Education Dept. investigating Chicago school civil rights allegations

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The U.S. Department of Education is investigating alleged Title VI civil rights violations at two public schools on the South Side.

The complaint was filed by the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization of Chicago on behalf of African American students enrolled at Dyett High School, 555 East 51st Street, and Mollison Elementary School, 4415 South King Drive.

"Whatever is happening in public education negatively, we are witnessing it in the city of Chicago," said Janette Wilson of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition. "We have a School Board that is not elected ... and therefore, the policies are not necessarily based on the community wishes and efforts."

Those gathered at a news conference at Rainbow PUSH headquarters say the Dyett and Mollison schools are separate and unequal, 60 years after the U.S. Supreme Court's Brown v. Board of Education decision that ruled all children are entitled to quality and equity in education.

Jitu Brown of the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization says students at Dyett are falling through the cracks, "now having to take art, gym, music and Spanish as online classes, instead of having a teacher in front of them to prepare them for the next phase of life."

Recent CPS closings relocated close to 300 students from Overton Elementary School to Mollison.

The civil rights and education activists say the complaint is intended to detail how CPS set up these schools to fail.

"Policies like high-stakes testing, funding cuts, budget cuts, enrollment policies that concentrate the most disadvantaged students -- the students that have the most need -- in a few schools without providing the needed resources," said Jadine Johnson of the Advancement Project.

CPS students, parents and grandparents say they are ready to fight education discrimination now, as the struggle of 60 years prior is not yet over.

The activists later headed out on what they call an "accountability tour" to the offices of Congressman Rep. Bobby Rush, Aldermen Will Burns and Pat Dowell, and several state lawmakers to encourage their support.

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  • Diane

    Fifteen plus years ago, former Mayor Richard Daley led a campaign targeted at non-documented / illegal residents to register to vote. His sales pitch was ” even non citizens should have input in electing their children’s school board . .
    As a parent I couldn’t argue with that, everyone wants their kids to get a good education. Daley claimed these “new voters ” could only vote in local elections But as it turns out there is no way to distinguish registered residents who
    are U.S. citizens and allowed to vote in Federal election from those who arrived last month.
    Fifteen years later and the mayor still appoints both Park and School Board members and hundreds of thousand of non-citisens get to vote illegally in Constitutionally held offices.