Most Chicago public schools earned a D or F grade on the district’s own evaluation, reveals the Chicago Tribune, which has printed the grades. The district didn’t release the information, saying it lacks nuance. Someone leaked the info to the Trib.
As the graph shows, only 10 percent of elementary and middle schools and 4 percent of high schools received an A. Half of K-8 schools and two thirds of high schools were given a D or F.
The grades are based on attendance, dropout rates and test scores, with no attempt to measure students’ progress. Not surprisingly, most of the A and B schools serve fewer low-income students than the district average. However, some high-poverty schools, such as Burnham Elementary, a nearly all-black magnet school, did well. Overall, charters schools were more likely to earn a passing grade.
Some fear the K-8 schools look better because the tests are too easy. The failure rate is high on the 11th-grade exam, which is partly based on the college entrance ACT exam, the Tribune reports.
“At the elementary level, state assessment standards have been so weakened that most of the 8th-graders who ‘meet’ these standards have little chance to succeed in high school or to be ready for college,” wrote the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago in a 2009 report.
My mother’s alma mater, Sullivan High, is an F school with an 88.5 percent poverty rate.