More than half of CPS grads go on to college

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CPS appears to be catching up to the rest of the nation in sending Latino and African American graduates on to college. The district announced Tuesday that 43 percent of last year’s Latino graduates enrolled in a college this past fall, a 9 percent increase since 2004.

Meanwhile, 53.7 percent of black graduates went to college in 2008, almost the same percentage as the national average. CPS says the increase in college-going among black and Latino students helped drive up the district-wide rate, which is now 52.5 percent, up from 50 percent last year.

Press conferences heralding the increase in college-going have become a spring ritual ever since Greg Darnieder, the former director of Department of College and Career Preparation, meshed data on CPS graduates with that from the National Student Clearinghouse, which tracks college students. (Darneider is now a special assistant to Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.)

CPS appears to be catching up to the rest of the nation in sending Latino and African American graduates on to college.

The district announced Tuesday that 43 percent of last year’s Latino graduates enrolled in a college this past fall, a 9 percent increase since 2004.

Meanwhile, 53.7 percent of black graduates went to college in 2008, almost the same percentage as the national average. CPS says the increase in college-going among black and Latino students helped drive up the district-wide rate, which is now 52.5 percent, up from 50 percent last year.

Press conferences heralding the increase in college-going have become a spring ritual ever since Greg Darnieder, the former director of Department of College and Career Preparation, meshed data on CPS graduates with that from the National Student Clearinghouse, which tracks college students. (Darnieder is now a special assistant to Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.)

For this year’s announcement, Mayor Richard M. Daley ventured out to South Shore’s School of Entrepreneurship. Flanked by this year’s impending graduates, Daley said the students are the beneficiaries of new school options that the district is giving young people in every neighborhood in the city.

Chief Education Officer Barbara Eason-Watkins also was on hand, but new CEO Ron Huberman was not. Also looking on was Bernard McCune, Darnieder’s replacement.

An interesting detail that Eason-Watkins offered was that college-going rates increased for C-average students more than for B-average students. But other than that, few specifics were spelled out for the media.

In the past, officials have handed out school-by-school data and information detailing the number of graduates who went to two-year and four-year colleges. CPS has also provided detail on the number of students who went to selective and very selective universities.

The Office of Communications said they will be getting me this information. (As of 5 p.m., I had not yet received the data, but I will report back as soon as I get it.)

Sometimes that information holds interesting caveats. For example, one year I figured out that the district’s entire increase was due to the addition of those students who enrolled in Robert Morris, a school that had not been included in past reporting.

Until then, I will let the mayor bask in the good news, which includes this interesting tidbit: In 2007, 34 percent of the School of Entrepreneurship graduates went to college; this year 61 percent did, according to officials.

“Not all kids are involved in drugs or gangs or violence,” Daley told a reporter who asked how students rose above the turmoil in the streets to graduate and go to college. “You can’t paint all students from the South Side with one brush.”