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Chicago Closes 50 Public Schools, While Spending $100 Million on Private Stadium Project?!

Last week, Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Public Schools were given the votes needed to close 50 public schools; arguing that a budget shortfall had left them with no other option.

But that hasn’t stopped them from dedicating $100 million (half of which from public funds) to the construction of a new event center, including a 500-room hotel and basketball arena for DePaul University.

The city say the construction of the arena will attract business and tourism.

But why not use that money to keep at least some of our schools open?

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New Report Takes Aim at New York City’s School-to-Prison Pipeline

A new report released by the New York City School-Justice Partnership Task Force calls for reform of disciplinary policies that lead to young people being arrested for minor infractions.

Taking aim at New York’s school-to-prison pipeline, the report reflects a trend across the country; minor disciplinary issues like talking back or violating dress codes are criminalized, thus setting young people on a course that makes them more likely to drop out, or be entangled permanently in the criminal justice system.

The report shows that black and Hispanic youth are arrested more frequently that white students  who commit similar infractions.

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[photo of Mo]
By Mo
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Closing Schools Means Time To Move: Are More People Going To Leave Chicago?

Now that the Chicago school closings have been announced, parents have reacted with outrage. With the closings disproportionately affecting minority students, there’s been a lot of backlash. A lot of the coverage I’ve seen has talked about how this will impact Mayor Emanuel’s next election.  To no one’s surprise, a bunch of pissed off teachers and parents is not going to help the Mayor get reelected. I wonder, however, will voter turnout be the only way their anger is expressed?

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News Flash

“The Haves and Have Nots” Gets Horrible Reviews; Inspires Petition Demanding OWN Dump Tyler Perry

Oprah Winfrey’s partnerhsip with Tyler Perry has gotten off to a very rocky start.

His new soap opera “The Have and the Have Nots” has been absolutely destroyed by critics for horrific writing, acting, and its adherence to racist themes and stereotypes. Everyone from the L.A. Times to the Crunk Feminist Collective has condemned nearly every element of the show .

A petition has even been launched, demanding that OWN sever ties with Perry.

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Featured Article

George Zimmerman’s Legal Defense Fund is Nearly Empty Less Than Two Weeks Before Trial

According to his attorneys, George Zimmerman’s legal defense fund is almost gone.

Though it reportedly had $315,000 in January, there is less than $5,000 left.

His team says Zimmerman needs at least $75,000 to even have a chance at mounting a good defense.

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Alice Walkers Pens Letter To Alicia Keys, Asking That She Cancel Israel Concert

Singer Alicia Keys has scheduled a stop in Tel Aviv, Israel for her world tour.

The show, which is set for July 4, has garnered Keys a lot of criticism, given the state of Israel-Palestine relations.

Pulitzer Prize-winning writer, Alice Walker has written Keys an open letter, requesting that she reconsider having a concert in Israel.

It reads, in part:

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Youth Homelessness is On The Rise in Illinois

According to a report in the Chicago Tribune, youth homelessness is on the rise.

Though an official count has not been made since 2005, shelters and hotline data suggests that more and more youth are on the streets. Shelters are overflowing with young people looking for beds, and hotlines are often overwhelmed with calls.

A variety of factors have contributed to the rising numbers; particularly economic factors like unemployment and corresponding familial stress.

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Number of Blacks in Elite Careers Hurt by Declining Racial Diversity Efforts

As a Supreme Court ruling on affirmative action looms, a New York Times analysis shows that progress has stalled for African Americans in elite careers.

Only 1 percent of America’s Fortune 500 companies has a black CEO, and 3.2 percent of senior executive positions are held by African-Americans in our nation’s biggest companies.

Though Blacks account for 12 percent of America’s workforce, they are grossly underrepresented among architects, lawyers, dentists, and doctors.

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Father of Slain 6-Month Old Jonylah Watkins Pledges to Turn His Life Around

Speaking out for the first time at a press conference yesterday, Jonathan Watkins – father of slain 6-month old Jonylah Watkins – says the tragedy has inspired him to turn his life around.

Watkins was changing his daughter’s diaper in the front seat of his car when a gunman fired upon them; he survived the shooting, but Jonylah’s injuries were fatal.

Jonathan says the tragedy has forced him to reassess and change his lifestyle.

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CPS: High School Graduation Rate in Chicago Hits Record High

A week after closing 50 Chicago public schools, Mayor Rahm Emanuel is touting an increased high school graduation rate as a sign that “we are pointed in the right direction, making the right decisions for our children.

A projected 63 percent of seniors will graduate in Chicago this year, up from 61 percent last year.

According to the Emanuel administration, this is part of a rising trend over the past decade.

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