With guest, Louder Than a Bomb poet Nate Marshall

Friday, July 8, 2016

Rahm's education chief: 'Not our job to desegregate...'

Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced in 2013 he was building this $19 million annex onto Lincoln Elementary School, even though the school shares a border with a school that has plenty of space for additional students.
In the report, CPS official Janice Jackson said that segregation is "part of history of Chicago" and "not a CPS issue." -- DNAInfo
Chicago's broke-on-purponse schools system is in a financial death spiral. But that hasn't stopped Mayor Emanuel's hand-picked school board from spending millions on brand new schools and expensive additions, in places where neighboring schools have plenty of space for extra students.

Their goal, it seems, is for nothing less than a whitenized Chicago, reconstructed ("reformed") on the foundation of a two-tier school system.

New construction is disproportionately going to schools that serve the white, middle class, while leaving predominantly poor black and Latino neighborhood schools underutilized, poorly resourced and maintained and threatened with closure. A system more segregated than at any time since 1954 when the Supreme Court ruled that separate-but-equal was anything but equal.

What’s more, Emanuel plans to keep doing this, using revenue from a record property tax hike passed last year, according to documents uncovered by WBEZ.

When questioned about the WBEZ report, Chief Education Officer Janice Jackson, fronting for Rahm, denied any and all responsibility for the resegregation policies.
Chicago's Willis Wagons

Gary Orfield, director of the Civil Rights Project at UCLA, says the pattern WBEZ found sounds a lot like the 1960s.
“It goes way back in Chicago to ignore boundaries to preserve segregation,”  
“Back in the initial civil rights era battles over school desegregation in Chicago, they built temporary classrooms – they called them Willis Wagons – on the black schools in order to avoid integration with the white schools that were half empty next door. And now, historically, it just gets flipped in the opposite direction, but it’s the same objective, or the same consequence, which is to preserve segregation.”
Remember, it was then-CEO Arne Duncan who had the court's deseg consent decree vacated, claiming the district had done all it could do to desegregate. The new school construction plan shows just the opposite. Rahm and the board are consciously and actively promoting an investment strategy of patterned school segregation.

Chicago has officially and illegally reverted to separate-but-equal, without the equal part.

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