Report: 1 Out Of 4 Black Chicago Public School Students Attend A 'Failing' School
The ratio is in stark contrast to their Hispanic (2 out of 25) and white (2 out of 100) peers.
July 10, 2017 at 11:46 pm
Amongst its other local struggles, a new report says that Chicago’s public school system is having a negatively effect on its minority and impoverished students.
That report was authored by education advocacy group New Schools; in reporting on the study, the Chicago Sun Times notes that according to the data, about 50,000 of CPS' 381,350 students aren’t getting a quality education.
Broken down by school rather than individual student, the study found that one out of every five Chicago public schools is delivering a sub-par education to its students.
Unfortunately yet unsurprisingly, African American students are suffering the most: one in four black CPS students attend “failing” schools. The disparity gap in quality education is appalling when broken down by race: two out of every 25 Hispanic students and two out of every 100 white students attending "failing" public schools.
“There’s still a lot of kids not getting the education they deserve,” said New Schools executive director Daniel Anello. “What was alarming to me was just the ratios. The one in four, to me, is troublesome as an African American male.”
In addition to a racial disparity, there is a class disparity, with most of the “failing” schools being located in low-income South Side and West Side neighborhoods; most of Chicago's black population lives in one of these two areas of the city.
Impoverished African American students make up 37 percent of all CPS students.
School consolidation that occurred on the city's South and West Sides may have made the problem worse. In 2013, CPS closed 50 low-performing schools; 48 schools were chosen to take students from the shuttered institutions. Of those 48, 18 currently sit at the bottom of CPS' ranking system.
While the numbers are clear, system officials say that it is also important to look at the factors behind the data. “It is not fair to simply compare race and [School Quality Rating Policy] stats and then question why some schools ‘fail,’” said Chicago Teachers Union researcher Sarah Rothschild. “A strong team can handle the immense adverse socioeconomic issues that students in struggling communities face, especially when they know the students and their families well."
Why aren't there more of Rothschild's "strong teams?" The CTU official said it was because, “The schools that made NSC’s hit list have been plagued by nearly 20 years of corporate education reform attacks. And are located in communities that have been devastated by unemployment, disinvestment, disenfranchisement and still haven’t recovered from the 2008 housing crisis.”
CPS top education official Janice Jackson acknowledges that while the system is making strides, there is a quite a ways to go, noting “I want to make sure people understand and celebrate that and also give the district some credit for reducing the number of low quality seats from 160,000 to 50,000 — which I said 50,000 is 50,000 too many.”
“My goal is to have every kid go to school that’s quality or better, and this report just reminds that we’re not quite there yet,” she added. “If we don’t address the achievement gap with our African American students, we’re not going to reach all of our goals as a district.”
New Schools recommends a comprehensive citywide schools plan. CPS says no such plan will be forthcoming any time soon.