DMI Blog

Elana Levin

School Days, School Rules and homework for policy wonks

School started yesterday in NYC with it much ado about a new reorganized system where individual school principals will have greater control of the schools they run. What does it all mean? Ok so I don't know but it did remind me about a report that DMI issued in the days before the DMIBlog launched (yes Virginia the blog is not quite a year old now).

In June of 2005 DMI released a report profiling the middle and high schools targeted by the city's "Impact Schools" safety initiative. The initiative began in January 2004 assigning police officers to 22 public middle and high schools that had been labeled troubled. The Impact Schools initiative was designed as the school systems' version of the famed "Broken Windows" theory of crime prevention which had been championed by Rudy Giuliani. The Broken Windows Theory held that visible disorder and minor quality of life offenses, if not addressed, would lead to more serious crimes. So, how did that plan play out in the New York schools system?

The DMI report found

"that high levels of crime and disorder aren't the only characteristics that distinguish the Impact Schools from their peers in the New York City public school system.

Based on an analysis of the 2003-2004 Annual School Reports released by the Department of Education, this report concludes that, as a group, the Impact Schools were more overcrowded than the average city high school, were far larger than most city high schools, received less funding per student for direct services, had more students overage for their grade, and served a student body that was disproportionately comprised of poor and black students as compared to the average New York City public high school."

Just this August the National Center for Schools and Communities at Fordham College released their own report, Policing as Education Policy: A briefing on the initial impact of the Impact Schools program which summarized the key findings of their larger report, When the schoolhouse feels like a jailhouse: Relationships between attendance, school environment, and violence in New York City public schools both of which reference the DMI report and look at "whether the implementation of a punitive discipline policy, known as the Impact Schools intervention", in ten New York high schools actually helped raise attendance rates and/or improved other student behaviors.
So it looks like kids aren't the only ones with reading homework.

Elana Levin: Author Bio | Other Posts
Posted at 9:47 AM, Sep 06, 2006 in Cities | Criminal Justice | Education | New York | Prisons | Youth
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