One last set of Chicago numbers!

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 21, 2017

Perhaps a substantial surprise:
Chicago's black and Hispanic students have shown large score gains on the Naep in the past dozen years.

That's true in Grade 4 as well as in Grade 8. Beyond that, those two sets of students scored quite well in 2015 as compared to their demographic peers from around the nation.

In the new year, we expect to link you back to some of those numbers as we consider this recent New York Times report about Chicago's schools. For today, we want to record one last set of numbers, this time involving Chicago's white students.

Unlike some major city school districts, Chicago has a fairly substantial white student population. This was the system's demographic breakdown at the start of this year:
Chicago Public Schools, student population:
White students: 10.2%
Black students: 37.0%
Hispanic students: 46.8%
Asian-American students: 4.1%
Average scores by Chicago's black and Hispanic studnets have risen in the past dozen years. We were surprised when we saw where Chicago's white students currently stand.

Below, you see some data from the 2015 Naep. We're looking at average scores in Grade 8 math. Chicago's average scpore is extremely high:
Average scores, white students, public schools
Grade 8 math, 2015 Naep

All U.S. public schools: 291.06
Chicago: 317.35
Say what? Again, these are average scores for white kids only. But judging by a very rough rule of thumb commonly used in interpreting Naep scores, Chicago's white kids outscored the nation's white kids by the rough equivalent of two academic years!

We were surprised by that. But a pattern like that is hardly unknown. Let's add in the average acores for the Washington, D.C. schools, traditional public plus charters:
Average scores, white students, public schools
Grade 8 math, 2015 Naep

All U.S. public schools: 291.06
Chicago: 317.35
Washington, D.C.: 315.72
White kids in the D.C. schools produce high average scores too.

In the case of the D.C. schools, we're aware of an obvious likely explanation for that high average score. Washington doesn't have a huge white student population, but it's heavily tilted toward double graduate degree, "think tank" employee families. The educational background of the families is very high on average.

Is that the case in Chicago? We have no idea. That said, we were struck by the nuber of urban systems whose white students produced unusually high average acores:
Average scores, white students, public schools
Grade 8 math, 2015 Naep

All U.S. public schools: 291.06
Atlanta: 318.43
Austin: 312.53
Boston: 311.45
Charlotte: 311.56
Chicago: 317.35
Houston: 313.22
Los Angeles: 285.35
New York: 293.74
Philadelphia: 281.98
San Diego: 301.69
Washington. D.C.: 315.72
Average scores for white students were very high in quite a few major cities.

We'll offer one last data set. These are the average scores for Chicago's three largest demographic groups. The Naep didn't produce an average score for Chicago's smaller group of Asian-American students:
Average scores, Chicago Public Schools
Grade 8 math, 2015 Naep

White students: 317.35
Black students: 262.09
Hispanic students: 275.31
Those are the punishing "achievement gaps" we haven't come close to conquering. That said, the overall gaps are exaggerated here by dint of Chicago's very high score for white students.

The press corps' endless silence about such topics makes one point quite clear. From the New York Times through MSNBC, nobody actually cares.

When kids get shot, we pretend to care. We invent some facts, and disappear others, to show how much we care.

Otherwise, it's basically silence. Few real discussions ever take place. This is the truth about us.

To access all Naep data: You start by clicking here. From there, you're on your own.

Endless data are available. You have to learn how to find them.

10 comments:

  1. Chicago has a lot of colleges and universities:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_colleges_and_universities_in_Chicago

    Maybe educated, affluent white couples living in gentrified neighborhoods send their kids to the local public schools.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I, for one, could care lass about them.

    ReplyDelete
  3. The status quo just isn't a news story. Black and Hispanic kids do worse than white kids. What is new about that? There is nothing about these scores that would cause readers to sit up and take notice. The kids and schools are doing what they always do. Some kids do well, others don't. This isn't even a news story to activists, because there is nothing new here, except that the NAEP rolled around again.

    ReplyDelete
  4. "The press corps' endless silence about such topics...From the New York Times through MSNBC, nobody actually cares. "
    That statement seems odd, coupled with this: "this recent New York Times report about Chicago's schools." It seems that Somerby's current interest in these "topics" was prompted by a report in the very press that he accuses of remaining silent about these topics.
    Whatever! (As a side note, I'm not sure which topics are the most troubling ones according to Somerby; which ones specifically should be addressed in his opinion?)

    And if Somerby wants a discussion to get going, he doesn't do much leg work here. He theorizes (without data to back it up) "In the case of the D.C. schools, we're aware of an obvious likely explanation for that high average score" , but "Is that the case in Chicago? We have no idea. "
    Perhaps he should take his own advice: "Endless data are available. You have to learn how to find them."

    ReplyDelete
  5. Somerby has purported to care about education for as long as he's been blogging. But, with these recent posts, all he manages to say is "the press won't talk about this" or "nobody cares about this."
    If you care about a topic, wouldn't you want to contribute to a substantive discussion of that topic? And, in the case of education, wouldn't you especially want to jump in if you had some actual experience in the educational system, as Somerby has? Somerby's readers might appreciate his insights here.

    I just don't get it. I don't even know from today's post what exactly Somerby's specific concerns are. It just seems to me to be taking the easy way out by mentioning a topic and then saying "no one cares about it" and then moving on.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Interesting scores. I did some looking at scores for Kansas and for comparison including Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, Oklahoma and Minnesota. I only looked at 8tth grade math.

    First, I noticed that the scores for Kansas white kids were stagnant. For black kids I think they grew by about 14 points (IIRC) Surprisingly Kansas had the highest scores of all I looked at for black kids and for Hispanic kids. Minnesota had the highest scores for white kids, by far, but that score was only 304.

    Far higher than Kansas, but also, I see now, far lower than Chicago.

    I also noticed that the scores for Kansas were mostly stagnant in 8th grade math.

    Of interest locally, because of the funding dispute with the Supreme Court vs. the Legislature.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Somerby is hinting that Chicago may have cheated.

      Delete
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