The State of Michigan spends annually somewhere between $30,000 and $40,000 per prisoner, yet we are struggling to provide schools with $7,000 per student. I guess we need to treat our students like they are prisoners, with equal funding. Please give my students three meals a day. Please give my children access to free health care. Please provide my school district Internet access and computers. Please put books in my library. Please give my students a weight room so we can be big and strong. We provide all of these things to prisoners because they have constitutional rights. What about the rights of youth, our future?! -- Gratiot County HeraldBootz' letter to the editor was also picked up by Campaign for America's Future blogger Jeff Bryant, who posts a scathing attack on current education budget cuts and misplaced priorities that favor incarceration over education.
Accountability mandates from the so-called reform movement have also done much to feed the School to Prison Pipeline. As this recent report from a collaborative effort involving research, education, civil rights and juvenile justice organizations concluded, academic "get tough" policies such as the current emphasis on high-stakes standardized tests that originated with No Child Left Behind "have led to more students being left even further behind."
"By focusing accountability almost exclusively on test scores and attaching high stakes to them," explains George Wood of the Forum for Education and Democracy, "NCLB has given schools a perverse incentive to allow or even encourage students to leave.” Adds FairTest's, Monty Neil, "NCLB has led to the dramatic narrowing and weakening of curriculum. Because so much of the school day is focused on test preparation instead of well-rounded instruction, more students become alienated, making the jobs of teachers even harder.” -- School Cuts And 'Reforms' Feed The Prison Pipeline