American Thinker: For those of us old enough to remember its beginnings, the United Negro College Fund’s iconic “A mind is a terrible thing to waste” campaign is still haunting. It began in 1972 with images of black students shut out of college classrooms, and ended with an almost undeniable appeal: donate to UNCF so that black kids can get an education.
But 45 years later, we’re still wasting minds. Many are black, but almost just as many are brown. In any poor California community, kids trapped in teachers-union-dominated classrooms are the least likely Californians to read or perform basic math at grade level. They are also the least likely to graduate from high school, much less go on to college. And now we have learned that beyond “terrible,” a mind is undeniably a dangerous thing to waste.
Though derided by the teachers’ unions as an urban myth, experts in education and corrections have observed a correlation between reading proficiency in the third grade and incarceration. They do not yet use this data to project the number of additional prison beds that will be needed, but some in the field think they should. California and New York reportedly once used fourth-grade reading scores but abandoned the practice. They should rethink that decision.
America has the largest prison population in the world (more than 2 million) and the second highest per capita incarceration rate. Although the average rate is 698 per 100,000, there are enormous differences between various subgroups.
The rate is 459 per 100,000 for White men, but that number rises to 3,074 for Blacks and 1,258 for Latinos. These differences mirror the striking disparities in academic achievement and NAEP test scores between the groups.
The failure to achieve reading proficiency by age 8 or 9 is a warning sign, a marker. more here