Activists: Ed Reforms Violate Civil Rights

Jitu Brown Photo Credit: Sun Times

Reprinted from Sun Times 

Parents and students from seven cities are joining those in Chicago in filing civil rights complaints against school closings, phase-outs and other “rampantly horrible” reform upheavals they contend have disproportionately victimized minority communities, school activists said Thursday.

The group called for a “national moratorium’’ on the kind of school reform shakeups that they say began in Chicago under former Schools CEO Paul Vallas; ramped up under his successor, Arne Duncan, and have spread nationwide during Duncan’s tenure as U.S. Education Secretary.

“This is the birthplace of all this mess,” said Jitu Brown of Chicago’s Kenwood-Oakland Community Organization. “What’s happening around this country is insane.”

Brown said that residents of New York City; Detroit; Washington, D.C.; Boston; Atlanta; Wichita, Kan.; and Eureka, Miss., were filing complaints with the U.S. Department of Education, alleging that school closings and other “reform” efforts in those cities had disproportionately impacted African American and Hispanic students, thereby violating their civil rights.

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