Kids Testify to Subpar Education in Desegregation Case

January 22, 2009

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A group of students kicked off public testimony today in a case involving Chicago Public Schools. A federal judge is weighing whether to release the district from a 28-year-old desegregation order.

Students from Social Justice High School in Little Village told the judge they had gone to grammar school in overcrowded classrooms, were issued books with torn pages, and couldn't take books home for homework because there were not enough to go around.

Eighteen-year-old Omar Nunez testified that his English as a Second Language teacher was often absent, and his classroom teacher assigned another student to help him instead.

Norma Emeterio also testified—she was the student assigned to tutor Nunez.

NORMA: I myself didn't know any Spanish—I didn't know how to read it or write it—so I couldn't really translate. So basically he had to cheat off me the whole year.

Chicago Public Schools is arguing in the case that it no longer discriminates against minority students.