Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Of All The Problems They Have...

this one seems solvable.

Julian High School student Donzell Chester learned a harsh math lesson last year: Too many kids, not enough teachers. That added up to 62 kids in his freshman algebra class.

DONZELL: People had to stand up. People was on the floor writing, it was that packed.

Every year, the district predicts how many students will show up to each of its schools. And it assigns teachers based on that prediction.

Then, the kids arrive.

. . .

Enrollment can change dramatically—both up and down—at neighborhood high schools at the beginning of the year. So CPS traditionally waits until the 20th day of school for an official head count, then authorizes schools to hire more teachers.

. . .

DISPENSA I’m Jimm Dispensa. I’m responsible for projecting all schools’ enrollments, every year.

It sounds crazy, but Chicago never requires eighth graders to say where they’re going to high school. So Dispensa has to guess. And that’s getting harder… new high schools are opening every year in Chicago.

I grew up in the suburb of Woodridge. They didn't have a high school. 8th graders in Woodridge went to Downers Grove high schools of which there were two, North and South. At the time we were allowed to choose which school we were going to attend. Before I graduated junior high I had to declare which school I was going to attend. Every kid in Woodridge did.

It really is that simple. Choose the high school you're going to attend before leaving 8th grade. It doesn't give you a 100% accurate number but it will certainly be close enough to decide on staffing.



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