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State school report card released

Tuesday, Oct 31, 2017 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Tribune

About two-thirds of Illinois public high schools posted below-average to rock-bottom scores on the SAT college entrance exam, given for free for the first time to 11th-graders last spring at school, revealing that thousands of students are still struggling even as the state pushes kids to achieve at higher levels.

Average scores ranged from the low 740s to the high 1300s, reflecting wide disparities in performance at more than 700 high schools statewide, according to data released Tuesday as part of the state’s annual picture of public schools, called the Illinois Report Card.

Black and Hispanic teens fared worse on the exam compared with white and Asian peers, the data show. Some students attend classes in high-poverty neighborhoods, while others are educated in wealthy suburban enclaves and blue-collar and downstate rural areas.

Payton College Preparatory High School, a selective enrollment Chicago Public School, posted the highest SAT average in the state — a 1375. But in pockets of CPS, about two dozen schools posted the worst averages statewide, all under an 800 for math and for reading and writing combined.

The Illinois State Board of Education’s report card is a conglomeration of data ranging from state exam scores for high school and grade school students, to school finance, teacher attendance and evaluations, and enrollment and socioeconomic trends, among other measures made available to families and taxpayers.


  1. - Langhorne - Tuesday, Oct 31, 17 @ 10:12 am:


    If only we had term limits, right to work, and rolled back the tax increase, scores would be great.

  2. - Langhorne - Tuesday, Oct 31, 17 @ 10:13 am:

    …and no teachers’ unions…

  3. - Texas Red - Tuesday, Oct 31, 17 @ 10:15 am:

    …And a voucher system to create competition and offer parents a choice

  4. - Iggy - Tuesday, Oct 31, 17 @ 10:16 am:

    why are they taking the SAT? the vast majority of midwest colleges prefer the ACT? does it not seem like a waste of time for students who are going to score in the 800 range to even take the SAT?

  5. - Cubs in '16 - Tuesday, Oct 31, 17 @ 10:16 am:

    Well, so much for those historic funding levels Rauner likes to tout.

  6. - Cassidy - Tuesday, Oct 31, 17 @ 10:21 am:

    Be careful comparing the average from ALL eleventh graders to the SELECT eleventh and twelfth graders in the national SAT pool. Comparisons relative to each other among the IL schools are likely to be meaningful with some noise, but the inclusion of ALL students implies that the averages reported for IL will be lower than the national average, which mostly comprises the top half of the student population (the college-bound) and omits the lowest-achieving students (the ones not applying to college).

  7. - lake county democrat - Tuesday, Oct 31, 17 @ 10:31 am:

    Langhorne - google up the freakonomics study from chicago heights and note that Karen Lewis how vowed to fight any further study to verify it. Not the only example. Unions not off the hook here.

  8. - cdog - Tuesday, Oct 31, 17 @ 10:39 am:

    “Black and Hispanic teens fared worse on the exam compared with white and Asian peers, the data show.”

    This statement seems problematic in 2017.

  9. - OneMan - Tuesday, Oct 31, 17 @ 10:40 am:


    They switched a few years ago not sure why, but it was the ACT that all the kids took.

    It is always interesting to compare the two HS in our district. One has more kids, the other more non-white kids. You can tell the one was pushing more kids to take AP classes and more AP classes at lower grades. The one HS passed the other this year in just about everything. One other difference is that the one HS has had a very high turnover in principals.

    Always interesting to compare schools.

  10. - TinyDancer(FKASue) - Tuesday, Oct 31, 17 @ 10:40 am:

    ==Payton College Preparatory High School, a selective enrollment Chicago Public School, posted the highest SAT average in the state — a 1375.==

    You mean if you get to “select” your students your scores improve?
    Or, if you live in wealthy neighborhood your scores are higher?
    Or, if you’re white your scores will be higher?

    Does this mean we can finally end the “bad” teacher witch-hunt and mind-numbing multi-million dollar Pearson test-prep craze and focus on the real causes of low achievement - generational poverty and institutional racism?

  11. - Jocko - Tuesday, Oct 31, 17 @ 10:51 am:

    TR @ 10:15

    You might want to read up on Florida private schools taking in $1 billion with little to no oversight.

  12. - Interim Retiree - Tuesday, Oct 31, 17 @ 10:55 am:

    Quit trying to make sense - There’s a whole group of people out there that don’t want to hear the truth.

  13. - MOON - Tuesday, Oct 31, 17 @ 11:02 am:


    As in any profession, there are good and bad.

    You will have to be more specific for me to understand what you mean by “institutional racism.

    I believe one of the primary reasons for inner city students doing poorly is the result of a need for a more stabile family structure. Parents have obligations.

  14. - Perrid - Tuesday, Oct 31, 17 @ 11:12 am:

    Yeah, if you look up Payton Prep it is disproportionately white and asian, as you would expect. CPS in general has 10% white students, and the school has 44%. CPS has 4% Asian students generally, and Payton has 15%. Here’s a link to Payton’s demographics:

  15. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Oct 31, 17 @ 11:15 am:

    Just love it when education results (numbers) come out and there is the assumption that the school isn;t doing what it should be doing. Last time I checked, the communication model required that there not only be a sender (school), but a receiver(student) If you haven’t been in education you do not realize that there has to be a willing recipient to process the information and act on it. You (those not in education) might just be pretty darn shocked at how many unwilling recipients there are, no matter how much the sender dances on their head trying different methods to get that receiver to listen and process. Just sayin’

  16. - TinyDancer(FKASue) - Tuesday, Oct 31, 17 @ 11:29 am:


    You don’t have access to Google?

    Institutional Racism:

    “the systematic distribution of resources, power and opportunity in our society to the benefit of people who are white and the exclusion of people of color

    =I believe one of the primary reasons for inner city students doing poorly is the result of a need for a more stabile family structure=

    See above

  17. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Oct 31, 17 @ 11:30 am:

    ===Payton College Preparatory High School, a selective enrollment Chicago Public School, posted the highest SAT average in the state===

    It should be noted that Bruce and Diana Rauner clouted their denied, Winnteka-living daughter into Payton Prep over a worthy Chicago student.

  18. - MOON - Tuesday, Oct 31, 17 @ 11:40 am:


    Please be more specific regarding your assertion of institutional racism. I do have access to google but it does not mention “Tiny’s assertion” regarding this matter.

    What does “see above” mean regarding lack of family structure. Do you believe there is a lack, and could be part of the problem?

  19. - City Zen - Tuesday, Oct 31, 17 @ 11:49 am:

    ==Does this mean we can finally end the “bad” teacher witch-hunt…==

    So then let’s average all the teacher salaries across the state an enforce ONE teacher salary schedule.

  20. - City Zen - Tuesday, Oct 31, 17 @ 11:55 am:

    Per the latest Census Bureau reports, Illinois spend the 13th most per pupil in the country. Since the last reporting period 2 years prior, Only California increased its per pupil spending more than Illinois. So the money is there. Or maybe money doesn’t matter.

  21. - cdog - Tuesday, Oct 31, 17 @ 12:07 pm:

    Tiny, what are your thoughts on the comments by Anonymous @ 11:15 am, about the dynamic of sender/receiver.

    Could there be a larger problem of receiver attitude in some minority students and their families?

  22. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Oct 31, 17 @ 12:08 pm:

    But the minorities aren’t doing well so the system is racist.

    Oh but the Asians.

    /Sarcasm (kinda?)

  23. - cdog - Tuesday, Oct 31, 17 @ 12:08 pm:

    It’s ironic that two of Illinois biggest problems have schools as their nexus–property taxes and quality of education.

  24. - TinyDancer(FKASue) - Tuesday, Oct 31, 17 @ 12:58 pm:


    This issue is so complex, I can barely respond.
    What is he saying? Are some students doing poorly because they are just not motivated or not paying attention? Probably. Are those types of students present across all SES? Probably. Are there more in low SES classrooms. Most probably. But the question is why?
    So, what’s he saying…poor kids are just lazy? Kids of color are just lazy? Don’t even go there. It’s simplistic explanation/soundbite.
    The real answer does not fit into a sound bite. I barely got it after 3 years of graduate school. You can begin with this.
    The Early Catastrophe: The Thirty Million Word Gap by Age Three

  25. - cdog - Tuesday, Oct 31, 17 @ 1:34 pm:

    Tiny, that was a very interesting article.

    I think we are mostly in agreement. If families of whatever structure, in the lowest socioeconomic status (SES), were to value language more there would be a beneficial effect. That’s complicated.

    Sangamon County has a very good EI program for inf-3. DHS, through their child care home/center accreditations are on the right track with their CCAP program.

    To me, the largest problem with this demographic is that for a child to be in high quality child care, the parent has to be working during child care hours. This means that a parent’s poor work ethic or their inability to secure decent employment is a barrier to the kids that need to be in these programs.

  26. - TinyDancer(FKASue) - Tuesday, Oct 31, 17 @ 2:32 pm:


    =If families of whatever structure, in the lowest socioeconomic status (SES), were to value language more there would be a beneficial effect.=

    Can’t tell if your serious or just pulling my leg.
    Language acquisition is not a function of whether or not you “value” language. Language is acquired through the environment/conversation/in the home…so the parent is the child’s first teacher.
    If the parent’s vocabulary is limited there’s a good chance that the child will not hear and therefore not learn enough advanced words. This is not a choice the parent is making, it is a function of the limitation of their own childhood vocabulary environment and this becomes a generational cycle.
    So, yes, one part of the solution is early (very early) childhood education/intervention/wrap-around services.
    Lately, I’ve been thinking that while the child is in pre-school the parents should be attending parenting classes, job training, GED classes, etc. It would probably even be cheaper in the long run to pay the parents to attend these classes (yeah you read that right) but that ain’t never gonna happen.

  27. - NorthsideNoMore - Tuesday, Oct 31, 17 @ 2:44 pm:

    First year of Illinois taking SATs over ACT does that factor in?

  28. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Oct 31, 17 @ 2:45 pm:

    The point is, there has to be a value of Education. Both by the family structure and by the student—-to do the work and participate in what is offered in schools. If the only value held is lots of money, then there are lots of ways to acquire lots of money that don’t require good grades/college/diplomas.

  29. - NorthsideNoMore - Tuesday, Oct 31, 17 @ 2:48 pm:

    meaing to follow up are the educators up to par on SAT vs ACT …whats the barometer ? Wondering if there is a transition issue from one test v another? Didnt this happene some years ago when there was another transition to or from PSAE exam ? scores tanked than rebounded

  30. - Sue - Tuesday, Oct 31, 17 @ 3:00 pm:

    CDOG- why blame the quality of education- these tests obviously correlate with demographics. Should we punish Asians for being smart or coming from homes that emphasize education with involved parents. Not everything is political

  31. - Last Bull Moose - Tuesday, Oct 31, 17 @ 3:13 pm:

    There is a group in Decatur called Baby Talk that has an effective approach. I think we should consider that as a funded mandate for high schools.

    One of the slogans of a parenting group at DCFS was “Love is not enough.” They realized that parenting required more than loving their children. It required skills and effort.

  32. - Sue - Tuesday, Oct 31, 17 @ 3:53 pm:

    And we wonder why the Country has 6 million plus jobs employers can’t fill due to deficient skills. Folks it’s not a lack of money spent on education which is the sole problem but don’t tell that to Karen Lewis

  33. - Gary from Chicagoland - Tuesday, Oct 31, 17 @ 5:30 pm:

    Early ACT years, Illinois started out poorly then teachers taught to the test and scores went impressively up. In fact the IL ACT average (with ALL high school students taking it as their exit exam) went above the national ACT average (for only college bound students). I will predict the same trend will occur with the SAT. Neither exam is an intelligence test, so improved skills and strategies targeting the new SAT within the high school curriculum will show growth years from now. Thousands of teachers in hundreds of summer workshops will target the new SAT to earn their CPU’s .

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