Media: Sentimental Treatment For Youth Advocates Program

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There's a long and (to me) extremely naive and sentimental article in the New York Times this week that includes following one of the advocates assigned to at risk youth in CPS (Graduation Is the Goal, Staying Alive the Prize).  But maybe I'm just in a bad mood or something.  The article (complete with slide show) emphasizes how dangerous it is to be a teen in Chicago (no shit) and touts the new Huberman program to give particularly at risk kids individualized counseling and support in and out of school.  Good enough.  But it doesn't question the delays, costs, and rollout of the Huberman program, the questionable statistical analysis behind identifying the kids, and seems to consider it something of a miracle that the main kid graduates (at 20) and is headed to... Harold Washington. Only 60 advocates hired and in place so far? Now we're down to 250 kids being served?  There's not a critical or questioning voice in the entire piece.

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  • Either the author is naive or just lazy. No judgement since I don't know the author or their motive. It does beg the question, when Chicago Public Schools is being run by folks who have no experience in running a school district nor have real world experience in working with teachers, building professional capacity in schools and just understanding what teachers need to succeed, wouldn't one be a bit skeptical of the Huberman Plan. My experience with these kind of leaders around the United States is that they talk a good game, I have to say that Huberman says world but looks like he doesn't believe what he is saying with that dead gaze. Usually their initiatives fail because they don't have a clue on so many levels. i would suspect we need to be vigilant at each school that is getting money for that program. Post here if folks are earning their money.

  • Anon Troll,
    Per contract teachers are up for a 4% raise which will be eaten up by the increase in health premiums.

  • Anonymous is technically correct, but in context the claim that "there is no health increase this year" is misleading.

    Employee health care contributions are scheduled to increase significantly beginning January 1, 2011. That means that for the majority of the coming 2010-2011 school year, employees will be paying more for their health insurance coverage.

  • The health care contributions are frozen for calendar years 2008, 2009, and 2010 as per the contract. Do you really think the health care costs will not go up as of January, 2011? The copays go up each year of the contract. The contract even has a provision for the raise in health care costs with examples of a 3% raise and a 6% raise.

  • I seem to be the only person who is perplexed at why the system would assign a 24 year-old with no street experience to save this kids life. Perhaps Ms. Tinajero will be able to deal with that 3 AM call from this kid, the one where he is screaming with rage, holding the body of his buddy, and explaining to Tinajero that the goo, running through his fingers, was his friend's brains.

    However, I suspect Ms. Tinajero's question of "and how does that make you feel?" based on four or six years of education, will fail to remedy the developing situation right there.

    With all due respect, Ms. Tinajero, this job is beyond your current emotional abilities. It should have been assigned to a person hardened by living on the streets: a retired cop, firefighter, clergy or even military vet are people who come to mind.

    Why are people like the 24 year-old Tinajero being assigned this work? What in god's name leads people to believe she is currently capable of leading this gang banger out of his life? And remember, the CPS or the agency behind this story assigned her to help the author. There is a belief among her superiors that she is an outstanding example of why this program is working.

  • In reply to PatrickBoylan:

    Agreed.

  • If we had universal health care, we would all be absorbing the cost equally.

    Your line of thinking is very fatalistic, kind of like saying violence has risen dramatically in Chicago. To think that (fill in the blank) should not have to absorb some of the pain is just selfish and childish.

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