Take 5: “Another Chance for Teens” and more…

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Here’s five social innovation links we are clicking on today:

  1. Amplify-New Profit Blog: America Forward: Top 5 Issue Updates “Here are the top 5 things America Forward and the America Forward Coalition are working on right now.”

  2. The New York Times: Another Chance for Teens “The conventional wisdom among social scientists is that there’s little payoff in investing in troubled teenagers. As the University of Chicago economist James J. Heckman argued in 2011, ‘we overinvest in attempting to remediate the problems of disadvantaged adolescents and underinvest in the early years of disadvantaged children,’ when the potential gains are supposedly the largest. But this consensus is wrong, as we now know from recent scholarship. Take YouthBuild, which runs 260 programs in 46 states for about 10,000 16- to 24-year-olds. Nearly all of them high-school dropouts and poor; 31 percent have a criminal record, and 29 percent are parents. YouthBuild’s model is straightforward — half academics and half on-the-job training. ‘In high school, no one gave a damn, but here, they really care about you,’ one young man at the YouthBuild program center in Cambridge, Mass., told me. ‘They have your back.'” New Profit is a proud funder and partner of YouthBuild.

  3. The Hechinger Report: Why are Graduation Rates at Community Colleges so Low? “Teachers College Professor Tom Bailey answers our questions, explaining what ‘cafeteria colleges’ are, why they’re bad and weighing in on Obama’s plan to make community college free.”

  4. NPR: Where Poor Kids Grow Up Makes A Huge Difference “In two new studies, Harvard economist Raj Chetty and his colleagues found that where poor kids grow up has a huge effect on how much money they earn as adults. In one study, families living in public housing were randomly selected to be eligible for housing vouchers that required them to move to low poverty neighborhoods. Kids whose families received the vouchers grew up to earn significantly more than those whose families remained in public housing. In a second study, Chetty and his colleagues looked at data for millions of families who moved from one county to another. Based on this data, they were able to estimate how much where poor kids grow up affects their income as adults. The table below lists the 50 U.S. counties that have the biggest effects on kids’ incomes as adults. The numbers, based on the new research, show how much growing up in a given county affects a child’s annual income as an adult.”

  5. The Washington Post: Meet the Outsider who Accidentally Solved Chronic Homelessness “The process of innovation is often one of mystery. Where does an idea come from? How do innovators find it? What makes them different from everyone else fumbling around in the dark? Compounding the puzzle is the irony that those most likely to innovate are rarely the experts. They’re outsiders who see things freshly. And so, on a recent morning, one such outsider picks his way down a sun-splashed Brookland street. Face patched in scruff, wiry frame crammed into a Patagonia jacket, he doesn’t at first seem like an innovator who has had national impact. But few thinkers today are in greater demand. Meet Sam Tsemberis. According to academics and advocates, he’s all but solved chronic homelessness. His research, which commands the support of most scholars, has inspired policies across the nation, as well as in the District. The results have been staggering. Late last month, Utah, the latest laboratory for Tsemberis’ models, reported it has nearly eradicated chronic homelessness. Phoenix, an earlier test case, eliminated chronic homelessness among veterans. Then New Orleans did the same.”
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