The Dream Directors Putting An End To The School To Prison Pipeline

18/12/2015 9:33 AM AEDT | Updated December 18, 2015 09:33

The road for American kids from school to prison is so well worn, it has a title: the 'school to prison pipeline'.

Disengaged and dysfunctional, problem students are not responding to an education system focused on discipline first.

And some kids are being left behind in this one-size-fits-all education approach.

"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," said Chris Emdin, Professor at Columbia University.

Disconnected, forgotten and disenfranchised these students often end up following the cycle of crime and that 'school to prison pipeline' becomes complete.

To address this issue, a national movement called 'Future Projects' was created to inspire and motivate a sense of belief in these students and empower them to take control of their own futures.

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."

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

"I see a big difference in me... I see myself graduating, I see myself actually becoming somebody," student Oscar Jaramillo said.

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