Sunday, March 8, 2015

Youth News Roundup: Public School Edition


Here's our roundup of recent news articles and reports on the challenges young people face in the educational system:

Success Stories from around the US

A Brooklyn School’s Curriculum Includes Ambition: "For Kareem, Mott Hall Bridges Academy is more than just a place to learn algebra and history. . . . The school prides itself on its “holistic approach” to educating children for whom nothing can be taken for granted. Staff members lead peer groups on Monday afternoons to keep tabs on whether students have problems at school or at home, and try to teach coping strategies. In September, they checked students’ backpacks to make sure they were keeping up in class. And in a neighborhood where many people have never even traveled into Manhattan, they give children a new aspiration: to experience life beyond Brownsville." New York Times

Detroit Public Schools taking a new approach with trade schools: "This at a time when Detroit has the nation's highest youth unemployment rate - 57 percent - meaning the city's teens and young adults have less work experience than kids in other cities - a key indicator for future employability. . . . Detroit Public Schools is attempting to redesign its high school career and technical programs into workforce development centers for youth and adults across the region. The redesign aims to help youth train for skilled work ‒ and save the trade schools from closure (about two-thirds of DPS schools have closed since 2005 due to declining enrollment)." MLive

These Schools Made A Commitment To Black Boys And Are Now Seeing Big Results: "The Manhood Development Program is part of the [Oakland Unified School District's] Office of African American Male Achievement, which was created in 2010 and was the first of its kind nationally. The program brings together African-American male students and teachers for classes designed to build leadership and foster brotherhood. High- and low-achieving students are accepted to MDP, as are mid-level pupils. The lessons mix culturally relevant history and literature with identity development and college preparation." Huffington Post

ICAN addressing homeless youth education in Chandler: "It is shocking to learn that 1,285,182 students enrolled in public schools across our country were homeless during the 2012-13 school year. That is a staggering 8 percent increase from the year before. Of those, 75,940 were classified as unaccompanied youths, meaning they were living completely on their own. Is there any wonder why young people experiencing homelessness are 87 percent more likely to stop going to school?" AZCentral

Promising Practices

9 reasons Finland's schools are so much better than America's: If there's any consensus on education in the US, it could be this: other countries are doing it better. And in the doing-education-better sweepstakes, Finland has long been the cold and snowy standout. . . what can the United States learn from Finland?" Vox 

Why More Schools Are Letting Their Students Sleep In: "Adolescents have been steadily logging fewer hours of sleep over the last 20 years, according to a recent study. . . . Some experts note that part of the push for later school start times is about acknowledging the way young people's bodies work. . . . This inherent desire to sleep, Winter said, doesn't just make kids and teens drag in the early morning -- it also limits their ability to learn during morning classes and increases the risk of car accidents on their way to school." Huffington Post

Closing The Racial Achievement Gap Could Expand America's Economy By Trillions: "In 2012, the study [by the Center for American Progress] notes, white students averaged a score of 506 on the PISA math exam, while black students received an average of 421. Hispanic students averaged a 455 score on the exam. . . . Study authors Robert Lynch and Patrick Oakford found that if this gap between white students and students of color were closed, the U.S. would see $2.3 trillion in economic growth by 2050." Huffington Post

Systematic Challenges to Improving Outcomes

How teacher hiring puts black and Hispanic kids at a disadvantage: "A Los Angeles judge outraged educators around the country this summer when he threw out California's law granting schoolteachers tenure, ruling that it kept incompetent teachers in classrooms with minority students. What teachers saw as a simple reward for difficult and important work had been declared, in essence, a law with disturbing racial impacts. Now, a new working paper suggests that schools in Los Angeles often wind up putting children of color in classrooms with teachers who have less skill and experience than those who teach their white classmates." Washington Post

A tremendous number of school children in America still live in poverty: "Earlier this fall, the Census Bureau reported that child poverty in America is finally declining for the first time in more than a decade. But while the national trend is ticking down, in many parts of the country — particularly the South — poverty rates for kids are still above the national average and higher than they were before the start of the recession.  According to new Census data out today, poverty rates for school-aged children in 2013 were still above their 2007 levels in nearly a third of all counties . . ." Washington Post

How our schools fail poor kids before they even arrive for class: "One of the simplest ways to put poor kids in a position to succeed is to make sure they eat breakfast. . . . A 2013 study, for instance, linked breakfast consumption among children to higher IQs later in life. A group of researchers in 1989 found that students who ate breakfast tended to perform better on standardized tests. Eating breakfast is especially critical for children from low-income families since they are already disadvantaged in so many other ways. . . . The School Breakfast Program still isn't feeding nearly as many poor students as it should be. In fact, the program is falling short by at least ten million students, if not more, according to a new study by the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC)." Washington Post

Why schools are failing our boys: "Statistically speaking, boys now lag behind girls on every single academic measure; they also get in trouble and drop out of school much more frequently than girls. There are fewer boys in college than girls, and far more lost 20-something boys than 20-something girls. Our boys are not the ones who are failing; we are the ones failing our boys." Washington Post

Overuse of Punishment in Schools

Addressing the School to Prison Pipeline: Why Education Is the Liberation of Black Youth: "Education is the earliest form of state violence Black youth endure. The Department of Defense's 1033 program equips school police with all the grenade launchers and tanks they can haul while our students scramble to find guidance counselors and books. The federal government has denounced the school to prison pipeline while continuing to fund it." Huffington Post

To Increase Test Scores, Schools Should Stop Suspending Students, Says Study: "A recent report published in December’s issue of the American Sociological Review finds that students in schools with high rates of suspensions suffer academically -– even if they are not being suspended themselves. The report . . . concludes that high rates of suspensions can have a negative impact on the test scores of students who have not been suspended, and that schools may be better served by only suspending students in moderation." Huffington Post

Lawsuit Alleges Officers In Birmingham Schools Sprayed Hundreds Of Students With Chemicals: "According to Southern Poverty Law Center attorney Ebony Howard, about 300 high school students have been sprayed with harmful chemicals since 2006. Howard told The Huffington Post at least 1,250 students were likely indirectly exposed to these chemicals over the years. 'The case is obviously about kids and the rights of kids to go to school without fear of being sprayed by mace or pepper spray.'" Huffington Post






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