White Kids, CPS Schools

Today’s education news includes a bit more about the IB expansion announcement that came out on Friday — check two posts down for lots of links and commentary about that — and a variety of other tidbits (re Fenger, ISAT cheating, etc).  But the most interesting stories to me are the Crain’s feature on middle-class parents “trapped” in CPS by their mortgages and the generally positive pressures that’s put on elementary schools in particular, combined with the somewhat pleading tone of Mayor Emanuel’s entreaty to parents not to leave CPS when their kids reach school age. According to Crain’s, 5-10,000 folks a year are staying in Chicago due to the real estate collapse, stabilizing CPS enrollment.  There’s been a 50 percent increase in elementary SE applications.

Parents face questions about city schools Crain’s Chicago Business:  So they are now trying to make it work” in city schools, says Christine Whitley, an education consultant who helps families through the Chicago Public Schools selection process. “They bought their condo way before they had kids and didn’t really factor .

Rahm Emanuel to middle class: Don’t leave for better schools Sun Times: Mayor Rahm Emanuel has a message to the middle class: Don’t leave my city in pursuit of a high-quality, high school education for your kids. “Don’t head for the doors when your kid’s in fifth grade or sixth grade — for the suburbs — because the city of Chicago is going to give you a high-quality life with a high-quality education for your children,” he told the Sun-Times. ALSO : Emanuel says community must join fight against gangs Tribune.

Oak Park principal resigns after students given extra time on ISATs Sun Times:  The principal of an Oak Park school resigned this week after teachers reviewed completed standardized test booklets, erased stray marks and gave students extra time to complete the missing answers —all apparent violations of state testing rules.

In 1933, Chicago’s ‘irritable teachers’ fought city to get paid WBEZ: Think the Chicago Public Schools have problems today? Think the teachers are treated unfairly? Go back to 1933.

CPS inspector general calls for zero-tolerance ban on vendor gifts for employees Tribune: “A very strict ban might in some ways restrict the city’s ability to do business,” Rollert said. “You’re suggesting that people can be so little trusted to look after the interests of the state that they have to be over-regulated.”

Fenger High School celebrates Peace Week Tribune:   Last week was Peace Week at Fenger High School. This week is spring break. Principal Elizabeth Dozier told me that students hold the event the week before vacation because they think it has a calming effect during the time off. ALSO Fenger High School – a model for CPS CMW.

CPS Students Show Off Scientific Wits Fox: Some of Chicago Public Schools brightest students are showing off their scientific wits.

McGrath: Charter schools squeeze wallets, kids’ futures SouthtownStar: Nonetheless, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the school board continue to allow Noble Network to extort Chicago’s schoolchildren and their parents in his undeclared war against the Chicago Teachers Union and its roughly 21000 members.


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  • A little off topic here, but.....Maybe if Rahm stopped his CPS principals from pissing away money than there would be more money left for the sorely needed programs.

    Case in point, on Friday March 9, 2012, Prosser Career Academy High School's principal Kenneth Hunter threw a 'catered' birthday party for himself. The bill for the party was over $500 and was paid for out of Prosser's discretionary fund from the school budget.

    Hunter invited only his asskissers to the party during 7th and 8th periods during the school day with 3-4 of the teachers leaving their classes unmonitored for lengths of time to attend the party.

    Here's the big thing here: Princpal Hunter normally makes Prosser's culinary arts students put out a spread for visiting dignitaries and takes it out of their budget. But, for his own birthday party, Hunter wanted good food to celebrate on the taxpayers dime.

  • What I can't get over is the nerve of Rahm to tell Chicago parents to embrace CPS, stay in the city, let the wondrous riches of CPS enhance your children, even though he himself does not follow his own pleadings. I want him to say that speech in a mirror.

    He wants all CPS children, regardless of the rigor of their schools, to go to school for 7.5 hours a day, even kindergarteners, although his children keep nowhere near those hours at their school.

    By the way, I'm a happy CPS parent, precisely the kind that he doesn't want heading for the burbs. I just hate hypocrisy.

  • In reply to Julie:

    He has legitimate security concerns for his children that are better controlled at a private school. If we elect you mayor you would find the most secure environment for your children.

  • In reply to Donn:

    The hypocrisy isn't that he sends his own children to private school but rather that he isn't concerned with trying to provide high quality and developmentally appropriate programs for children in neighborhood public schools.

  • In reply to Donn:

    Did anyone read Julie's post? She is talking about the length of the day. Rahms can send his kids to the moon if he wants to, but he continues to tout an adult work day for everyone's kids but his own.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    You're right.
    But I assume 7.5 is a negotiating position, and the real day will be something less.
    Is there any objection to a 6.5 day (beyond teachers pay)?

  • In reply to Donn:

    Donn, I hope your assumption is correct, but there has already been a tremendous amount of planning, hours, and money invested in this longest day deal. Like you, I thought it was a negotiating ploy at first, but have changed my mind in the last couple of months. If Rahm had bothered to actually talk to teachers, I think he would have found most of them happy to go with 6.5, which is the national average.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Oh, that would be nothing new. CPS spent a great deal of time and money on a new e-mail and digital collaboration system - and then scrapped it at the last minute.

    My entire network spent 18 months creating detailed and extensive curriculum maps in all subject areas - and then scrapped it all.

    High School Transformation was in overdrive for a few years and cost gobs of money before it, too, was suddenly halted.

    There is a long and storied track record of CPS investing significant resources (both time, money, and human capital) into pet projects du jour only to have the plug pulled before long.

    Not that this should come as a surprise to anyone. There have been four CEOs in three years and more area officers/network chiefs than I can keep track of. I'm feeling luck that I'm only on my 5th principal in 3 years.

    Most would view this sort of instability as a bad thing. Not so, CPS. CPS actually values churn and their policies are creating more and more of it, especially at the bottom of the food chain among teachers and in-school staff.

    I really don't get it.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    CPS' new mantra is "churn til we burn" and no where it is more apparent than in OSES/Specialized Services. Last Monday OSES sponsored a Common Core/IEP conference at the Gleacher Center. Our presenter had a standard response to each goal that was written and that was "that's wonderful" accompanied by a goofy smile. Quite frankly, some of the goals were awful and this poor SSA didn't have a clue. The other SSA who was in our room sat in the back and nodded off not even raising her head at all of the "that's wonderfuls". The presenters did not have enough handouts so teachers had to share. All handouts were collected so we could not even share them with our colleagues back at school.
    If the point of this was to disseminte information it was an abyssmal failure and a very poor reflection of OSES leadership. Actually, I was embarrassed and am very conflicted about my future in CPS.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Unfortunately, there is no leadership in CPS. I am in an area/ cluster rife with incompetent SSAs. This is has been gong on for several years.....special education teachers are being told to teach less and spend time writing voluminous IEPs...no one cares about eh students.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    To “I really don’t get it.”

    Michael Fullan on Christmas Tree Schools:

    “In schools that are improving, teachers are more likely to say that, once a program has begun, there is follow-up to make sure it is working and there is real continuity from one program to another. . . .In our earlier research, we dubbed schools with high levels of incoherence "Christmas tree schools." Such schools were well-known showcases because of the variety of programs they boasted. Frequently, however, these programs were uncoordinated and perhaps even philosophically inconsistent.”

    So you might say that CPS is a Christmas tree district - the problem are felt where the baubles end but start where the Tree Topper begins.

    Begin your investigation at the CPS Department of Procurement, but remember

    “Procurements of $10,001.00 or more for biddable goods or services and for $25,001.00 or more for non-biddable goods or services, per supplier, per CPS unit, per fiscal year, must be reported to and approved by the Board of Education”

  • It is not the teachers that the middle class is worried about when they send their children to a CPS school. It is the other students. Parents do not mind 1 or 2 students who are disruptive or who stuggle but when 5 or 6 students are disruptive or struggle academically, it changes the whole dynamic of the classroom. Students who have been read to, given enrichment and live in healthy homes will do well in school and the teacher can handle the classroom. Teachers can do many creative lesson with students who can learn and do not have stress and anxiety in their lives daily. That's what I looked for when I sent my child to a magnet school. This year he graduates from Whitney Young.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Thank you for stating the problem correctly. Finally, someone understands. :) Now, look at the "failing" neighborhood schools to see how many of the students are disruptive in a classroom. It is not unheard of to see over half of them. And, from what I understand, it is starting earlier and earlier. A visiting lady told me that the elementary near my high school was utter chaos when she was there and that she was terrified in my school. Crazy stuff we deal with. :(

  • Chicago academics warn against using student test scores to rate teachers | WBEZ http://ow.ly/9TESF

  • In reply to Alexander Russo:

    Well now, great. Rahm is going to run with this because no one has the right to warn him about anything. Darnitalltopeices. LOL

  • Crain's article by John Pletz that Alexander posted to prompt some discussion was actually a very good documentation of what may seem obvious to those of us who live in gentrified areas south of the loop, similar areas on the near west side, and most of the north side; that young middle class families can't sell their condos or town houses without taking a big hit and are forced to send their children to schools in the city. But the article is short on data.

    For example we read: "The total number of people staying in the city who otherwise would have moved isn't huge: perhaps 5,000 to 10,000 a year over the past few years. But it's a big change in the trend line: CPS enrollment dropped significantly in the middle of the last decade but largely has been stable at about 400,000 since 2007-08, when the recession hit." Now while not all of these families discussed in this article are white, clearly the majority are. Therefore, statically speaking we should be seeing an increase in the white CPS enrollment over the past few years. Using ISBE report card data here is what we see for CPS for white enrollment:
    2005 - 36,157
    2006 - 32,939
    2007 - 32,390
    2008 - 31,605
    2009 - 35,996
    2010 - 36,818
    2011 - 34,320

    Another way to examine this issue is to look at the count of CPS students who are above the poverty line because unless all of these middle class families are cheating and getting free or reduced lunch we should see some statistical evidence for John Pletz's argument. Here is the ISBE report card data for CPS in terms of students who are not considered to be low income:
    2005 - 59,988
    2006 - 56,640
    2007 - 58,927
    2008 - 62,449
    2009 - 67,903
    2010 - 52,597
    2011 - 56,527

    I can't see any clear statistical evidence in either of these data sets for Mr. Pletz's argument. Which also doesn't mean he isn't correct, but it does raise some concerns for me. Clearly, the non-low income percentage is impacted by more than just the middle class families his article focuses on, it also includes working class families some of whom were effectively wiped out by the economic downturn and thrown into the low income status.
    I thought the data that Mr. Pletz presented on the decline movement from Cook county to DuPage, Kane, Lake, Will, McHenry, and Kane counties was very interesting, but it fails to acknowledge that there are towns in suburban Cook county that are experiencing racial change and there has been white flight to collar counties too. I have attached a link to a study of suburban white in Cook county [http://www.iwu.edu/economics/PPE18/2Haines.pdf ] that discusses that reality. So in my opinion this data does not actually fully support Mr. Pletz's argument either.

    Mr. Pletz adds in a discussion of a growth in Catholic school enrollment in the city he writes: "Parochial schools are benefiting, too. Enrollment at Catholic elementary schools in Chicago is up in each of the past two school years, the first time that's happened since 1965. Suburban enrollment fell by 5.3 percent over two years, according to the Archdiocese of Chicago, mirroring a national decline in Catholic school enrollment." I have to assume he is correct about this, but how much growth are we talking about here, Mr. Pletz doesn't provide exact data. The bar chart on Catholic School enrollment included in the article is only for elementary schools and it shows that the 2011 enrollment does not even equal the enrollment in Catholic elementary schools in Chicago for 2008.

    If things were going all that great would St. Scholastica be closing this year? Enrollment at St. Scholastica, dropped from more than 1,000 students in the 1980s to just 147 this year.
    The slide at St. Scholastica has come as CPS created more selective high schools and as some boys Catholic schools like Gordon Tech have gone co-ed. But Gordon Tech went co-ed in 2002 because its enrollment had significantly declined over the prior decade. The last data I saw for Gordon Tech was that it had about 650 students, the building was built for far more than that and Gordon Tech’s North Wing its most modern part is leased to a performing arts group, a neighboring college and the Archdiocese of Chicago. I honestly don't see much here to support Mr. Pletz's argument either.

    I thought Mr. Pletz's argument that increased enrollments at Chicago's Independent private schools, like Parker, Latin, and U of C lab schools maybe did reflect something, but maybe not what he was trying to argue. It might reflect the economic development of a growth of wealth at the top, it might reflect the fact the wealthiest 1% of the US population saw their average household income quadruple from $500,000 in 1979 to almost $2 million in 2007, using 2007 pretax dollars. Maybe there are more people who can afford these really great private schools?

    Lastly, the increase in applications to CPS selective enrollment schools is presented as additional support for Mr. Pletz's argument. But he provides no data on the economic status of the applicants to these schools, so this evidence is not clearly convincing either.

    I think there is probably truth to Mr. Pletz's premise, but unfortunately his article really did not prove his case.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    You have to be careful about averages. The *average* income of the top 1% may be $2M, but that doesn't tell you a lot about the *typical* (i.e. median) income of a member of the 1%. There are very few Chicago families with incomes in the range of $2M annually.

  • In reply to WestLooper:

    According to the US Census for estimates for 2006-2010 there were an estimated 47,842 households with incomes in excess of $199,999 living in the city. In 1999, the US Census estimated there were 26,031 housholds in the city with such large incomes. How much in excess we have no idea.

    I agree there are very few households with incomes in the range of $2 million. But as you can see the number in the highest income catagory for the city increased by 21,811 or 54.4% in about a decade. More than enough to explain the increase in children enrolling in Chicago's Independent private schools without any argument about middle class housing entrapment in Chicago.

    Again I am not saying that Mr. Pletz is wrong just that he didn't prove his point in the article.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to WestLooper:

    You're right, in fact I would argue the top 1% are actually struggling just like those at the bottom. The impoverished day trader raking in $300,000 has much more in common with the unemployed construction worker than he does with .001%ers like billionairess Penny Pritzker.

  • In reply to WestLooper:

    ugh, WestLooper... way to rush in and play defense for the elite. I dunno, you claim the West Loop so I assume you're at least a cousin of Richie Rich. Good job.

    Median wealth of the top 1% is around half a mil. I couldn't tell you the difference between $500,000 and $2,000,000, they are both obscene sums to those of us who actually work for a living.


  • In reply to district299reader:

    Now you are confusing net worth (wealth) with income.

    I am not playing defense for anyone, I just think it is important to get your fact straight and to not mislead with mean/median, which is actually a typical trick in politics -- e.g. the Bush administration touting the "average" (that is mean) tax break as large, where the "typical" (that is median) tax break was quite small (because so much of overall break went to high-income tax payers). This kind of stuff is basic mathematical literacy.

    And if you restrict your attention to the Chicago area, to be in the 1% you have to make $479,844 according to the NT Times (see the great graphics at http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/15/business/the-1-percent-paint-a-more-nuanced-portrait-of-the-rich.html).

  • In reply to WestLooper:

    Thanks for helping me learn the difference between the wealthy, mega-wealthy, ultra-rich, super-rich, super-richie-rich, and the obscenely rich.

    While your comments regarding median, mean, and net worth are accurate, it doesn't exactly bolster your arguement. The wealth of the 1%, whether you're talking $500,000 or $5,000,000,000 is something most of us cannot even comprehend. Instead of parsing figures, can we just agree that you guys in the 1% are really, really, really, really rich and enjoy all of the benefits associated with never having to worry about money.*

    *cue West Looper edifying us about the financial stresses and worries of millionaires.

  • Ah yes, those poor souls who only make $479,844. That is less than one quarter of $2,000,000. Who dares refer to these strivers as the 1% elite?

    Can you imagine the paupers who only earn half- $240,000? How can these people even put food on the table.

    Perhaps we should begin using mode average. This would paint a true picture of the financial turmoil experienced by the 1%.

  • Clearly when the census data is indicating a massive growth in the highest income category is a short period of time as I presented above, I think my point is proven. There has been more than enough expansion in the absolute number of very high income households to explain the growth in very expensive schools in the city. We don't have to assume this growth is in anyway linked to younger families that are middle class who trapped in Chicago due to the housing market.

    The issue of wealth vs income is not really relevant to this issue. Nor did I raise that issue. By the way I did not see the question raised about the average income of the 1% nationally and its actual relation to Chicago as being a defense of the richest in the city, but a request for clarity, which was more than reasonable. I don't think we need to reach out to create a class war argument with blog commentators, because the social dynamics in this city are evident to all.

    I hope that my presentation of the census data helped clear that issue up. Chicago clearly has more residents in the highest income category than it ever has had and its not because people can't escape Chicago. It is part of a national trend of greater incomes at the top that is well documented.

    The younger families that may want to bail out of the city for suburban school districts are not necessarily in the very highest income category and paying the tuition at one of the independent private schools would be a very serious hit to their income. There is also this very tragic development, many of the $150-$300,000 condos and town houses sold in Chicago in the 1990s into the middle 2000s were not designed to survive 100 years without massive structural rehab.

    Every year these condos and town houses age there well could be a significant depreciation problem that needs to be offset by increases in property value due to housing needs in the city. If one travels down many north side streets and realizes that all the brick on the outer walls of many three story condo buildings will leak massively without very expensive sealing every 20 years you get an idea of the problem. Even the foundations of many of these quickly constructed condos will become problems in the future and some will have to be leveled because the rehab costs are too high.

    The younger residents that bought into the real estate boom in Chicago were not in the highest income category. Many are still bailing out of the city with real losses on condos and town houses, but more often to other geographic areas of the nation rather than just collar county suburbs. If they can unload some of these condos even at a loss they may have made a wise move given their low cost construction.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    Some of the highest income growth is people returning to the city after raising a family in high-end suburbs.
    As far as the quality of many condo's, I agree. Last year I inspected about six condo's for a family member looking to buy for the first time. The low quality of many of the units built/converted in the boom years is apparent.

  • In reply to Donn:

    Donn that is an interesting observation about high income households beyond their child rearing years coming into the city. I don't know if there are census estimates on the age spans of higher income families in the city, if I get time I will try to look for that data.

    Rod Estvan

  • In relation to Donn's observation on the possibility that at least some of the growth in the highest income households in the city might be attributable to seniors who have moved into Chicago from suburban areas and would likely not have children attending private schools. The data on the age of head of households as defined by income is not provided by the summary information for Chicago in the Census that is easily available. (It is possible to get raw long form data, but it's way too much work to try to pull out that specific type of information.)

    However, it seems that there can't be a significant number of these high income older empty nesters moving into Chicago because from 2000 to 2010 there was a decline in the numbers of people 65 and older who live in Chicago. In 2000, there were 299,344 people over 65 and by 2010 that number dropped to 277,932 a decline of 7.2% over the decade. I also looked at people in their 50s and was a decline there too.

    Rod Estvan

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