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Ok, this is my first diary, so please bear with me. I found this article, and I did my patented Happy Dance of Joy™ with a Big Gay Squeal®. Yes, despite the title. Then I paused.

Keep reading below the free-form infinity-symbol-looking thing to see why.

from
http://gcherald.com/...

Dear Governor Snyder,

In these tough economic times, schools are hurting. And yes, everyone in Michigan is hurting right now financially, but why aren’t we protecting schools? Schools are the one place on Earth that people look to to “fix” what is wrong with society by educating our youth and preparing them to take on the issues that society has created.

One solution I believe we must do is take a look at our corrections system in Michigan. We rank nationally at the top in the number of people we incarcerate. We also spend the most money per prisoner annually than any other state in the union. Now, I like to be at the top of lists, but this is one ranking that I don’t believe Michigan wants to be on top of.

Consider the life of a Michigan prisoner. They get three square meals a day. Access to free health care. Internet. Cable television. Access to a library. A weight room. Computer lab. They can earn a degree. A roof over their heads. Clothing. Everything we just listed we DO NOT provide to our school children.

This is why I’m proposing to make my school a prison. The State of Michigan spends annually somewhere between $30,000 and $40,000 per prisoner, yet we are struggling to provide schools with $7,000 per student. I guess we need to treat our students like they are prisoners, with equal funding. Please give my students three meals a day. Please give my children access to free health care. Please provide my school district Internet access and computers. Please put books in my library. Please give my students a weight room so we can be big and strong. We provide all of these things to prisoners because they have constitutional rights. What about the rights of youth, our future?!

Please provide for my students in my school district the same way we provide for a prisoner. It’s the least we can do to prepare our students for the future...by giving our schools the resources necessary to keep our students OUT of prison.

Respectfully submitted,

Nathan Bootz, Superintendent, Ithaca Public Schools


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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (16+ / 0-)

    "Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction." - Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), Pensées, #894.

    by maf1029 on Thu May 26, 2011 at 10:33:25 AM PDT

    •  This was the ending of a Simpsons episode! (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      maf1029, suzq, millwood

      The one where the teachers go on strike, "The PTA Disbands", Season Six.

      The two trapped teachers pound on the door, threatening Bart.  "Don't worry, they'll start negotiating," says Bart, but as the clock turns forward from 11:00 to 3:00, the pounding continues.  It stops briefly at 5:00, only to resume.

      Eventually, they're too tired to keep pounding.

      Edna: Well, Seymour, I guess we could start talking.

      Skinner: What's the point?  There's no more money, unless you've got some magic new source of revenue.

      Edna: Well, we've got to think something up.  They've got us locked in here like prisoners.

      Skinner: Prisoners in our own school...hey!

               [they gasp at one another]

      -- A plan begins to form....

      So they turn the school into Springfield Elementary School and Prison, with fences and guard towers.

      Skinner: This is a great way to make extra money, renting out our cloakrooms to our overcrowded prison system.

      Snake: Yo, I used to sit right over there.

               [the other prisoner snatches a piece of Martin's shirt]
                [he moves his desk quickly away]

      Edna: It's all right, children, just ignore the murderer.

      Skinner: And, as a bonus, some of our more troublesome students might be scared straight!

      Snake: Psst!  Kid, help me break out of here.  I'll totally make it worth your while.

      Bart: [smiling] I'm listening...

      "See? I'm not a racist! I have a black friend!"

      by TheHalfrican on Thu May 26, 2011 at 11:06:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I know you are new, but (0+ / 0-)

      This is probably a copyright violation, because you quote in full.

      Numbers are like people . . . Torture them enough and they'll tell you anything.

      by Actuary4Change on Thu May 26, 2011 at 12:52:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Uh, well, no..... (0+ / 0-)

        The letter was published in the May 12, 2011 edition of the Gratiot County Herald, Ithaca, MI, in the letters to the editor section.
        This was not a private communique between the author and Gov. Snydley Whiplash.
        The author renounced his copyright claims upon submission, per the paper's policy.
        The letter to the editor became a public letter for public consumption.  
        And "Letters to the editor, opinion and editorial columns, and articles submitted to The Gartriot County Herald may be published or distributed in print, electronic or other forms."

        There was no copyright violation.
        However, I will attempt to amend the diary to add the URL for the free-to-reproduce online source. ☺

        "Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction." - Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), Pensées, #894.

        by maf1029 on Thu May 26, 2011 at 01:59:26 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thanks for clearing it up. (0+ / 0-)

          Are most newspaper's letters sections free to reproduce?

          Numbers are like people . . . Torture them enough and they'll tell you anything.

          by Actuary4Change on Thu May 26, 2011 at 02:04:02 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Depends... (0+ / 0-)

            Disclaimer: I'm not a copyright expert, and I don't play one on the TV

            Newspapers own the copyright on what they publish, including op-ed pieces, articles with by-lines, and letters to the editor.  
            In this case, this particular newspaper gives explicit permission to reproduce letters to the editors from that paper's LttE page.
            If such a waiver is found, then the material in question can be reproduced.
            BUT -- for a paper without such an explicit waiver --
            the letters to the editor page usually contains more than one letter. So, if I really really really just had to absolutely reproduce one letter from a page with multiple letters, I probably would and then cry "Fair use," since technically I would not be reproducing the entire work, per se.
            But that's just me, and I neither encourage nor suggest that anyone else follow that as a guideline for themselves.
            In my own defense -- I did include the author's name in the original diary, and I just added the URL for the source.
             

            "Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction." - Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), Pensées, #894.

            by maf1029 on Thu May 26, 2011 at 02:19:05 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Don't know whether to laugh... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Unit Zero, maf1029, ontheleftcoast, suzq

    ...or to cry.

    Here in Californina, the Supreme Court has just ordered the state to release over 46,000 inmates to deal with prison over-crowding.  Seems that even the Supreme Court is more interested in crammed prisons than they are with over-crowded classrooms.

    LOL.

    •  I did both.... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      4kedtongue

      .... and consider that prisons and public schools are both headed for privatization. But health care be DAMNED!

      "Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction." - Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), Pensées, #894.

      by maf1029 on Thu May 26, 2011 at 10:50:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Nice. Let's make this go viral. (5+ / 0-)

    Destroy their talking points.  This is going on my Facebook page when I get home today.

    Well done.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White

    by zenbassoon on Thu May 26, 2011 at 10:42:44 AM PDT

    •  It's actually an angle... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BlackSheep1, 73rd virgin, zenbassoon

      ... I had never even considered -- that incarcerated felons have more "benefits" than our children in schools. And I used to/still do b*tch about how incarcerated serial killers can get married while law-abiding GLBTQ can not marry their partner of choice.
      BTW -- do you make your own reeds? Just curious.

      "Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction." - Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), Pensées, #894.

      by maf1029 on Thu May 26, 2011 at 10:53:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  had to rec (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        zenbassoon, maf1029

        for the 'make your own reeds' question.  my daughter plays any woodwind she can get her hands on...owns 2 soprano clarinets, one bass clarinet, an alto sax, a flute and an oboe...most of which were donated by people who'd given up on them :)

        "What you do speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you say"~Ralph Waldo Emerson

        by 73rd virgin on Thu May 26, 2011 at 12:18:21 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Must be nice -- (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          73rd virgin

          If anyone donates a spare piccolo clarinet or English horn, please feel free to send them my way. I'll even pay for the shipping. ☺♪♫♪♫

          "Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction." - Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), Pensées, #894.

          by maf1029 on Thu May 26, 2011 at 02:23:28 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  an english horn (0+ / 0-)

            we would have to share custody on that one...what a beautiful sound :)    and as much as she loves her woodwinds, she'll be pretty much married to her guitar from the moment monday's memorial day parade is over until the day her marching band music comes in the mail in july.  but i find that all i do is talk incessantly (if you havent noticed) about her interest in music, and opportunities and instruments just come our way.  

            we also got a free piano, btw.  a console model in beautiful condition which i have to leave at her dad's house due to space...but she has it to play on.  the same person gave us the oboe...and almost parted with his banjo as well, but thought better of it at the last minute.

            "What you do speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you say"~Ralph Waldo Emerson

            by 73rd virgin on Thu May 26, 2011 at 05:39:31 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  I do make my own reeds. That's when God (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        maf1029

        punishes me for my sins.

        "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White

        by zenbassoon on Thu May 26, 2011 at 12:53:59 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  ROTFLMAO!!!!! (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          zenbassoon

          I am going to share that with my non-male shopping & luncheon companion, who is a bassoonist experiencing extreme guilt about buying her reeds from a reputable reed-maker.

          "Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction." - Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), Pensées, #894.

          by maf1029 on Thu May 26, 2011 at 02:22:26 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  My teacher used to say that to me when (0+ / 0-)

            I'd slip with my knife and ruin a reed I had spent several hours working on.

            "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White

            by zenbassoon on Thu May 26, 2011 at 04:00:04 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  In general, I really like to compare the funding (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    allergywoman, DaNang65

    priorities between schools and the prison system.  It shows where our priorities are.

    But I'm not crazy about this letter.

    Prison ain't summer camp, and the tone here implies that prisoners are being spoiled by having access to the most basic services.

    The reality is that our prisons are horrendous places of neglect.

    We need to fix our schools SO we can fix our prisons.

    •  Oh..... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BlackSheep1

      Let me be clear -- this letter (with which I wholeheartedly agree) is NOT -- in any way, shape or form -- a rallying cry to deprive convicted prisoners of "the basics." IMO, such a view is decidedly KKKonservative in origin, akin to the "They have it better, let's bring 'em down" meme, which has infested and infected any discussion of public school funding, teachers, and teachers' unions.
         It is, however, a scathing indictment of the de-funding of public schools to a level LESS THANour funding of prisons. If we can do for prisoners who have violated our society's laws (the whole incarceration/rehabilitation system as a metaphor for racism is best left for another diary), why can we not do AT LEAST as much for public schools?
      But I agree with your last sentence. ☺

      "Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction." - Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), Pensées, #894.

      by maf1029 on Thu May 26, 2011 at 11:04:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well... (0+ / 0-)

        there are a variety of reasons prisons are more expensive though. Like for example, they keep the prisoners 24/7 all year, not 6 hours per day for 180 days. So on and so forth.

        I would like more funding for public schools but I'm not sure this particular argument makes a lot of sense.

        •  Ok, so.... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          BlackSheep1

          ... let's level out/pro-rate the funding so that whatever the cost for continual incarceration matches or is equivalent to 6 hours per day for 180 days for schools. It's still better than 45K annually for a prisoner versus 6K for a child in school.

          "Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction." - Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), Pensées, #894.

          by maf1029 on Thu May 26, 2011 at 11:40:57 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            DaNang65

            180 days * 6 hours = 1080 hours
            365 days * 24 hours = 8760 hours

            Annual K-12 funds for California are around $7000 per child right now.

            so that makes $7000/1080 hours=$6.48 per hour

            If a prisoner costs $45,000 a year

            then $45,000/8760 = $5.14 per hour

            Not too different I guess. Prisons come in slightly cheaper.

            But I still think it's apples and oranges. Nice essay in a way though - I too wish we were spending more on education and less on prisoners (not on those specific prisoners but on housing fewer prisoners).

            •  Yes, and.... (0+ / 0-)

              .... education is one way to not "grow" future inmates. I don't think it's coincidental that the greedy you-know-whats (rhymes with "another truckers") want to eradicate public education *and* simultaneously cultivate a privatized prison system.

              "Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction." - Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), Pensées, #894.

              by maf1029 on Thu May 26, 2011 at 02:26:41 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  You're quite correct that soaring prison budgets (0+ / 0-)

      steal funds that would otherwise go to schools, but most of the "benefits" listed are, in my experience, not provided at the taxpayers expense.
      The necessities, of course, are. But all of the so called "luxuries" are usually purchased out of an inmate recreation or welfare fund, i.e., the Commissary profits regulated by law which are retained by the prisoners, allocated at the discretion of the administration. In essence, the prisoners collectively purchase such recreational items out of their own money.
      The funds provided by taxpayers pay for the necessary custodial operation of the prisons.

      Cornplanter, can you swim? Peter LaFarge

      by DaNang65 on Thu May 26, 2011 at 11:12:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Great first post! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Geenius at Wrok, 73rd virgin

    However, behind the scenes, he is using ALEC to privatize the prison system.  No more 3 hots and a cot.  When ALEC gets done with them, they'll pray for waterboarding, methinks.  Scary times.

    btw, Jeffersonian Republican is code word for ALEC, an insidiously evil group.

    Keep writing!  Very good stuff.

  •  Please. They're already prisons. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    73rd virgin, DaNang65

    Underfunded, understaffed, poorly maintained prisons.

    "This is about the human heart, and if that sounds corny, so be it." -- Keith Olbermann

    by allergywoman on Thu May 26, 2011 at 10:55:35 AM PDT

  •  Sounded Snopesy to me. But it's real. (0+ / 0-)

    Original source: http://gcherald.com/...

    "The great lie of democracy, its essential paradox, is that democracy is first to be sacrificed when its security is at risk." --Ian McDonald

    by Geenius at Wrok on Thu May 26, 2011 at 12:31:38 PM PDT

    •  Thanks! (0+ / 0-)

      I didn't think to put the URL into the diary (I fixed that). It was just so exciting to be doing my first diary on DKos.

      "Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction." - Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), Pensées, #894.

      by maf1029 on Thu May 26, 2011 at 02:34:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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