Milbourn, Matthew A.



APWA - Hamilton College 198 College Hill rd Clinton, NY 13323-1218 March 29, 2020 Learning Today, our prison systems have been unable, at least in Michigan, to do little to change the bad behaviors of those incarcerated in its, so called, 'Correctional' facilities. Obviously, for a person to change they must learn other behaviors. It's a well know fact that those with higher educations make better choices (and, yes, criminal behavior is a choice). Only recently (the past few years) has our Federal Government began, again, to offer financial assistance (PELL Grants) to any state prisoners. And this is only being done on an "experimental" basis in two states. Michigan is lucky enough to be one of them. (Texas, I believe, is the other.) I, as well as many others, including very well educated people, are all for higher education, including in all our prisons. Higher education should be available to everyone - no matter their status or situation. Is is in every governments' best interest to educate its people to the fullest. (Who wouldn't want its people to make well educated choices?) But yet our country is getting far behind other countries in education. Why do you think so many of our doctors of medicine and science are foreigners? The late, great, scientist (and writer), Dr Carl Sagan, in his book, The Demon-Haunted World (1996), wrote; "The cost of illiteracy to everyone is severe. (Writing about the U.S. lack of education.) "The cost in medical Pg-2, Learning, 3/29/20 expenses and hospitalization, the cost in crime and prisons, the cost in special education, the cost in lost productivity, and in potentially brilliant minds who could help solve the dilemmas begetting us." But yet, even 24 years later, those with the power to actually change the 'illiteracy' do mostly nothing to do so. Those who founded this nation were well education. Thomas Jefferson, a founding father of our Constitution, wrote, in the Declaration of Independence, that we all must have the same opportunities, the same "unalienable" rights. He stressed passionately and repeatedly that it was essential that among other things that people should educate themselves, arguing that the cost of education is trivial compared to the cost of ignorance. Years ago, Japan and (then) West Germany began to invest lots in science and technology (instead of defense) and found that their economies boomed. Certainly that wasn't a result of people becoming uneducated. China is now a thriving world economic power - most certainly from educating its people. So why have we of this great nation not "listened" to history? We can see what China has become - pulling itself out of the 3rd World status - once it educated its people. How much more could we, as a nation, become (with our 'freedoms') if we too became a nation of highly educated people? We could at least offer our people, all of Pg-3, Learning, 3/29/20 them, a better opportunity, stressing the need, rewards, and benefits to be reaped, and providing the assistance (grants) to do so. It was Jefferson who also wrote: "If a nation expects to be both ignorant and free in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be." That was over 200 years ago - will we never learn??? What happens with education on our values of free speech, and other freedoms, granted by our Bill of Rights, dwindles, for instance, (as it certainly has) to our democracy? Do we want to become what China once was? We should be teaching our children the scientific method and reasons for a Bill of Rights. But this also applies to our adults in prison too. Our political leaders need to put education at the forefront of their funding efforts. This needs to be pre-school thru college and to those (who obviously didn't get enough) in prison. Thus providing a way to more educated better choices by everyone. Our prisons must become the "correcting" institutions they are called. Teaching of "correct" behaviors starts with discipline from the "wrong"- This is not being done here in Michigan (although an "appearence" of such is being given). The bad behaviors must be curtailed to stop the promoting of them, now happening, from the lack of pg-4, Learning, 3/29/20 discipline from these activities (i.e. drinking, drugging, smoking, gambling, extorting, fighting, bullying, and other rule breaking.) Once a way is given towards the "right" direction - thru education - rewards of time cuts (good time) for "proper" behaviors and learning should be implemented. PELL grants should be available to anyone seeking higher education in every prison in every state, as well as to every citizen in the United States. It is only in all of our best interest to educate everyone to the fullest extent. The rewards are: higher pay, less stress thru better problem solving, better choices of behaviors, better communication to treat others better, and better health from more information leading to a stronger, more united nation. There are no negatives from better education that I know of. So why isn't better education, for everyone, our first and foremost priority? Did we just want to fall more behind the rest of the world? Can we keep depending on other nations to supply our needs and educated people? Why are we doing just that?! It's time for our policy makers to do some serious rethinking. Hopefully, they are educated enough to make the right choices themselves. Because the answers here are so obvious: We need more educated people who can make better choices in order to have a strong democratic society!!! Pg 5, Learning 3/29/20 So start at the beginning - pre-school - follow thru to college and those in prison. Make education interesting so as to make people want to learn. Emphasize the rewards. But also make our prisons what they are asserted to be - correctional! Give all prisoners the oppertunity (and financial aid) for higher educations. Appropriate money and resources into these educational goals. Our country will then become the world leader it once was and more! Prove to the world, our forefathers, and ourselves that we have "learned" and can make good decisions that benefit everyone.

Author: Milbourn, Matthew A.

Author Location: Michigan

Date: March 29, 2020

Genre: Essay

Extent: 5 pages

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