Chicago’s far-left mayor announced plans this past week to do away with eleven “high-achieving selective-enrollment schools” in order to increase “equity.”
Brandon Johnson prefers a “neighborhood school” program, according to the Daily Mail.
Chicago Board of Education CEO Pedro Martinez claimed the selective-school system results in “stratification and inequity,” and said there’s a five-year “transformation” plan ready to abolish it.
The board is set to be vote on the plan on December 19. At least two board members, the president and vice president, appear to favor Johnson’s plan.
President Jianan Shi said “the goal is […] to change (the) current competition model so that students are not pitted against one another, schools are not pitted against one another.”
VP Elizabeth Todd-Breland added “it shouldn’t be a competition between schools, it should really be families, knowing that, ‘Hey, my child can walk to school and have a great option.”’
The current system’s schools are some of the best in the entire nation, according to the report. Walter Payton College Prep is ranked 10th, Northside College Prep ranks 37th, and Jones College Prep comes in at 60th place.
An editorial by the Chicago Tribune notes Johnson reneged on a campaign promise not to abolish the selective schools. His “precise words” were “a Johnson administration would not end selective enrollment at CPS schools.”
“There are some spectacularly weaselly words in play here,” the editors say about the Johnson plan. “You can keep, say, Northside College Prep and not ‘dismantle’ it, but everyone knows that the moment it ceases to be a selective-enrollment school, privileging (often low-income) kids who want to learn, it ceases to be Northside College Prep as currently known.”
Currently, 94 percent of Northside’s students are proficient in math and 95 percent in reading.
In response to Board President Shi’s misgivings about school competition, the Tribune says
The U.S. is a democracy that operates under a free-market system. Such a system is necessary for personal freedom and economic growth, but it is necessarily based on competition. What does Shi think selective colleges and universities are doing in their admissions process if they are not pitting one student against another? What does he think other countries that better educate all their kids are doing?
Last month, the American Enterprise Institute’s Rick Hess noted examples of what the quest for “equity” has wrought: elimination of advanced math, middle school algebra, and basic skills tests for graduation, not to mention basic student accountability — such as getting assignments in on time, passing exams, and respecting teachers.
IMAGE: The Daily Mail/X