Pubdate: Thu, 20 Nov 2003
Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (WI)
Copyright: 2003 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Author: David Hopkins
Bookmark: (Higher Education Act)


I was happy to read the Journal Sentinel's Nov. 17 editorial about
legislation designed to restrict financial aid for drug dealers ("The
makings of bad law").

Though I agree that dealing drugs can be a serious offense, it is not always
true. The youths who split a bag of marijuana among themselves is a much
different story than gangsters who manufacture methamphetamines in an
abandoned house. This is why some scrutiny is needed for those who seek
financial aid.

Convicted drug dealers should be guided into classes that are appropriate,
not only for higher education, but also for individual special needs. After
all, education holds the most promise for reducing the drug problem. Despite
well over 300 million arrests, incarceration and punishment have failed.

The editorial's points about the bill discriminating against lower-income
students and aggravating the related issue of the lawless privileges of the
wealthy and about delivering fair treatment for other convicts who seek
education are well-taken.

As the editorial noted, this state legislation echoes federal law that was
enacted a few years ago. But now there is an initiative to repeal that
section of the Federal Higher Education Act drug provisions. It is ironic
that Wisconsin, a traditionally liberal and open-minded state, is
considering adding insult to injury in this matter.

David Hopkins

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