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Sunday, January 22, 2012

A Blogger Tips Hat To Rock Hill Schools

From the SC Justice Watch Blog:

Way To Go, Rock Hill Schools! Graduation, Not Incarceration!

In greenlighting an “intensive intervention” program for students with extreme behavioral problems, the Rock Hill school board has taken a major step toward stemming its local “school-to-prison pipeline” – the crowded path that runs from the principal’s office to the criminal justice system, where millions of expelled/suspended/dropped-out Americans, who should have been kept on track as youths, while away their lives on the public dime. The program will provide academic tutoring, as well as counseling aimed at helping troubled kids better cope with society’s hurdles and their own emotions.
Judging from an article in The Herald of Rock Hill, there are probably numerous area teachers, parents and students who are sighing with relief about now.
[The program] launches at a time when district officials say schools are seeing more students exhibit behavior described as “uncontrollable outbursts of anger.”
A student ran from a school into nearby woods and police were called to help bring him back, district spokeswoman Elaine Baker said.
Another told a teacher he hated her and threatened to kill her. One child hit a teacher. Another bit a teacher.
“We’re seeing a concerning, dramatic increase in the number of young children with these needs,” Associate Superintendent Harriet Jaworowski said. “If they’re that young, it’s a reaction to something else. That’s what we want to address.”
The district has identified at least 12 students who would benefit from the program.
Unfortunately, most of the readers’ comments beneath the article attack the program and the school board for squandering taxpayer dollars, missing the point entirely. This program will cost $100,000 a year, the school board says. That’s a drop in the bucket when one considers the lives saved and the grief spared.
But if the “decency” argument is lost on you: This is a economic-development program, employing strategies proven to boost graduation rates, thereby bolstering our workforce and tax base. An economic-impact study shows that if we cut the annual number of high school dropouts/expulsions by half, the 650,000 “new graduates” would bring $7.6 billion in increased earnings, $5.6 billion in increased spending, $2 billion in increased investments, $19 billion in increased home sales, 54,000 new jobs and $9.6 billion in growth to the U.S. economy.
As for your tax worries, consider the booming prison population that you already subsidize. Essentially, you pay a little more up front to keep a kid on track, or you pay out the nose down the road.

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