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Commit crime => get free classes!

I heard on the radio this morning that inmates in some Colorado prisons get to take classes for free, in subjects like graphic design, and then they even get a certificate (in this case from the Pueblo Community College).

My first thought was…

Nice, so you commit a crime, go to jail where everything is paid for by taxpayers, and you get to take classes on top of that, which the rest of us have to pay hundreds of dollars for per class! This crime business ain’t so bad!

It’s somewhat similar to the recent bill that got squashed in the Colorado legislature to allow illegal aliens to qualify for in-state tuition. My first reaction to that was also one of incredulity:

My parents had to pay out-of-state tuition for me even though we were legal, but “they” want not only to be able to live here illegally but to get a break on college tuition too!

But on further thought I believe the full story is more subtle.

Criminal offenders getting free higher education

I think overall it is a good idea to offer inmates free classes. Rather than repeatedly having my tax monies used to prosecute and incarcerate them, I think it is a better financial deal for me to pay a bit more once to teach them skills that will greatly reduce their chances of becoming repeat offenders.

Illegal aliens and higher education (and education in general)

I watched Inside Job last night. It mentioned that tuition for in-state students in the University of California public education system has gone from being in the hundreds in the 1970s to the current level beyond the $10,000 mark. It’s getting harder for the non-wealthy to attend college.

What this country needs, instead of rampant cuts in education spending, is a new attitude toward imparting education and a modest revamping of the system to do it, starting with better pay and more respect for teachers. I don’t think the historical fact has changed that, outside the home, teachers are the cornerstone of a successful and civilized society (and hence afforded such respect in Eastern cultures).

What this has to do with illegal immigrants getting tuition breaks is that is gives the nation (or state or whatever) a higher pool of educated and skilled automatons to compete in the global economy; to compete with China and S. Korea and Singapore; to keep some more of the highly specialized jobs that are increasingly going elsewhere (and not without good reason). With rising tuition costs fewer of the slowly-shrinking middle class of legal Americans will be able to afford college, so America will need the additional pool of illegal aliens of college-age students to fill that pool in order to compete with so-called less developed countries which are (not surprisingly) rising fast because they place a higher fundamental value on education and the educators that provide it.

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