Education Budget Cuts Are Hurting the Violence Issue in Chicago

In the past few years, the city of Chicago has become regarded as one of the most violent cities in America.  Despite a boost to the police force, there were 762 murders in Chicago this past year alone, which is more than that of New York City and Los Angeles combined.  According to police, the vast majority of these murders are gang and/or drug related.  A report released in July of 2016 revealed that in 2011 45.5% of the victims of violent crimes in Chicago were between the ages of 17-25 and 53.22% of this same age group were offenders.

During his campaign, Trump announced his “plan” to improve this situation in Chicago.  Rather than forming an official solution, he simply stated that the police force needs to do a better job or he will get the Feds involved.  Rather than focusing solely on the policing of gun laws and violence, both the state and federal government should make steps in improving the education budget instead.

About half of the people involved in these murders are high school and college aged.  Due to the poor condition of the Chicago public school system, many of these students do not see the benefit of education in their lives.  In February, the local government cut the Chicago Public School (CPS) funding by $46 million.  In addition to this, Trump has announced a potential 13.5% decrease in the education portion of the federal budget.  These budget cuts are not the solution needed in Chicago.  Increasing the size of police force and even sending in the Feds may help temporarily, but in the long term it is a wasted government expense and will not solve the problem.

Instead of cutting the budget on education, I think the government should strive to boost it from its current number.  An investment in education pays dividends by providing more skilled workers for the workforce as well as more qualified workers. In the case of Chicago especially, high school students do not currently see their education as an outlet from the violence on the streets.  With a school system that continues to cut its budget, the students resort to gang related activities in place of pursuing an education.  The budget cuts are depriving the students of the resources necessary to gain a quality education.  Investing more in education rather than continuing to bolster the police force is the better long-term approach to this issue.  Providing these students with the proper funds for a quality education would help to increase the amount of students who move on to college and gain human capital.  By improving education policy and increasing the education budget, the local economy in these neighborhoods of Chicago would gain a greater amount of workers with more human capital than before, thus, the students would be able to get better paying jobs to motivate them from getting involved in gangs.

The local government continuingly cutting the CPS education budget clearly has not improved the violence in the South and West sides of Chicago.  Trump’s plan of increasing the police presence in Chicago and significantly cutting the federal education budget is not a solution either.  In fact, the opposite needs to be done: an increase in the education budget and improvements to education policy are necessary to provide students with a future other than violence.

Sources: murdered-are- black-71- murderers-are-black deaths-7- killed-in-12-hours/99864262/ chicago-fix- violent-crime- or-i- ll-send-feds- n711881 school-spending- reductions-met-20170206- story.html rate-2016- visual-guide/ cuts/

4 thoughts on “Education Budget Cuts Are Hurting the Violence Issue in Chicago

  1. Isabelle Kozik

    I agree that more measures should be taken to incentivize kids to stay in school and pursue higher education. New York recently became the first state to approve a program that provides free four year college education to students who come from low-income families. Hopefully more states will follow New York’s lead and provide education for people who didn’t have it before.

  2. ersull18

    While I agree that cuts to school funding both on the local and federal level are detrimental to the quality of the Chicago Public Schools, I’m not entirely sure that simply flooding the schools with added funding will solve the major issue of student buy-in to their education. Neighborhood and family factors often play a much higher role in cultivating educational norms and student motivation than their school does. For example, a student who attends a clean, high-tech school but lives in deplorable conditions probably won’t suddenly be able to attend college. I also agree that making the police force tougher won’t necessarily increase student motivation either, but I do think that government spending focused on bettering students’ home lives and neighborhood environment can indirectly have powerful effects on their educations without direct spending on schools.

  3. nbharp18

    With regard to the education budget in Chicago, I agree with you Tim, we should be investing in our education system, increasing our human capital instead of decreasing it. Though this is the case, I also believe that this is not the only thing that will help Chicago, since we need to get students into schools for them to reap the benefits of an increased education system budget. I think that maybe the coupling of an increased education budget and increasing the presence of law enforcement in areas with high crime rates will lead young people in these communities to stay in school since they will see the advantages of school over the gang life.

  4. Victor Matheson

    Nobel prize winning economist Gary Becker, who incidentally worked for decades at the University of Chicago which is an intellectual oasis in the middle of some really, really rough neighborhoods on the South Side of Chicago, was among the first to work on the economics of crime. His basic idea was simply that criminals are rational economic agents. Give people good options outside of crime and they will choose that over crime.


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