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School closings are racist

Illinois Sen. Kwame Raoul D-Chicago speaks with reporters about concealed carry legislatiIllinois State Capitol Friday May 17 2013 Springfield Ill.

Illinois Sen. Kwame Raoul, D-Chicago, speaks with reporters about concealed carry legislation at the Illinois State Capitol Friday, May 17, 2013, in Springfield Ill. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)

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Updated: June 21, 2013 6:11AM

I find your failure to see racism as a valid lawsuit issue unbelievable (“CPS invited lawsuits,” May 16 editorial), especially since it was a Sun-Times headline last year that screamed, “No real progress in grade school reading in 20 years.”

That article summarized a Consortium on Chicago School Research (CCSR) study indicating that Chicago’s achievement gap had widened during the past 20 years of CPS reform. The study stated that “[t]he decline in equity, with African-American students falling further behind students from other racial/ethnic groups, is particularly disturbing and has raised questions about policies that disproportionately affected African American students.” Closing schools was cited as an example of a policy disproportionately affecting black students while speculatively contributing to the widening of the gap.

As one who taught during the pre-reform era that generated a dramatic national narrowing of the reading achievement gap, it is obvious to me that the supportive resources that went to neighborhood schools, in that era, fueled that positive academic trajectory. It is also obvious to me that the destabilization of neighborhood schools through closings and the diversion of supportive resources to the unproven, unsustainable charter school experiment has fueled the current negative trajectory that the CCSR study finds so disturbing.

Black students — who have been the most uprooted and destabilized by a decade of school closings — are also the most academically harmed students in CPS. This is racist. To accept CPS’ inequitable delivery of education to our children would be an insult to our forefathers, who paid the ultimate price for the right to equity in public schooling.

Bonita Robinson, Oak Park

Easy prey in gun-free zones

State Sen. Kwame Raoul proposes concealed-carry rules that would prohibit taking guns into “sensitive areas such as schools, child-care centers, hospitals,” etc. Bad idea. If we are to have concealed carry at all (and we should), there should be no place where it is forbidden. That only tells the criminals and crazies where they can find easy prey.

George W. Price,Portage Park

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