“Latino Achievement in Chicago’s Selective Enrollment High Schools” – Olga B. Delgado-Cano


Author: Olga B. Delgado-Cano

Department: UIC Institute for Policy and Civic Engagement

Faculty: Mitzi Ramos, Ph. D. / LARES

The Chicago Public School system is composed of four major types of schools: neighborhood, charter, magnet, and selective enrollment. There are eleven Selective Enrollment High Schools (SEHS) in Chicago and to gain admission, students must go through a four-tier system where seats are allocated based on academic performance and socioeconomic variables.

This two-part study not only examines the academic literature spanning from 2003 to 2018 to determine the impact of Chicago’s SEHS on Latino recruitment, retention, and graduation rates, but it also provides a case study of three predominant Latino Chicago SEHS (John Hancock College Prep, Lane Technical High School and Whitney Young Magnet High School) to assess the validity of the academic literature. Literature review findings revealed that Latino students are disadvantaged when it comes to SEHS recruitment, retention, and graduation rates. Even though the most qualified Latino students are gaining admission into SEHS, the resources to ensure their success are lacking. Case study findings confirm what is being noted in the literature. Although Latinos are represented in Chicago’s SEHS, not enough is being done to ensure that they have equal access to these types of schools and that they are provided with the academic skills needed to succeed in higher education.

While some SEHS preparing students academically, this is not the case for SEHS that have high rates of Latino students. To ensure education equality, the admission process needs to be reevaluated as Latino parents are often unaware of SEHS and, if they are aware of these schools, the application process tends to lead to confusion. When it comes to retention, even though SEHS outperform district averages, greater academic support services are needed in SEHS with high Latino student bodies as this population tends to have lower college preparedness rates and first year college retention rates.

Keywords: CPS, Selective Enrollment, Latino, Tier System

Read more about Olga's work here