CPS May Change How Students Are Admitted to Magnets

November 20, 2008

Download Story
Chicago Public Schools says it may use income rather than race to enroll students in its popular magnet schools. That's if a federal judge ends the district's desegregation plan in the coming months.

Under one plan CPS is considering, students would be assigned an income based on the census tract where they live.

The top attorney for the Board of Education says this would be a new way for CPS to integrate its magnet schools.

Lawyers at the district have argued for years that the 28-year-old consent decree should end. The decree requires the district to racially balance its magnet schools.

Under the census tract plan, magnet schools would select students from a wide a range of incomes.

But UCLA professor Gary Orfield, who has looked at similar plans across the country, says the idea threatens racial integration.

ORFIELD: In most metropolitan areas, you can have economic desegregation with no racial desegregation.

CPS says it will hold public hearings before it rolls out any new plan.

I'm Linda Lutton, Chicago Public Radio.