Preventing Schools from Becoming the Pipeline to Prison
Maryland Bar Journal, Vol. 42, No. 3, pp. 42-47, May/June 2009
7 Pages Posted: 17 Jun 2009 Last revised: 17 Jul 2009
Date Written: 2009
This article looks at the education plight of low income children and explores the cost of mis-education of these individuals. The students in these failed urban schools share certain commonalities. Poverty influences how these students approach writing, speak to their teachers and other adults and how they handle conflict. Thus, these children need school and community based reforms which provide more personalized educational opportunities and a conscious effort to specifically teach the behavioral values and character skills that students need to be successful.
The article then presents a model of educational reform in which law students partner with a charter high school in Baltimore City working together to change the odds. Through a partnership between the Juvenile Law Clinic at the University of Maryland School of Law and the Baltimore Freedom Academy in courses dealing with a variety of subject matters, law students have been teaching high school students to think critically, to question as well as to use language - both oral and written - persuasively to express their needs to learn problem solving skills and to advocate for others. Both the law students and BFA students have focused on the importance of hard work, how to build relationships and the role law plays in different communities and our society overall.
After six years and many challenges, the outcomes are beginning to show that the BFA students are on the road to becoming academic achievers and future leaders of our community.
Keywords: education, low income families, race, class
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