Education and Poverty News
"As the Obama administration makes early-childhood education a top domestic priority and most states are expanding preschool for low-income kids, Minnesota is taking a unique approach. It is the first state to make a major investment in a market-based preschool subsidy. So-called 'early-learning scholarships' follow children, whether they enroll in a public school pre-kindergarten or federal Head Start, which the government pays for anyway, or a private center such as New Horizon or home day care that charges fees. The scholarships, essentially pre-kindergarten vouchers, are designed to steer the most at-risk kids into the highest-quality care and reduce the achievement gap at the outset."
"The group was invited by the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, which is hoping to attract more students to apply for its $40,000 a year scholarships through the event. The foundation also supports coverage of the experiences of low-income, high-achieving students in Education Week. The first-ever gathering of these administrators also was designed to inspire participation in a new coalition to advocate for disadvantaged students and recruit more of them into selective high schools, along with supports to stay on track."
"There is a growing divide between those who earn a bachelor’s degree by age 24 and those who don’t, with the gap between the richest and poorest students doubling in the last four decades, according to a report released Tuesday."
"While colleges have expanded their reach over the past generations, higher education systems continue to replicate existing wealth inequalities, equipping too few people to fully contribute in a knowledge economy. In order for our economy to become more inclusive and therefore thrive, colleges must reframe their core missions and become poverty-fighting institutions."
"The utility announced Tuesday that the lion’s share of a $20,000 grant would help fund afterschool programs at the museum through the Boys & Girls Club of Rutland County, making it accessible to low-income families."
"There is a growing divide between who earns a bachelor's degree by age 24, with the gap between the nation's richest and poorest students doubling during the last four decades, according to a report released Tuesday. The percentage of students from the lowest-income families — those making $34,160 a year or less — earning a bachelor's degree has inched up just 3 points since 1970, rising from 6 to 9 percent by 2013. Meanwhile, college completion for students from the wealthiest families has risen dramatically, climbing from 44 to 77 percent."
"The achievement gap between middle-class and low-income students is readily evident when looking at Michigan's test scores, graduation rates and other academic outcomes. For instance, Michigan fourth-graders from low-income families were only half as likely to test proficient in math in 2013-14 compared to their middle-class and affluent peers."
"Gov. John Kasich's budget will send more money to districts with low incomes, he and aides promoting his plan are saying."
" Increase funding to public education, particularly to public schools in low-income communities: In 1997, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that the funding was unconstitutionally inequitable between more affluent and poorer school districts in Ohio. This has never been remedied. Instead, in 2011, significant cuts were made to public education across Ohio."
"More than 40 years ago, California set a goal of providing access to higher education for low and middle-income students. That goal became a reality with the passage of funding for Cal Grants, cash awards for college aid, and the application window is open through March 2."
"Sens. Mike Lee of Utah and Ted Cruz of Texas and Rep. Luke Messer of Indiana have introduced a bill that could produce positive, badly needed change in American K-12 education. The bill allows for Title 1 education funds 'to follow low-income students to any public or private school of their choice.'"
"The share of schoolkids who qualify for free or reduced lunches crossed the 50% threshold in 2013, according to a recent Southern Education Foundation report. That compares to fewer than 32% back in 1989. Students eligible for subsidized school lunches come from families who are in poverty or just above it. A child living with a single parent would qualify if the family's income was less than $28,000. A family of four would receive free or reduced lunches if their income was less than $42,600."
"When the Children’s Defense Fund went about putting together its latest report on child poverty in America, it did something new: It put a price tag on its proposals. To reduce child poverty by 60 percent in just a few years would cost $77 billion a year, it found."
Poverty clearly presents great challenges to improving our schools. More local and state funding is warranted, and we’ll continue to strongly advocate for additional wise investment. But we can’t — and we won’t — wait for someone to solve poverty. So much is already within our control, and poverty is not destiny."
"Attending a top college can be a life-changer for bright low-income kids. But many of them end up at schools with low graduation rates because they are misinformed about cost and the college experience, according to research from economics professors Caroline Hoxby of Stanford and Christopher Avery of Harvard."
"Research shows that low-income parents speak with their children less than parents in higher income brackets. By the time those children are three years old, they have heard 30 million fewer words than middle class peers. One non-profit in Colorado, Bright By Three, is trying to level the playing field."
"But surely we can all agree that no child, once born, should suffer through poverty. Surely we can all agree that working to end child poverty — or at least severely reduce it — is a moral obligation of a civilized society. And yet, 14.7 million children in this country are poor, and 6.5 million of them are extremely poor (living below half the poverty line)."
"Susanna Loeb and Ben York at Stanford’s Center for Education Policy Analysis, founded Ready4K!, a program that sends parents of preschoolers in a low-income San Francisco school district weekly tips via text message on how to improve their children’s literacy. The initiative is designed to fit within the lives of families, rather than adding yet another burden."
"Swarthmore continues to its efforts to support low-income and other disadvantaged students this semester. Shortly before the semester began, the college published a list of administrators, professors, and staff who share experiences that may resonate with these students. The college has also created a summer bridge program for underrepresented students aiming to pursue a degree in STEM fields, and allowed students with extenuating circumstances to remain on campus over break."
"Vermont spent about 15 percent of its state budget on early childhood education in 2013. A little less than half of that expense supported K-3 education, and the rest targeted the needs of younger children. But many working families still cannot afford child care, according to a new report from an early childhood advocacy group. The update on state spending comes from Building Bright Futures, a non-profit that serves as Vermont's advisory council for early education."
"Those are just two examples of what school employees here and elsewhere feel they must do to support learning, because a growing share of their students come from low-income families. In fact, according to a new analysis of federal data, for the first time slightly more than half of all American public school kids are eligible for free or reduced-price lunches."
"Even as Ohio’s private school vouchers remain dramatically underused, there appears to be no rush to re-examine their need. The state offers 60,000 EdChoice vouchers for children in struggling public schools, and fewer than one-third were used this school year, according to data released Friday by the Ohio Department of Education.
"In a sharp reversal from the recent past, the number of DPS students from higher-income families is growing faster than the number from lower-income families. The percentage of students from low-income families has been shrinking incrementally for three years now. And DPS and state officials are projecting that the new trend is here to stay for the foreseeable future."
"Kinney is one of the latest graduates of Year Up, a non-profit which helps prepare low-income young adults, ages 18-24, for corporate careers. The group provides a stipend during the one-year, intensive training program."
"U.S. student performance on international exams has fallen compared to other industrial nations in recent years, a fact policymakers and others often cite in arguing that U.S. public schools need rapid reform in order to maintain their global competitiveness.
But now two organizations are out with a new study that challenges that narrative by comparing the United States to eight other nations on a raft of socioeconomic measures. The upshot of the report is that the single-minded focus on test scores has led policymakers to overlook other important trends that affect U.S. public education, including high levels of economic inequality and social stress. Schools can’t be expected to solve these larger problems on their own, argue the study’s authors, the Horace Mann League and the National Superintendents Roundtable."