Last year, two-thirds of all principal discretion seats at the city’s selective enrollment schools went to students from the city’s wealthiest neighborhoods while less than four percent went to students from the poorest areas, Chicago Public Schools data shows. Principals at the 11 test-in schools can admit 5 percent of their coveted freshmen seats through this process. That was 164 seats last year.
The disparity was most pronounced in four of the five most sought-after schools. At Lane, Northside, Payton, and Jones high schools last year, between 87 and 100 percent of the students admitted through principal discretion lived in the highest income areas. None came from the lowest income areas.