On Constitution Day Youth Present Policies to Improve Public Education, Juvenile Justice and Policing in Schools

Mikva Challenge
Mikva’s Juvenile Justice Council meets with Cook County Board President, Toni Preckwinkle, (Photo Supplied)

Chicago IL—(ENEWSPF)—September 14, 2017.  Over 200 youth from around the city drafted policy recommendations aimed at improving lives of youth in the city and providing policy makers the youth perspective on issues that are impacting their lives everyday. These 200 young people represent about 100 CPS high schools and are part of the Mikva Challenge CItywide Youth Council whose purpose is to strengthen youth participation in the formation, implementation, and evaluation of public policy in city government through the creation of issue-based youth councils. Each summer students participate in “Think Tank Summer” and produce policy related recommendations that focus on the areas of public education, the Mayor’s new graduation requirement, juvenile justice reform, teen health, youth-police relations, and improving the lives of youth living in public housing.

To make the juvenile justice system more responsive to youth, Mikva’s Juvenile Justice Council met Cook County Board President, Toni Preckwinkle, and recommended putting in place steps and policies that would require State Attorney’s to increase their awareness of alternative sentencing program so that less young people are facing jail time.

To reduce the school to prison pipeline, the Youth Safety Council presented a plan to work with the Chicago Police Department to develop a day-long training for school security and police officers working in schools for the purposes of promoting a better understanding of youth development, social-emotional learning, and trauma-informed practices when dealing with students in schools.

Serving as the Youth Advisory Council to Mayor Rahm Emanuel, our Mayoral Youth Commission presented the Mayor with youth insights on rolling out his post-high school success plan, the Learn, Plan, Succeed Initiative. This group proposed the creation of a video to help students better understand this initiative and also to create a “Common App” for entry level jobs at companies in Chicago to create more pathways to private employment for students. The Mayor was excited about these ideas and wants to press ahead with them.

All of our seven Councils students are back in session and will be available for interviews on the work they’re doing to make these recommendations come to life in partnerships with the city official and the departments they advise.


The Mikva Challenge is a non-partisan nonprofit that empowers youth to be informed, active citizens and community leaders.

Source: Mikva Challenge