Chicago’s system that allows families to apply for magnet and selective enrollment schools — often outside their neighborhoods — traces back decades. It was initially seen as a tool for desegregation.
But, in recent years, many of those schools have since been criticized for enrolling a larger share of white and Asian American students, even though those students make up a minority of the district, compared to their Black and Hispanic peers.
In addition, the emergence of charter schools in the late 1990s presented families with options outside of their local district-run school.
More recently, officials have seen Chicago’s school choice system as a way to offer families more choices, allowing them to enroll their children in a school they like, instead of being tied to a neighborhood school that may not have the resources they’re seeking.
Still, the admissions process, accessed through an application called GoCPS, has built a reputation for being confusing, cumbersome, and stressful.
Since his election earlier this year, Mayor Brandon Johnson has expressed a desire to boost investments into neighborhood schools, so families don’t feel like they need to leave their communities to get a good education for their children.
We want to know from Chicago Public Schools families: What has been your experience with the city’s school choice system? Tell us here or in the short survey below. (We will not use your answers or your name in our reporting without your permission.)
Reema Amin is a reporter covering Chicago Public Schools. Contact Reema at firstname.lastname@example.org.