Providence school district slapped by civil rights complaint over non-white-only loan cancellation
EXCLUSIVE — A civil rights complaint was filed Monday against the Providence Public School District with the U.S. Department of Education over a program offering student loan forgiveness to new teachers that is exclusively available to non-teaching educators. whites.
The complaint alleges that the Providence Public School District is “engaged in a continuing violation and a continuing pattern or practice of discrimination” with a student loan cancellation program for newly and recently hired educators that is only available to non-white applicants, billed as the “Educator of the Loan Forgiveness Program of Color.”
The Providence Public School District announces that recipients can get up to $25,000 in college loans forgiven once the teacher completes three consecutive years of teaching in the district. Eligibility requirements state that recipients must “identify as Asian, Black, Native, Latino, biracial, or multiracial.”
“Discrimination against non-white applicants is just as unlawful as discrimination against black or other non-white applicants. There is no right form of racial discrimination,” the complaint states.
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The Legal Insurrection Foundation, a Rhode Island-based nonprofit investigative and research group that fights discrimination in education, filed the complaint — which was obtained by Fox News Digital — with the Human Rights Bureau. civilians from the Ministry of Education.
“PPSD does not even try to hide its racially discriminatory practices. On the contrary, PPSD brags about treating white applicants less favorably than non-white applicants. The illegal discriminatory provisions of the program are advertised on multiple platforms, including on the PPSD website and hiring portal. The program is a key part of PPSD’s hiring efforts and has already treated dozens of applicants on this discriminatory basis,” the complaint states. “The program violates Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution, and various state anti-discrimination laws.”
The Providence Public School District did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
William A. Jacobson, a professor at Cornell Law School and president of the Legal Insurrection Foundation, would like to reach out to all teachers who were excluded or did not apply for this loan forgiveness program due to their race or ethnic origin. He also called for an “immediate halt to discriminatory practices”.
“Providence Public School District’s discriminatory loan forgiveness program is one of the most brazen racial preferences we’ve seen. They don’t even try to hide it. They seem proud to discriminate. Promotional materials clearly state that white educators don’t need to apply for this hiring incentive and job benefit,” Jacobson told Fox News Digital.
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“Racial discrimination in hiring and employment is illegal and morally wrong. The answer to past racial discrimination is equal protection and fairness, not more or different discrimination,” he continued. “The discriminatory loan forgiveness scheme is pure racial preference, just tick a box and you qualify or not. It reduces people to their skin color or ethnicity, and doesn’t even try to consider their individual life experiences.”
Jacobson thinks “there are legally good and legally bad ways to achieve diversity” and Providence Public Schools has taken the wrong path.
“Awareness raising to broaden the pool of candidates and reviewing systems to eliminate bias to ensure equal treatment are allowed. Conditioning hiring incentives and benefits on racial or ethnic boxing is checked is the wrong legal way to do it,” he said. . “Providence Public Schools and the Rhode Island Foundation should have known not to offer hiring incentives and benefits to certain racial and ethnic groups. Each entity has anti-discrimination policies, but this program is openly discriminatory.
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According to the complaint, the Rhode Island Foundation, a tax-exempt entity, funds the “Educators of Color Loan Forgiveness Program.”
Jacobson, who is particularly upset because the PPSD receives millions of dollars in federal funding, called on the district to make the program retroactively available to people hired since the program began who have been excluded from consideration on the basis of race. or ethnicity.
“It won’t compensate people who never applied because of the discriminatory provisions, but it would be a good start. If it means Providence Schools and the Rhode Island Foundation having to provide additional funds, that’s the least they can do,” Jacobson said. .
PPSD is the largest public school district in Rhode Island and serves about 24,000 students in 41 schools, according to the complaint.
“Because PPSD receives federal funding, [Office of Civil Rights] had the authority and the obligation to bring the PPSD to an end and to impose the necessary corrective measures,” the complaint states.
The Legal Insurrection Foundation also publishes the Legal Insurrection website.
Fox News’ Nikolas Lanum contributed to this report.
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