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School Closings: A Nationwide Issue

Dorothy Rowley | 2/6/2013, 1:33 p.m.

"It really impeded the rebuilding of some of the neighborhoods as we were rebuilding after [Hurricane] Katrina," Royal said. "Plus, it has taken away our rights as African Americans in a city that's majority African American, to have an elected school board govern the majority of our schools. It's putting that into the hands of private, nonprofit organizations that are not accountable through our democratic system."

Meanwhile, alliance members have demanded that DOE place a moratorium on school closings. While the department's civil rights office has reportedly investigated numerous complaints related to school closings, Daren Briscoe said no evidence has been found surrounding any violations of civil rights.

The alliance has also called for a meeting with President Barack Obama to discuss the impact of the closings - 37 school buildings in Philadelphia are slated for closure in June. Their plight, many public education supporters say, is fast becoming a civil rights issue.

"To a great extent, it's already evolved into a civil rights matter," said Moore. However, "we caught it before they completed the task of throwing our children into prison, and we're mad as hell about the fact that the Department of Education isn't doing anything about it."