LETTER: Invest in education now, not incarceration later

Sep. 26, 2013 @ 04:58 AM

To the Editor:

The state’s Republican Party has opened the door for more inmates because they have shut the door on preschool education and not properly funded education in North Carolina.

Proper funding of preschool education will ultimately provide a path to higher net income. That means that those who are enrolled in a quality preschool program will earn up to $2,000 more per month than those who are not. Young people who are in preschool programs are more likely to graduate from high school, go to college, own homes, have longer marriages, stay out of correctional institutions and go to church each Sunday.

There is a much higher cost to every citizen of North Carolina if one student does not graduate from high school. If a former student ends up in prison, they will cost us more than $26,000 for every year they are in prison verses only $8,514 per year to educate them. Proper funding of education will save the state, and therefore us, more than $17,486 per person per year that a person is not in prison. If someone is in prison, they will not be earning a living, will not be paying taxes and will not be supporting their families. You and I will be housing and feeding them, and more than likely their families as well. ...

If every student graduates from high school in N.C., business and industry will have better qualified workers and leaders. We must work harder to make sure that not one student drops out of school. I go to lots of school events and see how hard our educators are working for all the students. I would like to see some of our politicians at some of our school events once in a while instead of cutting funding to schools and criticizing our educators and board of education ... in our county and the state.

A student in the fourth grade who can read this letter in the time it takes you or I to drink a cup of coffee will not have trouble in high school and in most things that he or she might chose to do in life. Citizens of Lee County and the state must and should demand higher funding for education, especially for preschool and proper raises for educators. ...

Mark Coggins