Category: 'Y' Written by Debbie Vargus
Assistant Pittsburgh Police Chief
While education experts continue to debate the long-term impact of early childhood education in schools, more than 5000 law enforcement leaders from around the country recently endorsed a report claiming early childhood education is key to reducing crime.
The report released by the organization Fight Crime: Invest in Kids Pennsylvania on March 5, determined that high-quality early childhood education can help African-American children do better in school, avoid future criminal activity and even save taxpayers money.
“The kids we arrest who are involved in stealing or drugs are getting younger and younger. You can’t start when they’re 13 or 14,” said Pittsburgh Bureau of Police Assistant Chief Maurita Bryant, president of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives and a member of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids. “What I like about this whole concept of Pre-K is it gives children a chance to be socialized into the school setting. A lot of times kids aren’t really ready to go into school because they don’t have a home environment that was really structured.”
The report studied a group of at-risk, low-income children, ages three and four, enrolled in the Perry Preschool Program in Ypsilanti, Mich., and a group not enrolled in early childhood education. By age 27, the children who did not attend the program were five times more likely to be engaged in criminal activity with five or more arrests.
By age 40, those in this group were two times more likely to become chronic offenders with more than 10 arrests and 50 percent more likely to be arrested for violent crimes. They were four times more likely to be arrested for drug felonies by age 40, and seven times more likely to be arrested for possession of dangerous drugs.
“Early on if they don’t like school and they don’t fit into it, they’re never going to like school. Preparing children gives them an opportunity to learn the rules, to give them a reason to behave,” said Bryant. “That’s, a lot of times, what’s lacking, especially if they come from a dysfunctional home situation, especially if you have young teenage mothers. They don’t have what it takes to give them that discipline and structure.”
The report also looked at 989 children enrolled in Chicago Child-Parent Centers, compared to a group of 550 similar children who were not in the program. Children in the later group were 70 percent more likely to be arrested for a violent crime by age 18. By 26, they were 27 percent more likely to have been arrested for a felony and 39 percent more likely to have spent time in jail or prison.
The same Chicago study found that high-quality programs can provide a return on investment for taxpayers, nearly $11 in benefits for every $1 dollar invested. Of the $11 in benefits, $5 results from lower costs for crime and corrections
“For NOBLE our focus is on our children because if you invest in them at an early age, you don’t have to deal with them later on,” Bryant said. “Policy makers, the people who designate where dollars go, need to realize the importance of investing at an early age in the success of children. If you really want to change things, you have to make an investment.”
Locally, the report found that in Pennsylvania, the percentage of kids in the Pre-K Counts Public-Private Partnership program with developmental delays dropped by more than 60 percent from the time of entry to program completion. The number of 3-year-old children with conduct or self-control problems fell by more than 80 percent.
“In order to change negative behavior, you have to reach them earlier,” Bryant said. “With the whole neighborhood thing (in Pittsburgh), we’re kind of separated to where you can’t venture into this neighborhood because of this or that, but in a school setting kids learn to get along. They learn to play together and get along so if you can instill something early on, it makes a difference.”
The findings of the studies illustrated in the report mirror research that shows 60 percent of children with high levels of disruptive, aggressive behaviors in early childhood will manifest high levels of antisocial and delinquent behavior later in life.
“If you’ve never learned the basic rules and how to socialize with other people, you just are going through the motions,” Bryant said. “The chances of you not doing well in school or dropping out or being involved in a life of crime, that’s what you fall into. When you don’t fit in, you look for other people who don’t fit in.”
Last Updated on Tuesday, 12 March 2013 07:31
Category: 'Y' Written by Associated Press
WORK TO DO--First lady Michelle Obama exercises with children from Chicago Public Schools, in her hometown of Chicago, Feb. 28. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)
by Darlene Superville
Associated Press Writer
CHICAGO (AP) — Michelle Obama says people worried about youth gun violence have to do more than simply tell children they care about the problem and then wind up "going to these funerals and mourning with these kids when there's still work to do."
Last Updated on Thursday, 28 February 2013 19:41
Category: 'Y' Written by Associated Press
FEELING UNCOMFORTABLE--Modjeska Pleasant, 19, talks about the racial incidents that occurred recently at Oberlin College Tuesday, March 5, 2013 in Oberlin, Ohio. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
by Thomas Sheeran
Associated Press Writer
OBERLIN, Ohio (AP) — Scrawls of racially offensive graffiti and, more recently, a report of someone wearing what looked like a Ku Klux Klan-type hooded robe on campus have shaken students at historically liberal Oberlin College, one of the nation's first universities to admit Blacks.
A day after the school canceled classes and students marched on campus, many remained worried about their safety.
"I just really feel uncomfortable walking alone anywhere," Modjeska Pleasant, 19, a first-year student from Savannah, Ga., said Tuesday.
She said she became upset after hearing a few White students suggest that the racist graffiti first found a month ago and anti-Semitic and racist messages on campus since then were just a prank to get out of classes.
The college canceled Monday's classes after the early morning sighting of the hooded robe.
President Marvin Krislov and three college deans told the campus community in an open letter that they hope the ordeal will lead to a stronger Oberlin. Students and professors gathered Monday afternoon to talk about mutual respect.
Hate-filled graffiti and racially charged displays are hardly unusual on college campuses. But what makes this string of incidents so shocking is that it happened at a place tied so closely with educating and empowering Blacks in America.
Oberlin began admitting Blacks nearly 180 years ago. Among its graduates are one of the first Blacks elected to public office and the first Black lawyer allowed to practice in New York state.
The city itself was a stop on the Underground Railroad that aided escaped slaves.
The college, with nearly 3,000 students, remains a liberal oasis in the middle of northern Ohio, surrounded by conservative farming towns and rust belt cities. Cleveland is about 30 miles away.
Isaac Fuhrman, a psychology from Lexington, Mass., said the incidents were upsetting, especially for black students.
"I guess for them, Oberlin doesn't seem like such a safe haven perhaps," said Fuhrman, who is white.
There are no fraternity or sorority houses at Oberlin, and athletics isn't a big part of campus life. Instead, students come to study music, art and creative writing.
Notable recent alumni include Jerry Greenfield of Ben & Jerry's ice cream and Lena Dunham, creator of the HBO series "Girls" — a show featuring several characters who met at Oberlin.
Dunham wrote on her Twitter account Monday that she was saddened by the hate-filled incidents.
"Hey Obies, remember the beautiful, inclusive and downright revolutionary history of the place you call home. Protect each other," she wrote.
Associated Press writer John Seewer in Toledo contributed to this report.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 05 March 2013 17:52
Category: 'Y' Written by Nikki Coffee Denton
DANCE—Hill District Dance Academy Theatre Ju. B. Lation performed a spirit filled feet dance under the artistic direction of Ayisha Morgan Lee. (Photos by J.L. Martello).
In a celebration of our talented youth, Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force Fighting AIDS Inspires the Heart (FAITH) Initiative held the fourth annual Youth Gospel Explosion, Feb. 3, at Destiny of Faith Church.
The FAITH Initiative was formed in 2010 to further the Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force’s mission by building and sustaining relationships with area religious communities to address stigma, awareness, education and prevention of HIV/AIDS.
“Our youth represent not only faith in the future and all that is beyond each of us individually, but also hope that this future will be brighter and endowed with health and happiness,” said Charles Christen, DrPH, MEd, executive director, the FAITH Initiative.
Reverend Brenda Gregg, pastor, Destiny of Faith Church, welcomed those in the audience, saying that churches must come together in ministry to move past the stigma of AIDS and assist in the educating of young ones about AIDS and prevention.
Under the theme of the Bible verse Isaiah 11:6, “And a little child shall lead them,” the program included moving performances from the Boys Choir of the Afro-American Music Institute, a liturgical dance by Precious Jordan, mime performances by the Spiritual Up Lifters Mime Group of Baptist Temple Church, and the Hill Dance Academy Theatre’s Ju. B. Lation Spirit Filled Feet exploded with their inspiring dance ministry.
As Mistress of Ceremonies, Kezia Ellison, founder and president of Educating Teens about HIV/AIDS Inc., kept the audience informed citing sobering HIV and AIDS statistics:
•From 2005 to 2008 African-Americans have the largest increase in rates of HIV diagnoses than any other race or ethnicity. The rate has increased from 68 per 100,000 to 74 per 100,000.
•There are 1,000 youth between the ages of 13 and 24 infected with HIV every month.
Betty J. Tilman, FAITH Initiative member, spoke about the Obama Cash Incentive competition, urging the audience to take the matter of HIV seriously. The Obama Cash Incentive Competition challenges young people to get tested and encourage their peers to get tested as well. “HIV was the fourth leading cause of death for Black men and third for Black women between the ages of 25 to 44,” Tilman said. “Why, because we don’t talk about it. We don’t talk about AIDS and safe sex in our communities.”
“The wall of stigma that surrounds HIV AIDS need to be eradiated which in turn will eradicate this deadly illness,” Shennod Moore, director, Community Outreach, Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force said. Referring to the African proverb “It takes a village to raise a child,” Moore said “We are that village. From politicians to church leaders to janitors, we are that village. We can not let our youth down by letting something that is 100 percent preventable if we educate. This is our future we are talking about.”
Last Updated on Thursday, 28 February 2013 10:22
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