Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Sacramento District Insists on closing public schools

The  Sacramento City school district is  closing  seven elementary schools, disproportionately hurting students in low-income and predominantly minority neighborhoods.
In response, twelve students and their parents filed a civil rights lawsuit, asking a federal court to block the closures. The suit claims that the Sacramento City Unified District’s decision “was motivated by an intent to discriminate against the minority populations” and will result in “a disastrous discriminatory effect on the poor, disadvantaged population which is served by these neighborhood schools slated for closure."
A lawsuit filed by parents with the help of Sacramento attorney Mark Merin on the bases of the racial and class discrimination in the decisions as to which schools to close  was dismissed by the federal judge Kim Mueller.

 Jonathan Tran of Hmong Innovating Politics, the group that organized the rally, told the June 12 rally , “The district applied an arbitrary and illegitimate standard to target schools that are predominantly high in low-income and minority populations … At the end of the day, that is unacceptable.”

According to the Sacramento Bee [3], “about 93 percent of students attending the seven closure schools are minorities, compared with 81 percent districtwide.” The schools being closed are over represented in Mexican American and Hmong students and parents.

The lawsuit  argued that the closures were in context of Sacramento’s history of, "intergenerational poverty and racial segregation, in which people of color have been segregated as a result of public and private policies over a period of decades."
 District officials and the Sacramento Bee  waved  off the lawsuit as a waste of time and money. In a statement, district superintendent Jonathan Raymond said:
“…it’s unfortunate that the District must now spend tens of thousands of dollars to defend an unsubstantiated and baseless lawsuit. The decision four months ago to close seven of our most under-enrolled schools was precipitated by the current and ongoing budgetary burden of operating and staffing these schools.”
  Note: Superintendent Jonathan Raymond is one of a cohort of superintendents trained and financially supported by the Broad Foundation, a private foundation closely linked to other conservative school “reform” efforts. Sacramentan Michelle Rhee is on the board of the Broad Center. He and his staff receive hundreds of thousands of dollars from projects funded by Broad. Note the role of Broad  Foundation asserted in the video  below about closing over 50  schools in Chicago and the layoffs of some 2,000 school employees as well as massive school closures in other cities.
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