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Enrollment Numbers Fuzzy For CPS Welcoming Schools

By aaroncynic in News on Jun 7, 2013 8:20PM

Chicago Public Schools administration officials are patting themselves on the back for signing up 78 percent of kids to welcoming schools, and they probably should’ve waited to congratulate themselves. The Chicago Tribune reports CPS might once again be using fuzzy numbers, as administrators say they enrolled students without parental consent. Tanya Saunders-Wolffe, a counselor at Owens Elementary told the Tribune “We were told by the network to automatically enroll students in welcoming schools where parents did not respond." CPS records indicate Owens has a 100 percent enrollment rate.

CPS spokeswoman Becky Carroll denied any kind of pressure to enroll students quickly or without parental consent. But several sources told the Tribune otherwise, and one principal from a south side school said staff enrolled a quarter of their students without consent because parents could not be reached.

In addition to fuzzy math surrounding enrollment numbers, some of the welcoming schools children will attend aren’t any better academically than the schools CPS closed. The Sun Times reports after school boundaries are redrawn, children new to the neighborhood may be sent not to the welcoming school, but to another neighborhood location. In three cases, those schools are rated worse academically.

Alderman Ricardo Munoz, whose ward contains Paderewski Elementary told the Sun Times:

“What happens to the other neighborhood students that could have been Paderewski students [who] could have been going to a better performing school but now have to go somewhere else? That’s just not right.”

Adam Anderson, district head of portfolio, planning and strategy maintained that the boundary changes were designed with community input, saying:

“We heard from communities that they might have wanted a certain school to be accessible to the school community,” but under CPS guidelines it wasn’t good enough to be a welcoming school.”

Considering the massive outrage towards CPS over the closings and the constant backpedaling, we’re left to wonder which communities they consulted.