Afterword

The education workshop convened by the Panel on Juvenile Crime: Prevention, Treatment, and Control brought together experts who do not usually sit at the same table. Developmental psychologists, sociologists, clinical psychologists, education specialists, and people who design and maintain security systems, among others, came to exchange ideas about how to improve the security and well-being of children in the educational system. The workshop was designed to address the educational and safety requirements of children in the mainstream as well as those on the edges.

Six issues drew special attention: the variability of references to school crime, the potential damage and questionable benefit from some school “protection” measures, the difficulties involved with reconciling universal education with education for the well-behaved, equalizing educational opportunities, promoting intrinsic motivation to learn, and recognizing potential harm from some school-based interventions.

By recognizing the variability of references to school crime, the workshop attendees noted that crime rates for schools are used to raise issues of safety, to gain attention for the popular press, and to measure progress for improving education. Crime rates for these different purposes are not comparable.

In recognizing the potential damage and questionable benefit from some school “protection” measures, the workshop attendees recognized that many consequences of programs designed to protect the schools from crime are unmeasured. They were made particularly aware of the possi-



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EDUCATION AND DELINQUENCY: Summary of a Workshop Afterword The education workshop convened by the Panel on Juvenile Crime: Prevention, Treatment, and Control brought together experts who do not usually sit at the same table. Developmental psychologists, sociologists, clinical psychologists, education specialists, and people who design and maintain security systems, among others, came to exchange ideas about how to improve the security and well-being of children in the educational system. The workshop was designed to address the educational and safety requirements of children in the mainstream as well as those on the edges. Six issues drew special attention: the variability of references to school crime, the potential damage and questionable benefit from some school “protection” measures, the difficulties involved with reconciling universal education with education for the well-behaved, equalizing educational opportunities, promoting intrinsic motivation to learn, and recognizing potential harm from some school-based interventions. By recognizing the variability of references to school crime, the workshop attendees noted that crime rates for schools are used to raise issues of safety, to gain attention for the popular press, and to measure progress for improving education. Crime rates for these different purposes are not comparable. In recognizing the potential damage and questionable benefit from some school “protection” measures, the workshop attendees recognized that many consequences of programs designed to protect the schools from crime are unmeasured. They were made particularly aware of the possi-

OCR for page 35
EDUCATION AND DELINQUENCY: Summary of a Workshop bility that an emphasis on crime-protection might “normalize” the occurrence of crime. In focusing on reconciling universal education with education for the well-behaved, the workshop attendees addressed the central issue of fairness. Some programs that appear to be necessary for better students to achieve their goals seem to have harmful effects on students who do not meet the stereotypes for success of some administrators or teachers. The workshop attendees recognized the complexity of understanding how attachment to and performance in school are related to delinquency. In identifying the issue of intrinsic motivation, the workshop considered a possible way to overcome issues of fairness while also attending to an important goal for educators: maintaining a desire to learn. In recognizing that some intervention programs have harmful effects, the workshop attendees noted the importance of examining preconceptions that have led to acceptance of intervention strategies without appropriate testing. In sum, the workshop brought to the attention of participants some important issues that deserve attention in considering the relationship of education and delinquency.