Greensboro College: Author, consultant to speak about educating incarcerated youth

"GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Dr. Lynette Tannis, author and educational consultant, will speak at Greensboro College Tuesday, Sept. 1, about how the U.S. can improve education for its incarcerated youth.

Tannis will speak at 7 p.m. in Campbell Lyceum, Room 109 Proctor Hall West, on the Greensboro College campus. Her presentation is free and open to the public.

After she graduated from Greensboro College in 1995, Tannis went on to earn both a master's degree in education policy and management and a doctorate in education from Harvard University.

As she worked on her dissertation, she turned her attention to the issue of educating juveniles in facilities and prisons. Her dissertation became a book, "Educating Incarcerated Youth: Exploring the Impact of Relationships, Expectations, Resources and Accountability," published in 2014.

When Tannis began her research in 2009, she found some grim data. At the time, only 65 percent of U.S. facilities for incarcerated youth offered an educational program for all inmates.

"There was this whole population I never even thought of," says Tannis. "I knew that was my path."

Now Tannis travels extensively and does consulting work with educators, lawmakers and facilities across the country. Her goal is to educate the public and bring attention to what she calls the "grave injustice" of letting incarcerated children fall through the educational cracks.

Since 2013, she has worked with the Center of Educational Excellence in Alternative Settings (CEEAS), helping to analyze results of educational surveys from incarcerated youth across the country. She is currently assisting CEEAS with a survey that involves more than 20 states and about 8,000 incarcerated juveniles.

"What really stands out for me is that most of our inmates, especially children, are not serving life sentences," she says. "Whatever they have done, they are not going to be locked away for life; they are going to be back in our societies."

Many incarnated youths come to correctional facilities with GEDs or high school diplomas or earn those certifications while they are locked up, Tannis says. Yet too many are denied an opportunity to take college courses or vocational courses that will prepare them for a productive life when they get out.

The money for education is there, she says. We just need to value education enough to make the investment.

"We say our children are our future, and we have to mean that all children are the future. These are God's children; I am just so grateful that God has put me on this path to make people aware of what is and is not happening for them." 

Greensboro College provides a liberal-arts education grounded in the traditions of the United Methodist Church and fosters the intellectual, social, and, spiritual development of all students while supporting their individual needs.

Founded in 1838 and located near downtown Greensboro, the college enrolls about 1,150 students from 26 states, the District of Columbia and 10 nations in its undergraduate liberal-arts program and four master's degree programs. In addition to rigorous academics and a well-supported Honors program, the school features an 18-sport NCAA Division III athletic program and dozens of service and recreational opportunities."

- A Press Release

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