Friday, July 22, 2016

School Closure: The Civil Rights Issue of Our Time | janresseger

School Closure: The Civil Rights Issue of Our Time | janresseger:

School Closure: The Civil Rights Issue of Our Time

This blog will take a week-long mid-summer break.  Look for a new post on Monday, August 1, 2016.
In an important piece published in The Hill, Judith Brown Dianis, Executive Director of Advancement Project, and Jitu Brown, National Director of the Journey for Justice Alliance, describe three complaints filed in 2014—on the 60th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education—with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.  The complaints protest massive school closures in New Orleans, Newark, and Chicago, where 50 schools were shuttered at the end of the 2012-2013 school year.
One of the ways students in America’s cities are being deprived of basic opportunities is “through systematic and targeted school closures. We know this because we’ve been organizing against school closures, which are occurring in predominantly African American, Latino and low-income communities.  Across the country, these communities have watched as their schools, teachers, friendships and shared history are eliminated.  Many students are pushed out of one school only to be forced to attend another school that is further away, with less experienced teachers, similar resource inequities and instability.”
Here is the substance of the complaints: “The complaints challenged the disproportionate closures of traditional public schools in these cities. In New Orleans, the closures of the last five traditional public schools impacted over 1000 African-American students and only 5 White students. In Chicago, Black students were 26 times more likely to be impacted by school closures than White students.  In Newark, Black students were 51% of student enrollment, but 86% of students impacted by school closures.”
After a two year investigation, the Office of Civil Rights has reached an agreement with the Newark Public Schools that acknowledges the disproportionate impact of school closures on the city’s African American students and confirms that the school closures “did not appear to afford affected students any measurable, improved educational outcomes.” The agreement requires the Newark school district to investigate whether and how students from closed schools were affected academically and how their safe passage to school, and their access to special services (for disabled students) were impacted when schools were closed. Further, the district must evaluate and report on how the location of school facilities and the pupil School Closure: The Civil Rights Issue of Our Time | janresseger:

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