Monday, April 15, 2013

While School Doors Close, Prison Cells Open

Four major cities are closing several schools next year: Philadelphia (23), New York City (23), The District of Columbia (15) and Chicago (54). I've often wondered what the ramifications might be for so many school closings aside from larger class sizes and already overwhelmed resources such as wrap around services (social workers, resource teachers, etc) being abused, and I found an article that outlined many more problems for districts in the future. Here, Education Week argues why closing so many schools only temporarily saves district budgets.  

I also watched, "The House I Live In: Takes a Hard Look at the War on Drugs" yesterday on PBS and found that so much money goes into the war on drugs. With the privatization of the prison system, prisons in this country are looked at as more of an asset while our schools are considered liabilities. Convicting felons is a business that turns a profit. Hence why while the U.S. contains only 5% of the global population we have more 25% of the world's prisoners.  More money is invested in convicting non-violent offenders than educating our children. The lack of investment in education causes the overpopulation of our prisons. When are our priorities going to change?

It is important to put a proper workforce engaged in keeping our streets safe, but do you think there is a disproportionate amount of money and human captial invested in the war on drugs versus what is spent on schools? Why or why not?

In what ways can law enforcement work with and within schools to decrease the number of convicted felons in the future?

According to the documentary, the drug problem in America is only a symptom of larger problems related to social structure, public health, and economic issues. In your opinion, what are these problems and how can community organizations (schools, law enforcement, religious organizations, social workers, etc) ban together to find a resolution? 

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