Sun-Times columnist Mary Mitchell
writes today that the hunger strikers organized by the Kenwood-Oakland Community Organization to reopen Dyett High School on Chicago's South Side are wrong to pressure “other African-American stakeholders” in the community to withdraw a competing proposal. I recently
wrote about the issue and
discussed it on WBEZ. Here's what Mitchell writes:
What gives me pause is KOCO’s hunger strike doesn’t just target City Hall. It targets other African-American stakeholders. One of them is Monica Haslip, the founder of the celebrated Little Black Pearl Studio, and executive director of the Little Black Pearl Art & Design Academy, a CPS contract school. “The community should be given options and not just be told this is the only thing you can consider, especially if other viable options are available. We in our community should welcome any viable ideas that make our community better and stronger,” she (Haslip) said.
“But just as I celebrate their choice to do what they have done, I feel I deserve the same opportunity. I am simply trying to contribute to my community as well. We do live in a democracy and we should all have the opportunity to participate.”
Mitchell concludes in saying:
Whatever proposal CPS chooses has to be in the best interests of children living in the school district. Additionally, every interested stakeholder in the “community” has a right to be heard. Anything less is an insult to all social activists.
Peter Cunningham is the founder of Education Post and serves on its board. He served as Assistant Secretary for communications and outreach in the U.S. Department of Education during the Obama administration’s first term. Prior to that he worked with Arne Duncan when he was CEO of the Chicago Public Schools. Peter is affiliated with