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Gov. Spending On Prisons, Jails Has Increased Triple That of Education

By Victor Trammell

The U.S. public school system has been declining in quality for decades. School districts across the country deal with having to make do with less government funding year after year.

Professional studies are conducted annually, which analyze the rate at which state governments decrease their public education funding. The federal government also provides funding to state governments to financially assist them with their public school systems.

However, over the course of the two-term Obama Administration, there has been a trend of Republican-controlled state governments blocking federal funds allocated for school districts in those states.

Research has proven time and time again that there is a connection between the declining value of public education and crime, as well as other societal adversities, such as struggling local economies. This ever present reality is making the future look very dim for children across America.

The defunding of public education should make taxpayers wonder where the money is going, which is being taken away from our nation’s school children. It would be reasonable to surmise that the public money that isn’t being spent on public education is going somewhere else.

According to an official report by the U.S. Department of Education (DOE), which was released Thursday (July 7th), the funding for this nation’s state prisons and county jails is three times higher than the amounts allocated for public education.

This dangerous reality further legitimizes the claims by children’s advocates who are against the so-called preschool-to-prison pipeline. The DOE’s press office report reads as follows:

Seven states—Idaho, Michigan, Montana, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, and West Virginia—increased their corrections budgets more than five times as fast as they did their allocations for P-12 public education. The report also paints a particularly stark picture of higher education spending across the country at a time when postsecondary education matters more than ever. Since 1990, state and local spending on higher education has been largely flat while spending on corrections has increased 89 percent. (

This trade-off for education funding to the prison system is happening in many other U.S. states too. However, the nation’s DOE secretary strongly believes that the prioritization of prison funding over financing our nation’s school systems is dead wrong.

“Budgets reflect our values, and the trends revealed in this analysis are a reflection of our nation’s priorities that should be revisited,” U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. said in a statement.

“For far too long, systems in this country have continued to perpetuate inequity. We must choose to make more investments in our children’s future. We need to invest more in prevention than in punishment, to invest more in schools, not prisons,” King continued.

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