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Inquiry Project

abby rose's picture

For my inquiry project, I'd like to focus on the educational system in juvenile detention centers. I have organized my proposal through a series of questions. Learners and teachers and more fundamental aspects of my research, while effectiveness and potential will be my main areas of inquiry. I realize that some of these questions will have to be eliminated since they are so vast and complicated, but this is just the beginning so I assume my research will narrow the more I learn. 

-Learners: Who has access to education while they are in the system? How are classes divided? How does disability (learning and otherwise) come into play in the children's education (especially since disability is so linked to incarceration in general)?

-Teachers: Who is teaching, and how are they teaching? What are their backgrounds? Why are they there?

-Effectiveness: How does the education received in juvenile detention centers differ from the education the children may or may not receive outside of the detention centers? Does education while incarcerated affect recidivism rates in youths? 

-Potential: Could Kumashiro's ideas of social justice education be utilized in carceral educations? What about teaching skills like critical thinking and questioning curriculum, past experiences, present situations? How realistic is this practice since incarcerated individuals are typically told NOT to question and think critically about their surroundings?



jccohen's picture


Great topic for your inquiry project.  I think the education in juvenile detention centers occurs via the public school system, at least in PA, but this may vary and I'm thinking that it still leaves open for exploration many of your questions.  There's a nice short piece in a book I use for Schools in American Cities - the book is Cioty Kids, City Schools, the piece is called "Mr. B" and is by William Ayers, who may have done other work in this area.  Also, there was an issue in Radican Teacher focused on prison ed, which may have an article about this population.  Otherwise, much of what I know about prison education is really about the adult system, so I look forward to learning from your inquiry!