Empowering Students-Wayne State University Research

What is the power of a dream?

A new vision?

A perspective on life and the future that is hopeful and inspiring rather than desultory or even tragic?

Those are the questions that Wayne State University researchers are striving to understand with their research grant “In Search of Freedom, Equity, and Justice: Black Girls Dismantle the School-to-Prison Pipeline.”  

Wayne State University scholars from the Department of Education Amanda Miller, Aja Reynolds, and Erica Edwards received a grant from the research to practice foundation “Dismantling the School to Prison Pipeline in Detroit.”

One of the innovations of their research was the active engagement with the research subjects as collaborators, yielding some of the traditional hierarchical structure to the subjects as decision makers in the project.

The research also encouraged the subjects to reimagine schools, moving beyond their current lived reality as habitats of disempowerment, to places of vital and committed learning and empowerment.

“The harsh and exclusionary ideologies, practices and policies that move Black youth from schools to prisons are more complex, interrelated and mutually constituted than a tube or channel and are more like a web or network. Therefore, we look forward to developing tools and resources that will address challenges students and their families face at all points of the system.” 

Erica Edwards, Wayne State University Researcher

With this compelling research and practical applications, the team at Wayne State University is on their way to truly transform lives and develop systemic reform in the city of Detroit. Hopefully, the benefits of this program will pave the way to a nationwide conversation about engaging youth in taking full ownership and responsibility for a future filled with hope.

Questions for Discussion

  1. What was novel or creative about this research design?
  2. What do you think the author means by “the school to prison pipeline.”
  3. Why is it important for youth to have a voice in decision making?
  4. How does professor Edwards describe the pathway from school to prison?
  5. What are some ways you would transform education?

For the full article from the Wayne State University website, please click here.

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