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A Reflection on the Derek Chauvin Verdict

April 23, 2021

On April 20th, the jury returned their verdict – guilty as charged on three counts for the murder of George Floyd. Moments before the judge read the verdict, my heart was pounding, hoping for the “best”, but fearing more of the same– a country that consistently fails to hold those who murder Black bodies accountable for their crimes. And knowing that my hope for a guilty verdict – even as it was realized – does not represent justice. As Brittany Packnett Cunningham has consistently reminded, justice would be George Floyd still alive. The fact that this was not justice was amplified by the murder of another child, Ma’Khia Bryant, at the hands of police mere minutes after the verdict was read. The brokenness of our systems is breaking our children, especially Black children, and in turn our future.

A Conversation with Kimberly Howard Robinson, Ph.D.

April 21, 2021

In April and May of 2021, Karen sat down with the Forum’s three program executives and, together, they tell the broader story of how the Forum is changing the odds for young people and explore the future of our work to advance equity, research, policy, and practice across all the systems and settings that shape young people’s lives. Each executive leads a unit and a set of named centers and initiatives intended to drive one of the Forum’s strategic approaches.

Karen interviewed Kimberly Howard Robinson, Ph.D., Executive Vice President of the Forum and Managing Director of our Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality. The Weikart Center is the Forum’s most visible effort devoted to strengthening practices and programs.

Making It: What Today’s Kids Need for Tomorrow’s World

April 12, 2021

In April’s Changing the Odds discussion, Karen was joined by Stephanie Malia Krauss, Senior Advisor at JFF and author of Making It: What Today’s Kids Need for Tomorrow’s World.

Karen and Stephanie’s colleagueship started with Karen giving Stephanie an audacious challenge: create a universal list of competencies youth need to succeed that speaks clearly to young people, resonates with leaders across multiple systems, and is grounded in everything we know about learning and development. The result was Ready by Design: The Science (and Art) of Youth Readiness.

Equity and Evaluation Policy: Making Good on the Biden Administration’s Commitment

The Biden Administration has taken clear steps to make racial equity a governmentwide priority. What should that look like for evaluation policy?  

 The January 20th Executive Order on Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities through the Federal Government (EO) cited the urgent need to address entrenched disparities in US law and public policy, acknowledging long-standing inequities that exacerbated the converging economic, health, and climate crises. One week later, the Memorandum on Restoring Trust in Government Through Scientific Integrity and Evidence-Based Policymaking (Memorandum) emphasized “the delivery of equitable programs, across every area of government,” including the role of evidence-based policymaking. The direct language of racial equity, accompanied by President Biden’s January 26th remarks explicitly naming racial injustice as a nation-wide equity agenda, promises a new level of unpacking how federal government operates and engages people and communities historically underserved, marginalized, and adversely affected by persistent poverty and inequality.  

Standing Against White Supremacy and Committing to Transformative Action

March 24, 2021

The Forum for Youth Investment stands in solidarity with the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. We are deeply saddened and enraged by the heinous attacks on the three Asian-owned businesses in Atlanta on March 16th, which led to the murder of eight people including six women and one man of Asian descent. This is the largest-scale hate crime against the AAPI community since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. It represents the intersection of white supremacy, misogyny, and xenophobia.

Stability and Change in Afterschool Systems

March 12, 2021

Citywide systems that coordinate the work of out-of-school time (OST) providers, government agencies, private funders, and others are designed to ensure that OST programs reach children who lack access to quality programming. In 2012, The Wallace Foundation asked FHI 360 to conduct an exploratory study to determine the extent to which U.S. cities with populations over 100,000 were undertaking afterschool system-building initiatives.

Changing the Odds Thought Leader Interview: Chronic Absenteeism – Indicator and Cause of Educational Inequity

March 12, 2021

Before the Covid-19 pandemic, 1 out of 6 students were chronically absent. As data is reported out this year, we are likely to see a dramatic increase in chronic absence, especially for the populations hardest hit by Covid-19. What is the definition of chronic absence? What are the metrics? Since absenteeism is not just a cause of educational inequity, but a leading indicator, how can attendance and chronic absenteeism data be used and improved to assess barriers and the lack of positive conditions for learning that undermine students’ and families’ relationships with their schools?

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All young people reach their fullest potential - in education, work, and life.

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