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Feds Investigate Public School Closures in New Orleans

The U.S. Education Department has opened an investigation into charges that the Recovery School District's policy of closing and chartering New Orleans public schools violated the civil rights of African-American students.

The U.S. Education Department has opened an investigation into charges that the Recovery School District's policy of closing and chartering New Orleans public schools violated the civil rights of African-American students. The complaint, filed in May, said African-American students were disproportionately affected by the Recovery system's decision to close its final five conventional public schools in New Orleans, and that the system did not provide good alternatives for displaced students.

The Education Department's Office of Civil Rights "has determined the allegations are appropriate for investigation," wrote Paul Coxe, regional civil rights supervisor, in a letter that the complainants shared with NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune. Coxe emphasized that "opening the allegations for investigation in no way implies that OCR has made a determination with regard to the merits."

It could be months before the investigation ends, although the Education Department aims to "resolve complaints within 180 days of their receipt," a federal official said. Complex cases might take longer.

Caroline Cournoyer is GOVERNING's senior web editor.
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