Philadelphia Cuts 23 Public Schools In Favor Of Prisons And Corporate Tax Breaks

Philadelphia Public Schools
23 Philadelphia Public Schools are being sacrificed at the altar for the sake of corporate tax breaks and a $400 million dollar injection into the prison system.

Philadelphia is closing 23 public schools to help deal with their $304 million dollar deficit.  Well tough decisions need to be made in tough times.  Priorities have to be considered.  That’s why they’ve invested $400 million in a new prison.

Wait, What?

Philadelphia is going to drastic measures to close a $304 million deficit. In March, Pennsylvania’s School Reform Commission voted to close a whopping 23 schools. The move came after the House cut $961 million from the education budget. And by July 1, a total of 3,783 employees of the Philadelphia school system will be unemployed.

So how did the city find the money to invest in a new, $400 million prison complex? That’s what many critics are wondering. [ globalpost.com ]

Now I know I’m out on a limb, but as I see it, the more education kids have, the more opportunities they’ll have to thrive in their adolescent and adult life without turning to criminal behavior.  This serves as another example of the school to prison pipeline that’s becoming a grotesque theme in the US.

School officials across the country responded to a surge in juvenile crime during the 1980s and the Columbine High School shootings a decade later by tightening disciplinary policies and increasing the number of police patrolling public schools. One unfortunate result has been the creation of a repressive environment in which young people are suspended, expelled or even arrested over minor misbehaviors — like talking back or disrupting class — that would once have been handled by the principal. [ nytimes.com ]

America incarcerates more citizens per capita than any other country.  We have to start prioritizing education over incarceration as a way to improve the country.  Cutting education spending in favor of augmenting the prison system is an excellent way to ensure there will be less educated kids and more prisoners.  It’s a self fulfilling prophecy.

What Other Options Does Philadelphia Have To Balance The Budget?

But it’s not like Pennsylvania does not have the money to fill the debt. Rather,  PA’s GOP-controlled House of  Representatives recently passed a tax break for corporations that will cost the state an estimated $600 million to $800 million annually. [ alternet.org ]

Well this sucks.  The State is heavily slashing its education in favor of tax breaks to corporations and injecting $400 million into the prison system.  Fantastic.  I would say this doesn’t make sense, but of course it makes perfect sense.  You just need to know the incentives of the law makers.  The corporations own these politicians.  They finance their campaigns and line their wallets.  The politicians are beholden to them, anxiously awaiting their next instructions.

They don’t give a damn about the public school education system or the regular citizens of their State.  Bold words?  Undeserved accusations?  What other reasons could there be for this behavior?  Oh there’s arguments, weak and transparent.  The corporate tax breaks will bring more jobs to Philadelphia, and that will create more revenue and employment.  But that doesn’t work.

Corporations can carry on, business as usual, and just increase their profits by millions.  If the demand isn’t there in the market, why hire more employees?  They can make more money through investing the extra revenue from tax breaks or hiring workers from overseas to lower the cost of business.  Lower taxes have not worked.  The bush tax cuts have been in play for over a decade now.  Where are the jobs?  Corporate tax breaks and a larger prison system is not going to educate our kids, and it’s not going to create more jobs.

 

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