Ryan Duffy's NOW WHAT Explores Changes In US Education System To Fix School-To-Prison Pipeline

How Shifting The Focus Off Discipline Is Changing The Fortunes Of Young People

Ryan Duffy has explored the ongoing debate about teachers, testing and the curriculum and how it can be improved in poor cities across the US.

In his latest video for the series 'Now What' he explores the notion that schools in such districts are serving an increasingly diverse population and that resources that should be used for educating are instead being allocated to discipline.

This is what he describes as the 'school-to-prison pipeline', but luckily, one community organisation is changing the way the system works.

Youth leader Zaki Smith speaks to a student during NOW WHAT with Ryan Duffy

The project is lead by individual 'Dream Directors' who go into schools to mentor students and unlock their talents.

"Our focus is with our young people based on passion. So the Future Project comes in as that voices and says 'yeah, pursue that', said Zaki Smith, Dream Director and former prisoner.

"We come in to remove a lot of the disempowering norms that exist in schools."

Smith also mentioned how it was his life, stating "I would dedicate my life to the service of young people".

What Future Projects is setting out to achieve is proving to work. Students are beginning to see themselves in a different light.

Oscar Jaramillo is one student who has benefited from the system. "I used to skip school and my mum used to get calls all of the time. I felt like I was unmotivated, I wasn't excited."

"I see a big difference in me... I see myself graduating, I see myself actually becoming somebody," he told Ryan Duffy.

Chris Emdin, discussed how the system had failed students in deprived areas. The Professor at Columbia University said: "The model for contemporary urban education is based on an idea, or a set of ideas, that were created in the 1800s.

"And as long as we use age old practices to deal with a new population, we're going to end up with dysfunction."

Now What with Ryan Duffy is a HuffPost Original series looking at the most creative solutions to the world's biggest problems.


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