Tuesday, February 22, 2011

An Open Letter to the City of Chicago

Phyllis Lockett published this article last week, drawing powerfully from Martin Luther King's famous "Letter from a Birmingham Jail":


I've been thinking a lot lately about Dr. Martin Luther King's famous Letter from Birmingham Jail.


While it was written in 1963 from the city jail after he was arrested for a non-violent protest against racial segregation - much of it still rings true for those fighting for quality public education for African-American and Latino young people.


…Those are the questions I ask when our school district refuses to provide charter schools with facilities, when CPS owns more than 100 buildings that house underutilized and poor-performing schools. When the state funds charter schools at 75 percent of the base level, and prevents equal access to capital dollars. When our own political and community leaders prevent failing schools from being replaced. When special interest groups fight tooth and nail to keep charter schools from opening in neighborhoods of high need because they want to protect their jobs.


I could go on and on about the individual actions that delay or prevent new, high quality schools from opening in our city. Together, they have become an endless stream of inequitable and unfair decisions that undermine our children's opportunity to receive quality education.

While the adults continue to debate and analyze the policies, process and political implications - our children are left waiting for their chance.


Where is the sense of urgency? How much longer can we afford to wait?


…As Dr. King's words ring so poignant and so true today, "Justice too long delayed is justice denied."


An Open Letter to the City of Chicago

Phyllis Lockett

Posted: February 17, 2011 02:56 PM


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