Improving Education & Prison Reform

1. IMPROVING EDUCATION: Before the mid-1800s no uniform educational policy existed in the United States. School conditions varied across regions. Massachusetts and Vermont were the only states to pass a compulsory school attendance law before for Civil War. Younger and older pupils were in the same classrooms. Few children continued in school beyond the age of ten. In the 1830s Americans increasingly began to demand tax-supported public schools. In 1834 Pennsylvania established one of the first such systems.

Although enrollment in the public schools was optional, a storm of opposition erupted from well-to-do taxpayers. They saw no reason to support schools that their children, who were mostly enrolled in private schools, would not attend .Opposition also came from some German immigrants who feared that their children would forget the German language and culture. Education supporters countered these arguments, however, noting that schooling would give children better economic opportunities and help make them responsible citizens. Within three years, about 42 precent of the elementary-school-age children in Pennsylvania were attending public schools. One remarkable leader in the public school reform movement was Horace Mann of Massachusetts. After a childhood spent partly at work and partly in poor schools, Mann declared, "If we do not prepare children to become good citizens,...if we do not enrich their minds with knowledge, then our republic must go down in destruction, as others have gone before it." In 1837 he became the first secretary of the Massachusetts Board of Education. In 12 years of service, Mann established teacher-training programs and instituted curriculum reforms. He also doubled the money the state spent on schools.

Other states soon followed Massachusetts's and Pennsylvania's good example. By the 1850s every state had provided some form of publicly funded elementary schools. In states in the far West, and in southern states, however, it took years before public schools were firmly established. 1. Here we sit in the 21st century and are by far worse then that of the 1800's. Our political differences and the power struggle to be in charge. By either party has caused our most important years to teach a child the fundamental needs to become a productive citizen. We must get our schools back to the simple reading, writing and math along with hands on learning of trades. Far too many children are being left behind, dropping out of school and becoming dependent on the government to just survive. It all goes back to the main problem and is why our Constitution must be amended to give the power back to the parents to run the schools boards and have voice without the threat of being arrested.

2. REFORMING PRISONS AND ASYLUMS In 1831 French writer Alexis de Tocqueville visited the United States to study its penitentiary system. Observing prisoners who were physically punished or isolated for extended periods, de Tocqueville concluded that "while society in the United States gives the example of the most extended liberty, the prisons of the same country offer the spectacle of the most complete despotism (rigid control.)" Prisons were overcrowded. Prisoners were poorly fed. Many prisons did not even offer basic bathing facilities. Reformers quickly took up the cause.

In cities such as Boston and Philadelphia, concerned individuals formed prison reform societies. Among the leaders of these societies were many members of the clergy, who were concerned about the spiritual well-being of prisoners. They wanted prisons to focus less on punishing prisoners and more on rehabilitating them. Because of these reformers efforts, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania- and, later, other states- built new, more humane prisons.

Similarly, some reformers worked to improve the state of care for the mentally ill in the United States. Mentally ill people and nonviolent criminals were often confined in prisons alongside violent criminals. Some were regularly mistreated, beaten, or starved as a punishment. Compassionate individuals campaigned to improve the lives of those who were being mistreated.

2 & 3. In 1831 it was recorded that American prisons and the system was inhumane to prisons, that nearly 200 years later they are no better if not worse. I blame this on politicians passing too many long sentences for non violent crimes and politicians passing too many long sentences for non violent crimes and politicians having a profit interest in the products and material used in prisons.

The mentally ill are locked up like animals to this day. I've seen it. I've lived next to it, America puts humans in bare rooms for years with no social interaction or enrichment ever. We are fed a 2000 calorie diet of peanut butter, cookies and cake for months at a time. I spent over 2 years in solitary and you will never be the same. Prison and justice reform must be a priority in America. The federal prison system is the most corrupt, racist organization in America. Slavery and legalized human trafficking exists in our system or I wouldn't be here.

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