Chicago Public Schools will soon announce which schools will be awarded new academic programs through their new program RFP process. In September, CPS CEO Janice Jackson announced the process, which would allow schools to apply for additional programming, in conjunction with CPS’s new annual regional analysis.
For the first time, this analysis transparently shows how academic programs such as STEM and IB are distributed around different parts of the city.
The programs have not been distributed equally throughout the city. The Lincoln Park area has more high school IB seats available than students who live in the region, while the West Side has none.
We commend Dr. Jackson for taking this bold step to bring a more fair and transparent way for CPS and the city to make these important decisions about school investments. I hope this will be one of her many accomplishments in bringing more equity to the West Side.
However, in order for this to be successful, CPS must remember that equity is the main objective of this new RFP process. There is a real opportunity to bring programs to under-resourced neighborhoods like Austin, where the recent community-driven Austin quality of life plan called for bringing more high-quality programs to local schools.
I’m rooting for Dr. Jackson and CPS to make this new process a success so that it can be continued and replicated in future years as we continue to move toward a more equitable school district.
Dwayne Truss is a longtime Austin resident who ran for the 29th Ward aldermanic seat earlier this year.