Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Extraordinary interview with Eric Sterling

[Coming off a big and busy week here at OE so you can expect to see a lot of catch-up posts over the next few days.]

Though we generally don't think about it in these terms, the war on drugs should be part of the education debate. The communities on the wrong side of the achievement gap are also the ones that have paid the price for congress's pathetic need to sound tough a quarter century ago. Here's a representative sample:
STERLING: The amounts ended up being very, very small, instead of a high-level quantity...

CONAN: Because the idea of the law, originally, was to go after kingpins.

STERLING: Exactly. We - the Justice Department had very broad discretion, and we recognized that the federal should be focused on the highest-level traffickers. The first proposal that we had used data that the DEA had suggested in terms of how they evaluate, internally, their highest-level traffickers. Those numbers were objectionable to a congressman from Louisville, Kentucky, who said: We'll never use this law in Louisville. And unfortunately, no one, given the speed of this, said: But congressman, Louisville is not Holly - Miami. It's not the center of the drug trade. Nobody goes to Louisville to do a major cocaine deal. Of course, we don't need it.

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