The Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education said earlier this month that it will look into a complaint filed by education activists alleging "racially discriminatory" school actions and closings in Chicago.
Local activists are encouraged by the office's August 6 decision to investigate the complaint brought on behalf of African-American students who are enrolled at Walter H. Dyett High School and Irvin C. Mollison Elementary School in the city's Bronzeville neighborhood.
On Tuesday, the Rev. Jesse Jackson's senior advisor Jeanette Wilson called the move by the civil rights' office "a major first step."
“The fact that they are going to look into it at all says that some of the practices that have been accepted as normal and appropriate are now being questioned,” Wilson said at the Rainbow PUSH Coalition headquarters, reported the Chicago Sun-Times.
The Chicago Board of Education voted to phaseout Dyett High School back in 2012 due to poor academic performance. Dyett is expected to close completely after the 2014-2015 academic year. In the complaint, activists claim Dyett has experience disinvestment following the board's vote to phase out the school.
The other school mentioned in the complaint, Mollison Elementary, is the designated welcoming school for displaced students from nearby Anthony Overton Elementary School, which closed last year as part of a record number of public school closings. The complaint says Mollison is overcrowded and underfunded.
Read Progress Illinois' coverage of the complaint here.