US DOE To Investigate 3 Cities for Civil Rights Violations in School Closings


Journey for Justice National Director Jitu Brown at a 
rally outside the U.S. Supreme Court in May 2014. 
After the rally, organizers marched to the U.S. Dept.
of Justice to file the three civil rights complaints.

In May, the Journey for Justice Alliance filed federal civil rights complaints with parents from Chicago, Newark and New Orleans, calling attention to the discriminatory and harmful impact of mass school closures and privatization of public education in those cities. In a victory for the parents and their children, the U.S. Department of Education has opened investigations in all three cities. 

From the Washington Post:

"African American residents in these three cities  have been concerned for years that their children were being disproportionately and unfairly affected by the closing of neighborhood schools and the opening of charter schools — often far from where the children live — as replacements. In Chicago alone, nearly 160 neighborhood public schools have been closed, consolidated, phased out or “turned around” in the past 15 years.  In New Orleans, the Recovery School District is now entirely made up of charter schools, and in Newark, plans to close at least a quarter of the city’s public schools and increase the number charter schools were just some of the reasons that Ras Baraka was elected mayor this year on an anti-school reform platform."

When Journey for Justice filed the complaints, they also released a report, "Death By a Thousand Cuts," documenting the harm of the policies they challenged in the federal compliants. The report details how pervasive underfunding of public schools and charter school expansion has set the stage for public schools in low-income and minority communities to struggle and be shut down. Rather than supporting schools, education officials nationwide are setting them up to fail. 

Read the full report here, and learn more about the civil rights investigations here.

 

 

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