Chicago Area School District to Give Minority Students Priority in Returning to Classroom

Posted: Aug 07, 2020 7:45 AM
Chicago Area School District to Give Minority Students Priority in Returning to Classroom

Source: AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall

Coronavirus is making the return to school uncertain for most students across the country, but in one suburban Chicago school district, the superintendent has made it clear that students of color and those considered “marginalized” or “oppressed” will be given priority over everyone else.

The decision was made because the district is not going to require teachers to come back to on-site work, thus, it’s unlikely all students are going to be accommodated. 

“We are in a pandemic," Superintendent Devon Horton reportedly said at a roundtable event on Tuesday. “And we also know that everyone is affected by this differently. But there was a pandemic before this. That was inequity and racism, and classism and all of these other things. And so I just want to make sure that as we're making a decision – no decision is going to make everyone happy – we understand that.

“We're trying to support every single child to the best of our ability, and we can't allow a political cash train to take over our decision-making regarding how we return our students to school,” he continued. “We have to make sure that students who've been oppressed, that we don't continue to oppress them and that we give them opportunity.

“I've heard for quite some time that this is a community that's about equity for Black and Brown students, for special education students, for LGBTQ students. We know that this is important work, and we're going to prioritize that.”

According to Deputy Superintendent Latarsha Green, the district will also prioritize students who are struggling academically. She said the prioritized categories include “students receiving free or reduced lunch, Black and Brown students, students who received an I [Incomplete] or less than 50% on their report cards, emerging bilinguals, and students with IEPs."

"There are also other categories in relation to students who are not performing according to reading or math grade-level expectations, and students with no comorbidity factors," she added. [...]

Classes are scheduled to begin with remote learning on Aug. 27, with a potential in-person option beginning Sept. 29.  (Fox News)

The Trump administration has been pressuring schools to fully reopen in the fall. The CDC said the "harms attributed to closed schools on the social, emotional, and behavioral health, economic well-being, and academic achievement of children, in both the short- and long-term, are well-known and significant," while at the same time children are "far less likely to suffer" severe symptoms of the virus.