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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Chicago parents scramble with new rules for best schools

Probably wasn't as crucial in my day as it may be now. Perhaps less so because parents and students have more programs and schools to choose from these days.
Every year, the competition for a precious spot in the city's top schools is fierce. Many neighborhood schools have significantly lower test scores, and parents see the competitive and magnet programs as their only option for a good public education.

But the odds of their children scoring a seat in one of the top schools are slim. And the nerve-racking admissions dance has become even more complicated by the fact that the rules keep changing — twice in the last two years.

Last year, the guidelines were rewritten to take an applicant's race out of the equation and replace it with socioeconomic factors from the applicant's neighborhood. This year, further changes to increase diversity were approved at a board meeting just a month before the Dec. 17 application deadline for the 2011-12 school year.

Even parents who thought they mastered the old system are at a loss, some wondering if their younger children will have the same opportunities as older siblings.

The bottom line is that there are many more children than spots at the elite schools. Last year, 13,065 teens took a test for 2,942 seats at the selective-enrollment high schools. For top selective-enrollment elementary schools, 10,050 students applied for 1,787 seats. Magnet schools, which choose students via computerized lottery, saw 31,185 applications for 3,352 spots.
I can only imagine what would happen when I become a Parent. Would I be content to sending my child to the neighborhood school that simply isn't performing or would I do what these parents are doing to ensure their children get to go to the best possible public school? I mostly did neighborhood schools in my day because my parents didn't really take the magnet school thing very seriously. Should I, when I have children?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

We have a mayoral election next year

The frontrunner for Mayor of Chicago Rahm Emanuel, former White House chief of staff, has outlined his education platform in a letter to Crain's Chicago Business.

Also former School Board President Gery Chico outlines his plank on education.

The outgoing Mayor Richard M. Daley also names an interim schools CEO in the person of Terry Mazany described by the Chicago Tribune as a philanthropist.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Bennett School on Google Street View

Apparently this was taken before Bennett School's field house was razed and the concrete taken up to create the new Bennett School campus park. Although it's unclear when this park was created. Street View however was made available in 2007 so perhaps that project took close to a year to complete.

I think I shall do one of Shedd School at some point.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Campaign to end hunger

I posted at The Sixth Ward about our schools not allowing food grown in actual gardens at Chicago Public School facilities and serving them in school cafeterias. The premise started with what was discussed at the LSC meeting for Harlan High School that I attended last month. I even provided a link to the grocer, Whole Food Market who want to help provide public schools with salad bars.

Now this video (embedded above) from C-Span, features actor Jeff Bridges and Bill Shore talking about their efforts to end hunger by 2015. Of course the discussion went from the issue of hunger to nutrition. They talked about how most school lunchrooms don't even have kitchens to prepare meals. Duration is 40 minutes.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Daley hopes to find new schools chief quickly

As you know Ron Huberman is expected to leave his post as Schools CEO before the year is out. Daley is leaving the Mayor's office next year and he wants to consider a replacement who can be acceptable to the incoming mayor, whoever that person may be.
Speaking at a landscape awards event at the downtown Hyatt Regency, Daley said he will be interviewing candidates and looking for someone "who will able to take the reins until the next mayor is elected, and he or she will then in turn review that person's position and be able to accept that person or move on." Daley said he has not yet spoken with Terry Mazany, CEO of the Chicago Community Trust, who sources say is the front-runner to lead the budget-strapped school district. Under Mazany's leadership, the Trust has been pouring money and energy into the schools.

And he is not considering City Clerk Miguel del Valle for the position, the mayor said. Del Valle, who has announced his candidacy for mayor, represented Chicago in a failed bid to get federal funding from the "Race to the Top" program, as part of a statewide team.

Daley said he wants both the CEO position and the city post of chief education officer filled by the end of the year.

Thursday, November 4, 2010