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Laurie R. Glenn
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: FRIDAY, JANUARY 25, 2013
18 CITIES CONVERGE IN WASHINGTON D.C ON "JOURNEY FOR JUSTICE," CALLING ON DEPT. OF EDUCATION TO END DISCRIMINATORY CLOSINGS OF PUBLIC SCHOOLS National Movement Forms In Wake Of Mass School Closings & Turnarounds That Violate Civil Rights & Promote Divestment In Low-Income Communities Of Color
WHAT: Students, parents and advocacy representatives from 18 major United States cities will testify at a hearing before the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, D.C. on the devastating impact and civil rights violations resulting from the unchecked closing and turnaround of schools serving predominantly low-income, minority students across the country.
More than 10 cities have filed, or are in the process of filing, Title VI Civil Rights complaints with the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights, citing the closing of schools and the criteria and methods for administering those actions as discriminatory toward low-income, minority communities. Representatives from 11 cities will testify at the hearing on the impact of school closings including the civil rights violations and the destabilization of their children and communities resulting from the criteria used for school closings and the current accepted movement to privatize schools.
Demands of the Department of Education include a moratorium on school closings until a new process can be implemented nationally, the implementation of a sustainable, community-driven school improvement process as national policy, and a meeting with President Obama so that he may hear directly from his constituents about the devastating impact and civil rights violations.
The hearing will be followed by a procession and candlelight vigil at the Martin Luther King Memorial to continue to raise the voices of those impacted by the destabilization and sabotage of education in working and low-income, communities of color.
In the wake of the hearing, the 18 participating cities, along with additional cities in the process of organizing, are forming a national movement to unite students, parents and advocacy organizations across the country to spread awareness of mass school closings and their impact on targeted communities.
WHO: Approximately 500 students, parents and community leaders, impacted or at risk of impact by school closings, representing 18 cities across the country will attend the hearing including: Atlanta; Baltimore; Boston; Chicago; Cleveland; Detroit; District of Columbia; Eupora, Miss.; Hartford, Conn.; Kansas City, Mo.; Los Angeles; Newark; New Orleans; New York; Oakland, Calif.; Philadelphia; Wichita, Kan.; and Wilmington, Del.
WHEN/ WHERE: Tuesday, January 29th, 2013
2:00 p.m.- 3:55 p.m. EST U.S. Department of Education Auditorium Washington, D.C. Tuesday, January 29th, 2013 5:00 p.m. EST Martin Luther King Memorial Washington, D.C.
WHY: Cities across the country are experiencing the results of neglectful actions by the closing of schools serving predominantly low-income students of color including displacement and destabilization of children, increased violence and threats of physical harm as a result of re-assignment, and destabilization at schools receiving the displaced students.
Despite current research showing that closing these public schools does not improve test scores or graduation rates, closings have continued primarily because current federal Race To The Top policy has incentivized the closing and turnaround of schools by supporting privatization. However, the privatization of schools has resulted in unchecked actions and processes where the primary fallout is on those in low-income, minority communities. The devastating impact of these actions has only been tolerated because of the race and class of the communities affected.