Saturday, April 6, 2013

Protesters from 21 cities say closing schools violates civil rights

Huffington Post - 1-29-2013 - Joy Resmovits

Joy Resmovits

School Closures Civil Rights

WASHINGTON -- "The standards-based education reform movement calls school change "the civil rights issue of our time." But about 220 mostly African American community organizers, parents and students from 21 cities from New York to Oakland, Calif., converged on Washington Tuesday to tell U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan he's getting it backwards on school closures.

Members of the group, a patchwork of community organizations called the Journey for Justice Movement, have filed several Title VI civil rights complaints with the Education Department Office of Civil Rights, claiming that school districts that shut schools are hurting minority students. While most school closures are decided locally, the Education Department's School Improvement Grant gives under performing school districts money for shakeups or turnarounds, including closures. 

The meeting became heated at times. "The voices of the people directly impacted can no longer be ignored," said Jitu Brown, an organizer from the South Side of Chicago. "This type of mediocrity is only accepted because of the race of the students who are being served." He called school closures "a violation of our human rights," since many communities are left without neighborhood schools after districts shut them down."


“I have been denied the right to a quality education,” said Gavin Alston, 12, whose Chicago school was shuttered last year. “We have no middle or elementary schools in my neighborhood anymore.”

Federal Complaint Alleges City Policy Discriminates Against Minorities, Poor - Wall Street Journal

Protesters from 18 cities say closing schools violates civil rights

Education Dept. to Hear School Closing Complaints

School Closures Challenged=Federal Complaint Alleges City Policy Discriminates Against Minorities, Poor

School closings discriminatory, coalition tells U.S. Education Department