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Did Durbin Clout CPS Student?

By Marcus Gilmer in News on Aug 18, 2009 7:00PM

After the kerfuffle at the University of Illinois, it's the Chicago Public School System's turn to earn some scrutiny regarding clouted students and admission practices. Today, the Tribune is reporting that U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin wrote a letter on behalf of a student who was rejected by Jones College Prep. The student was a relative of a Durbin staff member and, lo and behold, the student eventually was admitted via a process "that allows principals to handpick 5 percent of the incoming class." Though, as the Tribune points out, Durbin has done nothing wrong, those handpicked selections require letters of recommendations and are at the principal's discretion, and while the student's test scores were below Jones College Prep's requirements, they weren't that far below. So is there really an issue of clout here or is the Trib just trying to see what sticks?