State lawmakers released a draft of Chicago’s elected school board — and some parents want them to go back to the drawing board.
The glaring issue for many parent advocates is that they see the proposed map as not representative of the majority Latino student population in Chicago Public Schools.
Instead, the maps are based on Chicago’s overall population, meaning fewer majority Latino districts.
The student body of Chicago Public Schools is 46.5% Hispanic, 35.8% African American and 11% White. Meanwhile, Chicago’s general population is 33% White, 29% African American and 28.7% Hispanic.
Basing the maps off the city’s general population puts seven majority White districts, seven majority Black districts, and six majority Latino districts on the proposed map, as first reported by Chalkbeat Chicago.
That’s a move that should send lawmakers back to the drawing board, said Vanessa Espinoza, a Chicago Public Schools parent.
“I think it’s unconscionable — they’re not representing our communities,” Espinoza said.
Kids First Chicago is proposing that lawmakers redraw the map to create two more majority Latino districts and two fewer districts that are majority White.
Jessica Cañas, senior manager of community engagement manager at Kids First Chicago, said another issue with the proposed map is that non-citizens can’t run or vote for their school boards.
“So even in districts where it is primarily Latino, there are still a lot of families and parents specifically who won’t be able to vote,” Cañas said.
Specific needs of Latino families might not be addressed without proper representation, Espinoza said.
“For example, do they need more bilingual support? Do they need support for diverse learners? They don’t know the numbers — they don’t know the community.” Espinoza said.
This process is part of the shift from the current seven-member board to a 21-member board with elections beginning in 2024.
You can provide comment on the map here.
July 1 is the deadline for lawmakers to approve the map.