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Forum Flash: November 2011

Youth Organizing for Change, Creative Youth Programs and Lessons from Penn State

The Forum for Youth Investment Forum Flash


Forum Flash is part of the Forum for Youth Investment's e-newsletter series. Forum Flash informs you about what's going on at the Forum for Youth Investment, and about resources, opportunities, careers and recent events.
How Youth Can Organize for Educational Change
Should young people be actors in school change, or simply the recipients of changed schools? The answer is coming from around the country, through a rise in youth-led efforts to create change in schools, districts and education policy.

Youth Organizing for Educational Change features brief case studies of seven youth organizing efforts across the United States - efforts that show what can happen when adults create the expectations that young people be informed educational consumers and engaged changed-makers.

Seeking Clarity on Expanded Learning
Anyone who collaborates with schools on out-of-school time programs should watch what happens in Washington with Waiver 11.

The U.S. Department of Education has established a waiver process to help states obtain additional flexibility in meeting No Child Left Behind Act performance standards. The "optional flexibility" choice, known as Waiver 11, allows states to use funds from the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC) program to support expanded learning opportunities during the school day. A lack of clarity on how the waiver will be implemented has left leaders wondering whether quality afterschool programming will be sacrificed in the name of a slightly longer school day.

United Way Worldwide, the Forum and several youth organizations sent a letter asking Education Secretary Arne Duncan to issue guidance to make sure the funds are not used for "more of the same" - just another hour of traditional schooling and traditional types of learning activities. The letter also recommends guidance affirming that applications from schools and community-based organizations working together will get priority for funding.

A New Way to Fund Social Programs?
Could Social Impact Bonds - where private investors fund social programs up front and get returns based on their success - change how we fund youth and family services in the United States? The White House recently partnered with the Nonprofit Finance Fund to discuss the possibilities.

"My head is swirling with both the potential - and the possible unintended consequences," writes Elizabeth Gaines, who was there.

The Forum's policy director explains how the bonds would work and what the impact might be.

Youth Programs Can be Creative and Accountable
Program leaders often face a tension between instilling accountability strategies to encourage rigorous practice, while also fostering an atmosphere where creativity and risk-taking thrive.  Forum CEO Karen Pittman recently discussed that and other challenges facing the youth field in this podcast with Development Without Limits.

"Ms. Pittman was refreshingly reflective about how the youth development field could frame the issues in a way that connects with people, and insightful about the language that she now prefers," writes Executive Director Eric Gurna, who conducted the interview. "She also talks about how the OST field can educate and support the regular classroom, and vice versa."

The podcast was sponsored by the Bridge to Afterschool and Back Conference in October, sponsored by School's Out Washington.

Lessons from Penn State
The sex abuse scandal at Penn State offers lessons for all youth-serving organizations. Among them, says this blog from Patrick Boyle with the Forum: No matter what the law says, we are all "mandatory reporters."

The Forum for Youth Investment is a nonprofit, nonpartisan "action tank" dedicated to helping communities and the nation make sure all young people are Ready by 21®: ready for college, work and life. Informed by rigorous research and practical experience, the Forum forges innovative ideas, strategies and partners to strengthen solutions for young people and those who care about them.

Publishing Date: 
November 17, 2011