Posts tagged ‘consent decree’

The End of De-Seg as We Know It?

This month, there will be a hearing (a real hearing, in a Federal courtroom!) to consider the Consent Decree, which is the ruling from back in the 80’s that required the CPS Magnet and Gifted/Classical schools to include a certain level of minority students.

My understanding is that these school can take a maximum of about 35% white students and the rest are minority students (not balanced within that group by any race, background, etc.)  If you’re a white parent on the northside who is entering the lottery, that might sounds like tough odds.  And it is.  But you might also be surprised to know that only around 10% of CPS students are white.  So in reality, the 35% of slots is very generous.  And by the way, if you’re curious, nobody every checks what a child’s “true” background/heritage/etc is.  You are supposed to indicate how the child identifies, but of course that is a muddy area and it certainly is tempting to go into the 65% pool if you can.   Each Magnet/Gifted/Classical school actually has 2 lotteries, one for the whities and one for the minorities (actually the majorities.)

So somebody, somewhere decided recently that it might be time to create a level playing field in the city and put an end to the race requirement.  And I can’t help but wonder who it was that felt that minority kids in this city are getting as much out of their education as white kids are.   Test scores among African American students are much lower than Caucasion kids (although Asian kids are kicking everyone’s asses.)  Schools in some of the lower-income neighborhoods are in a state of squalor from what I understand, and there isn’t a fundraising or tax base from which to get the extras that other schools are putting into place.  The rate of drop-outs among minority students is much worse as well.

Also, as a matter of principal, Chicago is hideously segregated by race – as was reported recently in the Tribune.  Yet some of the bright spots in the city are the schools that balance on race.  I swear when I toured Hawthorne and Stone each class had a perfect balance of white/black/hispanic/asian/other kids.  It’s like exactly what I envisioned when I pictured an urban school.  (Yes, of course I was counting white boys to see what our odds were.)

So really, I cannot for the life of me fathom how someone could say “desegretion – yeah, it worked! Done!”  I don’t get it.  I HAVE heard that if the ruling is overturned, some schools (or all?) would still honor the decree.  But then again, the lottery is handled by CPS, not the schools so I don’t know how they could work around it.

The hearing is January 22nd.  Members of the public were invited to speak if they submitted their comments last month.  Should be interesting to see what happens.

January 14, 2009 at 11:44 pm 1 comment




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