Maryland Governor Approves Building New Youth Jail and Slashes Baltimore’s School Budget
Date:  05-20-2015

The spotlight was on the youth of Baltimore after the recent riots but someone wasn’t listening
In recent weeks the nation and the world were focused on a part of Baltimore after the tragic murder of Freddie Gray that anger turned anger into rage, sparking riots and also attempts to bring peace back to the city. The media featured countless stories about the section in the city where poverty was the norm, and parents of school children called for better opportunities for their kids, including more recreational activities and an educational system that allowed youths to achieve rather than fuel the school-to-prison pipeline.

It would seem to make sense that after the problems that plagued Baltimore for decades were again brought to light, the state would be eager to eradicate the underlying causes that make parts of the city much less equal than other neighborhoods—poverty caused by unemployment, substandard education, racial disparity in Maryland’s prison system fed unjustly by Baltimore residents, and a feeling that the phrase “Black Lives Matter” hadn’t reached the Governor yet. The following article published by TakePart on May 16 highlights the reason Baltimore school children are having a difficult time, and will continue to do so until politicians begin to understand the problem.

Maryland Chooses Jail Over Schools for Baltimore Youths By Rebecca McCray

Two days after Maryland officials approved spending $30 million of taxpayer funds on a shiny new jail for Baltimore youth caught in the snare of the criminal justice system, Gov. Larry Hogan removed $11.6 million from the city’s school budget and reallocated it to the pension fund for state employees, The Baltimore Sun reported.

The budget decisions reflect a pattern in Maryland and across the U.S. of prioritizing spending on incarceration over education—calling to mind what’s become known as the “school-to-prison pipeline”—and the elderly over the young. On the heels of violent unrest in Baltimore following the death of Freddie Gray in police custody, which focused attention on the city’s racial and economic inequities, Hogan’s choice to defund education has garnered criticism. “Given how the needs of our children have been highlighted by the events of the past few weeks, I hoped that the governor would have agreed with the general assembly that these dollars are critical for expanded educational opportunities,” Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said at a news conference following Hogan’s announcement.

Read full article here.