Target: Office of Management and Budget, Chicago Public Schools
Goal: Condemn Chicago Public Schools for unsafe and racially discriminatory school closings
In what would be the largest single bout of school closure in the history of the United States, Chicago has announced plans to close 54 schools next year and shut down 61 school buildings. The announcement of the closures come after a union strike that concluded with an expensive contract and left the district scrambling for funds. Condemn Chicago Public School officials for shutting down 54 schools and displacing a drastic number of elementary school students.
Chicago is the third-largest school district in the country and the closings represent about 8 percent of the public schools in Chicago. A large majority of the students in these public schools are black or Hispanic and come from low-income families. The New York Times makes the important point that school closings “tend to affect the poor and minorities disproportionately,” observing that “in the 100 schools that have closed in Chicago since 2001, 88 percent of the students affected were black.”
Beyond the racial and economic issue is the issue of the mental and physical safety of these displaced students. Jennie Biggs, who has three children at Mark Sheridan Math & Science Academy in Bridgeport, calls school her children’s “second home.” “It’s where they feel most comfortable. To lose that sense of belonging and that sense of community must be a traumatic event for a child,” she said. Another large concern for many parents is how they will keep their children safe in territory that is unfamiliar to both them and their children. In addition to this, the president of the Chicago Teachers Union, Karen Lewis, raises an important point that abandoned buildings destabilize the neighborhoods around them.
These racially discriminatory and unsafe school closing are the worst the United States have ever seen, and things may only get worse in the future. Just as significantly, the closings disproportionately affect poor and minority students. Tell Chicago Public School officials not to proceed with these school closings.
Dear Office of Management and Budget,
Your recent cuts of funding and planned closure of 54 Chicago schools will be the largest single bout of school closures in United States history. The closure of schools is dangerous because it leaves abandoned buildings that destabilize neighborhoods and thrusts children into unfamiliar territory.
This closure will also eliminate 8% of Chicago Public schools and disproportionately affects minority and impoverished students. 100 schools have closed in Chicago since 2001, and 88% of the affected students were black. Meanwhile, students at other schools will benefit from these closures and receive new equipment and better teachers. I am disappointed in the discriminate closings and the poor conditions you have left students with.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Halfd via Wikimedia