In the United States there is the belief that a quality education, and education as a whole, is child’s ticket to a prosperous and successful life. It was Thomas Jefferson who went as far as to say that it is incredibly important to “Educate and inform the whole mass of the people...they are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty”.1 Jefferson’s belief about the United States was meant to extend into the future, but this moral value and commitment was never extended to low income communities, and especially communities of color - almost as if the privilege of an education is only reserved for some people, not all. All across the country Black and Brown youth especially, have been abandoned and disappointed by the education system. A system meant to give them mobility is instead forcing the Black and Brown youth of this country to remain in their subservient positions. One of the most successful forces hindering the progress of Black and Brown youth is the school-to-prison pipeline. The school-to-prison-pipeline can be summed up by a series of events in a child’s education that takes the child out of school and puts it into the United States incarceration system. The school-to-prison pipeline eats Black and Latino youth, just to spit them back out. The presence of the school- to-prison pipeline places a dark shadow over this country’s educational system, and is ruining student potential in Black and Brown communities. The school- to-prison pipeline and its relationship with punitive actions are directly responsible for the criminalization of Black and Latino youth and their lack of success in the United States educational system. This thesis will be proven by providing historical context about race in education, citing statistical evidence about racial disparities in modern education, how racial disparities cause Black and Latino students to act out or lose their passion for education, how this in turn causes them to be more susceptible to punitive measures and the school-to-prison pipeline, and ending the paper with a recommended solution.

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