Oct 12, 2009
On September 24th in Chicago, honor student Derrion Albert, 16, was beaten to death by two youths seven blocks from his school. After a cell phone video of the murder was put on the internet, there was an outpouring of sadness and anger. This comes after 400 Chicago students have been shot in the last year, many on their way to or from school.
Mayor Daley and the Chicago Public Schools responded to the outrage in the population by pretending they are going to do something about the violence. They announced they are instituting a program to supposedly protect 10,000 students – students that statistics show have a high risk of being shot.
Obviously this is a token gesture, designed to make it look like the officials are actually doing something. Never mind that of the 410,000 students in the Chicago Public Schools, 85% are growing up in poverty with huge levels of unemployment. Never mind all of the social and economic conditions that cause the demoralization behind the terrible violence.
Also making a public appearance after the murder was none other than Arne Duncan, the U.S. Secretary of Education, and Eric Holder, the Attorney General. Duncan had been in charge of the Chicago Public Schools, and President Obama cited the schools’ supposed success when he appointed Duncan to his cabinet. Under Duncan, the number of charter schools was greatly increased. This funneled money for education to private companies for their own profit. A few elite magnet public schools were built up, while the rest of the public schools remained among the worst in the country.
Of course, none of these officials actually mentioned the need for more money and resources for the schools. Further, there was no talk of providing a massive number of new, decent paying jobs. No, not at all.