Chance the Rapper’s recent $1 million pledge to the Chicago Public School system is generating major praise from celebrities and the public alike, including former First Lady Michelle Obama and Black Lives Matter activist Deray McKesson among countless others. In a press conference yesterday at Westcott Elementary School located on his hometown’s South Side, Chance proudly extended his support to the education system in Chicago which has consistently faced massive budget cuts over the years.
— Corbin Reiff (@CorbinReiff) March 6, 2017
The noteworthy donation comes just days after the Grammy-winning rapper’s less-than-perfect meeting with Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner regarding the state of Chicago’s school system. Nonetheless, the $215 million budget shortfall for the education system makes Chicago Public Schools in dire need of the funds and every little bit matters. Here are some of the ways that the public school system should invest the money.
1.) Monetary Incentives for Teachers.
As it is common knowledge that teachers have one of the demanding jobs in America (especially those in severely underfunded areas), it should be expected that educators be amply rewarded for their efforts. However, instead of merely increasing the salaries of Chicago’s teachers, the generous donation should go towards an incentivized program that motivates them to perform highly and better prepare their students. Taking the form of raises and cash bonuses, the proposed program should measure a variety of factors (such as student engagement and performance) to determine whether or not a teacher is deserving of such award. Not only are teachers paid more and feeling more fulfilled in their role but students are also gaining a more productive and satisfying education experience – the ultimate goal.
2.) Funding for After-School Arts Programs.
Considering Chance the Rapper is a musician, it is more than fitting to use his funds to support after-school arts initiatives for students. Aside from the typical (albeit totally valid) “arts and music programs keep children off of the street” argument, such programs provide valuable outlets to the youth for creative expression. From gaining exposure to computer graphic design or practice engineering music, students are, of course, spending more time doing something productive rather than getting into trouble; but, even more important is that they are allowed to embark on opportunities not often available for them and expand on their passions. Maybe this could fund the next Chance the Rapper.
3.) Free (or Subsidized) Meals.
Although heartbreaking to even imagine, some children only consume one meal each day and that is often their school lunch. For one to even expect that a student with an empty stomach be fully attentive and engaged in class is simply astonishing. Therefore, the final recommendation is that Chance’s funds can assist with the free and subsidized meal program for qualifying students to continue appeasing the appetite’s of our youth.
Hopefully, Chance’s generous $1 million pledge inspires more to donate to Chicago Public Schools to combat the large budget shortfalls. Before being quick to demonize or look down on the people in Chicago, you should maybe think about what you have done to help improve the situation.