So, kids sent to alternative schools are more likely to drop out, and those who drop out are more likely to wind up in TYC or in prison. Is anyone really surprised? Here's the full report (pdf, 136 pages).
The report documents disparities among districts in how students are treated and recommends more standardized rules and increased state oversight.
"Where you go to school, and not your behavior, dictates whether you'll be referred" to an alternative education program, Lewis said.
Researchers for the group said that a history of disciplinary referrals is the single most important factor in determining whether a student will drop out of school. The alternative programs are often the last step for troubled youths before they enter the criminal justice system.
The report found that alternative education students are five times as likely to drop out as their peers in mainstream schools.
Appleseed Executive Director Rebecca Lightsey said that numerous studies have established a link between school dropouts and incarceration. Eighty percent of all Texas prison inmates are school dropouts, and one in three Texas Youth Commission inmates is a dropout, according to the Appleseed report.
When a student is suspended or removed from a classroom for violating school conduct policies, officials can refer that student to an alternative classroom. But in many cases, such placements are not required, and districts have the choice of imposing other sanctions, such as in-school or at-home suspensions.
Friday, October 19, 2007
Report: Kids bounced from regular classrooms more likely to commit crimes
Texas Appleseed has produced a new study showing that some school districts use their discretion to kick kids out of regular classrooms into "alternative" programs at extremely high rates - 167 of the more than 1,000 Texas school districts referred kids at more than twice the statewide rate. Reports the Austin Statesman: