posted on Feb, 16 2012 @ 05:23 PM
I'm hardly an optimist about how things are going, but I learned a very surprising fact in my state. Apparently, 90% of the people who are currently
in prison in Pennsylvania have less than a high school diploma. I wasn't surprised that people who lacked an education were most likely to end up in
prison, but the percentage and probability was surprising and it made me realize just how many people are going there.
Last night, I was at a meeting for an education committee near where I live in the City of Pittsburgh. Like many major cities, it has a struggling
school system where budgets are shrinking, performance is questionable, and the quality of education is in doubt. Specifically, two high schools were
being merged into one with class sizes rising from 15-20 to 25-30. Programs and extra-curriculars were being cut, but what was being increased was
security, metal detectors, and making sure people were safe.
When I was listening, I couldn't help but think of a prison, and I've noticed more and more of our institutions in this country are taking on the
same traits of a jail. You have counselors where if you don't meet their requirements of what is normal, you can be forcibly detained, indefinitely.
Education is available, but it takes a secondary priority to making sure people are safe, and the goal is simply to pass people through without
focusing on the learning in either place. Moreover, the very idea of what is normal is being taught, where you learn to get along, or you will be
I don't know if it is a mass conspiracy, or signs of a society caught up in its own paranoia, but what I do know is schools look more like prisons,
prisons seem to be the biggest growth industry, and we keep expanding what is considered an offense to lead to being put aside. That so many people
were in prison, and that the majority going in there are younger (18-30), seem to me part of a society that is losing its future and I wonder why this
I worked for the Courts for a few years where the prevaliing attitude was people can sit out their problems in jail, and even though the majority were
there for the victimless crimes set, it was thought they'd learn a lesson from the system. And they have, to work the system, and to think that
normal is what the state says.
But our new normal scares me. And considering I only graduated from high school under fifteen years ago, it's amazing how fast it is happening.