Chicago Public Schools has received a complaint by the Chicago Teachers Union and the Equal Opportunity Commission, who allege that the district's layoffs last summer unfairly targeted black teachers.
The Chicago Teachers Union filed the complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission saying that the layoffs last summer targeted tenured African-American teachers, writes Joel Hood at the Chicago Tribune.
African-American teachers make up a third of the CPS teachers (about 29 percent), but made up almost 43 percent of those dismissed in 2011. White teachers – 47 percent of the district's teaching force – represented only 36 percent of those laid off.
The union added that a larger percentage of teachers at schools with high numbers of low-income African-American students were laid off.
Robin Potter, an attorney working for the union, said:
"(CPS) is illegally terminating and laying off African-American teachers who are highly qualified and excellent teachers.
"This is not a question. It is a systematic effort to rid the Chicago Public Schools of tenured teachers who are African-American.
"To make it right they have to stop these layoffs, they have to step back and they have to put these good teachers back in the schools."
This comes as the teachers union is also fighting a lawsuit against the Illinois Supreme Court over the layoff of about 1,300 teachers, more than 60 percent of them tenured, in 2010.
Officials from the union say that the district broke state law in firing tenured teachers without due process.