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Of the 33 million adolescents in the United States, almost 10 million are at risk of failing to become responsible adults. They attend schools that do not serve their needs, lack the support of caring adults, and, as a result, are alienated from mainstream society. African-American and Hispanic children, increasingly segregated in disadvantaged neighborhoods, are particularly vulnerable.
In Adolescence: Growing Up in America Today, a follow-up to Joy Dryfoos's landmark volume, Adolescents at Risk (OUP, 1991), Joy Dryfoos and Carol Barkin take a close look at the lives of young people, identify some of their problems, and present solutions based on state-of-the-art prevention and treatment strategies. They examine important issues in adolescents' lives—sex, violence, drugs, health, mental health, and education. Reviewing successful prevention programs and policy studies, Dryfoos and Barkin demonstrate that we know what to do to prevent high-risk behaviors: young people need to establish relationships with adults; parents need to be involved in their children's lives; and programs need to be comprehensive, sensitive to cultural differences, and staffed by highly trained personnel.
Dryfoos and Barkin argue that turning our backs on adolescents will lead to disturbing consequences: the achievement gap will grow, outcomes will worsen, school systems will struggle with the growing disparities, and we as a nation will fall behind the rest of the world in our capacity to educate our youth. If, however, we decide that we want a better quality of life for our children, we will insure that every young person has access to an excellent education. Schools, youth workers, and parents cannot alone provide a better quality of life for our adolescents, but each must play a major role, and all must work together. Providing a roadmap for the development and implementation of sound policies for American teenagers in the twenty-first century, this volume is a must-read for anyone interested in the future of our nation's youth.
|1||Why look at teens in the 21st century?||3|
|2||Status of youth today||15|
|4||Violence and delinquency||59|
|6||Health and mental health||125|
|8||Quality of life||189|
|9||Summing it up||215|
|10||Worst-case scenario for the future||235|
|11||Positive scenario for the future||245|
Posted March 4, 2007
ADOLESCENCE: Growing Up in America Today, Dryfoos, J.G. and Barkin, C. New York, Oxford University Press, 2006, 264 pages. Importance: Updates the senior author¿s 1990 book, Adolescents at Risk. Focuses on teens at risk in the early 21st century with trends, facts, comments, programs, and policy-based solutions. Paradigm: The senior author is an admitted liberal and an activist who believes in government intervention, public education, higher taxes, and the effective implementation of ¿what we know¿ will ¿ensure that adolescents could grow into responsible adults.¿ ¿What we know¿ is her opinion that effective solutions result from liberal education programs, demonstrated by 'facts' that show the state of adolescents has not improved, but actually gotten worse, since her 1990 book. She intermingles her beliefs, prejudices, political leanings, and liberal academic background with selected research to demonstrate that her ¿worst-case scenario¿ can be overcome with her ¿positive scenario for the future.¿ Her ¿worst-case¿ scenario reflects the radical left¿s interpretation of what will result from conservative programs, while her ¿positive scenario¿ repeats the dogma of the left that has existed since the Great Society and is responsible for much of the risk faced by teens today. Caution to readers: the paradigm of the liberal education researcher infects every page of this book. Some research findings are very instructive, and do not support her overall conclusions ¿ such as her discussion of teen pregnancies. Bottom Line ¿ teens are at risk in this country, parents play a crucial role in constructive solutions, and the role of family communication is critical but largely ignored in this book. Value -- the tables reflect credible research findings but must be analyzed separately from the authors¿ beliefs and political leanings. This book has much to offer those committed to finding solutions to the problems of at risk teens, but the book should be read as political commentary, not research. Suggested topics to read in each chapter: trends, facts, what works, and comments ¿ in the context of her paradigm. The conscientious researcher should not take her word for anything ¿ she is a secondary source at best. Go to the original sources which are documented at the end of each chapter.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.