The Chicago school system’s recent rounds of layoffs have disproportionately affected African-American teachers, the Chicago Teachers Union alleges in a class action filed late last month.
Even though black teachers make up less than 30 percent of the teaching force, they were hardest hit by the layoffs, the lawsuit states. For example, of the 347 tenured teachers laid off in 2012, 51 percent were African-American.
In the lawsuit filed Dec. 27, the union says that the district’s “turnaround” efforts, which involve the replacement of up to every teacher in a school so designated—and sometimes the conversion of the school into a charter—are to blame for the disproportionate layoffs. Those schools have been located on the city’s west and south sides, where many African-American teachers work.
The lawsuit seeks a moratorium on turnarounds and the implementation of alternatives
Chicago’s turnaround program was the a model for the federal School Improvement Grants, under which “turnaround” is one of the four allowable options.
A version of this article appeared in the January 09, 2013 edition of Education Week as Chicago Union Decries Black Teachers’ Layoffs