The topic and location of the conference couldn't be more appropriate or timely. Chicago's school district leadership has positioned itself on the wrong side of this historic struggle, fighting to end a court-ordered deseg agreement and claiming that they've already complied.
But the Mayor's Renaissance 2010 "reform" initiative continues to replicate the city's two-tier system of public education in a school system that is among the most segregated in the nation. Neighborhood schools with racially segregated populations continue to have the worst facilities, the most uncertified teachers, disproportionate and arbitrary school closings, and a dearth of bi-lingual education programs for immigrant kids. Not only has the system failed to follow the court's mandates, ignoring the spirit of the 1954 Brown vs. Board decision, it hasn't even taken Plessy vs. Ferguson (separate but equal) seriously.
A moratorium on school closings
Parents opposed to public school closings in Chicago are taking their fight to the state legislature. State representative Cynthia Soto is introducing a bill to put a moratorium on school closures in Chicago, until a committee reviews every proposed shutdown.
SOTO: You know, it's segregation due to gentrification, and minorities continue to be effected. They're making schools better, but they're pushing children out of the community.
Soto says she was spurred to action because an agreement with Chicago Public Schools that would allow community review of school closures has been ignored.