Save Arizonians from the Department of Corrections
How a poor educational system mixed with poverty is the perfect combo to continue the incarceration cycle.
Despite the fact that Arizona is one of the youngest states to join the United States of America, you might expect it to be a pretty progressive forward thinking place. Seeing how Arizona established itself later than majority of other states, it would only make sense that we would have taken the time to learn from the mistakes of older states, but that couldn’t be any further from the truth. Arizona may look fancy and have beautiful new homes, new construction happening often, beautiful nice communities, new shopping centers, new freeways and roads etc. In reality it’s only aesthetic.
In many ways, Arizona is actually way behind when it comes to how it is being run. Arizona is still run with the “Good Ol Boy” “Wild West” mentality, which in turn only makes it truly beneficial for those in charge, and those connected to those in charge. As it’s what they want or the high way, whose pockets are deeper and are going to line their pockets properly is the honest reality. Meanwhile this state is plagued by poor policy, a corrupt justice system, and an all-around broken prison system created by those in charge and their “Good Ol Boy” meets the “Wild West” mentality. In many cases, this broken system is able to continue and perpetuate itself due to the lack of commonsense state officials in office have.
The first contributor to Arizona’s ineffective broken system is the education system that we are using to raise kids here in Arizona. Despite the fact that we are one of the fastest growing states in the nation currently, our education system is far below others around the country. As a matter when it comes to public schools in the United States of America.
Arizona comes in at number 49 making it the 3rd worse public school system in the nation.
Arizona also has the 4th highest drop out rate in the nation, according to a study published by WalletHub.com on July 29th 2019, in an article titled "2019’s States with the Best & Worst School Systems" written by Adam McCann, who is a financial writer.
The Elected Representatives for the State of Arizona really need to understand that their false promises to the residents of Arizona is becoming more and more obvious. Education is essential to the future of Arizona’s growth, and with out the proper educational system in place for our future generations, people in our communities are going to continue to fail, and from a economic standpoint it will be much more costly to fix later down the road. When people fail they turn to things that are not healthy for them and their families. Sadly, it forces people into having a criminalistic mindset, in order to provide for their families. Which only fuels our states incarcerated population, and continues a vicious in this cycle.
One primary issue that is contributing to this nightmare is the fact that we spend very little money on the education system. This is problematic for a few reasons beyond what you might expect. First of all, our educational programs and schools are grossly underfunded, and to make matters even more difficult in late June 2019 it appeared that the Arizona State Board of Education voted to delay giving out any of the $20 million dollars approved by state lawmakers for Arizona schools, that was to go towards the hiring of more social workers, counselors, and resource officers until next year. The reason for doing this is so the money could be given out through the state’s school and safety grant program, but guess what the next round of applications for the grant program isn’t until next year. It seems like another way to funnel money into different entities, and also goes to show lawmakers once again are not overseeing their promises to the public once again.
Now, once again, it means that the students attending these schools are not getting any kind of quality education that might help them to move forward with their lives. From an academic standpoint, we are drastically falling behind in many key ways. Since our students aren’t getting access to the same high-quality education as students in other states, they are falling behind and it is robbing them of their futures, as many children born into poverty are more than likely to remain in a poverty stricken situation, remaining poor. Childhood poverty impacts educational achievement, mental and physical health, emotional wellness, not to mention the safety of our communities.
Beyond the lack of quality in our education system, the state itself is rife with poverty that impacts children every single day. The students who are growing up with poverty are not getting a good education, which means they will continue to slip through the cracks. Arizona surprisingly happens to be one of only eight states in our great nation that doesn’t give additional funding to students living in poverty. In most states, extra funding is provided to schools for every student from a low-income household that has a student attending school there, and the ones that don’t work that way at least provide additional money based on the school districts concentration of low-income students attending their schools. Both are pretty much the same thing just, bottom line is they see the issue with low-income families and the need for additional resources. They sincerely want to see the members of their communities succeed. They clearly want students to be able to strive and have a good education that’ll hopefully allow the students positive long term life outcomes, such as graduating, attending college, and gainful employment after obtaining a degree.
Not providing this extra funding in a state like Arizona, when you have multiple smaller school districts located all over the state that have extremely high poverty rates, is a recipe for disaster. This means that they are much less likely to ever escape poverty. This creates a continuous cycle of poverty. If we do not give people a chance to escape being poor, there is little hope for them to improve their quality of life. It is this that causes so many kids to end up falling into a life of crime or bad decision making that puts them at the mercy of Arizona’s disastrous criminal justice system.
Children are the future, but it is the responsibility of the adults at present to make that brighter future for these kids. Arizona incarcerates a staggering amount of citizens, with many living in poverty. When you have one area with a concentrated amount of crime and high levels of poverty, it tells you that the citizens are not having their needs met and that the system is likely corrupt. It is time for the state of Arizona to step up, help their kids, and take active steps to improve the circumstances of their citizens, and prevent this mass incarceration crisis cycle from continuing.