Locally acclaimed as one of the better programs of its kind in the region, "Academy" exemplifies a new kind of institution, providing transitional school services under contract with both educational and juvenile justice agencies. Birnbaum's narrative focuses on curriculum, teaching, behavior management, and the social organization and culture of the program, offering a close-up view of the everyday classroom interactions that frame student achievement and, ultimately, program outcomes. What do students learn? What do teachers teach? What educational and rehabilitative goals are embedded in official and unofficial policy? What processes inside and outside the building help or hinder the attainment of those goals?
As educational and justice agencies increasingly turn to private subcontractors to deliver an array of services and growing numbers of young people are channeled into non-traditional educational settings and correctional institutions, it is imperative that educators and the general public understand how these institutions work and what problems their students and staffs encounter. This on-the-ground examination of the education within the juvenile justice system will open your eyes to how we educate some of our neediest children.