Racism and discrimination against blacks permeates hiring process, contends Dr. Richard Harris as he initiated his race discrimination complaint against the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD), with the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) in Chicago.
Harris, a former Madison Area Technical College administrator and author of “Growing Up Black in South Madison,” wants the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights to investigate district procedures on hiring black teachers and staff, and discipline of black students.
In his letter, Harris said he found district data showing only 2.2 percent of teachers and 4.9 percent of staff are black, while 22 percent of students are black and 61 percent of students recommended for expulsion are black. He also noted that 72 percent of teachers are white women.
Specifically, Harris is requesting that OCR investigate the following:
1. The number of blacks (male and female) and whites (male and female) that applied for teaching positions at MMSD from FY 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012;
2. The number of blacks (male and female) employed as teachers compared to the number of whites (male and female) employed as teachers from FY 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012;
3. The Districts EEO/AAO numbers showing the under-utilization of black teachers and the process and/or hiring plans or goals used to correct this racial imbalance;
4. If principals make the final hiring decision, how did they use the above-mentioned hiring goals to correct the racial imbalance at their school;
5. What process was used to evaluate principals who were not meeting the established goals in the MMSD EEO/AAO plan;
6. The number of blacks employed as compared to the number of whites from FY 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 in the following Job Title areas: Administrators, Clerical/Technical and Educational Assistants;
7. Why 61% of all MMSD students recommended for expulsion for the last five years were black.
The U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights has sent Dr. Harris a letter back stating that they are currently evaluating his complaint and acting soon. This makes the second time he has initiated a race discrimination against MMSD. The first time was in 1979, as the MMSD closed the public schools in South Madison. At that time South Madison had the highest concentration of Blacks. OCR agreed with the complainant's and mandated that MMSD develop a Paired School concept that is still operational today.