Monday, May 05, 2008

This Week's News: Youth in Transition


Special Schools for Pregnant Girls?
The Christian Science Monitor - April 30, 2008
Soon after getting pregnant, high school sophomore Alicia Mattocks worried that bullies might purposely slam her into a locker and that a teacher’s rules wouldn’t allow frequent bathroom runs. But it was the thought of not having to go to school quite so early, when she felt her worst, that pushed her to transfer to the Marian Pritchett School, and alternative public school in Boise for pregnant and parenting students. That decision, she says, saved her from dropping out. Pritchett school, however, faces a funding shortfall because state grants that fund it have dried up. Separate schools for pregnant teens have dwindled in recent years because of concern for educational equality, budget constraints, and changing social mores. But with one-third of all girls who drop out citing motherhood as a reason for leaving, these specialty schools from a bygone era may yet hold some lessons about how to keep kids in school. “The support for these specialized programs is critical in that they provide models of possibility in what can be done in school systems,” says Wendy Luttrell, a professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. The school offers day care and a baby-supply store. Mothers can nurse their babies at the back of classrooms. The school’s size – just 45 students – allows the girls to get a lot of attention. Classes start after 9am and extracurricular activities are focused on skills such as business, parenting, and family law.

High school students unprepared for college
The Daily Collegian – May 5, 2008
As the world continues to evolve and entry-level positions and opportunities for career advancement in the job market become more competitive, a college education and related training will carry more weight than ever for students. But according to a statewide study released this month, Massachusetts high school graduates are starting the race a step behind. The study and subsequent reports highlight concerns that the state’s public schools aren’t doing enough to prepare all their students for college course work. Consequently, because of the student’s lack of basic skills in such subjects as English and math, they’re forced to take remedial classes, which don’t count towards a degree and have higher numbers of drop-outs. The report was conduct jointly by the state Departments of Elementary and Secondary and Higher Education. They found that the problem isn’t centered in any one particular area and it crosses socioeconomic lines.

Juvenile Justice

State rethinks seven deadly sins law
The Florida Times-Union – May 3, 2008
Set to land in legislator’s hands in 2009, a proposed rewrite of the state’s juvenile code would regress from get-tough statutes that automatically send to adult criminal courts cases involving youths 13 and older who are accused of the most heinous crimes. Instead, juvenile court judges would decide which cases are fit for superior court. “By and large, most juvenile [charged as adults] are kids who are exercising very poor judgment, but they can be rehabilitated,” said Sharon Hill, a retired Fulton County juvenile court judge. She serves as executive director of Georgia Appleseed Center for Law and Justice, a nonprofit public interest law center that is a partner in the code rewrite project. But several prosecutors call the proposed policy shift a mistake, and say juvenile courts are not equipped to hand out sentences matching the severity of today’s violent youth offenders.

Gov taps juvenile justice guru – May 2, 2008
Gov. Dave Freudenthal announced Thursday that retiring District Judge Gary P. Hartman of Worland will join the governor’s office as a special adviser on juvenile justice issues. Hartman, who has served as judge in Wyoming’s 5th Judicial District since 1983, will be charged with evaluating Wyoming’s juvenile justice system and working with the departments of Health, Corrections, Family Services and Education to formulate new policies, the governor’s office said. Hartman said an important part of his new job will be helping the state achieve compliance with the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act. The governor’s office said Hartman will also take a lead in developing community juvenile service boards, a measure approved this year by the Wyoming Legislature.

Foster Care

Kentucky Program Puts Youth on the Right Track
The New York Times – May 4, 2008
Boys’ Haven, a nonprofit home for neglected and abused youth in Louisville area, races thoroughbreds as a part of an equine job-training program that is not even a year old. Finding gainful employment for young men and women who are aging out of foster care is the stated goal, but on this day, and for this 1 minute 14 seconds, all anyone cared about was winning. “We think of the racing as a motivational factor for the kids to hang in there and went to stay with the program,” said Verson C. Rickert Jr., the executive director of Boys’ Haven, which has been serving girls as well for several years. Still, job training is the main emphasis, Rickert said, “We think it’s a great fit for the kinds of kids we have here who often have a lot of barriers and restraints for getting on in other kinds of work.”

No comments: