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Six Things To Note About The CPS Clout Investigation

There's lots of news about the clout investigations surrounding CPS and

it's easy to get lost, but here are some key things to note about where

things stand right now:

1.  Arne Duncan is probably off the hook

in terms of the Federal investigation, because the subpoena only asks

for information going back to January 2008.  (Unless they slam him for

expanding principal discretion in February 2008 or for things that

happened that first year.)

2.  Everyone else might be in deep

doo-doo, however, since the Assistant US Attorney whose name is on the

subpoena, Brandon Fox, appears to be on the criminal side of the USA's

office, not the civil side.  That means they're looking for bribery,

corruption, fraud types of things, not violations of civil rights or

disparate impact types of issues.

3.  The federal probe (PDF here)

focuses narrowly on the nine selective high schools, which only

officially got the right to discretion in February 2008.  But the

internal investigation is broader, encompassing all 52 magnet and

selective schools, K through 12. (Why, a day after receiving the

subpoena, did Huberman order an investigation that was broader than the

US Attorney's request? We don't know.)

4.  The Tribune keeps describing principal discretion as only being allowed under "extenuating circumstances" (here)

even though the 2008 language allows such a broad range of exceptions

that it seems like pretty much any kid who's followed the application

process (and scored above the minimum) could qualify. The looophole

seems like it's written pretty broadly to me.

5.  Nobody seems

to have noticed or cared that the current SE discretion language lacks

the school integration language that's long been part of the discretion

provision (requiring picks to "enhance or maintain" deseg goals). The

2002 language, and the revised language from February 2008, makes

reference to deseg goals.  It's even in the Feb 2008 Policy Manual.  Is

this simply a case of the Board trying to avoid affirmative action

problems, or is it a case of the Board getting rid of a requirement

that it knew it wasn't meeting? 

6.  Five percent of what? 

Five percent of spots offered?  Five percent of actual enrollment?  No

one seems to have the same interpretation for this.  But it makes a big

difference.  Offer admission to 95 regular kids, and 5 principal's

picks, and it looks like you're OK.  But if only half of the regular

kids accept, and all of the picks say yes, then -- Shazam! -- the

discretionary picks make up 10 percent of your actual students. 

31 comments

Daisy wrote 4 years 46 weeks ago

Six Things To Note About The CPS Clout Investigation

I completely agree with the comments below. My nw side neighborhood HS Schurz is completely out of the question for my daughter to attend. A five yr graduation rate of 50%?? I don't think so. Average ACT score of 15?? And, now I find out that it takes a letter from a US Senator to get into a SE school. This is not how to keep the middle class in the city.

But the real screwing of Chicago came when most of the city's movers and shakers allowed Daley (and Duncan) to destroy the general high schools (and the community traditions and histories they embodied) under "standards and accountability" after 2002. [/i]

Will Clout get UNO into vacated De La Cruz School??? wrote 4 years 46 weeks ago

Six Things To Note About The CPS Clout Investigation

At the August Board of Ed Meeting – The board will be asked to consider an emergency request to temporarily relocate the UNO Charter School-Octavio Paz Campus to a CPS facility for one year due to unsafe conditions at the school’s current facility. This emergency request came to CPS staff in late July and they have been working to identify a one-year solution that would resolve the schools’ short term safety concern. Octavio Paz is currently located at 2641 W.25 Pl. at the St. Roman’s Catholic Church facility . CPS staff evaluated various potential locations that could serve as a short term solution for this emergency situation and have made the recommendation to temporarily locate the Octavio Paz campus to the vacant Sor Juana Ines De la Cruz facility ….

The Board will carefully consider all community input into this decision and a Public Hearning has been scheduled for Aug. 21st. from 6:00 to 8:00 PM, at St. Augustine College located at 2610 W. 25th Pl.

Members of the public are also invited to attend the regularly scheduled CBOE meeting on August 26th at 4:00 pm in Board chambers at 125 S. Clark, 5th Floor.

Please note that the Pilsen Education Task Force has proposed a 45 minute meeting on Thursday to discuss the issue. This meeting will take place at Gads Hill at 4:30pm.

my bad? wrote 4 years 47 weeks ago

Six Things To Note About The CPS Clout Investigation

Oh. cps mom, this was unclear: "At that time it was full of tough taylor st. kids and rich kids from the south side." Seemed you were saying that the majority of students were Taylor Street toughs and Southside rich kids. Maybe just a few.

made the cut? wrote 4 years 47 weeks ago

Six Things To Note About The CPS Clout Investigation

Trib says Munoz's relative's test scores "weren't high enough to get into a prestigious city high school." Were the scores within the range that makes a student eligible to take the SE HS admissions test, or just not high enough to beat the competition of other eligible applicants? Anyone clear on this?

to bs wrote 4 years 47 weeks ago

Six Things To Note About The CPS Clout Investigation

who said anything about high scores. All I said was that it was hard to get into back then.
White and Hispanic and asian were the minority. I have my year books to prove it.
The Gumbels, Jacksons, Johnsons, stavros, just to name a few. So many of these kids had connections even back then.
The only kids that were guaranteed entrance were the Taylor St and and Near west side kids becuase they lived in the proximity.

George N. Schmidt wrote 4 years 47 weeks ago

Six Things To Note About The CPS Clout Investigation

The change came about when Daley was able to circumvent the desegregation rules and create a trio of "college prep academic magnet high schools" (Northside, Payton, Jones) for the wealthiest ZIP Codes in Chicago. This took place during the Vallas years, the same time the Sun-Times was attacking (on orders from Vallas) "corruption" at the old Desegregation Monitoring Commission. By the time Arne Duncan came into office (2001), the old lottery based admissions policies for all of the schools had been screwed up because of the seventh grade "standards" and oddball test.

But the real screwing of Chicago came when most of the city's movers and shakers allowed Daley (and Duncan) to destroy the general high schools (and the community traditions and histories they embodied) under "standards and accountability" after 2002.

The charterization or other attacks (the AUSLization) on Austin, Calumet, Collins, Englewood, Harper and Orr are the flip side of this nasty current events lesson on what happens if you create elite schools and neglect the fundamental mission of public schools (educate everybody in a democracy) on the pretext of serving the fictional needs of one set of citizens.

This particular segregationist chapter in Chicago history will have to be written as precisely as Mary Herrick wrote about the last segregationist triumphs of the last Mayor Daley in Chicago's Schools: A Social and Political History. This time around, however, some of the most important segregationists were African Americans, from people like Hosannah Mahaley (Johnson) at "New Schools" to Michael Scott and Rufus Williams.

At least we now have more tools to tell these stories in real time as they unfold. But they won't be pretty, and they won't be drowned out by the semi-coherent meanderings of Daley or the corporate slavishness of the reporters at the Sun-Times and Tribune.

bs wrote 4 years 47 weeks ago

Six Things To Note About The CPS Clout Investigation

Oh, that is so much BS about who attended WY in the 70s and early 80s. It was everyone, from all corners of Chicago. It wasn't just for "high-scorers" either. Please.

cps mom wrote 4 years 47 weeks ago

Six Things To Note About The CPS Clout Investigation

30 years ago my father had a private meeting with Mr. Dawson the original principal of Whitney Young. My father begged Mr. Dawson to take me in. I graduated in 1982. At that time it was full of tough taylor st. kids and rich kids from the south side but it was still hard to get into. I guess my dad had clout! tee hee

poor sport wrote 4 years 47 weeks ago

Six Things To Note About The CPS Clout Investigation

I personally know a family from the 2nd ward who was helped by a phone call from the alderman to a very high profile elementary school near Whitney Young. They are all so full of $hit.

ald have not "clout" with schools? wrote 4 years 47 weeks ago

Six Things To Note About The CPS Clout Investigation

from the Tribune story:

"...He's an elected official," Daley said. "He's not putting undue pressure, like threatening with their budget. They have no budget consequences over that."

"They don't have to accept a child, they can refuse a child because they (aldermen) have no power over the board of education. They don't fund them, they don't review their budgets or anything else," Daley said.

http://www.chicagobreakingnews.com/2009/08/daley-defends-aldermans-clout...

alderman calls YW principal wrote 4 years 47 weeks ago

Six Things To Note About The CPS Clout Investigation

http://cbs2chicago.com/local/munoz.school.clout.2.1126776.html

Aug 13, 2009 9:06 am US/Central
Alderman Admits He Helped Daughter Get Into School
Ald. Ricardo Munoz Says He Asked Principal For Favor

"Ald. Ricardo Munoz (22nd) acknowledged Wednesday his daughter was admitted to Whitney Young Magnet High School for the upcoming school year after he called the principal to ask that his daughter be allowed to follow in her brother's footsteps...."

Such a request is OK under the principal's choice policy, but the "undue" (clout) pressure must have been there.

Sam wrote 4 years 47 weeks ago

Six Things To Note About The CPS Clout Investigation

Last post was supposed to state "Response" not "Resonse". Guess that means it is time for bed!

Sam: Resonse "to Sam" wrote 4 years 47 weeks ago

Six Things To Note About The CPS Clout Investigation

Did you go through all the threads and send the same message to everyone that mentioned the name of a parent? I hope you did, it will make me sleep better.

I did not "out" anyone. I mentioned the name of a politician in Chicago. Mentioned something positive about his child. That was nine years ago, I am sure he is not a "kid" anymore.

to Sam wrote 4 years 47 weeks ago

Six Things To Note About The CPS Clout Investigation

I appreciate the comments, but you shouldn't "out" any kid by name - good or bad.

Sam: Response to "OH OK" wrote 4 years 48 weeks ago

Six Things To Note About The CPS Clout Investigation

I am sure everyone takes the selective enrollment test. For honors and AP placement, I am sure a test is given for that as well. I am talking about giving a test to determine if the high school credit that was received at Taft, or any other Academic Center, is "worthy of Lane status." If not, then take the credit away and take the class over again. I hope this is not the current practice.

oh ok. wrote 4 years 48 weeks ago

Six Things To Note About The CPS Clout Investigation

Thanks for responding. I doubt if this is the current practice. I think everyone takes the selective enrollment test and honors placement is based on that and the total score.

Sam : Regard Algebra test for Honors Geometry wrote 4 years 48 weeks ago

Six Things To Note About The CPS Clout Investigation

Giving an Algebra test to see if a student is able to take Honors Geometry I believe is allowed. I can give a test to see if a student can take my AP class. In the case of Lane, (according to our coordinator and an Assistant Principal at the time) it was for the core subjects, including mine! If the student did not do well, the credit would not count and they had to take the class over again. I am not sure if the practice is still going on.

If Lane is going to test Taft AC students, then Lane needs to make sure it gives the same exam to all of its incoming AC students.

to:Sam Taft AC Program wrote 4 years 48 weeks ago

Six Things To Note About The CPS Clout Investigation

"In fact, Lane would not accept our credits unless the child took a separate test in each subject matter because they thought that our curriculum was not up to par with theirs."

Are you talking about taking an algebra test so that the student can take Honors Geometry? I thought it was common practice to have to take a test for that.

Sam Taft AC Program wrote 4 years 48 weeks ago

Six Things To Note About The CPS Clout Investigation

I was one of the first teachers to teach in the AC program at Taft. I taught it for nine years. We never gave out grades to keep students at Taft. We never gave out inflated grades nor did we fail kids on purpose. In fact, Lane would not accept our credits unless the child took a separate test in each subject matter because they thought that our curriculum was not up to par with theirs. They were actually doing it to make the kids take the classes over again. Imagine that, a high school thinking it is so good, that it denies kids credits they rightfully earned.

We had many great students leave to some of the other high schools and we had many stay on their own accord. We had bad students leave and stay as well. When a student from the AC missed an application deadline, he was not accepted into our school.

I am a tough grader and parents hated that, but eventually the kids who were real good students made the grade. One of our students was David Orr's son, he has nothing but good things to say about our AC program. He even sent me a letter stating how well prepared his son was when he entered high school. If you have any questions about Taft's AC, feel free to ask them on here and I will try to answer them.

7th grade TAft wrote 4 years 48 weeks ago

Six Things To Note About The CPS Clout Investigation

you know, I never though of that to keep the kids in their HS. I hope that is not true because that would be really wrong, but it may be that their elementary curriculum that these kids know well, is so much advanced once these kids get into such a huge HS.
Also, at TAFT, those 7th grade ISAT scores will be used, so Taft cannot deny the student to leave to a CP school with such a high score. It has always been kind of sick that these HS take the 7-8th graders away from the elementary school--then the el schools scores go down and they looses positions, when these kids leave the el 7-8th grade to go to a HS 7-8th grade. Again, I hope that is not true and parents need to be vigilant when teachers give grades in these advanced program.
Danny--you are from there--I am sure you will chime in.

Taft 7th grade grades wrote 4 years 48 weeks ago

Six Things To Note About The CPS Clout Investigation

It is widely rumored that Taft hands out fewer As in 7th grade than parents and students expect. Not so unusual there but the rumor suggests it's how they keep those kids out of s-e and at Taft H.S.

Danny wrote 4 years 48 weeks ago

Six Things To Note About The CPS Clout Investigation

Taft keeps somewhere between 25-30% of its Academic Center kids, most of whom go into the pre-IB program at the high school.

Still, the majority enter either the Selective Enrollment high schools or private schools. Even though their children do well in 7th & 8th grades, many parents don't even consider the high school as an option. There's a certain snob appeal in having one's child at Northside, Payton, Lane, or Notre Dame.

academic centers in the HS wrote 4 years 48 weeks ago

Six Things To Note About The CPS Clout Investigation

you have a good point about the 7-8th grade AAC--they should have to apply too, to go to that very HS, BUT the AA centers at Morgan park and Kenwood have NOTHING to worry about. Many parents, after their child graduates 8th grade from these 2 schools, pull them out and do not ALLOW them to attend these HSs. The parents get their kids in a college prep or catholic HS or another school INSTEAD of Kenwood and Morgan park. Taft may keep more, but then there is always Lane as Taft's big competitor--maybe even ChicoHS too.

PLEASE BE SPECIFIC wrote 4 years 48 weeks ago

Six Things To Note About The CPS Clout Investigation

if it is a sweet deal, please give the details.

Unknown wrote 4 years 48 weeks ago

Six Things To Note About The CPS Clout Investigation

Crain’s reports that Sunny Chico, wife of former CPS school board chief Gery Chico, received a sweet deal as a conduit between the CPS and a corporate charter school manager.

Will this be brought up again?

other problems missing here that hurt 8th grade applicants wrote 4 years 48 weeks ago

Six Things To Note About The CPS Clout Investigation

first, the SE high school have discriminated against ELLs for quite sometime. Only ISAT scores were able to be uses--NOT IMAGE--therefore, ELL studnets, in ANY language were NOT allowed to apply for SE HS.
second, IMPACT is wrong! So for 8th graders who applied to SE schools back in December, IMPACT had MAJOR mistakes in 7th grade transcript grades AND attendance. These mistakes, in student applicants' report card documents were WRONG when they were printed from IMPACT'S student information system==lower grades and attendance reported to the SE schools, so these students were wrongly excluded from taking the SE test.
SHAME.

Academic center selection wrote 4 years 48 weeks ago

Six Things To Note About The CPS Clout Investigation

Are the academic centers even a part of the investigation? There is definitely some hocus pocus going on there also.

not sure Duncan is clear wrote 4 years 48 weeks ago

Six Things To Note About The CPS Clout Investigation

Just because the current 5% rule went into effect in Feb 08 that does not mean there are not records relating to Duncan's office and admissions under the prexisting rules that also allowed for principal's picks.

who's in - who's out? wrote 4 years 48 weeks ago

Six Things To Note About The CPS Clout Investigation

"...names of every student who applied to be among this year's select group of kids to be hand-picked by principals of the city's nine elite public high schools..."

Analyzing that list and the outcomes for each student's placement is going to be interesting.

available freshman seats wrote 4 years 48 weeks ago

Six Things To Note About The CPS Clout Investigation

http://www.selectiveenrollment.org/ourpages/auto/2009/4/23/45995240/Prin...

It says 5 percent of "available freshman seats" is permitted.

I wonder how Academic Centers at WYHS and Morgan Park play into this probe into clout, too. If you get into WYHS Academic Center for 7th grade, you're slipped into the high school if you don't flunk out. How does this calculate into "freshman seats available?!"

affirmative action wrote 4 years 48 weeks ago

Six Things To Note About The CPS Clout Investigation

"5. Nobody seems to have noticed or cared that the current SE discretion language lacks the school integration language that's long been part of the discretion provision (requiring picks to "enhance or maintain" deseg goals). The 2002 language, and the revised language from February 2008, makes reference to deseg goals. It's even in the Feb 2008 Policy Manual. Is this simply a case of the Board trying to avoid affirmative action problems, or is it a case of the Board getting rid of a requirement that it knew it wasn't meeting? "

- If that's the case, that's a keen observation. Very interesting!

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