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Chicago sued for alleged discrimination against black teachers

The Chicago Teachers Union has sued the nation’s third largest school district, saying Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s campaign to reform or close underperforming public schools discriminates against African-American teachers and staff, Reuters reports. The federal lawsuit filed on Wednesday and announced on Thursday is the latest battle with the city since teachers staged a week-long strike in September. It alleges that more than half of the tenured teachers fired in the most recent round of school closings and turnarounds were African American. But blacks make up less than 30 percent of the tenured teaching staff in the district and 35 percent of the tenured teacher population in the failing schools, the lawsuit claims. The suit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois seeks an immediate moratorium on any additional school closings in the city. The school district declined to comment on the lawsuit while it is pending, but said, “We have an obligation to expand high quality school options to all families and children in every neighborhood and turnarounds is just one tool that allows us to provide those options.”

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