New Report: Credit Overdue: How States Can Mitigate Academic Credit Transfer Problems for Youth in the Juvenile Justice System

Posted by Juvenile Law Center on October 13, 2020

Juvenile Law Center has partnered with Southern Poverty Law Center and Education Law Center-PA to develop a report that shows how state policies are harming educational attainment for youth who interact with the juvenile justice system.

The report details the problems facing tens of thousands of youth on any given day in our country when it comes to their educational experiences in juvenile justice facilities. While these facilities provide classes to prevent young people from falling behind in their school­work, many discover that when they return to school they will not receive full academic credit for their completed coursework, that there is no record of their credits, or that their credits will not count toward graduation.

“Young people, disproportionately youth of color, are too often pushed out of their schools and into the justice system due to harsh discipline practices and lack of supports,” said Regional Policy Analyst for the Southern Poverty Law Center Katherine Dunn. “These young people work to continue their education while in the juvenile justice system, but too often when they leave the system and return to their community schools, they are told that they can’t receive academic credit for their work. This results in devastating education consequences that put graduation and opportunity further out of reach. This injustice must be corrected, first and foremost, by eliminating the school-to-prison pipeline.”

This problem exists on a national scale, despite expanded mandates in recent years under the Every Student Succeeds Act and the Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention Act, federal laws requiring states to have procedures for timely assessment and transfer of credits.

“By failing to address this fixable problem, we have placed additional obstacles in the way of youth in the juvenile justice system who desperately want to graduate,” said Maura McInerney, Legal Director at the Education Law Center. “We have closed doors instead of opened them. This report explains what state legislators and advocates can do to change this narrative and expand lifelong opportunities for youth.”

Read the report:

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