The Chicago high school farce

From a student perspective there are two types of high schools:

  • those you have to apply to
  • and those you don’t.

Most students go to those you don’t have to apply for – their neighborhood school. But they go there feeling like they weren’t “good enough” to “get into” one of the “good schools.” I’ve been trying to encourage my eighth graders to see their neighborhood school as a good option, as an option that still leaves their future college and career paths open. Still, students read the action louder than the words and the reality of Chicago Public Schools is this, according to our counselor:

  • To even take the high school application exam, you must get a stanine of 5 or more in math and reading on the state standardized test in 7th grade. This eliminates 4 of 10 students.
  • If all 6 of those students apply to the selective enrollment schools, only 1 is accepted.
  • Thus, 9 of 10 students feel they have been told they are “not good enough”.

Before a student even walks into a neighborhood high school, she feels like she is going to a place for leftovers.