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December 6, 2011 / Christian Clansky

Youth employment becomes political…Exploring the aging brain…Good and bad budget news in the region [News, 12.6.11]

YOUTH | GOP frontrunner Newt Gingrich recently made comments about a lack of work ethic in “really poor children in really poor neighborhoods.” In response, the Washington Post points to the fact that the District’s summer youth employment program drew nearly 50% more applications than available spots. (WaPo, 12/6)

Gingrich responded that his comments were taken out of context and that he is focused on teaching skills to make low-income populations more competitive in the workforce.

Let’s synthesize something positive: There are a lot of low-income teens who want to work, and our leaders should help them learn to be more competitive in the labor pool. Everyone can agree on that.

AGING | It used to be thought that brain cells die as we get older. New research shows that cells in disease-free brains stay alive, though the connections between them break. Here’s a cool graphic that takes a look inside the old noggin and gives advice on slowing aging. (WaPo, 12/6)

MoCo Scrambles To Pay For Teacher Pensions (WAMU, 12/6)

Opinion: A local author writes for the Times about Why School Choice Fails (NY Times, 12/5) “There aren’t enough slots in the best neighborhood and charter schools.”

D.C. education agency’s progress questioned (WaPo, 12/6)

– First, the good news. Maryland agencies are expecting much smaller budget cuts than in the past three years. (Examiner, 12/6)

– But Fairfax County is bracing for a tight budget next year, and a $114 million gap could hurt school funding. (WaPo, 12/6)

TRANSIT | More construction ahead for H Street trolley line (Examiner, 12/6) Jeez! Get this thing running already. The tracks have been teasing us for years.

EQUITY | Income inequality isn’t just a problem in the United States (though we have one of the worst rates). A new report finds that the wage gap is rising in much of the developed world. (WaPo, 12/6)

Feels like a slow news day. Anyway, as we quickly approach 2012, here’s some new information on why the Mayan civilization might have ended. Pretty interesting read about human impact on the environment. 

One Comment

  1. Christopher Brown / Dec 6 2011 2:14 pm

    Per your link in Youth from today’s Washington Post, I responded:

    My name is Christopher Brown and I am the Executive Director of the youth entrepreneurship organization BUILD Metro DC. I have the great honor of supporting some of the hardest working young entrepreneurs of Washington who are proving that there is a vibrant spirit of innovation, ethics, and elbow grease in young people who are from low-income families and underserved communities and schools.

    BUILD is a 4-year college access program that helps at-risk youth launch their own businesses. Students develop their own concepts, write business plans, pitch to funders, and launch real business ventures. Entrepreneurship is the hook—but college is the goal.
    Over the past eleven years, 100% of BUILD seniors have been accepted to college, with 91% accepted to 4 year colleges and universities. The D.C. program serves 160 students at Dunbar and Roosevelt senior high schools, and the Maya Angelou Public Charter School, Evans Campus. Headquartered in the Eastern Market neighborhood, BUILD Metro DC runs the largest youth business incubator in the region.

    Not only do BUILD students who come from poor homes learn the value of hard work and professionalism, many of them come from families where parents or guardians are working multiple jobs to ensure that their children have the means to succeed. When our students come to the incubator every week after a full day of school that starts as early as 6:30am for many of them, they meet with their business mentors well into the evening hours. Our young entrepreneurs regularly put in 13 hour days between school and running their own small businesses with BUILD.

    I would encourage you and your readers to join us to see the proof of our young people’s hard work tomorrow (December 7th) at BUILD’s third annual Holiday Sales Bazaar at Eastern Market North Hall in Washington D.C. More than 50 youth entrepreneurs will sell their hand-made products and share the business plans that were created last year with BUILD.

    Everything shoppers will have an opportunity to purchase is created, designed and manufactured by BUILD’s high school students. BUILD’s program is not a simulation of business. Our students—as CEOs and CFOs—operate their own small businesses, manage the cash flow of their bank accounts, and are supported by private sector mentors and D.C.-area venture capitalists.

    Additionally Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, DC City Council Chairman Kwame Brown, and the Mayor’s office will be on hand to celebrate the accomplishments of DC’s youth.

    I encourage all political leaders to recognize a world and young people from poor communities, as we see it at BUILD, as an asset to our nation’s economic development, job readiness, and college success. Let’s all make sure that our students are not marginalized by low-expectations. Instead we’re committed to make sure that every young person matters in the vitality of this great and innovative city.

    Christopher John Brown
    BUILD Metro DC
    Regional Executive Director

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