Spend less on jailing adolescents and more on educating them

The president of 100 Black Men of America says money for prisons could go to schools instead if we imprisoned fewer kids.
Jay Janner / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Brian L. Pauling is president and CEO of 100 Black Men of America, Inc., a global nonprofit mentoring organization with more than 100 chapters reaching 125,000 youth in the United States, the United Kingdom and the Caribbean.

By Brian L. Pauling

As the school year winds down, one can’t help but think of graduations and where and how students will embark upon the next phase of their lives. Unfortunately, the opportunities for far too many will be limited because of disparities in graduation rates and in opportunities for students at high-performing schools compared with their counterparts at low-performing schools.

Although U.S. high school graduation rates have significantly improved, U.S. Department of Education statistics show that African-American and Hispanic/Latino students are still graduating 5 to 10 points behind the national average.  Further, students from low-income families are graduating at a rate that’s 14.4 percentage points below that of their peers from wealthier backgrounds.

Brian Pauling

Brian L. Pauling

For students to be competitive in post-secondary education and career, they have to be properly prepared. Whether competing for admission to college or entering a career, the student graduating from the high-performing school invariably has the advantage over the one from the low-performing school. And although each may have a diploma in hand, the student from a low-performing school will more times than not require remedial courses and start behind the curve when trying to achieve long-term success.

100 Black Men of America, Inc. strongly believes the remedy to this situation is advocating for and demanding high-performing schools for all students – and particularly African-American and poor students. We feel that high-performing public schools, whether traditional or charter, are the best gateway to higher education. Coupled with strong parental involvement, quality education options – ones that ensure every child has access to the high-performing school best suited for him or her – will help them achieve long-term career success.

Sadly, many of the nation’s low-performing schools are in minority and low-income neighborhoods. Far too many of these public schools have inadequate resources and their classrooms are overcrowded. They often lack the things higher-performing schools take for granted – experienced teachers, counselors, special education services, current-edition textbooks, and access to technology, to name a few – and their students suffer. When those conditions are allowed to continue, students’ paths can deviate from higher education and career to paths of overwhelming struggle, economic challenge and potentially prison.

This is why we must implore our school administrators on the neighborhood, district, city, state and national levels to do their level best to make public education more equitable in every school. In a Washington Post article, former Education Secretary Arne Duncan called on cities and states to rethink their current incarceration practices and proposed funneling an estimated $15 billion in savings from incarcerations to substantially raise teacher pay in high-poverty schools. He reasoned that higher salaries could attract better teachers to low-performing schools where the help is most needed.

“With a move like this, we’d not just make a bet on education over incarceration, we’d signal the beginning of a long-range effort to pay our nation’s teachers what they are worth,” Duncan said. “That sort of investment wouldn’t just make teachers and struggling communities feel more valued. It would have ripple effects on our economy and on our civic life.”

He gets it. We want to make sure everybody else gets it as well. High-performing schools are the best gateway to success. When our children have access to high-performing schools, it exponentially increases their chances to achieve their full potential.

 

Reader Comments 0

37 comments
Gerald Bedgood
Gerald Bedgood

Most of the problems can be traced to the parents, or in most cases the lack of parenting.

Infraredguy
Infraredguy

That is correct, but the Liberal attitude is to always make it a " Money issue " never a family structure issue because the Liberals can always throw taxpayer money at the problem and feel good because they have no family values themselves 

Rahnay Stuard
Rahnay Stuard

Every parent that does not show up for PTA meetings and teacher conferences gets a home visit from DFACS...unannounced

Brandon Hightower
Brandon Hightower

How about parent the children. Most kids (should) learn more of what's important at home.

Daniel McDowell
Daniel McDowell

no..keep criminals behind bars...especially repeat offenders...there is no hope for them and when you send those Criminals to high performing schools...they bring down the average so its no longer a high performing school you will usually find that high performing white schools have less money per student spent than low performing minority schools...which are basically throwing money into a bottomless pit

Kecia Nicole
Kecia Nicole

This is your best racist post yet\U0001f602\U0001f595\U0001f3fd

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

Charter schools run by private corporations for profit and prisons run by private corporations for profit are two examples of governmental, not-for-profit institutions which have been in the past, and can easily be in the future, sold out for monetary gain for the wealthiest in our nation and state at the expense of the poorest in our nation and state

rubykins7
rubykins7

Discipline issues must be addressed in school. Teachers have little authority in their own classrooms, and school administrators are afraid of being sued or labeled racists for writing up minority students. We have actually been told not to write up minority students, no matter how bad their behavior, because it makes the school "look bad." More money may initially encourage a teacher to sign up for a high poverty school assignment but when he/she finds that students can do and say whatever they please with no consequences and the administration does not have their back, they will bail, no matter how much money is dangled in front of them. My personal opinion is that if discipline problems were dealt with at school (and at home), it would prevent many of these minority students from ending up in jail.

riley4523
riley4523

This would be a lie.  In Chicago alone, the budget is posted online.  I know of several schools that have in their inventory IPAD devices, Chromebooks, HP printers, etc.  The expenditures for Best Buy,Staples, and Office Depot is over 100 million a year.  Then Dell leasing is another 100 million.  The requests for a forensic audit is denied.  The constant chatter of oh, woe is me, I am poor just does not fly anymore.  Most of these kids have smartphones.  They have internet access.  The Raspberry Pi device is 40 dollars.  Libraries have free access.  It is parental responsibility pure and simple.  Better yet, the next time a 18 year old kills seveal people or shoots up a block, have them live with you and tell me how it works out. 

Bob Fuse
Bob Fuse

We can do so much better with both, if we wanted to do so.

EdJohnson
EdJohnson

This here, by James Meredith, in contrast to 100 Black Men of America, Inc.’s President and CEO Brian L. Pauling’s kind of thinking (emphasis mine):

“Fifty years ago, on June 6, 1966, while making a one-man Walk Against Fear, I was shot down on a Mississippi roadside.

“That episode and the events it triggered inspired thousands of black Americans to register to vote, and helped free many Americans from the tyranny of segregation and fear.

“Four years earlier, in 1962, I forced my way into the segregated University of Mississippi with the help of 500 federal marshals and 10,000 American combat troops, an event that helped open the doors of higher education for all Americans.

“Today I have a new mission — to improve the public school education of our nation’s children.  I support public education because it is a pillar of our democratic society.

“We are in a dark age of American public education.  We are losing millions of our children to inferior schools and catastrophically misguided and ineffective so-called education reforms that are wasting billions of dollars, destroying the teaching profession and causing widespread chaos in public education.  We are, in effect, destroying the future of our republic.

“Our public school children, rich and poor, do not need toxic stress, unqualified temp teachers, unreliable and universal standardized tests, system-wide disruption, eliminated arts and recess, excessive screen time, and schools forced to compete with each other instead of collaborate.  There is no evidence that any of this improves learning, yet this is what we are forcing on our nation’s children.

“It is time for all Americans to work together to strive to make the best possible education available to every single child in America.  It is time to usher in a new Golden Age of public education for our children.”

Now, note Meredith’s mission – To improve the public education of the nation’s children.

Note the mission is not to reform schools; is not to turn schools around; is not to create more charter schools and options and choice; and, most certainly is not, though it encompasses as a consequence, Atlanta Public Schools superintendent’s mission statement: “With a caring culture of trust and collaboration, every student will graduate ready for college and career.”

EdJohnson
EdJohnson

This is but a seemingly harmless sales pitch for charter schools.However, nothing about it genuinely speaks to being committed to sustaining and improving public schools as goods of the common.The key giveaway is quoting Arne Duncan.What has Duncan – and President Obama, for that matter – done to end “private, profit-centered” (MES) prisons that, by contract, require maintaining prison populations sufficient enough to guarantee profits?Why do you think this African-American woman is in the unusually harsh predicament she’s in?Where do you think she will end up?Then what greater negative impact to her family and neighbors? Then what greater negative impact to her community?Then what greater negative impact to public schools in her community?It’s all connected.

Obama’s and Duncan’s “Race to the Top Competition” that pitted states against each other to create more charter schools belies their surface-level rhetoric. If profits are to be sustained and grown, then it is quite essential for there to be symbiotic relationships between privatized public prisons and charter schools as privatized public schools.  Accordingly, Pauling’s parroting the language of “high-performing school,” “low-performing school,” “quality education options,” “school best suited for…,” “access to …,” etc., is but some of the emotive language charter school proponents use to entrap especially African-Americans into giving up valuing the common good, hence democracy.  Oh, the irony.

Let no one convince you charter schools are public schools.

riley4523
riley4523

@EdJohnson Duncan is a con artist and a basketball playing friend of the President.  Those are his qualifications.  And his children do not attend public school at all. 

Another comment
Another comment

100 black me is part of the problem not the solution. They promote segregation. They kick out members if they marry white woman. They need to promote a message that it is okay to act white. Most are I got mine, and have nothing for the hood.

kaelyn
kaelyn

Are you serious? What on earth is "acting white?" Apparently you don't realize that there are white people who sell drugs and drop out of school, and there are people of color who earn an honest living and value education. If you're equating "white" with "good," you might want to take a trip to rural Georgia to see firsthand, all of the poor white people who are in the same poverty trap that has its grip on urban black communities.

Just so you know, One Hundred Black Men is a volunteer group made up of men who are doing their best to make a difference. I've never heard of them excluding men who happen to be married to white women. Furthermore, please don't assume that every black person comes from or is familiar with "the hood." I'm sure it fits nicely into your narrative, but it's just ignorant drivel.

It sure will be a great day when people like you wake up an realize you can't believe everything you think.

Starik
Starik

@kaelyn Find a poor black child, stuck in a bad situation at home, and contact one of the 100 for help for the kid.  The 100 are like the Clinton Foundation; not intended to focus on charity, but on publicity and networking.

kaelyn
kaelyn

Starik - 100 is made up of volunteers who do what they can to make a difference in the lives of young people. They can't save the world, and the need is and always will be greater than the resources. They aren't a social service organization. I won't comment on the Clinton Foundation. I'm sure they do some good and I'm also pretty sure they have secondary motives. Oops. I guess I did comment.

Back to the original topic. Money isn't the answer. I have four retired teachers in the family and you couldn't pay any of them any amount of money to substitute in a school with unruly kids (you pick the kid's color or income level - it doesn't matter).

ErnestB
ErnestB

Differentiating salaries is something we should explore further.  I understand some school districts are doing this for highly qualified math, science and special education teachers, paying them more as the supply is lower than that of general education teachers.  Could a model be created where you provide a stipend to highly qualified teachers to teach in high poverty schools, perhaps using a sliding scale based on the level of poverty using the free and reduced lunch population as the key measure?  It would be interesting to develop something like this to see if increased income would encourage highly qualified teachers to relocate to these types of schools.  I would start by asking teachers if this would be enough of an incentive.

jezel
jezel

@ErnestB Not to be disrespectful....A better solution than highly qualified teachers in high poverty schools might be... more teachers in poverty schools.


Basics skills are to be taught....not rocket science or brain surgery.

ErnestB
ErnestB

@jezel @ErnestB


It doesn't have to be mutually exclusive.  Why not both highly qualified and additional teachers, enabling a more manageable class size.  An alternative could be more para's for K-2, enabling more small group instruction.


Some will say this is just 'throwing more money' to education however this can help ensure a greater return on investment by helping to lift more children out of poverty through education.


I also agree with MES as students can tell if teachers really care about them and ultimately whether they can be successful.

jezel
jezel

9 k per year to educate....18 k per year to incarcerate. As the blogger below stated.....fix the community and the schools will fix themselves.


Do what is necessary to bring manufacturing jobs back. If our country is to be saved....this is where to start.

Astropig
Astropig

@jezel

So how are we going to "fix the community" by bringing back manufacturing jobs? In many communities,the "manufacturing jobs" are manufacturing drugs. This is a bell you don't un-ring. We have multigenerational poverty and dependence that is directly subsidized by working taxpayers that isn't going away because a few people in a given community get decent jobs.


We had poverty up to our keisters during the Great Depression,(and it was even worse for black people because of institutionalized segregation),but the minority communities didn't (generally) turn to drugs and gang violence as a coping strategy.They were too darn busy trying to eke out a living to have the time to plot revenge for a drive-by that was itself revenge for a drive-by the day before.


By the way-(from the article) "...Education Secretary Arne Duncan called on cities and states to rethink their current incarceration practices and proposed funneling an estimated $15 billion in savings from incarcerations to substantially raise teacher pay in high-poverty schools. "


That sounds a lot like merit pay,which, as we know very well, will never fly with the teachers union,pseudo-unions or anywhere else that blocks any meaningful reform.

jezel
jezel

@Astropig @jezel Detroit, for example , did not have the level of crime and social unrest ...when the auto industry was strong... that it has today. Same could be said for the textile communities .


When there are jobs paying a livable wage... a family has a better chance for success. Strong families...strong communities....strong nation. But it all starts with jobs.


Student teacher ratio is key to success for any challenged group. Don't let anyone tell you different.



riley4523
riley4523

@jezel @Astropig Manufacturing jobs are never coming back.  Tech is where the jobs should be.  Period.  The emphasis should be on computer science and coding.  Developers, etc.  But schools have ignored that for years. Now it is too late.  But hey, we can let the kids play on the IPAD for a hour. 

Christophobia_
Christophobia_

If Mr Pauling, and those giving him a platform, cared about the next generation they'd dedicate themselves to exposing the real culprits: 

Missing fathers. 

Nearly 3 out of 4 black children grow up without a father in the home. As recently as the 1960s that number was "just" 1 in 4.

Is distracting us from the truth so lucrative -- or does political correctness anyway leave us powerless to face it?

riley4523
riley4523

@Christophobia_ The fathers were placed in jail during the 1980's during the War on Drugs.  White people would come to the hood to buy weed, coke and heroin but get a escort back to the expessway and the cops would laugh it off.  But if you were black, jail time and you are not working, for life.  Yes this may seen unreal but it is true.  I know of many able bodied men and women with minor drug charges, not even dealer level who cannot work.  Racist background checks have kept many people from working.  But let your people get a felony DUI or bankrupt a company and they get counseling.  

Astropig
Astropig

Not sure I agree with the entire premise here.They're already getting a free public education when they turn to drugs,crime,gangs,etc...Society is already giving them the greatest gift that it can award and they are pretty much handing that gift back unopened.


What makes the writer think that a second (or third,or fourth)attempt to,again,give them the opportunity to better themselves will be met with any more effort on their part? How many chances should we allow them before we realize that some people just don't want the benefits of an education? How can a lifetime of hard work and striving to succeed tempt a kid that can make more money in an afternoon selling drugs than he can make in a year of honest work?

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@JDinMarietta @Astropig


Both of you have the perspective of people who have no understanding of what those in poverty face.  And little compassion, imho.


Moreover, you are both on the wrong side of history.  Sure, parenting is important.  Help the parents, and their parents, and their progeny.  Stop the blaming.  Your thinking pulls spirits down.  It does not lift up - neither yourselves nor others.

JDinMarietta
JDinMarietta

@Astropig I totally agree with you. Spending more on education when everyone already receives a free education is like throwing good money after bad. Education all starts at home with the parents. When a single parent household is tasked with raising a child, the problems often begin there. If any money is spent, it needs to be on how to keep families together as 2 parents have more influence than one.

Astropig
Astropig

@JDinMarietta @Astropig


Totally,wholeheartedly agree with your idea of keeping two parents in the home. Our social policy should encourage that,instead of rewarding the breakup of families.


Kids don't "wake up in prison" someday of their lives. I've dealt with a LOT of them. More than any of the dozen other readers here will ever see. They run through a lot of life's stop signs to land in big boy prison.In many cases,their soul is dead and they know nothing but hate and anger. I hate, HATE to see them get there.I agree with the author that it is insanely expensive to incarcerate them.But...


They're in there partially for punishment for their crimes and partially to protect the rest of society from the harm that they can cause.Expecting them to (as a group) turn to education instead of the life that they know is completely unrealistic.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

You are putting the cart before the horse. Okay.  So, what am I saying?


Fix the neighborhoods and the schools will fix themselves.  Not that you should not try to improve schools in and of themselves, but the key is to improve the neighborhoods WHILE you are improving the schools.  Do not limit your thinking to dichotomies.


Moreover, watch out for the private, profit-centered sector of this nation, when it comes to incarceration.  Remember the peonage system of jail slavery at the beginning of the 20th century for profit?

Too much of that exists today, also.  Improve the neighborhoods first, above all, and the jail problem and the school problem will take care of themselves.


But, how does one do that?  Watch the movie, "All The Way" on HBO about LBJ and his commitment to a "War on Poverty" in this nation, and his commitment to a "Great Society."  Cynics say that LBJ failed, but he didn't fail. Cynics never build, and LBJ was a builder.  Our nation failed LBJ when we turned from helping others to greed for ourselves. We must return to a collective consciousness in which we know that we are our brother's keepers and start to give back to others, once again, in America.


LBJ's programs would be the horse that pulls this nation forward, just like that Southern President pulled the South out of its racist past with his Civil Rights Law and Voting Rights Law.  Those programs, utilized again and redesigned for the present, will improve poor neighborhood across America.  Those programs are the horses that will carry the carts which contain excellent schools and fewer prisons.  We need a commitment across America for another War on Poverty, with a leader like LBJ who believes in getting that done.  And, that leader will never be Donald Trump, imho.

Tom Green
Tom Green

Rating teachers on their test scores only pushes more teachers towards the high ranking schools.