Bringing you relevant news, research and policy updates
affecting children, youth and families.
April 21, 2010
"The stimulus package didn't do a thing."
"Health care reform is going to be the death of me."
"It blew me away to learn that 47 percent don't pay taxes."*
It's clear from these snippets (of actual conversations I've had recently) that the country is in a cranky mood. How can we break through this noise with a careful analysis of what's working, what poses a threat to our children and what needs to be done?
Have you found any good ways to promote a civil discussion in your community without stooping to a rhetorical "gotcha" contest?Share your thoughts
Here's my vote for this week's civil voice: NGA's Ray Scheppach
. In his analysis of persistent state budget challenges, he says states that want a robust economy in the long-term need to make major system changes -- soon.
As the rhetoric over health care reform continues at high-pitch, the lines of battle are hardening over how to improve teacher accountability and performance in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) reauthorization and how to target federal education funding in the face of continuing budget crises.
Meanwhile, millennial leaders say their generation has a big stake in the outcome of the fight to enact financial regulatory reform.
Keep up the good work, everyone!Jan Richter, editor emeritus, and the CFK Team
* Where does this number come from? Last week's headlines -- but it doesn't tell the whole story. Get the context and a range of reactionson The AtlanticWire.
CFK gathers, synthesizes and promotes the best news, research and stories from the child and youth field. To suggest content, email email@example.com.
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You: On SparkAction!
By now, you know that we're in beta release of the new one-stop journalism and advocacy site, SparkAction: for children, for youth, for change
In fact, more than 700 of you have already logged in as beta testers -- and we thank you for your feedback and we hope you keep giving us your thoughts. Some of the things you love: the cool design with its ever-changing banner, the youth-created articles, our social networking and rating tools and the interactive Bills & Votes area.
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If you haven't already done so, we invite you to check out the site. It's quick and easy
and we want your feedback. Please visit sparkaction.org
to join this growing community!New this Week:The Art (and Law) of Social Change: Harvard
Law's Child Advocacy Program Moves into High Gear
Blog by Hershel Sarbin, Child Advocacy 360
Harvard Law School's Child Advocacy Program is helping students move out
of the courtroom and into the community -- and the public policy arena -- in search of meaningful social change. Hershel Sarbin takes a look at
the philosophy behind the program and talks to two young graduates about
Health Care Reform -- Still Work to Do!
The debates continue over what the health care reform law will, and will not do, for American families and businesses. Families USA
says it's time to talk sensibly about health care with your neighbor, newspaper and twitter friends -- it's easier than you think!
Timeline for Medicaid and SCHIP
The Kaiser Family Foundation has an updated timeline that highlights the implementation dates for Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program provisions in the new health care reform law. Major expansions of Medicaid are set to occur in 2014, but other key provisions become effective sooner.
Lactating Mothers Get a Break
The National Partnership for Women and Families applauds a little-noticed health care reform provision requiring employers to provide reasonable break time and a private space (not a bathroom) for new mothers. Jamie Oliver's Good Food Petition
Jamie Oliver's quest to improve school foods in West Virginia has turned into a hot reality show
. Watch clips of the show, get recipes or sign a petition in support of better foods for kids.Growing Healthy Habits
Speaking of food, the University of Maryland has put together a free curriculum tied to the state's standards that integrates hands-on learning in a school garden with classroom learning about biology, nutrition and the scientific method.
Earth Day is April 22
New Law Reduces Lead Paint Hazard
Children who reside or learn in a building built before 1978 could still get lead poisoning if the paint is disturbed during renovations or repairs. A new federal law effective April 22 will require contractors to be certified in dealing with lead if working on pre-1978 buildings that house young children.
Climate and Energy Bill to be Introduced in Senate
Senators John Kerry (D-MA), Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) are expected to introduce a comprehensive Senate climate and energy bill on April 26. The Environmental Defense Fund cites key benefits for passing Senate legislation that caps carbon emissions.
Making Everyday Products Safer for Children and Pregnant Women
The Safe Chemicals Act of 2010 would help parents avoid toxic chemicals in everyday products. Health and environmental groups say the landmark bill doesn't do everything they'd like, but they are strongly supporting it for what it could do. For example, the bill would require chemical companies to develop and make publicly available basic health and safety information and require chemicals to meet a safety standard that protects pregnant women and children.
Education: Buildings, Budgets and ESEA ReauthorizationSchool Building Week is April 26-30
The Council for Educational Facility Planners International has loads of information, including a new Department of Education guide for energy-smart school maintenance. April 22 Webinar: GESA Works! Generating Expectations for Student Achievement
IRDA says high expectations are essential for student success. This first-in-a-series webinar offers an overview of key evidence-based classroom instructional elements for diverse populations and non-traditional students.Ed Department Endorses Models for Turning Low-Performing Schools Around
Cliff Hanger: Public Schools and the Impact of the Economic Downturn
The Department of Education has identified 4 models for turning around the lowest-performing schools and is offering $4 billion of Title I funding in competitive grants to school districts using one of the endorsed models. You may want to check out videos on the model efforts.
- Turning Around Schools and Students, a new report from UCLA says a key element for turning around low-performing schools -- providing support for disadvantaged and disconnected students -- is missing from ESEA reauthorization
A March 2010 American Association of School Administrators (AASA) survey finds that students and school systems across the nation are facing the end of stimulus dollars and 2010-11 budget cuts that will mean more crowded classrooms, fewer teachers and cuts in the school week or summer school.
Secretary Duncan Says School Budgets Need a Boost
Earlier this month, Education Secretary Duncan urged Senate appropriations subcommittee members to consider another round of emergency support for America's schools, similar to the economic recovery aid provided to states. "If we do not help avert this state and local budget crisis," he warned, "we could impede reform and fail another generation of children."
Emerging Debate over ESEA Reauthorization
The National Education Association's recommendations for the reauthorization of the ESEA differ in emphasis and substance from those proposed by the Obama administration, especially on evaluating teacher performance.
- After early education funding was dropped from the health care reform bill, advocates are turning to the ESEA reauthorization to provide federal funds for early education and kindergarten in the states, EdWeek reports.
Math Teacher Training Does Little to Boost Learning
Findings from a federal study of 77 middle schools suggest that even intensive, state-of-the-art efforts to boost teachers' skills on the job may not lead to significant gains in student achievement right away.
State of the StatesNCSL March 2010 State Budget Update
The latest National Conference of State Legislatures' State Budget Update finds states continuing to struggle with budget gaps, Medicaid costs and the end of federal stimulus funds. The steep drop in revenues, however, appears to be easing and unemployment rates are remaining steady. Cost: $49
NGA's Ray Scheppach Says State Budget Crises Will Jeopardize Future Economic Growth
If you want to know the future for state budgets, listen to Ray Scheppach, who says the depth of the recession and jobless recovery will have long-term repercussions for state budgets. He argues that states must move toward long-term state fiscal solutions that include redesigning state government, finding alternatives to costly imprisonment and shifting the state sales tax structure to reflect the service and information economy. Here's a video, presented at the University of Virginia Miller Center on April 5.
NGA Chooses Six States for Early Childhood Education Systems
The National Governors Association Center for Best Practices will work with Oregon, Kansas, Louisiana, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington to develop infrastructures for state early childhood education systems to improve center- and home-based child care that can serve as models for other states.
Building Better Pathways to Adulthood for Youth at Risk
Bill Treanor, Youth Today Co-Founder, Retires
Bill was a gadfly, a skeptic, and a pitbull -- a true reporter. But most importantly, he was devoted to making Youth Today
a serious publication that looked into youth policy and practice around the country. We'll miss his distinctive voice; but, Youth Today carries on.
MDRC Report on Scaling Up Community College Learning Communities
A paid coordinator providing clear leadership and support was key to scaling up interdisciplinary learning communities at six community colleges. Students reported the learning community approach strengthened their social and academic support networks.
The CBASS After-School Apprenticeship Program Toolkit
This Collaborative for Building After-School Systems toolkit features the After School Apprenticeship Program (ASAP). Launched in 2008, ASAP offers teens stipends for eight-week apprenticeships where they learn a craft alongside a master practitioner, followed by six-week paid summer internships where students apply their new skills with younger kids as coaches, umpires, lifeguards and arts instructors.
ACTE Defines Career-Ready vs. College-Ready
It's nice to see youth development and "readiness" language hitting the mainstream, but the Association for Career and Technical Education says we need to clarify the overlaps and distinctions between "college-ready" and "career-ready." Inside Higher Ed reports.
This documentary profiles three teenage girls entangled in San Francisco's juvenile justice system. "Girl Trouble" documents the girls' remarkable successes and heartbreaking setbacks and exposes a system that fails to end the cycle of incarceration. Shown on PBS' Independent Lens series, the film is available for rental ($75) or sale ($99 for home or library/community groups).
Young videographers explore afterschool programs in California in "Beyond Expectations," a two part video. If you want to share this video, you can get multiple DVDs by contacting Laura Karosic
Future of Children: Transition to Adulthood
Too many adolescents drop out of high school and then struggle with high rates of unemployment, incarceration, drug use and nonmarital births. The high costs to teens as well as society make a solid case for investing public funds in programs and additional research. This issue of the Future of Children will be released in conjunction with an event at the Brookings Institution on April 27.
In 2008, 14 percent (4.3 million) of youth ages 18 to 24 nationwide were not attending school, not working and had no degree beyond a high school diploma. Arkansas, Georgia, Nevada, Kentucky and West Virginia have the highest rates of disconnected youth. Get the latest data in the Rankings by Category: Education.
Aging Out of Foster Care: Resources
Becoming an independent adult is especially difficult for young people without the support of a family. IssueLab offers a database of recent, nonprofit research on the health, education, housing and employment for young people aging out of foster care.
Help for Families in Need
The Aspen Institute, the Center for the Study of Social Policy and several other organizations have launched AssetPlatform.org, a new website that provides the financial tools, trainings and products organizations need to best serve their low-income clients.
Extend Tax Credits that Help Low-Wage Families
The Coalition on Human Needs is calling on organizations large and small to sign a letter
to Congress urging continued support to renew and improve the refundable Child Tax Credit, Earned Income Tax Credit and American Opportunity Tax Credit that have helped lift millions of low-wage, working families out of poverty.
The U.S. Census Bureau has announced plans to develop a poverty measure for 2011 to supplement the current 50 year old official poverty measure. Learn about behind-the-scenes negotiations and potential benefits of the new measure.
News from Capitol Hill Millennials Have a Stake in Financial Regulatory Reform
Call for White House Conference on Children and Families
Young people coming of age at the turn of the millennium have suffered disproportionately in the Great Recession and they have a big stake in reforms to prevent another near-collapse of the financial system. As Congress debates Obama's financial reform plan, the Roosevelt Institute Campus Network explains why the issue is so important for young people.
The Child Welfare League of America is celebrating Child Abuse Prevention Month with a campaign to hold another White House Conference on Children and Youth; the last such conference was held in 1970.YouthBuild Seeks Senate Signatures
YouthBuild is asking for support for YouthBuild's Department of Labor funding for FY2011 by asking Senators to sign the YouthBuild support letter circulated by Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) and Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME).
|Caitlin Johnson and Thaddeus Ferber
Connect for Kids and the Forum for Youth Investment