Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Ed Reform Fails to Cure Youth Disconnect

The Social Science Research Council recently published a project called Measure of America which, among other things, defines and analyzes youth disconnect.  

Youth disconnect: "Youth between the ages of 16-24 who are neither working nor in school.  Disconnected youth are adrift at societies margins, unmoored from systems and structures that confer knowledge, skills, identity and purpose."

National average of youth disconnect: 14.7%

Ed reformers promise excellence, college readiness, bright futures, disciplined lives, meaningful lives, intellectual growth and the ability to make students' dreams come true.

Let's compare U.S. cities with the most charters to rates of youth disconnect (YD) in those cities:

CITY                       % of Charters            Black YD        Latino YD        White YD
NOLA                      92                              27.5                 n/a                     10.5
Detroit                     51                              25.3                 19.2                   13.5
D.C.                         43                              19                    11.7                   7
Indianapolis           28                              22.3                 n/a                     14
Philadelphia           28                              19.7                 19                      8
Phoenix                  27                              28.2                 23.5                   13.3     

We can conclude that ed reform doesn't seem to be working.  Perhaps this is because ed reform emphasizes an elitist college-for-all agenda which demonizes teachers and unions in the process.

Instead, ed reformers should consider following Measure for America's suggestions, which include providing wrap-around services for disconnected youth, such as medical care and therapeutic counseling.  Another Measure for America suggestion is to bring back vocational training in schools. 

But can you imagine Campbell Brown advocating for shop classes?  The horror!        

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