This is an edited version of a commentary given by Stan Karp , a teacher of English and journalism in Paterson, N.J., for 30 years. Karp spoke on Oct. 1 at the fourth annual Northwest Teachers for Justice conference in Seattle. He is now the director of the Secondary Reform Project for New Jersey’s Education Law Center and an editor of the 25-year-old Rethinking Schools magazine. A video and fuller version of the commentary can be found here.
Putting young people in jail – particularly for nonviolent offenses – is a failed strategy, according to a new report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation that relied on decades of research and data. The report's most scathing findings include that youth incarceration does not reduce future offending; provides no overall benefit to public safety; wastes taxpayer dollars; and exposes youth to high levels of violence and abuse.
This report looks at America's Pre-K-12 public schools -- from the perspective of what Americans are reading and hearing in their local newspapers and media broadcasts. Sifting through these on-the-ground accounts revealed that there is indeed a growing crisis in America's public schools that hinges on two factors: state austerity budgets that cut funds from services to students and families, and new policies redirecting tax dollars meant for public schools to charters.
The Alliance for Quality Education, Citizen Action of New York, and the Public Education and Policy Fund of New York, bring attention to the Buffalo, N.Y., public school district's strict out-of-school suspension practices for non-violent offenses. In citing statistics that show out-of-school suspensions have significant educational consequences, the report urges the district to adopt a “restorative justice” alternative that would keep students in schools.
A new study by Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce confirms that the value of a college degree is increasing. The study shows that people with bachelor’s degrees earn 84 percent more over a lifetime than those with only a high school diploma, up from 75 percent in 1999. Read more>.
The Center for Education Policy examines a decade’s worth of research on school vouchers, including the effects on graduation rates, parental satisfaction, public school achievement and the cost to taxpayers. Among the report’s key findings is that vouchers have no clear positive effect on student academic achievement. The report stresses the need for closer scrutiny of voucher research to ensure greater objectivity because CEP’s reviewers found that a majority of previous research has been conducted or sponsored by voucher proponents.
In a new brief from the Pew Center on the States, Timothy Bartik argues that investing in early childhood helps with job creation in the short term and also creates a stronger future workforce. His comprehensive model combines well-designed business incentives with high-quality early childhood programs.
This report, by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, finds that the U.S. has been underproducing college-going workers since 1980. As a result, the country is losing its edge as an economic world leader. We must add 20 million postsecondary-educated workers to the workforce to make this income inequality decline. We can do it if we make a concerted effort to improve levels of educational attainment.
The student-led Voices of Youth in Chicago Education recently compiled a cost-analysis that shows how enforcing and administering zero tolerance policies costing taxpayers and examines the damaging effects of the Chicago public school system’s disciplinary policies on students and schools. In the report, “Failed Policies, Broken Futures: The True Cost of Zero Tolerance,” VOYCE writes that such harsh policies are “based on the fear that young people of color are future criminals, not the hope that we will be future leaders.”
Findings from a multi-year study of discipline records for nearly 1 million Texas students show that the majority of them were suspended or expelled between seventh to 12th grade. A not-surprising corollary finding: When students are suspended or expelled, the likelihood that they will repeat a grade, not graduate, and/or become involved in the juvenile justice system increases significantly. For more on the groundbreaking report by the Council of State Governments Justice Center in partnership with the Public Policy Research Institute at Texas A&M University.