Volume 26, Number 6
An Academic Foothold for Court-Involved Youth
NCLB improves prospects for troubled teens
Keith Mattos teaches science to incarcerated youth in Westchester County, NY
As the complaints mount over the testing requirements, school labeling, and other mandates of No Child Left Behind, researchers say the federal law has helped one group of students who are seldom the focus of good news: troubled students who are at risk of getting trapped in what organizations like the NAACP and the ACLU have termed the “school-to-prison pipeline.”This is an excerpt from the Harvard Education Letter. Subscribers can click here to continue reading this article.
NCLB’s requirements, researchers say, have helped boost the academic prospects of students in juvenile justice centers and build on academic gains when those students transition back into the community. The result can be a chance to break a cycle of school failure and give kids a fresh start.
Under NCLB, each detention facility is mandated to designate a professional to focus on transition issues for incarcerated students upon their release. Because NCLB also requires states to track graduation rates, states are pushing for more coordination between schools and residential facilities to share education records, so a student’s achievement behind bars can be credited in the student’s home district. And while many states have granted waivers to detention centers exempting them from Adequate Yearly Progress requirements, the centers are required to hire certified teachers, just as if they were mainstream public schools.