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Karen Pittman

All blog posts by Karen Pittman. 

Important Characteristics of an Intermediary Organization

Karen Pittman
Friday, June 27, 2014

Sam Piha, a veteran of the afterschool field and founder of Temescal Associates, recently developed a paper on intermediaries for Putnam Consulting Group and The Cleveland Foundation. Sam interviewed me by email about the important role that intermediaries play in collective impact efforts. It’s a conversation worth sharing. Stay tuned as we roll out the rest of the conversation in the coming days.

Connecting the Conversation on Dropouts

Karen Pittman
Wednesday, June 25, 2014

I recently had the opportunity to spend an hour with a group of 9th grade boys from a Washington, D.C., charter school who were finishing up a research project on why students leave school and what can be done to address the issue. Though they had come to tap my brain on whether there were any research studies to back up their observations and any promising strategies for addressing the issues they flagged, I decided to flip the tables.

Needed: More Better Learning Time

Karen Pittman
Thursday, April 10, 2014

What image comes to mind if I ask you to imagine students learning? Young people in small groups focusing on projects they designed? Or slouching at their desks in class, looking bored?

Sadly, the second image is more common. Each year, almost half a million 5th through 12th graders complete the Gallup Student Poll. In recent years, more than four in 10 reported that they were either "not engaged" or "actively disengaged" with school. The percent who are engaged decreases steadily from 5th to 10th grades. The longer kids stay in school, the more they tune out .

The Right Kind of Opportunity for Youth

Karen Pittman
Friday, January 31, 2014

What happens when you give youth an opportunity? It all depends on the kind of opportunity. 

There are programs all over the country focused on helping disconnected youth get real-life training on the job, in addition to critical soft skills. These programs are providing the key. Some are run nationally with local chapters, while others are born and grounded locally by community members who are masters at identifying the kinds of opportunities these youth need in order to unlock their passion, drive and success. 

'Unschooling' and Readiness for Success: A Disconnect

Karen Pittman
Monday, January 13, 2014

We know that America’s education system needs to be revamped, but is the answer to “unschool” our young people? Disturbingly, some people think so.

We know that kids learn best when they are motivated and interested. We see that providing more choice for students in how, where, when and at what pace they learn helps them succeed. We applaud parents, educators and policymakers who are building on this knowledge to redesign education in various ways across the country. 

Giving Voice to Young Men of Color

Karen Pittman
Thursday, July 28, 2011

As an African-American woman, I take a deep breath every time a mainstream organization issues a report focused on a specific population group. Why? Because the reports run the risk of inadvertently blaming the victim.

That's why I'm so excited about a new report from the College Board.

Actually, it's more than a report: It's a whole new set of resources that bring urgency and realism to the educational roadblocks faced by young men of color.