Obama facing school “turnaround” civil rights complaints
Title VI, 42 U.S.C. § 2000d et seq., was enacted as part of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964. It prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin in programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance.
I was asked to contribute to a Title VI complaint filed against Texas by the NAACP and LULAC at the request of Gary Bledsoe last year. You can see it here. Their Title VI request concerned:
- The miseducation of minority students
- Recent SBOE curriculum changes which negatively impact all students, but disparately greater harm of minority students
- Disparate discipline for minority students
- The use of accountability standards to impose sanctions on schools with high populations of minority students
- The underrepresentation of Latinos and African-Americans in Gifted and Talented Programs and the rules relating to the operation of such programs that lead to and/or contribute to the discriminatory result
One of the issues that was not raised at the time by the NAACP and LULAC but has come to the forefront in many other states since is school closure and “turnaround.” My co-authors and I will discuss Dallas and Houston (We found that they have had the lion share of school “turnaround” attempts in the state of Texas) turnarounds in a forthcoming article in Urban Education entitled A Nostrum of School Reform?: Turning Around Reconstituted Urban Texas High Schools— I included the abstract for the article here.
Well, there appears to be a revolt coming on with several Title VI complaints filed by students, parents, activists against “discriminatory school turnaround reforms” required by NCLB.
A recent media report stated:
The Office of Civil Rights accepted the Newark complaint and said in a letter this month that the “allegation was appropriate for investigation.”
Notice that Democratic mayors are in charge of most of these cities… with Rahmbo being particularly keen on closing schools in Chicago.
In fact, I am often asked about Obama’s educational policy, to be honest, it doesn’t look any different than George W. Bush’s approach… not even a little bit. Well, maybe worse, because at least Republicans will tell you explicitly that they are anti-union. Recently, Democrats have accepted union money and enacted reforms that are clearly anti-teacher, reveled in films such as Waiting for Superman, and suppored non-eurybathics such as Joel Klein and Michelle Rhee— shame on them.
Speaking of accountability, NCLB has not delivered as promised. Thus, the bigger question is whether Obama plans to stay the course of No Child Behind Left in his second term… will there be more high-stakes tests, more AYP, more charter schools, more TFA, more “turnarounds“? Or will he decide to go Forward and think big?