« Karen Lewis For Chicago Mayor? Union Leader Forms Exploratory Committee | Main | Cities in New York State Get Ready for Arrival of Child Migrants »

Civil Rights Office Investigating School Closures in Houston

The  civil rights office in the U.S. Department of Education is looking into a complaint that the closures of two predominantly minority Houston schools—Jones High School and Dodson Elementary School —discriminated against black and Hispanic students.

The complaint was filed by Charles X. White, of the Sunnyside and South Park neighborhood group, according to the Houston Chronicle.

School closures—primarily schools in minority neighborhoods— have been a lightning rod of debate in recent years. Urban school districts have responded to population losses and rising operating costs by consolidating and/or closing neighborhood schools and opening charter schools. But many parents in those neighborhoods have objected to the closures, arguing that they disproportionately affect minority students.

In May, the Washington, D.C.-based Advancement Project  filed three complaints with the U.S. Department of Education's civil rights division, contending that the closures and privatization in Chicago, New Orleans, and Newark, N. J., violated  Title VI of the Civil Rights Act because they heavily primarily affected African-American and Latino communities.

The Houston Independent School District board voted in March to close Dodson Elementary School and turn Jones High School into a specialty vocational school.  The superintendent had proposed closing five schools, but that number was whittled down to two.

The civil rights office confirmed the investigation to the Houston Chronicle and has sought more information from the district. The school district says it is taking the complaint very seriously and is cooperating with the department's request for information.

"We believe that once the OCR has all the information it needs, HISD's intent of providing the best schools for all children will be clear," the district told the paper. 

Notice: We recently upgraded our comments. (Learn more here.) If you are logged in as a subscriber or registered user and already have a Display Name on edweek.org, you can post comments. If you do not already have a Display Name, please create one here.
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Follow This Blog

Advertisement

Most Viewed on Education Week

Categories

Archives

Recent Comments