CHICAGO – In its quest to become the slimiest and most destructive labor group in the nation, the Chicago Teachers Union is suing the Chicago school district for discrimination against black teachers whenever it “turns around” a failing school.
In a lawsuit filed the day after Christmas, three former Chicago teachers – who are being represented by attorneys from the CTU – allege that the district’s school “turnaround” policies have resulted in “a steady decline in black teachers from about 40 percent in 2000 to fewer than 30 percent in 2010,” reports CBSLocal.com.
The plaintiffs allege that “since most black teachers are employed in South and West Side schools, ‘turning around’ schools in those neighborhoods by firing all the staff and bringing in an entirely new team discriminates against African Americans,” reports the news site.
“All three (plaintiffs) say they had satisfactory or better evaluations” at the time of their dismissal, CBSLocal.com reports.
In its class action lawsuit, the CTU is requesting that all African American teachers who lost their jobs in June of 2012 be reinstated as teachers. In addition, the union is seeking lost pay and damages for the plaintiffs, as well as a moratorium on school turnarounds until an independent monitor is appointed to oversee the process, the news site reports.
“We’re now at a crossroads in Chicago where between school closings and the turnaround, the racial impact of the policies and practices of (the Chicago) board of education have devastated the African American teaching force in that community,” said CTU attorney Robin Potter, according to the news site.
The CTU’s use of the “race card” is reckless and disgraceful for a variety of reasons.
First of all, the three plaintiffs say they were rated as effective teachers, but so were the vast majority of their colleagues. CPS officials are notorious for handing out glowing job reviews like candy. A stunning 97 percent of CPS teachers were recently rated as effective in a district where students struggle to read and perform basic math.
And while the plaintiffs are correct in noting that CPS has more white teachers than African American teachers (49.7 percent to 29.7 percent, according to the district’s website), where is the law that says a certain percentage of teachers must come from one ethnic group or another?
For the record, the district has 19 percent more black principals than white. And in terms of total staff, 40 percent of CPS employees are African American, compared to 36.1 percent who are white.
Even if CTU leaders choose to ignore those facts, how can they claim with a straight face that the district’s effort to improve failing schools is racist when the vast majority of students who benefit from school “turnaround” efforts are minorities?
According to district data, 41.6 percent of all CPS students are African American, 44.1 percent are Latino and 8.8 percent are white.
We’d like to hear Potter explain to a judge how the CPS school board is being racist by trying to give black and Latino students a better education.
The union’s lawsuit is total nonsense, nothing more than a ploy to save the jobs of CTU members who were shown the door during the necessary “turnaround” process.
But what makes this most appalling is the CTU’s willingness to create racial strife where none exists, all in an effort to preserve the miserable status quo in one of the nation’s worst-performing school districts.