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American Education: American Delinquency

NCJ Number
Today's Delinquent Volume: 6 Dated: (1987) Pages: 5-70
G D Gottfredson
Date Published
66 pages
After arguing that of possible intervention arenas for reducing delinquency -- family, justice system, schools -the school is the most promising, this article considers why this is so, what has been tried and may work, what has been tried and seems not to work, and what might be done to improve American education so as to restrain misconduct.
Schools are the principal government-sponsored institution involved with the socialization of children, and the school can also influence families through involving parents in the school-based socialization of their children. Carefully designed and implemented educational interventions in the preschool, elementary, and secondary-school years show beneficial outcomes for a time. Structured methods have potential for upgrading schools through better instruction, classroom management, and discipline practices. Intensive, high-quality educational and behavioral programs -- applied early and continuing throughout the school careers of youths at high-risk of educational failure and other problem behaviors -- would likely produce substantial reductions in school misconduct and delinquency and substantial improvements in learning and school completion. Some common practices with problem students, such as special education assignments, pull-out programs, and the grouping of troublesome students together may do more harm than good. Placement outside mainstream classrooms should be avoided when possible. 111 references.