Chicago Teachers Union kills excelling schools to force students into dysfunction
The Chicago Board of Education approved a resolution on Dec. 14 which will eliminate selective enrollment schools in the Chicago Public Schools district. It is yet another attempt by the Chicago Teachers Union and its allies to limit parents’ choices in their children’s educations.
Chicago Public Schools leadership and the Chicago Teachers Union are making yet another play to eliminate school choice for Chicago parents by eliminating selective enrollment schools, including 11 selective enrollment high schools.
Members on the Chicago Board of Education, appointed by former-CTU organizer Mayor Brandon Johnson, approved a resolution which would transition CPS away from “privatization and admissions/enrollment policies” that allow students options to enroll in public selective enrollment schools, among others.
CTU leadership called the plan a “step in the right direction” and decried selective enrollment schools’ “deep inequity.”
Yet the change in policy threatens to take away the current schooling option of nearly 10,000 minority high school students and over 7,500 low-income high school students who currently attend a selective enrollment high school in Chicago.
CTU and its allies already killed the Invest in Kids Act, Illinois’ only private school choice program for low-income students, this fall. But eliminating scholarships for nearly 10,000 low-income Illinois students wasn’t enough for CTU leadership.
Now it wants to take away the opportunity for parents and students to choose selective enrollment public high schools. They provide “academically advanced high school students with a challenging and enriched college preparatory experience.”
The proposal would strip minority and low-income students of their preferred high schools
The CPS Board of Education on Dec.14’ voted to pass a resolution to “transition away from privatization and admissions/enrollment policies and approaches that further stratification and inequity in CPS and drive student enrollment away from neighborhood schools.”
In the name of equity, the board of education’s plan would eliminate selective enrollment at 11 high schools which provide an academically advanced education to nearly 10,000 Black and Hispanic students. Over 7,500 of the students enrolled in these 11 schools are low-income.
On average, more than half of the students enrolled in the 11 high schools come from low-income families and nearly 70% are Black or Hispanic.
Students at these schools reach academic proficiency at higher rates than CPS students districtwide. Nine of the 11 selective enrollment high schools have a higher percentage of their 11th grade students scoring proficient in reading and math on the SAT compared to the CPS district-wide percentage.
In seven of the selective enrollment schools, more than half of the students scored proficient in reading and math on the SAT. Only one general-education Chicago public high school also had more than half of its 11th grade students score at or above proficiency in reading and math: Lincoln Park High School. Lincoln Park recorded 53.2% of its 11th graders proficient in reading and 50.9% proficient in math.
Misleading concerns over funding inequity
In their resolution, the Chicago Board of Education emphasized the plan’s goal was to “ensure equitable funding and resources across schools.” The implication is schools utilizing specific admissions policies have furthered inequities, especially funding disparities, for minority students in CPS.
Yet nine of the 11 selective enrollment high schools in CPS spend less per pupil on operating expenses compared to the district average and produced higher proficiency compared to the CPS average. Spending less and getting more made them a target for CTU.
CTU limits parental options
The resolution by Chicago’s board of education is an attack on parental options disguised as a call for equity. But attacks on parental options are nothing new to Chicago parents, especially low-income CPS parents.
More than 4,000 low-income Chicago students are losing the funds to attend their private schools thanks to the elimination of the Invest in Kids tax-credit scholarship program, which CTU and its allies pushed to kill this fall.
Many of these low-income students will have no choice but to return to their neighborhood Chicago schools. Districtwide, the outlook for low-income CPS students is grim. Just 19% of low-income third through eighth graders in CPS can read at grade level and only 11% perform math proficiently. Among low-income 11th graders, just 14% can read and 12% can do math at grade level.
Eliminating parental options is CTU leadership’s agenda. They’ve already killed the Invest in Kids program and taken away scholarships from nearly 10,000 low-income kids. Taking away schooling options from thousands of minority and low-income students at selective enrollment Chicago schools is next on the agenda.
And it once more confirms CTU’s leadership isn’t about students: it’s about power.