Key Facts about Child Labor by Corrinn Cobb

On Tuesday, October 7th, the US Department of Labor announced the release of the Bureau of International Labor Affairs’ annual assessment of global efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labor.  The report, titled “2013 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor” examines more than 140 countries and their populations of child workers.  US Secretary of Labor, Thomas E. Perez, stated that the report “shines light on children around the globe who are being robbed of their futures.”  The report also suggests actions countries can take to reduce child labor and the deplorable conditions they work. Five key facts that the report highlighted include: A staggering number of children around the world are working in deplorable conditions. Child laborers...

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Studies Show Working Class Experiences Inconsistent Work Schedules by Corrinn Cobb

In a recent study by researchers at the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration, individuals in the working-class experience inconsistent work schedules at rates higher than most. The study found that individuals in blue-collar jobs, such as food service, janitorial positions, and retail were more likely to have unpredictable work schedules, often on a weekly basis.  This means that workers are unable to plan ahead and often have no input over their work schedules. For those with families, this inconsistency also affects children.  Work-hour fluctuations often requires parents to adjust their children’s schedules, from picking them up for school, arranging childcare, and even time for meals and homework. A household’s income is...

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Economists say, ‘Build more roads!’ But to where and for whom? by Corrinn Cobb

Economists say, ‘Build more roads!’ But to where and for whom? by Corrinn Cobb

According to findings by the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, of 44 economic experts surveyed, 36 indicated they believe President Obama has underspent on infrastructure.  Those surveyed included professors from Harvard, MIT, Stanford, Princeton, Yale, and UChicago. Although the panelists had no clear consensus on the kind of infrastructure the U.S. should be investing in, most seemed to agree that building more roads, bridges, railways and airports would improve the economy. Tell that to your average Chicagoan. The city has seen no shortage of new roads, railways, and buildings being erected.  The Chicago Transit Authority completed a major reconstruction project of the southbound portion of the city’s main artery, the Red Line in 2013, and is...

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Is Community Organizing a Calling? By Corrinn Cobb

Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat what they produce.  Take wives and have sons and daughtesr, take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters, multiply there, and do not decrease.  But seek the peace of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its peace you will find your peace. (Jeremiah 29:4-7). In examining the Israelite’s exile to Babylon, Robert Linthicum (2003) writes that although God was punishing Israel, there were also a set of conditions that they were expected to live by.  The Israelites were commanded to seek the...

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Chicago, the Two-Faced City by Corrinn Cobb

Chicago’s recent endeavor, the Chicago Riverwalk Construction, appears to be a hot topic for many urbanists and city planners as of late.  In a recent article in New Geography, Robert Weber critiques not the construction or planning of the project itself, but rather the rational behind it. Weber argues that within less than a decade, Chicago has become a “two-faced,” self-contradicting city:  On one hand Chicago is metropolitan mecca, a hub of tech innovation, Fortune 500s and ample real estate.  In the other, the numbers and media coverage show Chicago as the poster child of almost every major urban social ill: political corruption, poor schools, segregation, crime and violence, etc. The Chicago Riverwalk Construction project represents the city’s...

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MA in Urban Studies Students: Art-making in Ecuadorian and Kenyan Communities

MA in Urban Studies Students: Art-making in Ecuadorian and Kenyan Communities

Last week, five students returned from art-making in two international communities.  Four of the five students spent their time in Bungoma, Kenya, and the other student spent her time in Quito, Ecuador.  Both groups went with the goal of using art to assess creativity in the community’s children and consider the efforts of local community groups and institutions as well as provide arts-based programming.  While short-term, both trips provided transformational experiences for the students, as they were introduced to a new context, and it is their hope that the communities were provided necessary tools and knowledge to further develop creativity in the children and integrate the arts in educational programming. Learn more about the team in Kenya by visiting...

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Youth Programs Provide a Turning Point for Youth

Can youth programs provide a turning point for young people?  While the argument has often been posed that afterschool programs and extracurricular provide positive avenues for youth to “avoid trouble,” it is important to note their impact upon children that have experience trauma, violence, or bullying.  Consider Nixlot Dameus who moved to the Olney section of Philadelphia from Port-De-Prince, Haiti in 2007.  When Dameus arrived, he quickly became the victim of bullying but remained silent.  Many children victim to trauma or violence will cope through silence, which can lead to negative emotional and behavioral manifestations.   For Dameus, “an ’Art and Craft of Poetry’ class at Delaware Valley Charter High School (DVCHS) [inspired] him to...

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