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Volume 26, Number 6
November/December 2010

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.”

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.

This is an excerpt from the Harvard Education Letter. Subscribers can click here to continue reading this article.

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For Further Information

For Further Information

The Center for Criminology and Public Policy Research has studied the effects of NCLB on the education of court-involved students and provides resources for educators. www.criminologycenter.fsu.edu

ACLU Racial Justice Program

Children’s Defense Fund Cradle to Prison Pipeline Campaign

Dismantling the School-to-Prison Pipeline. New York: NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc., October 10, 2005.

T. G. Blomberg, G. Pesta, and C. Valentine. The Juvenile Justice No Child Left Behind Collaboration Project: Final Report 2008. Tallahassee, FL: Florida State University Center for Criminology and Public Policy Research, 2008.

T.G. Blomberg, G. Pesta, C. Wright, and S. Ciftci. The Juvenile Justice No Child Left Behind Collaboration Project: Proceedings of the 2006 National Conference on Juvenile Justice Education and No Child Left Behind. Tallahassee, FL: Florida State University Center for Criminology and Public Policy Research, 2006.

P. Leone and L.Weinberg. Addressing the Unmet Educational Needs of Children and Youth in the Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare Systems. Washington DC: Center for Juvenile Justice Reform, May 2010.

National Juvenile Justice Education Data Clearinghouse