had direct knowledge of the school the families who had their acts together got their kids to the Math Science Charter. This left the kids left behind needier and needier, and since the numbers were going down services were being cut. These students could have used the best CPS had to offer and they were quite literally being left behind.

  • In reply to Traveler:

    Dear Traveler, Gale is underutilized and a Level 3 school. Gale has 513 students with a student capacity of 990 students for a utilization rate of 52%.

  • More accurately said than my comment.

  • THE WILD CARD IN CPS SCHOOL ACTIONS FOR 2013-2014: If CPS placed the principal in your school or if CPS likes your principal, there will be no school action taken against your school even if your school is underutilized and a Level 3 school. Politics is alive and well in CPS!

  • Dear Retired Principal,

    For a school like Dawes or Kelly, if the board reassigns their attendance boundaries will this action also force existing students to transfer?

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Dear district299reader, good question, I don't know.

  • 2nd WILD CARD- If your school has received large amount of capital improvement dollars and work in the last few years, you might be safe, or your school will be closed and turned over to a charter school.

  • COMMISSION ON SCHOOL UTILIZATION MEETING: Monday, December 17, 2012 at Metropolitan Apostolic Church, 4100 S. Martin Luther King Drive, Chicago, IL. 60653 from 7-9 pm.

  • If Owen takes 100 students from Dawes, that let's Dawes close about 4 classrooms that are out in the the ugly and vulnerable mobiles there. That is a good thing.

  • What is the deal with Hamline and school action? They have roughly 600 some kids, and a brand new (central office favored young principal)????

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Hamline is a underutilized and Level 3 school, which means it's on probation. Hamline has 637 students with a student capacity of 840 students with a underutilization rate of 76%. But remember Wild Card #1, if the principal was hand-picked by CPS, you might be safe.

  • Hamline has been a mess for years.

  • Dunbar is on the list? Why? If this list is true some of these choices don't make sense, and bronzeville??? Silly

  • Dunbar HS is underutilized and Level 3 school, which means it's on probation. Dunbar has 1328 students with a student capacity of 2016 students for an underutilization rate of 66%. Remember, there are several types of school actions.

  • Dunbar has been trending downward in enrollment for several years now. Also on another blog someone metioned the following about Dunbar; "

    Concerned Mom

    Children who attend CTE programs should operate at a certain aptitude for their trades. In the 2013 CPS Budget hearing it was indicated that resources from the various CTE programs at Dunbar were on the decline and various CTE Teachers had the task of trying to teach the students how to read. Currently it is filled with students from the far south side who operate below grade level and are entering Dunbar without the necessary skills to successfully complete a CTE program. If the parents want their children to have a "good start in life", they need to make sure that they learn the fundamental building blocks before they enter high school."

  • If BBB actually does "right size" the school district then the CTE programs at Dunbar will be moved to where the majority of the students are located on the far southside. Currently, the police and safety patrols escort the students at Dunbar the buses and trains in order to make sure that they leave the area after school. Maybe someone should also investigate the elementary schools that they are coming from to encourage parental involvement at homework time and the necessary tutoring to make sure they are academically on track before they enter high school.

    Dunbar's scores are similar to that of an Alternative High School.

    Prologue - Johnston Average ACT 13.5
    Prologue - Early Learning... ACT 13.9
    Youth Connection Leadership Academy Average Act 14.3
    Dunbar H.S. Average ACT 14.4

    You need a certain aptitude to sucessfully complete CTE programs. If you are 5 grades behind in school before entering high school then you really are only fit to peel potatoes. Being able to read, write, comprehend and follow directions are very necessary job skills.

  • Yes, parents need to support the school and make sure homework, attendance and behavior are priorities. However, parents rely on school personnel to tell the truth. Grade inflation is rampant in CPS.

    How many of these students reading five grades below level were retained? How many were passed along with Cs? Many parents are illiterate or are not English speaking and if their children are passing why wouldn't they assume they are on level? How many of these students were referred for special education evaluations? How many of these students in ELL were kept in the program many years past the recommended 3 year time frame?
    How many of these students should have been failed but were not because teachers were told, "Pass them all? " Where is the supplemental tutoring, early intervention or summer school? I will bet if you looked in their cum folders you would find no documentation of RtI, referrals for specialized services, failure notices, or even notes from parent meetings to address the academic issues.

    We can talk Common Core and rigor until we are blue in the face and none of it matters until we address the fact that our children need to read and read well when they enter third grade.

    Now we are expecting teachers to design curriculum and assessment-why? The curriculum in many schools is already dumbed down...look at the textbooks we use and compare them to ones used 10 or 20 years ago.


  • Yes, many of the students need their skill gaps addressed and out of frustration for what I saw going on in certain schools in Bronzeville, I decided to share my ideas with CPS from the perspective of a parent. I also did not get a response at all. Nevertheless, this is a portion of my letter:

    September 11, 2012
    To: CEO Brizard, Oliver Sicat, Patrick Payne, CPS Board Members
    RE: Your Support in the Innovative Transformation of the National Teachers Academy
    at 55 W. Cermak Rd. as a resource to Douglas Community students and families.

    “Per our conversation with Patrick Payne last week, after he called for feedback regarding the National Teachers Academy, we are submitting a more detailed vision of the educational services we feel NTA should provide to the Douglas Community. Douglas usage for the National Teachers Academy is severely needed. NTA needs to be a crucial element in strengthening social and academic skills needed for Bronzeville children in the sections of Wards 2, 3, and 4 from 25th street to 40th, from the lakefront to Wentworth. Our children need to get a great start in building the foundation for learning from birth to kindergarten and beyond. NTA should not become a Regional Gifted Center.
    NTA should remain a Teacher Training Facility to specifically provide the following services;

    A. The Facility should be used as a testing and evaluation center for elementary and preschool children
    with learning disabilities. These referrals would be made by teachers from the schools within the
    designated boundaries by referral appointments to NTA. There would be a Special Needs
    Psychological staff area that special education teachers in our schools use to address parents needs
    to evaluate their children for learning disabilities.

    B. There would be a medical facility in NTA that tests the students for lead and other toxic substances
    that may inhibit learning and recommend and provide treatments. There should be a dietician onsite
    who can make nutrition recommendations. A vision and hearing center should also be onsite to
    provide services to schools whose teacher deems it urgent for a student to have eyeglasses.

    C. Free tutoring in the Core Curriculum could be provided to students who are in pre-K to 3rd grade
    and struggling academically in school. The student referrals for assistance could be made by
    the teachers at their schools, with agreed upon referral dates to meet with NTA for a consultation.

    D. National Teachers Academy is a resource that Bronzeville parents need to access to prepare our
    children from birth to 5 years old for kindergarten. NTA could evaluate all the children in Douglas
    before 3rd grade enrollment to determine where the 3rd graders would best fit in terms of their
    academic pace in Douglas schools before 3rd grade benchmark testing. Top students that would
    actually qualify for a Classical Program or RGC would be sent to a school in Douglas called Pershing
    West that would have a component for Classical or Gifted students. The recommendation would be
    given directly to the parents so that the students could enroll in a school that better matches their
    skill set. NTA school should have a preschool program to primarily service Douglas families in the
    Bronzeville boundaries indicated above from 6 months to 5 years old, to not only follow the
    development of the students but to also assess the level of involvement that each parent has with
    their children. This way a proper assessment as to which school the child should be placed in for
    kindergarten, is a more accurate placement.

    E. Summer programs should be provided at NTA, allowing it to provide a positive and nurturing
    environment that our children could benefit from. There could be a mixture of maintaining and
    building core skills along with fieldtrips to expand their horizons. This would allow the students to
    see the world outside of their segregated communities. Swimming lessons and the Performing Arts
    should also be provided in the curriculum.

    F. An educational consulting center area should also be inside of NTA. The sole purpose of this center
    would be to educate families in Douglas via CAN TV, videos and parent forums. Individual family
    consultations for young mother’s in order to educate them on how to assist their children from home
    at every stage of the development cycle from birth to 3rd grade, could also be provided. Parents need
    to be aware of how important they are in assisting their children on a daily basis from home and how
    this compliments the teacher’s efforts in the classroom.

    In a FOIA document that we have from CPS dated July 14, 2004, From Sarah Thompson (Freedom of Information Officer) it states that $38,000,000 of the Bronzeville TIF was used to build the National Teachers Academy. The total cost of the school was $47,000,000, so actually 99% of the funding came from the taxpayers in Bronzeville from 25th – 40th in wards 2, 3, 4. Therefore, we own 99% of this school. NTA should be a resource to mothers in Bronzeville who need it. Therefore, teachers in Douglas schools, along with NTA, should canvass our community to provide the necessary referrals to assist our students and families in achieving increased academic success from birth and beyond.
    The National Teachers Academy should be a pioneer in determining academic outcomes for the children of the Douglas Community. It is time for NTA to follow its mission of becoming a Teacher Training Facility in every since of the word and at the same time provide this service to the tax payer region that funded the construction of this school, specifically Douglas Community. It is also time for CPS to think innovatively in terms of addressing the underserved school children in Douglas. We need CPS to give our schools a “bump” in academic performance in order to address our desire for stellar “Blue Ribbon” schools. The supports at NTA that we suggested would assist in making this dream a reality. This is true school reform at its finest, meeting the needs of all children in Douglas, including the academically talented that are currently underserved! This is why we are requesting a Classical School or RGC at Pershing West. We already have a neighborhood component in our school that addresses all attendance area children from average to below, but we are lacking a component that addresses the needs of the gifted and talented, so they can walk to school as well!


    Original Grandma (Of course I gave my real name LOL)”

  • In reply to Original Grandma:

    I forgot to mention that I made this appeal twice and it was some time later that NTA was made a RGC.

  • ...

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