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Drastic school turnarounds prompt community backlash, rash of civil rights complaints

The federal government's push for drastic reforms at chronically low achieving schools has led to takeovers by charter operators, overhauls of staff and curriculum, and even school shutdowns across the country.

It's also generated a growing backlash among mostly low-income, minority communities. Some residents see the reforms as not only disruptive in struggling neighborhoods, but also as civil rights violations since turnaround efforts primarily affect black and Latino students.

Chicago education organizer Jitu Brown say a different set of rules exists for African-American and Latino children than for white students.

Federal education spokesman Daren Briscoe says the department has opened investigations into 33 community complaints from 29 school districts. They range from big city systems such as Chicago and Detroit to smaller cities including Wichita and Ambler, Penn.

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