Juvenile Correctional Education Standards Approved

Article excerpt

On Oct. 31, 2004, the Standards Commission of the Correctional Education Association (CEA) approved a separate set of standards for accrediting correctional education programs in juvenile facilities. Correctional education programs, at all levels, share many similarities but there are some unique aspects of correctional education at the juvenile level. For example, the transfer of a student's education record, both arrival to and discharge from an institution, is addressed and required to be completed in 72 hours to ensure smooth educational transitions. Other concerns for correctional institutions serving school-age residents include reviews of the institution's implementation of special education, Title I and the No Child Left Behind Act, as well as mandatory state testing. The performance standards for juvenile correctional education programs make a better "fit" for those who serve a majority of youths in their institutions.

Educational programming in juvenile correctional facilities closely reflects the education provided in public schools. Education is mandatory for all juvenile offenders and educational programs in juvenile correctional facilities are required to follow the same laws and practices as their public school counterparts. The amount of time a student spends in a classroom each day must meet at least the minimum required by the state. All students previously identified as being eligible for special education must receive comparable services while in a juvenile correctional facility. Remediation in either reading or math is to be provided. If a student must be in a restricted status either for behavior or medical issues, he or she must still continue to receive educational programming. In addition, teachers of juvenile delinquents are required to maintain current certification in the subject that they teach.

Upon arrival at a juvenile residential treatment facility, juvenile offenders must be enrolled as quickly as possible into an education program that is similar to the program they participated in at their home school. An education program at a juvenile facility approximates high school with offerings of algebra, biology, physical science, language arts, English, literature, art, music, physical education and a variety of vocational offerings. To accurately provide for the needs of the students, their educational files are requested from their home schools. An education file will show what courses the student has completed, still needs to complete, his or her level of achievement, attendance records and whether the student is eligible to receive special education services.

In most cases, the goal of juvenile correctional education is to have the offender earn a high school diploma. While going to school in a juvenile correctional facility, it is important that the juvenile's school attendance and achievements be recognized by his or her home school toward that goal. …