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Chicago moves to end magnet schools to advance 'equity'
Photo by Courtney Perry/For the Washington Post

Chicago moves to end magnet schools to advance 'equity'

Chicago Democratic Mayor Brandon Johnson's Board of Education wants to put an end to the city's excelling selective-enrollment schools under the guise of advancing "equity" for students, a Wednesday editorial in the Chicago Tribune revealed.

Johnson appears to have backpedaled from his campaign's previous guarantee that it would not get rid of the city's 11 selective-enrollment high schools, the media outlet noted.

Chicago Public Schools' selective-enrollment and magnet schools are some of the top-ranked high schools in the nation. Currently, 76% of Chicago high school students do not attend the high schools in their neighborhoods.

On Thursday, the mayor's Board of Education approved a resolution that would eliminate students' opportunity to test into a high-achieving school in the CPS system. Instead, the board's "Transformational Strategic Plan" would require students to attend high schools within their neighborhoods, effectively dismantling the top-performing schools.

The five-year "transformational" plan, prepared by CPS CEO Pedro Martinez, calls for "a 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."

According to the board's president, Jianan Shi, the plan will consider input from the community.

Shi told the Chicago Tribune, "This plan needs to be guided and informed by the community."

"The goal is that we're able to change [the] current competition model so that students are not pitted against one another, schools are not pitted against one another," Shi added.

The board's vice president, Elizabeth Todd-Breland, explained that the school board wants every CPS school to offer a "strong, high quality pathway from pre-K to high school."

CPS projects that it will be approved in the summer of 2024.

A recently released statement from CPS said, "The Board's resolution aims to guide engagement and development in partnership with the District on a new strategic plan with an emphasis on strengthening all neighborhood schools as a critical step toward supporting all students and closing opportunity and achievement gaps."

"While CPS will work with the community and its City partners to co-design the strategic plan, the parameters call for 'a model that centers neighborhood schools by investing in and acknowledging them as institutional anchors in our communities, and by prioritizing communities most impacted by past and ongoing racial and economic inequity and structural disinvestment.' Specific community engagement sessions about the development of the new strategic plan will begin in February," the district stated.

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Candace Hathaway

Candace Hathaway

Candace Hathaway is a staff writer for Blaze News.
@candace_phx →