NTA Elementary Parents and Activists File Injunction to Stop CPS from Closing a Top-Performing School

Tuesday, July 31, 2018
For immediate release

Timna Axel, taxel@clccrul.org or 312-888-4194
Ron Tipan, rtipan@lafchicago.org or 312-347-8370

CHICAGO – Parents and activists suing Chicago Public Schools (CPS) for racial discrimination filed a preliminary injunction in circuit court today to force the district to freeze its plan for closing National Teachers Academy (NTA), a top-performing elementary school serving predominantly Black and low-income students in the Near South community.
Elisabeth Greer, a named plaintiff in the lawsuit with two small children at NTA, said:
“The decision to close NTA has already triggered some damage to our kids’ education. We hope that the court can recognize this reality and will grant an injunction in order to stop our beloved school from hemorrhaging further resources and staff.”
Last month Greer joined three other NTA mothers and two community organizations, Chicago United for Equity and Concerned Parents of NTA, in filing a lawsuit against CPS for violating the Illinois Civil Rights Act and the Illinois School Code. Attorneys with Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, LAF, and Eimer Stahl filed today’s motion for a preliminary injunction to stop any further action by CPS while the lawsuit proceeds in court.
Following on the heels of CPS’s mass school closings in 2013 that impacted nearly 12,000 students - of which nearly 90 percent were Black - a University of Chicago study recently showed that closings have had a long-term negative impact on the academic achievement of displaced students. Despite organized, consistent opposition from the local community and several available alternatives, the Board of Education voted in February to approve CPS’s plan to close NTA and create a new high school in its place.
“There is no doubt that closing a Level 1+ school is going to cause unnecessary educational harm to these kids,” said attorney Candace Moore of Chicago Lawyers’ Committee. “That heavy burden will fall primarily on the shoulders of Black students.”
The complaint alleges that, in closing a Level 1+ school for the first time in its history, CPS’s actions have been discriminatory, unlawful, and arbitrary.

“NTA has progressed in just five years from CPS’s lowest academic rating to its highest,” said attorney Katherine Gladson of LAF. “The teachers, staff, students and parents should be commended as a model across the district. Instead, their community is being destroyed. If NTA is closed, then no school can count on its academic record to shield it from closure.”
If successful, the lawsuit against CPS will result in a permanent injunction, ordering the Board of Education to reverse their decision to close NTA.

Rena Beltran