Embedded Systems in the Public Schools that open the Pipeline to Prison


 What is the School to Prison Pipeline?

“In the last decade, the punitive and overzealous tools and approaches of the modern criminal justice system have seeped into our schools, serving to remove children from mainstream educational environments and funnel them onto a one-way path toward prison…. The School-to-Prison Pipeline is one of the most urgent challenges in education today.” (NAACP 2005)

 "The idea that going to jail is apart of a child's "destiny" if they are born into a family that is in poverty, and spent time behind bars, whether they follow the rules or not." (Frontline PBS 2018  


When children attend schools that place greater value on discipline and security than on knowledge and intellectual development, they are attending prep schools for prison” -Angela Davis

“School is the only other place besides prison that I know where you have to walk in a single file line into a cafeteria where you are forced to sit and eat with people you may not want to sit by.” -anonymous
“10 out the 50 states now pay more for prisons than education. We roughly spend $40,000 a year on each prison inmate.” -anonymous


Who does the School-to-Prison-Pipeline effect
1. African Americans
2. Children raised by single parent
3. Children with parent(s) in prison
4. Families in poverty
5. Minorities
6. Low income areas


1960’s The Great Society
The idea was to eliminate poverty and racial injustice. New major spending programs that addressed education, medical care, urban problems, and transportation. However, it was actually caused more problems for African Americans in particular. For example, many wives left their husbands for the incentives and benefits of The Great Society. This caused then many children to grow up without this father figure, and is also something that minorities face today.
1970’s “Providing Jobs”
During this era, many jobs were beginning to opened because of the demand for prisons. Ironically around this time the increase for African Americans in jail also skyrocketed. Now, the ratio is 1 in 3 African Americans go to jail in the United States today making any child born into an African American family at risk for following into this lifestyle of being in juvenile, and eventually prison.
1980’s “War on Drugs”
During Reagan's time in office is when the zero tolerance ideology began. This idea sadly is still used, and creating many problems in poverty, urban schools today. The idea of cracking down, and “being tough” on students is continually being proven that it’s not efficient, and only causing minority students to have a higher chance in juvenile or in prison when they are older.  
1990’s “Three Strikes”
Clinton similar to Johnson thought the three strike rule was beneficial, but actually not beneficial on eliminating school-to-prison-pipeline. Since it’s been proven that African Americans have been punished more in schools, the likelihood of them being apart of the three strike program was high. This means that although he was trying to give chances it actually just made a higher of chance for minorities to spend more time in prison, and away from their families, and having them follow in the footsteps.
2001 “NCLB”
The idea only created more segregation in public schools. This idea to eliminate the gap of higher and low achievement did nothing for high poverty school districts. This idea only made it worse, and negatively affected ELL students, minorities, and students with special need. Having all students for all over the United States try to be on the same level by using standardized testing, is not the answer or very realistic.
2010 “PROMISE Program”
Obama wanted to reduce the school-to-prison-pipeline by creating PROMISE (PREVENTING RECIDIVISM THROUGH OPPORTUNITIES, MENTORING, INTERVENTIONS, SUPPORT & EDUCATION). Although it did decrease the expulsion rates in a district in Florida it instead allowed violent kid whose outbursts are tolerated week after week leading years later to a school shooting also has lasting negative effects on young people and disrupts the learning process.
Things we need to adjust
1. Zero Tolerance: the ideology of removing "problem children" from their schools.
2. Reducing the suspensions and expulsions: This idea only causes disruption in their education, and escalates poor behavior by removing them from a structured environment and giving them increased time and opportunity to get into trouble.
3. Educational system in high poverty areas: These schools lack experienced, certified teachers. Also, they don't have the proper resources to promote healthy sustainable educational environments, when these are the schools that need it the most!
4. Traditional Teacher styles: Our schools are being taught the same way they did hundreds of years ago. This method of teaching was beneficial then for kids learning how work in single file factory lines, but today it's considered outdated, and a thing of the past. While things around us are changing, the method of teaching is still staying the same.

 How to prevent the School-to-prison-pipeline in your classroom

1. Take a critical look at existing school discipline policies, the actual practices of school and law enforcement, and the impact of those policies and practices.
2. Know your students. Form relationships, and provide students with trust and respect.
3. Provide meaningful alternatives to students (ex: Social services-based truancy intervention programs, peer mediation, after school programs, intensive guidance counseling, and conflict resolution programs).
4. Provide services in a manner of consistence, and with the notion that every child can succeed. Leads to children wanting to pursue a higher education after high school
5. Having a the goal of creating a safe, sustainable school community.
6. Teach with purpose, make it impactful on the students. Discussion based Learning, Hands on, inquiry, Community based etc. (NO MORE TRADITIONAL TEACHING).
7. Schools incorporate comprehensive schoolwide practices that are positive, consistent, collaboratively regulated, and culturally sensitive are much more likely to have lower rates of suspension than schools without such practices.
  • African Americans represent only 17% of public schools enrollment, but 34% of the nationwide suspensions. (Twice as likely to be suspended)
  • African American students are far more likely than white peers to be suspended, expelled, or arrested for the same kind of conduct at school.
  • In 1974 there were 1.7 million students expelled, in 1997 there were 3.1 million students expelled, now in 2017 3.5 million were suspended
  • 32% of youth in juvenile corrections have been identified as having special learning needs (many just haven’t been tested to know).
  • In Florida and Maine (Florida being well known for School-To-Prison-Pipeline) 60% of juvenile offenders have disabilities that affect their ability to learn.
  • In Florida only 45% of African American Males will graduate from high school, and 38% graduating on time.
Book Recommendations
Learning the Curve by: Erica Baker
This is a good read for teachers trying to reach those students who seem like they don't want to learn. It gives you tips on how to challenge them, even though it can be discouraging at times. You learn great engagement strategies, and helpful ways to dismantle the School-To-Prison-Pipeline.
Pushout by: Monique W. Morris
This book helps exposes you to a world of challenges many students face in school. It shows you their challenges they have to face everyday like policies, practices, cultural illiteracy that push countless students out of school and into unhealthy, unstable, and unsafe futures.
Works Cited
1. ACLU School-To-Prison-Pipeline Retrieved April, 4th, 2018 https://www.aclu.org/issues/juvenile-justice/school-prison-pipeline
This website really talks about all of the negative things that happen in the School to Prison Pipeline. It starts by telling you a lot about this "zero tolerence" approach, and why it's a big part to these failing schools. It also then continues with other headings in the website that are traits of failing schools that fall under the school to prison pipeline
2.The School-to-Prison Pipeline. (2017, August 09). Retrieved from https://www.tolerance.org/magazine/spring-2013/the-schooltoprison-pipeline
History.com Staff. (2017). Great Society. Retrieved from https://www.history.com/topics/great-society
This website really helps break down the Great Society. It helps tell you about what the plans were for The Great Society, and who it would help. It explains how it's too good to be true, and why it overall actually failed, and only hurt the people it was trying to help more. 
3. Schwartz, I. (n.d.). Ingraham: 'PROMISE Program' Hailed By Obama Admin Led to Florida Schools Ignoring Violent Students. Retrieved from https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2018/03/05/ingraham_promise_program_hailed_by_obama_admin_led_to_florida_schools_ignoring_violent_students.html
In this website, it really go in depth with the PROMISE program that Obama created during his time in office. It talks about why this plan was too good to be true, and how overall his vision to stop the School to Prison Pipeline failed. It talks about the school in Florida, and then how it lead to one of the worst school shootings. 
PDF's from scholarly research





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