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: Responsibilities and Reasons||
By Karen Pittman, November 2000
Rights. By international standards, U.S. youth advocates don’t talk much about rights. There are recurring discussions of lapses in children’s rights. There are discussions of youth problems, many of which stem from basic injustices grounded in race and poverty. There are groups that have worked with young people to create versions of Children’s Rights or Youth Rights Bill (e.g., Girls Inc., the National Children’s Rights Alliance, the Children’s Defense Fund). There is a concern that young people do not exercise their right to vote. But there is relatively little discussion about participation as a right.
|Youth Today: Reflecting on 10 Years of Reflection||
By Karen Pittman, July 2004
70,000. That is roughly the number of words I have written for this column over the past 10 years. It seems appropriate to devote this column to a decade of reflection.
|Youth Today: Rebuilding Community Block by Block||
By Karen Pittman, May/June 1995
Neighbors. Everyone over 40 tells the story of how if they did something wrong two blocks away, their parents knew about it before they got home. There is widespread agreement that those days are gone. Neighbors have either gone to work, moved to the suburbs, or been silenced by fear of youth violence and parental indifference.
There were no neighbors present in the Fredricksburg, Virginia, convenience store on April 17th when six customers watched a 17-year-old brutally beat a clerk to the floor. No one stopped the teen, no one called the police, no one helped the bloodied clerk. The concept of neighbors seems to be in danger of extinction.
|Youth Today: Ready for Life: Yes, That Means College||
By Karen Pittman, December 2008
The core belief here at the Forum for Youth Investment – that all young people should be Ready by 21 – ready for college, work and life – often provokes public criticism. The exchanges typically go like this:
“Not every young person needs to go to college,” calls out one person from an audience. True, I say, but all should be ready to.
|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: Reading Between the Studies||
By Karen Pittman, June 2001
“System building is slow...”
“The diversity of the field has all kinds of implications...”
“Only a modest percentage of low-income children participate...”
“Revenues to programs serving low-income children fall short — sometimes far short — of resources needed to maintain even minimal quality programs...”
|Youth Today: Reading Between the Lines||
By Karen Pittman, April 2000
Over the past few months I have amassed a stack of newspaper articles about youth — not so much by design as by lack of cleanliness. Some of the saves, like the January 16 New York Times Magazine feature, “Schools are not the Answer,” were no-brainers. Any good youth advocate would frame the cover based on the title alone. Others, however, were less obvious:
|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: Quality + Time = Quantity?||
By Karen Pittman, October 2001
Gone are the days when anyone believed that all it takes to get a pilot youth program to scale is a favorable evaluation. Going, it seems, are the days when anyone believes that all it takes to keep a program afloat is luck, a good accounting system and some compelling anecdotes. Outcomes-based accountability has brought discipline to some programs but fear to many. Good evaluations do not ensure automatic growth. Bad or even mediocre evaluations, however, may lead to funding cuts.
|Youth Today: Put Every Child Ahead||
By Karen Pittman, April 2005
In recent weeks, children and youth advocates from across the country have joined forces with anti-poverty activists to oppose Bush’s proposed budget cuts and caps. If enacted, this plan will cripple the country’s capacity to protect and prepare young people today and in the generations that follow. We all need to find ways to bring others into this debate to re-prioritize the nation’s agenda.