Friday, June 23, 2006

This Week's News: 23 June, 2006


Zobel Invited to D.C. Summit
The Shelbyville News, IN – June 17, 2006
Traditional molds of education must be broken in order to help students succeed, according to federal officials hosting a Department of Labor program on Wednesday in Washington, D.C. Shelbyville High School Principal Tom Zobel will travel to Department of Labor employment and training “listening session,” which will discuss alternative ways to approach education.

Drop-Out Rate — Value of Education Must be Prioritized
Bluefield Daily Telegraph, WV – June 20, 2006
School systems in West Virginia and Virginia must step up to the plate and increase emphasis on the value and importance of a high school diploma to students. More than a quarter of the Mountain State’s high school students do not graduate ...

Drop Outs May Have Hard Road Ahead
WALB-TV, GA - June 21, 2006
Not enough Georgia students are graduating from high school. That's the message of an Education Weekly report published this week. When students drop out of school, finding a good job becomes more difficult. Especially with the number of job-seekers on the rise.

Another Failing Grade for Detroit Schools
The Detroit News, MI - June 22, 2006
Detroit school officials are taking great offense at a new national report that pegs the 2003 high school graduation rate at just 21.7 percent. And that number, Detroit insists, is now much closer to 63 percent, when those who have abandoned the city schools for suburban, private and charter schools are counted. Even if Detroit's numbers are right, that's not really good news. The district is still losing a third of its students to drop-outs and roughly another third to alternative classroom settings.

High School Dropout Rate a Threat to State’s Future
Asheville Citizen-Times, NC – June 23, 2006
…But far too many of the students who started school with them don’t have much to celebrate in this season of mortar boards and tassels. Somewhere through the years, they fell by the wayside. They gave up on earning a diploma at the end of four years of high school and departed for — what? A job at a fast-food restaurant? Hanging out on the streets? Selling drugs?

Drop-In Bucks Grop-Out Trend
Press & Sun-Bulletin, NY – June 23, 2006
...What Sabo-Humphries did -- drop back into high school after dropping out -- is rare but not unheard of, said Mary Kay Karsko, a team leader for Broome-Tioga Board of Cooperative Educational Services' GED programs. Three of the 67 16- and 17-year-olds enrolled in a BOCES GED program this year planned to return to school.

Dropping the Dropout Rate: Freshmen-only schools working
Detroit Free Press, MI – June 18, 2006
Last week, 386 Detroit freshmen completed Southeastern High School’s Ninth Grade Success Academy, in a separate building on campus where ninth-graders have classes. Even if little more than half of the ninth-graders “graduated,” this is Southeastern’s biggest incoming 10th-grade class in recent years. While a 56 percent success rate might not seem much, last year only 41 percent here moved on to 10th grade. And only a handful of students were really considered dropouts this year, the rest failed classes officials hope will be made up later. Other districts around the state are eying that success, as well as the idea of all-freshmen schools.

Editorial Accurate Figures Essential to Fight Dropout Problem
San Antonio Express-News, TX – June 18, 2006
In the near future, Texas may finally produce state high school graduation and dropout statistics we can trust. Starting with the just-completed school year, the Texas Education Agency began computing dropout rates according to methods used by the National Center for Education Statistics, a research arm of the U.S. Department of Education.

Foster Care

Foster Care Youth Set on Their Own to Survive at 18 to Find Housing at New Tenderloin Community Center
San Francisco Sentinel, CA - June 22, 2006
Community leaders broke ground for a projected world class Tenderloin community center yesterday. Set to open in July, 2008, the center draws funding through a $53 million gift from the Joan B. Kroc estate, wife of the McDonald's fast food chain founder Ray Kroc.

Throwaway Kids
Pasadena Weekly, CA – June 22, 2006
…Like thousands of former Los Angeles County foster youth who have left state care homeless, penniless, ready-made targets for drug dealers and sexual predators, Chytka lives wild on the streets. Anonymous victims of broken homes and of tragic neglect as wards of our overtaxed and impersonal foster care bureaucracy, they have become LA’s throwaway kids.

The Vineyard: Creating a Constant Sense of Place for Former Foster Youth, CA – June 23, 2006
The Vineyard Emancipated Youth Housing is a collaborative project of EPACAN DO and Faith Missionary Baptist Church of East Palo Alto. The two came together to help former foster children achieve residential stability and a productive lifestyle. The Vineyard is committed to supporting young adults in their transition into adulthood through the provision of permanent housing and social services.

N.C. Taking Foster Kids’ Social Security Money
The Charlotte Observer, NC – June 16, 2006
Child welfare agencies in the Carolinas have joined others across the nation in diverting to themselves more than $100 million in Social Security money the federal government pays to foster children with deceased or disabled parents. The agencies say the money helps pay for care of the children, but some child advocates say the government is effectively making parentless children reimburse the cost of care that should be free to them.

Juvenile Justice

Juvenile Justice Conference at MAC
Park Hills Daily Journal, MO - Jun 18, 2006
“Putting the Pieces Together” is the subject of a workshop in juvenile justice to be available through the Telecommunications Conference Resource Center at Mineral Area College on June 28. The workshop will be televised from Central Methodist State University in Warrensburg from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. with a break for lunch. Nationally recognized experts will provide up-to-date and practical information. Participants will gain greater understanding of prevailing issues with the goal of improving service delivery and outcomes for Missouri's children, youth and families.

Suit Backs Juvenile Offenders' Rights
The Sacramento Bee, CA – June 22, 2006
State officials who run California's juvenile justice system are unconstitutionally denying prompt hearings and lawyers to youthful offenders arrested on alleged parole violations, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday in Sacramento federal court. The suit charges that juvenile parolees often do not learn why they were arrested until they have been in custody for weeks or even months.

For Students, Cost of Protest Can Be High
The Christian Science Monitor – June 19, 2006
Across the country, when masses of high school students walked out last March to demonstrate against harsh immigration legislation, educators punished protesters with detention, suspension and even canceled their extracurricular activities. But some school districts got the police involved.

Tribal Colleges Filling Growing Need
The Houston Chronicle, TX – June 20, 2006
... Tribal colleges - schools owned and run by Indian tribes that are often located on reservations - are growing, stemming in part from economic clout spurred in some cases by Indian gaming and a desire by tribes to validate their sovereign status.

U.S. High School Dropout Rate: High, but how high?
The Christian Science Monitor – June 21, 2006
The national dropout rate is notoriously hard to pin down, and the latest effort to do so - showing alarmingly low graduation rates in some parts of America - is likely to intensify the statistics wars. Nearly 1 in 3 high school students in the Class of 2006 will not graduate this year, the Editorial Projects in Education (EDE) Research Center reported Tuesday.

After Court Ruling, Where Will Troubled Kids Go Now?
The Seattle Times, WA – June 21, 2006
After years of seeking treatment for her increasingly aggressive mentally ill son, Karla Nelson went before a juvenile-court judge who thought she knew how to get the family help. In February, Judge Patricia Clark followed an established court practice and ordered state child-welfare authorities to take the 13-year-old boy into their care, in the hope that he would get psychiatric treatment. But a Court of Appeals decision Monday put a stop to the move, ruling that the normal steps to put a child in foster care hadn’t been followed.

Access to Textbooks, Pencils Restricted in Detention Centers
Belleville News Democrat, IL – June 17, 2006
When the hundreds of minors locked up in Cook County's temporary juvenile detention center end their school days, there's one bit of contraband they must leave behind in the classroom: their textbooks. Policies prohibiting the unsupervised use of hardcover books and other basic school supplies like pencils are common at U.S. juvenile detention centers, where security concerns must be balanced with the children's need for access to educational materials.

Juvenile Crime: Robbery Trend Causes Alarm
The Washington Post, DC – June 22, 2006
The percentage of robberies by juveniles in the District has jumped significantly in the past two years, and city officials are looking for solutions. About 42 percent of the people arrested and charged with robbery in the District this year have been 17 years old and younger, D.C. police said yesterday.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

This Week's News: 18 June, 2006


Education Department Hides Dropout Crisis
Pasadena Star-News, CA – June 11, 2006
…In the meantime, though, the California Department of Education has backslided. In 2002, it reverted to reporting phony dropout rates. Three years ago, it stopped issuing the yearly spring dropout press release altogether. We are getting dead silence from a bureaucracy that doesn't want to talk about our greatest crisis.

New York State's Dual Crises: Low Graduation Rates and Rising School Taxes
Public Policy and Education Fund Report – May 18, 2006
New York State’s school funding system faces dual crises. First is the failure to provide children with a “meaningful high school education,” also called a “sound, basic education,” as mandated by the state constitution and the Campaign for Fiscal Equity (“CFE II”) decision. The clearest consequence of this failure is that over one-third of high school students today do not graduate in four years.

Teen Pregnancy

Teen Birth Rate Hurts Economy
The Business Journal, WI – June 12, 2006
Almost 17 percent of births in Milwaukee are to teen mothers. That fact affects businesses' ability to find qualified skilled workers, to clamp down on rising health care costs and to attract new businesses to metropolitan Milwaukee. The city recorded 1,869 births to mothers under 20 in 2004 -- nearly double the state's teen birth rate of 8.7 percent. The national average is 12.1 percent. Nationally, each teen pregnancy costs taxpayers an average of at least $79,320 in long-term costs.

Foster care

College Youth Find Home as 'Foster Care Scholars'
Cherry Hill Courier Post, NJ – June 16, 2006
Not all college students have a room to return to when school lets out. Some do not even have a place to call home. But this summer, 14 young adults who may have otherwise been borrowing couches, sleeping in their cars or staying in shelters instead have their own beds.

Juvenile Justice

CMSU Workshop Examines Juvenile Justice Opportunities, MO – June 14, 2006
The delivery of justice services to Missouri's children and their families is the focus of "Putting the Pieces Together: Connecting Evidence-based Practices and Collaborative Community Initiatives," a juvenile justice conference planned for Wednesday, June 28, in the Elliott Union ballroom at Central Missouri State University.

To Fight Next Wave of Crime, Get to Young People Before Gangs Do
Fort Wayne News Sentinel, IN – June 16, 2006
... According to reports from the Department of Juvenile Justice, more than half of robberies reported by adult victims were committed by juvenile offenders. ...

Schools Use New Tactics for Trouble Dropping 'Get-Tough' Approach Gets Results
New Haven Register, CT – June 11, 2006
…In an era of zero-tolerance policies, these administrators are rethinking what the policies should target. The zero tolerance now applies to breaking laws rather than breaking rules. They also have shed the "get tough" talk in favor of building relationships with their students and teaching them by talking out problems.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

This Week's News: 11 June, 2006


Plugging in Disconnected Youth
Youth Today – May 2006
The statistics can be depressing: One-third of all Americans drop out of school. Only half of African-American, Latino and American Indian youth graduate from high school. About 15 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds – some 3.8 million people – are neither working nor attending school, a number that grew by 700,000 from 2000 to 2004.

Lost Summer for the College-Bound
The New York Times, NY – June 4, 2006
Once, summer for teenagers meant menial jobs and lazy days at the local pool. But for a small but growing number of college-bound students, summer has become a time of résumé-building academic work and all-consuming, often exotic do-gooder projects.

The Future is in Their Hands
Newsweek – June 4, 2006
North Carolina Gov. Michael Easley wants to put students on the front lines of the state’s aggressive efforts to combat years of disastrous job losses as key industries moved overseas. That means a dramatic overhaul of the state’s public schools. Easley says the old model, which prepared a few students for college and let others drop out or graduate with minimal skills, doesn’t work in an economy where almost any job with decent pay requires some advanced training.

Schools’ Disparities Studied
Richmond Times-Dispatch, VA – June 4, 2006
Talk about diversity in public schools, and most folks think about race. But research shows economic integration can be just as important for healthy, high-achieving schools. Middle-class schools tend to have meatier curriculums, high expectations, better-trained teachers, student stability and more active parents.

High Court Taking a New Look at Race in Schools
Houston Chronicle, TX – June 6, 2006
WASHINGTON - As a government lawyer, Samuel Alito urged the Supreme Court two decades ago to bar special treatment for people based on skin color. Now Alito is the newest justice and, with Chief Justice John Roberts, will have a chance this fall to make a pronouncement on the constitutionality of affirmative action.

Schools That Work
The Pioneer Press, MN – June 4, 2006
Educators agree: Schools with large numbers of students from low-income families -- or who move often, are learning English or have other special needs -- almost always fare worse on standardized tests. Seeking another metric, the Pioneer Press analyzed three years of test scores from all 731 Minnesota elementary schools to predict how well each school should do when its percentage of low-income students is taken into account -- effectively leveling the playing field between the haves and have-nots. The finding? Apparently “troubled” schools are doing much better than expected.

State’s No Child Changes Blocked
The Dallas Morning News, TX – June 6, 2006
Texas officials have tried to artificially boost test scores by eliminating 10 percent of the state's students from the No Child Left Behind accountability system – including many of the state's most disadvantaged children. But federal authorities quietly blocked the attempt last month – along with three other proposed changes that would have improved the appearance, if not the reality, of Texas schools' performance.

NewsFlash: Mismeasuring High School Graduation Rates
Economic Policy Institute – April 18, 2006
... High School Graduation Rates ... low graduation rate because he does not fully correct for grade retention, especially among minorities, in 9th and 10th grade. EPI's own report on graduation rates - Rethinking High School ...

Public High School Graduation Rates
TA Communities - May 12, 2006
... rates in relation to race and gender. results of the study include information on the gender and race gaps, low/high performing school districts, as well as the overall trends in graduation rates in ...

High School Graduation Rates Unacceptably Low, State Says
New York Times, NY – February 14, 2006
More than a third of high school students in the state scheduled to graduate last June failed to do so, State Education Commissioner Richard P. Mills said yesterday, calling the figure "unacceptable."

Study Tracks Facts About Drop-Outs
The Monitor, TX – June 7, 2006
... schools Superintendent Michael Sandroussi said district staff typically sees students drop out during their freshman year. Edcouch-Elsa High School’s Class ...

Foster Care

Adopt Us, Foster Teenagers Urge in Ad Campaign
USA Today – June 1, 2006
…The ad campaign is part of a larger movement, among states and private groups, to help foster teens by promoting their adoption or extending services beyond age 18. The efforts, which include financial incentives for people to adopt teens, have led to a sharp increase in such adoptions in recent years.

New Law a Lifesaver for Foster Kids Who Turn 18
The Des Moines Register, IA – June 3, 2006
…Gov. Tom Vilsack signed legislation for the Preparation for Adult Living program into law Friday. Youths must work or go to school full time, and they can't live with the parents from whom they'd been removed.

At-Risk Kids’ Cuts Blasted
Rocky Mountain News, CO – June 3, 2006
An Adams County social services director's plan to move children with mental and behavioral problems out of residential treatment to balance his budget has angered a district judge who compared the new policy to a hospital dumping patients who can't pay.

Celebrated Artists Send Foster Youth to Paris to Inspire New Identity (Press Release) - Jun 6, 2006
Fourteen artists depict unimagined possibilities by creating forty five highly valuable works of art at the request of Positive Resistance; a nonprofit organization dedicated to teaching foster youth that "A Broken Home Does Not Mean a Broken Life."

Report to Congress on Adoption and Other Permanency Outcomes for ...
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
Numerous challenges have been documented in efforts to achieve permanency for children in foster care, especially for older children. At the same time, several strategies show promise for overcoming these challenges. Challenges discussed in the following sections address a lack of permanent families, lack of services, inadequate permanency planning, resistance from youth, staff issues, and court and legal issues.

Juvenile Justice

Crimes and Misdemeanors
The Washington Post Magazine, DC – June 4, 2006
High school security chief Wally Baranyk offers no guarantees about safety at Oakton High School in Vienna, Va. “We take every reasonable precaution, but we’re not a prison,” he says in this portrait of a week in his working life. Security personnel first appeared in public school systems in the early 1980s, and by the mid-‘90s, armed police officers had arrived in Fairfax County.

Washington County Juvenile Justice Board Wipes Slate Clean
Northwest Arkansas Times, AR - June 8, 2006
Washington County Juvenile Justice Advisory Board members on Wednesday night seemed to be wiping the slate clean. They voted to abolish all of their committees and only form new ones as needed.

Friday, June 02, 2006

This Week's News: 2 June, 2006

Foster Care

When Foster Teens Find a Home
Time – May 29, 2006
Over the past few years, the number of 12- to 18-year-olds adopted out of foster care has risen sharply, from 6,000 in 2000 to 10,000 in 2004. That’s thanks, in part, to financial incentives and intensive campaigns to persuade people to take in some of society’s children.

Treatment Money Cut, and Kids Pay; Drugs, alcohol
The Oregonian, OR – June 2, 2006
In the two years after Oregon cut its drug and alcohol treatment programs by 18 percent, the number of children entering foster care shot up by 25 percent. There’s a “direct correlation” in those two changes that is reflected in the state’s increasing rates of child abuse and neglect, says Jay Wurscher, alcohol and drug services administrator for the Oregon Department of Human Services.

National News Coverage Highlights Foster Care, Adoption Issues, Underscores Need for Reform; CCAI Dedicated to Raising Awareness
Yahoo! News – June 2, 2006
Today, there are more than 500,000 children in foster care in the United States. These children will remain in foster care for an average of three years and, while in care, will experience at least three placements. One in five children will languish in foster care for more than five years. And, each year, more than 19,000 children will age out of foster care without having found a safe, loving, permanent family.

Foster Care 'Graduates' a Priority
The Miami Herald, FL – June 2, 2006
The Children's Services Council of Broward expects to give a record $624,000 to two Fort Lauderdale social service agencies to pay for classes that will teach dozens of young clients -- many former foster kids -- basic life skills such as banking, job interviews and navigating South Florida's rental housing market.


Connected by 25 in Tampa Featured on ABC’s Nightline
Watch Thursday night’s ABC Nightline episode featuring Connected by 25 of Hillsborough County, Fla., and the struggle faced by young people who age out of foster care.


Can’t Complete High School? Go Right to College
The New York Times, NY – May 30, 2006
It is a kind of Alice-in-Wonderland idea. If you do not finish high school, head straight for college. But many colleges — public and private, two-year and four-year — will accept students who have not graduated from high school or earned equivalency degrees.

Many Not Finishing High School, Going To College, CA – May 30, 2006
Kids worried about not graduating from high-school can apparently still get into college. Not only are some kids dodging the diplomas, but soon, taxpayers may have to foot the bill for them! It’s a practice that’s not only possible, but popular!

Tuition for Students, a Better Future for Their City
The Washington Post, DC – May 29, 2006
…The program, called the Kalamazoo Promise, applies to tuition at any state university or community college. Students who attend all four years of high school in Kalamazoo public schools will get 65 percent of their tuition paid, and those who started the system in grammar or middle school will likewise get a prorated amount.

A Local Rebellion Over Who Gets a Diploma
The Christian Science Monitor – June 1, 2006
For students in Massachusetts, MCAS can be a four-letter word. It’s the state’s high school exit exam, and the rule is simple: If you don’t pass it, you don’t get a diploma. But the mayor of New Bedford is threatening to disobey that policy by granting diplomas to students June 15, even if they fail the standardized test. In so doing, he’s testing the state’s will to withhold district funds for breaking regulations. And he’s reviving a debate over education reform that’s simmering in other states, too.

Tomorrow’s High Schools Likely to Resemble Today’s Colleges
The Arizona Republic, AZ – June 1, 2006
American high schools are on the brink of changes that could make them nearly unrecognizable to students who just got their diplomas. Gone may be the large campuses teeming with kids and the classmates of similar age on similar schedules that have them all graduating together. Campuses could be converted into small, specialized schools, and students could have individual learning plans built around their declared high school major.

High School Graduation Expectations Changing
The Des Moines Register, IA – June 1, 2006
A growing number of high school students in Iowa need more than four years to graduate, say local and state education officials. The public may need to change its perception that all students can finish high school in four years, said Judy Jeffrey, director of the Iowa Department of Education.

GED: A Different Kind Of Graduation Story
Oregon Public Broadcasting, OR – June 1, 2006
The GED is widely thought of as the degree for high school dropouts. But in a shifting Northwest economy, more people are finding they need it.Correspondent Elizabeth Wynne Johnson went to a graduation ceremony in North Idaho for this story on the changing face of the GED.

Juvenile Justice

Troubled Kids Mired in Shelters, Jail Cells
Chicago Tribune, IL – May 31, 2006
Dozens of troubled youths are stuck in hospital rooms, jail cells and shelters as officials struggle to find them appropriate homes, reflecting an acute shortage detected as the state's child welfare system evolves. The child welfare system is the smallest it has been since the late 1980s, with roughly 17,000 children in state care, most in foster homes.

Report: More Help Needed for Girls in Juvenile Justice System
The News Journal, DE – May 31, 2006
Delaware needs more girls-only mentoring and treatment programs to address the unique issues troubled girls bring to the state’s juvenile-justice system, a group of advocates and officials recommended today. The Delaware Girls Initiative, which has been working with national experts since early last year, outlined the programs and services the state needs in a report released this afternoon in Dover.

County Looks at $1 Million Welfare Bill
Centre Daily Times, PA – June 2, 2006
Centre County may have to spend $1 million more of local taxpayer money to make up for a loss of federal money for county child welfare and juvenile justice programs, commissioners and Administrator Tim Boyde said Thursday.