Journey for Justice
Students from PSU and YUC were joined by 150 students from Boston, New York, and Newark for Thursday’s press conference, one stop on the Journey for Justice—a national campaign connecting students from eleven cities across the nation to end mass school closings. The Journey for Justice continued on to D.C. where students rallied at the Department of Education and demanded a meeting with President Obama.
“We are joining with other cities because school closings aren’t just a problem in Philly,” says Alicia Duncan, a junior at West Philadelphia High School and a member of the Philadelphia Student Union, “We are all tired of watching our communities suffer.”
Schools across the nation continue to be closed despite research that shows that closing schools does not improve test scores or graduation rates. In NYC, after 144 school closures, only 13% of Black and Latino students graduate ready for college. “We don’t want any other city to see the same outcomes we’ve seen in New York”, says Cheyanne Smith from the Urban Youth Collaborative, a group that started their bus caravan in NYC, who made the stop in Philadelphia to support students here. “Philadelphia still has a chance to avoid making the same mistakes that our District made.”
Students who participated in the Journey for Justice are demanding a national moratorium on all school closings, turnarounds, and phase-outs. They are also demanding on-going support for community models of school improvement “We are the most impacted by these decisions and we will keep pushing to ensure student voices are included in making decisions”, says Andre Dunbar, a senior at Sayre High School.
The Journey for Justice was carried out by youth organizations from Philadelphia, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Eureka (MI), Hartford, Newark, New Orleans, New York City, and Washington, D.C. with support from five other cities.