School budget
January 24, 2003 10:09 AM   Subscribe

An imaginative solution to California's school budget crisis.
posted by semmi (24 comments total)
Wouldn't work in Ohio - Gov. Taft is closing 3 prisons.
posted by starvingartist at 10:16 AM on January 24, 2003

While I'm sure there are probably plenty other things the state spends more money on than education, this particular choice really shows the absurd contrast. Great post, semmi!
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:49 AM on January 24, 2003

The kids would understand.

Don't most kids already refer to school as "prison?"

Excellent find, semmi. I'd like to add a more substantive comment, but I don't know where to begin and I don't have time right now.
posted by jaronson at 10:55 AM on January 24, 2003

What with the metal detectors, drug-sniffing dogs, and guards in the hallways, the only change the kids would notice after such a change would be the reduction in corporate sponsorship.
posted by Mars Saxman at 10:57 AM on January 24, 2003

Very clever article! Swiftian, almost.
posted by jonson at 10:57 AM on January 24, 2003

I agree. Heck, even my own high school was originally intended to be Juvenille Hall!
posted by Down10 at 11:13 AM on January 24, 2003

I guess this means that the schools will be expected to house, clothe and feed the children 24/7 as well. I wonder how much California spends per mile of highway?
posted by Pollomacho at 11:30 AM on January 24, 2003

It would be easier to decriminalize drugs, release the prisoners convicted of non-violent drug crimes (shutting down several prisons), and direct law enforcement dollars from drugs to other crimes.

The money saved would be huge, fixing the budget crisis and leaving money for other state programs.
posted by Argyle at 11:30 AM on January 24, 2003

I don't understand how that many politicans can't see that education is such an important issue.

California has one of the worst public education systems in the country, and the budget crises are so bad that they are starting lay off professors and staff at UCs. If you've ever worked for a UC, you know that up until this the only way you could lose your job was if you went up to your boss and shoved a heaping load of hot coal down his pants.

But rest assured, you don't need a job, you can go to prison and you'll be set for 5-10.
posted by superchicken at 11:40 AM on January 24, 2003

Argyle, while I agree, I'm compelled to Devils Advocate you on that one and ask whether the cost in increased intoxicated driving injuries/fatalities and societal burden once newly legalized drug dependency reaches currently legal alcohol & tobacco dependency levels would mitigate those savings in any way...
posted by jonson at 12:07 PM on January 24, 2003

ask whether the cost in increased intoxicated driving injuries/fatalities and societal burden once newly legalized drug dependency...

At the risk of perpetuating this thread derailment, this is a straw man. I don't think Argyle said anything about legalizing driving while intoxicated or any other form of reckless endangerment. Those are all covered by other laws. You're conflating two different issues.
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:40 PM on January 24, 2003

Tsk. What the author fails to recognize is that the prisons are a profitable corporate business, while the public school system is just a sinkhole for taxpayer dollars.

Schools will only be well-funded when they are run by for-profit corporations. I suggest that this will be possible only if children become productive members of society.

Indeed, I suspect schools could be far more profitable than prisons, as children will likely work for far less pay. Instead of sending contracts for laundry washing, electronics assembly, call centres and suchlike to the prisons, where inmates work for a few bucks an hour, those contracts can be handled by children for a few pennies per hour. Or gumballs, even.

It's a brilliant scheme, and a beneficial one as well: instead of filling our children's heads with useless knowledge, they instead learn essential job skills that will serve them well for life.

Brilliant, I tell you, brilliant!
posted by five fresh fish at 12:44 PM on January 24, 2003

Five Fresh Fish reminds me of something...

Ralph: Fun toys are fun!
Teacher: Well said, Ralph! But we're trying to come up with a name for a toy.
Janey: Mrs. Fun?
Teacher: Not bad..
Ralph: Fun?
Teacher: Ralph, there are no right or wrong answers, but if you don't pipe down I'm giving you an F.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 1:52 PM on January 24, 2003

Hey George - I tried to email you this comment, so as not to derail any further, but the email bounced, so here's this:

Re: conflation of two issues, yes, those things (drunk driving, etc) are already against the law, but there's no disputing the fact that they occur. Now, given a vast influx of stronger, more addicting/debilitating/etc drugs, freely available without risk of prosecution, wouldn't it naturally follow that the average number of addicts, drunk drivers, etc would also increase? I mean, how do you remove all the barriers to acquisition, and yet not expect consumption to rise? And if consumption does rise, doesn't it also follow that consumption related problems, such as intoxicated driving or addiction also rise?

Bear in mind, I'm pro-legalization, this is just always been an argument in my own head.
posted by jonson at 3:10 PM on January 24, 2003

Eh? Unless you truly believe that drugs are difficult to obtain, your thesis simply doesn't hold true.

I think the reason we have trouble with drunk drivers isn't because liquor is too easy to get, but because we don't deal out meaningful consequences.

What say the cops were allowed to chop off a finger. Would you dare to drive drunk? And if you did, would you ever, ever do it again? I'll wager not!
posted by five fresh fish at 3:21 PM on January 24, 2003

In case you were wondering where that 1% budgetary increase Gov. Davis (D, CA) gave to the DOC here, Sacramento's leading alternative paper has a possible recipient.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 3:45 PM on January 24, 2003

Minus the ad absurdum argument from FFF, I'd have to concur: drugs are no harder to obtain than alcohol... and the folks that would do drugs, now that they were decriminalized, would probably be off-set (and this is a complete guess, but roll with me folks) by the folks that would no longer do them because the were decriminalized.

Decriminalization would lighten the court load and the penal system, while still offering inroads to prosecution as-needed.

As for the article? Genius... pure genius: Print it out and fax it to your state reps.
posted by silusGROK at 3:48 PM on January 24, 2003

five fresh fish: I'm sure you're not serious, but you are aware of the punishment for theft in Saudi Arabia? Perhaps it even works, but I don't want to live in a country whose government is authorized to mutilate citizens for civil infractions. That said, I agree with you that we don't have enough deterrence. I'd favor loss of driver's licence for a minimum of a year for the first offence and pemanently for a second offence, with driving with a revoked licence upgraded to a felony.

jonson: I understand, I just think it's unsound. To argue that all potentially impairing drugs should be illegal because someone might engage in an unsafe activity while influenced by them is akin to making newspapers illegal because you can't see where you're going if you read one while driving. Besides, most illegal drugs or their near equivalents can be obtained with a prescription. By your argument, they should not be available at all, since there's nothing physically preventing someone from operating a vehicle while using them.
posted by George_Spiggott at 3:55 PM on January 24, 2003

One final note, re: relative availability of drugs & alcohol. I will pass seventy places (at least) on my very short drive home where I know for a fact I can get alcohol. I will pass none where I know for a fact I can get pot. Sure, pot's easy to get, but let's not kid ourselves, it's an order of magnitude more difficult to get than alchohol. And even though it's VERY rare, occasionally people do get busted for buying pot, whereas no one (since the 20's, and of legal age) has EVER been busted for buying alcohol.
posted by jonson at 4:55 PM on January 24, 2003

You have deluded yourself jonson. You do not know where to obtain it simply because you have no need to know. I do not drink so I therefore have no idea where various liquor stores are. Its a matter of perspective.
posted by SweetIceT at 5:20 PM on January 24, 2003

But SweetIceT, you can't NOT know. I have no need for alcohol either, but that doesn't change the fact that liquor is available where you buy food! I mean, you do buy food, don't you? In Los Angeles (I realize this is not the case nationwide), liquor is available at bars, restaurants, 24 hr convenience stores, drugstores & supermarkets. Hundreds of commercially run, well lit, brightly advertised with million dollar television budgets, always open and with no risk of getting arrested or shot establishments. I've spent enough time with enough drug using friends to know that there's just no comparison. Drugs are sold through a network of acquaintances, no one reading mefi right now could tell me half as many sources for drugs within a three mile radius of themself as I could for tobacco or alcohol.

Jesus, this is a silly, moot point, and not even worth debating. It's like arguing whether the Earth is round. There's no two sides to the question, alcohol is an order of magnitude more available than drugs; that's why alcoholism is an order of magnitude more prevalent than drug abuse, that's why casual alcohol use is an order of magnitude more widespread than casual drug use. Anyone debating this fact is either trolling or exaggerating for unknown effect.
posted by jonson at 5:29 PM on January 24, 2003

Besides... whereas liquor is sold in discrete places, drugs are sold in as diffuse a pattern as possible.
posted by silusGROK at 5:33 PM on January 24, 2003

Of course, decriminalization may tend to counter the trend towards diffusion... and the argument is moot: I only need to know one place to buy drugs or alcohol.

(Now what were we talking about?)
posted by silusGROK at 5:35 PM on January 24, 2003

Jonson >> Ask teenagers what is easier to get drugs or alcohol? I bet you would be suprised!
posted by SweetIceT at 6:45 PM on January 24, 2003

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