I will protect your pensions. Nothing about your pension is going to change when I am governor. - Chris Christie, "An Open Letter to the Teachers of NJ" October, 2009

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Closing Schools: NOT a White People Thing

It appears the racist, segregationist school policies we find here in Jersey aren't confined only to our state. Chicago, for example, looks to be a national leader in disenfranchising people of color:
An internal Chicago Public Schools document obtained by the Tribune shows for the first time that the Emanuel administration has weighed how many elementary and high schools to close in which neighborhoods and how to manage the public fallout.
Labeled a "working draft," the Sept. 10 document lays out the costs and benefits of specific scenarios — revealing that the administration has gone further down the path of determining what schools to target than it has disclosed. 
The most stark page in the document is a graphic that breaks down the 95 schools that could be closed in each of CPS' 19 elementary and high school networks.
On the page, which contains a warning at the bottom that the graphic is a "preliminary work in process" and for "pre-decisional discussion only," most of the schools are on the South and West sides, which are predominantly African-American and Hispanic sections of the city.
For instance, the graphic suggests most of the closings are occurring in elementary school networks: 12 schools in the South Side's Burnham Park network, 11 schools in the West Side's Austin-North Lawndale network and 11 in the Near West Side's Fulton network. In comparison, the graphic suggests closing only one school in the Southwest Side's Midway network, three in the North Side's Ravenswood-Ridge network and no schools in the Northwest Side's O'Hare network.
The report details the effect school closings could have on students, stating that there will be an "initial negative impact" due, in part, to students having to move to new schools but that over time there will be "improvement in educational outcomes" for students who move into better schools with more academic programs. [emphasis mine]
Oh, please. There is no evidence whatsoever that a school closing strategy works. Chicago already tried closing "failing" schools under Arne Duncan; that was a train wreck. The money saved from schools closings is relatively small, and there is very little evidence that school closings lead to positive outcomes.

Here in NJ, Newark put together a school closing strategy that Bruce Baker showed had neither rhyme nor reason when it came to student outcomes. One thing was certain, however: every school slated for closing had a higher concentration of students in poverty than any charter school in the city.

Which is what this is really all about: closing schools to make way for private, unaccountable charters that will segregate the kids by socio-economic status, special need, language, and even race. In the case of Chicago, the plutocrats who run the schools get the added bonus of punishing the uppity teachers who dared to stand up for themselves this past fall.

This is the plan for Newark and Chicago and New York and Detroit and New Orleans and Los Angeles... but not for the wealthy white suburbs surrounding them. Those parents enjoy a locally-elected and accountable school board, adequacy in funding, stability, and policies that integrate the special needs students into the system (even if the districts themselves are racially and economically isolated).

Apparently, this is fine for the 'burbs. But in the cities? Well, you know... those people really can't be trusted to run their own schools.
Local control remains a white people thing.

No comments: