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Education vs. Incarceration
By Rusty May



I tell teachers all the time that punishment alone doesn't work. I point to our prison population for the proof. We have the largest prison population in the world, both in terms of total number of inmates and in terms of percentage of our total population.

Kids who don't graduate are between 3 and 63 times more likely to end up in prison. Between 1987-2007 the US increased spending on prisons by 127% while increasing spending on higher education by 21% over the same period of time. The US spends $12,643 to educate one student for one year versus $28,323 to incarcerate one inmate.

A 2013 report form the Alliance for Excellent Education found that the US could save as much as $18 billion in annual crime costs "if the high school male graduation rates increased by only 5%". The problem with punishment is that it simply pushes the problem down the road and offers no solution. Education is the answer, but we need to include behavior as a subject to be taught on a daily basis.

The biggest mistaken assumption in education today is that teachers "just know" how to assertively teach and manage classroom behaviors and that students "just know" how to behave. If not us, who? If not now, when? Thank you for all you do everyday to change the future.



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About the Author

Rusty May, Rusty May Inc.
10. S. Sherman Drive
Bear, DE 19701
415-948-0668

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