Petition Closed
Petitioning Norman R. Bobins and 7 others

Tell Chicago's Top 9 Schools: Admit Kids For Merit, Not Connections

 

Chicago's top nine high schools use a strict score system to admit students based on their grades, attendance, state standardized test scores and school admissions tests. The system is brutal - parents regularly complain about the circus-style hoops their kids have to jump through just to get into a good school.

But the system has a back door - principal discretion picks. They're supposed to be used for kids who can argue why they didn't get a higher score - maybe they're not so good on standardized tests - but deserve to go to their school anyway. What is it being used for instead? Clout-ridden favors.

The Chicago Public Schools' Inspector General just released his 2010 report, and it's riddled with eyebrow-raising admissions. Some kids who never even took the school admissions test magically got in. Other kids didn't appear on the first round of admissions, or even get picked with principal discretion, started school in the fall with all the other kids who had gone through the strict admissions process.

In one example, the IG found that a student was admitted because the kid's parent, a local elected official, was good friends with the principal, even though the student never took the selective enrollment test. Then, that student's siblings were also admitted, despite the fact that their scores were way below those of their classmates.

When principals pick their favorites, it means hard-working regular kids with no fancy political connections get left out. For every clout-connected admission, it means one deserving student who doesn't get the education they'd hoped for. If Chicago Public Schools wants to serve its students, it will make sure those who get in to selective enrollment high schools are those who deserve it - not those whose parents are powerful.

Help us end this clout-ridden system. Sign our petition to end principal picks in Chicago's public high schools.

 

Letter to
Norman R. Bobins
Board Member Tariq Butt
CPS Interim CPO Terry Mazany
and 5 others
Mary Richardson Lowry
Board Member Peggy Davis
Board Member Roxanne Ward
Board Member Alberto Carrero
Board Member Clare Munana
As you know, The Chicago Public Schools' Inspector General James Sullivan just released his 2010 report, and it raises serious questions about the admissions process to Chicago's selective enrollment high schools - particularly the principal discretionary admissions.

These picks - designed for kids to argue why they should be admitted to one of Chicago's best high schools - seem to be used for principals to choose kids who's families are rich, powerful and connected. Some kids who never even took the school admissions test magically got in. Other kids didn't appear on the first round of admissions, or even get picked with principal discretion, started school in the fall with all the other kids who had gone through the strict admissions process.

In one example, the IG found that a student was admitted because the kid's parent, a local elected official, was good friends with the principal, even though the student never took the selective enrollment test. Then, that student's siblings were also admitted, despite the fact that their scores were way below those of their classmates.

Two principals were cited as having especially egregious records when it comes to picking favorites. While the report leaves out their names, the Chicago Sun Times identifies them as Joyce Kenner, principal of Chicago's Whitney Young High School and Antoinette Lobosco, principal of Lane Tech College Prep.

What should be done? Well, the inspector general has been recommending that principal discretion be ended for awhile. But, until now, CPS hasn't heeded his advice. The former head of CPS "cracked down" on problems with selective enrollment, but, lo and behold, those problems keep cropping up again.

In fact, the report found that even though CPS' CEO isn't supposed to have anything to do with who gets into these top-notch schools, the CEO's office kept a binder of every politically-connected person who'd requested help getting a kid into a selective enrollment high school.

When principals pick their favorites, it means hard-working regular kids with no fancy political connections get left out. For every clout-connected admission, it means one deserving student who doesn't get the education they'd hoped for. If Chicago Public Schools wants to serve its students, it will make sure those who get in to selective enrollment high schools are those who deserve it - not those whose parents are powerful.

You have the power to end principal discretion enrollment to CPS' selective high schools. We urge you to end this clout-ridden practice and level the playing field for students to succeed on their own merit - not the reputations of their parents.

Thank you.