The Washington Times (3/26, Chumley) reports Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's "budget decision to close 53 public schools and 61 buildings isn't going over so well with city residents and union activists. ... From his perspective, he's only trying to help bridge a $1 billion budget gap. But from their perspective: Why are the buildings and schools he's targeted for closure in predominantly minority neighborhoods?"
Dewayne Wickham, in his column for USA Today (3/25, Wickham), notes that the administration of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel "intends to shutter 61 elementary school buildings, nearly all of them in black and Hispanic neighborhoods." Wickham says "those who push for massive school closings are taking a meat cleaver approach to deficit reduction - one that treats poor and inner city neighborhoods with the disdain of Jim Crow-era lawmakers." According to Wickham, if he gets his way, Emanuel "will render large swaths of Chicago's black and Hispanic neighborhoods uninhabitable education wastelands." Wickham points out that ED's "civil rights division is investigating complaints that claim the school closing decisions of several urban school districts amount to a civil rights violation."