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Black News and Black Views with a Whole Lotta Attitude

Chicago Public Schools Are Experiencing Loss of Black and Latino Students As Noted In New Report

Factors such as gentrification, slowing birth rates, and out-migration are noted as causes.

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CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - JANUARY 12: Students walk to A. N. Pritzker elementary school on January 12, 2022, in Chicago, Illinois. Students in Chicago public schools are returning to school today after classes were canceled for the past six days as the city sparred with the teacher’s union over COVID-19 safety measures.
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - JANUARY 12: Students walk to A. N. Pritzker elementary school on January 12, 2022, in Chicago, Illinois. Students in Chicago public schools are returning to school today after classes were canceled for the past six days as the city sparred with the teacher’s union over COVID-19 safety measures.
Photo: Scott Olson (Getty Images)

Recently, the Chicago School System has been in the news concerning the teacher strikes, and student walkouts regarding COVID-19 and safe conditions. While that debate is ongoing, a new report from Kids First Chicago shows the school system is losing its diversity.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, enrollment in Chicago schools has been dropping for the past 20 years. The report identifies three factors, birth declines, gentrification in Latino neighborhoods, and Black families leaving Chicago. This could have a considerable impact when it comes to funding.

From Chicago Sun-Times:

“If CPS’s enrollment trend is not reversed, declining revenue from the state, coupled with substantial fixed costs, will inevitably force CPS and individual schools to make difficult decisions in the years ahead,” said Daniel Anello, CEO of Kids First Chicago. “It is difficult to fathom a scenario where student outcomes improve and opportunity gaps close while CPS faces annual revenue declines due to declining student enrollment.”

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Hal Woods, chief of policy at Kids First Chicago, cited birth rate as an issue outside their control.

44,000 babies were being born each year in Chicago, Woods said. That’s now down to 33,000, he added, “both because the rates are declining, people are having fewer children, but also because there’s fewer people here, so less babies born.”

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Latino neighborhoods facing gentrification, like Pilsen, Little Village, and Humboldt Park, have seen 22% dip in enrollment. When it comes to Black families leaving, they have cited a loss of amenities and resources. From 2010 to 2020, 85,000 Black residents left Chicago.

More than 85% of Black and Latino children are enrolled in public schools in Chicago, which is close to the 80% of Asian children. In contrast, only 55% of white school-age children living in the city are CPS students.

What that means is that for every 10 Black school-age children who leave, eight are likely to have been CPS students. So when a Black family leaves, there’s a greater chance it is also impacting CPS than when a white family leaves.

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Woods hopes that by investing in these neighborhoods, families will come back.