Parents File OCR Complaint

K-12 Testing

Parents United for Responsible Education (PURE) and two individual families filed a complaint in October 1999 with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) charging that the Chicago Public Schools’ grade promotional tests have a damaging and illegal disparate impact against African American and Latino students. Results on the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills are used as sole hurdles in determining grade promotion (see related story).


In November, OCR informed PURE, “[Y]ou have provided sufficient information for OCR to initiate complaint resolution activities regarding your allegations of discrimination based upon race and national origin.” OCR will further investigate the allegations, and if it finds the charge to be accurate, attempt to craft a resolution agreement with CPS.


Previous complaints to OCR about discriminatory consequences of high-stakes state tests in Ohio and Texas, however, have resulted in agreements which have not remedied the problem. Under OCR rules, the complaining party does not participate in shaping the resolution.