California school district hit with civil rights complaint over segregation in teacher support program
The complaint, filed by parental advocacy group Parents Defending Education, claims that teachers who do not identify as a teacher of color will be held back from pay and advancement opportunities.
The Santa Cruz County Office of Education and Pajaro Valley Unified School District are facing a federal civil rights complaint for hosting a racially-segregated teacher support program.
The complaint was filed Tuesday with the U.S. Department of Education by the parent activist group Parents Defending Education and accuses the two entities of violating the Civil Rights Act of 1964 when they began hosting an "Ethnic Studies Teacher of Color Circle."
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The event, "Ethnic Studies Teacher of Color Circle" was first held in September. Flyers for the event said that the goal of the event was to "support the growth, retention, and leadership of teachers of color in the country." Teachers were also informed that they would receive a stipend for attending.
Community Responsive Education, a curriculum development consultancy group, whose stated goal is to "offer professional and curriculum development services for community organizations and educational institutions to begin or sustain the journey of becoming community responsive," helped put on the event.
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"Through its use of affinity groups, Santa Cruz is creating an environment in which educators are ostracized for not identifying as teachers of color — and are penalized for something they cannot change," Caroline Moore, vice president of Parents Defending Education, said. "Teachers who do not identify as a different ethnicity are held back from opportunities that would give them face time with administrators —relationships which are critical to help educators obtain better jobs in the district.
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Parents Defending Education and Pajaro Valley Unified School District did not reply for immediate comment