CPS Levels Playing Field in Testing for SEHS: Nonpublic Schools Angry

CPS has made some changes that have made catholic and private school parents upset.  These changes were long over due.  First, they are making sure that students from these schools do not take their standardized tests multiple times.  Yes, that's right, some students were taking their standardized tests multiple times and submitting the higher score to CPS.  Most recently, CPS went a step further and they are requiring everyone to take the same standardized test.  Hallelujah!

CPS selective enrollment high school (SEHS) testing should have always been on equal footing.  The nonpublic schools had multiple choices of standardized tests to take and CPS students had only one choice.  This was not fair.  Everyone should be required to take the same test.

Why is everyone's panties in a bunch?  I hope it's just due to the timing of the announcement.  That is the only reason that anyone should be upset.  CPS should have made this decision sooner.  After all, I met with David Vitale in December to address this issue and he agreed with me.  I am happy to take full responsibility for the unhappiness of the catholic and private school families.  This change should have been made a long time ago.

I told Mr. Vitale that the nonpublic school students had an advantage over CPS students because some of them were taking their standardized tests multiple times.  I also told him that everyone should take the same test.  By accepting different standardized tests, you are comparing apples to oranges, instead of apples to apples.

Sister Mary Paul McCaughey, the superintendent of Chicago Catholic schools sent a letter to the district and Mayor Rahm Emmanuel expressing her displeasure with the new policy.

“The denial of access and discrimination are blatant and appear designed to single out nonpublic students who may wish to attend a selective enrollment school,” McCaughey wrote.

CPS is requiring everyone to take the same test.  How is that discrimination?  Their system, their rules. Catholic schools give admission preference to students who are catholic, now that is discrimination.  Private schools have legacy admission preferences, now that is also discrimination.

"McCaughey asked that Chicago Catholic Schools students be exempt from the NWEA MAP requirement for at least a year. She also requested that the district pay for the NWEA MAP test to be administered at nonpublic schools, so that students can take the exam in their own classrooms like their CPS peers."

So let me get this straight, the catholic school students want to attend a Chicago Public School and they want us to pay for them to be able to take a test (that is required for admission) in the comfort of their own school. No, Sis McCaughey you don't make the rules in CPS. I think Sis McCaughey had too much communion wine.

Nonpublic schools use their CPS selective enrollment high school admissions as a marketing tool.  I've seen their ads state what percentage of their graduates gain admission into CPS SEHS. It's to their advantage to help their students gain admission.  My neighbor admitted to me that his daughter was going to re-take her standardized test because her current score was not going to be high enough for her to get into Jones College Prep.

A parent was complaining to me recently, about how it was unfair that her daughter got 2 "Bs" in 7th grade and she didn't get into a SEHS.  She then told me that was the reason she rented a studio apartment in Lincoln Park to get her daughter into Lincoln Park High School.

If you were to read the cpsobessed blog comments, you will encounter the whining and complaining from nonpublic school parents.  The entitlement will make you ill.  These parents talk about how they will rent an apartment (and never live in it) in a tier one neighborhood so that their child will have a better chance of gaining admission into certain SEHSs.

The parents talked about how they told their children that the first standardized test was just a practice test.  They were devastated when the rules were changed and only the first test would count towards their SEHS admission. These parents talk like it's the end of the world because they child got into their third or fourth choice SEHS.

They don't consider the tens of thousands of students that didn't get into any selective enrollment high school.  My daughter had a score of 600 points prior to the admissions exam (the most points possible) and we talked about the importance of being able to accept any school.  It's obvious to me that these parents help their children focus on one school and they don't know how to handle it when they don't get what they want.

Parents need to understand, that it is a privilege, not a right to go to a selective enrollment high school. If your child did not have the grades or test scores needed to gain admission, then they have not earned that privilege.  Are they going to try and circumvent the rules to gain admission into Harvard or Princeton?

I think that CPS is heading in the right direction to make this a fair process for everyone.  Now if they can find the resources to crack down on the people skirting the residency rules.


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