We were dumb enough to elect this idiot. We deserve it.
The Equality of Failure in Chicago
The city’s school board wants to cancel selective-enrollment schools that are a path upward for low-income students.
By The Editorial Board, WSJ
Dec. 18, 2023 6:32 pm ET
What if you could create public schools that are racially and economically diverse with 90% of children reading at grade level? That’s the profile of a handful of selective-enrollment schools in Chicago that have been a success for many parents. Instead of replicating the model, the Chicago Public School system (CPS) wants to end it.
The Chicago school board last week passed a resolution that endorses phasing out selective enrollment. The purpose would be to “transition away” from test-based enrollment policies “that further stratification and inequity in CPS and drive student enrollment away from neighborhood schools,” the board said. That would cover Chicago’s 11 selective high schools that rank academically among the best in the state and nationwide.
The schools are a beacon for children from all neighborhoods, and admission is weighted to allocate spots among different income groups. The idea is to bring in high achievers from all backgrounds, ensuring that children from difficult circumstances can thrive. At Jones College Prep High School, 91% of students read at grade level. At Northside College Prep, 92% do, according to Wirepoints and the Illinois State Board of Education.
But Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson sees the success of black and Hispanic students at selective-enrollment schools as a threat. “When those students succeed at a selective enrollment, particularly black students,” Mr. Johnson said in a 2018 conversation, “what ends up happening is all other black students who don’t meet those same standards get shamed. . . . ‘See, so and so made it out, what’s your problem?’”
His solution is the equality of failure. The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) agrees, noting in a statement that while selective-enrollment schools were intended to desegregate school districts, they have now “contributed to more segregation.” The lack of resources at neighborhood schools, they say, is a form of “educational apartheid” while selective enrollment schools “uplift the few and usher in inequities to the many.” In fact, selective enrollments narrow the racial achievement gap that is typical in Chicago.
At Bronzeville Classical Elementary, a selective school on the south side, 73% of students are black and 72% of the black students read at grade level. For other public schools in the district, only 26% of students read at grade level, according to the Illinois Report Card. Perversely, the school board would prefer to cancel Bronzeville and send more children to lousy neighborhood schools.
The school board claims selective enrollment succeeds at the expense of neighborhood schools. The truth is they succeed where neighborhood schools are already failing. They are on the chopping block because their success undermines the union line that public schools merely need more money.
CTU President Stacy Davis Gates sends her son to private school, but many can’t afford that option. The CTU worked hard to end a scholarship program that allowed families school choice at local private schools. Now they are seeking to end a route to academic achievement even at union-staffed public schools. Mr. Johnson said during his campaign that he wouldn’t end the school’s selective-enrollment schools. What does he say now?