Magnets: Is Proposal Unfair To High-Scoring White Kids?

On Wednesday the Board will consider the proposed changes to the magnet and SE admissions policy that Huberman announced recently (Principal's Pick" Banned Again,Changes To Magnet / Selective Enrollment) but the debate isn't over yet.  Here's an excerpt from a note I received rom a parent illustrating some of the concerns: ScreenHunter_04 Nov. 03 14.01"The Blue Ribbon committee's final report DID NOT recommend cutting the share of top-scoring students to 30%... This means that whites lose out next year -- and every year after that. Whites share of seats will drop by at least 5% to 12%. Asians will likely drop 2% to 8%. CPS has all the number and they are not sharing. The purpose: CPS will eliminate top students solely to make room for more African American students at the most popular selective enrollment high schools... Personally, I think this is why the Principal of Walter Payton retired last week, two days before R.H.'s announcement. I also think this is why some politicians who are going along with this will get annexes for their neighborhoods." What do you think?  Did Huberman contradict his own committee?  Will the changes be as devastating as described to high scoring white kids?  What is the overall impact of the changes this year and last on Chicago's most successful schools? Full email:

 "Look, this story is being seriously under reported. Most parents don't understand what the ramifications are, because CPS hasn't held meetings to explain them, and they were buried in the final report among pages of small tweaks. However, the Blue Ribbon committee's final report DID NOT recommend cutting the share of top-scoring students to 30%. R.Huberman has gone against his own Committee, and wants the Board to approve the cut on Wed., Nov. 17. This means that whites lose out next year -- and every year after that. Whites share of seats will drop by at least 5% to 12%. Asians will likely drop 2% to 8%. CPS has all the number and they are not sharing. The purpose: CPS will eliminate top students solely to make room for more African American students at the most popular selective enrollment high schools. It's not as if there are no seats for the black students. There are seats at Lindblom, King, Westinghouse, and Brooks, Lane, Jones, Payton and Northside. Personally, I think this is why the Principal of Walter Payton retired last week, two days before R.H.'s announcement. I also think this is why some politicians who are going along with this will get annexes for their neighborhoods. This past year was the first time CPS' Office of Academic Enhancement operated under an outside audit and without the federal consent decree. Whites' share of seats stayed the same at 17%. Whites did not gain seats. Asians lost a little to below 10%. Whites are 35% of the city population. You wouldn't think that these numbers would be alarming to the black community, but you would be dead wrong. That is because not as many blacks as in prior years under the consent decree got seats at the most popular schools. They are fixing this forever with this harsh cut, which is illegal since the Supreme Court decision of 2007. They don't care because they know how long court cases drag on. "So sue me!" It's disheartening."

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  • I agree, no one want to exclude all disadvantaged kids and use merit-only. That was never the idea, even from the outset.

    And I agree that CPS should make these resources available to everyone. I think that's why CPS put many of s.e. schools in underserved neighborhoods, perhaps to be closer to the disadvantaged students.

    Whites don't have close to a majority of seats in the s.e. system. And they didn't gain seats from last year. They still have 17%, the same as last year. But they will lose a lot of seats if the Board votes this change in.

    CPS keeps saying that whites are overrepresented, but then enacts restrictions on whites who want to gain admission at s.e. and magnet schools.

  • WHY IS ALWAYS ABOUT RACE? Why can't it be "top" students are enrolled based on their knowledge not on their color!! The U.S is getting left behind in the dirt by many other countries in the world because our children are not keeping up!In our country everyone is afforded opportunities...but you can not always lead a horse to water. Many factors play into a students education, not just school.

  • The CPS

  • You have an excellent point. Clearly minorities are already represented in the top 30% already, and the top s.e. schools are already diverse.

    The question for the BRC is how many African American students total do they want at each top s.e. schools?

    The BRC ran the numbers based on scores and race. They know the goals they have set, and that to reach those numbers they have to cut 10% of the top students.

    They are not explaining this to the public. But the BRC also is not recommending that CPS do this. Only R. Huberman is recommending this, and then leaving.

  • What could be a solution is another level of SE high school with a higher admission bar than the existing SE high schools. The ability gap at the highest performing existing SE high schools is already wide enough to be able to skim off the top 10-15% of students with probably better outcomes for both sets of students.

    This top SE school - probably one for the entire city - would admit only based on performance, NOTHING ELSE. Perhaps it could be state funded and operated similar to IMSA thereby avoiding teacher certification issues, CTU, etc. and saving CPS some money.

  • I do find it amazing that there are people out there that want a fiscally stressed school district in a bankrupt State to open more selective schools. According to ISBE in 2010 CPS has only 9.1% white students as a school district.

    It therefore seems absurd to argue more white students need to get into Payton which in 2010 was 33.7% white, Northside which was 38.5% white (and only 5.3% black), Jones 28.2% white, and Young which was 30.3% white.

    As for white flight from CPS, really when only 9.1% of students are white has that not already happened? The last time I looked the city of Chicago based on 2007 data was 38.9% white.

    The Chicago Sun Times in 2007 ran an article on how white CPS students were out performing minorities and were on average more wealthy than other white students in the state. To see this article go to:

    http://www.suntimes.com/news/627559,cst-nws-gap31web.article

    The article states: "White Chicago students are clustered in the city

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    You would feel differently if your white child was in 8th grade this year. Why does it always have to be about skin color? Why is it OK for Lindblom to be 76% black but not OK for Northside College Prep to be 76% white? Maybe all this racial engineering is best for society (whatever that means), but it sucks for my kid.

  • The Board Meeting, just like the Public Hearings this past summer, is a dog-and-pony show. The decision has already been made in a back room by the blue ribbon committee comprised of African American activists and Liberal apologists. So much for a race-neutral admissions policy. It is always about skin color in Chicago.

  • CPS publishes student performance data by ethnicity - at top SEHS's there is about a 10% gap between white, asian and black, latino. That gap persists through all four grades implying that lower performing students do not catch up.

    It should be noted though that, at least at Payton, graduation rates are at 98% or more, and, I've heard that 95% of graduates finish with a college degree in four years. Fantastic results for ALL students I think.

  • We agree. White families would rather send their children to SE high schools closer to their white neighborhoods. So if the system was fair, Northside College Prep would be 76% white, reflecting the neighborhood, just like Lindblom (another SE high school)is 76% black. But through this elaborate socio-economic scheme, the percentage of white students in the top SE high schools is carefully regulated to optimize racial integration. Read the Blue Ribbon Committee report on www.cpsoae.org.

  • I agree with Rod Estevan. S.e. schools should be diverse, and the numbers for African Americans that he gave are well below what I expected to see. If this suggestion is the best the panel could come up with, then so be it.

  • My opinion (from a two student SEHS parent) - 50% on merit only, 50% allowed in if within 10% of the average of the other 50% as measured by the selective enrollment test and 7th grade standardized testing. Anything more probably impacts negatively the quality of the education.

  • the assumption that white people have enough money to do either of these things irks me. A good non catholic private high school costs about 25,000 dollars a year. Just because people are white doesn't mean they have enough money do pay 100,000 dollars for a high school education or move out of the city.

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