Education and Poverty News
"The topic of poverty was examined through group discussion and analysis Thursday afternoon in the Gordon Parks Museum at Fort Scott Community College. About 30 people attended a free workshop entitled 'Bridges out of Poverty' inside the Danny and Willa Ellis Family Fine Arts Center to learn more about the hidden rules of poverty, middle class and wealth in order to have a better understanding of the driving forces behind the three socioeconomic classes."
"As selective colleges try to increase economic diversity among their undergraduates, the University of Chicago announced Wednesday that it's embarking on an unusual effort to enroll more low-income students, including the elimination of loans in its aid packages. What's more, the elite school will no longer expect financial-aid students to hold jobs during the school year and application fees will be waived for families seeking aid. The initiative includes scholarships, career guidance and a guarantee of paid summer internships, officials said as they announced the No Barriers program. The university will offer more than 100 workshops across the nation to demystify the admissions and financial aid process."
"The U.S. Department of Education has given the University of Alabama at Birmingham a $47 million grant for the Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs, which aims to increase the rate of low-income high school students who are prepared to enter a level of higher education."
"With elite colleges under growing pressure to enroll more low-income students, the University of Chicago is taking a series of rare steps to make applying faster, simpler and cheaper, and to make studying there more affordable. The package of measures, to be announced Wednesday, includes several that are highly unusual, like eliminating the expectation that low- and middle-income students take jobs during the academic year, guaranteeing them paid summer internships after their first year in college and providing them career counseling beginning in that first year."
"New state ratings reveal that dozens of Minneapolis and St. Paul schools are among the lowest-performing schools in Minnesota and are failing to close the achievement gap between white and minority students. Statewide, education officials identified 155 struggling schools. The ratings signal which schools are performing poorly and which are beating the odds among those that accept federal poverty money."
"Research from Rice University academics Todd Risley and Betty Hart found that, by age 3, children from low-income families hear, on average, 30 million fewer words than their peers growing up in more affluent homes. This word gap - and related social and emotional skill deficits - become the achievement gap when children born into poverty enter kindergarten at a severe disadvantage and never catch up. Substandard urban K-12 public education perpetuates this tragedy, increasing the risk of dropping out - the surest way to ensure that a child fails to join society's mainstream as an adult."
"With the deadline for high school seniors to enroll in Gov. Bill Haslam’s first-in-the-nation offer of a free two-year postsecondary education now one month away, a report by 24/7 Wall Street shows how urgent and absolutely essential Tennessee Promise is to the state."
"Under the program, nonprofit organizations can collect donations from businesses to fund scholarships that would move low-income children from public schools with low test scores to private schools. The businesses would receive a tax credit that subtracts 70 percent of the amount they donated off their bill for state corporate income tax, privilege tax (for financial institutions) or premium tax (for insurance companies)."
"According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 128,531 Montanans were in the SNAP program last year. A family of two must earn less than 11,293 monthly to qualify. There's no comprehensive data to show how many college students struggle with food insecurity. An increasing body of anecdotal and numeric evidence, however, suggests that it is becoming a more pressing problem. A study conducted by Oregon State University researchers in 2011 found 59 percent of OSU students interviewed went hungry at some point the year prior."
"A record number of homeless students were enrolled in US public schools last year, according to new numbers released Monday by the Department of Education. The data - which most experts say underreport the actual number of homeless children in America - showed that nearly 1.3 million homeless children and teens were enrolled in schools in the 2012-13 school year, an 8 percent increase from the previous school year."
"Perhaps the saddest result of poverty is how it affects children, a situation spotlighted in the recent News article showing that more than half of Buffalo's children live in poverty. It is disturbing to think that many of these children face a lifelong struggle just to get by. There is no single solution to poverty. But there are paths that can break the cycle of poverty. These include Buffalo Promise Neighborhood, Say Yes to Education and the Buffalo Arts and Technology Center, which will train the unemployed and underemployed in skills geared toward jobs at the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus."
"Recent data from the United States Census has shown that Youngstown is the city with the highest poverty rate in Ohio, standing at 40.2 percent, with 63.3 percent of these impoverished being children. Youngstown is devastatingly below the national average. The Youngstown City Schools provide students with one free breakfast and lunch a day, and other schools throughout the Mahoning Valley offer programs that help with the situation. Beatitude House, an organization that helps to create homes for women with children who are in need and promotes education, is one of the many organizations in Youngstown that are helping to combat childhood poverty."
"Forget that more than half the homeless population is employed. Forget that we have created a world of few second chances; where a drug conviction from 20 years ago can mean the difference on whether or not a person qualifies for housing or food assistance. Forget that the very act of being homeless is illegal and that states such as Alabama tend to fund incarceration over rehabilitation. Yeah, the numbers must surely be wrong … how could a state like Alabama, where 20 percent of its population lives below the federal poverty line, see a dramatic increase in homeless students? That’s just crazy talk."
"As another round of state report-card data in Ohio shows a significant performance gap between low-income and wealthier districts, one key state lawmaker says it's time for Ohio to get serious about addressing the 'crisis.' No matter what measure is used - performance index, proficiency scores, ACT scores - the latest results are clear: Poverty rates continue to have a direct, negative link to Ohio student achievement."
"Poverty was a driving factor in whether Ohio school districts succeeded or struggled on their most recent report cards, according to state education groups. District scores in the performance index category - which measures student performance on state tests - closely followed the percent of students in a district that are labeled economically disadvantaged, according to a study by the Ohio School Boards Association, Buckeye Association of School Administrators and the Ohio Association of School Business Officials."
"A similar pattern has emerged in test scores and student achievement across not just this district, but urban districts across the country. Research shows that students from low-income households more often enter school already behind their counterparts. They can be one or two grades behind, meaning those students may need to grow a year and a half for every year they're in school to be on grade level by the end of third grade."
"The idea behind a course on poverty, Blair says, is to teach students to be more empathetic. A growing movement in higher education (and even in elementary and secondary schools), is pushing to engage students in understanding poverty. But can empathy for the poor be taught as a life skill, like freshman writing or biology 101?"
"Such a dilemma points to the need for a more comprehensive child-care policy to replace the inadequate patchwork of programs that has evolved. We funnel some money to low-income families for child care; that is an important support, particularly when we require parents to work or lose benefits. But funds are insufficient to meet the needs of all eligible families, and there are not enough child-care slots, especially during off-hours or for those who have erratic work schedules, as is the case for many low-wage workers."
"Like trying to count the revolving number of people who sleep under freeways and in doorways, gauging the number of Bay Area students who are homeless isn't easy to pin down. But their numbers are on the rise in California and some Bay Area counties, according to a report released earlier this week by the California Homeless Youth Project. California's homeless student population grew from about 220,700 in 2011 to nearly 270,000 in 2013 -- or about 4 percent of all students -- double the national average."
"Twenty-nine of 50 eligible schools in Vermont have chosen to participate in this program, according to the governor's office. The program is part of the federal Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, Concannon said. The 'Community Eligibility Provision' of that law has already been introduced in several states but this year opened to all 50 states. Schools qualify if they have a high number of children whose family income is 185 percent or less of the federal poverty level (for a family of four that means $23,850) and if they have a high percentage of children whose family income has been verified through another state or federal program, such as ReachUp or food stamps, Concannon said."
"Thousands of public school children in Fresno County are homeless and living in hotels or motels, shelters, doubling up with family or on the street, according to a study released Wednesday. The situation is even worse in Los Angeles, which has the highest number of homeless students in the state. In Trinity County, the percentage of homeless children is highest and growing, the report said."
"Oregon high schools made near-zero progress at getting more students prepared for college and careers last school year, according to test scores released Wednesday. Statewide, 30 percent of high school juniors failed the high school math test, 16 percent failed the reading test and 41 percent failed the writing test. Passing rates were essentially unchanged from the low levels achieved in 2013, and the wide gaps separating minority, low-income and limited-English students from the rest did not narrow."
"Roughly 100 students on Mesa's campus are registered as Homeless or Former Foster Youth. These students, who struggle to finance their basic needs along with their academic expenses, frequently find themselves living in their cars and showering at the gym."
“University System of Maryland schools have had mixed success in improving the graduation rates of minority and low-income students, according to an annual progress report released this week. Some colleges, including the University of Maryland, College Park and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, have been able to boost minority and low-income achievement. But at other schools, the gaps between those students and middle-class whites have increased in recent years.”
“The poverty rate in Steuben County is 16.2 percent; over 5,600 children (25.2 percent) in Steuben County live in poverty. Forty-eight percent of public school children in Steuben County are eligible for free or reduced lunch. A Poverty Simulation is a realistic portrayal of living in a low-income household for one month. Participants face the challenges that millions of Americans face as they attempt to keep their home safe, the utilities on, their medications current, their kids in school and fed. The simulation helps participants understand that poverty is about a lack of resources such as support systems, positive relationships, and role models, having the mental abilities and acquired skills to deal effectively with everyday life.”