New schools in Chicago

On This Week in Education, Alex Russo reports on new schools — some charters, some not — approved in Chicago. I’m intrigued to see a new school sponsored by a law firm and another by the University of Chicago. Senn High is getting a Navy program too, despite protests.

“Performance schools,” says Russo, are district-run schools with five years to prove themselves and more flexibility in teacher hiring and curriculum. In short, they’re sort of like charters but not independent.

Sacramento also is planning to open small schools, including some charters, to better serve students with varied needs and interests.

About Joanne


  1. Joanne wrote:

    In short, they’re sort of like charters but not independent.

    Isn’t that a contradiction in terms?

    Oh what the hell, any change, at this point, is probably for the better. Even rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic means someone’s dissatisfied with some status quo.

  2. superdestroyer says:

    Just what makes people think that making getting into a high school as getting into college will make the situation better. I wonder how long it will be until there are stories about parents camping out over a weekend to get their kids into the “right” school.

  3. Just what makes people think that making getting into a high school as getting into college will make the situation better.


    I wonder how long it will be until there are stories about parents camping out over a weekend to get their kids into the “right” school.

    I don’t know how many parents have camped out over a weekend to get their kid in but the phrases “waiting list” and “charter school” seem to show up together pretty often. Evidence of the wide-spread parental satisfaction with the district-based public schools.

  4. superdestroyer says:

    Allen, I do not know where you live but where I have live getting into the small, specialized charters schools either required luck through a lottery, preparing your kids for examinations, or camping out over the weekend to be first in line so your kids will not be wait listed.

    Now image a city where all the schools are small specialized schools and you justed move there with your children. All of schools where you would want your children to attended are either full and wait listed or you missed the application deadline. Imagine if you will that the wait list at say, Albert Einstien Science adn Technology School is 500 kids and you can only start as a freshmen. You are screwed becuase the only school not wait listed is Marion Barry Multicultural High. What would you tell the parents then?

    Small charters and magnet schools are great for small families who never move cities or for poor families who can would be able to escape the poopr urban schools However, they screw everyone else along the way because they destroy the established suburban high schools with the high SAT scores and high college admissions along the way.

  5. Supe, my problem with your posts, along with our differences in philosophy, is that you don’t take the time to preview them and they’re often difficult to understand.

    superdestroyer wrote:

    What would you tell the parents then?

    why would I have to tell them anything?

    Marion Barry Multicultural High closed it’s doors after three years because even lunatic-fringe, left-wing parents want their kids to learn to read. It was bought up by the people who run Albert Einstein and reopened under the name of Albert Einstein High II and those hypothetical parents got their little nuclear physicist enrolled. The lefty parents were left grumbling that not nearly enough Maya Angelou was being taught and Rigoberto Manchu wasn’t even mention but hey, you can’t please everybody.

    I appreciate your trying to draw scare scenarios that support the necessity of the current situation but let me clue you in, things are changing.

    The current system is, by its nature, resistant to accountability and unresponsive to parental desires. That’s become, over the past couple of decades, an increasingly difficult situation to accept.

    As the regard for teachers ebbed as a result of their transformation from selfless crusaders against the scourge of ignorance into union members willing to go out on strike for higher pay and better benefits, the willingness of the public to simply believe that a good job was being done also ebbed.

    That is the current situation whether you agree with the reasons for it or not. The diminished public faith in the public education system is unarguable.

    That’s what underpins such substantive changes as the charter school movement and NCLB.

    You can do your best to come up with scary scenarios but that’s not going to change a thing since what needs to be addressed is the loss of public faith in the public education system.

    One of the responses that won’t address that loss of faith is that what we need is more of the same. That means that what will work is less of the same and more of the new.

  6. superdestroyer says:


    I base my assumptions on the existing situation with private schools in every large metropolitan area in the US. Try moving to New York City and enrolling your children into the “good” private schools. Unless you are rich or your child is a great athlete, you can forget it. Why do you want to create the same situation the public schools? Look at Thomas Jefferson Science and Technology High School in Virginia. The demand for such a school greatly exceed the seats in the school. Yet, if you try to open another one, every one will know it is not the same thing and thus no one tries.

    Look at public universities. In Texas, the applicants to the University of Texas-Austin greatly exceeds the seats in the freshmen class. Does Texas go out and create another UT-Austin. No. It creates another UT-Pan American or WT-A&M. That is what you get with admission based public schools. Do you want the same thing for kindergarden students with parents applying for the top of the line school and having to settle for what they can get?

    My biggest problems with charters and vouchers is that the proponents of such systems greatly oversell the benefits and hand wave off the apparent and predictable problems.

  7. Supe,

    What you seem to be saying is that because there aren’t enough private/specialty schools to serve ALL the children, there shouldn’t be ANY? How is that good for kids?

  8. superdestroyer says:


    What I would like from the pro-voucher and pro-charter crowd is more honesty. They should admit that there proposals will not help all children, that many children will have to accept something other than their first choice, and that the demand for many education alternatives will greatly exceed the supply.

  9. superdestroyer (can’t you use a better handle?) wrote:

    What I would like from the pro-voucher and pro-charter crowd is more honesty.

    There’s no lack of honesty on the part of voucher and charter proponents. There’s just a desire on your part to create an issue.

    By the way, this “Lizzie Borden” defense isn’t making too much headway either. Not that it hasn’t in the past, in other areas.

    You know what I mean by “Lizzie Borden” defense, don’t you? Kill your parents and then throw yourself on the mercy of the court because you’re an orphan.

    When you’re forced to pay for something, like say, education, you have to have a very serious complaint before your willing also pay for the education you want. So by their very nature public schools don’t have to be good, they just have to be good enough to keep outraged parents off their backs, most of the time. After all, the money and the kids’ll show up. It’s the law.

    You can try to use the dearth of alternative schools as proof that alternatives aren’t viable but a tactic like that’ll only work if the public is reasonably happy with the public schools. Otherwise a sufficiently large percentage of the voting public will be looking for any real alternative. Like we have.

    That’s why charters have spread to most of the states, why the NCLB was passed and isn’t going away and why real grass-roots movements are pushing for more choice, not less.

  10. Being a pro-charter and pro-voucher parent (even for religious schools, which really torques my parents) – I can honestly say that I have never assumed that the kids who leave public schools will get into their parents’ “first choice” school. How many college kids get into their (or their parents’) “first choice” college? Speaking for myself, I’m happy just to keep my son *out* of the “last choice” school – and right now, “last choice” is ANY of the public elementary schools within a five-mile radius, since the only thing to choose between them is whether you get a lousy teacher or a passable teacher who can’t/won’t buck the system.

    Speaking to why there aren’t enough charter schools to go around, the School Board here managed to keep the approval process for new schools under their thumb AND got the legislature to impose hard and fast limits on how many can be approved each year, so anyone that wants to start a charter here has more hoops to jump through than a circus dog. The newspapers do their best to report who is trying, what they want to do, and why their charter was denied – and some of the reasons are just asinine. I don’t have links off the top of my head, since I get my paper in print, but I can find them if anyone cares.

    The only charters that I am aware of that have failed did so because of bankruptcy through mismanagement of funds, not because of too few students.

    Suzanne in Utah