It seems that Marie Harf isn’t the only one who thinks that a job creation program is necessary to quell violence that doesn’t actually stem from a lack of job creation programs.
Today, in a speech to the Summit on Youth Violence, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan noted that, while gang violence is a tricky situation to address, when he comes home to Chicago, he meets with gang leaders and they tell him that they would definitely put down their guns and abandon their violent ways, if only there was a job they could get up for every morning.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan said on Tuesday that he has met with gang leaders in his hometown of Chicago and they’ve told him that it’s a lack of jobs that keeps them on the streets.
“We have to have jobs for young people,” Duncan said at the National Summit on Youth Violence Prevention in Crystal City, Va. “I probably shouldn’t say this in a room like this, but occasionally when I go home I’ll sit down with some of the gang leaders – back home in Chicago.”
He said he asked them what was the “biggest impediment” to getting gangs to stop their illicit activities.
“It’s jobs,” Duncan told the federal government-sponsored event. “So we need to think about what we do at scale to create those kind of opportunities for young people who just have to make some money, want to do it in a positive way, but in too many places they don’t exist.”
Chicago’s current unemployment rate is hovering around 7%, and while that may impact a low-income or minority community disproportionately, it’s been creeping down slowly across the board, with white and minority job candidates. And yes, while economic problems have plagued the city, it can’t be considered fully to blame for the waves of gang violence that happen each summer, as street gangs inflame their rivalries in the hotter months.
Arne Duncan, as it happens, is secretary of Education, and there’s no better example of where he’s failing at his job than Chicago. In fact, even according to the Huffington Post, there is nowhere in America where failing schools are so obviously a factor in subsequently failing youth. Forty percent of Chicago Public Schools attendees never graduate. Ninety-one percent of CPS grads find themselves taking remedial courses in college because the quality of education is so low. And meanwhile, we have an ever increasing school budget, with ever expanding programs to address where schools are falling short, and ever-increasing teacher pay, orchestrated by a union that cares more about its own bottom line than the community it serves.
Even if there were jobs – and there are – CPS students simply aren’t ready for them. And they don’t see any value in becoming ready for them. And that’s not the job creators fault. That’s Arne Duncan’s. But I suppose it’s way easier to blame those dastardly Republicans who continue to push back on the President’s agenda of increasing taxes so as to increase job creation.
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