An Arts Charter For Rogers Park?

Today's education news:  King College Prep student murder goes national.  School closures get civil rights challenge in DC. Arts-based Orange School presses on Rogers Park location after winning Board approval (Tim Furman does not approve!).  The switch to Google mail went smoothly because of communication, says CPS. 


South Side high school mourns loss of student WBEZ: Students trickled into King College Prep High School on the South Side Wednesday morning—some in tears, others seemingly in shock.

Fatal shooting of 15-year-old turns national spotlight on Chicago Sun Times: President Barack Obama and the first lady are praying for the family of Hadiya Pendleton, the 15-year-old girl who attended the president’s inauguration and was fatally shot Tuesday, and Mayor Rahm Emanuel urged anyone with information in the case to come forward.

With 42 homicides, Chicago sees most violent January in 11 years Yahoo News: One month into the new year Chicago has already set an ignominious record for homicides.

Chicago Girl’s Shooting Death Jolts City and Touches Capital NYT: Hadiya Pendleton, 15, had performed with her school’s majorette team at an inaugural event for President Obama.

Security Shares Spotlight at High School Game ;NYT: A shooting that left a 17-year-old boy dead after a recent game cast a pall over a highly anticipated high school basketball matchup in Chicago.


Chicago school closings being investigated WBEZ: National education officials are investigating how Chicago Public Schools has handled closing schools in recent years. A spokesman for the U.S. Department of Education confirmed Tuesday that CPS is one of six urban school districts being investigated by the department’s Office of Civil Rights.

I’ve Seen Better Organized Riots CPS Chatter: I went to one of the many school closing hearings being held throughout the city.  It was extremely troubling.  To begin with, they didn’t make the sheet to sign up to speak accessible or explain what it was.  Most people who signed up thought they were signing in, not signing up to speak.  As a result, maybe 1 out of ever 3 or 4 people who were called spoke.


Founder of Arts-Based Charter School Eyes Rogers Park, Despite Resistance DNAI: The art-focused charter school was approved last week, but is meeting stiff resistance in Rogers Park.

New Jones College Prep in South Loop under construction ChicagoTalks: Jones College Prep, located at Harrison and State streets in the South Loop, is under construction. The new $150 million school building is scheduled to open this fall and will offer state-of-the-art technology. Jones Prep is a limited-enrollment school.

Search for New Principal at LaSalle II School Begins with a Job Posting DNAI: A retired principal took the reins of a Wicker Park School Friday and will serve as an interim leader.


Chicago Public Schools Says Communication Was Key to Successful Google ... T.H.E. Journal: Strong communication and well-planned training were behind the success of the recent rollout of Google Apps for Education across 681 schools in Chicago Public Schools (CPS), according to Lachlan Tidmarsh, chief information officer for CPS.



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  • Oh, yea. The north side needs more arts education opportunities while the south and west side students die a slow death.

  • For real?!
    School chief calling in the Marine to help in school closings
    BY LAUREN FITZPATRICK Education Reporter January 29, 2013 7:56PM

    "Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett is so concerned about the transfer of students in the upcoming school closing process she’s leaning on a retired Marine colonel who once quietly sorted out a prisoner exchange in the wake of war in Kosovo to figure it out.

    "Some in Chicago might point to warring factions in this battle over public schools. And gang borders likely will be crossed when children from schools to be closed are sent elsewhere. And all must be decided and carried out in the months leading up to Aug. 26, the first day of school..."

  • In reply to district299reader:

    This becomes more depressing each day. While on paper our area has a total of 7 level 3 schools in less than a one mile radius, but the gang boarders are unbelievable!!
    My students tell me how they can't walk on streets 3 blocks away because its a different" gang". We've had several shootings (that never made the news) and an 8th grade student who killed a rival (did make the news) that refelcts how significant a few blocks are in real life. I feel so sad for my students if we are moved, we as teachers will drive to the new bldg, they will have to walk it....everyday. Sad beyond words.

  • Thanks to Alexander for posting the link to Benjamin Woodard's excellent and balanced article on the proposed Orange charter school. Since Mr. Frede is considering in addition of Rogers Park, Uptown where I live, as a possible site for the charter school I have a direct stake in this proposal.

    The Orange charter school vision is a wonderful one and for some learners this vision will no doubt work, including some students with disabilities. But the problem with this school's vision of locating on the north side is its lack of attraction for upper income families who are more and more becoming dominant in the areas Orange charter is targeting.

    Latin School, Parker, the British School, Near North Montessori, and Rogers Park Montessori (no longer in Rogers Park by the way) all have strong Arts programming. The full time tuition at Rogers Park Montessori for an elementary school student ranges from $13,000 to $15,100 plus fees. These schools are not out of the price range for many of the newer residents with young families of the areas Orange is considering moving into. The mission of charter schools under the Illinois Charter School Act is to educate under privileged students, and these students are becoming every day in both Rogers Park and Uptown more and more of an endangered species.

    Just three elementary schools located around me will demonstrate what I mean. Goudy, Trumbull, and Stockton, are the examples I will use, but I could have picked others if I wanted to. In 1998 Trumbull had 620 low income students in attendance and by 2012 it had only 342, a decline of 45%. Goudy in 1998 had 857 low income students and by 2012 the school had 757 low income students, a decline of 12%. Stockton in 1998 had 664 low income students and in 2012 the school had 417 students, a decline of 37%. In all three cases the 1998 percentage of students who were low income in the school and the 2012 percentage were virtually the same. This means that low income students are not being replaced by non-low income students, but rather the low income students are just disappearing from the intake areas.

    It's called gentrification and this is what happens unless the higher income families decide to take ownership of the elementary schools, which at least in Uptown simply is not taking place. It's not happening because many of the housing units where poorer families lived are being replaced by very expensive units owned by households without children or with enough money to attend very good private schools like the ones I have noted.

    I honestly don't see the point of opening a charter school where the children will have to be imported from low income communities outside of either Uptown or Rogers Park. If Orange wants to build a charter school for upper income families that will also attract a minority of low income children that would be a realistic venture, but I suspect legally impossible because how could the school keep the low income kids from becoming the majority? Because if this school is a majority low income students it will not attract higher income families in mass. I would also suggest that this is not the vision of Orange Charter or the intent of the CPS Board in relation to this charter proposal.

    Rod Estvan

  • Rod,

    I love your analysis on CPS stuff.

    However, I must disagree that "the mission" of charter schools under the Illinois Charter School Act is to serve under privileged populations. There is certainly a special emphasis on at-risk kids, but the purpose is to serve ALL pupils. (105 ILCS 5/27A-2(b).)

    At least here on the NW side, there are a lot of middle-income families who are neither low-income nor can afford Latin, Parker, or RPMS. And, many of us have overcrowded and/or low-performing neighborhood schools (many of which shun parental involvement and have no interest in recruiting middle class families). So, families travel great distances to lottery schools (there are very few on the NW side), go parochial, or move. Many also go to CICS-IP, which has provided a real alternative for some.

    Perhaps your comments are particular to Rogers Park, but I think quality schools can attract families across the economic spectrum.
    CICS-IP seems to have no problem attracting middle- and upper-middle class families, but is still over 50% low income.

    If it's not workable in RP, perhaps Orange School can consider some of the areas of the NW side (Old Irving?) with many over-crowded and/or low-performing schools (the latter of which often have zero interest in recruiting middle-class families or families who want to be involved in the school.) Of course, the issue here is space.

  • In reply to NWsider:

    The northwest side is not the lake front and the dynamics are very different down where I live. The younger families that are staying in the City closer to the lake are not all worth millions, but paying $15,000 a year for elementary school is possible for many of them. If not, many leave the city once they have children. It happens all the time on my block which is three blocks west of the lake.

    The CICS-IP school you cite has one of the highest percentages of non-low income students of any charter in the city and it is still 69.4% low income according to ISBE. That will not work for many of these families I am discussing. As I said when a school is over 50% low income many of these families are heading for the doors.

    A school like LaSalle Elem Language Academy with about 25% low income students, Nettelhorst Elem School with about 26% low income, or Blaine with 20% low income is more than reasonably diverse for many of these families. CICS-IP relatively speaking simply has too many poor kids for these families to feel comfortable sending their primary aged elementary school children too. By the way I don't think this is about race, its about social class in my opinion.

    Rod Estvan

  • for me, the questions are (a) whether charter schools are only meant for low-income, minority communities -- they're not, in my opinion -- and (b) whether it's appropriate to try and make decisions for others about whether they "deserve" a public school option that suits their needs.

    there are lots of ways to ensure economic diversity at a school that appeals to better-off families.

    there's an argument to be made that the collective good might be better served by working with the existing schools, but the reality is that doing so isn't easy or quick -- see ravenswood or pulaski for reminders of this -- and creating a new school is an understandable if imperfect approach.

  • In reply to Alexander Russo:

    I am not trying to be snide here Alexander, but I am not sure there are "lots of ways to ensure economic diversity at a school that appeals to better-off families." Just making a school outstanding academically will not overcome the social class barriers at the elementary school level. The only way in Chicago we have been able to do this is to create admissions rules based on income diversity and place that school in a middle class community, charter schools have an open admissions requirement with a lottery if necessary. Alexander you grew up on the Northside and your family sent you to a private school. At that time the local elementary schools in your community had far more low income children in them than they do now, it was a choice you family made and many families with higher incomes are making in Uptown where I live now.

    I think it's somewhat different at the high school level. But none the less the two highest achieving CPS high schools in Chicago Payton (32.4% low income) and Northside (35.9%) have relatively high numbers of students above the low income line even with income level admissions requirements. Lane Tech which for many years now has had a population of approximately 60-61% low income students has been able to attract a reasonable number of kids above the low income line, as has Lincoln Park which is at 50-58% low income over the last 14 years, Jones is at about 49% low income but once was as high as 75% before it became selective.

    But it's interesting that Noble Street charters as a whole are 89.5% low income, and that network's original campus which is located in a gentrified neighborhood is 91.5% low income. Noble Street Charter - Rauner which is primarily Hispanic and 86.5% low income is located at 1337 W. Ohio St. in what is now a hot real estate neighborhood where the average sale price is $475,768 for condos.

    I don't think there is any question that Noble Street provides a reasonable education for its students, but it's also clear that the perception of higher income families is that these charter schools are not an option.

    Parents above the poverty line on the Northside are effectively at the elementary school level clustering their children in schools with higher numbers of similarly economically situated students. There are exceptions to this at schools like Newberry which has slightly over 58% low income students, but generally this is the pattern.

    One big factor in the economic segregation of students in Chicago at the elementary school level in particular is the well founded fear of the middle and upper class of violence that a common denominator with poverty. The vast majority of murders in Chicago involve individuals living in poor communities or who are around low income individuals. The best way to inoculate higher income children from the pervasive violence in our city is to reduce their association with lower income communities and poorer families when they are young. That isn't nice is it but isn't that understandable?

    After what happened to the King Prep student Hadiya Pendleton who was the child of middle class college graduates (Western IL University) I have to wonder if African-American middle class families aren't going to be bailing out of the city even faster than they have been over the last ten years. The reality is King Prep even though its academically strong with an average ACT score above 20, is still also a high poverty school with 74.1% of its students being low income. As President Lewis so effectively stated all Hadiya did was: "She went to the park with some friends. That’s what kids do."

    The reality is that while the kids with Hadiya were not gang members, but just being around poorer kids creates danger.
    One report on this horrible killing included this: "LaTosha Fleming said her daughter, Chynna, cried all night Tuesday. It's difficult to comfort her, Fleming, 45, a paralegal, said. I just hugged her and told her it would be OK. Fleming's family had recently moved from Naperville and this was her daughter's first year at the school, she said, but that she is already considering moving them again." In a city like Chicago middle class parents have reason to fear having their children associate with lower income kids and it's very sad for the future of our city.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    November 13, 2012 (CHICAGO) (WLS) -- Chicago police and family members are searching for answers in the shooting death of a 16-year-old Morgan Park High School student.

    Taylor Fitting, 16, was shot and killed at 112th Street and Normal in Chicago's Roseland neighborhood at approximately 9:30 p.m. Monday, according to authorities.

    Fitting was a freshman at Morgan Park. She suffered a gunshot wound to the head.

    Police say someone dropped Fitting off at Roseland Community Hospital without talking to them. According to the Cook County Medical Examiner's office, the girl was then transferred to Advocate Christ Medical Center in southwest suburban Oak Lawn, where she was pronounced dead just before midnight.

    Investigators say they are trying to figure out who took her to the hospital and who shot her.

    Fitting's grandmother, Susan Tranchita, said authorities watched videos from the hospital of someone dropping Fitting off, putting her in a wheel chair and pushing her into the door. The person then turned around and left.

    "She was my baby. She was my only grandchild," an emotional Tranchita told ABC7.

    Fitting lived with Tranchita in the city's Beverly neighborhood. Tranchita said her granddaughter left the house with friends Monday night and never returned.

    Tranchita said she has heard bits of what happened from the friends who were with Taylor. She said as the car was passing a group of people standing on the street, someone fired into the car.

    Chicago Police Area South detectives are working the case, but say they only have preliminary information so far. Family and friends say police have taken a car into evidence.

    "I mean it was an all black car, all black tinted windows. So, I mean, if you're going in a gang area -- I mean, I think she was just there at the wrong time," the victim's boyfriend Gabriel Forgue said.

    Tranchita said Fitting was notorious for skipping school, which held her back a year, but was a good kid and a loyal friend who had dreams of becoming a photographer.

    Taylor's death has stunned Kayla Lewis, who says they were best friends, although they had a falling out because Taylor began hanging with a questionable crowd.

    "She was not a bad person but she did hang around people who do tend to do bad, risky, dangerous things," said Lewis.

    A $1,000 reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest.

    (Copyright ©2013 WLS-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

  • Few families want their minors to attend a school in which the student will be an extreme minority on race or class, unless the cost-benefit shows the student will gain a "better education" at the school than at an alternative. At least, that's what I've seen in Chicago and CPS.

  • Maintaining economic diversity is extremely difficult. When my son entered Burley (he is now a senior) the school was over 70% low income. Three middle class professional families came to Burley that year. Now Burley is under 25% low income.

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