effectively

Easy fix is not the right fix

Published 7:44pm Monday, January 16, 2012

An ancient king had a boulder placed on a roadway. Then he hid himself and watched to see if anyone would remove the huge rock.

Some of the king’s wealthiest merchants and courtiers came and simply walked around it. Others loudly blamed the king for not keeping the roads clear but no one removed the stone. Then a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables.

As he approached the boulder, he laid down his burden and tried to move the stone aside. After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded. As the peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been.

The purse contained many gold coins and a note from the king indicating the gold was a reward for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway. That day the peasant learned what many of us might never understand; every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve our condition.

The driving reason behind the discussion about merging the General Fund and the Education Trust Fund is due to the huge boulder in the middle of the road that people keep trying to avoid.

Alabama ranks fourth in the nation for incarcerations with one out of every 75 persons being incarcerated.

Each year the Department of Correction’s budget increases only to continue the mantra of “being tough on crime.” We really haven’t been tough on crime but we have used the Department of Correction as a crutch to hide behind the real issue, underfunded education.

If we are going to be tough on crime, we must provide more to educate our children. We must ask, “Why would we want to take money away from the Education Trust Fund and transfer it over to the Department of Correction?”

It is a sad day when we choose to incarcerate our children instead of educating them. We spend almost twice the amount to incarcerate than we do to educate.

Until we get serious about education, the boulder will remain in the road.

Obviously, dropping out of school does not automatically result in a life of crime. The vast majority of students who leave high school without diplomas are and remain law-abiding citizens. However, high school dropouts are far more likely than graduates to be arrested or incarcerated.

It is obvious we can move the boulder if we have the courage and choose to do so. So, let’s get tough on crime by investing in the education of Alabama’s future.

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