Monday, October 31, 2011

Uptown Schools Get Report Card

via Chicago Tribune
How did Uptown area schools fare in the yearly Illinois State Board of Education "report card"?

Type in the name of a local Uptown school here and find out.


  1. Wow, Uplift has horrible scores...and they claim to have a 100% rate of graduates going to college? Obviously not ones where you need to have an education...

  2. I did a little spreadsheet on the schools within 20 miles of my old stomping grounds on Buena and found that 71.4% report that they did not meet the federal standards. Should this be a cause for alarm? What are these schools doing to fix this?

  3. Uplift is AWFUL.

    "These schools failed to make AYP for two additional years after being placed on Academic Early Warning (or four annual calculations of missing AYP) and are eligible for additional state sanctions."

    What good do state sanctions do?

  4. My personal favorite was:
    "At Uplift Community High School in spring 2010, 0.9% of juniors scored high enough on at least three of the four parts of the ACT to be considered “college-ready” for key freshman classes."

    Not that everyone should or is able to go to college, but that statistic alone is dismal.

  5. How good could these schools be to make for the lack of parenting? Thats what I want to know. It goes both ways. Tell me how awesome the teachers would have to be to make these into awesome students. Basically the teachers would have to adopt the students and take them how with them to really make a difference. No?

  6. Jeffo, if you look at the report.. the average teacher is making $72k. Add in the additional bells, whistles that include a rocking retirement and benefits plan and they are close to $100k a year... There is no excuse for this with teachers paid that much... where is the accountability on the Principal, etc?

  7. I meant the teachers would have to take the kids home with them.

    Im biased, my mom is a CPS teacher. So ofcourse I will defend them, personally I dont understand all the animosity put towards the teachers. I understand that there are some bad teachers, overall I dont think that is the major problem. Its the kids. You could have the most awesome teacher in the world, and you really think that is going to turn around most of these kids? No way. They arent miracle workers.

    The mayor is just trying to cut the budget and they always attack the teachers, why? Because its the largest part of the city workforce.

    You get in what you put in (students). You put in nothing, you get nothing. Trying to grade schools the way they are now is really stupid.

    You are concentrating all the "dumb" kids into certain schools and all the "smart" kids in magnet schools, that is stupid. I went to school at Maine West, decent suburban highschool, you had regular people, dumb people and smart people, thats hows schools should be, people balance each other out better that way.

    If you have a school full of problems, well guess what it going to look horrible no matter what test you give.

    Wow 72k those guys are frickin rich!!!! gimme a break. No one complains about the firefighters or police salaries do they? Teachers are just as important as they are.

    I always find it funny when people complain about an upper middle class salary. Gimme a break. You how much money you have to earn before you really are doing well?
    How about a couple hundred thousand.

  8. You get in [out?] what you put in (students). You put in nothing, you get nothing.

    Excellent point.

    And while there is fodder for concern in this report, there are a few good signs, specifically 8th grade math (30.4% exceed).

    Reading shows 87% meeting requirements.

    There's also a hockey stick for graduation rates.

    That's tempered by the college readiness stats, of course. However, it's difficult to ascertain if that's a result of bad teachers, or bad students (with a dash of concern over curriculum).

    And when it comes right down to it, the teachers can only do so much.

    Some kids and parents are doing their part, although - based on these numbers, a majority are not (for whatever reason).

  9. You know, I love to criticize people as much as the next person, but, really, what does anyone here know about teaching at Uplift? I mean, who are we to sit around and judge the job performance of other people based on statistics about this school? I also note that not a single commentor said anything like "gee, what could the neighborhood do to improve these scores," or "gee, would offering low cost tutoring be a helpful thing to do? How could I do that?"

  10. Rob Ross, I have looked at your Linkedin page.. you are a college student living in an apt in buena park.. get some life experience and then make comments based on life experience, not some classroom gibberish of which you have no experience...

  11. @Uptown SuperHero!

    WOW. Just WOW. I'd like to say a lot more, but I'd likely be censored.

  12. I mean, who are we to sit around and judge the job performance of other people based on statistics about this school?

    .. we're the people footing the bill for it, actually.

    If the city/county/state/schools want to provide a different metric by which to evaluate the effectiveness of the educational system, I'm sure most would be happy to hear them out.

    Until that happens, we're left with what we're left with.

    It is unfortunate that the previous political-types tried so many times to hold up a particular school as an example of/rationalization for so many oft questioned public and spending policies, as it raised the level of scrutiny so high .. but, here we are - and since the rubber of those examples isn't hitting the road of reality, the karmatic backlash does seem, at points, a bit harsh - but, that's how karma works.


    Point: we were told time and again that some of our property tax dollars are going towards education ... even within a TIF district (somehow), and that the children are our future and whatever's being done is being done to benefit everyone (or whatever) and that anyone who's critical of X,Y, or Z is either anti-education, racist or just generally evil.

    Then to get the only quantifiable data available to indicate that the return on the investment (ie - smarter kids) is less than promised ... yeah, I'd say that fluffs the seat cushion on the chair of judgment quite nicely.

  13. Rob - you are absolutely correct - there is no way to know what the reality of teaching in and attending Uplift is. Having been a teacher in two major urban school districts, I can tell you from my experience that so many factors contribute beyond just what teachers and parents do.
    What are the schools' print and technological resources like? How clean/safe/climate controlled are the classrooms? How many students have IEPs? How many fights break out in classrooms/hallways per day and what is the security staff like? What is the attendance rate? The attrition rate? What is the upper administration in the building like?

    To blame test scores on a single variable (like teachers or parents) is incredibly naive and such opinions are usually spouted by people like Uptown Superhero (who is a toxic individual - do not pay attention to his personal attack) who haven't set foot in a high school or worked with teenagers since being one themselves.

    I can tell you that I have reached out via email a couple times to Uplift to offer tutoring or after school clubs/classes as a volunteer and did not receive a response. However, I also know that the administration has been working with Cappleman's education committee, so there is clearly some community involvement interest. Resources to organize can be really tough.

  14. Key here: resources. Daley instituted his"Education Reform" plan that created this whole test scores that determine if a school will need intervention. That created Intervention Teams that were/are paid consulting fees of hundreds of $ an hour- usually cronies, retired administrators or other political hacks. These teams often NEVER SET FOOT IN THE SCHOOLS. The tab for these teams totals about $250,000,000 a year- yes, that's a QUARTER OF A BILLION. Did CPS use this money to buy books, replenish libraries, or get any other supplies that might enhance the education experience? Nope. Go figure.

  15. @ Kronos and oed mass~

    I agree whole heartedly with your points and would like to add a few of my own.

    I work in CPS. The mismanagement of funds is evidenced all day long by all the brand new textbooks stored in unused classrooms that don't even have cracked bindings, the constant useless professional developments run by consulting firms that charge exorbitant fees that clinicians (of which I am one) are required to attend, the major cutbacks to stipends we need to buy up-to-date materials, the lack of maintenance of heating and air conditioning systems.....I could go on for another year and a half.

    Oh, and let's not forget to add into the mix the constant testing the students undergo every month or so (read: LESS instructional time, MORE anxiety), principals who don't know s%#@ about running a school or special education and a staff that is disgruntled and weary from constantly being threatened and attacked from every angle and you have the current state of CPS. The cards are stacked against teachers, and I am pretty sure that it is being done intentionally and systematically. I will save those theories for another post.

    Everyone is constantly worrying about doing whatever it takes to meet the unrealistic, unfunded No Child Left Behind mandate. This means test scores are often altered. I know for a fact that at least 2 of the 5 schools I work in have principals who did this. One is under investigation.

    Our schools are failing for a whole plethora of reasons. To blame teachers without looking at the administration, which by the way, is in a constant state of flux, is short-sighted and naive. Sure, there are bad teachers like there are bad cops, bad firefighters and bad insurance agents. But the mayor's office has run a nice campaign against teachers, who are so desperate to hang onto their jobs, some were willing to sign all their rights away for a longer school day for a pittance. The union is all but useless and corrupt as well. There is no security at any level. Who is on their side? And who can work under those conditions everyday?

    The powers that be are not even educators most of the time. They are corporate executive who care about putting money in the pockets of a select few, leaving the child as the last consideration in this whole system. It's disgusting and corrupt. And yet, no one seems to hold the "leaders" accountable. In what other sector of the work force is this the case?

  16. Being a graduate of Uplift Community High School, as well as attending two of the top Universities in the country, it saddens me when I see things like
    "and they claim to have a 100% rate of graduates going to college? Obviously not ones where you need to have an education..."
    Some of the opportunities of a lifetime that I received were because I attended Uplift. Uplift for me was a school where I was only suppose to attend for a semester until I transferred to Walter Payton, but after seeing the dedication and love the whole school had for their students, I stayed. Willingly!
    Whether you choose to admit it or not, our education system, as a whole, SUCKS! So please, spare me on statistics when half of the people bashing Uplift would probably fail the same test! These test scores mean what? That the students are slow or the teachers are? Pick one because there isn't much in between to blame. Uplift isn't Whitney Young or Walter Payton, but it is a school full of bright young people and caring teachers who bust their asses everyday to make it out of the "hood" we call Uptown!

  17. Is Uptown a hood to make it out of? Not really anymore, I suppose it used to be. It continues to improve.

  18. @UptownSuperHero

    I tired to look at your profile, but it's blank. If you're not willing to put your name on what you write and say, you have no business on this forum. Coward.