Efforts to improve outcomes for young people who are disconnected from school and society ought to draw from a menu of different strategies, rather than following a single course of action, a paper says.
At the behest of the Seattle-based Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, researchers from MDRC, a research group based in New York City, reviewed studies on programs for such youths, consulted experts, and made site visits. Their report makes the case for building a stronger research base on programs for disconnected youths, whether they work and for whom, and for simultaneously creating and testing new approaches.
New strategies might, for instance, explore overhauling GED-preparation programs so that they are more tightly linked to college and vocational programs, the researchers say, or give a “leg up” to older youths whose basic skills are too weak to make preparation programs for the General Educational Development credential a realistic option.
A version of this article appeared in the March 17, 2010 edition of Education Week as Youth Programs