In almost every city around the nation, public schools are being shut down as a way to address our country’s budget crisis. In Washington D.C., over 15 public schools are slated for closure by the end of 2014. The official reason for the closings is that this will “help students” who are” trapped” in “failing schools.” Thus, closures came with a promise to send those students to better schools, in addition to bolstering school districts’ budgets.
However, the exact opposite has occurred. Public school closures have ended up costing nearly 40 million dollars, while the students whose schools got shut down have been relocated to other failing schools.
The closing of these schools disproportionately affects minority children and children with special needs. In Washington, D.C., the transfer of students from closed schools has resulted in violent outbreaks and extremely negative consequences for the community as a whole. Almost every school that was shut down was located in a poverty stricken area that is populated mainly by low-income, minority families. Over 90% of students affected are black low-income students.
When one school located in a white, middle class neighborhood was slated for closure, the parents were able to lobby and protest to keep the school open.
These closures are happening in cities all across the country, most prominently in Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., and New York City.
Jaisal Noor, “Communities Fight Back Against ‘Racist’ DC School Closure,” Truthout, September 24, 2013, http://truth-out.org/news/item/19037-communities-fight-back-against-racist-dc-school-closures.
Student Researchers: Jaden Clarey & Ilana Foust-Leibowitz (Santa Rosa Junior College) and Nicole McHenry (Indian River State College)
Faculty Evaluator: Susan Rahman (Santa Rosa Junior College) and Elliot Cohen (Indian River State College)