LETTER: ‘An Ounce of Prevention…’ regarding ‘Kids and Cops’ Initiative
I supported “Cops and Kids” initiative especially the “Kids” portion of the initiative. The reason is simple: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
The Highline School District is a wonderful district with great educators who have the best interests of our children at heart. They are dedicated to treating each and every child the same. In its pledge to support each child equally the district and HEA (Highline Education Association) are worried, among other things, about Burien providing more for their schools than the other cities.
This policy of “equality” is great while the kids are in school, but when they join us in adulthood it is very apparent who has slipped through the cracks. Frequently, they are a drain on our society because they are under-employed, on public assistance, or worse, breaking the laws society has set. They directly cost us money in Police, Courts, Jails, Property Values, and peace of mind. Indirectly, it is giving people the perception that Burien is unsafe. That PERCEPTION costs us money as well because who wants to live, work, or do business in an unsafe city.
The issue with this “equality” is that it is hamstringing the principals that see the unique issues at each school. As an example, one school principal would love to have in-class “after-school” time – that means snacks and busses. District and HEA budgets and policies would require that all schools be afforded that same privilege, rightly so.
The after-school time, for this particular school, would be used to improve the 3rd grade reading level and scores of our kids.
“Students reading at grade level in the third grade are more likely to graduate from high school. Students graduating from high school are less likely to wind up in the corrections system…” See: http://www.politifact.com/oregon/statements/2012/feb/13/ben-cannon/canon-gets-connection-between-reading-and-crime-ri/
The solution that the Burien City Council is offering is not one of trying to step on the districts toes but one of trying to seal the cracks that some of these kids fall through. It is the cities, and ultimately the tax payer, that directly and indirectly pay for those who fall through the cracks.
After attending many BEDP (Burien Economic development Program) meetings I can understand why the council wanted some agreed upon metrics. The metrics are there not to go over the School Boards authority, but merely to have something tangible to show the voters proving the program is working AND to have evidence of success when asking the voters to again support the levy as it expires.
For those reasons, I will ask the Burien City Council to again put this program forth as soon as practical.
– Joey Martinez
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