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: Needed: Calluses, Credits and Credentials

By Karen Pittman, June 2002

“Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach. Those who can’t teach, do youth work.”

2002-06-01
Youth Today: First to Guess, Last to Know

By Karen Pittman, May 2002

There are moments when all your youth work training fails you. I just had one.

My son is one of the most wonderfully bright, witty, head-on-straight people I know. Of my three children, he’s the one I lecture the least. Not surprisingly, he’s the one I talk to the most.

My son is also gay.

2002-05-01
Youth Today: Powerful Pathways Indeed

By Karen Pittman, April 2002

Vulnerable youth. College access. Career success. Alternative pathways. Alternative credits. Learning supports.

These themes are increasingly the subject of conversations among progressive educators, particularly in groups that combine K–12 reformers with higher education researchers and specialists. This is a world in which we need to move. These are outcomes that youth workers need to claim as their own.

2002-04-01
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
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: An Official Seal of Approval

By Karen Pittman, December 2001

2001-12-01
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: 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: 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: 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