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Report: Chicago's Top Public Schools Admit More White Students

New Sun-Times analysis sees spike in admissions after judge strikes down desegregation order

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    Chicago's top-ranked public high schools have enrolled more white students in the years following a judge's 2009 decision to strike down a desegregation decree, reports the Chicago Sun-Times.

    The four "selective-enrollment" schools -- Walter Payton College Prep, Jones College Prep, Northside College Prep and Whitney Young College Prep -- lead the district in test scores, and are frequent targets for white applicants, according to the paper.

    Since U.S. District Judge Charles P. Kocoras ended a 1980 agreement to desegregate the city's schools -- which had capped the percentage of white students at 35 percent -- the North Side's Payton has seen a spike in white student admissions, up 41 percent in 2013 from 29 percent four years ago. Meanwhile, the Class of 2018 at Jones, on the South Side, is 38 percent white as compared to 29 percent in 2009. At Whitney Young, on the West Side, statistics show a downward trend in black freshmen enrollment and an uptick in the percent of white students admitted.

    "We saw that coming in 2009," Julie Woestehoff, executive director of the organization Parents United for Responsible Education, tells the Sun-Times, adding: “I consider these schools to be gated communities for children of privilege.”

    The city is pouring more resources into these schools amid ongoing tension between CPS and supporters of lesser-performing institutions that risk being shuttered in the wake of last year's mass closures.

    Jones recently enlarged its incoming freshmen class to include some extra 100 students while Payton is undergoing an expansion. Last week, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced that the city will open a new selective-enrollment high school, named for President Obama, on the North Side in 2017 with $60 million in tax increment financing and a goal of enrolling 1,200 students.