Monday, April 04, 2011

This Week's News: Youth in Transition


High School Graduation Rate in the City Is Lower Than Reported
The New York Times, New York City, NY – March 29, 2011
New York City’s high school graduation rate may be slightly lower than advertised because some dropouts have been improperly left out of the calculations, the state comptroller’s office said Tuesday. The comptroller conducted an audit because of allegations made in 2009 that the city may have been inflating its graduation rate by counting some dropouts as “discharges,” a classification that generally refers to students who transfer to private schools or to schools outside the city. Discharges are not counted against a school’s graduation rate, but dropouts are.

University of Wisconsin-Madison News – March 29, 2011
Reports on the fourth-year evaluation of school choice in Milwaukee will be released at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Wednesday, March 30.  For the first time, the researchers will report findings regarding the effect of the choice program on rates of high school graduation and college enrollment.
Huffington Post - March 30, 2011
Last Tuesday, Vice President Joe Biden issued a call to boost college graduation rates across the country and meet President Obama's goal of the United States having the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020. A key component of reaching that goal is graduating more students from high school. Every year, more than one million students leave high school without a diploma.

Juvenile Justice

The Crime Report – April 1, 2011
The Obama administration has dropped its controversial proposal to overhaul federal juvenile justice funding.  Assistant Attorney General Laurie Robinson told the House subcommittee that funds the Justice Department  on March 30 that the White House would come up with a new plan that allocates 90 percent of federal aid to improve juvenile justice by formula to the states.

Morton Times News, Springfield, IL – April 2, 2011
The Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA) is offering a free booklet on its website to help citizens learn how to reduce juvenile delinquency in their community and provide alternatives to youth imprisonment.  Called “Juvenile Justice in Illinois,” the booklet includes a description of the need, a summary of programs already in place, and action steps to implement a local program.

Foster Care

KPBS, San Diego, CA – March 28, 2011
A new play creates theatre from the life experiences of youth in and out of the foster care system. It was written by San Diego playwright Lisa Kirazian and produced by the Playwright's Project, a local program that supports the art of playwrighting in schools and communities.

The University Faily Kansan, Kansas – March 31, 2011
Imagine growing up without a stable family, group of friends or a sense of familiarity. Moving from home to home, perhaps without a mentor to teach you life skills.  This is reality for many of Kansas’ foster children. And when these children turn 18, they “age out” of the foster system and instantly become independents. Many of these children simply lack the necessary living and coping skills to do this, according to Justine Burton, founder StopGap Inc., an organization that will teach youth those skills.  “Looking at the kids now, they don’t have the knowledge to budget (or) maintain a home,” Burton said, adding that she wants to teach foster kids how to live healthy lives.  Burton addressed the Douglas County Commission on Tuesday to help promote her organization. Although StopGap is in the development phase, Burton has a clear idea of what she wants to do.

TC Palm, Florida  - March 29, 2011
Meet Melanie Dorn.  At age 7, Dorn entered Florida's foster care system. For the next four years she lived with five different families.  "It wasn't something I'd like to experience again," said Dorn, now 21. "The families that children are being placed with should be inspected better. In one home they made me iron my clothes. I didn't know how to do that. I've got a scar on my finger from where I was burned by the iron."  For many teens "graduating" from foster care, this is a frightening prospect.  Every year about 800 young adults in Florida's foster care system turn 18 years old. Of this group, 62 percent are left unemployed; 50 percent never earn their high school diploma; 33 percent will be homeless within three years, and 60 percent will become parents within four years, according to the Children's Home Society.  Too many of these young adults are left to fend for themselves when they "age out" of the system.  Thankfully, it's a different story on the Treasure Coast.

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