Removal, Isolation, and Discipline in Texas Schools: An Ethnographic Study of a 6th - 12th Grade Disciplinary Alternative Education Program.
Jessica Dunning-Lozano

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Dissertation Fellowship

Award Year



University of Texas at Austin

Primary Discipline

Ethnic Studies
This dissertation investigates the school-level impact of punitive zero-tolerance education policies through an ethnographic study of the daily practices in place at a 6th ? 12th grade Disciplinary Alternative Education Program (DAEP) in Texas. This is the first ethnography of a public DAEP in Texas, a product of zero-tolerance policy designed to punish and secondly to educate. The analysis draws from a rich set of data consisting of 27 months of participant observations, 12 of these months as a substitute teacher, 70 in-depth interviews with program personnel, students, parents, and an archive of student disciplinary documents. The study addresses four research questions: 1) How does the penetration of the carceral arm of the criminal justice system into public schools affect the quality of education? 2) How is discipline accomplished in this program, specifically, what are its forms, how does it vary, what is the extent of its operation, and what are its effects? 3) How does this experience vary by race, gender, class, and citizenship status? And 4) How do these disciplinary practices impact teachers, students, and families? DAEPs have little state oversight, a dropout rate five times higher than mainstream schools in Texas, and have become a more common academic transition point for boys, Latinos, Black, and low-income youth. An in-depth study of DAEPs contributes to our understanding of the micro-effects of punitive school policies on children, their families, and school authorities. Additionally, it provides the knowledge needed to improve the educational experiences of the most vulnerable youth populations.
About Jessica Dunning-Lozano

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