Thursday, January 7, 2010

Press Release Of The Imperial Women On Closings Of Black Schools By Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson And Schools CEO Dr. Eugene Sanders

Cleveland Public Schools CEO Dr. Eugene Sanders
Cleveland, Ohio Mayor Frank G. Jackson
Posted, Thursday January 7, 2010
(Cleveland, Ohio Area News)

From the Metro Desk of The Determiner and The
Kathy Wray Coleman Online News Blog and Media Network

The Imperial Women object to the entire Cleveland Metropolitan School District School Closings Plan until such time that Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, who by virtue of state law controls the schools, CEO Dr. Eugene Sanders and the Cleveland Board of Education go back to the drawing board and allow substantive community input, including that of the Black community. This would also include Ward 7 Councilman T.J. Dow who says he was not consulted and where his East High School is slated to close along with South High, which is in Councilman Anthony Brancatelli's Ward 12. Both are predominantly Black schools and both are on the predominantly Black East side of Cleveland. No other high schools are slated to close and Cleveland is divided along racial lines where Blacks live primarily on the East side and Whites on the West side. These Cleveland officials making such decisions are creating an environment of racial divisiveness that the Imperial Women object to.

We are also assessing the damage as to the slated closings of 16 other schools such as A. B. Hart Middle School and Forest Hill Parkway Elementary, most on the East side of town too. We believe that the targeting of Black children and their families on Cleveland's East side is a violation of the Equal Protection Clause under the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution and is an attempt to reinvent a dual school system to the detriment of Black children and their families. Women and girls are affiliated with the Cleveland schools and we take issue at the disregard for them via school closings by way of an arbitrary and illegal formula seemingly derived by incompetent school officials. We stand with Councilman Dow in his fight for his constituents and for East High School to remain open because data show it should and where Dow was an activist before becoming a councilman. Simply put, we have his back on this issue.

We call on the entire Cleveland City Council and other community leaders, both Black and White alike, to speak up on behalf of all Cleveland schools children and to not let Jackson and Sanders take us back to the 60s through ignorance and insensitivity to Black children and their families. Certainly some schools must be closed because of declining enrollment, but who suggested that it should be based on academics and poverty, assessment criteria that might not pass constitutional muster.

Ohio state legislators have yet to comply with the mandate of the Ohio Supreme Court to revise Ohio's current system of funding public education via property taxes where the Perry Local School District with its nearby nuclear power plant that brings in lots of tax monies spends some $16 thousand per student annually and Cleveland schools spend half that much. Now Jackson and Sanders want to use academics to penalize Black children in violation of the Equal Protection Clause under the Fourteenth Amendment and while knowing that Ohio's system of funding public schools disenfranchises Black and poor children in Cleveland and throughout the state, if not on an individual basis, clearly by way of a collective analysis.

We cannot allow Jackson and Sanders to experient with the lives of Black and poor children by closing Black schools via an artificial and self serving assessment formula that violates state and federal law. The city and its schools are more than $75 million in dept under Jackson's leadership and Black people will not bear the brunt of his ineffectiveness as a Black leader of a predominantly Black major metropolitan city and a majority Black school system, both of which are ultimately run by the mainstream establishment.