Saturday, May 31, 2008

This Week's News: Youth in Transition


Study echoes MPS, voucher findings
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel – May 26, 2008
A second round of results comparing high school graduation figures for Milwaukee Public Schools and a group of private schools in the city’s publicly funded voucher program has reached the same conclusion as a report issued in January: Students who attend voucher schools are more likely to graduate than those who attend MPS. The second report, issued today, adds data for the class of 2007 to its figures. The report was funded by and released by School Choice Wisconsin, the main organization for advocacy for Milwaukee’s voucher program, which is the oldest and largest of its kind in the United State. About 19,000 students attended about 120 private schools in the city this year, with public funds of up to $6,401 per student going to the schools. Warren’s figures for 2007 showed a bigger gap in graduation rates between the voucher school and MPS than any of the prior four years. He concluded that the number of 2007 voucher graduates was 85% of the number of incoming voucher freshman who started in the fall of 2003, while for MPS the figure was 58%.

Three of 10 students who start high school in Florida won’t finish
Orlando Sentinel – May 27, 2008
By even the most optimistic count, three out of 10 students who started high school to earn a diploma won’t cross the state. They were held back, dropped out or just can’t meet the requirements for graduation. According to state figures, 72.4 percent of students who enrolled in ninth grade managed to graduate last spring, which means more than 37,000 students didn’t make it. About the same rate is expected this year. In Central Florida, an Orlando Sentinel database charting the performance of 50 high schools by 20 measures show graduation rates last year differed wildly among schools, ranging from a low of about 51 percent at Evans High in Orange County to more than 98 percent at Professional and Technical High School in Osceola. Though many Central Florida high schools are short on graduates, the Sentinel database points to some bright spots, especially among technical and magnet schools that offer programs tailored to students’ special interests.

Helping parents stay in school
The Mercury News – May 26, 2008
Riquisha, a 12th grader, has a little boy named Manny. Julian Logoai, also a 12th grader, has a son named Samatua, Karen Garcia has a little guy named Kevin, and J.D. Tacson, one of the boys in the group, has a son named Jaylin. All are participants in the Cal-SAFE (short for California School And Family Education) program at Island High School, which has been helping teen parents for 31 years. The new mothers and fathers receive the education and support they need-including on site child care – to help them graduate from high school, raise healthy children and embark on successful careers. The program includes academic, parenting, nutritional and prenatal education, including guest speaker on topics ranging from the merits of breastfeeding to the dangers of lead paint. Cal-SAFE also provides meal supplements for pregnant and lactating mothers, transportation to doctors’ appointments and job interviews and child care and development assessments. In addition, volunteer visiting “grandparents” visit the school to play, read and socialize with the babies.

Juvenile Justice

Transforming juvenile justice
Indy Star – May 27, 2008
Far fewer youths file into Marion County’s juvenile lockup each day, a key result of a reform effort that has reduced crowding and diverted thousands of children into programs outside the center’s walls. But architects of the overhaul of the juvenile justice system see the changes as only a starting point. In the third year of a program fueled by a national advocacy group, officials are aiming at ending racial disparities in punishment and transforming a system that many see as perpetuating delinquency rather than healing it. The Annie E. Casey Foundation selected Indianapolis as a new site for its three-year Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiate in 2005. The program began two years ago, just as crowding and unsafe condition inside the center brought heave outside scrutiny. In Indianapolis, early data show stark changes taking hold without a surge in juvenile crime. In 2004, the detention center held 171 detainees on an average day, far more than the 144 beds could accommodate. Earlier this year, the same measure was below 100. Officials have closed units to reduce capacity to 112. Detention admissions have fallen by more than half, to 2,214 last year.

“Young and in Trouble”
Press-Telegram – May 17, 2008
A multimedia presentation addressing juvenile crime in Long Beach, California and the most common offenses that gets youths into trouble. Crimes committed by juveniles have been declining for the past 10 years, but not in Long Beach, where 13 children are arrested or cited every day, and more than 4,000 every year.

Foster Care

Study of ’94 Adoption Law Finds Little Benefit to Blacks
Washington Post – May 27, 2008
A 1994 federal law that paved the way for more white adults to adopt black children has left many parents ill-equipped for the situation and has not achieved the goals of giving black children an equal chance of being adopted and recruiting more black adoptive parents, a study concludes. The study, being released today, found that the Multiethnic Placement Act (MEPA) did succeed in increasing the rate of black adoption, but only by a small margin, and that black children still disproportionately end up in temporary foster homes. Because the law forbids discussion of race during the adoption process, it prevents social workers from preparing white parents for the challenge of raising black children in a largely white environment, said the report, titled “Finding Families for African American Children: The Role of Race and Law in Adoption From Foster Care.” It cited studies showing that dark-complexioned children in white homes tend to struggle with identity issues related to skin color, self-esteem and discrimination that their new parents are often not equipped to handle.

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