Moves toward supportive neighborhood school communities for all families in CPS and equity in our district are long overdue.

A Statement from the Chicago Teachers Union on the recent Board of Education Resolution Regarding Values and Parameters for a New Five-Year Transformational Strategic Plan, SY25-SY29:

For years, Chicago families, students, and educators have been fighting for what they know their classrooms need: high-quality curriculum, smaller class sizes, wrap-around services, restorative justice, and authentic parent and community engagement.Whether it be the neighborhoods of Roseland or West Garfield Park, most CPS students attend neighborhood schools that lack the classroom resources for their school communities to thrive. This lack of focus on resourcing our classrooms is a tragic failure, or what our late President Emerita Karen Lewis called “educational apartheid,” policies put in place to uplift the few and usher in inequities to the many.

Though selective enrollment was originally designed to desegregate the school district, instead it has contributed to more segregation since a consent decree mandating racial diversity ended a decade ago. The Metropolitan Planning Council found that in 2000, Black students made up 24% of the enrollment at the top 5 selective enrollment high schools, and White students 27%. In the 2023-2024 school year, CPS data shows a deep inequity for Black students, who now make up just 10% of the enrollment at those five schools, while White students make up about 30%. This is especially concerning when white students make up less than 10% of students enrolled in the district.

Here is the truth: every Chicago student should have access to a high-quality public school, regardless of color, creed, gender, citizenship status or ZIP code.

Now more than ever, we should be focused on establishing and strengthening CTE programming and career pathways, building well-resourced and fully staffed neighborhood schools, allocating resources for the expansion of sustainable community schools, and fixing the deep and inequitable flaws in the selective enrollment process as part of a broader vision for Chicago Public Schools and undoing the damage left behind by decades of failed mayoral controlled corporate school “reforms.”

The Chicago Teachers Union represents nearly 30,000 teachers and educational support personnel working in Chicago Public Schools, and by extension, the more than 300,000 students and families they serve. The CTU is an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers and the Illinois Federation of Teachers and is the third-largest teachers local in the United States. For more information please visit the CTU website at www.ctulocal1.org.