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>>
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>>
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>>
May 22, 2015 | PERMALINK »
Supporting the Academic Success of Black Girls
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:
- Review and revise policies that funnel girls into the juvenile justice system. Schools and districts can employ alternative discipline strategies that hold students accountable while keeping them in school. Approaches like Saturday school, afterschool detention, in-school suspension, and required community service have had varying success. However, these policies will only be effective if the school personnel who implement them are unbiased.
- Advance and expand programs that support girls who are pregnant, parenting, or otherwise assuming significant familial responsibilities. The traditional high school model is ineffectual for many non-traditional students, making multiple educational pathways essential. The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) should be reauthorized to support educational alternatives, such as reengagement centers, high-quality charter schools equipped to address non-traditional student needs, competency –based learning, and twilight academies, among others.
- Address school discipline policy through ESEA. The reauthorization should consider the correlation between racial and gender disparities and suspension and expulsion rates as part of the school accountability structure. All students should receive a quality education, regardless of race or gender.
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.
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.READ MORE »
- Kisha Bird, Anna Cielinski, Judy Mortrude, and David Socolow | Apr 17, 2015 Promoting Economic and Career Success for Low-Income Youth and Adults: A Preview of the Proposed WIOA Regulations
- Rhonda Bryant | Feb 20, 2015 College Preparation for African American Students: Gaps in the High School Educational Experience
- Center for Postsecondary and Economic Success | Apr 02, 2015 Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Draft Regulations Released
- Kisha Bird and Rhonda Bryant | Feb 04, 2015 The President’s Budget: Select Investments In Education and Employment Pathways for Vulnerable Youth
- CLASP Youth Team | Nov 20, 2014 Our Youth, Our Economy, Our Future: A Road Map for Investing in the Nation's Talent Pipeline
- Kisha Bird, Chris Warland, Melissa Young, Jamie Fountain | Mar 19, 2015 Webinar: Developing Pathways Out Of Poverty Through Transitional Jobs
- Kisha Bird, Anna Cielinski, Judy Mortrude, and David Socolow | Apr 17, 2015 Promoting Economic and Career Success for Low-Income Youth and Adults: A Preview of Key Provisions in the Proposed WIOA Regulations
- Kisha Bird (CLASP), Clyde McQueen (Full Employment Council), Susan Lange (Commonwealth Corporation) | Mar 27, 2015 WIOA: Expanding Opportunities for Low-Income and Out-of-School Youth
- Kisha Bird (CLASP), Melissa Young (Heartland Alliance’s National Initiatives on Poverty & Economic Opportunity), Chris Warland (Heartland Alliance’s National Initiatives on Poverty & Economic Opportunity), Jamie Fountain (Larkin Street Youth Services) | Mar 19, 2015 Developing Pathways Out of Poverty through Transitional Jobs: Expanding Opportunities to Help Low-Income Workers
- Rhonda Tsoi-A-Fatt Bryant | Feb 20, 2015 College Preparation for African American Students: Gaps in the High School Educational Experience