The following is from Jitu Brown, national director of the Journey for Justice Alliance and one of the Dyett Hunger Strikers.
As a CPS parent and long-time community organizer, I am appalled by the actions of Barbara Byrd-Bennett in stealing from Chicago's children to feather her already robust nest. What is more appalling however, is Mayor Rahm Emanuel's effort to isolate her actions as the corruption of an individual; and our acceptance of such nonsense. Corruption and discriminatory actions that disregard the voices of Black and Brown parents is central to the culture of the school privatization movement. While millions of dollars are pumped into selling the public on "school choice", nationwide corporate education interventions have failed to improve the academic outcomes in Black and Brown communities, while a laundry list of "reformers" have been caught violating the public trust.
The "state of the arts" in the Chicago Public Schools district has improved over the past two academic years, but there remains much work ahead to ensure all students have access to quality arts instruction, according to a recent report by Ingenuity Inc., a Chicago-based arts education advocacy organization.
For the report issued last week, Ingenuity examined the progress that's been made towards the goals and recommendations in the city's three-year CPS Arts Education Plan, which was approved by the Chicago Board of Education in November of 2012 and made arts a core subject.
Over the first two academic years under the plan, "growth was seen in almost all categories of arts instruction, including minutes of weekly instruction, staffing, arts integration and professional development, and number of arts partnerships," the report reads.