- Chicago Newstips by Community Media Workshop - http://www.newstips.org -

Promoting segregation

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A third of non-selective CPS magnet schools would  become “almost entirely white” under a proposed admissions policy, according to an analysis by Designs for Change [2].

The “primary thrust” of the new policy would turn magnet schools that are now mainly racially diverse into largely segregated neighborhood schools, according to a statement from Don Moore of DFC.

He calls the policy “a scheme to further segregate the system.”

The elements of the policy that would do most to re-segregate schools – giving greater preference to siblings of students and to neighborhood residents – are entirely voluntary and in no way mandated by the courts, he emphasized.

About a third of the magnet schools, now located in mainly white neighborhoods, would become “almost entirely white” under the new policy, while middle-class and low-income schools located in minority communities would become less diverse economically, he said.

CPS has falsely argued [3] that a 2007 Supreme Court decision bans the use of race as a basis for assigning students, he said.  (A Tribune [4] report today echoed that contention.)  What the court ruled was that race could not be the only factor, Moore said.

Civil rights groups (including the ACLU [5]) and education groups (include the Black Star Project [6] and PURE [7]) have called for including race as a factor in admissions decisions for these schools.

The ACLU has pointed out that replacing race by socioeconomic status has been shown to exacerbate racial segregation, citing school systems in San Francisco and Cambridge, Massachusetts – and that recent Supreme Court decisions “make clear that race can be used as a factor in determining admissions and fostering diversity in a public school system.”

The Board of Education is expected to vote on the new policy on Wednesday.