Which admissions process is tougher: CPS selective enrollment high school, or college?

If you’re the parent of a CPS middle school student, you’ve already heard the rumor: It’s tougher to get your kids into a public selective enrollment high school than it is to get them into a good college.

It’s a thorny bit of folk wisdom that has been hammered into the collective, worried consciousness of Chicago parents for years. It’s so well known, suburban friends can recite chapter and verse: Boy, are they thankful they decided to leave the city and raise kids where high school is a foregone conclusion, not a rat race! Phew!

That C in algebra isn't just about students' math abilities, it's about classroom environment, too

As a new sixth-grade teacher in Chicago Public Schools, I created an “A’s and B’s Because I Tried” Club to recognize every student who achieved a top grade on a project. I had come to my classroom in 2004 the same way most teachers do: with an unwavering belief that students can achieve academically, with the goal of creating a classroom where every student felt valued and with the confidence that, if students tried hard enough, they would succeed.

Chicago continues to increase the number of graduates, but the city is still behind the state

More of Chicago’s students continue to graduate after five years, with this year’s numbers showing a small uptick, but the rapid pace of increase has slowed.

Almost 79% of Chicago’s seniors graduated in five years this spring, compared with closer to 78% the year prior, the district said Thursday...

Letter to the editor

Research at the University of Chicago has shown that ninth-grade performance predicts graduation rates better than any other information available. The Consortium on School Research, at the University of Chicago, developed the “Freshman-On-Track” metric to measure a schools’ success by using student evidence-based research data to keep students on track for graduation.

Get to know the top 10 pieces of college access and success research

NCAN members and other regular readers of this blog are routinely inundated with new research, white papers, policy briefs, and data points. It is easy to get buried under the relentless advance of academia and policy research wanting to convince you to pay attention to this, then this, then this, and then, finally, that.

But within any field some research stands out and withstands the test of time, and the college access and success space is no different. I started thinking about what some of the top pieces of research are for our field...

Chicago freshman program helps ease high school transition

Keeping freshmen on track may be the key to moving the needle up on graduation rates, experts say. This fact seems especially relevant for black males. In CPS, the graduation rate of African American males rose from 43% in 2005 to 71% in 2013. The research also found that freshmen who pass all their classes have a 90% chance of graduating from high school, compared to 70% of those who failed a class during 9th grade.

Chicago high school dropout rate hits all-time low, CPS says

A smaller percentage of Chicago high school students dropped out last year than ever before, the city announced Thursday.

The all-time low 6% dropout rate touted by Mayor Lori Lightfoot and CPS CEO Janice Jackson happened during the 2018-19 school year, under former Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration. Students last year dropped out of school at almost half the rate they did in 2011...

There is no neutral on racism and hate

Last year, my colleague LaShawn Routé Chatmon and I wrote this piece in EdWeek — “5 Steps for Liberating Public Education From Its Deep Racial Bias.” We made the case that in order to support the social and emotional well being of our students, we need to acknowledge and confront the legacy of racism and exclusion in our schools and communities — and its continued impact on all of our students.

Alexandra Usher

Alexandra is an Associate Director of the To&Through Project and a Senior Research Analyst at the Consortium on School Research. Alexandra leads the research and data processes that inform the To&Through Project, which aims to increase the percentage of Chicago Public School students who graduate from high school and earn a college degree, and to share the learning from Chicago with education stakeholders across the country.

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