A kids' agenda

Children now have some muscle in the Seattle city government. It's a program called ``KidsPlace: a kids' lobby for a vital Seattle.'' After a survey of the city's young people, a coalition of city officials, civic groups, and community leaders -- plus the newly established ``KidsBoard'' -- drafted a list of 30 suggestions for addressing the needs of Seattle's younger residents. Mayor Charles Royer says the city has taken action on all but 7 of the 30 items. Here is a sampling of their ideas. Bike route network: a network of bike routes connecting neighborhood schools, recreation facilities, and parks. City child advocate: a city department responsible for advocating changes or services benefiting children. Downtown as a safe place: an emergency support system provided by downtown businesses, offering use of bathrooms and telephones, supplying information, and displaying ``safe place'' decals for identification. Effective schools: an agenda to promote academic excellence and teacher effectiveness. Fight adult exploitation of kids: an awareness program for the business community on adult behavior that exploits or endangers children. Health advocates for low-income children: health advisory committee to ensure availability of publicly funded child health services for low-income neighborhoods. High school vocations/technical classes: expanded offerings in Seattle high schools. Information for kids and families: a child-oriented directory of activities and resources available to children and their parents. Kid-friendly downtown: downtown development that includes spaces to encourage play and enrichment, child day care, family amenities, and school field trips. Kids Arts Fund: a permanent, nonprofit fund-raising organization to support arts programs for children. Metro fares and safety: improved public transportation services for children including reduced fares and better safety. ``1% For Kids'': establish a permanent city funding base to support programs for children and youth. Pacific Arts Center: a permanent, city-sponsored, multicultural arts center for young people to offer high-quality programs, advocacy for children and the arts, and a children's arts clearinghouse. Playgrounds designed for all children: mandate that public playgrounds are for all children, including teen-agers and the disabled; criteria defined in ``Kids Playground Design Guide.'' School councils: a team in each school composed of community members, parents, students, teachers, and principals, to provide a school-based management. Student/business internships: internships provided by the business community for graduate credit and opportunities for work-study programs. Teacher employment and professional standards: entry-level employment standards requiring subject area mastery and demonstrated teaching skills for new teachers. Teen dances: regularly held dances at the Seattle Center. Teen peer counseling center: trained teen-ager counselors, under professional supervision. Working parents and personnel policies: business community support for employees with families through flex time, release time to care for sick children, child-care subsidies, and family seminars.

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