A federal appeals court has granted class action certification in a case brought by three Chicago public school educators on behalf of over 200 teachers and staff who lost their jobs in 2012 because of school turnarounds.
The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals handed down its decision on the class action issue last week, the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) said in a news release.
The CTU helped file the 2012 lawsuit, which alleges the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) system's turnaround policy discriminates against African-American educators and school staff. The suit says schools with higher percentages of African-American teachers and staff are disproportionately targeted for turnaround, which involves firing and replacing staff members at underperforming schools.
A U.S. District Court judge denied class action certification in the case last year.
Next week, CTU representatives will appear before that lower court judge to "request entry of an order certifying the class status" as well as "seek turnaround data from 2002 through the present."
The suit seeks relief for impacted class members and a moratorium on CPS turnarounds.
"It is both dramatic and disturbing that highly qualified teachers and paraprofessionals who are essential lifelines to neighborhood schools are being displaced, with a disparate impact on African-American educators," CTU President Karen Lewis said in the release. "For more than five years we have asked CPS to stop these discriminatory school actions, and instead, to work with the CTU and our community and parent allies to create robust and well-funded neighborhood schools."