Thursday, March 28, 2013

What to do with Chicago's Abandonned Schools

Assuming that CPS goes ahead with their planned school actions, there will be nearly 60 abandoned schools located mostly in Chicago's poorest neighborhoods.   In previous mass closings, the cities wound up losing a lot of money on the schools, which soon became abandoned and derelict.  Even The Chicago Tribune has called for the city to sell these buildings to charter schools, but the city has so far refused.  Fortunately, there is a way for the city to re-purpose these buildings.

Let's face it, research shows that students who are involved in actions like these have a much higher rate of dropping out and that is only going to give them a higher rate of incarceration as adults.   Since many of these kids are already growing up in a high crime neighborhood, most of them are probably going to wind up in prison.

Chicago has the chance here to become to incarceration what Silicon Valley is to micro chips.  Best of all, the private prison industry is growing almost as fast as the charter school movement hence our politicians will still have a steady source of campaign dollars. 

Now don't get me wrong, there is going to be some initial costs.  Unlike Chicago Public Schools, prisons need libraries and places for the inmates to exercise.  There will be a need for cells and fences and watch towers, but if we're looking for a tiny cramped space that can serve as a place to punish the worst offenders by placing them in isolation, most schools have a space like this.  It's usually used for special education classes.

The children are our future and if we can't nurture them and educate them, our society still needs to profit off them.   It's time to move Chicago into the future as incarceration capital of the world.

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