A letter to parents who want their child to go to a CPS selective enrollment high school

Dear Potential CPS SEHS Parent,

I am writing to inform you that the CPS selective enrollment high schools (SEHS) are supposed to prepare your children for college. Many of you don't understand that. College is not easy, it's a lot of hard work and many of you seem to have forgotten your college years. The selective enrollment high schools provide students with a rigorous and challenging curriculum because they want to prepare your child for college.

Please stop watering down the education at elementary schools. You are watering down elementary schools by complaining about tough grading scales, too much homework and too many projects. You also need to stop complaining when your child has multiple things due at the same time. Elementary schools prepare children for high school and high schools prepare children for college. If you keep removing the tough aspects of elementary schools, how do you expect your child to be prepared for high school?

In recent weeks, I have heard various stories about students having anxiety attacks and mental melt downs from the stress of school. I honestly believe that some students have not been challenged or have not faced disappointment. This comes from parents coddling their children too much. There are parents who blame the teacher when their child gets a low score on a test instead of making the child accept the responsibility. Some parents have complained so much at the elementary school level that these children are not properly prepared for the tough work in high school.

You want your child to attend a CPS selective enrollment high school but some of you have no appreciation for how they get the results that you are so impressed with. Their graduation and college acceptance rates don't happen by providing children with a mediocre education. Selective enrollment high schools prepare students to compete globally. When you consider the low standards (40% passing for the ISAT and 24% for the NWEA) that are set by CPS, this is no small feat.

When your child graduates from a CPS selective enrollment high school, he or she will be prepared to succeed in college. It is your job to provide whatever support your child needs to succeed in a selective enrollment high school. Support does not mean trying to get the school to change it's policies and curriculum to accommodate your child. You can provide emotional support and educational support. Your child may need some words of encouragement for the first time. Your child may need a tutor for the first time. This is nothing to be embarrassed about.

Prepare yourself and your child if you want him/her to go to a CPS selective enrollment high school. Inform your child that he/she is going to be challenged. They may receive their first ever "B" or "C" in life and that it is not the end of the world. Make sure that your child knows that it is ok to ask for help. If your child is truthfully (there are students who should not be at a SEHS) smart enough to get into a selective enrollment school, then they are smart enough to handle any work that is given.

There are many parts of life that are hard. Consider studying at a CPS selective enrollment high school one of them. A little or even a lot of hard work is not going to kill your child.  When we go through hard times in life, we come out stronger.



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