Raise DC

From “In first annual report, Raise DC offers snapshot of DC youth” (Washington Post – Feb. 3):

Only four in 10 third-graders in the District can read proficiently, and only about four out of 10 young adults in the city have a full-time job.

Those sobering statistics are part of a snapshot of DC youths to be released Monday by Raise DC, a coalition of public, private and nonprofit groups Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) convened last year with the aim of improving the lives of the District?s neediest residents from birth through age 24.

This first report focused on five key areas from that period of life: “kindergarten readiness, high school graduation, college completion, full-time employment, and reconnection with either education or job-training opportunities after dropping out of school.” In the future, this baseline data will be employed to judge Raise DC’s effectiveness in addressing the city’s most critical ills.

[Overall], the numbers in the group’s report offer a stark picture of the challenge.

About six in 10 students graduate from high school within four years, a number Raise DC. aims to lift to 75 percent by 2017.

Nearly 10,000 low-income youths ages 16 to 24 are neither working nor in school. Raise DC wants to see that number shrink to 7,000 by next year.

DC developed Raise DC “in consultation with the Strive Network,” which aims to support children from birth through education and onto a solid career path. In DC, the new program’s proponents hope that the partnership will draw particular focus to young people who have dropped out and are currently unemployed — “kids who have effectively become invisible to the government, but who nonprofits, health-care providers and others can still reach.”

What is your immediate response, both to these findings and the future goals? What could make the most profound different for District’s young residents?

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