Monday, May 03, 2010

This Week's News: Youth in Transition


Second chances: Cleveland Community College offers high school dropouts another shot
The Star, Cleveland County, NC – April 26, 2010
When Rhett Dorn was 16, he decided he was done with school and dropped out of Shelby High.  “I got with the wrong friends,” he said. “Plus I wanted a job.”  For several years he worked low-wage jobs that paid under the table to help out at home.  But the “rinky dink” jobs, as he called them, weren’t cutting it and he said he was tired of having nothing to show for his work.  Recently, the now 20-year-old decided to enroll in Cleveland Community College’s adult high school program. He has even bigger plans for the future.

Durham Tech helps dropouts get back into school
WRAL, Durham, NC – April 28, 2010
Durham Technical Community College is recruiting students for its first class in a program to help high school dropouts get back into school.  The Gateway to College program allows dropouts from Durham Public Schools between the ages of 16 and 21 to complete their high school diploma requirements and earn college credits at the same time. Students will get scholarships to cover their tuition, books and fees.

Grads Head to College In Record Numbers
The Wall Street Journal – April 28, 2010
The share of new high-school graduates enrolled in college reached a record high last year, likely reflecting the weak job market they faced.  Some 70.1% of the 2.9 million new graduates between the ages of 16 and 24 headed to colleges and universities, the Labor Department said Tuesday, based on data from January through October 2009. That percentage was a historical high for the data series, which began in 1959.  College-enrollment rates have been rising gradually: In 2008, 68.6% of high-school graduates headed to college, up from 62.9% in 1999. But the poor economy, which has created a particularly tough labor market for young and uneducated workers, is amplifying the trend.

Foundations offer $506M for education innovation
Associated Press, Seattle, WA – April 28, 2010
A coalition of wealthy foundations is offering up to half a billion dollars to match federal grants meant to encourage education reform, taking the pressure off schools scrambling to find the matching dollars they need to get the money.  A dozen foundations plan to announce this week that they are investing $506 million, a portion of which is for a matching fund for the $650 million federal government grant program, called Investing in Innovation.  The foundations also set up an Internet portal for applying for matching funds from all the foundations in one step, streamlining the task of seeking money from multiple sources. School districts, schools and other nonprofits have until May 12 to apply for the money, which will be paid out by the end of September.

Juvenile Justice

Reforms of juvenile system prove effective in Erie, Onondaga counties
Democrat and Chronicle, New York – May 2, 2010
For a system initially geared toward rehabilitating troubled children, juvenile justice laws had turned increasingly punitive by the 1990s.  Across the country, states were prosecuting more youths in adult courts, jailing them in juvenile prisons for minor offenses, and using the courtrooms as a dumping ground for children with other issues such as mental health problems or learning disabilities, according to The Annie E. Casey Foundation, a Baltimore-based nonprofit in the forefront of juvenile justice reform. Even as juvenile crime rates were falling, the foundation's research showed, more youths were being taken out of their homes and little attention was given to the families and the communities they'd return to after placement.

Why are more Monroe County kids in the juvenile justice system?
Democrat and Chronicle, Monroe County, NY – May 2, 2010
With his handcuffs off and a guard trailing him, Calvin didn't look at the judge when he first walked into Monroe County Family Court.  The lanky 17-year-old made a beeline to his mother that morning in March to kiss her, before standing with his attorney to hear how much more time he would serve in a juvenile facility for being caught a second time in a stolen car a year earlier.  In Buffalo, he might still be at home and serving probation for the misdemeanor charge of unauthorized use of a vehicle. Syracuse officials may have diverted Calvin's case to a program that keeps him with his family while providing services to get him back on track.

Community Conversation: Racial Disparity in the Juvenile Justice System

Chicago Public Radio, Chicago, IL – April 27, 2010
When you look at which kids wind up inside our juvenile justice system you find some startling statistics. For example: African-Americans make up 18 percent of Illinois’ youth population, but they represent over half of Illinois kids who are locked up. As part of our series, Inside and Out¸ we heardtwo reports last week on the long-standing problem known as Disproportionate Minority Contact. Then last Tuesday night, we gathered 200 some community members into a building on Chicago’s South Side - to talk about the issue. 

Foster Care 

New Foster Care Program Gives Hope to Kids, Families
Fox4KC, Kansas City, MO – April 30, 2010
Kids who enter the foster care system have usually gone through a pretty traumatic event, like abuse, neglect, or parents into drugs or in jail. They're torn from the only family they know and passed around to strangers. Now, a new study through the University of Kansas called the SPARK Project looks at why some kids can bounce back so easily while others struggle.

Eagan student testifies in Washington, D.C. on foster care, Washington, DC – April 29, 2010
U.S. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) invited Eagan High School senior Kayla VanDyke to testify before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee hearing today (Thursday, April 29) regarding special populations and education reform.  Sen. Franken invited VanDyke to testify to illustrate the obstacles facing foster youth in the education system, an issue he has been working to improve in the upcoming education reauthorization bill.  VanDyke is an 18-year-old foster youth who has lived through seven different foster care placements as well as a period of homelessness. She testified today that she was regularly forced to change schools, often missing important lessons and repeating others. She also testified that, had she had access to liaisons and counselors and known about transportation arrangements such as those included in Sen. Franken’s Fostering Success In Education Act, it would have helped her stay in the school of her choice.

No comments: