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New CPS Magnet Plan Passes Amid Protest

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Chicago has approved new rules for selecting students to its top schools. It comes a few months after a judge ended the district’s desegregation plan.

It’s the first time in nearly 30 years that race will not play an overt role in the admissions process for CPS’s magnet and selective enrollment schools. The district will use socioeconomic factors instead, and is also giving a leg up to students who live near the schools or have a sibling who attends. Chicago ‘s Board of Education approved the new guidelines yesterday.

Civil rights groups and some aldermen have said the changes would force top minority students into subpar schools.

Phillip Jackson of the Black Star Project spoke at yesterday’s board meeting:

JACKSON : You are not giving our children choices, you are giving them sentences. It’s not that your magnet schools are so good that we are all here. It’s that the rest of the schools are so bad.

School officials say they’ll monitor the effects of the one-year plan and adjust the new rules to maintain racial diversity. The district already made some changes to its original proposal after holding community hearings.

The plan passed by the Board says students will be admitted under the following guidelines:

For magnet schools (non-testing schools): All siblings will be admitted. Up to 40 percent of remaining seats (rather than the 50 percent originally suggested) will go to neighborhood students.The remaining 60 percent of seats will be divided between children from four socioeconimc tiers.

For selective enrollment schools: Up to 40 percent (rather than the 50 percent originally suggested) will go to the students who score the highest citywide on the city’s selective enrollment measure. The remaining 60 percent will go to high scorers from each of four socioeconimc tiers.

Weigh in on what new magnet admissions changes mean to you at

Here is a Columbia College Chicago student project exploring the reactions of parents, educators and community members, to the new socio-economic admissions plan.

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