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June 10th, the Caucus of Rank and File Educators(CORE) filed charges with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleging that school "turnarounds," a "Renaissance 2010" policy, have a disparate impact on African American teachers. Teachers who filed the charges contend that African American teachers suffer a disproportionately adverse impact as a result of the school turnarounds.

The charges filed fall under Title VII which prohibits not only overt, obvious, and intentional discrimination, but also practices that are fair in form but discriminatory in operation.  Essentially, a "turnaround" constitutes a layoff policy that almost exclusively impacts African American teachers.

Wanda Evans, a teacher who worked at Orr High School for 11 years before it was turned-around, claims that the plan is designed to get rid of senior teachers and replace them with lower-salaried new teachers to save money; "I’m completely offended by the way veteran teachers have been treated, it’s like a fast food special, let’s get a 2 for 1." Ms. Evans has been nominated for Golden Apple and DRIVE teaching awards and now feels "swept right out of the door."

Lois Ashford, a member of CORE’s steering committee, taught at Copernicus Elementary for sixteen years before losing her job to the "turnaround" process. "In my professional opinion, Ren2010 has been a disaster for everyone concerned: parents who have been left out of decision-making, students who are forced out of stable educational environments in their neighborhoods, and minority teachers who are being disenfranchised at an alarming rate for no other reason than they’ve taught for over 10 years."

For Karen Lewis, a teacher and co-chair of CORE, the turnarounds have undermined an entire sector of black teachers in the Chicago Public Schools. "Since the beginning of the year, I’ve met black teachers who are working as substitutes. They are in tears, not just about the loss of their jobs but also about the loss of their status in the community. These school and position closings are insidious and Draconian. They are based on only one measurement — test scores — which say more about socio-economic status than they do about teaching and learning."

"Turnaround" is a program where everyone at a school is fired, including teachers, cafeteria staff, administration, and every other employee on site. This program is a part of "Renaissance 2010" which is Mayor Daley’s program to overhaul the Chicago Public Schools through privatization and destabilization of the city’s schools.

CORE researchers, looking at statistics compiled by the Illinois State Board of Education, concluded that since 2002, when the term "Renaissance Schools" was first used in relation to the closing of Dodge, Terrell and Williams elementary schools, the percentage of African American teachers in CPS has dropped from 39.4 to 31.6. Currently, there are 2,000 fewer Black teachers working in CPS than there were in 2002.

Click Here to View The Charges

Originally posted to Tristero 312 on Tue Jun 16, 2009 at 06:57 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (6+ / 0-)

    "Your conspiracy theories won't work without evidence." -Nasir Jones

    by Tristero 312 on Tue Jun 16, 2009 at 06:57:35 PM PDT

  •  As a product of Chicago Public Schools... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kyril, MKSinSA

    nothing would surprise me.

    Beware when the great God lets loose a thinker upon the planet. Emerson

    by Robinswing on Tue Jun 16, 2009 at 07:15:25 PM PDT

  •  People will throw anything at school reform. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Karma for All, MKSinSA

    We are building a team that is continuously being built. - Sarah Palin

    by burrow owl on Tue Jun 16, 2009 at 07:28:23 PM PDT

  •  It's an unfair but understandable program. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    auapplemac, MKSinSA

    In the typical functioning of a many large urban public school systems, the worst teachers end up over time at the most challenged schools...which is part of those schools becoming the worst schools by every metric.  The Turnaround program purges those teachers and brings in better teachers.  There's no gentler way to put it.

    The unfairness of it all is pretty obvious, but it wasn't developed out of spite and if some evil mind wanted to expand white privilege they could have come up with an easier way and a better prize!  At this point, given that the interest of children win out over those of adults, the only case I'd be willing to consider from the fired teachers is that they're actually better than the new ones, and that would be a very hard case to make.

    Al que no le guste el caldo, le dan dos tazas.

    by Rich in PA on Tue Jun 16, 2009 at 07:44:06 PM PDT

    •  On what are you basing your arguments? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Karma for All

      I'm seeing a lot of talking points, but not a lot of data or even anecdotal evidence to support your claims.

      Schools in Chicago that have been "turned around" are schools that are in some of the most impoverished areas. Studies show that socioeconomic background is a key determining factor in academic achievement. That is why these schools earn some of the lowest test scores, which is the sole determinant of whether or not a school is closed.

      That's not to say that these students cannot be reached; quite the contrary. These schools just require additional resources that will allow them such things as smaller class sizes. These schools are not given the same resources that non-innercity schools are given and these tests or norm-referenced, comparing students with the largest obstacles with their more-affluent counterparts.

      This is the false dichotomy that "reformers" repeat over over again until people start believing them. It's not a matter of turn around vs. the status quo.

      Turn around is a program that effectively busts unions and destabilizes neighborhoods. However, it cuts costs to the districts. That is the rationale behind the program. Any other argument is just justification.

      "Your conspiracy theories won't work without evidence." -Nasir Jones

      by Tristero 312 on Tue Jun 16, 2009 at 08:03:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Not really, it's just a solution that some people (0+ / 0-)

      are buying into.  In my school district, for example, we just had a lay-off to assuage the public, the teacher's were obviously at fault for everything.  Then they ran a negative budget to get control over the funds so the board and superintendent could happily hand out huge building contracts for things we don't need again without the pesky public looking on.

      Things really aren't simple enough to be fixed by firing everyone.

  •  With all respect, the only thing (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I care about with respect to CPS is whether the new policy produces results as measured by better graduation, college enrollment, disciplanry rates, and test scores.  If it does, for all I care, aliens could be teaching there.

  •  Reedit this and put the definition of a (0+ / 0-)

    turnaround near the top, if you want people to read the whole thing. Nobody wants to try to comprehend five paragraphs that use a technical term five times without explaining what it means.

    To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

    by UntimelyRippd on Tue Jun 16, 2009 at 09:46:59 PM PDT

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