May 23, 2018  
Catalogue 2017-2018 
Catalogue 2017-2018 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

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EDUC 181 - Understanding and Disrupting the School-to-Prison Pipeline

Semester Offered: Fall
1 unit(s)

(Same as SOCI 181 ) The aim of this course is to provide students with a holistic understanding of the connection between school, community, and incarceration. Given that communities of color and low-income communities are disproportionately affected by the processes associated with the school-to- prison pipeline, throughout the course, we grapple with the continued significance of socially differentiating factors such as race, gender, class, sexuality, disability, and citizenship in shaping public policy and everyday decisions regarding who is considered “deviant”, how “discipline” is enacted and enforced, and how individuals experience these labels, policies and practices. 

In Part I, the course focuses on the history and development of the school-to- prison pipeline. Key topics focus on the criminalization of students and student behavior, the heavy surveillance found in many schools throughout the country, the types of contact that have evolved between children/youth and the criminal justice system over time, and the economic and market forces driving the creation of the prison-industrial complex.

Part II of the course focuses on the subjective experiences of children/youth who are at the center of the mechanisms that maintain the school-to- prison pipeline. A key issue in this part of the course considers the dynamics that have emerged as a result of the demographic divide in American public education: what happens when a predominantly white teaching staff in schools is teaching in schools that enroll predominantly students of color? What role do stereotypes and cultural conflicts play in the labeling and disciplining of students?

Throughout the course, we focus on viable strategies that help to dismantle and disrupt the processes that contribute to the school-to- prison pipeline. We consider both policy reforms and transformational alternatives within schools and classrooms.   Erin McCloskey and Eréndira Rueda.

Prerequisite(s): by application only through the office of the Dean of the College and must be over 21.

This course is taught at the Taconic Correctional Facility for Women to a combined class of Vassar and Taconic students. Vassar students must be 21 years of age or older.

One 3-hour period.

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