CNN Money collected data from the Census and from the Vera Institute of Justice to learn how much money is spent on an elementary/secondary school student versus housing an inmate in each state. Spoiler alert: every single state spent more money on inmates than it did on public education. Which states were the worst “offenders?”…Read More
Ah, prison! That place where men and women go to realize the error of their ways and be fully rehabilitated. It’s where education is offered, training in life skills is provided, and community-minded citizens help out with reintegration programs… right? What we just described is the idealized version of the American prison system. Sadly, far…Read More
By Christopher Zoukis Cynthia Nixon is running for Governor of New York. Billed as a “progressive fighter, actor, activist, and lifelong New Yorker,” Nixon has long been known for her advocacy for LGBTQ+ equality, women’s rights, and public education. A standout issue on her platform is #schoolsnotjail. Her foray into advocacy for better public-school education…Read More
By Christopher Zoukis In early April, law enforcement members and members of the Chester County state legislative delegation met to discuss the impact pre-K funding could have on future crime. Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, one of the committees in the Council for a Strong America network, is a non-profit, bipartisan organization made up of…Read More
By Christopher Zoukis You may know Anna Deavere Smith from her television roles on The West Wing and Nurse Jackie, but for more than two decades, the actress, playwright and performer has been writing and performing plays that explore race, justice, and class inequality in America. Now her work, Notes from the Field, takes on…Read More
The “school-to-prison pipeline” describes the unfortunate trend of kids graduating not out of school, but rather into the criminal justice system. The pipeline effect is especially evident where large segments of the population are racially, economically and/or socially segregated, and where poverty, abuse and neglect are rampant. To put it bluntly, statistics show that nonwhite and disadvantaged…Read More
By Christopher Zoukis
A Michigan lawmaker is set on hobbling the school-to-prison pipeline in his state.
The forum was titled “How to Create a School-to-Success Continuum: Dismantling the School-to-Prison Pipeline.” Zemke has long been a strong supporter of education as a way to keep youth out of the prison system. He sponsored legislation signed into law last year that gives local schools more autonomy over harsh punitive decisions for students when it comes to things like suspension and expulsion. He asserts that schools should move away from the strict, zero-tolerance policies that he feels feed the school-to-prison pipeline.Read More
By Christopher Zoukis
Across the U.S. fully 43% of adults read at a grade 8 level or lower — 29% can only read at an eighth grade level, and 14% can only grasp material at a fifth grade level or lower. Throughout the country, thousands of adults are functionally illiterate, which has a huge negative impact on their day-to-day lives. Early childhood is a crucial time to set the right path for literacy. An interest in reading is often determined as early as first grade, with fourth-grade reading levels being an indicator of future success. Research shows that children who struggle to read in first grade are 88% more likely to struggle in grade four. And those who struggle in fourth grade are four times more likely to drop out of school.Read More
By Christopher Zoukis
In an effort to stem the school-to-prison pipeline and to keep kids in school, the Choice Bus was rolled out to help students understand their options in life, and how their decisions can affect their futures.
The Choice Bus is an initiative of the Mattie C. Stewart Foundation, a national nonprofit created in 2007 to help educators, community leaders and other interested groups reduce the dropout rate and increase the graduation rate. Dr. Shelley Stewart named the foundation in honor of his mother, whose murder he witnessed at the hands of his father at the age of five. The tragic incident put him at risk of poverty, homelessness and dropping out of school. Had it not been for a passionate teacher, Stewart’s life may have gone in a different direction. Instead, education made all the difference in his life.Read More
By Christopher Zoukis It is becoming increasingly obvious that zero-tolerance policies contribute to the school-to-prison pipeline, often unfairly punishing youth for offenses that should not be dealt with in the criminal justice system. Involvement in the criminal justice system often kicks off a domino effect toward further interaction with the criminal system. For non-violent offenses…Read More