Addressing the School-to-Prison Pipeline Through Three Nontraditional Pathways
He who opens a school door, closes a prison. – Victor Hugo
Analogous to Nathaniel Hawthorne’s critique of his leaders’ decision to use punishment as a sign of public accountability, and his adoption of the phrase “the black flower of civilized society” to describe the prison, our leaders in the White House, Congress, and the Supreme Court made several decisions about law and social policy between 1965 and 1973 that created a new culture of public accountability for uses (or misuses) of taxpayers’ money. By doing so, they inadvertently made it harder to invest in public education, but easier to invest in public prisons. The seeds that germinated from those decisions grew into a black flower whose bloom shaped American modernity for the next fifty years: the school-to prison pipeline.