According to a MSNBC report, in 2013, thousands of students of color in Detroit; New York; Newark, NJ; Oakland; Washington, D.C; Chicago and Philadelphia have lost their schools due to mass school closings.
District officials say these schools were underutilized or underperforming, and that by closing them, students have an opportunity to attend better-equipped schools.
“Consolidating schools is the best way to make sure all of our city’s students get the resources they need to succeed in the classroom,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel of Chicago to MSNBC.
Many of these closed schools were ones that predominantly served students of color. These students must now travel to elementary and middle schools further away from their homes.
Black students in Chicago and Philadelphia suffered the most from school closings, according to the report. In Chicago, 88 percent of the students affected by the school closures were African-American. In Philadelphia 81 percent were black. In both cities more than 93 percent of the affected students also come from lower income families. Parents of these children in each of these cities have filed federal complaints under the 1964 Civil Rights Act to fight school closings.