The fight to save public education and retain local control of those schools against hostile takeover attempts (such as the current takeover attempt in Michigan by our very own Gov. Rick Snyder explained in more detail here from an earlier post) has now attracted nationwide attention. On Tuesday, Jan. 29, representatives from school districts around the country who find themselves under siege in much the same way as Detroit Public Schools are joining together to participate in a hearing in Washington D.C. to air their grievances at the highest levels and make sure their story gets told – and acted upon.
In short, it appears a growing number of citizens are not only aware of the ongoing Republican attempt to affect the kind of totalitarian change on the state level that they were unable to achieve on the national level during the 2012 elections, but that they refuse to sit still and let it happen. On an even more basic level, when you threaten a parent’s control over the education of that parent’s child and effectively tell them there is nothing they can do about it? Yeah, well, that tends to kinda piss parents off. And not just in Detroit where being pissed off sometimes seems like a way of life.
But enough of me jabbering, because the press release that was distributed on Wednesday evening, Jan. 23, at the Dexter Elmhurst Center during the press conference explains precisely what’s happening and why this is important.
“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 their 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 current policy is perpetuating.
“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.”
So far the “Journey for Justice 2013” will have representation from Atlanta, GA; Europa, MS; Baltimore, MD; Boston, MA; Philadelphia, PA; Chicago, IL; Cleveland, OH; Detroit, MI; the District of Columbia; New York, NY; New Orleans, LA; Wichita, KS; Newark, NJ; Oakland, CA; Kansas City, MO.
Keith Owens (AKA Black Liberal Boomer) is a Detroit-based writer who has worked for The Detroit Free Press, Detroit’s alternative newsweekly the Metro Times, the Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel, and other newspapers. He was also a nationally syndicated columnist with Universal Press Syndicate for three years beginning in 1993.