Educational Deficiencies of Delinquent Youth

Xoa Wang, Florida State University
Thomas G. Blomberg, Forida State University
Spencer D. Li, Florida State University

The prior literature addressing deliquency and education while diverse consistently documents the relationship between poor school performance and delinquent behavior. However, the specific causes for the poor school performance of delinquent youth remain ambiguous at best. Stated differently, we do not know precisely why delinquent youth perform poorly in school. This paper addresses this question by examining the differences in educational deficiencies between delinquent youth and a matched sample of nondelinquent youth. The findings document that delinquent youth are more likely to have lower GPA, poorer attendance records, more likely to be retained in the same grade, and receive more disciplinary actions while in school. Moreover, delinquent youth are found to be disproportionately diagnosed as ESE, namely 44% of the delinquent sample compared to only 12% of the nondelinquent comparison group. The paper closes with discussion of the policy implication of these findings particularly in relation to remedying these identified educational deficiencies in the attempt to alter the life course of delinquent youth.

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Updated 05/20/2006