The Sacramento school board is rushing to shut down 11 elementary schools. That’s 20 percent of the elementary schools run by the Sacramento City Unified School District.

The process has been indefensible. Board members and the Superintendent have short-circuited the usual decision making process on school closure in order to jam these through. The California Department of Education recommends a 6 month process, which includes formation of a citizen advisory committee. But the district has given just five weeks between announcing the list of schools on the chopping block, and the final vote on Thursday. There is no citizen committee.

The fierce urgency of now requires immediate action, and no democratic process whatever.

The district has wildly exaggerated the under-enrollment numbers at these schools, cherry-picked numbers regarding costs and revenue, and refused to take into account the impact that displacing so many students will have on enrollment–as students leave the district for charter schools and other districts. Charter operators are already checking out some campuses, eager to take them over. The superintendent is a graduate of the Broad Academy, which suggests that the mass closure is more about about ideology than cost savings or efficiency.

This is an outrage.

Why don’t they hold hearings?

The lights are going out on public schools in city after city because some billionaire thinks it is a good idea.

Some smart and sophisticated young activists in the Hmong and Latino communities have organized to fight this plan. Listen to them here.

Are there no public-spirited citizens on the Sacramento school board? Don’t they feel a civic obligation to protect public education against privatization?