The Next Lincoln Park High School?

Which neighborhood school will be the next LPHS?  Hidden at the bottom of Linda Lutton’s new story about neighborhood IB programs is a chart showing schools like Kelly with massive programs and decent results.  Most have much higher percentages of black and Latino kids, and lower ACT scores for IB kids.  Some have perceived or real school safety issues.  But I remember when LPHS was opened — it used to be Waller — and they put the IB program in and some kids went over and gave it a try, their parents desperate or hopeful or both.  There were some rough times, I remember hearing.  But look at it now.  That kind of success and popularity hasn’t happened yet at any of the other IB schools, and of course quality and results can become an issue whenever a program expands (think AP).  Where these schools are located — safety and gentrification issues will play a role as they did with LPHS.  But I can imagine that one of the schools on Lutton’s list will break out, for better or worse, and begin to attract more kids and positive attention.  Which one do you think it will be?


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  • The local community has really begun to rally around Senn, and it could well be the next stand out school with IB. But, speaking as an Edgewater parent, I don't want it to become another LPHS, accepting only the cream to IB and segregating the students! We want a community supported neighborhood school that reflects all the demographics of the neighborhood. It has been shunned by college educated, white, neighorhood parents for years, but that is changing already. Many of us choose to live in Edgewater for the diversity and want our kids exposed to the different cultures represented at Senn.

  • The next Lincoln Park? Don't get too excited. The gulf between an average ACT score of 22 and 27 is enormous.

    Lincoln Park's IB programme is disproportionately wealthy, white, and Asian. Only 7% of the students are black and only 20% are Latino. In this regard, I am glad that Kelly, Morgan Park, Curie et. al. will never "become" Lincoln Park. I would hate to see excellent programs that serve low-income black and Latino students transformed into programs catering to upper income kids with every option in the world and every advantage you can imagine.

    By the way, the point of the recent study of IB schools in Chicago revealed that participation in the IB program resulted in higher rates of college success. There was no connection made to increased ACT scores. Hmmmm... maybe standardized test scores are not the best measure of student success.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Um, I believe the non-minority kids from upper income families with every option and advantage you can image are at Latin, not LPHS IB. There must be plenty of white kids at LPHS who come from families who have no college fund for them. You're way overstating.

  • 30% of Kelly's IB students are Asian?!? The school has 3100 students and only 250 or so of these are Asian. Over half of the Asian students at Kelly are in the IB program!?! Most of these kids live in Bridgeport and Chinatown

  • I like Linda Lutton's reporting a great deal, but doing a story titled " Chicago's middle class not interested in 'hidden gem' high schools" without in anyway defining what she means by middle class Chicagoans. I think that is a problem.

    If we look at household incomes in Chicago we find that the median income in 2009 was $45,734. So let's for operational purposes define the Chicago middle class as households with incomes from $40,000 to $100,000 a year. I think Linda will be surprised to learn that of all the households in Chicago this group only constitutes 35.6% of all Chicago households. Of this subgroup I call the middle class in Chicago likely no more than 26.2% of these households have children under the age of 18 living with them (2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates).

    Simply put there are not that many middle class children in the city. About 45.4% of Chicago's households have incomes below the level I have abstractly defined as middle class. Now if we start discussing households with yearly incomes greater than $100,000 about 19% of households in the city we have to address the race issue because of the greater percentage of white households with these higher incomes. Clearly this is an unstated issue the story does not address.

    Rod Estvan

  • I wish Chicago education reporters would address class and race much more thoroughly than they do. If wishes were fishes...

  • Like much of her work, Linda Lutton has done an excellent job with this story. Although I've been around the edges of the IB program at Taft, I learned quite a bit reading this article.

    One should dismiss Mr. Estvan's reservations as silliness. The IB programs were put into neighborhood schools by Paul Vallas, whose boss, Mayor Daley, wanted to "keep the middle class in the city." Linda Lutton didn't originate the term, nor does she have to define it. The current mayor is simply following in Daley's steps on this matter. Perhaps Estvan can direct his concerns for a priori definitions to Rahm.

    My wish would be for Lutton to have included more data charts. The Board looks at both the number and percentage of students who pass the subject tests (4 or higher on a 7-point scale) and the number and percentage of students who earn the actual IB diploma. I have been told that Taft's scores in these areas are second only to LPHS.

    It would also be interesting to know just how much more resources are devoted to students in the IB program than "regular" students. My feeling is that it is a substantial difference, although I realize that this angle is outside the scope of the story.

  • In reply to Danaidh:

    I agree. Taft is one of the safest schools in likely the safest area of the city. The IB, honors, academic center and avid program make the choice great for a neighborhood school. Also the success of most of the sports teams and the great extra curriculer options make Taft even better. The only issue is that basically every parent in the neighborhood pushed the SE schools on their kids, so Taft misses out on some great kids.

  • 65 comments over at CPS Obsessed, where they copied and pasted the whole story rather than linking back to WBEZ

  • In reply to Alexander Russo:

    That was an extremely rich discussion over at CPS Obessed. As those posts demonstrate the issue of race can't be avoided in a story like Ms. Lutton did, effectively the race issue was all over that blog. The social class issue was also present although it was largely discussed in terms of parenting of the mass of non-IB students in the schools Ms. Lutton referenced as having hidden gem IB programs.

    I found the honesty of many of the posts very refreshing. It is far better to be straight forward about these issues rather than trying to hide them.

    Rod Estvan

  • Readers debate diversity, race, and class in the comments following @lindalutton's "gems" story

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