Twenty-three years ago I walked the halls of Evanston Township High School in Evanston, Ill., with a diverse mix of white-, black- and brown-skinned fellow students.
Then I would walk into an honors class and be confronted with a near-blanket of white.
Not much has changed at my alma mater, and as a result the school district has been embroiled in a contentious curriculum debate that touches on race, academics and the meaning of public education itself.
Evanston and Madison are both affluent, well-educated and liberal. And both have high schools where racial achievement gaps are the norm. Their school districts differ, though, in their approach to that gap today: Evanston is cutting honors classes; Madison is adding them.
Unlike Madison, Evanston has long had a sizable minority population and began desegregating its elementary and middle schools in the 1960s — with some positive academic results.
Seniors at ETHS, the city’s only public high school, last year had an average ACT score of 23.5, or 2.5 points higher than the national average. This in one of only five states that requires its students to take the test and in a high school whose student population, about 2,900, is 43 percent white, 32 percent black and 17 percent Latino.
Lots of related links:
- “Stand Up Against the MMSD High School Reform”
- Madison school district to consider alternatives to traditional public schools
- Advanced Placement, Gifted Education & A Hometown Debate
- On the Gifted & Talented Complaint Against the Madison School District
- Madison School District 2010-2011 Enrollment Report, Including Outbound Open Enrollment (3.11%)
- Complaint Filed Against Madison Schools
- English 10
- District Small Learning Community Grant – Examining the Data From Earlier Grants, pt. 2
- An Update on Madison’s High School Reforms
- Madison School District High School Planning Meeting Video