Publications

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Youth Today: Keeping our Eyes on the Prize

By Karen Pittman, February 2000

The new millennium is upon us. Reflection is required. What have we accomplished over the past few decades? We have pushed the public goals for all youth from problem-management to problem-prevention to promoting development (meaning problem-free and fully prepared). We are moving more forcefully the idea that fully prepared is not enough — that young people must be fully participating. We’ve strengthened our links with the goals and strategies of our “sister” fields — early childhood development, community development, economic development and family development. Most would agree that the changes in the last 40 years of youth policy and practice have been positive and significant.

2000-02-01
Youth Today: Know Thy Neighbor's Child: Rekindling Community Responsibility for Youth Development

By Karen Pittman, May 1997

Something big has happened that, if sustained, could change the way this country thinks about, learns about and engages its young people. For three days, the Summit focused the country on its youth and on the collective responsibility individuals, neighborhoods, organizations, corporations and, yes, government has to honor its youth. The event was unprecedented — national in its reach and loud in its voice. And to be successful, the multi-year campaign, America’s Promise-the Alliance for Youth, has to be equally unique. The details are far from being worked out. But several key ideas have taken root over the past few months that, if pushed, could keep America’s Promise from becoming what many fear — a do-nothing commission, a fund-sucking intermediary, a diversion from permanent solutions. How can it become what people hope — a powerful force for change?

1997-05-01
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: Lessons Lost

By Karen Pittman, January 1998

What is it with not-for-profit youth-serving organizations? Is it we think that because we are doing sainted work we don’t need to prove, approve or improve ourselves? Are budgets so tight that we can’t afford to know if we’re spending wisely? Staff so overworked that we can’t take the time to plan and prioritize? Lessons so obvious that they are not worth sharing?

1998-01-01
Youth Today: Let's Make Youth Work a Field

By Karen Pittman, September/October 1992

There is an unprecedented opportunity to move a national youth agenda that has development, rather than deterrence, as it’s base. Frustration with two decades of fragmented policies and programs aimed at reducing youth problems has peaked. I sense a willingness, even an eagerness, to embrace a new philosophy.

1992-09-01
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: Making the Case: Linking Youth Development and Positive Psychology

By Karen Pittman, June 2000

Now and then you have the unsettling experience of hearing your thoughts come out of someone else’s mouth. This is the experience I had when I listened recently to Dr. Martin Seligman, president of the American Psychological Association (APA) and force majeur behind the emerging discipline of “positive psychology.” He described a journey simultaneously different from but parallel to mine.

2000-06-01
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: Maybe It Is Rocket Science

By Karen Pittman, July/August 1995

1995-07-01
Youth Today: Move Over, Greenspan

By Karen Pittman, November 1998

Bear with me, I want to talk about data — specifically about official indicators and why we must invest time lobbying for their effective development and use.

While there is no shortage of fact books, until recently there has been no official government compilation of indicators. Accordingly, America’s Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, prepared by the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics, had the potential to be momentous. Unfortunately, it was not.

1998-11-01