(LIBERTY NATION) – Chicago is considering adopting a new admissions policy for its selective enrollment schools. The changes would allow children from lower-income families and poor neighborhoods a greater chance at acceptance into these high-demand education centers. A ranking system currently reduces opportunities for families that lack the resources and ability to navigate the complicated application process. Two potential solutions were brought before the board to adjust or even remove the current ranking structure. Before a formal proposal is presented to the Board of Education, the district is looking for feedback from parents, students, and school members to better understand how this would be received.
To keep race off the table in admissions and acceptance into the gifted, magnet, and selective schools, in 2009, a court required any questions regarding race be removed from the application process. Still, the schools must maintain a certain level of diversity within their student body. Chicago’s elite schools responded by utilizing a socio-economic ranking system to accommodate the court order. Today’s schools, however, are still less disparate than desired.
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Selective enrollment schools were created for academically advanced kids, with the curriculum focused on preparing students for higher education. While this is an excellent option, it became apparent that admissions policies perhaps are biased in determining what kids are eligible to attend the high-ranking schools. Many talented and intelligent students have been overlooked because they live in the wrong neighborhood or do not come from wealthy families. With a student body primarily consisting of whites and Asians across all selective-enrollment schools in the city, the district felt it was time to consider a change.