Letter - Leaders should stop pandering to bureaucracy and special interestsThomas Jefferson admonished us to “… a crusade against ignorance…” yet today we find ourselves mired in that ignorance and the putrescence of a society that once valued education and our youth.
To the editor:
Thomas Jefferson admonished us to “… a crusade against ignorance…” yet today we find ourselves mired in that ignorance and the putrescence of a society that once valued education and our youth. We have replaced common sense, accountability, and quality education with bureaucracy, zero tolerance, and struggling teachers; we sit silent as one student drops out of school every 26 seconds and millions more graduate illiterate.
In Minnesota we spend an average of $41,364 for every inmate while the average amount put toward each pupil in the public school system sits at just about a fourth of that amount. School buildings deteriorate yet many states are building prisons or contracting to prisons for profit companies to house the growing number of inmates. Obviously our reactive and punitive strategy isn’t working; we sit silent as 1 in 100 males end up in our overcrowded prisons.
In many parts of our nation, school days are cut, fees are imposed, and classroom supplies dwindle as many teachers, 93 percent by one report, use their own money to provide needed materials. Yet from 1987 to 2007, states increased spending on corrections 127 percent, more than six times the 21-percent states directed to higher education. We have moved from number-one in the world to number-19 for educational quality and we still sit silent.
The root problem is a tendency to take action only when fire is on our doorstep, failing to act on evidence-based preventative and educational programs or worse, we cut those programs today and hope tomorrow never comes. There are viable alternatives to stomping out fires with studies suggesting that we could get $8 back for every $1 spent. We need leaders that will stop pandering to bureaucracy and special interests; what we need is everyone to stop sitting silently.
Dan L. Morrow
Long Prairie, MN