U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder have released guidelines aimed at improving education for young people in the nation's juvenile detention centers, as studies have shown that schooling can be inadequate or inferior to what students would receive in a standard classroom, reports the Washington Post. “This announcement is born of the recognition that in this great country, children — and I mean all children — deserve equal access to a high-quality education,” Holder said. “And this is no less true for children who are in the juvenile justice system.” An estimated 60,000 young people are in custody across the nation on any given day, and many of them are behind in school. If they get poor schooling while in custody, it puts them even further behind.
“We have learned that many of these kids received deficient instruction,” Holder said. “In some troubling cases, they received no instruction at all.” Juvenile delinquents on Native American reservations are of particular concern, with a Washington Post investigation last month detailing how some languish in facilities without any instruction. The federal guidance published yesterday outlines the best practices in educating young people in juvenile detention centers. The guidelines clarify the education rights of juvenile offenders in the centers, spelling out that they have many of the same rights to special education as their peers.