CPS Changing For the Worst

Under the headline “Changes may ease admissions to elite CPS schools” we’re told that CPS is now going to reward student who attended failing schools by letting them go to the best high schools in the city.

Using U.S. Census data, the district began evaluating all 874 census tracts in the city on five indicators: median income, adult education, percentages of single-family homes and homeowners and the percentage of children living in non-English speaking households. For the 2011-12 school a sixth criteria will be added: school performance.

CPS ranks the census tracts based on the indicators and divides them into four tiers. Last year, 40 percent of openings in selective schools went to students with top academic scores overall and the other 60 percent were divided among top-scoring students in each of the four socioeconomic groups.

This year, only 30 percent of the openings will be reserved for students with top scores overall.

(Full story here.)

This is the kind of decision that is made by bureaucrats, not educators.  What educators know, and how schools function from kindergarten on,  is that excellent students need other excellent students around them to keep them challenged.  Brilliant or gifted students are bored when placed in classrooms with remedial students; remedial students feel overwhelmed and inferior when placed in a classroom with gifted students.  As such, neither student is served by being forced to study with the other.

This is the problem with CPS.  Too many bureaucrats and not enough educators.  That needs to change if we’re going to have a world class primary and secondary educational system.

Illinois Schools Screw it Up

Thousands of Illinois schools are like mediocre students: Most of their pupils are passing — but not distinguishing themselves — on state achievement exams.

Illinois Standards Achievement Test results set to be released Friday reveal that pushing students to think and perform at higher levels has been elusive for the vast majority of public schools, even in affluent communities with involved parents.

(Full story here.)

Long story short, we continue to fall further and further behind.  Why?  Because we are not demanding excellence as all levels of education.  Our schools are run by politicians who’s only goal is to remain in office.  So they appeal to the lowest common denominator in order to attract the greatest number of votes.  In the process, the sell our most gifted students, our best and our brightest, down the river of mediocrity.

We should all be ashamed at how bad our schools function.  The republic cannot survive without fresh leadership.  Currently that leadership is being provided by those who had a private education.  That is not a sustainable model.  Education reform must be our top priority.