Urban School Closings

Urban School ClosingsI am beyond enraged at the news that more than 3,000 people will lose their jobs as a result of the latest round of School Closings in Philadelphia, more than 80 percent of them Black. Couple this with the news that the city is supporting the construction of subsidized housing for Teach for America Corps members, my rage only gets greater.

There is a redistribution of jobs and income as a result of School Closings – which have now taken place on a massive scale in Detroit, New York and Chicago as well as Philadelphia – which makes the notion that this is a “Civil Rights initiative” absurd.

Someone needs to do the accounting. How many jobs have been lost total by School Closings around the country mandated by Race to the Top? What percentage of these jobs were held by Blacks and Latinos? What is the total income lost as a result of these jobs disappearing.

Then look at the jobs which replaced those lost, not only in the Charter schools put in their place, but in the new testing and accountability offices introduced in Urban School systems to implement Reform policies. What percentage of those jobs are held by Blacks and Latinos? What is the total income gained as a result of the new jobs created?

If my suspicions are true, we are seeing a massive job loss which contributes to the dramatic widening of wealth gaps by race, and a further shrinking of the Black middle class.

But even if we take race out of the picture, we are seeing a redistribution of wealth and income from people of middle class and working class backgrounds, most of whom attended public universities, to upper middle class and upper class people, most of whom attended elite private colleges.

mark naisonIf you think I am being paranoid, just do the calculations I suggest, and see what number YOU come up with. School closings are terrible educationally, and destabilize already hard pressed communities, but the income redistribution upward they produce may be just as damaging.

Mark Naison
With A Brooklyn Accent

Saturday, 12 October 2013

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