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Segregation
Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
5:04pm
Mon Jul 14, 2014

Foster, Community Leaders Analyze Modern Day Civil Rights Issues (VIDEO)

The country has made great strides in the 50 years since the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was signed into law, but much remains to be accomplished, U.S. Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL,11) said at a panel discussion on the topic in Darien Monday morning.

July 2 marked 50 years since President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and natural origin.

"As we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act and all the steps forward ... we really have to continue to ask ourselves: What are the great civil right struggles that we face today," Foster asked at the talk with community members, held at the Indian Prairie Public Library in DuPage County.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
6:50pm
Tue May 20, 2014

Report: School Closures, Charter Expansion Causing 'Catastrophic' Harm To U.S. Minority Communities

On the heels of the 60th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision, which declared state-mandated public school segregation unconstitutional, dozens of grassroots organizations across the country say the push by education "reformers" to close and privatize schools is having a devastating and disproportionate impact on communities of color. Progress Illinois takes a look at a new report on the matter released by Journey for Justice Alliance, a national network of grassroots community groups.

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
11:36am
Wed Oct 23, 2013

On 50th Anniversary Of CPS Boycott, Activists Prepare To Mobilize Against Educational Inequalities (VIDEO)

The 1963 boycott of the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) wasn’t just about achieving the rights for black children to sit next to white children in classrooms. The fight against educational segregation was also about gaining equal access to resources so that every student was given the same opportunity to learn. A group of panelists who analyzed the parallels between educational access in 1963 and the present day on the 50th anniversary of the boycott say the fight for equality still rages on.  

In Chicago, many African American students still attend “separate but unequal” schools, according to members of the Tuesday night panel.

“Today we’re still fighting for educational equity, albeit in a different political climate,” said Elizabeth Todd-Breland, a professor of history at the University of Illinois at Chicago. “Our children today still do not have equal access to state resources and this is not primarily a question of diversity, but a problem of economic and racial justice.”

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
1:49pm
Thu Aug 22, 2013

Education Activists Call For CPS Boycott (VIDEO)

A group of Chicago education activists are hoping thousands of students take part in an August 28 boycott of a school system, they say, is acting as a destabilizing force in low-income communities of color.

Next Wednesday, the Chicago Board of Education is scheduled to vote on a proposed budget for the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) district, which has proposed some $68 million in school budget cuts. Next Wednesday is also the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s famous speech calling for equality for African Americans. The March on Washington was one of the largest political rallies for human rights in U.S. history.

“Part of our democracy is speaking up when you are being dealt an injustice, part of our history in this country is being able to peacefully express your frustration when policies do not treat you right,” said Jitu Brown, an education organizer for the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization (KOCO). “Young people will definitely get a lesson in representative democracy on this day.”

At a press conference on Thursday outside of the mayor’s office, Brown and approximately 50 education activists announced plans for the city-wide, one-day school boycott. The group also plans to stay away from the Chicago Board of Education meeting.

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
1:12pm
Mon May 20, 2013

CPS Policies Reinforce Segregation In Chicago, Finds CTU Report

On the 59-year anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark decision to end segregation in public schools, Brown v. Board of Education, the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) released a report claiming widespread segregation still exists in Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and the district’s administration is doing nothing to address it.

In the 2011-2012 school year, 69 percent of African-American students in CPS were in schools with more than 90 percent of the student body composed of the same ethnicity, according to Friday’s report, titled “Still Separate, Still Unequal” (PDF).

“The newest CPS leadership frames the district’s current inequities as an inevitable result of demographic trends,” the report reads. “Their fraudulent attempts to absolve corporate reform of any culpability in our separate and unequal school system are an extension of the resistance that enforcement of desegregation faced in the decades after Brown v Board.”

Quick Hit
by Matthew Blake
5:12pm
Mon Oct 15, 2012

Ravitch Says CTU Strike Was Galvanizing Moment For Teachers

Diane Ravitch, who was assistant secretary of education under George H.W. Bush and then became a national spokeswoman against the so-called education reform movement, says that Chicago has taken the lead on education reform – and the revolt against such policies.

Now a professor at New York University, Ravitch told reporters at the Chicago Teachers Union headquarters Monday that the strike gave “vicarious exhilaration” to teachers across the nation that were “beaten down” by evaluations based on standardized tests and charter schools.

Ravitch says Chicago is distinctive on education issues because of a “more militant” teachers' union, noting that in much of the south, west and now to an extent in northern states such as Wisconsin, “Teacher collective bargaining rights are eliminated.”