Education Cutbacks and Urban Violence

Bloated public education budgets in our large cities may be immune from serious cuts for an unpalatable reason: the threat of urban violence.For decades education budgets have grown fat, though America has little to show for this generosity. Alas, as cities and states increasingly face fiscal crises, and the $100 billion in education aid under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act runs out in 2011, these once sacrosanct budgets -- "helping the children who are America's future" -- increasingly come under scrutiny (see here and here). Budget cutting is especially likely in cities like Detroit and Washington DC, where de-population or demographic shifts have reduced public school enrollments.Superficially the problem appears to be one of financial efficiency -- sustaining decent performance with fewer dollars, no different from private firms cutting costs to fend off cheaper rivals.   The business-like characterization is incomplete. Difficult budgetary choices...(Read Full Article)