“School to Prison Pipeline: An Educator’s Guide to Disruption,” Ashley Carpenter (2018) — Inquiry 4

See Carpenter’s Infographic Here


“School to Prison Pipeline” Infographic Reflection

Since I am going to be an educator, I wanted to pursue and become more educated about an issue I will be directly involved with in the future. Recently, I heard some things about the School to Prison Pipeline, and I was disturbed by what I heard. I thought it would be a good idea for me to research this issue more fully and to create an infographic guide for educators and future educators like myself. Subsequently, the discourse community that my infographic guide is directed to is those involved in the education system within the US. My message is that the School to Prison Pipeline is an urgent issue that needs both attention and action. Educators have, at least a little, power to disrupt that system. 

I based my design on two existing infographics: the “Are Our Children Being Pushed into Prison?” infographic by Suspension Stories, a research coalition, and the “Is This Justice?: 7 Shocking Facts about America’s Prison System” infographic by Avaaz, a social justice organization. I believe that these two infographics are great representations of the genre because they incorporate many of the basic design elements within most infographics: attention-grabbing visuals and headlines, aesthetically appealing design, and a plethora of supportive statistics. 

Infographics tend to grab the audience’s attention with a thought-provoking question. This is representative in both of the examples’ titles: “Are our children being pushed into prison?” and “Is this justice?” They also tend to use a combination of symbols to help conceptualize abstract ideas and staggering statistics. For example, the “Is This Justice?: 7 Shocking Facts about America’s Prison System” infographic uses a row of fifteen stick figures, with only one figure colored in, to visually display the statistic: “1 in 15 black men is behind bars.” The other infographic does this by using symbols that represent systems, such as putting the “no” symbol over the image of a school building to represent the statistic: “40% of students expelled from US schools each year are black.” Both of the infographics used pie charts to represent their statistics as well. For aesthetic appeal, each infographic used a certain eye-catching color scheme (orange, blue, and cream vs. red, white, and black). 

My infographic utilises these common elements as well. To grab my intended audience’s attention, I begin with a provocative question that singles out educators: “Is our education system setting our children up for success or failure?” To represent police force, I used symbols such as the police figure and handcuffs. To represent the existence of “Zero Tolerance Policies,” I used the “no” symbol. To represent larger societal themes such as racism, ableism, and classism, I used the “idea” symbol (since they are abstract concepts). My infographic incorporates pie charts and other graphs to visually represent my supporting statistics. I also use the color scheme of magenta, grey, and white (contrasting and rich colors) because I want to convey a sense of urgency and seriousness within my infographic. I included statistics about in-school punishment and arrests of black children in contrast to the percentage of black children in schools to show the disproportionate and discriminatory nature of what is happening in schools. I also did the same with the statistics about disabled children. Finally, I added the “aftermath” statistics to show that the way punishment is handled in schools has a direct affect on a child’s likelihood of going to or returning to prison. 

I took a few steps beyond the normal organization of the infographic because the subject of my infographic is a little abstract and employs some specialized language other educators, or future educators, may not be familiar with. For example, I gave a short definition of the “School to Prison Pipeline” because I wanted to make sure that the audience had a working understanding of what it is and why it should be an important issue to work against for them. I also gave short definitions and descriptions of other concepts, like zero-tolerance policies and discipline outsourcing. Additionally, I wanted to make my infographic multimodal so I also added a short video by Vox that describes the racial issues involved with the School to Prison Pipeline. 

I appealed to ethos by citing statistics and information from credible organizations and coalitions. I appealed to logos by displaying all of the relevant statistics to showcase the disturbing trends. To appeal to pathos, I incorporated the Vox video that shows the suffering some children endure because of the School to Prison Pipeline. Finally, I appealed to kairos by making this statement at the end of my infographic: “Juvenile crime rates are on the decline, but arrests are on the rise. The time to act is now”. 

I believe that the infographic is a good fit for my message. Since the School to Prison Pipeline is a complex and abstract topic, it was necessary to compress its components into easy-to-understand symbols and statistics. That way, someone who would not recognize the patterns on their own could still understand the urgency of this issue. 

Overall, I am happy with the way my infographic turned out. I think that it is a good representation of the genre and all of its components, and I like that I branched out a little with the genre by including an educational video within it. I think I was a little disorganized with my ideas and presentation at first, but the peer reviews helped me get things in order. I enjoyed creating this infographic and the opportunity that it provided me to learn about such an important issue within school systems today. 


Works Cited