Revelations that President Barack Obama’s top education official kept a log of calls from powerful people trying to get students into top Chicago high schools when he ran the massive district have raised new questions about the city’s admissions practices, reports the Associated Press. Still, observers said March 24, former Chicago Public Schools CEO Arne Duncan’s political standing probably will not suffer unless it is determined he or his office pressured school authorities to admit specific students during his tenure. “Obviously you want to rule out the possibility of anyone acting to unduly influence admissions,” said William Trent, an education professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “That’s the bottom-line question.” The Chicago Tribune reported this week that Duncan’s office had kept the log, which included calls from politicians and businesspeople. A current spokesman for Duncan, who headed the nation’s third-largest school district from 2001 to 2009, told the Tribune that Duncan’s CPS office never applied pressure on schools or told them to consider one student over another. “It’s just a way to manage the information,” Peter Cunningham said of the log. School officials say the log tracked requests, but many students still weren’t admitted…

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staff and wire services reports