Taxpayers have spent more money incarcerating people than educating them in areas impacted by school closings

No other school district in the country has attempted to do what Chicago Public Schools is planning to do this fall: close more than one in 10 school buildings, the vast majority of them in African-American communities.

“With CPS losing enrollment, officials insist that the closings are needed to ‘right-size’ the district, to save money and to provide more resources in schools that will stay open,” writes Catalyst Chicago Editor-in-Chief Lorraine Forte. “But many long-time observers and community activists aren’t buying that. They see no evidence that mass closings, the largest ever in a major urban district, will bring anything but more chaos and turmoil to communities that already struggle with social and economic woes.”

We put our heads together with Catalyst, which has devoted its latest issue to school closures, to dig a bit deeper into what’s happening on the blocks where the children most affected by the school closures live. We found some pretty disturbing facts, like this one: Taxpayers have shelled out more money to incarcerate people from the impacted blocks than educating them. Here’s our breakdown by the  numbers:

Catalyst graphic



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  • So, I guess that the logical way to resolve the dilemma posed by this post is to release all the incarcerated individuals in your neighborhood, Angela, and then close the prisons, like Quinn wants to do. The ratio is easily redressed.

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