Huberman investigates clout, but minority enrollment also a question in selective schools

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CPS CEO Ron Huberman last week launched an investigation into whether clout gets some kids into the city’s selective high and magnet schools. But that’s not the only issue surrounding admissions.

 

CPS CEO Ron Huberman last week launched an investigation into whether clout gets some kids into the city’s selective high and magnet schools. But that’s not the only issue surrounding admissions.

Since 2000, the enrollment of African-American students in the city’s vaunted selective enrollment high schools has been on the decline, and the number of Latino and poor students remains starkly low.

And the School Board is still trying to get a federal judge to lift a 1982 desegregation consent decree that made race a factor in selective and magnet school admissions and ushered in extra resources. The decree allows schools to pass over white students and admit lower-scoring minority students as soon as whites make up 35 percent of the student body.

In January, U.S. District Court Judge Charles P. Kocoras heard arguments in which CPS lawyers suggested the consent decree is passé in a school district where only 9 percent of students are white. Some students and civil rights organizations said that CPS needs continued court monitoring.

If the decree is lifted, CPS will face the knotty challenge of crafting an admissions policy that retains some diversity in enrollment without using race.

Kocoras has given no indication as to when he will rule.

Meanwhile, all selective enrollment high schools have seen a decrease in black students, Catalyst reported in November 2007. Last school year, the only selective high school that increased its percentage of black students was Walter Payton.

A similar trend is taking place at the district’s best elementary magnet schools, a Catalyst analysis shows. 

In a school district in which 84 percent of students are low income, 46 percent are black and 41 are Latino, only half of the students in selective enrollment high schools are low-income, 32 percent are Black and 28 percent are Latino.

However, in this highly segregated city, even these numbers make selective schools more diverse than regular schools.

 

selective enrollment high schools 2000 free lunch 2008 free lunch 1999-2000 black students 2007-2008 black students 2008-2009 black students enrollment
Jones 76% 50% 41% 24% 25% 707
Lane 60% 60% 15% 13% 13% 4088
Brooks 48% 81% 88% 80% 85% 729
Young 36% 34% 41% 31% 31% 2185
Payton  37% 28% 34% 20% 26% 890
Northside 28% 33% 6% 6% 6% 1112
KING HS 95% 71% 100% 91% 94% 899
Lindblom 90% 70% 99% 81% 78% 484