The Washington Informer, News Report, Dorothy Rowley
A highly-vocal and growing alliance of public education advocates have united to end what they describe as the discriminatory shuttering of schools in black and Latino neighborhoods.
In “Journey for Justice’s” latest efforts to safeguard the future of inner-city public schools from threat of extinction due to the rapid growth of charter schools, increased availability of voucher programs, unequal funding streams and attacks on teachers’ credibility, a cross-country march and speaking tour was launched, culminating on Jan. 29 with a hearing at the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) in Washington, D.C., where a representative from the department fielded complaints.
“The voices of the people directly impacted can no longer be ignored,” said Chicago organizer Jitu Brown, who called the closures a direct “violation” of human rights. “This type of mediocrity is only accepted because of the race of the students who are being served.”
The nearly two-dozen cities represented in the journey which attracted more than 500 students, parents and community groups, included New Orleans; Philadelphia; Chicago and Detroit. Members from District of Columbia organizations who voiced opposition to 15 school closings over the next 18 months, also attended, and officials for the Northwest-based, Empower D.C., who recalled the effects of 24 local school closings in 2008, said they plan to sue the District.
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