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Published: 02/06/2014

Archived: 03/21/2014

Black History Month Facts and Stats

 

 Despite the passage of policies guaranteeing racial equality, African American youths are disproportionately affected by remnants of the social and institutional racism in America’s past. Black history month is about remembering black history and transcending present obstacles for people of color.  With the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Act of 1965, progress for Black Americans seemed eminent.  However, without addressing the years of segregation, housing discrimination, and societal wide prejudices, reparations were not made and people of color are still suffering as new forms of discrimination are emerging.  The school-to-prison pipeline is a synthesis of educational strife and a prison industrial complex that is funneling low-income youth of color into the criminal justice system. Through education, transcendence is possible this Black History Month as we remember and envision a future filled with equality for all races. 

Text Box: “A 2010 analysis by the Council of the Great City Schools affirmed that poverty alone does not seem to explain the differences in reading proficiency between black and white fourth-grade boys.”
-The Annie E. Casey Foundation
    Overwhelming research reveals a divergence in educational attainment and race in the United States. According to The Casey Foundation (TCF 2014), 83 percent of black children were not reading at their assigned grade level, compared to 55 percent of white children. Due to poverty, educational facilities are insufficient in providing black children with the proper skill sets needed to achieve higher education and improved socioeconomic statuses. According to Amurao (2013) “for every100 students, 15 Blacks were suspended, 7.9 American Indian, 6.8 Latino and 4.8 white, respectively.”

    The harmful educational practices and policies referred to as, “Zero-Tolerance” is harsh punishment for those students who break the rules or engage in behavior not seen as appropriate by the school administration without consideration for individual circumstance.  The youth that are the most negatively impacted by this policy are disadvantaged and underprivileged students of color.  An infographic from www.suspensionstories.com summarizes this school to prison pipeline succinctly.

    Funneling students into the criminal justice system with zero tolerance policies does not improve their behavior; instead it places the at-risk youth further away from gaining a higher education.  Substantial research suggests that the zero tolerance policy is not effective in improving student’s behavior and the policy is more likely to impact students of color. “We incarcerate an obscene number of people—over 2.3 million—with one in every 41 Black adults over the age of 18 being incarcerated, as compared to one in every 96 Hispanic adults, and one in every 245 White adults” (Christianakis and Mora).

    Without considering the lives these children have lived and how they may prosper greatly from supplementary educational programs, the system is creating a complex inherently discriminatory against children of color. Educators and other human services groups are fighting this system through awareness education and the dismantling of the school-to-prison pipeline.

 

 

Research by Mayra Ramirez and Phoebe Smith - Student Interns

UNC-Wilmington Public Sociology Program

 

Works Cited

AIFR Report 2012. “Keeping Young People Out of Prison and in the Classroom.”              Washington, DC: American Institutes For Research. Retrieved February 01, 2014   (http://www.air.org/resource/keeping-young-people-out-prison-and-classroom)

American Civil Liberties Union. 2014. “School to Prison Pipeline.” New York, NY:           American Civil Liberties Union. Retrieved February 4, 2014        (https://www.aclu.org/school-prison-pipeline).

Amurao, Carla. 2013. “Fact Sheet: How Bad Is The School-to-Prison Pipeline?” PBS.         Retrieved February 4, 2014 (http://www.pbs.org/wnet/tavissmiley/tsr/education-              under-arrest/school-to-prison-pipeline-fact-sheet/)

AIFR Report 2012. “Keeping Young People Out of Prison and in the Classroom.”              Washington, DC: American Institutes For Research. Retrieved February 01, 2014   (http://www.air.org/resource/keeping-young-people-out-prison-and-classroom)

Christianakis, Mary and Richard Mora. “Feeding the School-to-Prison Pipeline: The           Convergence of Neoliberalism, Conservativism, and Penal Populism.” Journal of             Educational Controversy. Retrieved February 01, 2014                 (http://www.wce.wwu.edu/Resources/CEP/eJournal/v007n001/a001.shtml)

The Annie E. Casey Foundation. 2014. Retrieved February 4, 2014      (http://www.aecf.org/).

 

 

Additional Resources

·         http://www.tolerance.org/magazine/number-43-spring-2013/feature/teachers-guide-rerouting-pipeline

·         http://www.pbs.org/wnet/tavissmiley/tsr/education-under-arrest/school-to-prison-pipeline-fact-sheet/

·         http://www.aecf.org/~/media/Pubs/Topics/Education/Other/EarlyWarningConfirmed/EarlyWarningConfirmed.pdf

·         https://www.aclu.org/racial-justice/what-school-prison-pipeline

·         http://www.naacpldf.org/case/school-prison-pipeline

·         http://journalofafricanamericanmales.com/wp-content/uploads/downloads/2010/05/FINAL-TERRY.pdf

·         http://america.aljazeera.com/watch/shows/america-tonight/america-tonight-blog/2014/1/22/black-students-andtheschooltoprisonpipeline.html