CPS Grading Its Schools, But Parents Say Report Cards ‘Confusing’

CHICAGO (CBS) — There’s a new kind of report card on the Chicago Public Schools that might tell us about the good, the bad, and the ugly.

The good: a new era of transparency; the bad: what parents are likely to learn about their neighborhood school; the ugly: the state of the system inherited by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and CPS Chief Executive Officer Jean-Claude Brizard.

CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine was there as Emanuel and Brizard unveiled an interactive online map of school report cards on Monday.

The report cards provide ratings for each school, from Level 1 to Level 3, with 1 being the best, according to guidelines set by the Chicago Board of Education.

For example, Manuel Perez Elementary School in Pilsen was graded at Level 1. The school has shown steady progress over the past few years under principal Vicky Kleros, dedicated teachers and an especially active and concerned group of parents.

But on the new “Interactive School Progress Report Map” website, you see that only 33% of 3rd to 5th grade students meet or exceed national standards at Perez. In addition, only 14 percent of 8th graders are on track for college.

Perez parent Diane Gracia said, “It’s kind of … confusing.”

“You scratch your head and say, ‘How can you be Level 1 at 33%?’ That’s gonna be the conversation around a lot of kitchen tables in the city of Chicago, because we’ve been telling parents one thing, when, in fact, a lot of experts knew another answer,” Emanuel said after unveiling the new website.

According to the map, the Level 1 and 2 schools are concentrated in predominantly white North Side, Northwest Side and Southwest Side neighborhoods. The Level 3 schools and schools on probation are more likely to be in minority neighborhoods on the South Side and West Side.

Overall, fewer than 8 percent of 11th graders in the CPS system will be college ready when they graduate – if they graduate.

Asked if that is an indicator of how bad the system is, Kleros said, “It says that there’s work that needs to be done and it’s up to us to explain this to the parents to make sure we’re clear about what it means and to create a plan how we’re going to move our students from these levels, up.”

One Perez parent said, “I think this is gonna be a challenge for the parents to get more involved.

Another parent said, “It’s gonna be kind of a stress for us parents, but we need to help our kids.

How can you call a school where more than two-thirds of the students fail to meet national standards a Level 1 school? You can’t, and Brizard said that will change.

But the real challenge is helping Chicago students catch up to the rest of the nation.

The online school report cards might serve to fire up parents and get them to demand that a first class city not tolerate second class schools.

More from Jay Levine
  • Jennie

    The new supt. of schools has the right idea when he spoke of getting rid of bad principals. I will be writing him this week, recommending that one be investigated for padding the attendance, hiring families, denying certain people are on her payroll, causing confusion among her staff, (she tells GROWN people who to talk to,) harrassment, having her peons collect money for her at xmas for a trip to Mexico, allowing her step daughter to have her sorority meetings in the school, firing people that she does not like, pointing her finger in teachers face, changing grades, having her husband on the payroll as the assistant coach, keeping a known pheodile on payroll until a compliant was filed on him last week, allowing her husband to use the swimming pool until it was discovered by several neighborhood residents, (the children has not have swimming since she has been there) refusing to meet with staff, parents or students unless they have an appointment, cussing students, allowing a preacher to have church in the school and personally charging the preacher money. (The preacher got tried of her and left.) She was close with the former mayor but now that clout is gone but she seems immune to all of the transgressions that occur daily at her school. Oh, I forgot,Black woman, Black children, Black school, so who cares?

    • Daniel Morgan

      Please go back to school and learn to write more clearly and concisely. Oops, schools teach how to use a condom, but not how to read or write. Sorry.

  • Daniel Morgan

    The logical conclusion of failed public education and another reason not to believe the government. All the government bureaucrats just want to save their jobs and benefits.

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