3 Teachers, Union Sue CPS Claiming Racial Discrimination
By Samantha Abernethy in News on Dec 27, 2012 10:30PM
Chicago Teachers Union Pres. Karen Lewis during the 2012 teachers strike. Rotating Frame
Three former Chicago Public Schools teachers and the Chicago Teachers Union have filed a lawsuit against CPS claiming the city's process for closing schools discriminates against African-American teachers and staff.
The teachers and CTU claim CPS targets West Side and South Side schools for "turnaround," which employ more African-American teachers, "resulting in the termination of all employees of the schools."
The lawsuit said the percentage of African-Americans teaching in the district has declined from about 41 percent in 2000 to about 29 percent in 2011. That corresponds with the district's "intentional actions, policies and practices to phase out, close, combine or reconstitute purportedly poor-performing schools," the lawsuit said.
CTU attorney Robin Potter told the Sun-Times the teachers seek to get their jobs back, lost pay, damages and a moratorium on turnarounds until a monitor is in place. Potter says there are no rules for which schools could be targeted for the "turnaround" process.
“We’re now at a crossroads in Chicago where between school closings and the turnaround,” she continued, “the racial impact of the policies and practices of this board of education have devastated the African American teaching force in that community.”