CLASP's youth policy work aims to advance policy and practice that will dramatically improve the education, employment, and life outcomes for youth in communities of high youth distress. Learn more>>

Pathways to Reconnection for Disconnected Youth

We advocate for federal policies that meet the education and training needs of the millions of young people ages 16 to 24 who are disconnected from school and employment.  Read more>>

Building the Capacity of Communities

We work with communities to identify and highlight effective cross-system approaches that can provide opportunities for youth to complete their education, enter the labor market and improve their life outcomes. Read more>>

Supports and Strategies for Youth of Color 

We highlight the depth of the disadvantaged and disconnected youth problem for young people of color in some of the nation's most challenged communities and propose strategic solutions. Read more>>

May 22, 2015  |  PERMALINK »

Supporting the Academic Success of Black Girls

By Andrea Barnes

Black girls are entering the “school-to-prison pipeline” at alarming rates, according to a report from the Center for Intersectionality and Social Policy Studies and the African American Policy Forum. The school-to-prison pipeline, which refers to the link between punitive disciplinary measures in school and subsequent involvement in the juvenile or criminal justice systems, is a recognized barrier for young black males. Black boys are suspended and expelled more frequently than any other demographic group; as a result, they are typically the focus of academic research and advocacy. The impact of school discipline on girls, particularly Black girls, is largely ignored by scholars, leading many stakeholders to believe they are not affected.   However, a close review of the data tells a different story.

Analyzing U.S. Department of Education data on school suspensions for the 2011-2012 school year, Black Girls Matter: Pushed Out, Overpoliced, and Underprotected finds that race may be a more significant factor for females than it is for males. Black males were suspended more than three times as often as their White counterparts, while Black girls were suspended six times as often as their White counterparts.

The researchers utilized focus groups of school-age girls to further identify their achievement barriers. The girls describe their schools as chaotic environments that prioritize discipline over education and do not meet their emotional needs.  Many of their challenges are gender-specific, including interpersonal violence, sexual harassment and bullying, teen pregnancy and parenting, and family caretaking responsibilities.

There are numerous reasons Black girls are underserved. Lifting them up requires a range of solutions at the school, district, and state levels. Federal policy can also spark and support change. The report makes several recommendations for supporting Black girls’ success in school:

While Black boys experience the greatest disparities in educational outcomes, Black girls also have many challenges.  As we seek out solutions for Black boys, we must also study and address girls’ unique needs.

Read more about CLASP’s work on youth of color>>>

WIOA Game Plan for Low-Income People

WIOA is the first update to the nation’s core workforce training programs since the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) 16 years ago. CLASP is committed to making WIOA work; that's why we're developing a WIOA Game Plan for Low-Income People. We'll break down what you need to know to implement the law and help low-income families and individuals climb the economic ladder.

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