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Letter: An investment in education pays dividends

Editor, Gazette-Journal:

Our country’s economic woes have forced our state and country to look for areas to reduce costs and hopefully get more bang for our tax bucks. Pundits and politicians alike debate over taxes, reducing services, and benefits (entitlements). The debate has been reduced to a bumper sticker: "It’s a spending problem" or "Tax the rich." Is public education just an expense, or is it really an investment?

I would argue an investment. Dropout rates in America are highest among blacks, then Hispanics, then whites—the same as U.S. prison populations that have exceeded two million inmates at a cost of roughly $30 billion in the U.S. This same statistical group applies to the poor in our country, creating hundreds of billions in cost to the taxpayer.

Virginia spends about 66 cents for every dollar we spend on education to incarcerate. Studies have shown time and again that the earlier a child starts school (and if we can gradua...

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