VIDEO: James Forman Jr., Legal Scholar and School Founder, on His New Book “Locking Up Our Own”
The book, which The New York Times called “superb and shattering” in its recent front-page review, isn't explicitly about education, but Forman is quick to note that teenagers and their connection to the criminal justice system are woven throughout the story — and that education is very much an underlying theme when it comes to disconnected youth.
(Read more about the issues: Coming Up Empty on the Other End of the School-to-Prison Pipeline: Overage, Under-credited, Unwanted)
In the course of our in-depth conversation, Forman recalls the teens he met during his days as a public defender, as well as the convicted teens who attended his school, and draws a clear line between those lessons he learned about the criminal justice system and how it shaped his thinking as a scholar.
Today, 20 years after its founding, Maya Angelou Public Charter continues to help its graduates reclaim their futures through education. Of its 2014 and 2015 graduates, nearly two-thirds enrolled in a post-secondary program.