Are students prepared for college… and career?

Last year, only 43 percent of high school students who took the SAT met the College Board’s standards for college readiness. More than 300,000 high school students who were qualified to take advanced placement courses didn’t take any. Are students being properly led to excel in college and in turn, advance a career? “English, math and science are the core subjects in our education system and in many high-paying careers. By learning these subjects, we are getting the tools to success. But many of us don’t know how to use them and apply them to real life.”  High-school students respond to the question, ‘Do you feel like you are being properly prepared for college and career?’ on Voicewaves.

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Local teens cope with loss of sex-ed

With one of the highest teen pregnancy rates among industrialized countries and 19 million new sexually-transmitted infections each year, the United States needs youth sex education classes. They help teens bridge the gap between what they know about sex, and what they think they know about sex. But the Long Beach school district cut sex education classes two years ago, and young people must look elsewhere for facts about sex. “I’ve been forced to direct my questions about sex to my mother. Other teens…look to their friends or the Internet. Sadly what they don’t understand is that their friends don’t know much more than they do.” Get the update from high school students on life without sex-ed in school, on Voicewaves.

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Why restorative justice is the best alternative to school suspensions

Long Beach students and teachers gathered at Reid High School to discuss the potential of restorative justice, a growing alternative approach to resolving conflicts in school settings. “In restorative justice what we actually do is require the student to stay, and when we require the student to stay, we also give them an opportunity to make it right.”  The report was published on Voicewaves.

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Encouraging literacy in youth

The Reading Buddies program helps to soften the “summer slide” between school years.  Children can lose grade-level equivalency during the summer months, when they don’t get the literacy stimulation from school. The library’s Summer Reading Program is also promoted for adults, who may overlook the program thinking that it’s meant for kids. But the program is beneficial for them too – and parents who read books cultivate reading among their children. More about the reading programs – one for young children – on Access Sacramento.

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Finding inspiration from a mom’s resilience

Kiera Robinson was only ten when the cops came and arrested her adolescent brothers.  Despite the traumatic experience of a police raid, Kiera’s mother soldiered on – she attended to her other children and strove to keep a feeling of relative normalcy. For Kiera, the love and constancy her mother brings – in the most troubled times – is the definition of strength. “When she bounces back from hardship, she always manages to bring me back with her.” Hear Kiera’s perspective on Youth Radio.

Double charged: how restoring victims complicates reforming youth

For juvenile offenders who get off easy in terms of jail time, the real payment for their crimes comes through victim restitution. The process aims to give the victims of crimes like robbery and vandalism fair compensation, but it doesn’t guarantee that the juvenile offender is able to pay the claim. And, for minor offenders, the inability to come up with money can prolong probation for the original crime. “What we see is that it’s all about punishment. For example, there’s a whole caseload of kids that have satisfied every other term and condition of their probation, but they just don’t get off probation because they still owe money.”  This original story, about how restitution can complicate the juvenile justice process, is from Youth Radio.

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El Cerrito track star runs with the best

At eight, Kaylah Robinson started training and competing with the Richmond Half Steppers track team. She ran away with her first gold medal that same year, at the eight-and-under championship for Northern California. Now, as a high school student, she struggles to stay on top as the sport gets more competitive. “You can’t control what goes on around you in life, and the important thing is to focus on what you can control.”  Read Kaylah’s story on Richmond Pulse.

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Khmer youth showcase talent and heritage

Khmer Girls in Action, a leadership group for Southeast Asian youth, performed skits, spoken word, song and dance in an event to celebrate Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month . Over 100 people attended, and heard stories of struggle and adversity. “I really hope they leave inspired… by our young people, and really take in the stories that they’re telling.”  See a video of the event on Voicewaves.

Inside the fireworks black market

California’s is “the most flammable places on earth,” says a fire official, but through Craigslist and other websites, consumers can get around the state’s ban on fireworks by selling goods brought in from Nevada and other states.  These dealers may seem like underground underdogs, but experts say they are businessmen like any other. “The mistake is to think of this as fly by night stuff- these are really serious people and they are as entrepreneurial, innovative and venturous as anyone you’d meet in Silicon Valley.”  An investigation of illegal firework traffic, on Youth Radio.

East L.A. grocery workers demand living wage and benefits

Workers at El Super and union leaders joined the rally at the store’s Cesar Chavez Ave location, calling for the company to return to the negotiating table and offer a proposal that includes higher wages, a guaranteed 40-hour work week for full-time workers, paid sick leave, seniority rights and affordable health benefits. They are also asking for a more general benefit, “respect on the job.” “El Super needs to reward the workers who contribute so much to this company’s profitability and success. This fight is about dignity, respect, and fairness for immigrant workers.”  Read the full story on Boyle Heights Beat.

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