There is a race-based educational divide in Chicago, as federal data shows wide gaps in advanced placement courses, segregation, and discipline among African American, Latino, and White students.
Even in the face of this data, Chicago public school officials claim that black and Latin students have made tremendous academic progress, which has led education experts to rate CPS as “one of the districts that stand out. the fastest improving in the country “.
Still, the district said there was a lot of work to be done to deal with the impacts of centuries of divestment in all facets of life, the impact of which students still feel to this day.
Just ask the Avant-Pinkston Styles student.
The University of Illinois-Chicago junior said that when he was growing up in West Austin, some families made the decision to send their children out of the neighborhood to get a good education.
“If you are not in a good elementary school, you are probably going to go to a college that is not good and then when it is time to take a test to get into these good schools in Chicago, you don’t been trained for this, ”said Avant-Pinkston.
Avant-Pinkston is now studying history and high school education and has said he wanted to teach in his childhood neighborhood.
“We have to make sure these neighborhood schools are the best, they are the best of the best,” Avant-Pinkston said. “I shouldn’t have to take a fifty minute bus ride to a good school. I should be able to walk to a good school.
Black and brown students make up the vast majority of CPS students, yet ProPublica analysis of federal data from 2015 shows white students 2.3 times more likely to be enrolled in at least one advanced course than black students .
“We are dealing with a hundred years of truly intentionally exploitative economic policies towards black communities and policies that have explicitly created a segregated school system,” said Alexios Rosario-Moore, PhD of the Department of Education Policy Studies at the ‘UIC.
According to figures released by the US Department of Education, in 2017, black students made up just over a third of the CPS student body, but more than three-quarters of CPS students who were expelled were black.
Chicago Public Schools opened their Equity Office in 2018 to address equality in education.
“Chicago’s public schools are deeply committed to improving outcomes for all students and bridging the opportunity gap between white students and black and Latin students is one of our highest priorities,” said the CPS spokesperson James Gherardi. “While the root causes are systemic and will take time to address, the district remains committed to continuing to do everything in our power to ensure that students in every community have educational resources and opportunities. fair. “
The CPS said that in 2020, students achieved a record five-year graduation rate of 82.5%, an achievement led by strong gains from Latin American and African American students.
Additionally, CPS said it has restructured admissions to selectively enrolled high schools to ensure access for top-performing students in all corners of the city. The district added that disciplinary measures continue to improve for the district, including a reduction in extracurricular suspensions, expulsions, police notifications and student arrests that take place on school grounds.
Still, Rosario-Moore said it’s important to review school policies to make sure disparities can be narrowed.
“We’re at single digits for young black men who graduate from four-year colleges and we know there is a strong association between getting a four-year degree and wealth,” Rosario-Moore said.
UIC said its Call Me MISTER (Mentors Instructing Students Toward Effective Role Models) initiative aims to increase the number of certified teachers available from a wider and more diverse background. UIC said the initiative supports undergraduates who wish to teach and serve as role models in urban elementary schools to positively impact children’s lives.