Today's Times-Tribune reports that at least ten preschools in Lackawanna, Wayne and Susquehanna counties have either remained closed or are on the verge of closing due to the state budget impasse.
The article also discusses new research which suggests that kids who attend preschool are only half as likely to wind up in prison as kids who do not.
The article then segues back to economics, with the Scranton Police Chief pointing out that, "It costs more today to have somebody in state prison than it costs to send someone to college at Penn State University for one year."
What struck me about this article was the seamlessness of the transition among the three topics: economics, education, crime.
If research showed that preschool made no difference - or worse yet - that former preschoolers inordinately comprised the prison population, then would we value education less? Does education have no inherent value?
Similarly, if the financial cost of imprisoning our young people remained less than the cost of college, then would we be happy to keep sending them to prison?
I fear we are becoming a culture in which the majority would say that education is only as important as the income it generates, and that the value of everything - even freedom - can be measured in dollars and cents.
That, to me, is as scary as the scariest crime statistic out there.
Keeping people who should not be in prison out of prison is a big part of my job. It means something - something more than money - to the people I serve. Check out some of my client testimonials to see what I mean.