A new article from The American Prospect argues that Title VI of the Civil Rights Act might be the legal tool that advocates in Chicago and elsewhere need to block school turnarounds -- and claims that the infamous Byrd-Bennett pledge to stop closing schools for five years only applies to capacity, not performance.
According to the article, Byrd-Bennett has made " no promise not to authorize further turnarounds or closures based on performance ratings." ( (Fighting Education Shock Therapy)
Already, Chicago and 13 other cities have filed civil rights complaints against the turnarounds.
There is apparently a meeting in Washington later this month where the groups will hear from EdSec Duncan about whether OCR will pursue any or all of their complaints.
"While Title VI has been used to varying degrees of success to equalize education funding and desegregate schools, its application to school closings is seeing its first test."
Win or lose, some of the advocates seem to suggest, attacking turnarounds using the language of civil rights is a powerful way to approach the issue (as opposed to, say, jobs).