Thursday, August 11, 2011

More on education - this time with prison

Yesterday I posted some ideas on education. Thanks for the comments, both online and via email. After my post, I saw this editorial on the Cato Institute's website. Now before you go read it, I should warn you that these folks tend to be a little different. In some ways, they are ultra-conservative. In other ways, they are very liberal. They tend towards a libertarian viewpoint, where the best government is no government. (OK, maybe I overplayed that a little).

In this editorial, recognizes a little-know idea in Texas trying to fix a problem with a pipeline from school to prison. The article gives credit to Governor Rick Perry who is often mentioned by Republicans as a candidate for president. He most recently was in the news with a Day of Prayer for our country.

The premise of the idea is that too many of our kids get kicked out of school (suspended, expelled, etc) and end up in jail. My assumption would then be that the prisons teach these kids how to be "better" criminals and then they come back out, only to wind up back in prison for something serious. The programs mentioned take these kids and instead of kicking them out of school, gives them "guidance and rehabilitation services in or near their communities."

There's a lot that's NOT said in this article, for example no results are given. What happens to school discipline when these kids are NOT suspended or expelled? And what is the cost of these programs? (I suspect less than incarceration, but no facts are given).

Even with these questions, it still looks to me like this is a good idea and should be evaluated. I don't think SC has the same ratio of problem kids that Texas might have, but each state should look at the option. We just might end up saving a few kids in the process.

What do you think?

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