Discrimination in Selective Enrollment Chicago Public High Schools – UROP Spring Symposium 2021

Discrimination in Selective Enrollment Chicago Public High Schools

Laura Davalos

Laura Davalos

Pronouns: she/her

Research Mentor(s): Darin Stockdill, Design Coordinator
Research Mentor School/College/Department: Center for Education Design, Evaluation, and Research, School of Education
Presentation Date: Thursday, April 22, 2021
Session: Session 5 (3pm-3:50pm)
Breakout Room: Room 2
Presenter: 4

Event Link


On the surface, the CPS (Chicago Public Schools) selective enrollment system seems to provide students with many opportunities and offers students access to a quality education at a high-performing school. Recently, however, both students and teachers have been speaking up about discrimination at these schools. This study will evaluate the different types of discrimination that students experience within the top five selective enrollment schools and discuss possible solutions to ending discrimination. This study specifically examines the question: What are the impacts of selective enrollment school practices on educational equity in urban school systems, particularly in Chicago Public Schools? A qualitative mixed methods study was used to analyze the student experience at these schools. We collected data from instagram posts from BIPOC Instagram pages from four of the five schools that were studied. Teacher interviews and local school council meetings were also used to gather information on the student experience at these schools. From these sources we found that racism and other forms of discrimination from teachers and staff members often can make students feel as if they are not wanted or do not belong at their high school. In addition to the issue of white supremacy, students also report that these selective schools often don’t consider other struggles that their students face when it comes to socioeconomic struggles. Many students also felt like their schools did not support them when they faced sexual harassment in these schools. All of these types of discrimination lead to a culture of discrimination where students feel like their concerns are being ignored by the school. This paper also looked into possible solutions for these issues of discrimination which included anti-racist staff training, minority teacher recruitment/retention, listening to student input, anti-racist curriculum and creating an anti-racist culture at schools.

Authors: Laura Davalos, Darin Stockdill
Research Method: Library/Archival/Internet Research

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