Journal of Educational Controversy

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Saturday, October 11, 2014

Nobel Prize Focuses on Children’s Plight, Rights and Education

This year’s Nobel Peace Prize went to Indian child rights campaigner Kailash Satyarthi for her work rescuing trafficked children from servitude, and to Pakistani teenager, Malala Yousafzai, whose voice for children and the right to education made her a target of extremists in her country. Although different in its causes and strategic aims, the work toward children’s rights is a global one and has been championed by many groups in the United States. The Journal of Educational Controversy has written about these concerns in a number of issues.


One of the centers that we highlighted in Volume 7 was the Center for Children and Youth Justice. The Center was started by former Washington State Supreme Court Justice Bobbe Bridge. The issue contains an article by Justice Bridge, with co-authors, Leila E. Curtis and Nicholas Oakley, entitled, “No Single Source, No Simple Solution: Why We Should Broaden Our Perspective of the School-to-Prison-Pipeline and Look to the Court in Redirecting Youth from It.” Along with the article is a video interview with Justice Bridge. Other children advocate groups that contributed to the issue were Team Child, the ACLU of Washington State, the League of Education Voters and the Office of Education Ombudsman of Washington State.


The Center for Children and Youth Justice reveals the kinds of problems young people can face in a highly industrialized affluent nation. On the center’s website, Justice Bridge states her concerns and goals succinctly: “We can no longer be satisfied with change, however positive, without substantial change in outcomes for all children involved in Washington child welfare and juvenile justice systems. We’re leaving too many children and youth behind. Systems need to work together for all these kids. And we need to hear their voices, respect them and respond to them. That’s what CCYJ is all about.”


In her response to learning that she was receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, Malala Yousafzai dedicated it to the “voiceless.” We sometimes forget that even in a nation with institutional welfare structures in place, too many still feel voiceless and powerless. Indeed, the Center for Children and Youth Justice reveals the ways in which the foster care system, the juvenile justice systems and the public schools have often failed our children. The Center advocates for a more systemic approach that unites community forces to bring about real change. To read about recommendations to combat the School-to-Prison Pipeline, check out Justice Bridge’s article in our Volume 7 issue. To learn more about the work of the center, check out the website at: http://www.ccyj.org/

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