Two schools and the vast imbalance of privilege

Sep 22, 2013 by

By John Thomas –

Sometimes pictures are worth a thousand words. My bike ride to work takes me past two schools within a quarter of a mile of each other. On one stretch of Stony Island Parkway sits the new Earl Shapiro Hall, a slick, multi-million dollar campus for the early childhood program of the University of Chicago Lab Schools. Two University of Chicago police officers manage the large increase in traffic caused by the school’s opening, ensuring the safe arrival of children in their classrooms. The view from my bike seat suggests an overwhelming preponderance of white and Asian-American children.

Meanwhile, just up the street an inexperienced school crossing attendant struggles to deal with the sudden increase in traffic on a dangerous corner as her children, almost all African American, make their way to the Bret Harte Elementary School. Bret Harte is a math and science magnet school in the Chicago Public School district.

A look at the two schools’ websites reveals comparable aspirations for their children, but wildly divergent resources. Full day tuition for nursery through grade 5 at the Lab School is $25,300 a year. Per pupil spending in the Chicago Public Schools was about $12,000 per student in 2011 before this year’s round of large budget cuts. While these numbers admittedly compare apples and oranges, the fruit is still rotten.

via Two schools and the vast imbalance of privilege.

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