Important headlines for March 21st
Bottom Line: These are stories you don't want to miss and my hot takes on them...
Broward County's Reverse Jail-to-School Pipeline Paul Sperry, RealClearInvestigations
Excerpt: At the same time the Broward County school system was dismantling the “school-to-prison pipeline” under policies that failed to stop accused shooter Nikolas Cruz, it was building another pipeline, funneling back into regular classrooms thousands of other potentially dangerous students released from local jails, county and school district records reveal.
Through a little-known “re-engagement" program for serious juvenile offenders, the Florida district has “transitioned" back to school almost 2,000 incarcerated students, a number comparable to student bodies at many high schools, according to district data obtained by RealClearInvestigations. Local probation officers warn that these offenders have a high risk of reoffending.
Hot Take: So, let's see. The school expelled rather than prosecuted Cruz (which would have prevented Cruz from legally buying a gun had he been successfully prosecuted) and now this. Imagine if the passion of those wanting reforms were being equitably applied here - what might be possible specifically at the local level. Is anyone concerned about this development? Are there any other developments? Should we accept the increased risk because we want to attempt to provide second chances in our schools?
I don't claim to have all of the answers. I do think there's enough evidence suggesting that Broward's schools, if they've errored in policy it would appear to be on the side of policy that increases the risk of school safety issues. Are there any other policies semi-secrets we don't know about? What about other school districts, is this more common than we might know? What are your thoughts?
What Holds America Together David Brooks, New York Times
Hot Take: Candidly the story itself is a bit less fulfilling than I'd hoped given the short but strong headline. The crux is that diversity in culture embodied in freedom is generally what keeps this country of ours together. It also serves as a reminder that in the grand scheme of the rest of the world our country is extremely young and it's natural to go through growing pains. At least those are my takeaways from the story. But that's not what I wanted to focus on - this headline reminded me of a point that's important as we're continuing to see the seeming fracturing of it based on the current political environment. What does keep this country together? Not culturally or philosophically but literally?
I'd argue that we really don't have a culture war playing out in this country, at least the ways commonly portrayed by those attempting to politicize cultural issues - this country is far and away the most open and accepting it's ever been in cultural, gender and sexual diversity/acceptance. Instead we're arguably at a low point since the civil war with regard to the real ties that bind. The Constitution. For several years I've argued that the more aggressively state and local governments fight the Constitution, and generally getting away with it, the bigger and deeper the divides will be in this country and the greater the risk for the future of the country regardless of where you stand on any particular issue. We've seen this play out on two fronts and I don't think it's the least bit coincidental that we're having the political strife we're experiencing today as a result. The two issues... Marijuana and illegal immigration. I'll explain.
As I've long stated... There's no such thing as legal marijuana of any sort in the United States anywhere. It's still a schedule 1 drug according to the federal government which means no subordinate government has the ability to "legalize" it in any capacity. As I've warned right along too many people take a look at the issue rather than the premise of what's at stake and so because many Americans, Floridians - want it in given capacities we've said screw the Constitution - we'll do what we want at the state and local level rather than seeking the appropriate reforms at the federal level. The result has been lax enforcement of our laws by federal authorities (often with the impact only being realized on the banking end of marijuana sales) who're often caving to political pressure and the fear of backlash by looking the other way. Not surprisingly after seeing that it's possible to break the law at the state and local level - certain state and local governments have done the same thing with immigration.
Think about this for a moment. Had state and local governments enforced our immigration laws right along in-conjunction with the Federal Government, which has complete oversight of all immigration policy, would we have any of the crisis - perceived or real - pertaining to illegal immigration? Nope. And Donald Trump wouldn't be the boogeyman of the fear mongers either. And again, this isn't to say that reforms aren't needed to our immigration policy regardless of the extinct of illegal immigration concerns, but this wouldn't be the hot button political wedge that creates the level of divisiveness we're seeing. And so, what's next? If the actual thing that holds this country together - the Constitution, the rule of law, doesn't really apply unless we want it to at the state and local level... What's the next shoe to drop? And how many more before the Constitution is irrelevant and our states are anything but united?