The Huffington Post states that “In 2015, former Chicago superintendent Barbara Byrd-Bennett pleaded guilty to corruption charges. Students of color, who make up about 85 percent of Chicago students, post depressing test scores. In many ways, city schools remain racially segregated — like many other districts — with black students and white students occupying separate facilities.
Jenner Elementary School exemplifies this struggle. In 1963, 95 percent of Jenner students participated in the schools boycott, according to Kartemquin Films producers.
Families in the Jenner community are still fighting the same battle. Since late 2015, parents and school leaders have been trying to merge Jenner, a majority black, low-income school, and nearby Ogden International School, which is more racially diverse and affluent.
Ogden’s building is over capacity, while Jenner’s is under-enrolled. School leaders have said a merger could lift both school populations, while solving space issues. Many parents remain anxious.
“A segment of our community just went bezerk,” said Rebecca Wells, a white Ogden parent who has championed the merger. “When we started to peel away the layers, we realized maybe it’s race, maybe it’s class.”
While this is concerning, taking place so close to home, know that Belvidere schools do not suffer from the same issue. According to the Public School Review, “Belvidere, IL public schools have a diversity score of 0.55, which is higher than the Illinois average of 0.31. The most diverse school in Belvidere is Perry Elementary School.”
Furthermore, the Review says, “The district’s student population of 8,169 students has decreased by 9% over five years.The district’s graduation rate of 67% has decreased from 97% over five years. The district revenue/student of $10,380 is less than the state average of $11,118. The district revenue/student has grown by 30% over four years.”