Monday, November 30, 2009

New admission standards for CPS schools

These stories caught my eye because well I subscribe to a Google Alert where I can pick up articles regarding Ald. Lyle. There were stories on CPS admissions and stories (such as this) on an ordinance to restrict the number of dogs a person can own. I like dogs to be sure, however, I believe the CPS issue is more important on this blog. So let's share shall we.

Let's set this one up:
The plan will govern admissions for the 2010-2011 school year. It comes in the wake of a federal judge's decision to release the school district from court supervision over desegregation.

It also requires district officials to review decisions of principals at academically selective schools who admit students whose test scores aren't high enough. It also eliminates discretionary admission at magnet schools for one year.

Those discretionary moves have become the subject of an investigation over whether politically connections have marred the admissions process.
Now what does the Alderman say on this issue:
Lyle argued that CPS would have “tanked” if not for middle-class black students who attended schools like Black, Murray, Beasley, Kenwood, McDaniel and Whitney Young before it was the cream of the crop.

“They’re the ones whose parents have been driving ‘em all over the city. They’re the ones whose parents have been taking ‘em to enrichment programs to make sure they could test into these schools that were test-only, even though we know they were test-only and principals’ discretion,” Lyle said.

“Now, we say to them, ‘Sorry. You’ve helped the school system stay out of receivership for the last 20 years. But now, you can go pay tuition because we’ve got another group of people who are tired of paying tuition, and they want these seats.”

No matter what the motive is, Lyle said the effect will be that middle-class minority students seeking admission to elite public schools will get the shaft.

“Show me where there is no reason for the people of color who live on the West Side or the South Side to be concerned that the better schools are still located on the North Side — that this is not 1951 [or] 1969 separate, but unequal,” she said.

“I went to an all-black elementary school. I was in a Willis Wagon [mobile classroom]. ... When I read this preposterous program that you guys formulated, I said, ‘God. This is déjà vu’ because we’re still the most racially segregated city in the United States.”
That excerpt was from the Sun-Times, but this is a brief one from Chicago Current:
The North vs. South theme was echoed by Alderman Freddrenna Lyle, who noted that CPS has 16 competitive enrollment schools on the North Side, and 10 on the South Side.

"It's 1951 again," she said, referring to a time when the city's schools were segregated by law.
You can read more about CPS' new admissions plan here.

If I may interject my opinion on this subject. I do support the idea of selective enrollment programs in the city schools. I also believe however that there is also a lot of work to be done with neighborhood schools. What is offered in the selective enrollments schools that couldn't otherwise be offered in neighborhood schools?

Note that a few times I talk about Harlan a lot. Mainly because of my experiences at the school during its worst days. Also because I have a vested interest in knowing that students there are able to thrive. Hopefully they can have their heads in their books instead of other activities that could adversely affect the rest of their lives.

Alexander Russo of District 299 was right in discussing the issues of the public schools on WGN Saturday morning. Perhaps the best offered in these selective enrollment schools should be replicated in the neighborhood schools.

At the same time, if a parent isn't satisfied with the level of instruction at their neighborhood then they should have the ability to send their kids to better schools provided that they should qualify to enter such programs. I don't yet have children, but I may not see a racial angle unless it is actually documented that say black students are denied admission to a selective enrollment school. Especially if there is no documented or logical reason for this denial.

QUESTIONS: Do you support the selective enrollment program for CPS schools? What do you think need to be done to bolster neighborhood schools? Also what do you think about the new admissions policy at CPS?

1 comment:

  1. This is a good/bad story. The good being that CPS has finally created an environment that attractive to a large number of people. The bad news is that the selective enrollment, charter and military schools are creating a system of have and have nots with the have not being the neighborhood high and elementary schools.

    We have 80% of high school students wanting to attend less than 50% of the high schools. The remaining students are either playing sports or are those "at risk" students who are attending but not progressing and really don't care about what high school they attend.

    Our neighborhood schools have become jokes including the neighborhood schools for the sixth ward. Robeson, Simeon,and Hirsch have unacceptable graduation rates of less than 40% with Robeson being named one of the worst high schools in america.

    I support selective enrollment schools as I was one of those students Alderman Lyle mentioned who traveled from Park Manor over to Englewood to attend Lindblom that was one of the selective enrollment school of that time. I agree with the alderman concerns that the enrollment of minority students will decrease at some of these schools in scores are used(i.e. Jones Commercial). I believe that it is in all the students interest to have a multicultural student body as most of these students are expected to go on to college where they will encounter a multicultural environmnet. Therefore I believe that there should be soe other criteria used for admission.

    Lastly,we are going to have to make some tough decisions about our neighborhood schools that include essentially starting over, meaning temporarily stopping enrollment and clearing out the students currently enrolled. Also, reexamining the Alternative School network as there have been some major changes and many of those schools have improved how they are operated. Some students may perform better in that environment versus the traditional model.


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