Social settings have enormous power to promote or hinder positive youth development. Researchers and practitioners know a great deal about features of schools and programs for youth that affect development, but much less about how to transform settings to bring about these desirable features. This book shows how to harness the power of settings. It shifts the debate from simply enhancing youth outcomes at the individual level to improving the settings of youths' daily lives. The book offers researchers and practitioners blueprints for creating and changing influential settings including classrooms, schools, universities, out-of-school time programs, ethnic systems of supplementary education, and other community-based programs. Leading scholars in psychology, education, human development, sociology, anthropology, economics, law, and public policy discuss a wide array of social change strategies, and describe how to measure key features of settings as a target and guide for change. The authors also demonstrate how larger social structures - such as school districts, community coalitions, community data resources - can support change.Many of the chapters describe ways to make settings work for all youth, including those marginalized by reason of race, ethnicity, social class, or sexual orientation. Toward Positive Youth Development will guide researchers, educators, administrators and policy makers to improve schools and youth programs for all of America's youth.
Marybeth Shinn is Professor of Applied Psychology and Public Policy at New York University. She received her Ph.D. in social and community psychology from the University of Michigan. Shinn studies how social contexts, including social settings, neighborhoods, socioeconomic circumstances, and social policies, affect individual well-being. With anthropologist Kim Hopper, she is using capability theory to understand questions about environments that foster capabilities for homeless and mentally ill adults, which parallel questions in the current book about settings that promote youth development. Other work focuses on causes, consequences, and prevention of homelessness for families and individuals. Shinn was a fellow at the Russell Sage Foundation. She has served as president of the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues and the Society for Community Research and Action and received awards for Distinguished Contributions to Theory and Research and Ethnic Minority Mentoring from the latter group. Hirokazu Yoshikawa is Professor of Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He studies the effects of welfare and anti-poverty policies on children; the influence of low-wage work dynamics and conditions on family processes and children; the development of young children in immigrant families; and whole-grade approaches to music education. He has participated in multiple Congressional briefings on child and family policy and human development. He has received three early career awards from the American Psychological Association (the Louise Kidder Award from the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues, the Boyd McCandless Award for contributions to developmental psychology, and the Minority Fellowship Program's early career award), as well as the Ethnic Minority Mentorship award from the Society for Community Research and Action (Division 27 of the APA). He was recently a member of the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Family and Work Policies. In 2004 he was awarded a fellowship from the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences. He is editor (with Thomas Weisner and Edward Lowe) of Making It Work: Low-Wage Employment, Family Life, and Child Development (Russell Sage Foundation, 2006).