16 November 2012

Quadrant Magnets for CPS Schools

Today, our local newspaper has dedicated it’s entire opinion page to criticizing the current first-come-first-served enrollment process for CPS magnet schools.  

First is an article written by a “Local Expert”, Michael Evans, a professor of education at Miami University, who lives in Wyoming.  Notable is that the suburb of Wyoming is just outside the City of Cincinnati neighborhood of Hartwell.  Also notable is that it is very expensive to buy a house in Wyoming, which you must do if you want your children to attend the highly-ranked Wyoming Schools.  Mr. Evans is worried about the Cincinnati parents who cannot spend the time camping out and waiting in line.  But is he concerned about the parents who cannot afford to buy a house in Wyoming?  Hmmm.  Did you ever notice that there are no apartments in Wyoming? No affordable housing?  Hmmm.  Why not? 

Look, my kids are old enough that I personally do not have to worry about CPS’s Elementary Magnet Schools.  But I remember what it is like when you have a 4 year old, and you are very anxious to give them the best education you can.  If CPS does not allow parents to have control and choice, then the parents that have the means will make a choice, and that choice will be spend a lot of money on a house in a better school district or send their kids to private/parochial school.

The only opinion on the page that was interesting to me was the one from Helen Adams, of Clifton.  She complains that Clifton no longer has a neighborhood school.  I think she makes a great point.  Fairview is located on the site of the defunct local Clifton School.  And now it attracts students from Pleasant Ridge and Westwood.  Does all this traveling from the far reaches of the district make sense? 

When my wife and I first looked at schools, we were most interested in the CPS Montessori Schools.  At the time there were 4 quadrants, and you could only apply to the school in your quadrant.  The schools were: Dater, Sands, Winton, and North Avondale.  I like the quadrant solution.  You stay somewhat close to home but still have choice.  The only problem for us, was that the year we started the process, our quadrant school Sands… moved.  And it moved as far away as possible and yet stay in the City limits: Mt Washington.  We were not interested in spending the next 8 years commuting our children to Mt Washington.

Maybe a lottery is the way of the future.  That seems to be the take of the Editorial page.  Hey Cleveland is doing it.  But I just cannot see new parents willing to risk the education of their children on complete chance.  Moving to a full lottery system could severely hinder the attraction and retention of young couples.  A lottery would be a step back for the City, and area-based magnets schools would be a step in the right direction.  


Anonymous said...

Every time CPS sends out a survey, I make sure to talk about the importance of parental control in student enrollment at the magnet schools. We would have left Cincinnati proper if we had not gotten into our desired magnet school. That said, I do like how CPS got rid of the quadrants and went to east/west division as it doubled our choice of magnet montessori options.

Anonymous said...

I find it interesting that the usually conservative Enquirer editorial page is advocating for taking choice away from families. Also, we always hear the (valid) argument that those without the means to camp out are disadvantaged. Do we have any data on how many families truly want to attend a magnet school but are unable to camp out? Last year lottery spots for Fairview went unfilled.

Jeremy Norton said...

I'm a dad so I know how the money-making works. All i think about is giving my family the life they deserve.