Early Kindergarten Update - just a few days left for 2019 registration

Related Links (pls be patient while we update links): | Overview | Top 7 Ideas | Part 1-Legislative Overview/Deferral | Part 2 - Forums | Part 3 - Draft Policy | Part 4-Overall Impression | Early K | Early 1 | Whole Grade Skip | Single Subject Grade Skip | Equity | More Thoughts and Questions | Timeline | Media links | PG | 2e | Underserved | State of IL | Action Right Now | Final Draft CPS AP Policy | CPS Board Meeting Presentation

On Wednesday June 26th, CPS created a path for early kindergarten admissions. Details are here.

Registration is happening only for a short time and is under way - just to July 19th. There are few takers so far. Testing is happening this and next week, and it seems that CPS was not counting on a lot of applicants. While CPS communicated that up to 2,500 students may be eligible to apply to early kindergarten, the early 1st grade numbers only showed under 40 applications a year for the last 2 years. It looks like CPS had an initial staffing plan for testing for only about 80 children. Certainly they had a plan to expand it, however, after they had made a big deal about allowing such an accommodation, there hasn’t been an outpouring of requests yet.

CPS was supposed to send out letters to eligible kindergarteners on the 1st of July. It is unclear how they would identify those children as only a fraction of the city’s population is in a JK program. We have yet to hear from anyone who has received such a letter. Drop us a note if you did.

Once again, we would like to raise the issue of equity.

Both the application to determine if a child is eligible for testing, and the testing take place during center hours, which are limited:

  • In the first 2 weeks of the application process, there were no weekend or evening hours. In fact, the hours are limited to 8:30-1:30, but we are hearing some of these are further limited. It could be that the intent of this period was to keep the numbers of people applying low, so that everyone has a chance to practice procedures. However, giving people just one week in which evenings for 1/2 the process are available to complete the process is inequitable.

  • In the third week, there are three library locations offering evening hours on Mondays and Wednesdays, and two that are offering Tuesday and Thursday evenings.

  • There are no Friday evening or weekend hours.

  • This means that parents, if they wish to apply in the first 2 weeks, may have to take time off work, and it may be impossible to do so.

When a parent shows up (see our link for more detail) to sign up their child to be evaluated at one of these locations, with all the needed documentation, they are given a developmental survey, and are scheduled for testing at one of just 4 test centers:

  • Dever 3436 N Osceola ave., Chicago, IL 60634 (773)534-3090

  • Colman 4655 S Dearborn Chicago, IL 60609 (773) 535-1225

  • Westinghouse 3223 W Franklin blvd, Chicago, IL 60624 (773)534-6410

  • Garvey 10309 S Morgan st., Chicago, IL 60643 (773)535-2763

There are 2 test windows available, 8:30AM-10:00AM and 10:30AM-12:00PM, at each of those 4 centers until they are booked up, Monday through Friday. Once again, a parent would have to take time off work. In addition, they may have a very short window, same week, for the test date, forcing them to take a second time off in just one week.

Why are there no weekend and evening hours? Not only does the testing have a fee, though lowest income people could apply for a voucher, but on top, if people have to give up their wages and risk job security to take their child to one of these test dates, then this biases eligibility to the wealthy, once again. These are the details that were not available at the time that the process was presented to the public during the spring forums, and certainly the public would have provided feedback that alternative time slots need to be available to those who can’t afford to take time off, especially at such short notice. Taking a morning off with less than 2 weeks notice is not something that many Chicagoans can afford, especially if they have to do it 2 times in one week, as the testing scheduling is only open for a short number of days after the day that the parent applies.

It is unclear if the testing for those who have applied will stretch much past the 19th of July, but the applications will definitely be over. Not knowing about this application process, not living in the district at the time, etc, will not be an appealable concerns.

No wonder that few people are signing up, if they are not being notified and if they can’t get the time off.