Increasing diversity in Selective Enrollment high schools
June 24, 2014 at 9:05 am
Blog reader, RLJulia sent me a link to this NYTimes article yesterday where Richard Kahlenberg, inventor/advisor to CPS on the Tier model writes an Op-Ed piece encouraging New York city to adopt a similar model to increase diversity in their SE high schools. Currently their system is all based on one test which results in very very low % of Af-Am and Hispanic students in the top schools (they don’t mention the very very high share of Asians who get in which was the topic of another interesting NYTimes article last year.)
Blurb: New York City schools have never been subject to a citywide desegregation suit, and the state’s schools are now more segregated than Mississippi’s. But the unfortunate reality of segregation can be leveraged to promote a positive outcome in the city’s elite schools. Isn’t it time for New York City’s top schools to recognize that excellence can be found among students of all racial and economic backgrounds?
I then saw this Reader article this morning urging the same – more diversity in top schools to help more minority kids get to college. I’m happy they’re covering more CPS topics, with more people authoring the articles and this provides a great overview of how the Tier system came into place.
Link to full story, feel free to comment there as well.
Chicago’s entire school desegregation strategy needs a turnaround
When the City Council holds hearings on Chicago’s selective enrollment high schools this summer, I hope aldermen consider the larger questions about racial and economic segregation.
The article discussed that since the shift from racial balancing, there are fewer spots at the top 4 SEHS schools (Payton, Jones, Northside, and Whitney Young) for minority kids, and that there are good piplelines for college. Does this potentially mean that the formula needs to be modified further to ensure that more Af-Am kids are getting spots?
The article also questions whether the SEHS current strategy is meeting the goal of socio-ec and racial diversity in these schools (which the NYTimes story points out is WAY more diverse than the NY SE high schools.)
It also give a good overview of the history of the consent decree and shift away from it a couple years ago and the resulting shift to a high % of white kids in the top schools:
“To ensure that the magnets weren’t racially segregated, they were required to be 15 to 35 percent white. Soon the magnets were the city’s best schools, with intense competition for admission. So the result of the consent decree was ironic: it was supposed to mainly help rectify the harm done to minority children by the district’s segregated system, but its main achievement was a set of prized schools to which white students got disproportionate access. By 1988, white children were only 13.5 percent of all CPS students, but they were 27 percent of the students in the magnets.
Even with the “special little programs,” the proportion of white students citywide kept declining; today the enrollment is only 9 percent white. And access for white students to the elite selective enrollment high schools has become even more disproportionate: the combined enrollment of Payton, Jones, Northside, and Young is now about 33 percent white.”
Importantly it points out the main rub with tweaking the Tier Formula: What about the rest of the kids?
“But while tweaking the formula might get a few more high-achieving black students into the top selective high schools, it would do nothing to help the vast majority of black and Hispanic CPS students. They remain stuck in schools that face long odds because of their high-poverty enrollments. Just under 40 percent of students at Payton, Jones, Northside, and Whitney Young are from low-income families, but 85 percent of the citywide enrollment is low-income, and many CPS students are in schools whose enrollments are virtually all low-income.”
And to conclude, “more ideas are needed.” Indeed, but what? Especially given the CPS budget restrictions.
“No one approach will (work). More ideas are sorely needed. The hearings on the selective enrollment schools could be an opportunity to consider such ideas. The selective schools are part of a system, and the hearings about them should focus on the problems afflicting the vast majority, not just the luckier few.”
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