RELEASE: NYC Parents Join “Journey for Justice”
NYC Parents & Students Join National “Journey for Justice,” U.S. Office of Civil Rights to Investigate Mayor’s School Closings Policy
(New York, NY)— Members of New Yorkers for Great Public Schools traveled to Washington, D.C. today as part of a growing national movement to highlight federal investigations into school closings that unfairly target against low-income, students of color.
As the federal Department of Education investigates school closings in New York City, parents, students and advocates from NYC today joined hundreds on the “Journey for Justice” in Washington D.C. for a hearing with Arne Duncan and the USDOE, to address the devastating and destabilizing impact of school closings, and elevate successful community-driven solutions for sustainable school transformation.
This effort follows on the heels of three Democratic mayoral candidates and a majority of City Council members calling for a moratorium on New York City school closings last week.
NYC Groups participating in the “Journey for Justice” include: Urban Youth Collaborative, NYC Coalition for Educational Justice, Alliance for Quality Education, Make the Road NY, New York Communities for Change, Sistas and Brothas United.
“In their effort to address the challenges confronting New York’s public schools Mayor Bloomberg and the DOE have utilized school closure as their primary strategy to promote change. Moreover, they have not insured that the schools that have been opened in place of those they deemed “failing” actually serve the same children as the previous school. This has resulted in the displacement of thousands of children across the city and contributed to over-enrollment of the most disadvantaged students in the City’s most troubled schools. This policy must be stopped immediately,” said Pedro Noguera, Professor of Education and ED of Metropolitan Center at NYU
“Communities of color have been unjustly targeted for school closings. These closings do not help students. They shatter and destabilize communities. If we were serious about helping children in communities of color, we would make sure that their schools have the resources they need to succeed: Preschool classes, small classes, afterschool programs, school nurses, school psychologists and guidance counselors, libraries and librarians, programs in the arts,” said Diane Ravitch, Education Historian
“I go to a school in the Lehman Campus in The Bronx, and I know what happens when a school is set up for closure. The school loses space, teachers, guidance counselors, extra curricular activities, community partnerships, and school morale. It tells us that we are not important enough to invest in. Bloomberg’s failed policies have failed students,” said Ashley Payano, student from Lehman HS and member of the Urban Youth Collaborative (UYC)
“In NYC, school closures and forced co-locations have been divisive, hurtful and a failed strategy. The toxic environment created leaves everyone in the schools feeling broken. Mayor Bloomberg has closed 140 schools targeted in Black and Latino communities yet only13% of Black and Latino students graduate college and career ready. That is not success that is failure. Why would anyone who cares about children use these kinds of education policies to reform schools?” said Ocynthia Williams, Bronx parent with United Parents of Highbridge