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The School Of Prison Pipeline Presents The Intersection Of A K 12 Educational System And A Juvenile System

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Chapter One: Introduction

Background of the Study:
The School-to-Prison Pipeline presents the intersection of a K-12 educational system and a juvenile system, which too often fails to serve our nations at risk youth. For most students, the pipeline begins with inadequate resources in public schools. Overcrowded classrooms, a lack of qualified teachers, and insufficient funding for "extras" such as counselors, special education services, even textbooks, lock students into second-rate educational environments. This failure to meet educational needs increases disengagement and dropouts, increasing the risk of later court involvement (Bennett-Haron, Fasching-Varner, Martin, & Mitchell 2014). Even worse, schools may actually encourage dropouts in response to pressures from test-based accountability regimes such as the No Child Left Behind Act, which create incentives to push out low-performing students to boost overall test scores (Cramer, Gonzales, & Lafont-Pellegrini 2014). Lacking resources, facing incentives to push out low-performing students, and responding to a handful of highly-publicized school shootings, schools have embraced zero-tolerance policies that automatically impose severe punishment regardless of circumstances. Under these policies, students have been expelled for bringing nail clippers or scissors to school (Christle, Jolivette, & Nelson 2005). Rates of suspension have increased dramatically in recent years from 1.7 million in 1998 to 3.1 million in 2010
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