PG in the news

Urban politics is our emphasis this week and here are a few stories that reflect some of the concerns discussed in the reading, including issues of economic growth, infrastructure, service provision, and public space.

Philadelphia’s public school system has closed dozens of schools and laid off thousands of employees to deal with funding cuts. 

A new mass transit effort is underway for the Indianapolis metro area – just as long as it’s not light rail. 

Leaders in a historically black neighborhood in Portland oppose plans to open a Trader Joe’s grocery store due to risks of gentrification.

A Nebraska city has passed an ordinance banning illegal immigrants from renting housing. 

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2 Responses to PG in the news

  1. lewilliams2 says:

    This article was interesting to me particularly because I am an education major and will be walking into school districts which face similar problems as this Philadelphia school system. Because schools have limited amounts of resources many are forced to close schools, fire teachers, and relocate students. Some of the concerns in the article are closely related to some of the topics we have discussed in the last few weeks. For instance, we’ve talked about politics in the city which involves issues such as infrastructure, or in this case, school buildings. In deciding which buildings to keep open and which buildings to close, the city governments make decisions regarding place and which schools belong in certain places as well as which students belong in specific schools.

    As a new teacher I am concerned that policy makers will relocate students into schools where they do not have trusting relationships with teachers or administrators. I think that in deciding who belongs in certain places, policy makers need to remember that the changes they make in regards to “place” affects students’ ability to perform well in school.

    How do you think policy makers can make well educated decisions on which schools to keep open and which school or “place” to relocate students?

    • stevenradil says:

      This is also happening in Muncie and school districts all across the state. It is interesting to note how the sources of the financial challenges or problems facing public schools aren’t limited to particular cities; often the issues originate through actions at other scales or in other places (like the mortgage crisis). Yet the consequences of these actions are most fully realized within places or at much smaller scales. In Indiana, the state legislature passed new laws limiting property tax rates (the main funding mechanism for public schools) and restricting how those funds could be used (must be applied to certain budget items first, like bonded debt for school construction). This didn’t arise in Muncie but the impacts are being felt here – schools are closing and consolidating, layoffs, and the like. This will, in turn, shape the local political response to the conditions and provide the context for how people interpret tax and school policy in the future. Places are embedded in larger contexts and urban politics are often strongly shaped by those larger circumstances.

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