Jails vs Schools

Voice Card  -  Volume 33  -  Janine Card Number 4  -  Sat, Aug 13, 1994 4:13 PM

This is ONE OF 2 responses to VC 32 Drury 14 ("The scared public")...

I am also frightened at the increase in crime (or is it the increase in publicizing crimes for TV news ratings?). I find it startling, however that you and many others would agree to a tax hike to build more jails, but when the school districts want - and desparately need - more money, suddenly the tax hikes are protested.

Giving children a good education and some sort of stability is the best crime prevention we have, yet school budgets are slashed without a shred of guilt. After school programs, which help keep kids off the streets (both those that would be tempted to commit crimes and those not yet tainted) are virtually non-existent. I remember PLENTY of after school programs when I was a kid - theater classes, Spanish, even Girl Scouts (though I think there's a fee for G.S.). We always had something to do.

Many people then like to point fingers at the parents. Well, I hate to burst their bubbles, but this ain't the fifties! Most kids come from homes where both parents HAVE to work. Standard maternity leave is 3 months (how's that for bonding?!), to say nothing of PATERNITY leave, which is, of course, non-existent in this country.

Maybe we should implant some sort of sonar device into children when they start school, so the parents can perform constant monitoring of their offspring. That way, their kids won't be able to lie to them about where they are going.

Let's face it, even kids from good homes like to see what they can get away with. If it becomes a lifestyle choice, then we have a junior criminal in the making. If the child can become interested in reading, art, sports, music, SOMETHING - that child will probably stay out of trouble and become a contributing member of society.

But did you know that most public schools (in California, which used to have the highest reputation for its schools, and now ranks among the lowest) have no music or art programs any more? Of course, intramural sports weren't cut (or at least football wasn't!), but how many kids are athletically inclined? They need exposure to a variety of interests to find what intrigues them.

A friend of mine's boyfriend, who was an orchestral conductor, told her that we are probably the last generation who will enjoy classical music. Kids today have never listened to Mozart or Beethoven (who they probably think of as a St. Bernard!). They think Michelangelo is a teenage mutant ninja turtle! Is there any wonder our world is going to hell in a handbasket?!!!?