If this is their plan for young people, then black people may want to come together and fight. The city of Philadelphia recently announced plans to close nearly two dozen schools, while simultaneously spending $400 million dollars to build a shiny new prison. We hope that this isn’t the intended replacement for those displaced students coming out of inferior educational systems.
Pennsylvania’s School Reform Commission voted to approve the budget to close the schools in spite of pleas from parents and students not to do so. A total of 23 schools will be closed, roughly 10 % of those in the city. A stunning 81% of those school closings are going to impact black students, even though they only represent 58% of the student body.
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, students are going to help cover the cities debt by returning to class without new materials for learning. The impact is going to be felt the most in poor communities. A total of 3,000 people are going to lose their jobs, and programs in sports, art and music are going to be cut.
RT is also reporting that the cuts that students are going to endure are not going to fill the budget gap, since the Republican-controlled House of Representatives just approved a tax break for corporations that will cost the state $600 to $800 million per year. The state is also going to invest $400 million to build two state correctional facilities.
The prisons that are being expanded have been subject to lawsuits claiming s-xual and physical abuse of inmates.
Journalist Rhania Khalek said that the racial disparities in the prison and school populations in Philadelphia create a literal school-to-prison pipeline that destroys the futures of black children.
“In Philadelphia, black students comprise 81 per cent of those who will be impacted by the closings despite accounting for just 58 per cent of the overall student population,” she wrote. “In stark contrast, just 4 per cent of those affected are white kids who make up 14 per cent of Philly students. And though they make up 81 per cent of Philadelphia students, 93 per cent of kids affected by the closings are low-income.