Chicago to Close 50 Public Schools While Spending $100 Million on Basketball Arena
Two months ago, the city of Chicago enraged progressives by unveiling plans to close over 50 schools, mostly in the poorest African-American areas, in order to make up for a budget shortfall caused by the Bush Recession and their bloated corporate welfare system.
Adding insult to injury, the city has just announced that it plans to dedicate as much as $100 million in public funds to the privately funded DePaul University for the construction of their new basketball arena.
Yes, you’ve read that correctly: The city cares more about collegiate sports than they do about educating already-struggling African-American youth.
The city’s plan sparked fierce opposition from the people, culminating in last week’s massive protests on the streets of downtown. The protesters made the argument that the school closings would put children at risk by forcing them to travel further to overcrowded schools, making their already deplorable educational situation even worse.
The rallies and marches were organized by a coalition including the Chicago Teachers Union, which emphasized the point that the school closures were targeted at predominantly poor and African-American school districts
“These people on a mission to pretty much destroy public education as we know it in Chicago. We’ve been suffering under these policies for over ten years in Chicago, and there has been study after study on school closings. What they’ve found is that unless children go on to significantly better schools, then the promise of closing schools doesn’t really do anything. All it does is cut investment in the neighborhoods where schools are closing down,” CTU president Karen Lewis told MSNBC.
Of course, the city is justifying such a large public investment by claiming that constructing the arena and it’s accompanying event center will bring “huge opportunity” to the city of Chicago by attracting business and tourism.
How much opportunity will this deal provide the city of Chicago if, in 20 years, its streets are riddled with uneducated college-age adults?
This statement comes on the heels of the bad news that the Board of Education has approved the city’s plan to neglect the education of mostly-young African Americas, despite desperate pleas from Chicago residents.
This tragic story is but a microcosm of the anti-intellectual and corporatist strains of thought corrupting local governments all across America. During times of unprecedented economic hardship, it is nearly unconscionable that we are prioritizing corporate and leisurely interests ahead of educating of America’s future generations.
It was exactly this kind of reckless shortsightedness that led to the financial crisis and subsequent Bush Recession, let’s make some noise and reverse course NOW!
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