Governor Tom Corbett's Regressive Education and Unemployment Policies and How They Affect Our Youth

At the Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Quarterly Meeting on February 10th, Dr. Edward Mulvey's discussed his project, The Pathways to Desistance Study: Implications for Intervention and Policy. 

The study's goals were to learn more about "serious adolescent offenders, identify factors that lead youth who have committed serious offenses to continue or desist from offending, and propose ways to improve practice and policy in juvenile justice."

In it, Dr. Mulvey summarzied key findings from the study:

  • Most youth who commit felonies greatly reduce their offending over time, regardless of the intervention.
  • Substance use is a major factor in continued criminal activity by serious adolescent offenders, yet only 14 percent of these youth received community-based substance abuse treatment.
  •  Substance abuse treatment (with sufficient duration/intensity and family involvement) reduces both substance use and criminal offending, at least in the short term.
  • Overall, there is no effect of institutional placement on rate of rearrest, and longer stays in juvenile institutions do not reduce recidivism.
  • Policies about placement or program eligibility based on criteria related to the presenting offense are a poor predictor of future recidivism or positive development.
  • Community-based supervision as a component of aftercare is effective for youth who have committed serious offenses.

These findings, coupled with Governor Corbett's cuts to education and workforce development will make it even harder for those in the system and out. According to the Education Voters of Pennsylvania, Corbett's budget would:

  • School districts would lose more than $1 billion of state and federal stimulus funding.
  • Basic Education Subsidy reduced by $550 million.
  • Accountability Block Grants were eliminated, a loss of $259.456 million - Much of this was used by districts to support early education.
  • Charter school reimbursement to districts is eliminated, a loss of $224.083 million - These payments reimbursed school districts for about 25% of their charter school costs; helping to offset fixed costs that districts still incur when a student leaves and the district makes a payment for them.
  • Special Education would be flat-funded for the 3rd consecutive year at ($1.026 billion).
  • Career and Technical Education was level funded at $62 million.
  • Other cuts to school districts amount to more than $50 million.

The following would be eliminated entirely:

  • Basic Education Formula Enhancements ($1.984 million)
  • Enrollment Payments ($6.959 million)
  • School Improvement Grants ($10.797 million)
  • Education Assistance Program ($47.606 million)
  • Science It’s Elementary ($6.910 million)
  • Mobile Science Education Program ($1.6 million)
  • Intermediate Units ($4.761 million)
  • Entity Demonstration Projects ($600 thousand)
  • High School Reform ($1.762 million)
  • Lifelong Learning ($825 thousand)
  • Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic ($69 thousand)
  • Job Training Programs ($3.442 million)

Corbett's budget cuts will only continue the problems that our youth face. By removing these safety nets, Governor Corbett will ensure that the cycle of poverty remains. Our children, especially those in the child welfare and juvenile justice system, need these programs to have a better future.

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