Deconstruction of Recidivism: A Study of Minority Males Returning to the Home Campus from a Disciplinary Alternative Education Campus
MetadataShow full item record
America is failing its young Black and Latino boys (Losen and Gillespie, 2012; Reyes, 2006; Skiba, Horner, Chung, Rausch, May & Tobin, 2011). In metropolitan ghettos, rural villages, and midsized townships across the country, schools have been holding tanks for populations of Black and Latino boys who have statistically higher probability of walking the corridors of prison than the halls of college. According to Educational Testing Service (2013), “We fail our Black and Latino sons more than any other racial or ethnic groups” (p.1). In addition to differences in overall academic performance, Black and Latino male students are typically more likely to be labeled with having emotional, behavioral or learning disorders, and to be reported by teachers as disruptive to classroom activities. Black and Latino males are suspended or expelled more than Black and Latino girls or boys from other racial or ethnic groups, and are more likely to be overrepresented in discipline programs (Holloway, 2011). These conditions have resulted in a high overall rate of removal of minority male students from academic settings into discipline alternative education programs (DAEPs). The purpose of this mixed-method study was to identify how participation in Disciplinary Alternative Education Placements (DAEPs) has affected the academic status of a sample of Black and Latino males in a large urban school district in the South. The second purpose is to investigate the use of processes, services, and programs to reduce recidivism (students referred twice or more) rates for DAEP placements. This study was grounded in the following research questions: 1. How do DAEPs affect the academic outcomes of Black and Latino male students? 2. How do home schools, teachers, and administrators facilitate the transition of repeating DAEP students into the home campus? While the initial intent of zero tolerance was to improve teaching and learning, learning for African American and Latino students is negatively affected with data showing that while African American students make up 12% of the state school enrollment, they make up 35% of the DAEP enrollments (OCR, 2012; Rausch & Skiba, 2009; Reyes, 2012). A review of student disciplinary cases and subsequent DAEP enrollment shows that Black and Latino males are more likely to be transferred into DAEPs than any other gender or ethnicity (Texas Education Agency Annual Report, 2010). This is consistent even when the offenses are similar to those of white male students who were not transferred to a DAEP for similar offenses. A recent report by the Education Law Center defined the school-to-prison pipeline as “the use of educational policies and practices that have the effect of pushing students, especially students of color and students with disabilities, out of schools and toward the juve¬nile and criminal justice systems” (Education Law Center, FairTest, Forum for Education and Democracy, Juvenile Law Center & NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., 2010, p. 1). This study used the mixed research method (Wiersma & Jurs, 2009), including student interviews and survey research methods (Yin, 2003). Data for this study were analyzed using descriptive data to assess teacher preparedness and development to assist student transition from DAEP to the regular school and to prevent recidivism. Correlational methods were used to analyze survey responses. Quantitative methods were used to develop simple statistics from the survey responses, including frequency distributions, measurements of central tendency, and measures of variability (Gall, Gall, & Borg, 2007). Interviewing and qualitative research methods were used including triangulation of data sources, peer debriefing, and member checks (Denzin & Lincoln, 2011; Kvale, 2008). The recommendations derived from this study were the following: Recommendation #1: Implement Caring and Counseling Services into schools with high referral rates to decrease referrals. Recommendation #2: Implement teacher and staff development for positive behavior management and for building positive rapport with students. Recommendation #3: Implement processes for re-acclimating students from a DAEP into a regular classroom environment Recommendation # 4: Implement school-wide, research-based, discipline strategies with fidelity. The plan must be specifically effective in schools with high referral rates.