State and local spending on prisons and jails has grown three times as much over the past three decades as spending on public education for preschool through high school, according to a new analysis of federal data by the U.S. Education Department. The analysis, released Thursday, comes amid growing bipartisan agreement about the need for criminal justice reform, and argues that taxpayers and public safety would be better served by redirecting investments from incarceration to public schools. “A variety of studies have suggested that investing more in education, particularly targeted toward at-risk communities, could achieve crime reduction without the heavy social costs that high incarceration rates impose on individuals, families, and communities,” it says. From 1980 to 2013, state and local spending on public schools doubled, from $258 billion to $534 billion, according to the analysis. Over the same period, the number of people incarcerated in state and local prisons more than quadrupled, and spending also increased by more than four times, from $17 billion to $71 billion. “These findings should give us all a reason to pause and provide a lens through which we can examine our values as communities and as a country,” Education Secretary John B. King Jr. said in a call with reporters Thursday.
Citizens Voice by THE EDITORIAL BOARD / PUBLISHED: JULY 8, 2016
The median wage of child care workers in the U.S. is $9.77 an hour, and nearly half of those workers receive welfare in some way, according to a reportreleased Thursday. These findings indicate that child care employees are some of the lowest paid people in the country, according to the Early Childhood Workforce Index, which analyzed the policies and working conditions affecting child care workers and preschool teachers on a state-by-state basis. The report found that 46 percent child care workers are part of families that are on welfare, like Medicaid or food stamps. Preschool teachers earned a little more than child care workers. But with a median wage of $13.74, they still made less than $17.40 — the median wage for all U.S. jobs in 2015. The research, conducted by the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment (CSCCE) at the University of California, Berkeley, covers the jobs of two million people. According to the report, 12 million children are in child care and preschool. The importance of early education is often stressed in discussions and studies about the development of children.
In 2010, prominent education historian Diane Ravitch published “The Death and Life of the Great American School System,” an account of the evolution of her views about public schools. Ravitch, assistant secretary in charge of research and improvement in the Education Department of then-President George H.W. Bush, had been a supporter of standardized, test-based school reform. She was also an early backer of No Child Left Behind, the chief education initiative during George W. Bush’s presidency. But after seeing the effects of these reforms on students and teachers, Ravitch changed her mind and wrote about her conversion. The book helped start an anti-reform movement of which she has been the titular leader, and which has grown significantly among parents, educators, advocates and others. Now she has updated the book — and changed at least one position she had when she wrote the first edition.