The Philadelphia public school system is on the verge of implementing what the New York Times refers to as “unprecedented downsizing” of its public school system. As many as 37 campuses, representing one of out every six public schools in the city, is slated to close by June. For those familiar with the failures that underscore union-controlled, Democrat-dominated big city public schools systems, the impetus behind these closures is unsurprising: once again we have a system with huge budget deficits that must reconciled. And once again, the brunt of that reconciliation will be borne by the city’s black American school children.
Some Philadelphians are up in arms. Just recently, as the City’s School Reform Commission neared its decision on which schools will be shuttered, United Action, a group of activists, clergy and elected officials, presented a analysis of the initiative, demonstrating that such closures disproportionately affect minority, poor and disabled students. Moreover, they have gotten the U.S Department of Education involved in pursuing a civil rights investigation as a result. The Philadelphia Inquirer obtained a letter from the Department to that effect, confirming that it would look into United Action’s contention that the “district adopted a school closing and consolidation plan…that has a disparate, adverse impact on African American and Hispanic students, and on students with disabilities.”
There is a bit of irony attached to this effort. The analysis was compiled by the Philadelphia Coalition Advocating for Public Schools (PCAPS). PCAPS is comprised of Action United, other community organizations — and the district’s teachers union. Thus, while this seemingly noble effort is ostensibly aimed at stopping such closures to prevent their adverse effects on children and their parents, the reality is that 1,100 teachers would also be affected by the consolidation.