Monday, November 01, 2010

This Week's News: Youth in Transition


Montgomery Advertiser, Alabama – October 26, 2010
Up until 2009, 16-year-old Alabamians had the authority to make a life-altering decision. Whether they knew it or not, this decision would impact their future earning potential, increase their likelihood of going to prison and possibly earn them a one-way ticket into poverty.  They could decide to drop out of school.  The Alliance for Excellent Education estimates that the students who dropped out in 2008 will cost the state of Alabama $1 billion in lost wages over their lifetimes.

The Wall Street Journal, Washington, D.C. – October 30, 2010
Our time in office and in charge of the school system of Washington, D.C., is quickly drawing to an end. Monday is Michelle's last day as schools chancellor, and Mayor Fenty failed to win the Democratic primary last month. A new mayor will be elected next week.  During our nearly four years in office we pressed forward an aggressive educational reform agenda. We were determined to turn around D.C.'s public schools and to put children above the political fray, no matter what the ramifications might be for ourselves or other public officials. As both of us embark on the next stages of our careers, we believe it is important to explain what we did in Washington, to share the lessons of our experience, and to offer some thoughts on what the rest of the country might learn from our successes and our mistakes.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Georgia – October 26, 2010
Georgia's high school graduation rate rose 2 percentage points this year, bringing it to a record 80.8 percent, state officials announced Tuesday. But some national education experts say the 17-point gain in graduation rate over seven years cited by  the state  is suspect because of  a flawed system used to calculate it.  The 2010 state graduation rates cited by the state  improved for students in all racial and economic groups, including:  -- Georgia’s African-American students had a graduation rate of 75.8 percent, up more than 23 percentage points from 2003 and from 74.1 percent in 2009.  -- Hispanic students had a graduation rate of 77.6 percent, up more than 29 percentage points from 2003 and from 71 percent in 2009.

Juvenile Justice

The Crime Report, New York - October 25, 2010
The New York State juvenile detention system, where 85 percent of those incarcerated are minorities, is working to reduce racial disparity, says Gladys Carrion, New York commissioner of children and family services. Speaking to a Coalition for Juvenile Justice conference on Fundamental Fairness: Eliminating Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Juvenile Justice, Carrion says data show a “disproportionate representation of minority youth at critical decision points in the juvenile justice system” in the state. ”We need a juvenile justice system that values young people and doesn’t write them off as throwaways and believes that the young have the capacity to change their behavior and mature,” Carrion said.

The Wall Street Journal – October 29, 2010
Judges are grappling with whether it is ever proper to sentence a juvenile to life in prison without parole in light of a Supreme Court decision that such a punishment for non-murderers is cruel and unusual. In its May ruling, the Supreme Court reasoned juveniles are less culpable than adults for their crimes because they are less able to control their behavior, and they have a better chance of being rehabilitated.

The Daily Tar Heel, North Carolina – October 29, 2010
North Carolina is discussing an issue of age — and it’s not the drinking age.  The state may soon allow 16- and 17-year-olds to be tried in the juvenile justice system.  North Carolina is the most strict for young offenders, trying those at or above age 16 in the adult system, Judge Marcia Morey of Durham County District Court said.  The issue will go to the N.C. General Assembly in 2011, she said.

Foster Care, Flint, MI – October 26, 2010
For young women who are leaving foster care, often there is no place to go. Now, they have a place to call home.  Nina's Place, a center for young women who have aged out of foster care, will celebrate its grand opening at the YWCA of Greater Flint Wednesday. U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, U.S. Rep. Dale Kildee and U.S. Sen. Carl Levin were instrumental in securing the $850,000 grant to pay for the program for two years, said Harmony Langford, director of operations at YWCA of Greater Flint.

The Huffington Post, Baltimore, MD – October 26, 2010
Baltimore City Public Schools and the Baltimore City Department of Social Services find common ground on the education of children in foster care.  Few moments in the life of a child and family can rival the trauma that comes the day the state knocks on the door and places that child into foster care. Often this is only the first in a fast sequence of events that will invariably alter that child's life well into adulthood.  As children around Baltimore settle into the routine of the school year, the distinct minority who enter foster care will struggle to find stability.

The Daytona Beach News-Journal, Daytona Beach, FL – October 30, 2010
The local child welfare agency that has served foster children for almost 10 years will be competing to renew about a $27 million-a-year contract with the state.  The state Department of Children & Families is seeking proposals for a nonprofit or governmental community-based organization to serve as the lead provider starting July 1 for five years to provide foster care services, including emergency shelter, case management, adoption and a host of other services. Agencies have until Jan. 13 to submit to the local DCF contract office, and a review committee will rate the proposals, then make a recommendation to the circuit and regional directors. Community Partnership for Children, in Daytona Beach, currently provides services to about 1,200 children who are in foster care or receiving services in their home.

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