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A Thought Leader Roundtable on Readiness and Schools: Filling the Traps and Closing the Gaps

How can schools better help young people navigate the traps and gaps that impede their readiness to meet life's challenges? Three leading thinkers in the youth field recently got together to tackle that very question.
Information Update
June 10, 2015
 

How can schools better help young people navigate the traps and gaps that impede their readiness to meet life's challenges? Three leading thinkers in the youth field recently got together to tackle that very question.

The “Thought Leader Roundtable on Readiness and Schools” featured Karen Pittman, CEO of the Forum for Youth Investment; Forum Senior Fellow Stephanie Krauss; and Bryan Joffe, director of education and youth development at AASA: The School Superintendents Association.

The topic was chosen because leaders across sectors – from education and afterschool to government and business – are talking about the need to increase the skills that young people need to succeed in school, work and life. “Whether you call them nonacademic competencies, soft skills, readiness abilities, there's public attention on competency,” Karen Pittman said. Among the points they discussed:

  • Access as a proxy for quality – A dangerous trap is assuming that giving youth access to services and supports is enough. Access is essential, especially for undeserved populations, but we also need to ensure the high quality of those services and supports.
  • Age as a proxy for success – Moving kids through systems just because they are getting older (such as social promotion through school) is dangerous, because many youth need more time to master certain skills and abilities. 
  • Credentials vs. skills – Just because a young person earns a credential (such as a diploma or certificate of completion), that doesn’t mean he or she has what it takes to succeed at the next level, be it school, employment or life in general.  As Krauss mentioned, “The focus, culturally, has been on getting a diploma, not getting prepared.”
  • The role of out-of-school time providers – They are increasingly working with schools to address traps and gaps, using their know-how and experience in youth development to complement the work of teachers. As one listener tweeted, “Quality OST programming can help build confidence and competence.”

Listen to the recording (one hour) at http://cc.readytalk.com/play?id=1f13j8.

Find out more about The Readiness Project.

Additional resources:

1-      Karen Pittman’s recent Huffington Post blog on the importance of youth engagement: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/karen-pittman/to-overcome-poor-schools_b_6288102.html

2-      Stephanie Krauss’ recent blog on the roads to readiness: http://sparkaction.org/content/right-be-ready-part-3-roads-readiness

3-      AASA’s School Discipline resources page: http://www.aasa.org/schooldiscipline.aspx

4-      The Council of State Governments’ Justice Center – Breaking School Rules Report: http://csgjusticecenter.org/youth/breaking-schools-rules-report/

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