More bunk from Chicago schools

Social class replaces race as a qualifying factor for admission to Chicago's best public schools

Social engineers just can't help themselves when it comes to keeping their hands off your kids.

Their
latest plan is to base admissions to Chicago's most preferred public
schools to a large degree on "socioeconomic" factors, such as the
percentage of people who own homes in your neighborhood.

As
dumbfounding as this might seem, it's not all that surprising for an
education system operated by and for bureaucrats, social scientists and
unions that think nothing of meddling in the lives of your families.

They wouldn't have done it if a federal judge a few months ago had not told Chicago Public Schools
that it could no longer use race as a factor for who gets into the
city's magnet and select schools. Race has been a factor for decades
thanks to a consent decree designed to better achieve racial balance in
the city's schools. Any racial imbalance found in the schools, of
course, reflected the city's housing patterns that, like most other
major cities, pretty much followed racial lines. Social engineers
argued that racial balance would lead to a better education for one and
all, and, oops, judging by the state of public education in Chicago
today, it's easy to conclude the problem lies elsewhere.

But
social engineers don't give up all that easily. Instead of deciding
that admission to preferred schools should be based on merit,
neighborhood proximity or random lottery, they decided on integration
by class. Your -- or more properly -- your neighborhood's socioeconomic
class can give you better odds.

Here's how it would work: The
census tract in which you live would be examined for levels of median
income, adult education, owner-occupied homes and homes in which a
language other than English is spoken. Using these factors, city census
tracts then would be divided into four groups, indexed lowest to
highest. At magnet schools, siblings of students already enrolled there
would get first crack. Of the remaining openings, half would go to
neighborhood children, and the other half would be split evenly among
the socioeconomic groups. At other selective schools, half would be
admitted based on test scores and the other half based on test scores
within the equally divided groups.

Confusing? You bet; nothing
is elegant in its simplicity when it comes to social engineering. The
driving principle is that everyone is better if seated next to someone
from a different social class. Here, socioeconomic class serves as a
surrogate for race because disproportionate numbers of poor and
ill-prepared students are found in minority groups.

Richard D.
Kahlenberg, of the liberal Century Foundation, wrote in 2001 rather
typically in support of class integration because, "Many blacks have
come to see racial desegregation as essentially insulting. Why do black
kids need to sit next to white kids to learn?" Kahlenberg and others
say class integration is better because high-poverty schools, compared
with middle class schools, are afflicted with more disorder, less
stable student and teacher populations, less qualified teachers and
principals, lower expectations, less meaty curriculum and less
motivated, lower achieving peers. Mixing poor and middle-class kids
together is to everyone's advantage, according to the theory.

Unless,
of course, reality intrudes. Achieving a balance requires some degree
of coercion, something that few parents -- black or white, poor or
middle class -- want, as witnessed by the anger of parents who had to
send their children out of their neighborhood to strife-torn Fenger High School.
Middle-class parents don't want their own children's education
endangered by the problems (whether real or perceived) that class
integration implies. Socioeconomic schemes would increase the
possibility of middle-class flight to better private or suburban
schools. Of course, any parent who openly suggests that he doesn't want
his kid exposed to greater risks for the sake of social experimentation
will be immediately condemned as bigoted, narrow-minded and selfish.

Schools
have spent tons of money and man-hours to hatch schemes based on
doctrines of inclusion, multiculturalism and diversity. Parents who
want better schools in their neighborhoods find themselves facing
flying squads of "experts" who babble on about the "disproportionality"
of "variables" in the "educational experience."

Every child
would have a better shot at a quality education if schools would spend
less of everyone's time, resources and taxes on the kind of
gobbledygook that social engineers love. Instead, put that money to
work actually teaching children.

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