WASHINGTON--A group of Chicagoans who are protesting closings of Chicago Public Schools are trying to prod Education Secretary Arne Duncan to intervene, appearing Tuesday at a meeting at the department here. Duncan is the former CEO of the Chicago Public Schools.
The Chicagoans making the trip were organized by the Kenwood-Oakland Community Organization (KOCO), a South Side group and Action Now, a community organization based on the near West Side. Activists from 18 cities in all are expected to be at the afternoon meeting.
The Chicago group is using several strategies to address the closings, including raising questions over whether shuttering neighborhood schools violate the civil rights of the minority communities impacted.
"It is crucial that policymakers hear the issues, recognize the discriminatory and destabilizing impact these closings and turnarounds have brought about and take immediate steps to put a moratorium on school closings to stop the divestment in our youth," the Rev. Krista Alston, a KOCO leader said in a statement.
An Education Department spokesman told me Monday Duncan is expected to stop by the meeting and that federal options to prevent local school closings were limited.