A Need for Comprehensive Youth Policy 

A fragmented approach to youth policy is hindering young people’s efforts to become economically independent adults, with Black and Latino youth disproportionately affected, according to “Youth Policy: How Can We Smooth the Rocky Pathway to Adulthood?” published by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce. According to the report, high unemployment rates for young people stem from the dot-com bubble burst, the Great Recession, and the COVID-19 recession. “By the end of 2019, youth were already 11 percentage points less likely to be employed than in 2000, compared to a 1 percentage point difference for prime-age adults,” the report states. “During the pandemic, the youth employment rate declined by another 6 percentage points.” While the rate has since largely recovered, the gap between it and the prime-age employment rate has grown by 9% in 20 years. What’s needed is a seamless approach to youth policy instead of our current patchwork system. Read the full report at bit.ly/3EGpniy.

Principal Leadership and Virtual Learning

The pandemic has magnified this question: Will principals view virtual learning as supplemental or essential to teaching and learning? “Principal Leadership in a Virtual Environment,” a report published by The Wallace Foundation, raises this question and shows school leaders what a high-quality and equitable virtual learning environment looks like and how to build a leadership pipeline for it. Based on a review of the research and interviews with 11 principals and administrators, the report offers strategies for school districts to consider in seven domains, such as leader standards, high-quality pre-service principal preparation, and selective hiring and placement of principals. Read the full report at bit.ly/3IDWjL8.

A Pen Pal Program Expands Student Horizons

When COVID-19 hit, Wafa Kahn, then a junior at Valley View High School in Moreno Valley, CA, missed seeing her friends. Life felt stagnant, and she wanted something to do. As a member of the National Honor Society (NHS), a program of NASSP, she knew she still needed to complete volunteer hours. So, she started a pen pal program with Nyamboyo Technical School (NTS) in rural Kenya. NTS students were quick to respond. Many of them struggle with poverty, hunger, and access to clean water and health care. For the American students, learning about life in Kenya was eye-opening, while NTS students benefited by learning English without staring at a textbook. Sharing stories with each other made the world a little smaller and less lonely. To learn more about NTS, watch this video (bit.ly/3yavKbq), edited by Noah Jung, an NHS student at Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School in Richmond, VA.

Shadowing Visits for Elected Officials

Chris LeGrande is the principal of Guthrie High School in Guthrie, OK, and the 2020 Oklahoma High School Principal of the Year. After his first visit to Washington, D.C., eight years ago to advocate for his students on Capitol Hill, he realized that legislators would benefit from seeing up-close what life is like in a 21st-century public school. So, each year he invites politicians to his school for an informal talk and a tour. “When elected officials see how we’re spending those federal dollars and that we’re resourceful and good stewards of the money, then in the next round of legislative talks when they’re deciding on budgets, they can think back to how our schools are indeed using this money to support students,” he says.