Attorney General Eric Holder and Education Secretary Arne Duncan are in Chicago today for a pow-wow with Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley over the city’s teen violence epidemic:
U.S. Atty. Gen. Eric Holder and Education Secretary Arne Duncan will be in Chicago Wednesday to talk about what the Obama administration is doing to combat youth violence in the wake of a nationally-publicized fatal beating of a Fenger High School student.
The two Obama administration officials will hold a news conference with Mayor Richard Daley and meet privately with students, parents and local officials, including the family of 16-year-old Derrion Albert, whose funeral was Saturday.
Last week, the White House called the brutal beating “chilling” after video of Albert’s beating attracted national attention. But youth violence is not a new issue for Chicago, which already has lost three public school teens to violence since classes began a month ago.
As Chicago Public Schools CEO, Duncan highlighted the violence but struggled to get a handle on it before leaving for the Obama administration at the start of the year.
Decades of “community organizing” and welfare state spending have not saved Chicago’s children, but Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn is clamoring for mo’ money, mo’ money, mo’ money to throw at the problem:
Gov. Pat Quinn said he’s glad Duncan and Holder are in town but suggested what states really need to combat violence is more money from the federal government.
Quinn said Illinois isn’t alone in its struggles to pay the bills, and said among the first things states cut during budget crunches are after school programs that target at-risk youth. Quinn said the federal government should pump more dollars into these programs, or at least let states borrow money at a low rate to keep community programs running.
“If we believe in the philosophy of non-violence… then it’s important that the federal government help cities and school districts and states have the resources necessary to have programs like this,” Quinn told reporters after visiting with children in violence prevention programs at a community center on the West Side. “But in these hard times, often times state governments that are strapped for money, there are efforts to try to cut these programs, this would be very false economy. It would really cause harm to these young boys and girls who are quite fragile in my opinion and the federal government more than anything can help us with resources and we have to do that.”
Thing is, the money keeps flowing in without results. Here’s more federal funding on the way for a new profiling plan targeting the most at-risk youth:
The new chief officer of the public schools here, Ron Huberman, a former police officer and transit executive with a passion for data analysis, has a plan to stop the killings of the city’s public school students. And it does not have to do with guns or security guards. It has to do with statistics and probability…But if Mr. Huberman’s hunch is right, about 10,000 high school students with the highest risk of becoming involved the violence as victims, or even perpetrators, will be better off once his plan is in place this winter.
Financed by federal stimulus grants for two years, the $60 million plan uses a formula gleaned from an analysis of more than 500 students who were shot over the last several years to predict the characteristics of potential future victims, including when and where they might be attacked. While other big city school districts, including New York, have tried to focus security efforts on preventing violence, this plan goes further by identifying the most vulnerable students and saturating them with adult attention, including giving each of them a paid job and a local advocate who would be on call for support 24 hours a day.
I pray this latest plan works. I fear it is more of the same.