The lives of thousands of Chicago Public School students could be changing next year. There are now new admissions criteria for Chicago's magnet schools.
The controversial measure passed Wednesday at the Board of Education meeting.
Jourdain Gant is an 8th grader at Beasely Academic Center, a Chicago magnet school. He was just voted most likely to succeed in his class and has dreams of going to high school at King College Prep or Jones.
Both are selective enrollment high schools and Gant's chances of getting in just got a lot harder.
Wednesday the CPS Board changed the policy for enrollment at Chicago's magnet, gifted and selective enrollment schools for the 2010-2011 school year.
Schools CEO Ron Huberman told the board that as a result of a federal court ruling, race-based criteria can legally no longer be used for the admissions process. The focus will now be on these variables: socio-economic status, siblings who already attend the school and proximity to the school.
Say there are 100 seats at a school - most of those seats be doled out by socio-economic status (48). Other seats would be given to siblings of current students (20) and then to students who live nearby (32).
"He's an only child... It narrows the process for him," Gant's mother said.
She went to the board meeting to express her concerns. As did dozens of other parents and community activists who are worried the policy will wipe out what magnet schools were made for – all kids – and instead turn them into neighborhood schools.
One local pastor said, "The civil rights of black children are on trial here today at CPS."
The board approved the new application guidelines, which will last for one year as sort of a trial period.
Jordain Gant doesn't have siblings and he doesn't live by any of the high schools he would like to attend next year. He is hoping for the best, but is learning a lesson the hard way. In life, you can't always get what you want.
The magnet school and selective enrollment applications were originally due Thursday, but the board extended that deadline to Jan. 6.