A Desegregation Order’s End Brings Shifts to Top Chicago Public Schools

By Julianne Hing Apr 28, 2014

In 2009 U.S. District Judge Charles Kocoras lifted a decades-old federal desegregation order that mandated that no Chicago public high school could be more than 35 percent white. Since that fateful ruling, Chicago’s top public high schools have been making a quick backslide into segregated territory, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. 

Almost immediately after the 2009 ruling barred Chicago public schools from considering race in their student makeup, students of color, Asian students included, started falling from the rolls of students admitted to top Chicago public high schools.

The Sun-Times breaks down the shifts at individual schools:

At Walter Payton College Prep on the Near North Side, more than 41 percent of freshmen admitted the past four years have been white, compared with 29 percent in 2009, a Chicago Sun-Times analysis of Chicago Public Schools data has found.

At Jones College Prep in the South Loop, 38 percent of this year’s freshman class is white, compared to 29 percent four years ago.

In 2010 — the first year race was no longer used to determine the makeup of Chicago schools — the percentage of white freshmen at Northside College Prep in North Park rose from 37 percent to 48 percent.

And at Whitney Young College Prep on the Near West Side, the percentage of black freshmen has steadily declined in the past three years, while the percentage of whites has risen.

"I consider these schools to be gated communities for children of privilege," Julie Woestehoff, executive director of the group Parents United for Responsible Education, told the Sun-Times.

The dynamic is not limited to Chicago alone. For decades courts have been undoing desegregation orders and limiting the impact of Brown v. Board of Education, the Supreme Court’s landmark school desegregation ruling. This year marks the 60th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, and many schools around the country remain or have returned to their pre-Brown segregated days.