Update: Unified Applications & Matched Assignment For Everyone!
Called Getting a chance, the new Catalyst story summary is simple -- and is applicable to many other places besides Chicago:
"Smart students from poor neighborhoods are less likely to test into gifted and classical elementary schools. Later, they are more likely to become disengaged and eventually drop out. A special initiative is giving some students a last-minute shot at elite programs."
Read it. Save it for the weekend. Come back to it. Ask your education friends what they're doing to fix the problem. Berate them if they don'thave an answer.
Think about what it would take to reduce these inequities: Better outreach, ending or limiting sibling preferences, better options to choose among, and -- first on my list -- universal choice (one application for all charter, magnet, and selective schools) and assigned matching systems to make sure every parent knows all the options and bring order to the chaotic and often unfair acceptance-hoarding that goes on when some parents apply everywhere and only release their spots at the last minute.