Durbin letter to school investigated

August 18, 2009 5:20:12 AM PDT
A letter written by U.S. Senator Dick Durbin is under scrutiny. He helped the daughter of one of his staff members gain admission to an elite Chicago high school. There are certain Chicago public schools that are considered elite and tough to get into. There is growing concern and an investigation as to how some kids are getting into these schools.

In March, the daughter of one of Durbin's staffers was rejected admission into Jones College Prep, so Durbin's office says he wrote a letter of recommendation. Despite below-average scores, the girl was eventually admitted under the practice where principals hand-pick 5 percent of the incoming class.

While the senator is not accused of any wrongdoing, his recommendation letter comes amid a federal investigation into clout in the admission of students into Chicago's elite high schools.

The senator is not the only politician tied to the probe. Last week, West Side alderman Ricardo Munoz admitted he made phone calls to get his daughter into Whitney Young. Munoz' son graduated from the school in June, and the alderman says he used that association to ask his daughter be admitted.

"I intervened, not as an alderman, but as a parent who had been active at the school for several years," Munoz said.

Chicago Mayor Richard Daley defended Munoz last week.

"I know Rick Munoz. He loves his children, yes, and his constituents. I will make the bet he called, wrote letters for a lot of kids," Daley said.

Early Tuesday ABC7 calls to Durbin's spokesperson had not been returned as of 6:30 a.m. Tuesday. But a spokesperson did tell the Sun-Times that the letter in question is the only one like it.


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