Education and Poverty News
"First-generation and low-income students thrive at small and midsize private colleges and are more likely to graduate than if they attended a public or large private university, a report by the group representing those institutions says."
"Midway Independent School District’s board of trustees Tuesday unanimously approved a letter stating that it does not support a proposed low-income housing development near Woodgate Intermediate School, claiming the complex, coupled with a new D.R. Horton subdivision in the same attendance zone, could strain the district’s resources."
"The state treasurer is proposing lowering sales and property tax rates and creating a state income tax to pay for education. The legislature was ordered by the state supreme court to come up with a plan by the end of the current legislative session to fully fund K-12 education as mandated by the state constitution."
"Somerset County is one of the best places in the state for children, according to the latest annual Kids Count report released Monday. For the second year in a row, Somerset County was ranked No. 3 in the report, which measures the state's 21 counties in 13 categories, including poverty, health, safety and education. Nearby Morris and Hunterdon counties finished ahead of Somerset."
"Teenagers drop out of high school for all sorts of reasons: lack of motivation, little support from parents, poor academic performance. But for some low-income students, the decision to leave is purely economic. Many are going to work so they can make money to help their families."
"Kids on the lower rungs of the socioeconomic ladder typically end up with less educational material to work with and subsequently fall behind once they start school. A new study, however, has found a common smartphone app may help parents bring their kids back up to to speed — at least when it comes to reading."
"A new study led by researchers at MIT and Harvard University offers another dimension to this so-called 'achievement gap': After imaging the brains of high- and low-income students, they found that the higher-income students had thicker brain cortex in areas associated with visual perception and knowledge accumulation. Furthermore, these differences also correlated with one measure of academic achievement—performance on standardized tests."
"The borrowers struggling the most to pay off their student debt are exactly the people that student loans are designed to help. Regardless of whether they left school in 2005, 2007 or 2009, low-income borrowers were more likely than their wealthier counterparts to default or be at least 120 days delinquent on their payments within five years of graduation, according to data released Thursday by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York."
"New research that shows poor children have smaller brains than affluent children has deepened the national debate about ways to narrow the achievement gap. Neuroscientists who studied the brain scans of nearly 1,100 children and young adults nationwide from ages 3 to 20 found that the surface area of the cerebral cortex was linked to family income. They discovered that the brains of children in families that earned less than $25,000 a year had surface areas 6 percent smaller than those whose families earned $150,000 or more. The poor children also scored lower on average on a battery of cognitive tests."
"But the state isn't appropriating enough money for the program to help hundreds of parents in 2016. Preschool Open Doors faces a $6 million funding cut."
"A recent study published by the Hamilton Project, an economic research project, found that while education can propel Americans from the lower class to the middle class, there is little evidence education reduces the gap between the middle class and the wealthiest citizens, reported Education News."
"There is a profound and widening excellence gap: a measurable difference between lower-income and higher-income students who reach and remain at 'advanced' levels of academic performance. It’s not just that rich kids test 'advanced' at a higher rate; the problem is that kids who test 'advanced' and are poor tend to backslide the longer they stay in the public schools, don’t graduate at the same rate as other smart kids and don’t go on to graduate school in comparable percentages."
"A new report from the Boston Globe says that low-income students who attend Ivy League colleges on full scholarships sometimes have a difficult time fitting in."
"But receiving a full scholarship to an Ivy League school, while a transformative experience for the nation’s poorest students, is only the first hurdle. Once on campus, students report feelings of loneliness, alienation, and plummeting self-confidence. Having grant money for tuition and fees and holding down jobs, too, as virtually all of them do, doesn’t translate to having the pocket money to keep up with free-spending peers. And some disadvantaged students feel they don’t have a right to complain to peers or administrators about anything at all; they don’t want to be perceived as ungrateful."
"Socioeconomic integration is a more significant factor in the success of low-income students than all the academic efforts and school resources combined. Low-income students perform better and can close the achievement gap with their more affluent peers when they attend low-poverty schools."
"Low-income college students have challenges beyond tuition, room and board. They can have trouble paying for food. A group called First Generation Low Income Partnership, or FLIP, is trying to change that."
"College students in need would continue to have access to state grants under a compromise lawmakers reached Thursday over how Nebraska should use its lottery proceeds over the next five years. If the deal survives two more rounds of voting by the Legislature and is approved by the governor, it would essentially hold funding steady for the Nebraska Opportunity Grant, which provided an average of about $1,000 to nearly 16,000 students enrolled in Nebraska colleges and universities last year."
"Catharine Hill, who became president of Vassar in 2006, has a background in economics focused on college accessibility. One of the biggest changes she made was to dedicate more funding to need-based financial aid. In 2007, she also moved the school back to a need-blind admissions process, meaning that a students' financial background is not a factor in whether they are admitted. The school worked with Questbridge, a nonprofit organization that connects motivated low-income students to selective colleges."
"Amidst our platitudes and promises of equity and justice, there are some pretty clear-cut reasons why low-income students are dropping out, failing out, or never even starting college. And although there is no silver bullet, it becomes painfully hard to throw our hands up in the air in the face of so many simple and solvable barriers."
"In the latest of a series of studies, a research organization has found that many students in middle-class schools in Michigan fail to meet or exceed proficiency standards. The study is titled 'Not as Good as You Think: Why Michigan Parents Should Be Concerned about Their Local Schools,' and is authored by Lance Izumi of the Pacific Research Institute. He says middle-class students often fare no better than their counterparts in low-income, urban public schools."
"Food pantries, where students in need can stock up on groceries and basic supplies, started cropping up on campuses in large numbers after the recession began in 2007. More than 200 U.S. colleges, mostly public institutions, now operate pantries, and more are on the way, even as the economy rebounds."
"Vassar College is the inaugural recipient of an annual $1-million award given to the college that most successfully admits and graduates low-income students, the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation announced Tuesday."
"Atlanta city officials say they're planning to offer a federally-supported program to provide meals to low-income children during summer break from school."
"Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval's proposal to help lower-income students afford private schools passed the Nevada Senate in party-line vote on Tuesday and is now headed to his desk for final approval. Senators approved AB165, which proponents say will help students leave lower-achieving schools and attend one of the estimated 200 private schools in the state that might be financially out of reach."
"But at the same time, the university's Board of Trustees has voted to increase tuition by at least 3 percent every year for the last 10 years – or a roughly 47 percent increase since the 2005-06 school year. In doing so, the university funds its financial aid initiative in part from the tuition revenue wealthy student bring in. It also has a $21 billion endowment, and a portion of the returns each year goes toward university operations."