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: Striving to Succeed, Daring to Fail

By Karen Pittman, February 2001

The achievement gap between young black and white Americans is like the Energizer Bunny: It keeps going and going and going. And there are latent fears about whether the achievement gap can be closed.

2001-02-01
Youth Today: Leave No Child (or Youth or Family) Behind

By Karen Pittman, March 2001

Advocates for broader supports for children, youth and families have a common focal point: President George Bush’s Tax Cut proposal1. Hailed by some surprising allies (such as economist Robert Samuelson2) as an appropriate response to ward off a “bust” by giving the wealthy some of their money back, the Tax Cut proposal has met considerable resistance from advocates, economists and even the wealthy3, as chronicled by Connect for Kids4.

2001-03-01
Youth Today: Paint By Numbers

By Karen Pittman, April 2001

Technology doesn’t always improve lives or even save time. So I’m always delighted to find quiet ways in which technology is making a positive difference.

2001-04-01
Youth Today: Policy, Policy, Policy

By Karen Pittman, May 2001

I hate receptions and cocktail parties. One reason is that I am basically anti-social. Another is that I hate the inevitable question, “What do you do?,” which seems simple but is difficult to answer. In an effort to steer people away from thinking that I work directly with youth (something I haven’t done for going on 30 years), I often state that I do youth policy research. Then comes the question, “What is youth policy? Does the U.S. have a youth policy or a set of youth policies?”

2001-05-01
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...”

2001-06-01
Youth Today: YAA: More Important Than You Think

By Karen Pittman, July 2001

Convinced that the Younger Americans Act (YAA) is the legislative marker that could finally put youth development on the map? You are absolutely right. But are you right for all the right reasons?

2001-07-01
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.

2001-10-01
Youth Today: An Official Seal of Approval

By Karen Pittman, December 2001

2001-12-01
Youth Today: Wanted: New Words, New Policies

By Karen Pittman, February 2002

This just in: “Tween” has been chosen as the 2001 word-of-the-year by Webster’s. Prepubescent 9- to 12-year-olds are enough of a market force that the term coined in 1966 by Harper’s Magazine has now been upgraded from popular slang to official English.

2002-02-01
Youth Today: Early and Sustained Supports Needed

By Karen Pittman, March 2002

Early investments have big payoffs. We know this from the High/Scope Perry Preschool Project in Michigan that is often credited for the expansion of Head Start. We know it from a handful of other longitudinal studies — including a recently released 15-year follow-up study of Chicago preschoolers — that tracked youngsters five to ten years after preschool and found big differences in academic performance and risk behaviors.

2002-03-01