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October 30, 2007

The Great CPS Adventure

School_buildingBy September 1, 2008, our daughter will be 5 years old + We live in Chicago = School Choice insanity!

For those of you not privileged to live in Chicago and go through school choice, I'm blogging about it over at my personal blog. Despite the media telling you that all Chicago public schools suck, they don't. But the trick is to find a way into the "better" schools. Then again, I'm not sure if there is a huge difference in our neighborhood school and "better" schools. Our research is not complete. But I invite you to join me in this journey.

Key terms to know:

  • Magnet school: Not as sexy as it sounds. The term comes from the idea that by offering a specialization like arts or math & science, this once neighborhood school "attracts" you enough to apply for admission.
  • Gifted school: Your student needs to test into these schools. There is no given cut-off and in fact no guarantee that all 'gifted' students will have a space in a gifted program. Some years there are too many gifted kids and the ones at the bottom lose out. Some years not enough and spaces are left unfilled. A student's potential is the thing tested.
  • Classical school: Same as gifted, but a notch lower. A student's current knowledge is tested.
  • Neighborhood school: The school that must take you because you live in its attendance area.

We live spitting distance from a magnet school - which is our first choice, not just for its location, but also for its good reputation. For those of you who are thinking, "How can she blog about this?" when my daughter has still to apply. Well, I want to let others out there know they aren't alone in this insanity. I also don't trash or name the schools we are applying to, but I'm sure CPS could connect the dots. Instead of trashing schools, think of this series as school reviews.


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