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.

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