Study Group

Course Corrections

This project contributes to two strands of the research on correctional education that we believe are currently underdeveloped.

First, there is relatively little evidence on the labor market benefits of educational programs. Much of the criminological research focuses on recidivism as the main outcome (Davis et al., 2014). Yet by focusing too narrowly on criminal behavior, we may miss important ways in which educational programming affects youth offenders. We argue that the need for rigorous evidence is particularly acute for interventions that target individuals who may be considered underserving of public support. For instance, tough-on-crime policies like the Higher Education Act of 1998, which made certain drug offenders ineligible for federal financial aid programs, are motivated by their potentially deterrent effects. That is, they are motivated by social benefits to non-offenders. Yet, this policy appeared to have adverse effects on offenders’ non-criminal outcomes as well (Lovenheim & Owens, 2014). As we have substantially less information about whether and how correctional education programs improve the lives of young offenders, it is difficult to form a complete assessment of their utility.

Our second research objective is to better understand how the structure of correctional education shapes outcomes for youth offenders. Correctional education encompasses a wide variety of programs, from basic skills and high school equivalency to specialized vocational training and postsecondary education. Although each of these interventions is supported by evidence from the general population, we know that the labor market functions much differently for released offenders. Employer preferences and state licensing requirements restrict job and occupational opportunities, and we have less evidence about whether employers value the skills offenders learn or the formal credentials they earn.

Finally, the correctional education programs we consider target youth with various levels of academic proficiency and there is little empirical evidence about selecting educational interventions that are appropriate to the prior academic preparation of offenders. Correctional education therefore remains something of a “black box,” which limits the ability of administrators to improve existing programs.

CLOSE X

OUR PUBLICATIONS

TEACHER RECRUITMENT & SELECTION

A long-standing researcher-practitioner partnership between CEDR and Spokane Public Schools (SPS) has connected data collected during the teacher hiring process in SPS to later teacher outcomes in SPS and other district in Washington

SCHOOL RESOURCES &
EQUITY

CEDR projects have investigated the connections between school resources (e.g., textbook adoption) and students' educational trajectories and outcomes.

POSTSECONDARY
EDUCATION

CEDR projects have explored the impact of programs like Washington's College Bound Scholarship program and students' postsecondary outcomes.

TEACHER PREPARATION & LICENSURE

CEDR projects including the Teacher Education Learning Collaborative (TELC; www.telc.us), the Improving Student Teaching Initiative (ISTI), and others have investigated the connections between specific teacher preparation experiences and measures collected during teacher licensure and later outcomes for teacher candidates.

SPECIAL EDUCATION &
CAREER AND TECHNICAL EDUCATION

CEDR has participated in several projects related to the participation of students with disabilities in career and technical education (CTE) and the extent to which this participation predicts later outcomes

TEACHER LABOR
MARKETS 

THE CONNECTION BETWEEN EDUCATION SYSTEMS & LABOR MARKET OUTCOMES

CEDR projects have investigated the connections between school resources (e.g., textbook adoption) and students' educational trajectories and outcomes.

CEDR has studied processes and outcomes in the teacher labor market like teacher collective bargaining agreements, teacher quality gaps, and teacher layoffs and their connections to student achievement

TEACHER QUALIFICATIONS & EFFECTIVENESS

CEDR projects have explored the impact of programs like Washington's College Bound Scholarship program and students' postsecondary outcomes.

TEACHER
PENSIONS

CEDR researchers have studied the teacher pension system in Washington and other states and investigated the connections between pensions systems and teachers' career paths and effectiveness.