Saturday, October 27, 2007

This Week's News: Youth in Transition


Students get second chance
Courier-Post – October 21, 2007
Now, after operating in the shadows of the traditional educational system since, December, the Community Educational Resource Network school at Bethel United Methodist Church on Westfield Avenue is getting national recognition and some much-needed start-up funds. The National Association for Street Schools, a Denver group that provides financial and logistic support to faith-based schools, has signed up as a sponsor. And through that group, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is providing $57,750 that will allow the school to pay an administrator. With the new funds, CERN will add a sister school next month: The East Side Preparatory Academy. CERN will enroll students who drop out of high school. These students are typically age 17 and up who are working toward a GED. East Side Prep will offer students, typically ages 16 and under, a four-year high school curriculum. Each will serve about 25 mostly Hispanic students from Camden.

Program to Deter High School Dropouts by Offering College Courses Is Approved
New York Times – October 24, 2007
Trying to improve New York’s high school graduation rates, state education officials are proposing to place 12,000 potential dropouts a year in college classes while they are still in high school. The plan, approved yesterday by the state’s Board of Regents, “would provide funding for student to take genuine college courses and receive credit for high school as well as for college,” said the state education commissioner, Richard P. Mills. “Instead of four-plus-four plan – four years of high school and four years of college – students could actually complete high school and a bachelor’s degree in seven years,” the commissioner said. A recent study of dual-enrollment programs in New York and Florida found that students in them were more likely to earn high school diplomas, to enroll in postsecondary education and to stay in college for more than one semester. The study, by researchers at the Community College Research Center at Teachers College, Columbia University, also found that low-income students benefited more from such program than other students did.

Dreams put on hold for many illegal immigrant students
Los Angeles Times – October 26, 2007
The defeat of Senate legislation that would offer a path to citizenship for illegal immigrant students set off deep disappointment among many of them Thursday as they scrambled to figure out their futures. The legislation, known as the Dream Act, would have offered a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants who had served in the military or completed two years of higher education and who had lived in the United States for at least five years, entered the country before age 16, graduated from high school, compiled no criminal record and demonstrated “good moral character.” The vote on the proposal Wednesday was 52-44, short of the 60 votes needed to prevent a filibuster and begin debate. Immigrant advocates said Thursday that they would continue to press for passage, though probably as part of a comprehensive measure that would also toughen border and workplace enforcement and increase family and work visas.

High school dropouts’ price is high
The News & Observer – October 25, 2007
High school dropouts are costing North Carolina taxpayers millions of dollars each year, according to a new report, but there’s sharp disagreement on what is the best way to solve the problem. The report released Wednesday by the Milton & Rose D. Friedman Foundation says a single year’s group of dropouts costs the state’s taxpayers $169 million annually in lost sales tax revenue and higher Medicaid and prison costs. The report’s recommended solution of using taxpayer-funded vouchers to help students pay for private schools has drawn a sharp dividing line between supporters and critics of public schools.

Juvenile Justice

Juvenile offenders get the justice low-down
Houston Chronicle – October 22, 2007
Welcome to the juvenile justice system! Now leave. That, essentially, is the message of Harris County’s new orientation for juvenile delinquents. Akin to high school fish camp or a prospective college tour, the seminar is meant to help kids and their parents navigate the sometimes confusing juvenile courts system, organizers say – but not to invite them back. The orientation, started last month, will soon be a mandatory pit stop for juvenile delinquents sentenced to deferred prosecution, essentially the lightest punishment kids can get. The orientation, organized this fall by members of the Houston Bar Association, features a slate of speakers from each sector of the system: law enforcement, the courts, the defense and juvenile probation. Standing at the front of a courtroom, they explain everything from the arrest process to a judge’s orders, but spend the bulk of their time lecturing youngsters not to come back.

FM Program for juvenile offenders gets boost
The News-Press – October 21, 2007
Fort Myers authorities are keeping a close watch on juvenile offenders in the hopes of preventing them from being arrested again. The Fort Myers Police Department is using nearly $249,000 in federal grant money to extend its program for monitoring youth offenders who have been arrested in connection with violent crimes or gun possession charges. The program, now in its third year, relies on a team of four police officers, a gang-prevention officer and a juvenile probation officer to keep tabs on the dozens of juvenile offenders ordered to participate as part of their court sentence.

Foster Care

Foster youths exercise their voices at leadership summit
Seattle Post-Intelligencer – October 21, 2007
Help us be like normal teenagers. That was the theme of the messages shared by dozens of foster kids who met at this weekend’s second annual Foster Youth and Alumni Leadership Summit, designed to give a voice to current and former foster children. The participants—all between 14 and 24 years old—heard speakers and worked with facilitators to come up with recommendations for legislators and other state policy-makers. They presented those recommendations Sunday to the Washington Supreme Court Commission on Children in Foster Care, which co-sponsored the event with Casey Family Programs.

NJ child welfare reform on track, federal monitor says
Newsday – October 22, 2007
Trenton, NJ – The state’s child welfare agency has made significant progress in achieving court-mandated reforms this year, but big challenges remain if the system is to achieve long-term goals for the protection of children. A report released Monday by the Washington-based Center for the Study of Social Policy found that between January and June, New Jersey accomplished everything it said it would to improve child welfare, including lowering caseloads, licensing more foster families and investigating allegations of abuse more quickly. However, the Department of Children and Families has a ways to go if New Jersey’s long-troubled child welfare system is to achieve lasting change, the report says. Despite many accomplishments outlined in the report, “the state’s child welfare system does not consistently function well and the urgency of the reforms remains,” the report concludes.

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