Top Headlines 12/17

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Child Welfare

Stories from three states where settlements from class-action lawsuits from nonprofit litigator Children’s Rights are still being monitored:

The Tennessean is reporting that Tennessee Gov.-elect Bill Haslam (R) will tap the CEO of a local youth-serving nonprofit, Kathryn O’Day, to succeed Viola Miller as head of the Department of Children’s Services.

New Jersey is still doing well on a lot of counts when it comes to child welfare, reports the Star-Ledger’s Susan Livio, but reuniting foster children with parents continues to be a challenge. Department of Children and Families Commissioner Allison Blake called the report “very fair.”

And in Wisconsin, reports Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel’s Crocker Stephenson, Children’s Rights Executive Director Marcia Robinson-Lowry challenges the Gov.-elect Scott Walker (R) to institutionalize the progress made over the past 20 years in the state.

Education/Jobs

New York-based Chase banking company announced $3.2 million in grants to 40 Detroit area nonprofits working to improve neighborhoods, families and youth – including the funding of projects that offer Detroit youth better employment and education opportunities.

Community College Week’s cover story, by Paul Bradley, profiles the leadership switch at the American Association of Community Colleges, with the departing of President George R. Boggs and the arrival of Walter G. Bumphus.

NPR’s Claudio Sanchez provides a fresh take on the high school dropout crisis. In this All Things Considered piece, he lets the dropouts themselves tell their stories. (Note, as of this morning NPR’s audio link was incorrect, but the transcript is still available).   

Congress voted to expand benefits of the Post 9/11 GI Bill Thursday, which includes increasing higher education opportunities for Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans. More from the Chronicle of Higher Education’s Kevin Kiley here.

From the Dallas Morning News’ Melanie Mason: President Barack Obama’s tax deal passed last night includes an education tax credit that, despite all the government scrutiny of the for-profit college sector of late, does include these proprietary colleges on its list of eligible schools.

Juvenile Justice

New South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley tapped one of the longest-tenured juvenile justice directors in the country – Bill Byars – to head the state’s adult prison system, reports The State’s Jim Davenport. Byars helped move South Carolina’s system our from under a federal lawsuit; his chief of staff, Margaret Barber, will take over his old job.

Stories emanating from the most recent report by Maryland’s juvenile justice monitoring unit: Baltimore Sun’s Jessica Anderson reports on the overcrowding and staff shortages at some facilities, and Associated Press reports on a drop in assaults and group disturbances. It is pretty uncommon for assaults to go down as overcrowding gets worse.

Stop focusing on the facilities and invest in prevention, said youth work leader Hathaway Ferebee in a Baltimore Sun op-ed.

Miscellaneous

Great story from the National Review on the absurdity that was the fight over the  omnibus spending bill. Instead of passing the bill, which never went through the appropriations process, Congress will likely approve a continuing resolution to keep the government open for business until February.

Save the Children stopped its campaign to tax soft drinks, which was funded by the Princeton, N.J.-based Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The organization told the New York Times’ William Neuman that its new relationships with Coca-Cola and Pepsi were entirely coincidental.

The DREAM Act, which offers a path to citizenship for illegal immigrant teens who graduate high school, will likely face its long-awaited vote in the Senate tomorrow. Some coverage of the act from today:

The DREAM Act is a chance for Republican Senators to show their true colors to Hispanic voters, writes Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, in a Huffington Post column. [Search DREAM Act at the Huffington Post and you will get a number of other recent pieces on the legislation].

Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Maureen Downey reports on Education Secretary Arne Duncan leading a last-ditch White House push to get the act passed.

The DREAM Act would create a new class of “conditional nonimmigrants,” according to The Atlantic’s Chris Good.

Conservative Hispanics in Texas are putting the heat on Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) to vote for the act, writes Harvard University’s Edward Schumacher-Matos in the Washington Post.

In a letter to the Billings Gazette (Montana), immigration activist Paul Nachman echoes what many congressmen said during the DREAM Act debate in the House this week: the act is really a massive amnesty bill.  

New York Daily News’ Albor Ruiz makes the argument that voting against the DREAM Act this weekend could doom Republicans