Thursday, March 1, 2012

From the civil rights battle front

Little Rock, 1957
'More Blacks and Latinos Admitted to Elite New York High Schools'

When I read the above headline in the Times this morning, I thought for a moment I was in Arkansas circa 1957, when National Guard troops were needed to escort the Little Rock 9 through the doors of Central High School. Maybe we should call these newly-admitted black and Latino students, the Stuyvesant 9.

 The Right to organize

Richard Kahlenberg and Moshe Marvit have an Op-Ed in today's NYT: "A Civil Right to Unionize." They call for legislation that would make disciplining or firing an employee “on the basis of seeking union membership” illegal just as it now is on the basis of race, color, sex, religion and national origin.
It’s time to add the right to organize a labor union, without employer discrimination, to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, because that right is as fundamental as freedom from discrimination in employment and education.
Selma revisited

Thousands of people, including SOSers like Jesse Turner, Ceresta Smith, and Nancy Flanagan, are heading to Selma, Alabama this weekend for the Bridge Crossing Jubilee. How appropriate to see the merging of the civil rights movement with today's struggles of parents, teachers and community organization to keep the public in public education.

Educational Apartheid

They could just as easily be marching in Chicago where civil rights stalwarts like Jesse Jackson, CTU Pres. Karen Lewis, and Jonathan Kozol have condemned the current system of "educational apartheid".  Jackson's comments at the recent school board meeting, have reframed the whole discussion. The mayor's hand-picked school boss, J.C. Brizard, has been forced to stand before the media to claim, "ninety percent of our kids are black and brown ... how can that be educational apartheid?" Sounds like South Africa
during Apartheid to me.

The mayor himself had to stand before the media on Tuesday and deny that he has already written off 25% of Chicago school children.

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