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Effectiveness/Incentives

Effectiveness

The Street Law program was evaluated in the early 1980s as part of an overall U.S. Department of Justice review of law-related education (LRE). That evaluation found that LRE programs, when properly implemented, had a significant effect in reducing delinquent behavior. Well-implemented programs also demonstrated positive attitudinal change as well as cognitive gain.

Properly implemented programs were characterized by:

adequate training and use of resource persons in the classroom;

adequate depth and density of instruction (to be effective in preventing delinquency, teachers had to use approximately a semester's worth of material);

proper use of interactive strategies;

attention to the issue of balance (ensuring that the legal system was not depicted as either perfect or nightmarish);

support from school administrators for field trips, using resource persons, teaching about controversial issues and populating Street Law classes with heterogeneous groups of students; and

peer support for teachers, including opportunities to attend staff development sessions and summer institutes.

The evaluation also found that 86 percent of the students who took Street Law classes found them to be more interesting than their other social studies courses.

Incentives

Trainings are provided by national Street Law trainers at least once a year. The cost of the training is free.

The South Carolina Bar Law Related Education Division (LRE) will assist Street Law teachers with finding legal resource persons who come into the classroom and help the teacher implement the lessons. These can include lawyers, judges, law students, police officers, probation officers, professional mediators, legislators and executive branch personnel, such as staff from a consumer protection agency.

The South Carolina Bar will pay for one night's accommodations, light snacks and lunch for both days of the training.

Teachers implementing Street Law can apply for the LRE Teacher of the Year Award, which comes with a $500 recognition award.

Schools that participate in the program can apply for LRE School of the Year Award, which offers a $2,500 award to be spent at the school's discretion.