Saturday, August 7, 2010

Spending more on corrections than education

Americans are spending more on incarceration than education. I'm not surprised to hear it, but I did not think about it until I moved to Alabama to be with my (now EX-) fiancee.

She has a child enrolled in public school. It seemed like every day, there were notes from the school asking for money. Hat day fund, one dollar. Pizza day, three dollars. Buy a school T-Shirt (a "requirement" I'm told, $10), a CD "yearbook" costs $10 (that anyone with a CD, a label making copying machine, and Microsoft picture slideshow maker could make). And I'm not even counting those "required" supplies on that list that we were forced to buy to "share with everyone" (yet when the kid actually NEEDED a pencil from that communal stash of school supplies they were nowhere to be found). Nor did I mention the endless barrage of other "fundraiser" activities-- the candy sales, the catalogue order forms, the bookmobile, etc. It was staring to sound like a Mastercard commercial, only without the "priceless" line. Actually it felt more like petty theft mixed in with extortion.

I kid you not, if we bought into every fundraiser, hat day privilege, party, field trip and event, we could have paid enough to send the kid to a private top-notch local academy. This is supposed to be a public school paid for by the insane amount of taxes even the poorest citizens pay, like the sales tax. It makes me wonder exactly what the schools do with all that money, that communal school supply stuff we had to buy the start of the year, and all those donations collected for that "tools for schools charity."

Despite Wal-mart selling pens, paper, and notebooks at pocket-change prices (an in spite of that tax-free holiday), we still found ourselves over school budget.

While our kids' educations are compromised by the constant need for funding, the feds are spending BILLIONS to run public lists of people who committed crimes as far back as the 1950s (or kids as young as age 10), to send US Marshals to knock on doors just to see if they are home, to keep them in mental institutions just to please the public, or to send someone out with a tape measure to ensure that guy on the public list is at least 1 foot outside that residency restriction buffer.

"If it saves one child" apparently is a relative term. After all, our attitude about sexual accountability education is to shield them from it until they have it, then brand them for life. Somehow, we've grown to equate teaching kids about the legal pitfalls is equivalent to condoning a "pedophile" act. How come we do not think that "scared Straight" is the same as teaching kids how to do drive-bys and how to turn powedered cocaine into crack rock? It just seems when we put the letters S, E, and X together to form a word, people become instant paranoid schizophrenics.

But I digress. I've written TWO articles on my website on the money issue in the sex offender field. They've been up there for a while. This is just another example of capitolism gone wild.

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