Karen Pittman's Youth Today Columns

Karen Pittman, executive director of the Forum, used to regularly write a column for Youth Today, the newspaper on youth work. This archive includes articles from her entire stint writing for Youth Today and covers a variety of topics related to children and youth.

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The Harm of Zero Tolerance Gone Wild

If schools in your community practice zero tolerance policies, you might want to see why a youth suicide compelled the Forum’s Karen Pittman and Patrick Boyle to blog about the potential harm of such policies. Their message: Forcing a kid to leave a school means a lot more than changing the location of the math class.

2011-05-19
Youth Today: Let’s Help Youth Who Are in Doubt and in Debt

Once again, young people are bearing the brunt of our failure to monitor effectively the institutions they go to for help. You only need to read one story about students amassing huge college debt, which some will never repay, to believe that something has to be done, now....

2011-01-20
Youth Today: 'Hope Springs Eternal,' according to Gallup Poll

It is one thing for the poet Alexander Pope to suggest that “hope springs eternal in the human breast.” It is another for the leading pollsters to prove it.

In this article, Pittman looks at the recent results of the Gallup Student Poll.

2010-10-19
Youth Today: Wanted: Really Good Teachers

“It’s all about the talent.” This is the conclusion that Education Secretary Arne Duncan and other education reformers have come to after years of focusing on everything from class size to charter schools.

In this article, Pittman looks at what defines a teacher.

2010-10-18
Youth Today: Out of the Inbox and Into the Streets

May 2010
By Karen Pittman

Column time: I reached for the “recent research” inbox and pulled out five studies – three national surveys, two major evaluations – and started to read, looking for common themes. Good stuff.

2010-05-07
Youth Today: They Won’t Stay Outside Forever: Black Young Men and Unemployment

On Saturday, Jan. 30, Washington, D.C., got its second snowstorm in six weeks. Not nearly as big as the first (only 4 to 5 inches) – but big enough that school openings were delayed the next Monday.

2010-03-08
Youth Today: Mandatory Free Choice Learning

The Institute for Learning Innovation defines free choice learning as “learning that fulfills the lifelong human quest for knowledge, understanding and personal fulfillment.” Heady words.

2009-12-11
Youth Today: One More Time: Don’t Pit Preschoolers Against Teens

States are struggling. Children’s lives, too often, are truly in the balance as states and localities decide where to make cuts, often sacrificing long-term investments to achieve short-term cost savings. And a new National League of Cities report, City Fiscal Conditions 2009, suggests that the situation will worsen over the next two years.

2009-10-01
Youth Today: Taking Risks for Transition-Age Youth

On any given day, scores of young people with limited individual and social capital are simultaneously struggling to exit some systems and enter others: foster care, residential treatment centers, higher education, mental health programs, gainful employment.

2009-06-02
Youth Today: a "5 Star" President Who Happens to be Bi-Racial

On January 20, I joined millions of Americans and millions more around the world to watch the inauguration of our 44th president. Bad knees kept me out of the crowd, but I dutifully taped the day for family and friends who went out to be counted. I beamed at the image of the soon-to-be president, head back, eyes closed, breathing in the wonderful music played by Yo-Yo Ma and Itzhak Perlman.

2009-03-02