Segregation and inequality in Chicago Public Schools, transformed and intensified under corporate education reform


  • Pavlyn Jankov Chicago Teachers Union
  • Carol Caref Chicago Teachers Union



segregation, school closings, corporate reform, Chicago Public Schools, school choice, charter schools, teacher segregation


During the period of 1981 to 2015, the total population of Black students in CPS plummeted from close to 240,000, 60% of all CPS students, to 156,000 or 39% of CPS. This paper documents how despite their decreasing numbers and percentage in the system, the vast majority of Black students remained isolated in predominantly low-income Black schools that also became the target of destabilizing corporate reforms and experimentation. This study examines the historic and contemporary dual segregation of Black teachers and Black students in Chicago Public Schools, and how mass school closures, privatization, and corporate school reform have both transformed and deepened segregation and resource-inequity across Chicago's schools.


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Author Biographies

Pavlyn Jankov, Chicago Teachers Union

Pavlyn Jankov (MPP, The University of Chicago) is a researcher with the Chicago Teachers Union. Jankov’s research areas focus on historical and contemporary school inequities in Chicago Public Schools, school segregation, school privatization, education funding, city finances. Jankov has presented at American Educational Research Association, on local panels related to education and city finance, and appeared on various local news outlets to discuss Chicago Public Schools. 

Carol Caref, Chicago Teachers Union

Carol Caref (PhD, Illinois Institute of Technology) is Research Director at the Chicago Teachers Union. Caref’s writing focuses on counter-narratives to the corporate reform agenda and emphasizes that poverty and racism underlie most disparities in education. Her work as an educational researcher is grounded in 25 years of experience as a Chicago high school teacher.




How to Cite

Jankov, P., & Caref, C. (2017). Segregation and inequality in Chicago Public Schools, transformed and intensified under corporate education reform. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 25, 56.



Restructuring and Resisting Education Reforms in Chicago’s Public Schools