Date of Award
America's once revered public education system is now in crisis. In the last two decades, with special emphasis on the time period since the 2002 passing of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), the United States has seen an unprecedented decline in the overall value and worth of its education system. Graduation rates have plummeted, drop out rates have skyrocketed (The United States graduates fewer then 7 out of every 10 high school student)1, and the United States continues to fall behind other industrialized countries in the three main subject areas of math, science, and reading. However, the problem is not low graduation rates or high drop out rates; those are simply a symptoms of the problem. The real problem, contrary to what the misleading slogan of "no child left behind: might suggest, is that the current education system is not designed for every child to succeed. Instead the real human potential of millions of students is lost in a system that sets them up for failure. There are many sad realities that have contributed to the decline, including an increase in poverty. However, there are two policies that have proven to be the most direct threat to the educational opportunities of America's youth: "zero tolerance" school discipline and high stakes testing. These severely punitive policies have subsequently led to what many call the School-to-Prison Pipeline (STPP). The STPP is defined as a set of policies and practices, aforementioned above, that make the likelihood of the criminalization and incarceration of youth greater and the attainment of a high quality education less likely.2 The STPP pushes students into the criminal justice system by criminalizing normal student behavior and limiting opportunities to learn, which makes them more likely drop out of school and ultimately become incarcerated.
Melendez, Angel, "Forgotten Voices: What Roosevelt HS Students Have to Say About Education Reform Strategies and the School-to-Prision Pipeline" (2012). African & African American Studies Senior Theses. 15.