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Youth Today Columns

Below you'll find a list of Karen Pittman's Youth Today columns. Click on a title to view the full column.

Youth Today: The Message May Be the Medium

By Karen Pittman, January 2001

“Has Sarah lost her mind?” This quote — referring to Sarah Brown, director of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy (NCPTP) — opened a Washington Post story about a provocative series of public service advertisements launched by the campaign. The ads, developed to spark conversation among teens about the possible consequences of sex, feature controversial words printed in large letters across pictures of young people. The words are embedded in small-print sentences like: “Condoms are CHEAP. If we’d used one, I wouldn’t have to tell my parents I’m pregnant.”

Publishing Date: 
January 1, 2001

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.

Publishing Date: 
February 1, 2001

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.

Publishing Date: 
March 1, 2001

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.

Publishing Date: 
April 1, 2001

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?”

Publishing Date: 
May 1, 2001

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...”

Publishing Date: 
June 1, 2001

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?

Publishing Date: 
July 1, 2001

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.

Publishing Date: 
October 1, 2001