Last night, I was happy to hear Chris Hayes report that the Buena Vista, Michigan, school district, which had been closed since May 7 with the intention of canceling classes for the rest of the school year, has reopened.
While it was good to see that these kids will indeed have classes for the remainder of the school year, I couldn’t help but hear this story and think about what’s happening with the school closings in Chicago. The city plans to move forward with the closing of fifty-four schools, despite protests from students, parents and the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU).
They differ greatly in size, but what Buena Vista and Chicago have in common is that the populations most affected by these school closings just happen to be mostly black. Buena Vista is home to just under 7,000 residents, 74 percent of whom are black. In Chicago, where black students make up about 40 percent of those enrolled, 88 percent of those who would be displaced by these school closings are black.
“Let’s not pretend that’s not racist,” CTU President Karen Lewis said at a rally back in March.