This seems like a no-brainer, right? But today there is never any discussion of the importance of personal responsibility. Everyone is a victim of some sort, and that victimhood excuses every kind of bad behavior, including committing crimes. A lot of the baloney tossed around about equity refers to holding institutions responsible for improving individual’s lives, but really only individuals believed to suffer discrimination. One form of institutional accountability has been to hold schools to standards for student performance. It is believed that this will have flow-down effects on student’s behavior. A new study examines whether this has flow-down beneficial effects for the students at a school. The authors used data from South Carolina to try to link ratings of schools on accountability measures to levels of crime and economic self-sufficiency, i.e., does a person use state welfare programs. (NBER Paper)
It appears that the school accountability program did have an impact, although potentially modest. Students attending schools with initially lower ratings, meaning they were under more pressure from the state to improve and received assistance to do so, were less likely to commit a crime later in life and more likely to be economically self-sufficient, that is, to have a job. A bit of a stretched interpretation, but hard to understand why a student from a highly rated school would be more likely to commit a crime or gone on welfare.
It seems to me it would make more sense to directly impose incentives and penalties on the students and their families related to school attendance and success. That would encourage more specifically the development of individual responsibility which is critical for success and which is important for our society to advance.