Posts tagged ‘cps consent decree’

Voice your opinion about the end of the Consent Decree

A parent at school tipped me off to this link where you can give your opinion about the end of the Consent Decree to CPS (assuming somebody there is actually reading and doing anything with these comments, of course.)  Oh, do I sound bitter?  I have a major rant about CPS bureaucracy brewing within me  that I must spew forth this week.

In the meantime, you can spew forth with you opinions on the topic here.  At the very least, perhaps tell them that there’s probably a heck of a lot of CPS parents who don’t know that this has ended.  On the other hand, there was probably a lot of parents who never knew it existed!

Changes Due to Federal Court Decision
October 2, 2009

On September 24, 2009, the federal court vacated the Chicago Public Schools desegregation consent decree. As a result of that ruling, the race-based criteria referenced in the Options for Knowledge Guide and the applications and other materials related to the 2010-2011 admissions process will not be used to make admissions decisions.
Alternate admissions procedures are currently being developed and will be available for public comment in the near future. This website will provide information regarding public meetings. Please check back often.
The Options for Knowledge Guide was already printed in anticipation of the start of the application period. Each printed guide is now labeled to advise parents and guardians of the upcoming changes in the admission criteria.  This information is also printed in the electronic version of the guide available online.
Applications from this website (found under “apply”) and in the Options for Knowledge Guide, can be submitted immediately.
Updates can also be found at
Comments and suggestions are welcomed at 773.553.2060 or at

October 27, 2009 at 10:13 pm 1 comment

Race Information from CPS

This was posted as a comment but is worth its own post:

Dear Parent and/or Guardian:

On September 24, 2009, a federal court decision vacated the Desegregation Consent Decree that has governed the student selection process in the Chicago Public Schools for nearly 30 years.

As a result, race-based admission criteria will no longer be used to make admissions decisions. The Board remains committed to creating diverse
learning environments for our students. We are currently considering alternate admission procedures which will utilize selection factors other than race. We anticipate the new procedures will be presented to the Board of Education at its regular meeting on November 18, 2009.

It is likely that sibling and proximity considerations will be maintained, as well as the current status of our magnet schools and programs. Parents and guardians and other members of the public will have an opportunity to provide input into the new procedures; please check our website ( for information related to the development of the new policy and how you can provide your thoughts on this process.

The enclosed Options for Knowledge guide contains information on all our programs, schools, and processes, as well as Standard and GEAP applications. The Options guide identifies schools by school type and by program, includes helpful tips for applying, and outlines new application submission procedures for GEAP schools and Selective Enrollment High Schools. We encourage you to apply to as many schools as you would be satisfied to have your child attend.

Please note: Because the Options guide and applications were printed before the federal court decision was handed down, they still contain language related to the use of race in the selection process. Any information regarding racial/ethnic selection guidelines or minority transfer programs that were governed by the Consent Decree is now obsolete and should be disregarded.

October 13, 2009 at 11:27 pm Leave a comment

Big News – Consent Decree Overturned

There is big news in CPS, news that could actually make a major impact on the system depending how it plays out.

The Consent Decree has officially been overturned.

To review (in my own words which are probably around 75% correct,) the Consent Decree was put into place a couple decades ago when desegregation was the big thing for schools.  It basically mandated that certain “top” schools (magnets, gifted, classical, selective enrollment high schools) would guarantee a certain number of spots to minority applicants.  The definition of “minority” that is used in CPS is any non-Caucasian person and a child’s race is self-identified (meaning a biracial child’s family chooses to identify as Caucasian or Non based on how they identify.
Caucasian students are given up to 35% of the spots in these classes which is actually hugely generous given that only 9% of CPS is white (surprised?)  The thing that throws a monkey wrench into this balancing is the level of geographic segregation in Chicago.   Achieving these numbers requires kids to be bussed in criss-crossed directions.   So the goal is admirable but the means are inefficient.  I’ve toured Stone and Hawthorne and the classes have such a range of different kids – it’s like Chicago at its finest mix.

I was surprised to hear last year that the Consent Decree was up for review.  I have no idea what prompted this.  Certainly racial (or socio-economic) equality has not been met in CPS by a long shot.  I don’t know if the effort is too costly for CPS (keeping track of race, keeping 2 lottery lists for each school, bussing for sure) or if there was some political reason or if they really want to go to an income-based method of balancing.

But in the meantime, there is great uncertainly among parents as to how this will play out.  I’ve been reading the NPN message boards where there’s been a lot of interesting discussion about what will happen.  Some speculation includes:
– CPS moves so slowly that they’ll ask the judge to keep things in place for 1 more year while they figure out what to do
– Each school decides on their own how to balance and some schools are already planning to continue to ensure a mix
– Schools may actually be RESTRICTED from using race to select students
– CPS will switch to an income-based system for the lottery (which is actually a truer indicator of test scores)
– The income-based system would never work because CPS doesn’t have the time to check everyone’s income
– CPS is trying to save money on bussing
– Schools will start to reflect the actual geographic makeup of the neighborhoods around them (or rather the makeup of families who test/enter lottery which as we can guess will skew higher income)
– This stinks and isn’t fair
– This is good and is more fair

As you can see, it’s anybody’s guess right now how it will play out.  I would bet many of the schools don’t even know about it unless an obsessed parent has brought it up.

The big question for parents applying for schools for 2009/2010 is whether that little race box on the forms is going to make a difference this year.  The truth is many white families now stand a better chance at getting a spot in those coveted schools while minority families have lost an advantage.

You know what I would personally love to see?  I’d love for several schools in mainly minority neighborhoods get together and flood a school like Hawthorne with applications so that they get the majority of the spots (statistically they should get the same % as the % of applications they submitted.)  OK, OK, I know that is a bit twisted but let’s face it… CPS sets this up like a game and parents can try to use their best tactics to master it.

Please add comments with opinions of if you have heard anything about what will happen next!

September 27, 2009 at 8:23 am 31 comments

Consent Decree Hearing – What Next?

The consent decree hearing took place last week, where parents were able to voice their opinions on whether CPS should continue to require magnet/gifted schools to keep a ratio of 15-35% white kids.  According to a Tribune article CPS district officials say they have met the goals of the 1980 consent decree that ordered them to set up magnet schools as a way to get children from diverse neighborhoods into integrated schools.

I personally have no way of knowing whether this is true or not.  Yes, the magnet schools seem to be very nicely integrated.  No, my son’s gifted class is not integrated at all (although I believe CPS tried, it was hard to find minority students who wanted to start in a new program on the north side.)  What I don’t know is whether parents of minority kids who are in neighborhoods with the worst CPS schools really feel like they have a decent shot at getting their kid into a Magnet school. 

The Sun Times article reported the following: Wanda Hopkins of Parents United for Responsible Education said she got one child into a magnet school, Andrew Jackson Language Academy, by complaining to CPS about a long list of rejections. 

Wow – CPS responds to complaining?  Who knew?  Wanda is from the group PURE that I’ve raved about – a “power to the people” organization that fights for fairness in CPS and helps teach LSCs to demand reform where it’s needed.

At the hearing, kids and parents expressed the need for continued integration among other things (books, better teachers, etc.)

Interestingly, one article reports that “the district” will ask the judge to let CPS switch to an income-based quota system that will make sure a certain % of lower-income kids get into the magnet program.   This seems like a smart way to do it, given that school performance is typically tied to socio-economic background.  I mean if Obama’s kids had gotten into a magnet school based on race, it wouldn’t really be giving them any race-based edge, now would it? (Oh wait, they went to private school of course.)  But man, what a can of worms if CPS has to be checking everyone’s income for enrollment.  Or will they use the honor system like they do now for minority status?  Interesting times ahead….

So for now, I guess the testimony continues, then a judge will decide whether the the integration efforts will continue in the Magnet schools.  It just seems weird that it is all up to one judge to decide.  I hope this dude knows what he’s doing.,CST-NWS-deseg23.article,0,1895023.story


January 25, 2009 at 2:45 pm 2 comments




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