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Drugs in schools

Most drug violations in CPS involve an ounce or less of marijuana. Schools are quick to call police, yet rarely have the resources to offer education, counseling or other non-punitive help to students.

Federal judge ends Chicago schools desegregation decree

Late Thursday afternoon, a federal judge scrapped the CPS desegregation consent decree--a move that likely will result in the district abandoning the use of race as a factor in the admissions policies of magnet and selective schools. The move by U S District Judge Charles Kocoras also halted the court's monitoring of the district's bilingual program, which activists claimed is still  inadequate and in need of supervision. 

The desegregation decree had been in place for more than 20 years. 

Late Thursday afternoon, a federal judge scrapped the CPS desegregation consent decree--a move that likely will result in the district abandoning the use of race as a factor in the admissions policies of magnet and selective schools. 

The move by U.S. District Judge Charles Kocoras also halted the court's monitoring of the district's bilingual program, which activists claimed is still  inadequate and in need of supervision. 

The desegregation decree had been in place for more than 20 years. 

Ed Yohnka, spokesman for the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, which served as a friend to the court in the case, said attorneys were "obviously disappointed." 

"We are very concerned about what this will mean in terms of access to selective enrollment schools for minority children," Yohnka says. "What clearly will be needed is for parents, activists and those who really care about school reform in Chicago to monitor the school district to ensure appropriate representation."

For magnet schools, the consent decree called for a lottery, based on race, to ensure integration in enrollment. In selective enrollment schools, race was an admissions factor, and white students, who make up just 9 percent of districtwide enrollment, were allowed up to 35 percent of available seats. 

CPS officials could not be reached for comment. They had argued in court hearings in favor of lifting the decree, saying it would free up money spent on transportation and other services needed to comply with the decree. Further, they noted that, with just 9 percent white enrollment, more integration was impossible.

CEO Ron Huberman has not talked publicly about his thoughts on how the district will handle selective admissions should the decree be lifted. 

But in a January court hearing, CPS officials signaled that they will shift from using race as a factor, perhaps adopting socio-economic status instead.

San Francisco is often seen as a model for this strategy to promote integration. However, critics note that since their decree was lifted in 2005, the schools have become more segregated and the achievement gap persists. 

Catalyst  wrote several articles over the past year detailing a slow decline in the number of black and Latino students in the city's most sought after magnet and selective enrollment schools, called CPS' crown jewels. 

Seats in selective schools in Chicago are such a hot commodity that currently the U.S. attorney's office is investigating the use of clout in admissions.

The Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund presented witnesses at the January hearing who spoke about the deficiencies in the bilingual program. Yonka noted, "the real horrors of students not being served." MALDEF officials could not be reached for comment. 

  

6 comments

stacye wrote 5 years 6 days ago
Mayfair Dad wrote 5 years 5 days ago
craig wrote 5 years 5 days ago

Federal judge ends Chicago schools desegregation decree

What a sad day when initiatives that work to undo racism and ensure access to fundamentals like education are thrown away.

Danny wrote 5 years 5 days ago

Federal judge ends Chicago schools desegregation decree

Get a grip, Craig.

Nothing is being "thrown away." Court supervision is ending. The laws are still in place. If CPS violates these laws, another lawsuit can be filed.

There is no legislation that can "work to undo racism." because that is something that is in the hearts and minds of people. Attitudes have changed a lot since 1980 when the case was filed, especially among the younger generations.

Court supervision to remedy institutional racism was necessary in 1980, even though it is contrary to our cherished political ideas of federalism and separation of powers. But it was never meant to be permanent. It has run its course. (And, unfortunately, it created the unintended consequence of "white flight," which weakened support for public and neighborhood schools.) With only 8% white students, the system simply cannot integrate any further.

Good call, Judge Kocoras.

xian from CORE wrote 5 years 5 days ago

Federal judge ends Chicago schools desegregation decree

As David Rhees said:
Remember when the U.S. had a drug problem, and then we declared a War on Drugs and now you can't buy drugs anymore? It'll be just like that!

I sure am glad we don't have segregated schools, or even the most segregated schools in the country anymore. That would suck!

to craig wrote 5 years 4 days ago

Federal judge ends Chicago schools desegregation decree

I get your point--the bigger issue is that CPS OVER funds the magnet schools and middle to upper class parents get the best bang and money spent and better teacher at these schools. There are magnet schools that have only 400-500 students AND get 6, yes 6 extra postions that they do not have to buy, They get them for free! This does not happen at the segregated--paverty schools. The commonality there is POOR and that is where the lower class sizes, full day kindergartens and best teachers should be. There is your desegregation. What has changed is that weathy parents do not want their children to go to school with poor parents--no matter what color they are.

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