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Affirmative Action and Chicago Schools

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Chicago Public Schools will soon learn whether its main strategy for creating racially diverse classrooms is constitutional.

This fall, the U.S. Supreme Court will rule on two cases that will shape what role, if any,affirmative action should play in public school admissions.

The case Chicago officials are watching most closely involves the Jefferson County school district in metropolitan Louisville, Kentucky.

As part of settling a long desegregation case, the Jefferson district began factoring race into admissions decisions.

Its an approach similar to the magnet school program at the heart of Chicago’s diversity efforts.

Amy Staurt Wells, an expert on race and education at Columbia University in New York, says she expects the court to clarify what steps districts can leagally take.

Chicago Public Schools is currently working with the U.S. Department of Justice to settle a 26 year desegregation case.

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