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It is hard to remember that we once had stable schools in this country. That was before No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top went into full implementation. Now, schools in African American and Latino communities are routinely targeted for state takeovers, turnarounds, transformations, and transfer to chartering entities, without the consent of the people who live in the communities and the people whose children attend the schools. The billionaires pushing the “parent triggers” want parents to have the power to turn their school over to a charter corporation, but they are unwilling to grant them the power to say “no” to a takeover or a closure ordered by the Mayor, the Governor, or some bureaucrat.
Takeover goes in only one direction: privatization.
If this subject interests you, you will find this brief report of great value. It summarizes the “systematic disenfranchisement of African-American and Latino communities through school takeovers.” It describes the failure of all of these measures, from the takeover of New Orleans to the takeover of Detroit to the takeover of Newark to the takeover of public schools in Tennessee. One thing that all these schools have in common is that they enroll children of color. The powerful assume that African American and Latino parents lack the political power to stop them, and so far they have been correct.
The hunger strike at Dyett High School in Chicago demonstrates that there are ways for the “powerless” to take power. With the strength of their will, they can force those who hold the levers of power to back down.
That same fortitude is needed in all the threatened communities. The same local leadership can change the outcome.