Webinar this Thursday, April 28: $1B ‘Successful, Safe and Healthy Students Act’

U.S. Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) will soon introduce the ‘Successful, Safe and Healthy Students Act.’ The bill will authorize $1 billion to advance student achievement and positive youth development by promoting student health and wellness, preventing bullying, violence and drug use and fostering positive school climate. The National Collaboration for Youth and Jon Terry of Capitol Youth Strategies will host a webinar and conference call this Thursday, April 28, at 11:00amEST to provide a summary of the bill and discuss opportunities for impact. A staff person from Senator Harkin’s HELP Committee will participate in the call to answer questions about the bill and upcoming ESEA reauthorization. To participate, send Jon an email at jon.terry@capitolyouth.com for call-in information and a copy of the bill summary.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Harkin to introduce ‘Successful, Safe and Healthy Students Act’

U.S. Senator Tom Harkin plans to release a draft of a bill later today that represents his vision for the ‘new’ Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools.   The bill, known as the Successful, Safe and Healthy Students Act,  will be formally introduced in early May.  A summary of the bill is here.

I will hold a webinar and conference call on Thursday, April 28, at 11:00amEST in order to provide additional information related to Senator Harkin’s new bill, discuss outlook for ESEA reauthorization and also highlight impact of the final Continuing Resolution on existing programs that help build successful, safe and healthy students .   If you would like to participate in this call, please send me an email at jon.terry@capitolyouth.com so I can provide you with log-in information.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

United Way Education Town Hall

I attended the United Way Education Town Hall this morning held at Trinity College in northeast DC (FYI, Rep. Nancy Pelosi and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius both went to Trinity).  The Town Hall was sponsored by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Walmart, Delloitte and Microsoft.    CNN’s Soledad O’Brien moderated the two hour event.


Brian Gallagher, President of United Way Worldwide — Brian highlighted United Way’s commitment to education, income and health.  He focused on education and the need to reduce the dropout rate.    Several times he mentioned the importance of caring adults in the lives of young people and his personal experience as a young boy growing up in poverty.   Most importantly, Brian announced United Way’s commitment to recruit one million volunteer readers, tutors and mentors.

Rich Harwood, Harwood Institute – Rich summarized the new United Way report focused on education entitled Voices for the Common Good:  America Speaks Out On Education. The full report can be found at www.unitedway.org.   He summarized the report in five bullet points:

1) When you improve schools, you improve communities.  The fate of education is directly linked to fate of the community.

2) People feel disconnected from schools and shut out of education process.  We need to reconnect communities with schools.

3) Need to focus on the whole child, including values.

4) We’ve reached a turning point in education.  We are at a critical point in time.   People are angry and sad.

5) People want to work together on this but aren’t sure what to do.

Cornell Belcher, Brilliant Corners Research — “Americans are concerned about the future.  50% of America thinks public schools are getting worse.  29% say they are concerned about their child dropping out of school. “

Patrick Corvington, CEO of Corporation for National and Community Service – “This is the right challenge at the right time.  To win the future, we must ensure that every child can graduate form high school, go on to college and are ready for employment.  Schools can’t do it alone.  Parents and community volunteers are critical.  Four places to start:  faith community, corporate sector, baby-boomers and older adults, and high school and college students.”

Secretary Arne Duncan – Applauded United Way’s commitment to recruit one million volunteers.  He highlighted the importance of helping younger students learn to read and be familiar with books.

Melody Barnes, Director of White House Domestic Policy Council – Highlighted the President’s education reform agenda.  “The thirty fastest growing jobs in the country need a four-year or two-year college degree.”

Barry Salzberg, CEO of Deloitte  — “To build volunteerism into fabric of a business, you need to lead from the top. Deloitte employees are evaluated based on client service and volunteerism.”

Alma and Michael Powell, America’s Promise – Discussed GradNation. GradNation goal: achieve 90% highschool graduation

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

The Great Budget Battle of 2011

The great budget battle of 2011 continues.  While the current Continuing Resolution (CR) for the federal government expires this Friday,  Congressional leaders appear to be content passing another short-term CR that will keep the government running for another two weeks.   Of course, this is just kicking the budget can down the road another two weeks…but at least it shows a slight hint that Republicans and Democrats can agree on something (ie, the need to avoid a government shutdown).  Meanwhile, the White House has posted a helpful chart on their website that graphically displays how the federal government spends revenue (and which programs really are ‘priorities.’)  The size of the square represents the amount of $ going to that category (ie. please note that Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and ‘interest on the debt’ take up half the budget).  The complete interactive chart can be found here.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

“Largest Spending Cuts in History”

House Republicans unveiled a new FY11 spending proposal last night that would cut $100 billion from current federal spending levels.  The Labor, Health and Human Services (LHHS) section of the CR contains a total of $146 billion in funding. This is $17.5 billion, or nearly 11%, less than last year’s level and more than $36 billion, or 22%, less than the President’s fiscal year 2011 request. These reductions include the termination of more than 70 programs in this section of the bill.   Hundreds of programs that serve young people are impacted.

The House will vote next week on passage and there will be amendments that make even deeper cuts.  This CR has virtually no chance of making it through the Senate.  Without a funding agreement, the federal government will shut down on March 4, 2011.

More info, including a complete list of program cuts, can be found here:  http://appropriations.house.gov/

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

New Report: High School Dropout and Completion Rates

The National Center for Education Statistics has published a report that provides high school dropout and completion rates in the United States between 1972 and 2008. Data also present students’ age, sex, and race/ethnicity, and the rates of on-time graduation from high school.

Findings show that approximately 3 million 16–24 year-olds were not enrolled in high school or had not earned a high school diploma or alternative credential by October 2008.


View the full report, “Trends in High School Dropout and Completion Rates in the United States: 1972–2008″ at http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2011012.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Trillion dollar question

President Obama spoke to Congress and the American people on Tuesday evening, offering his assessment of the state of the union.   While stressing the importance of education, innovation and technology, the President proposed a five-year freeze of federal spending.  Best line from the night: “And so the question is whether all of us — as citizens, and as parents — are willing to do what’s necessary to give every child a chance to succeed.”

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Tomorrow is the deadline

Please take a moment this afternoon or tomorrow and provide input to the federal Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs.  The Working Group is accepting public comments focused on the development of a strategic plan for Federal youth policy.  While I know it is hard to get excited about a report written by a federal working group, this is a great opportunity to weigh-in on the following key questions:

What is the single most important thing youth need to be successful?

What programs really make a difference in the lives of youth? How do you know?

What are the barriers to collaborating to improving youth outcomes and how can these barriers be removed?

What can Federal agencies do to assist? What are your ideas for Federal policy to improve the coordination, effectiveness, and efficiency of programs affecting youth?

How can youth be engaged in these efforts?

To submit comments, visit www.findyouthinfo.gov before midnight tomorrow and click on the link “Strategic Plan for Youth.”  Or, click here.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

National Mentoring Program

If you are a national organization (defined as having a financial relationship with affiliates in at least 45 states) that wants to expand mentoring programs, then the U.S. Dept. of Justice has a grant RFP that may interest you.  Deadline to apply is Feb. 28.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Rock the Vote

Michale Kinsley offered a fresh idea to deal with our nation’s budget problems in yesterday’s Politico. Entitlement programs — such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security — are on auto-pilot and nearly impossible to curb.  The solution?  Let kids vote.  Excerpt:

“A letter to the editor in the Economist a couple weeks later offered a truly original idea, which would work here as well as in Japan: let children vote. Or rather, extend the franchise to children, but let parents vote on their underage children’s behalf. In effect, parents would get an extra vote for every child. How would this solve the entitlement problem? It wouldn’t, directly. But it would revise the allocation of political power to more closely reflect who has the most at stake. It would reward long-term thinking rather than short-term thinking. Right now seniors are all-powerful because they vote in such large numbers, while young people must rely on the good will of their parents and grandparents to protect their interests. Every politician invokes “our children” as the most important consideration on every issue, and then, having done so, is free to ignore them.”

Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0111/46977.html#ixzz1AjgFbBOG

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Boehner’s Gavel

The 112th Congress is officially underway.  Nancy Pelosi handed the gavel to John Boehner yesterday, who will be running the House for at least the next two years. There will be some extremely tough choices to make over the next 24 months and it will be complicated by a looming presidential election in 2012.  Thomas Friedman had a good column in the New York Times on Christmas day that provides an accurate outlook for what is in store for Speaker Beohner and all elected officials across the country:

“The really hard stuff lies ahead: taking things away.  We are leaving an era where to be a mayor, governor, senator or president was, on balance, to give things away to people.  And we are entering an era where to be a leader will mean, on balance, to take things away from people.  It is the only way we’ll get our fiscal house in order before the market, brutally, does it for us.”

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Earmark Ban to Impact National Nonprofits

Next Monday, the U.S. Senate will vote on a measure that will ban all ‘congressional directed spending projects’ (aka ‘earmarks’) for the next several years.  In response, 13 national nonprofits sent the following letter to Senate leaders, urging a ‘no’ vote on the earmark ban and defending their annual Congressional funding streams:

Dear Senators:

As non-profit education organizations representing millions of students, families, teachers and principals, we respectfully ask that you VOTE NO on Coburn amendment #4697 to S. 510 that would ban all Congressionally directed spending in FY2011, FY2012 and FY2013.  We expect a vote to be held on this amendment on Monday, November 29, 2010.

The broad definition of Congressionally directed spending currently reflected in Senator Coburn’s amendment would have the effect of eliminating funding for the following well-established, effective national programs: Center for Civic Education, Close Up Foundation, Communities In Schools, National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, National History Day, National Writing Project, New Leaders for New Schools, Project GRAD, Reach Out and Read, Reading is Fundamental, Teach For America, and VSA – The International Organization on Arts and Disability. These programs are proven by scientifically-based independent research to work.  Their results are public and they have stringent accountability systems.

Our programs are quite different from other Congressionally directed spending that may only benefit a specific state, district or region and change year-to-year.  In contrast, our programs are authorized nationally-structured programs with many years of bipartisan support and that benefit thousands of students and families in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.  In short, we are not what are envisioned as typical congressionally directed spending items that have invoked the public’s demand for earmark reform.

Elimination of this funding would have a severe national impact on students, educators and families:

·      Civic Education: Each year this funding helps educate more than 2.5 million elementary and secondary students in the We the People programs, which includes a nationwide academic course of study on the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights and provides free textbooks and professional development assistance to schools in every state and congressional district in the United States.

·      Close Up Foundation: This funding provides tuition assistance for 2,000 economically disadvantaged high school and middle school students and their teachers to participate on week-long Close Up Washington civic education programs.

·      Communities In Schools: This funding will support 1.3 million of the nation’s most at-risk youth by providing vital resources needed to help these young people stay in school and achieve in life.

·      Council for Economic Education: Supports an international exchange programs with eligible countries around the globe and US teachers and students in 38 states to learn about market economies that has helped transform education in these countries and support emerging democratic nations.

·      National Board for Professional Teaching Standards: This funding helps over 20,000 teachers in all 50 states seek to improve their teaching practice and skills each year through National Board Certification, and over 91,000 National Board Certified Teachers to participate in school reform efforts.

·      National History Day: As the only program that has a mission to work with both students and teachers to improve the teaching and learning of history, funding supports a network of sites in all 50 states that impacts over 1.5 million people – students, teachers and parents.

·      National Writing Project:Supports a network of over 200 sites in all 50 states that have engaged over 100,000 teachers in all disciplines in annual summer institutes and sustains ongoing professional development to over 1.2 million teachers.

·      New Leaders for New Schools: New Leaders for New Schools promotes effective school leadership in 23 states and the District of Columbia impacting nearly a quarter million children and young people.

·      Project GRAD: Project GRAD has demonstrated its effective turnaround strategies in a K-16 model which have resulted in dramatic improvements to the lowest-performing public schools in some of the nation’s most economically disadvantaged communities ensuring that 134,000 students and their families are prepared to enter and be successful in college.

·      Reach Out and Read: Reach Out and Read, the pediatric school readiness program, works with more than 3.95 million low-income children and their families at more than 4,500 hospitals and health centers in all fifty states. These children are at the highest risk for school failure and Reach Out and Read’s evidence based program has been proven to significantly increase their preparedness for school and to change parental behavior.

·      Reading is Fundamental: Over the last year, federally funded RIF book distribution programs were held in all 50 states, the territories and the District of Columbia serving more than 4 million children with the distribution of more than 14 million books at over 15,000 sites utilizing 430,000 volunteers.

·      Teach For America: The FY2011 funding level will enable more than 9,000 outstanding teachers to serve nearly 600,000 underserved students in low income communities next year and will leverage more than $120 million in non-federal funding.

·      VSA: Supports a fifty state network of non-profit organizations that assure the participation of K-12 students with disabilities in arts education activities and individuals of all ages with disabilities in arts programming in their communities, serving over 5 million annually.

Given this background, we thank you for your past support and consideration, and ask that you VOTE NO on the Coburn amendment.


s/Charles N. Quigley, Executive Director, Center for Civic Education

s/Timothy Davis, CEO, Close Up Foundation

s/Daniel Cardinali, President, Communities In Schools

s/Nan J. Morrison, President & CEO, Council for Economic Education

s/Joe Aguerrebere, President & CEO, National Board for Professional Teaching Standards

s/Cathy Gorn, Executive Director, National History Day

s/Sharon Washington, Executive Director, National Writing Project

s/LaVerne Srinivasan, President, New Leaders For New Schools

s/Robert Rivera, CEO, Project GRAD

s/Earl Martin Phalen, CEO, Reach Out and Read

s/Carol Rasco, President & CEO, Reading Is Fundamental

s/Wendy Kopp, CEO, Teach For America

s/Soula Antoniou, President, VSA – The International Organization on Arts and Disability

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Vote for Me

Posted in Uncategorized | 9 Comments

Step Up To the Plate

From our friends at OJJDP……

Mentoring is an effective way to prevent at-risk youth from becoming involved in delinquency and also to help already delinquent youth change their lives for the better. Mentoring relationships have been shown to improve youth’s self-esteem, behavior, and academic performance. For these reasons, OJJDP has long supported mentoring programs, awarding nearly $500 million since 1994 to support juvenile and youth mentoring programs.

The resources below provide information about mentoring and links to mentoring organizations.

4-H focus is the personal growth of the youth membership. Life skills development was built into 4-H projects, activities and events to help youth become contributing, productive, self-directed members of society.

Afterschool.gov is a one-stop website connecting the public, and particularly afterschool providers, to federal resources that support children and youth during out-of-school time. Afterschool.gov includes resources from a variety of federal agencies, including a searchable database of federal funding sources. While afterschool resources are spread across the Federal government, Afterschool.gov also provides a single location for the public to access this information.

Be a Mentor or Mentee
This GirlsHealth.gov Web site provides information about the benefits of finding or becoming a mentor.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of America
With a network of more than 500 local agencies throughout the nation, maintaining more than 145,000 one-to-one relationships between youth and volunteer adults, operates as the largest and best-known mentoring program in the country.

Boys and Girls Club of America
Programs and services promote and enhance the development of boys and girls by instilling a sense of competence, usefulness, belonging and influence.

Expand Your Universe: Mentor a Child
This Web site highlights the importance of becoming involved in mentoring activities.

Federal Mentoring Council
This Web site provides in-depth information on the Council, its mentoring initiatives and its partner, resources, research findings, and contact information on youth mentoring programs.

The Harvard Mentoring Project
In 1997, the Center for Health Communication of the Harvard School of Public Health launched a national media campaign to promote the growth of the mentoring movement with the goal of linking large numbers of young people with adult mentors. The Center’s latest initiative, National Mentoring Month, was launched in January 2002. This annual month-long campaign includes a combination of national media and local media involvement and extensive community outreach.

Widely acknowledged as the nation’s premier advocate and resource for the expansion of mentoring initiatives nationwide, MENTOR works with a strong network of state and local Mentoring Partnerships to leverage resources and provide the support and tools that mentoring organizations need to effectively serve young people in their communities.

Through a cooperative agreement with the Department of Justice, this faith-based mentoring Web site seeking to recruit and refer Christian adults, and the community as a whole, to mentoring programs in their local communities.

The National Mentoring Center
The Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory’s National Mentoring Center provides training and technical assistance to mentoring programs through various services and conferences. Created and funded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), the National Mentoring Center promotes connections between children and caring adults in the community. The Center also works with OJJDP’s Juvenile Mentoring Program sites to develop training and resources for local, one-to-one mentoring programs for at risk-youth.

The National Police Athletics/Activities Leagues Inc.
National PAL exists to prevent juvenile crime and violence by providing civic, athletic, recreational and educational enrichment, mentoring and tutoring to the 400 PAL chapters around the country.

Your Time, Their Future
Developed by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, this program highlights the importance of structured positive activities in helping youth resist alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drugs. The program urges adults to become involved in volunteering, mentoring, and other efforts that help young people ages 7-14 participate in positive activities that build skills, self-discipline, and competence.

Youth for Justice
Funded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Youth for Justice is a consortium of national law-related education organizations providing youth with opportunities for meaningful participation in their communities.

Additional Resources

For additional information on Mentoring including publications, funding, and other related resources access theMentoring Special Feature from the National Criminal Justice References Service. To learn more about being a mentor access “Building Relationships: A Guide for New Mentors.”

Posted in Uncategorized | 8 Comments

It Gets Better

The President issued a powerful statement and video in response to the recent rash of teen suicides.  Video is here.  Statement is posted below.  More info is at www.itgetsbetterproject.com.

Like all of you, I was shocked and saddened by the deaths of several young people who were bullied and taunted for being gay, and who ultimately took their own lives.  As a parent of two daughters, it breaks my heart.  It’s something that just shouldn’t happen in this country.

We’ve got to dispel the myth that bullying is just a normal rite of passage – that it’s some inevitable part of growing up.  It’s not.  We have an obligation to ensure that our schools are safe forall of our kids.  And to every young person out there you need to know that if you’re in trouble, there are caring adults who can help.

I don’t know what it’s like to be picked on for being gay.  But I do know what it’s like to grow up feeling that sometimes you don’t belong.  It’s tough.  And for a lot of kids, the sense of being alone or apart – I know can just wear on you.  And when you’re teased or bullied, it can seem like somehow you brought it on yourself – for being different, or for not fitting in with everybody else.

But what I want to say is this.  You are not alone.  You didn’t do anything wrong.  You didn’t do anything to deserve being bullied.  And there is a whole world waiting for you, filled with possibilities. There are people out there who love you and care about you just the way you are. And so, if you ever feel like because of bullying, because of what people are saying, that you’re getting down on yourself, you’ve got to make sure to reach out to people you trust. Whether it’s your parents, teachers, folks that you know care about you just the way you are. You’ve got to reach out to them,  don’t feel like you’re in this by yourself.

The other thing you need to know is, things will get better.  And more than that, with time you’re going to see that your differences are a source of pride and a source of strength. You’ll look back on the struggles you’ve faced with compassion and wisdom. And that’s not just going to serve you, but it will help you get involved and make this country a better place.

It will mean that you’ll be more likely to help fight discrimination – not just against LGBT Americans, but discrimination in all its forms. It means you’ll be more likely to understand personally and deeply why it’s so important that as adults we set an example in our own lives and that we treat everybody with respect. That we are able to see the world through other people’s eyes and stand in their shoes – that we never lose sight of what binds us together.

As a nation we’re founded on the belief that all of us are equal and each of us deserves the freedom to pursue our own version of happiness; to make the most of our talents; to speak our minds; to not fit in; most of all, to be true to ourselves.  That’s the freedom that enriches all of us.  That’s what America is all about.  And every day, it gets better.

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Spirit of Community

Just received the following email from the ‘parent liaison’ at my son’s middle school.  Seems like a good opportunity to highlight volunteerism and the importance of service.

Parent —

As we continue to celebrate October as the Month of the Adolescent, I want to draw your attention to an outstanding program designed to recognize young volunteers.  Both the National Association of Secondary School Principals and the National Middle School Association encourage students to apply for the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards.  If your child has given generously of his/her time and talents as a young volunteer to make a difference in the community, encourage them to apply for this recognition. Upon submitting your application, please send an additional copy to the school for consideration of school recognition awards.

From their website:

The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program is the United States’ largest youth recognition program based exclusively on volunteer community service. The program was created in 1995 by Prudential in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) to honor middle level and high school students for outstanding service to others at the local, state, and national level.

The program’s goals are to applaud young people who already are making a positive difference in their towns and neighborhoods, and to inspire others to think about how they might contribute to their communities. Over the past 15 years, more than 280,000 young Americans have participated in the program, and more than 90,000 of them have been officially recognized for their volunteer work.

For application and guidelines please click here.

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

The Winners Are….

OSDFS announced the winners of the Safe and Supportive Schools (S3) program on Friday. While the initial RFP for the S3 program indicated that $27.5 million was available to support 5 to 7 grantees, OSDFS was able to scrounge-up an additional $11.3 million for a total of $38.8 million to support 11 grantees.  Winners include Arizona, California, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, South Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia and Wisconsin.  For the more visually inclined, I’ve attached a map showing the winning states.

From ED:  ”S3 funds may be used by state education agencies to develop measurement systems that will enable them to assess conditions for learning within individual schools, including school safety, and to make this information publicly available.  Using this data, states will work in collaboration with participating local educational agencies to improve the learning environment within schools facing the biggest challenges.”

List of winners and grant amounts: http://www2.ed.gov/programs/safesupportiveschools/2010awards.html

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Edge-of-your-seat thriller!

If I could pick one movie to see this month, it would be this:

Our high-pressure, high-stakes culture has invaded our schools and children’s lives, creating unhealthy, disengaged, unprepared and stressed-out youth.  Educators, parents, and students are embracing Race to Nowhere, a new documentary film that exposes the insidious silent epidemic in our education system.  The film tells the stories of young people pushed to the brink, burned-out educators, and deeply frustrated parents.

Vicki Abeles, the film’s producer and director, was inspired to make Race to Nowhere out of concern for her children. A mother of three and former Wall Street attorney, Abeles awakened to this crisis in a hospital emergency room as her 12-year old daughter was being treated for stress-related illness.  She saw firsthand how the pressures were overwhelming not only to her own kids, but to students everywhere – in every kind of school environment and community.

Race to Nowhere will open for one week in theaters on Friday, September 10 at the IFC Center in New York and the Laemmle’s Sunset 5 Theater in Los Angeles.  In a grassroots sensation already feeding a groundswell for change, hundreds of theaters, schools and organizations nationwide will host community screenings on September 30, October 4, October 26 and November 4, in conjunction with National Child Health Day.  Tens of thousands of people will come together, using the film as the centerpiece for a growing national dialogue on how we can end this “race to nowhere.”

“As a mother, I experienced the stress firsthand and realized that no one was talking about it,” says Vicki Abeles. “I saw kids who were anxious, depressed, physically ill, checking out, abusing drugs and, worst case, attempting suicide. I felt compelled to speak out about this crisis by making a film and giving voice to the students, teachers, and parents.  I wanted to expose a deeper truth about our education system.  We are graduating a generation of robo-students, unable to think and work independently, creatively and collaboratively.”

School reform has become an urgent national issue and 2010 is the year of the education film. Unlike the other documentaries focused on education, Race to Nowhere is the only film that shows what is actually happening to our kids as a result of current policies and practices obsessed with testing, performance and competition rather than meaningful teaching and learning. Race to Nowhere finally gives voice to those on the front lines who are most affected by education policies – the students and teachers themselves. Race to Nowhere also is the only film to spotlight the intersection of health and education.  The film empowers everyone to get involved and take ownership of what’s happening in our schools and communities.

“Every once in a while, a film comes along that has the potential to change the culture,” said New York Times bestselling author Rachel Simmons (Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls).  “Race to Nowhere shines a light on the crisis of learning and meaning facing American education. The film is both a call to arms and a beacon of hope, a source of relief and outrage and a way forward for all of us.”

Race to Nowhere is a call to action to challenge current assumptions on how to best prepare the youth of America to become healthy, bright, contributing and leading citizens. After seeing the film, your views on education and childhood will forever be changed.

For more information, visit: www.racetonowhere.com

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Phone call with White House

As part of the President’s ongoing commitment to youth engagement, the White House Office of Public Engagement would like to invite you to a call with Senior Advisor to the President Valerie Jarrett to discuss the Administration’s policy and legislative agenda.  Please join us for this conference call TODAY, September 17th at 2:05pm followed by a question and answer session.

We hope you are able to join.

WHAT: White House Conference Call

WHEN:  Sept. 17th at 2:05PM EDT

Call Number: (800) 288-8975

Title: Fall Legislative Update

If you are interested in participating in the phone call please RSVP to youth@who.eop.gov

Please note that this call is off the record and is not for press purposes.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Youth Development Initiative at Texas A&M

An email was forwarded to me last night that focused on the new Youth Development Initiative at Texas A&M. Here is the body of the message:

It is with great pleasure that we share information about the Youth Development Initiative (YDI) at Texas A&M University. YDI began in the spring of 2009 with a mission of meeting the needs of youth development professionals, faculty and students for science based information to improve youth program staff competencies, program design and evaluation. Our efforts focus on the following three areas:
> Training, Education and Technical Assistance;
> Information Dissemination; and
> Research and Evaluation.
> The YDI website (www.ydi.tamu.edu) provides ready access to available youth development best practice and research information. YDI also develops materials that translate existing information into user-friendly and quick reference formats. We intend to have new information added to the website on a regular basis.
> We have just released the first volume in our Research Summary series which includes practitioner geared overviews of the most recent youth development research drawn from some of the top journals in our field. You can check out the research summary and other YDI produced resources by going to:
> http://www.ydi.tamu.edu/Briefs%20and%20Reports
> If you would like to be part of the YDI listserv, please send a note to ydi@ag.tamu.edu and we would be happy to add you to the list. We try to keep our posts to no more than once per week…the posts are usually about updates to the YDI website.
> AgriLife Extension at TAMU has supported our initial efforts, along with funding from the Bradberry Recreation and Youth Development Chair.
> Comments and inquiries should be addressed to ydi@ag.tamu.edu. We hope you will find the website to be a valuable resource. If you are interested in contributing a research brief, let us know as well.
> Mat Duerden, YDI Coordinator
> Peter Witt, Co-Chair YDI Executive Committee

Posted in Uncategorized | 11 Comments

Accountability Lesson from Michelle Obama

Great article in EdWeek comparing superficial test scores to Michelle Obama’s efforts to combat obesity.  Full article is here.  Great quote:

“We must make educational accountability a public-health and safety issue. America was successful in nearly eradicating polio not because students found immunizations (or even the later foul-tasting sugar cubes) appealing. We stopped the dread disease because it was our collective duty to do so. If my neighbor’s children were not immunized, my own children were at risk, and vice versa. In the smaller world of the 21st century, the illiteracy of my neighbor’s children, whether my neighbor is in Mississippi, California, or New York, also puts my children at risk.”

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Positive Emerging Adulthood Development?

There is an apparent level of research, interest, and funding available around adolescence; and of particular interest to this blog, we examine here that which relates to the positive development of youth.  That is to say:  that group of individuals aged 12 to 24.  For many, this is the age where the skin of childhood is slowly shed for a more refined robe of adulthood.  But is that really the case?  Or, in 20 years, will we see adolescence as the precursor only to the stage many are now calling, “emerging adulthood.”  The phenomenon, yet to hit the mainstream, suggests that the 20-something crowd is putting off much of the growth previous teenagers were painfully taking their parents through in the latter years of high school.  Put bluntly, four years of college is now leading to debt, confusion, and the lack of self-sustainability.  For now, articles such as the one in the New York Times today, will continue to push us to examine this, dare I say, emerging age group as one to be addressed.  Right now it’s a term of art in papers and articles… discussions perhaps even for a coffee date… but in 20 years will someone out there be blogging about this tumultuous time of life as we now pour over the complexities of the adolescent years?

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

School Bullying Summit

This week in Washington, DC, the U.S. Department of Education hosted a summit on school bullying.  Government officials met with experts from across the field and throughout the private and non-government sectors to begin the conversation around establishing a national strategy to end this pressing issue facing countless youth across the country.  For coverage on the summit, visit CBS news or CNN.  For a transcript of Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s address at the summit, visit the Department of Education’s website.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation Names National Youth Leadership Committee

As part of events and announcements honoring the 100th anniversary of the late former President Ronald Reagan, the foundation named in his honor announced last week that it has formed a National Youth Leadership Committee.  The committee, comprised of young celebrities, brings together individuals who epitomize success and leadership in their fields.  The Foundation hopes the group will carry the torch of watching freedom live on.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

New Center to Focus on PYD Research and Training

The University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education recently announced its launch of a new center, “Youth Nex.”  The center, which will be headed up by Dr. Patrick Tolan, will strive to be at the healm of research and training in areas related to youth development and the prevention of risky behaviors among adolescents.  Funded in part by Philip Morris USA, the center will put a strong emphasis on effective evaluation of existing programs while working towards developing new and innovative approaches to working in the area of youth development.  For more on the center’s beginning, visit the press release put out by UVA.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Happier AND Healthier

The American Academy of Family Physicians recently published a report that positive emotions and happy moods were more closely associated with future physical health than anxiety and depression.  For a summary, visit msn.  For access to the online journal, visit here.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Legislating Kindness

Yesterday, the New York Times published an op-ed piece on recently passed legislation that mandates curriculum in Massachusetts classrooms to address bullying.  While we can all easily agree that bullying needs to be addressed with youth, the piece brings up an important question:  is it enough, or even worth it, to teach children not to bully one another?  Or do we need to go back to something far more basic:  practicing kindness at every level.  There is no way for our lawmakers to write mandates forcing us all to just get along, and so perhaps a missing piece will remain how we create a culture of putting others first and doing as we want done to us.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Texting, Sexting, and Everything Else

What is the data telling us about teens and mobile technology?  A lot.  Since 2006, The Pew Trust has been collecting data on American teens and their mobile phone use.  No surprise here:  from late night texts, to photo exchanges, to being in the know or out of the loop, teens rely on these devices to keep pace with their peers.  Some highlights of what data has shown so far:  more than half of youth text daily, and one third of all teens text more than 100 times per day;  andtexting has surpassed face-to-face communication, phone calls, and emails as the primary form of communication about adolescents.  In addition to data sharing, The Pew Trust has provided several articles on important topics, including information about the appropriate age to begin using cell phones and other technologies.  Visit here for more.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Federal Funding for School Climate

The Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools at the U.S. Department of ED has just released the funding announcement for the $27.5 million school climate grants.    Only states are eligible to apply for the 5 to 7 awards.  Complete announcement is found here.  Deadline to apply is August 9 — giving applicants 30 days to put together a strong proposal.   For the fun of it, I cut and pasted the ‘application requirements’  into wordle.net and produced the following word cloud:

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off


The ‘Quote of the Week’ comes from Timothy Shriver as he testified before the HELP Committee in the  U.S. Senate earlier this week:

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off