Civil rights suit alleges Louisiana's school closures discriminate

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

A national coalition on Tuesday filed a federal civil rights complaint alleging Louisiana's school closure policies discriminate against black children. It says the state shuts down conventional New Orleans schools that are almost entirely black even when they show improvement, while giving poorly performing white schools a pass. Displaced students then have unequal access to the city's best public schools, which are heavily white and allowed to use admissions policies that exclude black students.

"In essence, the state has robbed these children of their neighborhood schools while keeping them trapped in failing, under-performing schools," says the complaint, filed by local activists and backed by the Advancement Project, Journey for Justice and the country's two largest teachers unions: the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association. The Louisiana Department of Education, Board of Elementary and Secondary Education and Recovery School District are named as defendants.

The Recovery School District objected to the criticisms. The state education board would not comment.

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