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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Youth Today: Youth Development Work

By Karen Pittman, December 2006

Sometimes, I’m just slow. I carried around the results of two work force surveys in my head for weeks before I realized the significance of putting the two of them together.

Youth Today: Don't Deify Graduation Rates

By Karen Pittman, October 2006

The buzz about improving the high school graduation rate is becoming a roar. Governor’s children’s cabinets are picking this as the leading indicator result for youth, foundations are re-upping their commitments and youth organizations are recasting their wares to reflect better in this new accountability light.

Youth Today: Ready = Ready = Ready

By Karen Pittman, July 2006

The month of May produced yet another study showing that the skills young people need to be ready for life beyond high school may be the same whether they are headed to college or the work force.

Youth Today: Fighting Child Poverty with Public Leadership

By Karen Pittman, June 2006

The British Government recently made an incredible announcement: It apologized for only managing to reduce child poverty 17 percent over the past five years rather than 25 percent — the progress needed to be on a straight path towards the government’s stated goal of eliminating child poverty by 2020. Officials have promised to redouble their efforts. Sometimes it’s difficult to live on this side of the pond.

Youth Today: Race, Class, Culture and Perceived Entitlements

By Karen Pittman, May 2006

Bear with me. I’m trying to make sense of a series of writings spread before me that speak to how race, class and culture combine to influence young people’s opportunities, as well as their perceptions about their rights to opportunities and the proper response when those rights are denied.

Youth Today: Secret to Success: Deliver Meaning

By Karen Pittman, March 2006

Accomplishment. Beauty. Community. Creation. Duty.

Those are five of the 15 “meanings” identified in a hot new business book about the bottom-line importance of creating meaningful customer experiences.

Youth Today: 2006: The Year Quality May Finally Get Counted

By Karen Pittman, January 2006

We all believe that quality counts. Even if Woody Allen is correct in his assertion that “80 percent of success is showing up,” that means that 20 percent of the success of organized efforts to engage young people in school and in after-school programs can be attributed to what happens after they get there.

Youth Today: Wanted -- Bipartisan Leadership

By Karen Pittman, November 2005

I thought nothing could be more sobering than the photos and stories that continue to pour forth from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. That was before I sat through the powerful plenary session on the future of children and family policy at the recent annual conference of Grantmakers for Children, Youth and Families. Bob Greenstein, founder and director of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, presented charts showing diminishing funding for domestic programs for years to come.

Youth Today: Bronfrenbrenner's Legacy

By Karen Pittman, October 2005

Those of you who know me may remember the concentric circles picture I used to flash around (the one that has children and youth in the middle, surrounded by families, then peers and neighbors, then school and community organizations, then health, social services and other institutional offerings, etc.). Or you may have heard me say that, in the end, we have to remember that children don’t grow up in programs, they grow up in families and communities.

Youth Today: Back to School

By Karen Pittman, September 2005

September is back to school month. And for the first time in the nation’s history, many communities are beginning to get an accurate sense of just how many high school-age youths will not be picking up their backpacks to return to school.