Twelve parent activists in Chicago went on a hunger strike on Aug 17 over the future of Dyett High School, which closed in June. Plans to reopen the school as a public school focusing on green technology or under a contract manager are in the works, DNA Info reports.
Jitu Brown helped lead the fight for educational justice for the parents and students of Chicago’s south side, as Voxitatis reported in 2013. The Coalition to Revitalize Dyett High School has worked for more than three years to create a sustainable school community in the Bronzeville area of Chicago. Activists are hoping for an open-enrollment, neighborhood high school that has parent support, but their efforts are being thwarted by Chicago Public Schools.
The Rev Jesse Jackson joined those parents last week. “Why is this fight still ongoing?” the Chicago Sun-Times quoted him as saying. “These parents have been legitimately asking for equal, high-quality public education in their neighborhood. We want to know from the mayor, the school board, why that has been blocked.”
The closure of Dyett High School this summer, after a “phasing out” period that gradually eroded the quality of education provided to low-income students of color in Chicago, is the tip of the iceberg of the great injustices committed against these students as part of corporate school reform. We join the voices of the coalition in calling on the school system to reinvigorate this great piece of Chicago history. Nat King Cole, Dinah Washington, and Bo Diddley are among the school’s esteemed alumni.
It’s time to stop depriving these students of a high-quality education, and we believe the most efficient and cost-effective way to do that is by investing in existing public neighborhood schools, not by bringing in a corporate management team, which will in many cases lead to corruption and a greater reduction in the quality of education these students receive.