School Report #3
From 5/31/02 Sun Times Article about Chicago Children
  • 57.8% of 3-8 graders read below the national norms
  • 64.5% of 9-10 graders read below the national norms
  • 53.1% of 3-8 graders perform math below the national norms

From 9/5/03 Chicago Tribune about Chicago Children
  • 65% of white children passed 8th grade math
  • 29% of Hispanic children passed 8th grade math
  • 19% of black children passed 8th grade math

  • 81% of white children passed 4th grade science
  • 45% of Hispanic children passed 4th grade science
  • 35% of black children passed 4th grade science

From the Chicago Tribune 11/5/03

The article reports that about 44% of Illinois Schools (1,718 of 3,919) were rated as "failing" because they did not meet academic standards for all students established by the federal Leave No Child Behind initiative. Instead of having an average student achievement score that is acceptable (over 40% passing at their grade level on the ISAT), schools now have to show that for all subgroups (high income, low income, disabled, limited English…) that the average student score is acceptable (though by 2014, all students will be expected to pass). As bad as this is, this might understate the problem though, as some schools did not meet requirements that 95% of students take the achievement tests, leading to estimates that 10% of low income students weren't tested. Some counter that Florida did worse (90% failure), but Illinois is still in bad shape.

Percent of Illinois Students Passing by Grade
Reading 3rd Grade 5th Grade 8th Grade
Limited-English 32.5% 11.8% 13.9%
LD 32.3% 25.3% 19.5%
Low Income 41.3% 39.9% 46.0%

White 76.0% 73.5% 73.0%
Black 34.8% 35.8% 45.3%
Hispanic 49.3% 42.2% 46.9%


Limited-English 52.6% 28.4% 17.2%
LD 55.0% 35.2% 13.0%
Low Income 57.6% 49% 30.2%

White 88.4% 81.3% 65.9%
Black 48.9% 40.2% 23.0%
Hispanic 69.4% 69.4% 35.5%

While LD children would be expected to score more poorly on achievement tests, the article correctly notes, the problem is that many schools do a poor job of making accommodations for LD students that are allowed, waiting until the day of the test for example to plan for accommodations. The article notes that it will be tougher for poor schools to bring up their scores since they have less trained staff. They note 40% of teachers in high-poverty schools have master's degrees, while 53.1% of low-poverty school teachers do. Further, 5.4% of classes in high-poverty schools are taught by teachers who were not trained and tested to teach in that area, compared to 0.5% of classes taught in low-poverty schools.

Minorities' scores will become more of an issue in this debate as well. A Chicago Tribune 11/7/03 article discusses how in 1980 the Chicago Public School system entered into a voluntary agreement with the U.S. Justice Department to desegregate its schools, but by 2003, 45% of Chicago public schools still were not in compliance with portions of this agreement that mandated hiring diverse teaching staff. This becomes more of an issue as the 2000-2001 school year showed that the CPS student population was 9.6% White, 51% Black, and 36% Hispanic. More white students are placed at magnate schools, which, critics argue, get more educational dollars than other schools. The new plan the city has now would show how much money goes to these schools versus other schools in the future, but would not provide numbers for accountability for past allotment.

Chicago Tribune 9/26/03
Only 11% (14,931) of eligible Chicago Public School students (133,000) receive free tutoring offered by the federal No Child Left Behind Act. The City gave parents three weeks to fill out reportedly complex forms which were in English, and sent to non-English speaking parents. The City held meetings about it only twice, and both were at the same Southwest Side school. While the paper notes the CPS gets to keep the unspent funding (about $20 million of the $45 million available), it also notes that other states are reporting 10-15% usage rates too. Difficulties arranging transportation to and from tutoring sessions, and lack of familiarity with the 17 private tutoring company make some parents hesitant.

Also as part of the No Child Left Behind Act, 270,000 children could have been moved from their "failing" school to a better one. While only 19,000 applied, only 530 of them were actually moved due to space issues.

What do you make of this? Remember the McLoyd Article? She noted:
  • SES and poverty are different variables, with poverty being more volatile (loss of one low paying job may not change your social-economic status, but could make you homeless)

  • in 1994, 22% of American children lived in poverty, with half in deep poverty, and most being under the age of six years, living in the inner-city, and most being minorities (2-3x more minorities in the poverty group)

  • 5 year old poor kids had IQs 9 points lower than non-poor kids; poverty any time in the first 5 years seems to decrease school attendance later in life much more than middle childhood poverty does

  • studies of genetic heritability reveal lower estimates of genetic contribution in poor children

  • increases in the number of single mothers over married mothers has decreased the income in the homes

  • welfare does not appear to drive up IQ scores; child support does though

  • factors associated with low IQ are LBW, poor prenatal care, exposure to drugs, and lead poisoning, as well as greater absences from school

  • factors associated with high IQ are home stimulation (especially during the summer, parental expectations of achievement, parental income, and professional status)d

But wait… there's MORE!

From the Chicago Tribune 8/27/04 Sharp Rise in Poverty Reported
The tribune reported that:
  • in 2003, 1.3 million more Americans lived in poverty than in 2002, or about 35.9 million people total, making 12.5% of the US population (so poverty appears to have decreased in the lats 10 years but not to have disappeared)
  • 15.6% of Americans have no health insurance
  • 2003 makes the third year in a row both these numbers increased. The graph they plotted showed 2000 had been the lowest point in about ten years, and we've been on a steep incline since then
  • 12.9 million children live in poverty, or 17.6% of the under-18 group. This is up 800,000 over 2002's figure, which is the largest increase in 10 years
  • 12.4% of adult women living in poverty
  • poverty level for a family of 4 is anything less than $18,810 a year