Special Admission, Equity, Diversity

Testimony for Action Meeting, Dec 8, 2021

by Stephanie King

I am the parent of 2 students at Kearny Elementary in Northern Liberties. I am here today because a bunch of privileged parents have asked you to “Pause the Process” for selective admit schools.

These groups always have some name like “Excellent Schools” or “Students First,” but they don’t actually care about all students, they care about THEIR students. They care about THEIR schools. 

Some people think it’s never the right time for equity. 

Suddenly they care about advanced classes in other schools! Suddenly they care about equity! Just not like that.

I don’t know if your selection process will fulfill its promises of producing diversity. But it is making all the right people mad, so it has at least succeeded in letting people know they are no longer guaranteed that they can buy or manipulate their way into magnet schools.

I have already said what is wrong with the process. The writing assessment is terrible and should be eliminated. The weight should be by feeder school instead of zip code. You know I have a problem with the other ways school selection is used for segregation besides special admit schools.

The same people who never had a problem with how “unfair” it was when private schools and Meredith and McCall and Alexander were over-represented in magnet schools are now standing outside in the cold to protest how unfair it is that you’re giving other qualified kids a chance. 

The process you created is not perfect, and as usual, your communication around it has been abysmal. But I urge you to ignore the cry baby antics of privileged people who only seek to protect their own advantage. I hope you and the next superintendent will have the courage of your convictions, to continue to refine and improve this process to give all the children in this city a chance. And I hope you will uphold your promise and obligation to make every elementary school adequately-staffed and well-resourced enough to be capable of producing greatness, and every neighborhood high school a quality education so that we can end this stupid rat race once and for all.