Sunday, December 17, 2006

This week's News: Youth in Transition


How to reverse the dropout crisis
Boston Bay-State Banner – December 14, 2006
James Scott dropped out of high school when he was 17, following a rocky transition to a new school and a rough neighborhood in Philadelphia. He got caught up with the wrong crowd and began taking and selling drugs, which led to his arrest. But when his daughter was born, James enrolled in a charter school for high school dropouts to make up the credits he needed to get his diploma. On track to graduate next year, James plans to start his own company purchasing and renovating houses for resale.

To fix US schools, panel says, start over
Christian Science Monitor – December 15, 2006
What if the solution to American students' stagnant performance levels and the wide achievement gap between white and minority students wasn't more money, smaller schools, or any of the reforms proposed in recent years, but rather a new education system altogether?

Vocational education is shifting focus
St. Louis Post Dispatch – December 15, 2006
It was once the refuge of high school students who weren't headed to college; for the kids who didn't excel at academics or preferred getting their hands dirty. But "vocational" education — the former province of budding mechanics, welders and secretaries — is shedding its grease-stained, dictation-taking image.

State learning gap persists - Chasm between black, white students is near worst in U.S.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel – December 13, 2006
The education achievement gaps between African-American and white children in Wisconsin remain among the worst in the United States, according to an analysis released Wednesday by an influential education group.

Democrats' education agenda includes cutting college costs, reviewing No Child Left Behind
San Diego Union Tribune – December 12, 2006
Congressional Democrats say when they take the gavel from Republicans next month, they will put money in the pockets of college students and closely examine a law reforming elementary and secondary schools. How they will pay for their plans isn't clear.

New Congress, New Focus - Spellings and higher ed association leaders list their priorities. – December 2006
All eyes in Washington's postsecondary community are on the future, which begins in January with the start of the newly elected 110th Congress and the final two years of the Bush administration. With Democrats gaining control of the House and the Senate, the higher ed agenda will likely be impacted. The shift of control will bring changes in the lineup and leadership of its key education and appropriations committees.

Juvenile Justice

Judge seeks funds for juvenile court – December 14, 2006
Judge Theresa Dellick made an eloquent and impassioned plea for support of her Mahoning County Juvenile Court, and Anthony Traficanti, chairman of the Mahoning County Commissioners, said she and her staff presented "a very compelling case." "The county's best economic policy is to decrease violent juvenile crime. So long as violent juvenile crime remains or escalates, economic losses will be felt," the judge said. "By front-loading services in the juvenile justice system, less money is expended in the adult criminal justice system."

Should teenage brain be a factor in sentencing? – December 13, 2006
What was Michael Brown thinking? Jurors pondered that nearly 12 years ago before deciding on the guilty verdict that would lock the teen away for decades in an adult prison. They questioned why a 16-year-old boy with no previous history of violence did nothing to stop his teen pals from stabbing his screaming grandparents in 1994 unless he was the cold and calculating killer prosecutors said he was. But if the trial took place now or years from now, would science have played a greater role in their deliberating? Would Brown have been saved from the adult sanctions because of his teenage brain? Advances in brain research suggest it's possible.

Area officer to advise Crist on juvenile justice – December11, 2006
Gainesville police officer and union leader Jeff McAdams campaigned for Gov.-elect Charlie Crist and now he's in a position to make sure the new administration makes the right decisions. McAdams has been selected to examine the state's juvenile justice system as a member of one of the 29 citizens' committees that will make recommendations on nearly every aspect of state government during Crist's transition.

Foster Care

Young man, 18, needs help making transition from youth home to adult world
Charleston Daily Mail – December 15, 2006
When he was a toddler, he was the victim of severe abuse and neglect. It was a terrible start to a life that hasn't been easy. Now 18, he has been in foster care most of his life. At one time, he was adopted and then returned to the state's custody by his adoptive parents. He's currently in a state-funded youth group facility, but will be discharged soon because he is an adult.

Ads Push Us to Do Something about Foster Care
Voices for Illinois Children – December 12, 2006
"Don't Write Me Off: Foster Kids Are Our Kids," a partnership of child welfare agencies from every region of the state spearheaded by Voices for Illinois Children, took a major leap forward with the staged introduction of billboards, Spanish language radio spots, subway and bus ads, and print advertisements this month.

Colts fans asked to donate to Books for Youth – December 13, 2006
The Indianapolis Colts want you to bring a child's book to Monday night's game at the RCA Dome. Children at the College Avenue branch of the Marion County Public Library system received books Tuesday as the kick-off to the Books for Youth program. The Colts and the Department of Child Services want to get age-appropriate books into the hands of foster children. "It's designed to get children who come into foster care books so they can have a connection with education and something that belongs to them," said Judge James Payne, Department of Child Services.

Friday, December 08, 2006

This Week's News: Youth in Transition


Solving the Educational and Employment Crisis in America's Cities Through Youth Cultural Competence – December 7, 2006
"If youth are willing to throw away their lives and freedom over disrespect in the streets, what do we think they will do to their educational choices when they are so called 'disrespected by the system’?” That was the question posed by the Youth Development and Research Fund (YDRF) as they kicked off the 2006 National Youth Development Symposium in Chicago this week.

Struggling students reach new heights through Lee's Achievement Academy
Commercial Dispatch – December 7, 2006
Watching students repeatedly remain in the seventh and eighth grades as their peers move on to high school, many might have dubbed them hopeless. But Robert Keenum, principal of Lee Middle School, took on the challenge of moving those over-aged children out of middle school and on to the rest of their lives.

Drop-Outs Flock to Private High School – December 7, 2006
There has been a lot of talk about the high school drop out problem in South Bend, but what is being done about it? This year, a new approach was tried as a private-not-for-profit group opened a faith based alternative school on South Michigan Street in August.

Educators opt to keep unruly kids in school
Miami Herald – December 4, 2006
Harold Barnwell rubbed his arm and gazed at the class, now transfixed on his discussion of owners' methods for controlling slaves. ''What if someone placed all the light-skinned people on one side of the room and dark-skinned people on the other?'' Barnwell asked the group. ``What would happen?''

Juvenile Justice

MacArthur awards $40 million for juvenile justice reform
Seattle Post Intelligence – December 4, 2006
The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation announced Monday that it will award $40 million to four states, including Washington, to support juvenile justice reform.

Juvenile justice options examined at conference
Battleboro Reformer – December 7, 2006
Though no one can pinpoint precisely where it happens, at some point during a child's life, they become an adult. So when it comes to an adolescent who commits a crime, attention is usually paid to whether or not that person should be treated as an adult. For those in the legal community, that issue was looked at during a seminar in Montpelier last week.

New tack on teen justice: a push away from prisons
Christian Science Monitor – December 8, 2006
Cook County, home of the nation's first juvenile court, created in 1899, hasn't always had the best track record for dealing with young offenders. A 1995 Chicago Tribune editorial deplored the local juvenile detention center's filthy conditions, unqualified staff, and children who "languish there like warehoused animals."

Foster Care

Benefit held for foster children
Appalachian News Express – December 7, 2006
Some Pike County children won't spend Christmas with their families this year. They'll join hundreds of other Kentucky children who celebrate the holiday in foster care centers or homes.

Program Helps Teens Transition Out Of Foster Care – December 5, 2006
Once they turn 18 or graduate from high school, foster teens are basically on their own. Lucas Smith found himself in that situation at 19-years-old. "You don't know where you're going to go," he said. "You don't know if your family will take you in."

Monday, December 04, 2006

This Week's New: Youth in Transition


Time to Reform Public Higher Ed
Boston Globe - December 4, 2006
The National Conference of State Legislatures is out with a new report on the state of higher education across the United States, and the picture isn't pretty.

New Richland One Program Offers Second Chance For Drop-Outs, SC - Nov 15, 2006
Jamie Radden is just 16 years old, and she's already facing the same issues that people twice her age are dealing with.

States Attempt To Lower High School Dropout Rates - 12/2/2006
He was only in 10th grade but already 18 -- and still failing many classes. It's no mystery why Rico Simpson dropped out of Canton High School.

Juvenile Justice

Juvenile Justice Efforts Here Funded
Pittsburgh Post Gazette, PA - December 04, 2006
A report on juvenile justice being released today touts Pennsylvania and Allegheny County as models for national standards in the use of innovative strategies for keeping young people out of the court system.

Juvenile Justice System Needs Public Oversight
Nashville City Paper, TN - Nov 30, 2006
Of course, it is impossible for the public to actually monitor the juvenile justice system as it works to generate these kinds of records.

Juvenile Justice Leaders to Convene at MacArthur Foundation's
Business Wire (press release), CA - Nov 30, 2006
The MacArthur Foundation will commit a total of $100 million to support and accelerate promising models for juvenile justice reform across the country.

Foster Care

Foster Youth's Eternal Quest for a Forever Family
San Francisco Chronicle - Nov 28, 2006
In the last year, unprecedented attention has been focused on flaws in the foster care system. This is encouraging because the state of foster care demands our sustained attention if it is ever going to improve. But make no mistake. Foster care is by no means an end in itself. The true happy ending for a child who has been removed from his birth parents is a "forever family," whether that means returning to his own birth family in a healthy setting or being adopted.

The VOICES are Still Strong
Napa Valley Register, CA - Nov 21, 2006
Shawnee Brooks holds back tears when she’s asked to describe how working at the nation’s first youth-run support organization for foster care youth is changing her 22-year-old hard knocks life.

Youth Engagement

President Carter's Volunteerism Inspiring Young People, MS - Nov 30, 2006
"It feels good." Volunteers say the Youth Build program gives high school drop outs a new beginning. They've learned not to give up no matter what, and by volunteering, they hope to encourage hurricane victims not to give up either.