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Spending more on prisons than schools

Washington spends about $6,500 per student on public education. That sounds like a decent number until you compare it with the amount spent on each prison inmate in the state which averages $34,500, according to budget records.

Although though the state spends five times as much money on prisons than schools, the League of Education Voters (LEV) says there are many unfortunate similarities between the two institutions. The group says there’s a “schools to prisons pipeline.”

The LEV has spent the summer studying discipline in schools and policies surrounding the suspension and expulsion of students. They found that low income and minority students were disciplined at rates much higher than their white, wealthy peers.

“The consequences of these inequalities pointed to lower rates of graduation and higher rates of incarceration. We saw a national trend emerging in urban school districts all across America,” they report.

KingCoJailThe educators go into the issues in a series of three podcasts.

The Opportunity Gap

The Cost of Inequality

From Pupil to Prisoner

Tonight they’ll detail some of their findings at a public meeting in Kent, ironically home to the Norm Maleng Regional Justice Center