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HomeGeneralChicago Mayor Criticized for Moving to End Selective Enrollment Process in Schools

Chicago Mayor Criticized for Moving to End Selective Enrollment Process in Schools

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Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson is facing criticism for his plans to end the selective enrollment process at certain schools in the city. He cites a commitment to “equity” as the driving force behind this decision.

The Chicago School Board passed a resolution on Thursday. The resolution aims to shift away from school choice and strengthen the city’s neighborhood schools, addressing “long-standing structural racism and socio-economic inequality.”

The move, however, comes after Johnson reportedly told the Chicago Tribune that “A Johnson administration would not end selective enrollment at CPS schools.”

During “Fox & Friends,” American Federation for Children senior fellow Denisha Allen addressed Johnson’s pivot. She referred to the switch as a “facade of morality” while advocating for school choice for Chicago students.

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“It’s a facade of morality offering students freedom within … an already prison-type system,” Allen told Carley Shimkus on Tuesday. 

“Students do not have the freedom to move about in government schools, and they never will, and so this move by the Chicago mayor to increase, quote-unquote, options in a school, that school district that’s already failing students, it’s really a facade.”

“We need to blow up the entire system, give that money directly to parents, and allow them to choose the best school for their kid to get them out of these schools, like the head of the teachers’ union did in Chicago,” she added.

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According to the resolution that was passed, the board is looking to “transition away from privatization and admissions/enrollment policies and approaches that further stratification and inequity in CPS and drive student enrollment away from neighborhood schools.”

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Furthermore, the board aims to create a model where neighborhood schools are central to the education system. They recognize these schools as “institutional anchors” in the community, intending to rectify “past, ongoing racial and economic inequity and structural disinvestment.”

There are 11 selective enrollment schools in the city, ranking among the highest in both the city and, in some cases, the country. Despite the presence of these high-ranking schools, students across Chicago’s public schools continue to face academic challenges.

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“Over 85% of the students in Chicago public schools are minority,” Allen said. She highlighted that “only 11% of those Black kids can read on grade level, and 7% can do math on grade level.”

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Allen’s remarks referenced Chicago Teachers Union President Stacy Davis Gates, who confirmed sending her eldest son to a private school despite calling school choice “racist.”

Allen criticized the perceived hypocrisy, stating, “And unfortunately, she’s denying those same options to other families who are in the same predicament, the families who would like to get into these selective enrollment schools, but… probably won’t still test well enough to get in.

They can’t read and probably won’t graduate from high school knowing how to read either. They deserve school choice.” According to the Chicago Sun-Times, 76% of high school students and 45% of elementary school students do not choose to attend their assigned neighborhood schools.

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