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Old 12-15-2010, 11:23 AM
 
Location: Chicago: Beverly, Woodlawn
1,966 posts, read 5,522,324 times
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One thing I honestly don't understand -- how is this new structure supposed to help the underachieving students? Does witnessing the study habits and intellectual prowess of their new classmates suddenly transform them in some way? Or is it that they get access to the honors teacher and/or honors curriculum? (if the latter this could certainly be done in a regular class). Answering "yes" to any of these seems really out of touch. Also, is this supposed to help the high achieving students somehow -- like give them a reality check, or fulfill their need to do some community service? I imagine that 99% of the real honors students will see nothing in it for them. Given that people have choices, these types of measures (perhaps when extended more broadly) will just cause people to leave.
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Old 12-15-2010, 02:27 PM
 
Location: Chicago
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Originally Posted by cohdane View Post

So looking into the future, when ETHS looks more like Maine East-- "Seventy four percent of the school's students speak a language other than English at home. Students speak 52 languages, according to the school's count so far. " Will it still be appropriate to kill programs that cater to the top 5% of achieving students? When that's a mixed bag racially, will we still want to give lower achieving kids a chance to shine (at the expense of the majority of higher and lower achieving students who would do better in a customized environment?).
I don't see ETHS looking more like Maine East because I don't see Evanston looking more like Niles.

Maine East looks like it does because the portions of Niles that dominate the high school were built to be transient and run down and only became more of each as time went on.

Maine East is about endless rows of long, two story apartment buildings where people move in and out in an area that was destined to become slum property when it was shoddily put up in the late 50's and into the 1960's.

Maine East was bound to have more problems because of the way housing was built in Niles than Niles West drawing from post-WWII housing in Skokie that was of a much higher quality.

If America had been "all white" and race was not an issue, Maine East would still be going through major problems today based on the quality of the housing stock it draws from.
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Old 12-15-2010, 02:34 PM
 
Location: Chicago: Beverly, Woodlawn
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Along this same lines, this would be a good time to point out that Evanston is absolutely spectacular. On the lake but with no big road separating lake from the rest of the town, incredible homes, vibrant entertainment and restaurants, easy access to city via L or metra. In some ways I find it the most appealing area in all of Chicagoland. Even if the public school declines people with money will line up to live there.
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Old 12-15-2010, 04:44 PM
 
2,060 posts, read 5,269,619 times
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Originally Posted by ajolotl View Post
Along this same lines, this would be a good time to point out that Evanston is absolutely spectacular. On the lake but with no big road separating lake from the rest of the town, incredible homes, vibrant entertainment and restaurants, easy access to city via L or metra. In some ways I find it the most appealing area in all of Chicagoland. Even if the public school declines people with money will line up to live there.
And next spring will be a great time to buy as all the families of would-be freshmen pack up and leave!
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Old 12-15-2010, 05:40 PM
 
16,709 posts, read 19,315,937 times
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Originally Posted by SloopyJ View Post
While I'm not a fan of this change at ETHS (especially since I'm an Evanston resident with high-achieving kids), let's be fair about what the new plan really is. ETHS is not eliminating Honors; they're eliminating a "Straight Honors" freshman class that has historically been all white. All kids in the new mixed Humanities class can still earn Honors credit by doing Honors-level work, and the hope is that some minority students take advantage of this opportunity to distinguish themselves rather than being labeled as "not Honors material" when they walk in the door.
For those that fear Honors or AP will go away, that's just silly. The goal is to get more minorities into those classes above the freshman year. And some classes, like math and foreign language, will never be de-tracked because the skills build year-over-year in a more concrete way; whereas all kids come into high school with very little experience in humanities or biology.
That said, I think it will be very difficult for teachers to teach effectively to such a broad spectrum of kids, some of whom will (obviously) be able to progress at a much faster pace than others. But I will keep an open mind, as the stated objective is to teach the Honors curriculum to all kids, allowing the most capable to dive deeper into the material.
I also have to say that I blame the counselors for some of the minority non-enrollment. This is only one experience, but at the time it was difficult for my dd's friend. Her friend was a black student whose parents were not particularly supportive of her being in honors classes. However, she wanted to be in honors English in her junior year. She did not have the *credentials* according to the teachers and the counselor did everything he could to discourage her from taking that class even though she could easily change down after the first quarter because the class was a mixed one. She did actually take the honors course and earned As and Bs in it too.

Unfortunately, her parents moved her to a south suburb that was mostly black for her senior year. She had the requirements to graduate completed there when she left Evanston. It was a shame because it messed up a lot of her potential though she is doing well now. She did not go to college and she was prime college material, imo. The home situation just did not help her at all and the counselors at ETHS at the time did not help her either. We attempted to get her parents to let her live with us and complete her senior year at ETHS, but they were adamant that she needed to be with them (mainly so she could babysit for her little step brothers).

I also blame the peer pressure not to be *an oreo.* With my dd's friend after she moved, she would talk to my dd on the phone and switch to ebonics when her new southside friends came into the room while she was talking. When my kids were at ETHS, there was a significant portion of the black population that put a lot of pressure on any black kid who was getting good grades or who was thinking about honors classes. This was in the late 80s, btw, so quite a while ago.

I hope you are right that honors will not be eliminated though. I taught math and really in math, you cannot hope to teach to all abilities in one classroom, imo.
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Old 12-15-2010, 06:02 PM
 
Location: Chicago
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Originally Posted by chicagojlo View Post
And next spring will be a great time to buy as all the families of would-be freshmen pack up and leave!
most communities are less defined by their schools than they once were. frankly speaking, none of our public schools, even the better ones, are doing the jobs they once did.

it is true, however, that in suburban Chicago, people in economically well off suburbs are still relatively comfortable sending their kids to public schools. But look at California. Even in the best of communities, a lot of people opt for sending their kids to private schools.

Evanston with its extensive condo population and childless households is not nearly as dependent on public schools as more typical suburban communities.
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Old 12-15-2010, 07:11 PM
 
28,461 posts, read 75,343,350 times
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Default Where to begin...

If you've any on my posts about CPS you might have gleaned that I thought in some of the (at the time) very desirable high schools that had large numbers of high performing students that were African American. Some of those schools also had large percentages of "options for knowledge" kids that were largely escaping violent schools and were not particularly interested in getting a good education. The students were ABSOLUTLEY tracked by ABILITY and never by race.

Just to disabuse any one of the notion that ANYTHING LIKE THE SEGRATION THAT ONCE EXISTED IN LITTLE ROCK OR UNDER GOVENORS LIKE WALLACE has EVER been part of the ETHS experience I would simply remind folks that ETHS has long been one of the better public schools that also has had a rather large African American population that is generally a heckuva lot better off than those in Chicago. There is NO ONE suggesting ETHS or Evanston has EVER done ANYTHING to make education SEPERATE OR UNEQUAL except for certain hysterical folks on this thread.... Any one who thinks that minorities are part of some sinister plot by ETHS to keep them out of Honors level classes probably thinks the moon landing was faked.

There certainly all kinds of racial issues in the country as a whole. From health and diet to income / careers, to family structures, to violence and dozens other measures the traditional minorities fare considerably worse than whites. Yet the way forward is to look at the successes of minorities and integration not to use some cockamamie excuse for rejiggering resources as some thinly veiled attempt to use the tight budget conditions to play social engineer / political correctness games.

Maine East is significantly less desirable that West for a variety of reason that certainly include the crummy housing stock, but the fact is that when people were happliy snapping up tear down lots in Park Ridge for huge money they could have easily bought up the crummier houses in Morton Grove or Niles and rebuilt to their heart's content, but they'd have crummy schools...

Folks that think ETHS won't decline simply are poor students of history. In the not too distant past York was the equal of Hinsdale Central. There was community snap back over taxes, combined with ill-timed sweeteners for "early retirement" that flushed the nest teachers out in the name of "long term savings". The high achieving parents shifted dramatically to private schools and and fall of in performance has been on a very slow slog back to the ranks of superior schools that themselves continue to move upward making profess all that harder. Similar tales of folly can be found in Nile North and even Glenbrook, where surging suburban areas like Libertyville and the towns in Stevenson's attendance area have eclipsed formally desirable schools...

I also have laugh at folks that do not understand that talented students TRULY DO enter high school significantly more prepared than "average". In more than a few middle schools the seventh or eighth graders take rigorous classes in the sciences such that many sophomores and even some freshmen can perform well enough on AP Biology tests to earn college credit -- how else do you think that that some kinds gradute with so many AP classes? Even when it come to "English and the Humanities" one need only take a look at how many talented youngsters, some probably in third grade or so, begin reading pretty meaty books like the Harry Potter series and others with comprehension and appreciation of many of its themes. Somehow I think those kids, of whatever race they may be (and as I said at Kenwood and Young they were predominately African American) are really going to be sacrificed to the peer pressure that nana mentions...

If ETHS wanted to truly "lift up" more kids instead of "dumbing down" things perhaps they would follow the lead of elite prep schools that for decades have spefiically sought out ways to put more efforts into not just recruiting youngsters from disadvantaged areas for scholarships but actively running summer programs for kids several years before they consider going to a prep school. Oh wait, that would actually cost money, and unlike the soft hearted philanthropists that offten come out those prep schools and become genrous alums even the ETHS school board ultimately must answer to a bunch of tight fisted small minded tax payers that would like nothing better than freeze or eliminate property taxes...
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Old 12-15-2010, 08:13 PM
 
1,989 posts, read 4,080,930 times
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Originally Posted by chet everett View Post
Maine East is significantly less desirable that West for a variety of reason that certainly include the crummy housing stock, but the fact is that when people were happliy snapping up tear down lots in Park Ridge for huge money they could have easily bought up the crummier houses in Morton Grove or Niles and rebuilt to their heart's content, but they'd have crummy schools...
Just for the record, Maine East is not a crummy school.

My only point in bringing it up was to ask rhetorically whether people would feel the same about eliminating an honors class to "give lower achieving students a chance" in a school where the population had evolved to the point where there were no minorities.

You know, if the top 5% of students were a mix of Asian, European, African, South American, Inuit, Maori, etc., would you still eliminate a class that catered to their abilities?

Alas. That rhetorical question was never answered.
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Old 12-15-2010, 08:38 PM
 
Location: Chicago
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Originally Posted by cohdane View Post
Just for the record, Maine East is not a crummy school.
I agree. It is staffed and funded the same way that Maine South and Maine West are. The fact that it has arguably more social issues to face doesn't make it a crummy school by any means.
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Old 12-15-2010, 08:40 PM
 
Location: Chicago: Beverly, Woodlawn
1,966 posts, read 5,522,324 times
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"When the high track tends to be white and the low one black, someone isn't doing the job that needs to be done."

Are you implying that the low-achieving people themselves cannot among those not "doing the job that needs to be done"? If so, you have lost 90% of your audience by not attempting to justify the bold premise that when someone does poorly it must be someone else's fault.
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