These 5 Chicago Families Are Taking Illinois to Court and All I Can Say Is It’s About Time

Frustrated by decades of unfair funding for Chicago Public Schools (CPS), five families and CPS sued the state for racial discrimination. According to the suit, the state provides 75 cents to Chicago for every dollar it provides to the rest of Illinois. The district, which is 90 percent students of color, posted on its website details of the lawsuit, including profiles of the families who are the listed complainants. From the district's press release:
“Since action has not been taken to end the separate and unequal education system in this State, Chicago is taking matters to the courts,” Chicago Board of Education President Frank Clark said. “The State has been underfunding Chicago students for far too long, and the students, parents and educators deserve better. We will ask the court to take swift action to end this discrimination.” The lawsuit details how the State has created and perpetuated two education systems. According to the complaint: “A child’s race continues to dictate whether she or he will receive a good education or something far short. Chicago’s predominantly African-American and Hispanic children still suffer from stark educational inequalities.
The suit also alleges that Chicago pays hundreds of millions of dollars into a separate pension fund for its teachers while teachers in every other school district in the state are in the state-funded pension system. This year, Chicago has raised property taxes and diverted hundreds of millions of dollars away from classrooms in order to pay for pensions. The suit calls on the court to enjoin Governor Rauner and the State of Illinois from distributing State funding in a discriminatory way and declares the State’s teacher pension funding systems unlawful under the Civil Rights Act.

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Peter Cunningham
Peter Cunningham is the founder of Education Post and serves on its board. He served as Assistant Secretary for communications and outreach in the U.S. Department of Education during the Obama administration’s first term. Prior to that he worked with Arne Duncan when he was CEO of the Chicago Public Schools. Peter is affiliated with Whiteboard ...

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