Affirming his commitment to the city's children, Cambridge Mayor Kenneth E. Reeves '72 outlined a variety of programs yesterday designed to help Cambridge's youth.
Speaking to an Institute of Politics study group entitled, "Preparing For The Next Century: It Takes a Village to Raise a Child," Reeves expressed his hope for the advancement of children in Cambridge.
Reeves said he is disappointed in the lack of federal support for cities.
"The federal government is failing us," the mayor said.
In order to prepare adequately for the next century, students must have skills, particularly in math, science and computer literacy, Reeves said.
The mayor also said teachers must keep students engaged in their academic work and give them the tools to improve their self-esteem.
Reeves said he has also initiated programs to help students considered "at risk" by school systems.
"There are all kinds of indicators about which children will be at risk," Reeves said. "I found it unusual that so much focus was placed on spotting children who are "at risk," rather than creating ways to help them."
The mayor said he advocates an approach to education that focuses on the needs of children in kindergarten through third grade because "at risk" children can be more easily spotted and helped at these ages.
In response to the growing number of minority young men deemed "at risk," Reeves said he founded the W.E.B. DuBois Academy, a Saturday school which provides supplementary education and mentorship opportunities.
Reeves said two young men from the academy are now enrolled in special classes for the gifted at their schools.
The mayor said programs that provide teens with places for educational and enjoyable gatherings have also been successful.
Teen centers around the city are open from 6 p.m. to midnight on weeknights. They provide older teens with mentors who act as advocates, counselors and confidants.
Reeves also described a Cambridge school district program to improve reading skills. The program targets children who have difficulty in reading, and takes them out of the classroom setting by providing them with intensive, personal training, according to the mayor.