Payton Not A Diversity Model, Says Estvan

Payton Not A Diversity Model, Says Estvan

In response to yesterday's NYT oped from Rick Kahlenberg touting the Chicago model of income-based diversity enhancement, longtime Chicago special education advocate Rod Estvan wrote the following rebuttal suggesting that Chicago's results from the Kahlenberg plan (for Walter Payton in particular) haven't been all that good -- the percentage of students from low-income families has actually gone down from a decade ago. "Payton’s admission system which is in part based on census tracts is being advantaged by the middle class and even wealthier families who live in enclaves within overall poorer community census tracts."  What do you think? See the full Estvan response below the fold.

Richard D. Kahlenberg’s opinion piece in the NT Times was extremely interesting and I want to thank Alexander for linking it to the blog. It is fascinating that Kahlenberg compares the relative diversity of CPS’s Payton with the lack of diversity at New York’s Stuyvesant High School where only 3% of offered seats at this highly selective school went to either black or Latino students.

Kahlenberg attributes the relative diversity of Payton to the policy he devised which utilizes in part census tracts as an admissions criteria. He admits the racial data on admissions of black and Latino students for Payton is far less than their presence in CPS as a whole. “But compared with Stuyvesant, Payton is a multicultural paradise,” he writes. But unfortunately Dr. Kahlenberg does not discuss the fact that Payton’s admission system which is in part based on census tracts is being advantaged by the middle class and even wealthier families who live in enclaves within overall poorer community census tracts .

In 2013, only 31.4% of Payton students were from low income families regardless of race whereas back in 2002 the school had about 37% low income students when there was no social economic admissions process but only a race based process. For CPS as a whole 84.9% of its students are from low income families. On a state level about 50% of students come from poor families.

Kahlenberg does not note that minority enrollment is 77% of the student body at Stuyvesant (vast majority 72% Asian), which is much more than the New York state average of 52%. Kahlenberg also does not note that the percentage of white students enrolled at Stuyvesant is only 23%, and 47% of all students attending Stuyvesant are low income students (to see this data go tohttp://data.nysed.gov/enrollment.php?year=2013&instid=800000046741 ).

When we add to this data the fact that Payton is composed of a greater percentage of white students with 37.3% than Stuyvesant which only 23% white students there is a big problem with Kahlenberg’s opinion piece and his claims for the relative effectiveness of his census tract enrollment plan for CPS.

I agree the level of Black and Hispanic admissions to Stuyvesant is a problem, but the way Kahlenberg presented this issue in comparison to Payton is also a problem. It is also clear that significant numbers of the Asian students who made the cut to get into Stuyvesant came from lower income families which is something of an achievement isn't it? Its a little more complex than Kahlenberg presents it.

For the record I formally opposed Kahlenberg’s plan for CPS selective schools during the Blue Ribbon Committees hearings.

Rod Estvan

Flickr image via ecastro

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  • Amen.

  • Asking Kids With Special Needs To Clear The Same Bar : @NPR_Ed http://ow.ly/yHJZ6

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