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Preschools, not Prisons

It is too bad that I don’t have a category for “sanity in an insane world”. This story definitely qualifies.

Los Angeles County Sheriff oversees the largest jail system in the nation, and yet he travelled to Washington to lobby the government to give him less money, and instead spend the money on preschools, saying:

Either you have to pay now (for preschool), or you’re going to have to pay a guy like me later.

He has a point. One year in prison costs the government more than it costs a student to attend an Ivy League school for a year. And yet we throw money at building prisons, increase mandatory prison sentences, and cut back on education. We are insane.

Luckily, Obama is pushing hard for a sweeping expansion of preschool education, with a goal of providing universal preschool for 4-year-old children. Currently, just under half of all 4-year-old children attend preschool. According to a cost-benefit analysis by the National Institutes of Health, every dollar spent on early childhood education for low-income students generates $4 to $11 in benefits. It is a win-win!



  1. Jon wrote:

    Things are bound to change as soon as the 4-year-old lobby starts throwing as much money at politicians as the private prison system lobby. We’ve seen how much clout is wielded, for example, by the powerful Poor People’s lobby.

    Wednesday, September 4, 2013 at 12:55 pm | Permalink
  2. PatriotSGT wrote:

    I agree preschool is a good idea. My wife is an early education teacher who uses her daycare as her facility. All her children read by kindergarten.
    Investing in early education –that’s a no brainer in my book.

    I am even for eliminating 1st offense jail time for drug users, and indeed almost none of them see jail time for a 1st offense. In fact most low level dealers don’t see jail time for a 1st offense, unless they are in the multi kilo range when caught. I hear the comments about reducing or eliminating mandatory minimum sentences, but then when a judge does something like the one who gave 30 days for the man who raped a 14 year old people are outraged on both sides. That’s what mandatory minimums are for, to decrease the likelihood of these things happening. So lets have a real discussion about how to appropriately re-align the mandatory minimum guidelines. In my opinion just throwing them out is not an option.

    How about taking the money (estimated to be in the billions) will spend helping the President save face from him drawing a red line on Syria and spending it on early education. How about drawing a red line on illiteracy in the US.

    Wednesday, September 4, 2013 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

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