Journey For Justice 2 [J4J2]: History and Hearings

January 29th 2013 Department of Education Civil Rights Division Hearing on Civil Rights
The Topic: The Impact Of Closing (Turnarounds, Phase-Outs, Restarts, Co-Locations) Of Neighborhood, Community Based Schools In 18 Cities Across The United States

The Civil Rights Impact of School Closings, Turnarounds, Phase-outs and Co-locations inquiry will focus on “The ways in which these programs devastate communities of color will be studied at length.”

The inquiry will be held on January 29th. Through this Webinar, organizers, individuals who are Leaders in their Communities, Jitu, Zakiyah, and Karran, will discuss the upcoming Department of Education Civil Rights Division Hearing.

A growing alliance of Grass roots Community, Youth and Parent driven organizations successfully petitioned the Department of Education in November 2012 to convene this hearing working with Russlyn Ali, former Department of Education’s Civil Rights Division Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights and now Tim Tuten, director of Community Partnerships for the U.S. Department of Education.

This alliance of parents and community leaders has representation from the cities of Chicago, New Orleans, Oakland, Los Angeles, Boston, New York City, Baltimore, Dallas, Atlanta, District of Columbia, Detroit, Philadelphia, Wichita, Newark, Wilmington, Delaware, Kansas City and Eureka Mississippi

The hearing will include testimony of Parents, Students, Educators Social Support Workers, Community members and Community Leaders. The People will address the adverse and detrimental effects of School Closings, turnarounds, co-locations and phase-outs on the black and brown students attending the effected schools.

The parents, students and community members in the alliance want:

  • An immediate National Moratorium on all School Closings, Turnarounds, Phase-outs and Co-locations while the inequity, discrimination, and community desultory impact of these actions is investigated and documented.
  • A Process established for Community Driven School Improvement using the Sustainable School Transformation methodology developed by Communities For Excellent Public Schools in July 2010 http://bit.ly/YCzQEC
  • A Civil Rights Investigation into the Impact of School Closings, Turnarounds, Phase-Outs and Co-Locations
  • A meeting with President Obama

 


In the cities listed above, the various forms of school closures have been particularly devastating to the communities of color.

Neighborhood Schools provide anchors to the community. They are safe havens for the students and trusted safety zones by the parents. They provide continuity and depth to under resourced poverty afflicted urban regions. Closings lead to students traveling long distances out of their homes areas. Often this unnecessary travel leads to violent encounters when children must cross gang lines to attend their new assigned school.

The fabric of the neighborhood becomes unraveled when the thread of continuity and stability, the local public school, is closed or turned around. The teachers and staff no longer are there to care for the babies they cherished and nurtured for decades.

In 1995 45% of the teachers in these schools were black. Mostly Black women who were stalwarts of the city regions they served. Today only 19% of the teachers serving in CPS are Black. This system of destabilizing, replacing and relocating leads to the reduction of functional culturally sensitive public education.

In Chicago for example Schools Closings disproportionately affect African American students: More than 42,000 students have been directly impacted by PS School Actions since 2001. 88% of the students affected are black.

Schools that are over 99% students of Color (“Apartheid Schools”) have been the primary target of CPS School Actions-representing over 80% of the affected schools. Black communities have been hit the hardest- three out of every four affected schools were economically poor and intensely segregated African American schools.

CPS replaces neighborhood schools with dubious alternatives. Over 100 neighborhood schools have been subject to School Actions since 2001. Over that same period, CPS has opened or expanded over 100 charter or contract school campuses, multiple lottery-based or selective enrollment schools, and twenty-eight turnaround schools. Despite the illusion of “choice” students affected by school actions have most often landed in schools that struggle as much as their previous school.

In short CPS, charter schools, and private managers continue to fail our students of poverty and color and their neighborhoods.

The Journey for Justice 2 Coalition asks all concerned citizens to join us in advocating for the human and civil rights of the children in the 18 cites we represent.

Immediately following the Civil Rights Hearing on January 29th 2013 a candlelight vigil will be held at the Martin Luther King Memorial in Washington District Of Columbia

Journey For Justice 2 [J4J2] Webinar Fundraiser

Join us for a Webinar and Fundraiser led by Jitu Brown. Organizer, Kenwood Oakland Community Organization (KOCO) on January 15 2013

On January 15th 2013 a Webinar with Journey For Justice 2 Coalition leaders:
Jitu Brown Kenwood Oakland Community Organization Chicago Illinois, Zakiyah Ansari NYC Coalition for Educational Justice, New York, New York and, Karran Harper-Royal, Parents Across America New Orleans Louisiana will be presented by Save Our Schools.

Jitu, Zakiyah and Karran formed a panel to discuss the upcoming Hearing on January 29th at the Department of Education Washington DC on the Civil Rights Impact of School Closings, Turnarounds, Phase-outs and Co-locations that have been particularly devastating to the communities of color.

Statements from parents, community leaders, students and educators about the Civil Rights Impact of School Closings will address the adverse and detrimental effects of School Closings, turnarounds, co-locations and phase-outs on the black and brown students attending the effected schools.

A Candlelight vigil at Martin Luther King Memorial immediately following the Civil Rights hearing at the Department of Education will be held. Save Our Schools wishes to further awareness for the cause. We ask you to contribute what you are able. Please help defray the cost of their travel. Donate Now!

 

National Journey for Education Justice, D C 2012
On September 20, 2012, youth, parents, and community activists from across the United States converged in the Nation’s Capitol to demand an end to school closures and corporate reform policies that violate the civil rights of poor, working class, communities of color, students with disabilities, and English learners. FIGHT BACK NOW!!
Cities: Baltimore, MD • Boston, MA • Chicago, IL • Detroit, MI • Eupora, MS, • New York • Newark, NJ • Philadelphia, PA • New Orleans, LA • Wilmington, DE • Washington, DC