I am a fiscal conservative. Before you make the wrong assumption as to what I mean by that statement, allow me to explain.

In a number of our urban SCPS, there are many students who are not at grade level after 3rd grade. Studies prove that those students failing to achieve competency status, are more likely to fall farther behind each year.  Studies also show these students are much more likely to be arrested in later years.

Taxpayers fund approximately $7,600 per student per year. Taxpayers fund approximately $136,000 per convict per year.

Let’s allow those numbers to sink in……..

I respectfully submit that $7,600 at some schools does not go as far as it does in others. For students in Germantown, those dollars may be adequate.  For many students in core areas, 1st grade may be the first time those students have even seen a book, let alone, entering first grade able to read.  Equal is not necessarily equitable.

If we are able to generate additional funding through the private sector, perhaps we can begin to level the playing field. I propose that we work toward the goal of providing additional resources where they are needed through a joint public/private effort. By helping disadvantaged students achieve competency by 3rd grade, we lift not only that student, but the community as well.

It is simple mathematics, work toward providing additional resources for those first 3 years, or pay the price of incarceration for many, many years to come.  Build more prisons, or find creative ways to improve student outcomes. You decide which makes more “cents” to you.

Stand up for Memphis!