Apr 6, 2013 2
Some people think so.
At the most basic level, there’s the fact that decisions about African American communities are being made without their consent.
Of 54 school closings proposed by CPS, 51 are in low-income African American areas; 90 percent of students being impacted are black.
“If you look at the people making the decisions and the communities they’re talking about, you have white males saying they know what’s best for African American students,” said Austin schools activist Dwayne Truss.
“Barbara Byrd-Bennett is not calling the shots,” he said. “Mayor Emanuel and David Vitale and Tim Cawley are calling the shots. She’s just an expert in closing schools who they brought in to do that. She’s just the messenger.”
Comments Elce Redmond of the South Austin Coalition, “She’s put in place to implement these policies so they can hide behind her.”
Byrd-Bennett “would not have been hired if she was not on board with [Emanuel’s school closing agenda] — and with the priority of providing opportunities for private educational interests to make money bringing in mediocre interventions for black children,” said Jitu Brown of the Kenwood-Oakland Community Organization.
Three high schools
For Brown, it’s about the school system’s priorities — and that’s a civil rights and human rights issue.
“The priority has been to disinvest from minority communities and invest in failed programs, invest in charter schools and contract schools,” he said. “The priority has been that minority children don’t have the same quality of education.
“Example: Look at North Side College Prep, they have 22 AP classes. Lakeview High, with about 18 or 20 percent African American students, a few blocks from the mayor’s house, they have 12 AP classes. Dyett High School, 99 percent African American and 95 percent low-income, no AP classes.