From: The Honorable Frederica S. Wilson
Sent By: udochi.onwubiko@mail.house.gov
Date: 3/3/2016

End the School to Prison Pipeline with Targeted Drop-out Prevention & Mentoring K12 Programs in CJS/LHHS FY17 Appropriations

 

 

Deadline: March 17, 2015 at 5PM

This is a language request for the CJS and LHHS FY17 Appropriations bills.

 

Dear Colleague,

I invite you to join me in sending the two attached letters in support of a targeted drop-out prevention and mentoring initiative for at-risk boys and young men of color under the Department of Justice’s Youth Mentoring Grant program and the Department of Education’s Fund for the Improvement of Education.

Minority boys and young men remain overrepresented in the juvenile justice system and more likely than their peers to become disengaged from education. While comprising only one-third of the nation’s youth, African American, Hispanic, Asian, Pacific Islander, and Native American youth together constitute over two-thirds of the secure juvenile facility population.  In 2012-2013, the graduation rates for African American and Latino males were 59 and 65 percent, respectively.

School-based mentorship programs are an especially effective strategy for reaching at-risk youth.  Through academic and social supports, school-based mentorship programs promote the school connectedness associated with lower levels of delinquency and better educational outcomes.

I hope you will join me in sending these request letters to ensure that vulnerable young men and boys of color have the supports needed to stay in school and out of the juvenile justice system.  For questions or to sign onto this letter, please contact Udochi Onwubiko with Congresswoman Wilson’s office at Udochi.onwubiko@mail.house.gov or 5-4506.

 

Sincerely,

 

Frederica S. Wilson

Member of Congress

 

 

 ————————

 

 

 

March xx, 2016

 

 

The Honorable Tom Cole

Chairman

Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies

House Appropriations Committee

H-305, The Capitol

Washington, DC 20515

 

The Honorable Rosa DeLauro

Ranking Member

Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies

House Appropriations Committee

1016 Longworth House Office Building

Washington, DC 20515

 

 

Dear Chairman Cole and Ranking Member DeLauro:

 

As you begin your work on the Fiscal Year 2017 (FY 2017) Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill, I respectfully request that you encourage the Department of Education to develop a targeted drop-out prevention and mentoring initiative for at-risk elementary and secondary school boys and men of color under the Fund for the Improvement of Education to ensure that vulnerable young people have the supports needed to succeed in school.

 

Minority male youth and students from low-resource homes or communities are more likely than their peers to become disengaged from education. In 2012-13, the graduation rates for African American and Latino males were 59 and 65 percent, respectively.[1] Dropout rates are five times higher for low-income students compared to their more affluent peers.

 

Evidence shows that mentorship is an effective prevention and intervention strategy for ensuring at-risk youth remain engaged in their educations.  According to a report by the National Mentoring Partnership, at-risk young adults who had a mentor are 55 percent more likely to be enrolled in college or other postsecondary education than their peers without mentors; 78 percent more likely to volunteer regularly in their communities; 81 percent more likely to participate in sports and other extracurricular activities; and more than twice as likely to hold a leadership position in a club, school council, or sports team. [2]

 

School-based mentorship programs are an especially effective strategy for reaching youth from low-resource communities.  Teachers and school faculty can identify students whose social, emotional, or academic behaviors signal a need for prevention or intervention services.  Students are matched with community volunteers who help their mentees cultivate life skills, improve academic performance, and develop the self-confidence and self-respect needed to succeed later in life.  Through these supports, school-based mentorship programs promote the school connectedness associated with lower levels of delinquency and better educational outcomes.[3]

We therefore respectfully request that the Subcommittee include the following report language in the FY 2017 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill:

 

Fund for the Improvement of Education.— The Committee believes that the Department of Education must take a more aggressive approach to end the school-to-prison pipeline. The Committee encourages the Department to use these funds to support projects that are focused on disadvantaged boys of color in elementary and secondary school; administered by public school districts in partnership with an established community nonprofit organization; available to all schools in the district; and include a curriculum that incorporates positive alternatives to self-destructive behaviors and promotes educational development and attainment. The Department is directed to submit a report by March 31, 2018 to the Committee on its plans to implement this priority initiative.

 

Sincerely,

 

___________________________________________

Frederica S. Wilson

Member of Congress

 

 

 

 

 

March xx, 2016

 

 

The Honorable John Culberson

Chairman

Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies

House Appropriations Committee

H-305, The Capitol

Washington, DC 20515

 

The Honorable Mike Honda

Acting Ranking Member

Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies

House Appropriations Committee

1016 Longworth House Office Building

Washington D.C. 20515

 

 

Dear Chairman Culberson and Acting Ranking Member Honda:

 

As you begin your work on the Fiscal Year 2017 (FY 2017) Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill, I respectfully request that you encourage the Department of Justice to develop a targeted drop-out prevention and mentoring initiative for at-risk elementary and secondary school boys and young men of color under the Youth Mentoring Grant program at the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention to ensure that vulnerable young people have the necessary supports to stay out of the juvenile justice system.

 

Minority boys and young men remain overrepresented in the juvenile justice system.[1] While comprising only one-third of the nation’s youth, African American, Hispanic, Asian, Pacific Islander, and Native American youth together constitute over two-thirds of the secure juvenile facility population.[2] Youth from low-resource homes or communities, who are disproportionality minority, are more likely than their more affluent peers to come into contact with the juvenile justice system.[3]  For the 31.8 million American children growing up in such circumstances,[4] the complex problems associated with low economic status may become significant risk factors for juvenile delinquency.[5]

 

Evidence shows that mentorship is an effective prevention and intervention strategy for supporting these at-risk youth.  According to a report by the National Mentoring Partnership, at-risk young adults who had a mentor are 55 percent more likely to be enrolled in college or other postsecondary education than their peers without mentors; 78 percent more likely to volunteer regularly in their communities; 81 percent more likely to participate in sports and other extracurricular activities; and more than twice as likely to hold a leadership position in a club, school council, or sports team. [6]

 

School-based mentorship programs are an especially effective strategy for reaching youth from low-resource communities.  Teachers and school faculty can identify students whose social, emotional, or academic behaviors signal a need for prevention or intervention services.  Students are matched with community volunteers who help their mentees cultivate life skills, improve academic performance, and develop the self-confidence and self-respect needed to succeed later in life.  Through these supports, school-based mentorship programs promote the school connectedness associated with lower levels of delinquency.[7]

 

 

We therefore respectfully request that the Subcommittee include the following report language in the FY 2017 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill:

 

Juvenile Mentoring Program.—The Committee believes that the Department of Justice must take a more aggressive approach to end the school-to-prison pipeline. The Committee encourages the Department to use these funds to support projects that are focused on disadvantaged boys of color in elementary and secondary school; administered by public school districts in partnership with an established community nonprofit organization; available to all schools in the district; and include a curriculum that incorporates positive alternatives to self-destructive behaviors and promotes educational development and attainment. The Department is directed to submit a report by March 31, 2018 to the Committee on its plans to implement this priority initiative.

 

Sincerely,

 

Frederica S. Wilson

Member of Congress

 

 

 

Sincerely,

 

___________________________________________

Frederica S. Wilson

Member of Congress

 

 

 

 


[1] Schott Foundation for Public Education (2015). Black Lives Matter: The Schott 50 State Report on Public Education and Black Males.

[2] Bruce, Mary and Bridgeland, John (2014). The Mentoring Effect: Young People’s Perspectives on the Outcomes and Availability of Mentoring. Washington, D.C.: Civic Enterprises with Hart Research Associates for MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership.

[3] Monahan, Kathryn C., Oesterle Sabrina, &. Hawkins ,David. “Predictors and Consequences of School Connectedness: The Case for Prevention.” Prevention Researcher, 17, 3-6.


[1]Urban Institute (2015). Reducing Harms to Boys and Young Men of Color from Criminal Justice System Involvement. Washington, D.C: Akiva M. Liberman and Jocelyn Fontaine.

[2] National Conference of State Legislatures (2009), Minority Youth in the Juvenile Justice System Disproportionate Minority. Washington, D.C.: Jeff Armour and Sarah Hammond.

[3] National Center for Juvenile Justice (2014) Juvenile Offenders and Victims: 2014 National Report. Washington, D.C.: Melissa Sickmund and Charles Puzzanchera (eds.).

[4] According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, 21.9 million children under the age of 12 and 9.9 million children between the ages of 12 and 18 live in low-income families. National Center for Children in Poverty (2013) Basic Facts About Low-income Children. New York, NY: Yang Jiang, Mercedes Ekono, and Curtis Skinner.

[5] Sickmund and Puzzanchera 2014.

[6] Bruce, Mary and Bridgeland, John (2014). The Mentoring Effect: Young People’s Perspectives on the Outcomes and Availability of Mentoring. Washington, D.C.: Civic Enterprises with Hart Research Associates for MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership.

[7] Monahan, Kathryn C., Oesterle Sabrina, &. Hawkins ,David. “Predictors and Consequences of School Connectedness: The Case for Prevention.” Prevention Researcher, 17, 3-6.