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Karen Pittman

 
All blog posts by Karen Pittman. 

Want More Kids to Be Ready? Help them Name and Appreciate the Skills They Already Have.

Karen Pittman
Thursday, August 10, 2017

Lots of people are talking about the importance of ensuring that students have social and emotional skills needed to be college and career ready.  Too often, however, the focus is on what it takes to teach young people these skills. These skills, however, are often learned in the context of doing other things – playing, studying, socializing, working, even getting out of bad situations.  We often don’t know what we’ve learned until the skill is named or know that it is important.  This is especially true of students who are black, brown or poor.

SEL, Whole Child Education and Student Readiness: How do They Connect?

Karen Pittman
Monday, July 24, 2017

Imagine this scenario.  A smiling five-year-old is brought into a bare room with a table.  On the table is a plate with a single marshmallow.  The researcher who brought them in says she will back in 15 minutes, and gives them a choice: they can eat the one marshmallow while she’s gone or wait until she returns and have two.  This simple test turned out to be an effective measure of willpower or self-control and a strong predictor of future success.  Children who displayed early ability to defer gratification, on average, had higher SAT scores, lower body mass index and a host of other desi

Changing the Odds for Youth: Creating Opportunities that Really Matter

Karen Pittman
Monday, May 1, 2017

I don’t want to go to any more celebrations in which young people are given “beat the odds” awards to acknowledge the individual commitment they have made to overcome obstacles.  This is not because these young people don’t deserve our attention and awe.  They absolutely do.  It’s because we should not in any way settle for individual successes when there is so much more we could have done to ameliorate mass struggles.

Changing the Odds for Youth, by Design.

Karen Pittman
Thursday, April 21, 2016

You know you’ve struck a chord when the diagram hurriedly sketched to summarize the new research on readiness is still up on the client’s conference room wall when you return a month later.  You think you’re in heaven when the staff, without prompting, are not only using the language and ideas but have voluntarily downloaded and reviewed the research summaries and tools and are ready to talk about infusion strategies.

The $1.2 Billion Program that Changed America’s Approach to Afterschool

Karen Pittman & Charles Smith
Monday, March 30, 2015

We’re all for evidence-based policy making. But there are moments when the use of the “evidence” card just rings false. Brookings Senior Education Fellow Mark Dynarski’s reprised conclusion that existing research on afterschool programs does not support the current federal investment has that telltale clank.

Readiness as a Right

Karen Pittman
Tuesday, March 10, 2015

We’re four weeks out from the Ready by 21 National Meeting and I’m stoked. We couldn’t ask for a better location or better host partners. The plenary and workshop line-up is fantastic, as is the mix of familiar and new names on the registration list.

My excitement, however, also comes from within.

To Overcome Poor Schools, Students Need to be Engaged

Karen Pittman
Monday, December 8, 2014

Imagine that you're the parent of 13-year-old twins. One thrives in school: His test scores place him in the top quartile of his peers. The other struggles: He's not motivated to learn what schools want to teach, and his test scores put him in the bottom quartile.

It's time to select high schools. You decide that the boys would benefit by going to separate schools, and you live in a place (such as Washington, D.C.) where they can choose schools through a lottery. You feel lucky when that lottery gives you slots in two schools - until you discover a disturbing truth.

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