Sunday, May 13, 2007

This Week's News:Youth in Transition


Educators, politicians, and MTV take aim at US dropout “epidemic”
The Christian Science Monitor – May 9, 2007
The National Summit to end America’s Silent Dropout Epidemic in Washington is carrying forward the momentum that’s been building for the past few years in response to some sobering statistics: About 3 out of 10 American ninth-graders don’t graduate with their class – with the ratio climbing to nearly half for African-Americans, Hispanics, and native Americans. By combining student voices, examples of successful policies, and a new online tool for pinpointing graduation rates in every school district in the United States, it’s meant to be an “action-forcing event,” says John Bridgeland, CEO of Civic Enterprises, the public policy group leading the summit. Cosponsors include the National Governors Association, MTV, Time magazine, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Getting a head start on college
Chicago Tribune – May 9, 2007
In a growing number of cities, including Chicago, public school districts are offering students an opportunity to work toward dual degrees as a means of curbing the staggering high school dropout rate and better preparing young people to compete in a global workforce. Such early-college programs are among the latest trends in school reform, targeting bright, mostly low-income students who were performing poorly in traditional schools and turning them into college scholars. In many cases, such early-college programs have taken students who were on the way to becoming high school dropouts and turned them into high achievers at major universities. Of the 106 students who graduated from Chicago’s school last year with an associate’s degree, 96 decided to further their education by going to a four-year college to pursue bachelor’s degrees. The remaining 10 went to work in the fields for which they were trained.

Legislator weigh in on age-limit for HS drop-outs
Burlington Times-News – May 9, 2007
Raleigh, NC-A proposal to raise the age at which students are permitted to quit high school won the support of a Senate committee Wednesday, though members questioned whether the move would help improve North Carolina’s graduation rates. Lawmakers also debated whether forcing unwilling students to stay in class would be too disruptive, and whether simply raising the compulsory attendance age would address the underlying issues that cause students to leave school.

Juvenile Justice

A new approach to help young offenders
San Francisco Chronicle – May 8, 2007
For the past decade, a system once marked by little but despair has experience a series of positive changes, and one reason, many experts say, is that the counties have been sending fewer juvenile offenders every year to the state-run juvenile prison system and instead placing them in rehabilitation programs in their home counties. The offenders are generally arrested and adjudicated by county law enforcement authorities, and prosecutors and judges have wide discretion in how and where to handle them. More and more, those local officials are opting to treat the youths at home at a time when juvenile crime rate, and imprisonment rates, have been plummeting for a decade.

Foster Care

Me lonely? Not now, thanks to the “family finding” search
San Francisco Chronicle – May 2, 2007
About 22 counties in California, including San Francisco, Alameda and Los Angeles, are trying a combination of high-tech Internet searches and old-fashioned gumshoe work to find extended family and friends who can support lost children in the foster care system. Advocates say the state should require all county child welfare agencies to find children’s families in this way. Assembly Majority Leader Karen Bass, D-Baldwin Vista, introduced legislation this year mandating that county agencies use search software to connect lonely foster kids with their extended families. Assembly Bill 149 is in committee.

Bill gives foster youth a hand reaching goals
The Olympian – May 9, 007
Gov. Chris Gregoire recently signed several bills into law all aimed at improving the life of abused and neglected children who are under the protective custody of the state of Washington. House Bill 1131, the so called “Passport to College” legislation, will help put more foster youth in college classrooms and help them through graduation. House Bill 1202 extends health care coverage to foster youth from their 18th to their 21st birthday. House Bill 1922 creates the “Independent Youth housing Program,” which will provide housing stipends and case management services to low-income young adults ages 18-23 who have been in foster care. All three bills will improve the lives of young people who, through no fault of their own, find themselves living in foster homes away form their biological families.

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