Essay on School to Prison Pipeline

2887 Words Aug 19th, 2013 12 Pages
School-to-Prison Pipeline:
Does the Current Educational System Demonize or Criminalize Our Youth? In today’s society our children go down one of two paths: become successful or become criminals. The question then must be asked: have we allowed our children to be tracked down such opposite paths by using discipline as an excuse? There may well be an argument that ultimately the school and prison system have nothing to do with one another; however, I believe they have become one in the same. When a child can be suspended from school for bringing a plastic knife to cut his banana or a child can be expelled after two incidents of misbehavior, I think we have a problem. Where is the compassion and understanding that our education system
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Many schools, particularly those with large populations of the afore-mentioned student groups, were hit even worse than others. With test scores set and students not meeting them, funding for programs such as ESL and Special Education were cut drastically. To make things even harder, the state set a benchmark for these schools to meet, an AYP that would be next to impossible to reach. As Darling-Hammond stated “To complicate things more, those that serve large numbers of new English language Learners (what the law calls Limited English Proficient’ [LEP] students) and some kinds of special needs students (what the law calls ‘students with disabilities’) are further penalized by the fact that students are assigned to these subgroups because they cannot meet the standard and they are typically removed from the subgroup when they do meet the standard. Thus these schools will not ever be able to meet the proficiency benchmark the law has set.” (Darlng-Hammond) This double-edged sword poses a problem for the school but an even worse problem for the child. In such circumstances, these children are being held back so the school keeps its funding or worse, they are transferred out of the program before they are counted as part of the percentage and left to struggle in the regular curriculum set by the state. With a system so broken and teachers left to fend for themselves without support from the district or administrators, students are the ones ultimately

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