Sunday, October 14, 2007

This Week's News: Youth in Transition


Bush Prodding Congress to Reauthorize His Education Law
The New York Times – October 9, 2007
With his domestic agenda in tatters, President Bush tried Tuesday to prod Congress into reauthorizing his biggest domestic achievement, the 2001 No Child Left Behind education law. But lawmakers have yet to come to terms on the legislation, and prospects for a deal this year appear dim. The bill would remain in effect even if it is not renewed, but the administration is seeking changes to it, and some opponents would like to see it thoroughly revamped.

Poor Students Perform Same at Public, Private Schools
Houston Chronicle – October 10, 2007
Low-income students who attend urban public high schools generally do just as well as private-school students with similar backgrounds, according to a study being released today. Students at independent private schools and most parochial schools scored the same on 12th-grade achievement tests in core academic subjects as those in traditional public high schools when income and other family characteristics were taken into account, according to the study by the nonpartisan Center on Education Policy. While the finding is in line with a handful of recent studies, it’s at odds with a larger body of research that has found private-school students outperform those in public schools. However, the new study not only compared students by income levels but also looked at a range of other family characteristics.

High schools use after-school tutoring
Tuscaloosa News – October 9, 2007
Tuscaloosa – There are about 2,000 high schools nationally that have a graduation rate of 60 percent or less. And one of them is in Tuscaloosa. Central High had a graduation rate of 46 percent last year. But Alabama as a whole is lagging behind most of the country when it comes to graduation rates, ranking 44th nationally. According to the Washington, D.C. – based Alliance for Education, only 60.7 percent of Alabama ninth-graders in 2002-2003 made it to graduation. According to the alliance, if those dropouts in Alabama had graduated, it would have meant an additional $3.1 billion in income over their lifetimes. But that’s money that most of them will never see. And it’s a problem that is affecting communities across the county, affecting crime rates and social welfare costs and dragging down local economies, the alliance says. The problem arises from a combination of academic and social factors. Alabama has established the High Hopes program which is an after school tutoring program which is targets toward at-risk students to improve scores on the Alabama High School Graduation exam.

Juvenile Justice

GAO Study Reveals Boot Camp Nightmare
USA Today – October 10, 2007
The first federal inquiry into the boot camps and wilderness programs for troubled teens cataloged 1,619 incidents of abuse in 33 states in 2005, a congressional investigation out today reveals. The study, by the Government Accountability Office, also looked at a sample of 10 deaths since 1990 and found untrained staff, inadequate food or reckless operations were factors. There are no federal rules governing residential facilities for children, and some state do not license such programs. The findings are scheduled to be presented at a hearing of the House Committee on Education and Labor.

Foster Care

Experts plumb rate of black children in system
The Courier-Journal – October 10, 2007
Yesterday’s conference was part of an effort by the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services to try to reduce the disproportionate number of African-American children in state care. The conference, which drew child welfare workers from around the country, was meant to prompt states to examine their policies and work to reduce the number of minority children in foster care. Although national studies have shown African-American parents are no more likely to abuse or neglect children than white parents, about 33 percent of children in foster care are black although they represent only about 15 percent of the child population nationwide, according to date provided at the conference.

No home, no health care may await ex-foster kids
Reuters - October 9, 2007
New York – After leaving foster care, many children end up homeless, without adequate access to health care, warn researchers in a report published this week in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. Kushel’s team found that more than half of emancipated foster youth were uninsured. The rates ranged from about 46 percent of the stably housed ex-foster care youth to 77 percent of those who experienced homelessness. By comparison, roughly 30 percent of young adults in the general population report an episode of being uninsured. Kushel and colleagues conclude that “strategies to improve health outcomes among emancipated youth should address both their lack of health insurance and their risk of housing instability and homelessness.”

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