The meme seems to go something like this: In our state, officials use third-grade reading levels to project the number of prison beds that will be needed in ten years. Do a Google search on prison-beds third-grade or prison-cells third-grade and you’ll get a couple hundred results.
Xy wanted me to find an authoritative reference for her principal, but my instinct tells me this is bogus. It is attributed to many different states: Louisiana, Indiana, Illinois, Arizona, California. There are variants: sometimes it’s fourth grade, sometimes it’s second grade.
But most of all, it’s just too pat. Who ever heard of such sophisticated planning? And it’s easy to see why people would repeat this. Like the (bogus) idea that Eskimos have 200 words for snow, it makes a good point. If we build better schools, we might build fewer prisons.
So I think it’s an urban legend, but I can only find one source that says so. Anybody know different?