Senator Tim Scott Blasts State Mayor For Breaking Campaign Vow

(USNewsMag.com) – On Dec. 23, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott wrote a letter to Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson, criticizing a resolution passed by the city to eliminate school choice.

The resolution passed by the Chicago School Board would move away from school choice and move toward bolstering Chicago’s neighborhood schools to address “long-standing structural racism and socio-economic inequality.” It laid out a five-year “transformational” strategic plan to be presented to the Chicago Board of Education this summer.

According to Chicago Board of Education Vice President Elizabeth Todd-Breland, while selective enrollment has provided students with some opportunities, it has also “exacerbated inequities.”

While it will not have immediate consequences for selective enrollment, charter, and magnet schools, the resolution will start a discussion in regard to underperforming charter schools and potential changes to the current enrollment and admissions policy.

In the letter to Johnson and Chicago Board of Education President Jianan Shi, Scott called the decision, which broke a promise made by Johnson while on the campaign trail, “devastating” to the community. He stated that the resolution to eliminate school choice could “widen the achievement gap.”

Scott stated that since the system began in Chicago six years ago, 76 percent of high school students in Chicago have chosen the high schools they attend rather than “their assigned neighborhood school.” According to the Chicago Sun-Times, 45 percent of elementary students and 76 percent of high school students do not attend their assigned school. While Chicago had a neighborhood-based school system, over the last 25 years, it has moved away from that model.

As a candidate, Scott said Johnson “recognized the importance of selective enrollment schools,” but he is now going back on that promise.

Scott said that almost 10,000 Hispanic and black students are enrolled in the 11 selective-enrollment high schools in Chicago, and more than 7,500 of the enrolled students are low-income. He added, “There’s nothing ‘equitable’” about keeping low-income kids trapped “in failing schools.”

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