Parents, students, and activists from cities across the country confronted the U.S. Department of Education, asserting that widespread school closures violate the civil rights of minority youth.
Dubbed the Journey for Justice Movement, they have filed several Title VI civil rights complaints with the Education Department Office of Civil Rights.
Proponents of school closings contend it is a way to save money and boost academic performance.
Many strongly disagree, arguing that minority students are disproportionately impacted by such measures.
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.
Philadelphia, New York and Chicago are among cities considering even larger waves of closures. Philadelphia, for example, is slated to close 37 schools by June. But organizer Brown argued that shutting schools hurts communities and poses major safety threats to kids who have to travel further to go to school.
Thoughts on this issue?
Are school closures helping or hurting our young people?
How can we do a better job of ensuring that black youth receive the quality education they deserve?
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