Blocking Future Closings


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).


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  • 70 million for Noble

  • In reply to district299reader:

    It interesting that the author assumes Nobles approach to that student's credits isn't for his benefit.

  • Turnarounds are not considered a part of school actions. B3 can turnaround as many schools are she likes over the next five years.

  • The revelation of the Noble Street Charter School letter to the family of a student that presents an obvious incentive for the student to leave the school and return presumably to a traditional CPS school is interesting. But it's not shocking. Noble Street Charter Schools are not public schools, rather they are private contractors for CPS.

    This is not just my opinion, it's the opinion of the National Labor Relations Board in its decision issued on December 14, 2012 in which it clearly described all CPS charter schools run by nonprofit corporations as non-public schools, based on its detailed analysis of Chicago Mathematics & Science Academy Charter School, Inc .

    The problem is that charter schools present themselves as public schools just like traditional schools and the general public has accepted that argument. Noble Street Charter School is free to offer a devils dilemma to students that propel them out the door, just as Catholic or Lutheran Schools can. Unless CPS details in each individual contract with charter schools the specifics of a no push out policy this practice will continue. I would suggest that many charter schools would reject any attempt by CPS to do this and fall back on the exemptions from various regulations that are embedded in the Illinois Charter School Act as a basis for doing this.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    What hyperbole.

    By this logic Noble would be failing all students to receive their per student funding for more than four years.

    In this specific case, what should his transcript show if he transfers to his neighborhood school as a senior? He almost certainly passed his junior year classes by CPS standards. How could this student explain to post secondary institutions or future employers that he graduated in four years yet failed his junior year?

  • "the groups will hear from EdSec Duncan about whether OCR will pursue any or all of their complaints"

    Well that's not very promising. Who do you think invented the turnaround policy in Chicago --which has now been foisted upon the nation as a component of Race to the Top?

    The fox is in charge of the hen house!

    Duncan should be recused from this matter, due to the high possibility of a conflict of interest and lack of impartiality.

  • “It is outrageous that UNO is slated to receive the same amount of money as the entire Chicago school district will receive, when UNO runs only 13 schools,”

  • Frannkly I am baffled by Donn's response. I am sorry for my delay in responding but I have had a lot of individual special education cases to deal with. Interesting that I write that Noble Street can do as it chooses because it is not a public school and Donn discusses how a transcript should appear after a is student is forced out of a school?

    Donn choses not to understand the concept of push out. By the way there are traditional CPS schools that push students out too, I have seen it with emotionally disturbed students for 20 years. There are a wide variety of approaches to doing the same thing, it's not limited to charter schools. But charter schools are free to do as they choose in relation to this issue because as I stated they are not public schools.

    By the way not all charter schools do this, some are far better than others. Noble Street is among the worst however and there has been litigation over this in relation to students with disabilities. Unfortunately, lawyers for disabled students must litigate against CPS as the school district not the charter school. CPS more than often settles the case and as part of the settlement agreements the families are required to sign a non-disclosure agreement. That is the way it works folks.

    Once in a while CPS will force a traditional school to take a student back they have forced out, CPS has no legal authority to do anything about Noble Street unless it was written in the contract.

    Rod Estvan

  • 193 schools eligible to be closed, say Sun Times

  • Erasing credits is illegal, no matter the institution. Someone should notify the attorney general.

  • "CPS more than often settles the case and as part of the settlement agreements the families are required to sign a non-disclosure agreement." That is fascinating to me. Is there a sunset to the non-disclosure contract? To whom is the family/student barred from disclosing --- and what?

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