In Focus

Apr 8, 2015  |  PERMALINK »

Celebrating Native American Youth: Leadership and Resiliency

By Andrew Mulinge

Recently, the Aspen Institute’s Center for Native American Youth held its fourth annual Champions for Change celebration. The event recognized the extraordinary work of resilient young men and women in Native American, Alaskan native, and Native Hawaiian communities across the country.

The young leaders’ inspiring work is a constructive response to the hardships and tragedies they have experienced. They discussed channeling their challenges and pain into innovative programs that address suicide, sexual abuse, cultural preservation, and mentorship for their peers. These programs are critically important; too often, communities perpetuate trauma instead of supporting those who experience it.

Chronic trauma and adversity are key public health issues with major implications for the wellbeing of youth—especially those in American Indian and Alaskan Native communities. Barriers to positive youth development  include violence, abuse, and neglect, as well as chronic stressors like unemployment, racism, lack of adequate health care, and social isolation. Chronic trauma and adversity in childhood can interrupt normal brain development; this has long-term consequences for learning, behavior, and physical and mental health.

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Apr 2, 2015  |  PERMALINK »

Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Draft Regulations Released

By Center for Postsecondary and Economic Success

Today, draft regulations to implement the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) were posted to the Federal Register website. WIOA is the first update to the nation’s core workforce training programs since the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) 16 years ago. The draft regulations mark an important milestone in WIOA implementation. They come in five parts, known as Notices of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRMs), that each address different aspects of the law:

The regulations will be published to the Federal Register on April 16, 2015. At that point, the public can submit comments at www.regulations.gov for 60 days. The Departments plan to analyze these public comments and anticipate issuing Final Rules implementing WIOA in early 2016. We encourage stakeholders at the state and local levels committed to advancing opportunities for low-income youth and adults with barriers to economic success to submit comments.

CLASP looks forward to carefully reviewing the draft regulations and providing analysis to the field and comments to the Departments on ways to best serve low-income and lower-skilled youth and adults through WIOA.

Don’t miss CLASP’s WIOA Game Plan for Low-Income People, which includes strategies to implement the law and help low-income families and individuals climb the economic ladder.

Feb 20, 2015  |  PERMALINK »

African American Schools Need Access to Qualified Teachers, School Counselors, Rigorous Coursework

By Andrew Mulinge

Today more than ever, we know the value of a college education.  By the year 2020, it is estimated that two-thirds of American jobs will require college experience. Thirty percent will require at least a bachelor’s degree and 36 percent will require at least some college or an associate degree.

Unfortunately, not every student can access a quality high school experience that prepares them for postsecondary success.  This is especially true for African Americans, who attend the least resourced schools and suffer the worst academic outcomes. CLASP’s new report, College Preparation for African American Students: Gaps in the High School Educational Experience, explores how these students suffer without access to quality teachers, college readiness courses, and school counselors, as well as what must be done to improve the system.

Experienced, well-educated teachers are critical to student development. According to research, teachers’ combination of educational attainment, credential status, and years of experience significantly affect the remediation rates of students enrolling in college. Unfortunately, highly qualified teachers are in short supply in predominantly African American schools.  According to the report:

  • African American students are four times more likely than White students to attend a school where one in five teachers are not certified.
  • African American students are four times more likely than White students to attend a school where over 20 percent of teachers are in their first year.
  • African American students need teachers equipped with a cultural pedagogy that positively engages them.

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