Thursday, January 24, 2013

Jones College Prep Doubles Enrollment;
However Local Residents Seats @ High School Stay at 300

Schooling continues to be a hot topic around these parts and yesterday we read about the newest plan put forth by Mayor Emanuel and CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennet.  Spoiler alert, it's not what most Sloopsters wanted to read (via Chicago Sun-Times registered users):
Image from Richard A. Chapman~Sun-Times
Ignoring the wishes of many South Loop parents and their alderman, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced Tuesday that the old Jones College Prep High School building will not be converted to a neighborhood school but instead will double the number of students allowed to test in. 
Jones College Prep students are scheduled to move a block south in the fall into a new, $115 million building, according to Chicago Public Schools. Parents in the footprint of the selective enrollment school, 606 S. State, have asked that the existing building be renovated into a school open to any child living in the neighborhood, regardless of academic prowess. 
Instead, Emanuel and CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett opted to double the capacity of Jones, they said at the school Tuesday. By 2016, Jones will hold 1,700 high school students from across the city who make the academically competitive cut, with students housed in the current building and the new one. Jones has about 900 students enrolled now.
The bright side is that they're not demolishing the old Jones College Prep building.  The dark side is that it really isn't benefiting neighborhood residents.  Local residents will still only get 300 seats set aside for them, which many believe won't keep up with the changing demographics of the neighborhood.

Alderman Fioretti and local parents/residents think this will cause middle class families to leave for the burbs. We tend to agree with this theory.

What do you think about this new announcement?


Anonymous said...

Are there actually that many middle school age kids in the area? All I see for the most part are young kids, which means they're still many years off from needing a high school. I think residents are more likely to leave for the burbs due to other factors first. Crime and lack of reasonably priced single family housing to start.

Anonymous said...

There are tons of middle school kids in South Loop, at SLES, FXW, OSM, Jackson and Daystar, just to name a few. I am guessing maybe 100-300 kids will start high school every year and the number is growing with leaps and bounds. If your kid is not in the top 1% and make it to the selective enrollment high school you have to pay for private or move. Jones was our last hope, we just lost the gamble.

Anonymous said...

Man how did the Alderman yet screw this up?

Chris said...

300 seats set aside for local residents should be more than sufficient for now. Especially when most people that live in the area will likely send their children to private schools.

Let's just be honest, most of the people that are seriously up in arms over this do not want their children to go to a school where almost 50% of the students come from low income families and %70 are minorities with only a small sliver of that 70% being Asians.

How absurd would it look if there was neighborhood school next to Jones full of a bunch of white kids? That would be a step in the wrong direction. I can see it now half would enter on Polk, the other half on Harrison. They would give each other dirty looks as their buses drove past one another and boom now you have racial tension. Next thing you know a white girl from the neighborhood school is dating a kid from Jones and her dad is getting death threats for not putting an end to it.

In all seriousness though people have to look at their real motives.

It is ranked 103 in U.S. News, it is not like it is a bad school. No, it is not Northside College Prep or Payton, but it is ranked just above Whitney Young. And it is ranked higher than any school in the suburbs. With a new facility I am sure efforts will be made for it climb even further up the national rankings.

I get it everyone wants their own Payton or NCP so they can turn their noses up at the have-nots by creating an insular community. But, people should be happy their children will receive preferential treatment if they live in the area. I normally disagree with everything Rahm does, but I have to agree with him here. In no time it will constructively become a neighborhood school.

And let's face it if your children can't make the cut on the entrance exam against the children from low income areas that have to deal with terrible grade schools and real problems, then they will probably be better fit for another school that is open to the entire city.

Or you can send them to a private school where they will have the individualized attention they probably need. I am sure the British School will be approved in no time and you can scrounge up 26k. Or you can fork over 15k to go to Iggys, both very good schools.

My name is Chris I own on Polk and Clark, I do pay property taxes, and if you want I will send you my email so long as I do not have to hear another Anon comment.

ChiTownChi-Town said...

The current Alderman, Alderman Fiorretti, didn't screw this up. In fact, Fiorretti is the ONLY one fighting for a neighborhood high school for his ward. The questions are: "Why aren't the alderman from the surrounding areas/new ward map joining in on the fight for their residents? !" And "Why is CPS & the Mayor IGNORING/Not even acknowledging the voices of the community?!"

Howard said...

Chris you are clearly ill informed. The 300 seats are 75 per year and open up to city wide application. The neighborhood preference boundary goes from Lake to Ashland to the expressway and students not in the top 40th percentiles won't even be eligible to try and get in. And your statement that if your kid can't cut it against low income children is insulting and wrong. The S. Loop census track gets less than 20% of the freshman seats. It took 875 to get into Jones from that track last year. For the "low income" census track it took 775. 875 means get one B and your child needs a perfect score on the selective exam and 99th percentile on the ISATs for math and English.

You clearly don't have a clue about what it takes for a student to get into a selective school through the CPS system in place.

Chi-townChinatownResident said...

The push for a neighborhood high school continues - Thank you Alderman Fioretti!