WBEZ | private schools http://www.wbez.org/tags/private-schools Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Expensive Private Schools Grow in Chicago http://www.wbez.org/news/expensive-private-schools-grow-chicago-114274 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/flickr David Blaikie.jpg" alt="" /><p><div>It&rsquo;s no secret that Chicago has seen a drop in the number of school-aged children over the past two decades.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>That&rsquo;s led to hundreds of <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/cps-board-votes-close-50-schools-107294" target="_blank">public </a>and <a href="http://www.wbez.org/programs/afternoon-shift/2015-05-19/afternoon-shift-state-chicago%E2%80%99s-catholic-schools-112055" target="_blank">parochial </a>schools closing.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>But in the last few years, another kind of school is opening -- schools that charge college prices for a K-12 education.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Didi Lewis helps families untangle the web of school options every year in her role as the school choice manager for the<a href="http://www.npnparents.org/" target="_blank"> Neighborhood Parents Network</a>. She said she&rsquo;s noticed a trend in recent years.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;There are the parents who want to stay in the city and want to make a go of it and don&rsquo;t want schools to be the reason they leave,&rdquo; Lewis said. It&rsquo;s an age-old dilemma, but one that has reversed in some parts of Chicago.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Census data shows that the percentage of extremely poor and working class families in the city has dropped in the last decade. On the other end of the spectrum, those making six-figures or more has grown.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Of all families in the city, those making $200,000 or more grew the most. Those families made up just 3 percent of Chicago families in 2005. Now, they make up 8 percent. (The trend holds true statewide, though the changes are less pronounced.)</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Most families can only afford public schools and of course, many upper middle class and wealthy families do still chose public options. As a graduate of Chicago Public Schools, Lewis said she always tells parents to check out their local public school.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>New, expensive schools</strong></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Now, there&rsquo;s a handful of new private schools wooing upper-middle-class families --<a href="http://www.gemsworldacademy-chicago.com/page" target="_blank"> GEMS World Academy,</a> <a href="http://www.bennettday.org/" target="_blank">Bennett Day School</a> just opened,<a href="http://www.fusionacademy.com/" target="_blank"> Fusion Academy</a> and <a href="https://www.altschool.com/about-us" target="_blank">AltSchool</a> plan to open in the coming years, while <a href="http://www.nordangliaeducation.com/our-schools/chicago" target="_blank">The British School</a> and <a href="http://www.lyceechicago.org/" target="_blank">Lycee Francais </a>have expanded. These new expensive private schools are adding another layer to the school landscape of the city.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Cameron Smith is the founder of one of those new options. He opened Bennett Day School with a former teacher from Francis Parker named Kate Cicchelli. The school has preschool, kindergarten and first grade this year, but will expand one grade each year until 2020.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Bennett teachers are using a Montessori-like approach to education, called Reggio Emilia. The school also has a TinkerLab - a Silicon Valley trend that emerged from the Maker movement that believes people should be creators, not consumers.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>On a Saturday this fall, Smith spoke with WBEZ during a free Tinkerthon event with one of the founding board members of the San Francisco-based <a href="http://www.tinkeringschool.com/" target="_blank">Tinkering School</a>.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Smith said Chicago is booming with people hungry for Bennett&rsquo;s kind of innovative approach to school.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;What&rsquo;s happening in the city is really exciting, with companies like Boeing and Conagra moving their headquarters&hellip; and all the great things happening at 1871,&rdquo; Smith said. &ldquo;We&rsquo;re on Fulton just a block east of Halsted and there are six co-working spaces within four blocks of us.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>Wooing tech companies</strong></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Mayor Rahm Emanuel has pushed to get more businesses to put down roots in the city, especially entrepreneurial tech companies like <a href="https://www.google.com/" target="_blank">Google</a>, <a href="https://www.groupon.com/" target="_blank">Groupon</a>, and <a href="http://www.yelp.com/" target="_blank">Yelp</a>.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Smith said he thinks the mayor is missing a piece: Where will the employees of those companies send their kids to school? What kind of education do they want?</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;In my day job, I was an investor in education companies and so I was learning about educational approach during the day, all the time,&rdquo; Smith said. &ldquo;There was this idea for a school that I had for my kids that I&rsquo;m not seeing that takes it as far as I like.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Smith grew up in Michigan -- a suburb of Detroit -- and went to the public schools there. When his first son was born, like many parents, he found himself overwhelmed with the &ldquo;alphabet soup&rdquo; of education in the city. He toured many different schools -- neighborhood public schools, selective enrollment schools, parochial, Montessori, and the existing elite schools, like Francis Parker.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;It just came to a point where my wife and I had a conversation and said, &lsquo;I&rsquo;ll quit my job in finance and we&rsquo;ll start a school for my son and now sons,&rsquo; because we think there are other families like ours,&rdquo; Smith said.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Tuition at Bennett starts at $17,500 and tops out at $24,500. Smith says the high price tag comes with something public schools can&rsquo;t guarantee -- stability and peace of mind.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;I wanted school to be focused on kids and the outcome of the kids and not necessarily be distracted by other things -- fundraising or the like,&rdquo; Smith said. &ldquo;I didn&rsquo;t want that to be a burden on our parents to have some kind of additional monetary requirement on them beyond tuition.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Bennett&rsquo;s tuition is low compared to Fusion Academy -- a private, for-profit school looking to open three new locations this fall in Chicago and<a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/oak-brook/news/ct-dob-new-school-tl-1126-20151123-story.html" target="_blank"> the suburbs</a>. Full-time tuition is $40,000 a year, though students can choose to take just one or two classes at a time if, say, their school doesn&rsquo;t offer it or they&rsquo;re typically homeschooled, said Mike Van Dinther, head of business development for Fusion.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Van Dinther said Chicago is not alone.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;There is growth in private school providers in many major cities in the country,&rdquo; Van &nbsp;Dinther said. &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t think it&rsquo;s unique to Chicago. You&rsquo;re also seeing it in New York, and in LA and San Francisco.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>Ripple effect?</strong></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>It&rsquo;s too early to say what -- if any -- impact these new expensive schools could have on the public schools in the city.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><a href="http://www.tcf.org/experts/detail/richard-d.-kahlenberg" target="_blank">Richard Kahlenberg </a>is a fellow at The Century Foundation who studies economic and racial integration in schools.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>He says families have a constitutional right to choose private schools and many will. &nbsp;But policy-makers should keep an eye on the growth of these high-end schools.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;Our economy is becoming more and more stratified with wealthier people seceding from public institutions and that is to the detriment of all of us,&rdquo; Kahlenberg said. &nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Kahlenberg said public schools have to find ways to attract families who have options -- even the wealthiest in the city.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;If we continue to segment and segregate, then the original idea of the common school that brings children of all backgrounds together will be lost and that&rsquo;ll be a real tragedy,&rdquo; he said.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Wooing the middle and upper class is not on the top of Chicago Public Schools&rsquo; priority list right now. The district is trying to fill a $480 million budget hole with a junk bond rating.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Smith, the dad who founded Bennett Day School, said he doesn&rsquo;t see his school as hurting public schools. If anything, he said he hopes they can share some of their ideas and innovations with other public and private schools. &nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><em>Becky Vevea is an education reporter for WBEZ. You can follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/WBEZeducation">@WBEZeducation</a>.</em></div><div>&nbsp;</div></p> Tue, 29 Dec 2015 12:51:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/expensive-private-schools-grow-chicago-114274 Is Tilden High spending too much? http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/tilden-high-spending-too-much-108195 <p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F102733085" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>School budgets are <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-schools-facing-cuts-under-new-funding-system-107692">reportedly shrinking</a> across the city this year and it&rsquo;s causing a lot of <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-principal-rips-cps-school-budgets-emanuel-108108">uproar</a>. But as the debate over Chicago Public Schools&rsquo; current budget continues, Curious City is digging into a question asked by a mysterious commenter.</p><p>The original question came from a questioner who goes by &ldquo;Tim.&rdquo;</p><p style="text-align: center;"><em>I recently learned the annual budget for Tilden High School. I then divided that number by the total number of students at Tilden and learned that Chicago is spending $175,000 for each student per year. That is 5 to 6 times the cost of sending a kid to the best private high schools in the state. How do we justify the absurd amount of money Chicago spends to educate a child?</em></p><p>I made several attempts to reach Tim, but heard nothing back. Then I saw the following comment pop up on a <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-principals-get-more-flexibility-likely-less-money-budget-107560">recent story</a> from a commenter named &ldquo;greg&rdquo;:</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Greg%20Capture_0.GIF" title="" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">So I tried e-mailing &ldquo;greg&rdquo; to see if he was our questioner. Again, no luck.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Our mysterious commenter&rsquo;s question about the &ldquo;absurd amount of money&rdquo; spent at Tilden is a loaded one &mdash; and one we can&rsquo;t (and maybe shouldn&rsquo;t) answer for you. We can, though, get across some basic information, such as how much CPS spent to educate children at Tilden and how that compares to other schools. At that point, you (as well as &ldquo;Tim&rdquo; and &ldquo;greg&rdquo;) can start a discussion about what spending &mdash; if any &mdash; is absurd.</div><p><strong>The short answer on Tilden</strong></p><p>I called Allan Odden, a researcher at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an expert in school financing. Here&rsquo;s what he told me about that $175,000 figure:</p><p>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s no high school in America that spends that amount,&rdquo; Odden said. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s not even in the same ballpark.&rdquo;</p><p>Then what does Tilden High School spend per student every year?</p><p>I tried to follow Tim, or&hellip; greg&rsquo;s, math. He says he took the annual budget for Tilden High School and divided it by the number of students.</p><p>CPS breaks out each individual school&rsquo;s budget in the budget book and using those numbers, here&rsquo;s my back-of-the-envelope calculations for the last three year&rsquo;s budgets:</p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Table2.GIF" title="" /></div></div><p>Odden and others I spoke to say these numbers are closer to what they expected.</p><p>On average, public high schools in America spend around $12,000 per student according to the most recent data collected by the U.S. Department of Education. But recently, Tilden &mdash; a struggling school in Chicago&rsquo;s <a href="https://maps.google.com/maps?q=New+City,+Chicago,+IL&amp;hl=en&amp;ll=41.811499,-87.657509&amp;spn=0.102229,0.154324&amp;sll=41.808701,-87.6403&amp;sspn=0.012779,0.01929&amp;oq=new+city&amp;hnear=New+City,+Chicago,+Cook,+Illinois&amp;t=m&amp;z=13">New City</a> area &mdash; has gotten extra support from the federal government in the form of a $6 million School Improvement Grant.</p><p>These grants, launched by in 2009 by the Obama administration, are targeted at the lowest-performing high schools and meant to help reboot the school to improve academic outcomes. The interventions typically involve firing all the staff and hiring new.</p><p>Tilden was one of 13 schools <a href="http://www.isbe.net/sos/pdf/sig_1003g_funded_fy12.pdf">awarded grants</a> in the 2011-2012 school year. Initially, it was considered a &ldquo;transformation&rdquo; school and no staff was fired. But in the second year of the grant, the 2012-2013 school year, CPS decided to implement a &ldquo;turnaround&rdquo; at Tilden instead, firing the entire staff.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Tilden%20High%20School%20flickr%20Zol87.jpg" style="margin: 5px; float: right; height: 188px; width: 250px;" title="Tilden High School is officially known as Tilden Career Community Academy. It's on Chicago's South Side. (Flickr/Zol87)" />CPS officials say the school has gotten an additional $1.9 million each year of the grant and is expected to get the last installment this coming year. This is likely why the amount spent per student is higher than the district and state average.</p><p>But the amount Tilden is currently getting is certainly not three times what private school tuition costs. Though tuition rates vary, private high schools in Chicago charge anywhere from about $9,000 per year to $30,000 a year.</p><p>At the prestigious University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, where Mayor Rahm Emanuel sends his children, tuition for the upcoming school year is $28,290 for high school, $27,096 for middle school, and $25,296 for elementary school. It charges $17,832 for half-day preschool. These figures don&rsquo;t include additional fees for books, gym clothes, after-school programs and other extracurricular programs.</p><p><strong>What&rsquo;s the spread in Illinois?</strong></p><p>School spending across Illinois varies widely, with some districts spending more than $20,000 per student per year, while others spend $6,000. That&rsquo;s because revenue for schools is mostly raised through local property taxes. Areas with tony homes and other high-value properties can generate lots of revenue. Areas with less valuable property are more limited.</p><p>To make up for disparities, the state sets a foundation. In 1997, it created a committee to help figure out what the foundation level should be &mdash; in other words, what it takes to adequately educate a student. Sylvia Puente, executive director of the Latino Policy Forum, is the chair of that committee, the Education Funding Advisory Board.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/CPS%20headquarters%20Flickr%20Zol87.jpg" style="margin: 5px; float: left; height: 333px; width: 250px;" title="The headquarters for Chicago Public Schools. Once public school districts figure out how much they will get from state, federal and local sources, it all goes into one big pot and then district leaders decide how to distribute money to individual schools. (Flickr/Zol87)" />For the coming school year (2013-2014), EFAB <a href="http://www.isbe.net/EFAB/pdf/final-report-01-13.pdf">recommended the state provide every district</a> a minimum of $8,672 per student. Puente tells me the number is generated using a complicated formula that looks at low-spending, high-performing districts.</p><p>But in every year except one, the Illinois General Assembly set the foundation amount lower than what EFAB recommended. In the most recent state budget, foundation funding is $6,119.</p><p>However, most districts do not get the full $6,119. For example, Chicago is getting $5,720 per student from the state. The district then use local property taxes to generate more.</p><p>Private school funding is a different story. Parents pay tuition and schools are better able to make up for income disparities through charitable donations and alumni networks. But John Pantle, Finance and Advancement Consultant at the Archdiocese of Chicago, said Catholic schools do look at median family income in the surrounding areas when setting tuition rates.</p><p>&ldquo;You need to meet the market,&rdquo; said Pantle, the financial consultant at the Archdiocese of Chicago. &ldquo;Any more than you would open a Cadillac dealership in an area that families couldn&rsquo;t afford to buy a luxury car. Same thing with schools. St. Clements can charge a little more because it&rsquo;s in the heart of Lincoln Park.&rdquo;</p><p>But Pantle said in order to keep Catholic schools accessible to lower income families, the Archdiocese often steps in to cover the cost of education in areas where tuition is intentionally kept low. He said family discounts and individual scholarships are also provided.</p><p>&ldquo;We try to balance it and it&rsquo;s a constant struggle,&rdquo; Pantle said.</p><p><strong>How much money makes it to a school?</strong></p><p>Once public school districts figure out how much they will get from state, federal and local sources, it all goes into one big pot and then district leaders decide how to distribute money to individual schools.</p><p>This year, the pot of money for Chicago Public Schools is about $5.6 billion to serve 405,519 students. Applying our commenter&rsquo;s back-of-the-envelope calculation means CPS is spending roughly $13,789 per student.</p><p>But that crude calculation doesn&rsquo;t tell the whole story.<a name="Graphic"></a></p><p><a href="http://llnw.wbez.org/insert-images/Becky Budget Infographic_edited July25_FINAL344.jpg" target="_blank"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Becky%20Budget%20Infographic_edited%20July25_FINALGIF.gif" style="height: 1278px; width: 620px;" title="NOTES: *Some of these services directly impact students in schools, but are not reflected in the school-level budget. Examples include traveling social workers and building engineers. **There are 405,519 students in CPS. We divide the total $3.4B amount provided directly to schools by that enrollment. (Graphic: Jennifer Brandel)" /></a>For starters, a decent chunk of the money never makes it to the school level. It&rsquo;s spent on salaries at the central office, consulting contracts, and mid-level management. For example, the legal department at the central office is budgeted $12.9 million.</p><p>According to budget documents, $3.4 billion of the $5.6 billion operating budget is going directly to schools and most of that goes to pay teacher salaries. There are some services that do directly affect schools, but are part of a separate departments that operate citywide, such as a traveling nurse or curriculum specialist.</p><p>If you divide that $3.4 billion by the 405,519 students enrolled in CPS schools, the per student amount drops to roughly $8,536 per student.</p><p>But again, that doesn&rsquo;t mean every school in Chicago gets $13,000 or $8,500 per student. Some get more, some get less.</p><p>Typically, elementary schools get less because they cost less to operate, mostly because they need less staff per student. There are also federal grants earmarked for specific schools and high-needs populations that can increase or decrease how much a school gets. This is the case for Tilden and the School Improvement Grant.</p><p>CPS also divides its revenues unevenly based on it&rsquo;s district policies. For example, more money and positions go to selective enrollment and magnet schools.</p><p><strong>After money makes it to the school</strong></p><p>The amount a school gets from either parents or taxpayers varies widely from school to school, but what does the money get spent on?</p><p>&ldquo;What you buy for education, like anything else, you buy quality,&rdquo; Puente said.</p><p>On average, schools and districts spend about 80 percent of their budget on people. That includes salaries, benefits and retirement costs for teachers, clerks and administrators.</p><p>&ldquo;No matter what, whether it&rsquo;s $10,000 a student or $15,000 a student or less, the best use of those dollars is getting the very best people in the building,&rdquo; said Mike Milkie, CEO and Superintendent of the high-performing Noble Street Charter School network that operates schools across Chicago.</p><p>Milkie said Noble spends about $11,500 per student at the network&rsquo;s 14 high schools. &nbsp;Charter schools are publicly-funded, but privately operated. Some of the money Milkie refers to comes from private sources and includes facility costs and other expenses not directly related to student instruction.</p><p>Charter schools have argued that getting less money per student has limited their ability to hire and keep great teachers. Charter school teachers are not part of the Chicago Teachers Union and <a href="http://incschools.org/charters/charter-school-data-finder/data-illinois-charter-overview/comparative_teacher_and_staff_compensation_data">typically make less money</a>, according to the Illinois Network of Charter Schools, a group advocating for charters.</p><p>As with their public counterparts, private schools also spend the majority of their resources on personnel, says Pantle, the financial consultant at the Archdiocese of Chicago. However, average salaries at area Catholic schools run much lower than local public schools. Pantle pegged the average teacher salary at about $35,000 per year, not including benefits. The average teacher salary at CPS, <a href="http://www.cps.edu/about_cps/at-a-glance/pages/stats_and_facts.aspx">according to the district</a>, is $74,839.</p><p>To go back to the original question, $175,000 per child could essentially buy the equivalent of two separate teachers dedicated solely to each student and still have money left over for supplies or other operating costs. &nbsp;</p><p><strong>Since we&rsquo;re at it, there&rsquo;s also &ldquo;hidden money&rdquo;</strong></p><p>Dividing a school&rsquo;s individual budget by the number of students enrolled is an accurate and fair way to estimate how much is spent per student, Odden, the UW-Madison researcher, said. But if we&rsquo;re talking back-of-the-envelope math, we could use a slightly larger envelope and include funding sources that our questioner (and possibly most of us) aren&rsquo;t aware of.</p><p>These are essentially the &ldquo;offshore bank accounts&rdquo; of public education. And as states and districts slash spending, they&rsquo;ve become more and more prevalent.</p><p>Most of the &ldquo;hidden money&rdquo; can be found in more affluent areas of the city, where highly-educated, middle- and upper-income families fundraise to provide extra services like art, music and additional technology, such as iPads. The groups usually operate as 501(c)3 non-profit organizations and can fundraise large sums.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/ipad%20music%20flickr%20flickingerbrad.jpg" style="margin: 5px; float: left; height: 188px; width: 250px;" title="Oftentimes school budgets get supplemented by individual fundraising efforts to help pay for activities or technology. (Flickr/Flickingerbrad)" />These funding streams are entirely separate from a school&rsquo;s public budget, but, in light of recent cuts, they have filled in what some may consider basic services, such as a full-time physical education or world language teacher.</p><p>But parent fundraising groups are not the only &ldquo;offshore accounts&rdquo; in school budgets. There are all kinds of grants, donations and philanthropic efforts that provide valuable services, but don&rsquo;t show up in a school&rsquo;s budget.</p><p>At Lindblom Math and Science Academy in the West Englewood neighborhood, Principal Alan Mather tells me about the school&rsquo;s partnership with Baxter International. The corporation provides biotechnology courses and professional development, as well as funding for a few positions.</p><p>&ldquo;There is no funding stream that you see from that, but there&rsquo;s a huge benefit to the student body because of that relationship,&rdquo; Mather said.</p><p>Lindblom is one of the city&rsquo;s ten selective enrollment high schools, which gets extra resources from the CPS Board of Education. Still, Mather says he is constantly seeking out local partnerships to fill gaps and provide disadvantaged students new opportunities.</p><p>&ldquo;That kind of stuff doesn&rsquo;t have the same price tag.&rdquo; Mather said. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s invaluable.&rdquo;</p><p>Tilden is benefiting from a new partnership that also doesn&rsquo;t show up in their budget, but is indirectly paid for by the federal government. In 2012, Columbia College received a $3 million dollar innovation grant from the U.S. Department of Education to implement a &ldquo;Convergence Academy&rdquo; inside Tilden and one other school. The money will come through Columbia &mdash; not CPS, not Tilden.</p><p><strong>Back to the question</strong></p><p>&ldquo;Tim&rdquo; (and later, &ldquo;greg&rdquo;) got us onto this tangent on school spending. The skinny is that within Chicago, schools get anywhere from $6,000 per student to $17,000 per student. State data indicate average spending is about $12,000 per student.</p><p>As for the area&rsquo;s private high schools? Total costs there are not entirely clear, but tuition tops out at $30,000.</p><p>Again, it&rsquo;s not up to Curious City to say any of these amounts are absurd, but &ldquo;Tim&rdquo; (whoever you are): No area school &mdash; public or private &mdash; spends $175,000 per student.</p></p> Thu, 25 Jul 2013 15:25:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/tilden-high-spending-too-much-108195 Chicago Catholic Schools see enrollment increase http://www.wbez.org/sections/religion/chicago-catholic-schools-see-enrollment-increase-105091 <p><p>Enrollment in Chicago&#39;s Catholic schools has grown over the past three years.</p><p>The Archdiocese of Chicago announced Tuesday the school system has seen an increase of 675 students during that period.</p><p>Preschool, kindergarten and first grade levels have seen a combined 10 percent increase compared to three years ago.</p><p>Catholic schools superintendent Sister M. Paul McCaughey says donations, among other reasons, have driven the surge in enrollment. The additional aid has allowed more students to join the district.</p><p>Chicago&#39;s Catholic school system is the largest of its kind in the nation, comprising of 212 elementary and 38 high schools.</p><p>Nearly 6,000 teachers educate the more than 85,000 students enrolled in the system.</p></p> Wed, 23 Jan 2013 08:07:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/sections/religion/chicago-catholic-schools-see-enrollment-increase-105091 Chicago's best high schools: Who gets in, who doesn't http://www.wbez.org/story/chicagos-best-high-schools-who-gets-who-doesnt-97110 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2012-March/2012-03-09/elite schools map.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago has four elite public high schools. They&rsquo;re the highest scoring schools in the state, better than top suburban schools. Competition to get is fierce, and ratcheted up again this year. WBEZ looks at who gets into Chicago&rsquo;s best schools, and who does not.</p><p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p><audio class="mejs mediaelement-formatter-identified-1332747979-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2012-march/2012-03-12/elite-schools-featurenew120309ll.mp3">&nbsp;</audio><p>Even if you don&rsquo;t live in the city you can probably name at least one of Chicago&rsquo;s top high schools: Whitney Young, Northside College Prep, Walter Payton, Jones.</p><p>Now, take a guess: what percent of freshmen sitting in those schools today graduated from private grammar schools?</p><p>LABOWITZ: I mean, that Payton number blows my mind. That just seems so high. That one-third of the kids entering that school are from private school.</p><p>That&rsquo;s Rebecca Labowitz, who runs a blog called CPS Obsessed.</p><p>There&rsquo;s a lot of anxiety this time of year&mdash;kids getting acceptance letters, or not. WBEZ analyzed the current freshman classes at Chicago&rsquo;s top four high schools for some idea of what&rsquo;s happening.</p><p>We found that 29 percent of current freshmen at Walter Payton College Prep graduated from private grammar schools. At the other elite high schools, the number is right around 20 percent.</p><p> <style type="text/css"> table.tableizer-table {border: 1px solid #CCC; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;} .tableizer-table td {padding: 4px; margin: 3px; border: 1px solid #ccc;} .tableizer-table th {background-color: #159406; color: #FFF; font-weight: bold;}</style> </p><table class="tableizer-table" style="width: 444px; height: 239px;"><tbody><tr class="tableizer-firstrow"><th colspan="2">% of Students from Private Grammar Schools<br />Enrolled in Current Freshman Class</th></tr><tr><td>Payton</td><td>29.10%</td></tr><tr><td>Northside</td><td>20.40%</td></tr><tr><td>Young</td><td>20.70%</td></tr><tr><td>Jones</td><td>18.70%</td></tr><tr><td>TOTAL</td><td>22.10%</td></tr></tbody></table><p>And private school kids make up only around 12 percent of those testing to get into these schools.</p><p> <style type="text/css"> table.tableizer-table {border: 1px solid #CCC; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 11px;} .tableizer-table td {padding: 4px; margin: 3px; border: 1px solid #ccc;} .tableizer-table th {background-color: #159406; color: #FFF; font-weight: bold;}</style> </p><table class="tableizer-table" style="width: 447px; height: 280px;"><tbody><tr class="tableizer-firstrow"><th>School</th><th>Percentage of Private School Applicants</th></tr><tr><td>Payton</td><td>13%</td></tr><tr><td>Northside</td><td>12%</td></tr><tr><td>Young</td><td>11%</td></tr><tr><td>Jones</td><td>11%</td></tr><tr><td>Lane</td><td>9%</td></tr><tr><td>Brooks</td><td>7%</td></tr><tr><td>King</td><td>6%</td></tr><tr><td>Lindblom</td><td>6%</td></tr><tr><td>Westinghouse</td><td>5%</td></tr><tr><td>TOTAL</td><td>10%</td></tr><tr><td>* Figures are for students who applied in the 2010-11 school year for enrollment as freshmen in the 2011-12 school year. Source: CPS</td><td>&nbsp;</td></tr></tbody></table><p>Labowitz says this sort of thing sends sparks flying on her web site, where parents share horror stories of the grueling admissions process, and debate whether to leave the city.</p><p>LABOWITZ: Some of the CPS parents get frustrated because it almost feels unfair to have these private school families swoop in and take these few good seats.</p><p>But that is not the view of many Payton students.</p><p>BOYS: We came from private school, but I think it&rsquo;s a good ratio. I think that&rsquo;s a proper amount, considering this is a public school and it&rsquo;s open to people from any background at any school.</p><p>These two freshmen graduated from a $19,000-a-year grammar school. But Payton students insist: Everybody here earned their spot through hard work.</p><p>ASIA: I know I couldn&rsquo;t afford to go to a private school. I didn&rsquo;t have the money to go to a private school, so I had to do testing for classical schools and for gifted centers.</p><p>Junior Asia Sumerlin went to Keller Regional Gifted Center for grammar school. That&rsquo;s one of a tiny group of elite CPS elementary schools that feed the elite college preps in big numbers. They&rsquo;re mostly gifted and magnet schools. They make up fewer than 1 percent of schools in the system. But together with the private schools, their students win more than half the seats in Chicago&rsquo;s top four high schools.</p><p> <style type="text/css"> table.tableizer-table {border: 1px solid #CCC; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;} .tableizer-table td {padding: 4px; margin: 3px; border: 1px solid #ccc;} .tableizer-table th {background-color: #159406; color: #FFF; font-weight: bold;}</style> </p><table class="tableizer-table" style="width: 629px; height: 789px;"><tbody><tr class="tableizer-firstrow"><th>Top Feeder Schools to Chicago&#39;s &#39;Elite Four&#39; Selective Enrollment High Schools</th><th>&nbsp;</th><th>&nbsp;</th><th>&nbsp;</th><th>&nbsp;</th><th>&nbsp;</th></tr><tr><td>Feeder School</td><td>Jones</td><td>Northside</td><td>Payton</td><td>Young</td><td>Total</td></tr><tr><td>PRIVATE GRAMMAR SCHOOLS</td><td>37</td><td>57</td><td>72</td><td>87</td><td>253</td></tr><tr><td>William Howard Taft High School Academic Center</td><td>*</td><td>21</td><td>*</td><td>12</td><td>39</td></tr><tr><td>Alexander Graham Bell Elementary School</td><td>*</td><td>13</td><td>11</td><td>*</td><td>36</td></tr><tr><td>Abraham Lincoln Elementary School</td><td>*</td><td>*</td><td>15</td><td>*</td><td>30</td></tr><tr><td>Hawthorne Elementary Scholastic Academy</td><td>*</td><td>*</td><td>*</td><td>11</td><td>28</td></tr><tr><td>Ogden International High School</td><td>*</td><td>*</td><td>*</td><td>11</td><td>26</td></tr><tr><td>Robert Healy Elementary School</td><td>*</td><td>*</td><td>*</td><td>*</td><td>21</td></tr><tr><td>Thomas A Edison Regional Gifted Center ES</td><td>*</td><td>10</td><td>*</td><td>*</td><td>19</td></tr><tr><td>LaSalle Elementary Language Academy</td><td>*</td><td>*</td><td>*</td><td>*</td><td>19</td></tr><tr><td>Andrew Jackson Elementary Language Academy</td><td>*</td><td>*</td><td>*</td><td>11</td><td>19</td></tr><tr><td>Ole A Thorp Elementary Scholastic Academy</td><td>&nbsp;</td><td>*</td><td>*</td><td>*</td><td>17</td></tr><tr><td>Mark Skinner Elementary School</td><td>&nbsp;</td><td>&nbsp;</td><td>*</td><td>*</td><td>17</td></tr><tr><td>Lenart Elementary Regional Gifted Center</td><td>*</td><td>&nbsp;</td><td>*</td><td>*</td><td>17</td></tr><tr><td>Walt Disney Magnet Elementary School</td><td>*</td><td>*</td><td>*</td><td>*</td><td>15</td></tr><tr><td>Augustus H Burley Elementary School</td><td>*</td><td>*</td><td>*</td><td>*</td><td>12</td></tr><tr><td>Annie Keller Elementary Gifted Magnet School</td><td>*</td><td>&nbsp;</td><td>&nbsp;</td><td>*</td><td>12</td></tr><tr><td>Jean Baptiste Beaubien Elementary School</td><td>*</td><td>*</td><td>*</td><td>*</td><td>11</td></tr><tr><td>Chicago Intl Charter - Bucktown</td><td>*</td><td>*</td><td>*</td><td>*</td><td>11</td></tr><tr><td>&nbsp;</td><td>&nbsp;</td><td>&nbsp;</td><td>&nbsp;</td><td>&nbsp;</td><td>&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td colspan="6">Table shows number of graduates from each grammar school currently enrolled as freshmen in Chicago&#39;s top selective enrollment high schools.</td></tr><tr><td colspan="6">* indicates fewer than 10 students. WBEZ has advocated for CPS to release numbers less than 10. The school district argues that would violate FERPA, a federal law intended to protect the privacy of student educational records.</td></tr><tr><td colspan="6">WBEZ requested a breakdown, with school names, of private schools feeding into top CPS high schools. CPS denied that request. The district says compiling that data would be too onerous.</td></tr></tbody></table><p><br />CAMMON: That really doesn&rsquo;t seem fair to me. I think, it&rsquo;s like you&rsquo;ll have to pay for them to go to a good elementary school for them to get in a good high school.</p><p>Lisa Cammon has a son at Brown Elementary, a CPS school in the neighborhood near the United Center, around the old Henry Horner Homes.</p><p>WBEZ&rsquo;s analysis of feeder schools shows a trend nobody is talking about: &nbsp;Half of Chicago grammar schools send no one to the top four high schools. Not their valedictorians. Not their straight-A students. Not the kids who&rsquo;ve worked hard their entire grammar school career.<br />&nbsp;</p><p><iframe frameborder="0" height="429" src="http://batchgeo.com/map/d52fd43eabd2afaed5c42a106f3b40e2" style="border: 1px solid rgb(170, 170, 170);" width="735"></iframe></p><p><small>View <a href="http://batchgeo.com/map/d52fd43eabd2afaed5c42a106f3b40e2">Which CPS schools send students to the &#39;Elite 4&#39;?</a> in a full screen map</small></p><p><br />Brown is one of those schools.&nbsp; Kenya Sadler is the principal there.</p><p>SADLER: Our top performing student last year scored in the 825 range&mdash;</p><p>(That&rsquo;s out of 900 total.)</p><p>SADLER: and no, unfortunately it was not enough.</p><p>Sadler is determined to get her students into these top schools. Some do get into the city&rsquo;s less selective schools and military academies.</p><p>But Sadler&rsquo;s up against a disturbing shift in American education&mdash;a widening achievement gap between rich and poor children.</p><p>SADLER: I&rsquo;m not going to say that it&rsquo;s not fair. For me, I&rsquo;m just going to accept the challenge.</p><p>Chicago has a whole formula to try to give kids from less advantaged neighborhoods a leg up when it comes to getting into these top schools.&nbsp; But WBEZ found in spite of algorithms and formulas, if you walk into the city&rsquo;s best high schools, freshmen from the wealthiest parts of town outnumber freshmen from the poorest areas by a ratio of two to one.</p><p> <style type="text/css"> table.tableizer-table {border: 1px solid #CCC; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 11px;} .tableizer-table td {padding: 4px; margin: 3px; border: 1px solid #ccc;} .tableizer-table th {background-color: #159406; color: #FFF; font-weight: bold;}</style> </p><table class="tableizer-table" style="width: 453px; height: 688px;"><tbody><tr class="tableizer-firstrow"><th colspan="5">Percent of Students in Each Socioeconomic Tier<br />at Selective Enrollment High Schools</th></tr><tr><td><strong>School Name</strong></td><td><strong>Tier 1 %</strong></td><td><strong>Tier 2 %</strong></td><td><strong>Tier 3 %</strong></td><td><strong>Tier 4 %</strong></td></tr><tr><td>NORTHSIDE PREP HS</td><td>16.5%</td><td>18.0%</td><td>24.8%</td><td>40.6%</td></tr><tr><td>PAYTON HS</td><td>20.2%</td><td>20.6%</td><td>25.1%</td><td>34.2%</td></tr><tr><td>YOUNG HS</td><td>20.2%</td><td>20.5%</td><td>20.7%</td><td>38.5%</td></tr><tr><td>JONES HS</td><td>16.3%</td><td>18.9%</td><td>25.8%</td><td>38.9%</td></tr><tr><td>LANE HS</td><td>19.0%</td><td>18.6%</td><td>23.9%</td><td>38.5%</td></tr><tr><td>LINDBLOM HS</td><td>18.6%</td><td>20.3%</td><td>32.6%</td><td>28.5%</td></tr><tr><td>GEORGE WESTINGHOUSE HS</td><td>33.9%</td><td>33.0%</td><td>20.9%</td><td>12.2%</td></tr><tr><td>KING HS</td><td>27.3%</td><td>22.9%</td><td>34.6%</td><td>15.1%</td></tr><tr><td>BROOKS HS</td><td>17.5%</td><td>16.9%</td><td>36.6%</td><td>29.0%</td></tr><tr><td><strong>TOTAL</strong></td><td><strong>19.9%</strong></td><td><strong>19.9%</strong></td><td><strong>25.7%</strong></td><td><strong>34.5%</strong></td></tr><tr><td>&nbsp;</td><td>&nbsp;</td><td>&nbsp;</td><td>&nbsp;</td><td>&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td colspan="5">CPS divides the city into four socioeconomic tiers based on such factors as income, homeownership rates, and quality of nearby schools. Tier 1 is the most disadvantaged. Tier 4 is the most advantaged.</td></tr><tr><td colspan="5">Data is for freshman class, the most recent class for which complete data is available.</td></tr></tbody></table><p>That&#39;s despite the fact that students from all tiers apply to selective enrollment high schools in roughly equal numbers.</p><p> <style type="text/css"> table.tableizer-table {border: 1px solid #CCC; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 11px;} .tableizer-table td {padding: 4px; margin: 3px; border: 1px solid #ccc;} .tableizer-table th {background-color: #159406; color: #FFF; font-weight: bold;}</style> </p><table class="tableizer-table" style="width: 457px; height: 621px;"><tbody><tr class="tableizer-firstrow"><th colspan="5">Applications by Socioeconomic Tier for Selective Enrollment High Schools</th></tr><tr><td><strong>School Name</strong></td><td><strong>Tier 1 %</strong></td><td><strong>Tier 2 %</strong></td><td><strong>Tier 3 %</strong></td><td><strong>Tier 4 %</strong></td></tr><tr><td>Northside</td><td>18.9%</td><td>24.0%</td><td>28.3%</td><td>28.8%</td></tr><tr><td>Payton</td><td>20.5%</td><td>23.5%</td><td>28.7%</td><td>27.3%</td></tr><tr><td>Young</td><td>22.0%</td><td>24.6%</td><td>28.2%</td><td>25.2%</td></tr><tr><td>Jones</td><td>21.9%</td><td>24.5%</td><td>29.5%</td><td>24.1%</td></tr><tr><td>Lane</td><td>21.2%</td><td>24.8%</td><td>27.9%</td><td>26.1%</td></tr><tr><td>Lindblom</td><td>25.6%</td><td>28.0%</td><td>29.8%</td><td>16.4%</td></tr><tr><td>Westinghouse</td><td>29.1%</td><td>32.5%</td><td>25.2%</td><td>13.2%</td></tr><tr><td>King</td><td>30.2%</td><td>27.2%</td><td>29.6%</td><td>12.9%</td></tr><tr><td>Brooks</td><td>22.6%</td><td>25.2%</td><td>35.0%</td><td>17.2%</td></tr><tr><td><strong>Grand Total</strong></td><td><strong>22.6%</strong></td><td><strong>25.4%</strong></td><td><strong>28.8%</strong></td><td><strong>23.2%</strong></td></tr><tr><td>&nbsp;</td><td>&nbsp;</td><td>&nbsp;</td><td>&nbsp;</td><td>&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td colspan="5">While students from all tiers applied to selective enrollment high schools at about the same rate, students from the most advantaged areas of the city were accepted at much higher rates.</td></tr><tr><td colspan="5">Data is for the application period that took place during the 2010-11 school year. Students would currently be freshmen (see above chart).</td></tr></tbody></table><p> <style type="text/css"> table.tableizer-table {border: 1px solid #CCC; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 11px;} .tableizer-table td {padding: 4px; margin: 3px; border: 1px solid #ccc;} .tableizer-table th {background-color: #159406; color: #FFF; font-weight: bold;}</style> </p><p>Texas had a situation a little bit like Chicago&rsquo;s. Its public universities admitted kids every year based mostly on test scores and grades. Students from good schools and bad schools competed against each other for limited seats. In the late 1990s, that changed. University of Texas spokesman Matt Flores:</p><p>FLORES: Lawmakers came up with this Top 10 Percent Rule, which effectively says if you graduate in the top 10 percent of your high school class, you would be guaranteed admission to the school of your choice&mdash;to the public institution of your choice.</p><p>Flores says kids don&rsquo;t control what zip code they live in, and the new system rewards them for doing well at whatever school they attend.</p><p>FLORES: There were actually some high schools in the far reaches of Texas that in their histories had never sent a single student to UT-Austin. And I know that since that time, many of those high schools&mdash;if not all&mdash;have now sent at least somebody to UT.</p><p>Chicago Public Schools enrollment chief Katie Ellis says Chicago considered a system like that when it switched admissions criteria two years ago.</p><p>ELLIS: The challenge becomes, these students still are going to have to compete at very, very challenging environments....We try to come up with a careful balance between letting in the top scoring students in the city but also having socio-economic diversity, and those are sometimes contradictory.</p><p>Sadler, the principal from Brown Elementary near the Horner Homes, says she&rsquo;d love a system that gave her hardest working students an equal opportunity to go to Chicago&rsquo;s best high schools.</p><p>Until then, she says, Brown will just have to get better faster than more privileged schools.</p><p><em>Source for data in all tables is Chicago Public Schools. More extensive feeder school information is available in the Excel file below, under EXTRAs. </em><br /><br />&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 09 Mar 2012 02:31:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/chicagos-best-high-schools-who-gets-who-doesnt-97110