Closings Made It Harder For New CPS Parents?

Closings Made It Harder For New CPS Parents?

Here’s an interesting email (used with permission) from a Chicago parent who read my recent Education Next article (Reforming Rahm) and thought that I under-estimated the impact of the closings on the number of options available to parents trying to stay in public schools. It was much harder to get into a school this past year, he writes, and eventually they ended up going the private school route. What do you think?

“He’s using the tools of test scores to evaluate school performance and this is suspicious, he complicates that position by stating that in effect ONLY 50 schools were closed and by giving no love to the idea of schools as community learning places.

“So although I feel like a learned a whole lot from his “authoritative” article, I was disposed to mistrust all his information on the CPS-CTU relationship and other areas where I am underinformed. I think a paragraph explicitly naming his functional assumptions would have allowed my to relax my defenses and put myself in his capable hands.

“I was unable to survive the closings applied for 20 schools and got into none.* So we are in private school as a result. I expect to pay an additional $175,000 in education costs for my daughter as a result of the school closings. How many folks were forced out at huge personal expense? Should we also be bracing for property taxes to go up?

“As a lifelong participant in public progressive education, I both lament the failure of the public schools and understand the impossibility of the position our state is in regarding the pension problem. More accurate information is always welcome, we just have to trust the information source a priory, or better yet acknowledge limits and strategies within conversations and writings, in the service of actual communication.”

*He later explained that his daughter was waitlisted in the 500’s on a North Side elementary schools, that the first choice was Pierce, and that they were eventually admitted to a handful of schools but had already committed to send their second child to private. Five years before, applying to 20 schools got his son into 4 and lower waitlist numbers than this most recent time around.



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  • Why is it always the filthy rich that do the most complaining? I'm so sorry that you have $135,000 extra dollars to spend on your child's education! Ok, enough vitriol, but sincerely -- where are the voices of the under privileged in this? They don't typically have much school choice anyway, let alone the ability to send their kids to private school.

  • In reply to kyleneyoung:

    The writer is talking about spending ~19K a year on private education. Some teachers with working spouses pay that too. For many people the tradeoff is saving for college. Which in reality will often mean they are effectively borrowing money to send their kid to private elementary school. That's not my definition of 'filthy rich'.

    What I find a bit odd in the letter is that there's no complaint about the quality of his attendance area elementary school. It's like the magnet school admittance contest is the accepted norm.

  • He's whining because he got in off the waitlists somewhere? For real? Lots and lots and lots of people get in nowhere, ever. And reality is, the south and west side closings didn't affect gaining entrance into the good north side schools at all. The guy doesn't know what he's talking about. I'm all for hearing what all incomes have to say, but if he can afford 175K on private school, he can afford to live in an area with a good enough neighborhood school. And, he should know, numbers in the 500's is nothing. I know many people who had numbers into the 900+ range. He needs to get over himself. If you get a spot over the summer, you got a spot. He just chose to not take it.

  • K-8 private Catholic school could easily cost $54000 for 9 years (excluding inflation) and a private Catholic high school could easily cost $56000 (excluding inflation)....totaling a minimum of $110,000. The previous posters assumed the person has money to spend. However, I assume the parent is busting his/her butt to make sure their child is educated well. It is very frustrating to know that the high school options are extremely limited and that tuition must be paid on top of property taxes to get a quality education for your child.

  • good comments -- here's another one, via email, from a parent:

    The schools that closed aren't ones that anyone would have lotteried into anyhow, nor did they affect any of the north side schools.

    It *is* true that the north side schools are a bit of a victim of their own success in that Pierce is more difficult to get into. burley, blaine, waters, coonley are impossible.

    But that has nothing to do with school closings.

    It's true that even with 20 schools, some parents, some years will not get their child in anywhere. But if you are willing to take a spot the first week of school, almost everyone ends up with something.

    Rogers Park is probably more difficult because some of the up and coming schools that are easier to get into are more of a hike. But again, that's a function of his location, not school closings.

    I fullly believe that by 1st grade you can get your child into a well regarded school in CPS.

    As he admits, they got entry into more than one school.

    Committing to send child #2 to private is irrelevant! And saying they are stuck with $175K in educational costs is just a dramatic statement. That is his choice at this point.

    NO, not everybody gets a top spot in the very first round, but if that's what you want, then you have to move into a neighborhood with a good school. Just a common fact whether you live in the city or suburbs.

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