High School Graduation Rate – Indiana

Indiana graduation rates would plummet under new federal guidelines; state wants reprieve, By Arika Herron, September 21, 2017, Indianapolis Star: “Indiana’s congressional delegation is seeking a moratorium on federal guidelines that would drastically lower Indiana’s high school graduation rate. Thousands of Indiana diplomas would not count toward Indiana’s graduation rate under new rules put in place by the U.S. Department of Education and the Every Student Succeeds Act, a new federal education law…”

Elite Colleges and Low-Income Students

High-achieving, low-income students: Where elite colleges are falling short, By Elissa Nadworny, August 17, 2107, National Public Radio: “When Anna Neuman was applying to college, there weren’t a lot of people around to help her. Students from her high school in Maryland rarely went on to competitive colleges, the school counselor worked at several different schools and was hard to pin down for meetings and neither of her parents had been through the application process before…”

Youth Job Training and Education

  • Seeing hope for flagging economy, West Virginia revamps vocational track, By Dana Goldstein, August 10, 2017, New York Times: “In a sleek laboratory at Marshall University last month, four high school teachers hunched over a miniature steam-electric boiler, a tabletop replica of the gigantic machinery found in power plants. They hooked the boiler to a small, whirring generator and tinkered with valves and knobs, looking for the most efficient way to turn coal, natural gas, nuclear or solar energy into electricity. The teachers, who were attending a summer training program, are helping West Virginia in another kind of transformation. Long one of the poorest states, it is now leading the way in turning vocational education from a Plan B for underachieving students into what policy makers hope will be a fuel source for the state’s economic revival…”
  • ‘Millennial Bill’ could help at-risk youth secure jobs, By Donna Owens, July 29, 2017, NBC News: “Taj Jackson dreamed of college after graduating from a Maryland high school in 2014, but didn’t think his family—headed by a single mother who worked multiple jobs—could afford it. Then they both learned about a national nonprofit called `Year Up.’ It provides young adults in urban communities with skills training, work experience, educational opportunities and mentoring, aimed at helping them achieve professional careers within a year…”

School Meal Programs – Omaha, NE

OPS won’t expand free-lunch-for-all program to more schools, citing concerns over possible loss of aid, By Erin Duffy, July 18, 2017, Omaha World-Herald: “All students at six Omaha elementary schools have been able to eat free lunches for the past year and a half as part of a federal program intended to combat hunger at high-poverty schools. But the pilot program won’t be expanded to more of the Omaha district’s schools in the coming school year because of worries that it could affect the level of school funding the district receives…”

Achievement Gap

  • Where poor students are top of the class, By Lauren Camera, June 20, 2017, US News: “Children in schools dotting the districts along the Rio Grande River in Texas are overwhelmingly poor and Hispanic, and many of them are still learning English – all indicators associated with low academic achievement. But in a handful of cities there, students are bucking that assumption by performing just as well, and in some cases better, than their wealthier peers…”
  • Is California’s investment in needy students paying off? Few signs indicate achievement gap is closing, By Jessica Calefati, June 22, 2017, KQED: “California’s new system for funding public education has pumped tens of billions of extra dollars into struggling schools, but there’s little evidence yet that the investment is helping the most disadvantaged students. A CALmatters analysis of the biggest districts with the greatest clusters of needy children found limited success with the policy’s goal: to close the achievement gap between these students and their more privileged peers. Instead, results in most of those places show the gap is growing…”

Staffing at High-Poverty Schools

Teachers are bailing out of high-poverty schools. Some say that needs to change, By T. Keung Hui, June 16, 2017, News & Observer: “By the time most Wake County students return to class in August, a fifth of their teachers will likely have either changed schools in Wake or left the school district entirely. The annual turnover among Wake’s 10,000 teachers creates challenges in which beginning teachers get more lower-scoring students than experienced educators do – and high-poverty schools have higher teacher turnover. Now school leaders want to re-examine how teachers are assigned and allowed to transfer between schools…”

Free Tuition Plan – Michigan

University of Michigan to offer free tuition to some in-state students, By David Jesse, June 15, 2017, Detroit Free Press: “Sitting in the Michigan Union, doing some studying before heading off to her retail job in downtown Ann Arbor, Kate Meyers was unaware that her financial plans for the next several years had just changed. Meyer, 20, of Grand Rapids, is about to get her University of Michigan tuition paid for. She is one of thousands of current students and a lot more future students who won’t have to pay tuition to attend the Ann Arbor school, thanks to the new Go Blue Guarantee unveiled by the school Thursday and approved by the board…”

News & Observer Series on Low-income Students in Gifted Classes

Counted Out, series homepage, News & Observer: “North Carolina’s public schools are failing to help thousands of low-income children who have shown they are smart enough to handle advanced work. An unprecedented analysis of seven years of state data shows that a far larger proportion of more affluent students are selected for gifted classes over their low-income peers with the same end-of-grade test scores…”

Medicaid Spending to School Districts

Schools brace for impact if Congress cuts Medicaid spending, By Sally Ho and Carolyn Thompson (AP), May 14, 2017, Arizona Daily Star: “For school districts still getting their financial footing after the Great Recession, the Medicaid changes being advanced as part of the health-care overhaul are sounding familiar alarms. Administrators say programming and services even beyond those that receive funding from the state-federal health care program could be at risk should Congress follow through with plans to change the way Medicaid is distributed. They say any reduction in the estimated $4 billion schools receive in annual Medicaid reimbursements would be hard to absorb after years of reduced state funding and a weakened tax base…”

States and Job Training

Why some states are making short-term training free, By Sophie Quinton, May 3, 2017, Stateline: “Community colleges are known for their associate degree programs. But these days, many community colleges award more certificates than degrees. Certificates typically take less than two years to complete and promise to prepare students for entry-level jobs in fields such as medical insurance coding or welding. Now Kentucky and Indiana have created scholarships that would make some certificates tuition-free. The new grants draw inspiration from the free college idea pushed by Democrats like former President Barack Obama and embraced by Oregon, Tennessee and New York. But they’re less focused on reducing soaring tuition prices and more focused on training students for jobs that are sitting open…”

School Voucher Programs

Nation’s only federally funded voucher program has negative effect on student achievement, study finds, By Emma Brown and Mandy McLaren, April 27, 2017, Washington Post: “Students in the nation’s only federally funded school voucher initiative performed worse on standardized tests within a year after entering D.C. private schools than peers who did not participate, according to a new federal analysis that comes as President Trump is seeking to pour billions of dollars into expanding the private school scholarships nationwide.  The study, released Thursday by the Education Department’s research division, follows several other recent studies of state-funded vouchers in Louisiana, Indiana and Ohio that suggested negative effects on student achievement…”

Early Childhood Education

How child care enriches mothers, and especially the sons they raise, By Claire Cain Miller, April 20, 2017, New York Times: “As many American parents know, hiring care for young children during the workday is punishingly expensive, costing the typical family about a third of its income. Helping parents pay for that care would be expensive for society, too. Yet recent studies show that of any policy aimed to help struggling families, aid for high-quality care has the biggest economic payoff for parents and their children — and even their grandchildren. It has the biggest positive effect on women’s employment and pay. It’s especially helpful for low-income families, because it can propel generations of children toward increased earnings, better jobs, improved health, more education and decreased criminal activity as adults…”

New York Free College Tuition Program

New York’s free-tuition program will help traditional, but not typical, students, By David W. Chen, April 11, 2017, New York Times: “The program to provide free tuition for students at New York State’s public colleges and universities passed on Friday by the Legislature has been hailed as a breakthrough and a model for other states that will change the lives of students at public colleges across the state. The Excelsior Scholarship, as the program is called, is expected to cut the cost of a degree from a four-year State University of New York college — now almost $83,000 for tuition, fees and room and board — by about $26,000 for an eligible family making $100,000 a year. That is a substantial reduction, but still means paying about $57,000 over four years…”

High School Graduation Exams – Ohio

Will Ohio’s new high-school graduation exams doom poor kids to failure?, By Bill Bush and Catherine Candisky, April 9, 2017, Columbus Dispatch: “It sounded like a good idea three years ago when state government leaders instituted new graduation exams to make sure kids were prepared for college or a job. That is, until last fall, when state officials began to look at the sobering number of kids who could be denied a high-school diploma next year when the new requirements are to take effect. Some districts and charter schools could see graduation rates plunge by as much as 70 percent, particularly those serving poor minority students. Some charters might not graduate a single student, according to projections compiled by the Ohio Department of Education in response to a superintendents’ march at the Statehouse…”

Early Childhood Education – Milwaukee, WI

Milwaukee Educare helps low-income preschoolers learn by connecting with parents, By Rachel Morello, April 12, 2017, Milwaukee Public Radio: “Close your eyes and picture a preschool classroom. What do you see? Chances are what you envision is probably pretty close to what you’ll find in an Educare classroom.  Educare is an early childhood program that targets children aged 6 weeks to 5 years, who come from low-income families. It’s an offshoot of Head Start, one of the most prominent, publicly-funded early childhood programs in the country…”

States and College Financial Aid

These states give more grant aid to college students in need than the feds, By Danielle Douglas-Gabriel, March 3, 2017, Washington Post: “California, Wyoming and New Jersey provide more aid to low-income college students than the largest federal grant program does, new research shows, but most states give far less.  The study from the University of California at Berkeley documents major differences among states in how much they aid students in financial need.

High School Graduation Rates

  • Minnesota high school graduation rates show narrowing achievement gap, By Beena Raghavendran and Beatrice Dupuy, February 24, 2017, Star Tribune: “Graduation rates for black students at Minnesota high schools rose 3 percentage points in 2016, a sign of progress in narrowing the achievement gap between white students and students of color, according to data released Thursday by the state Department of Education.  While the black students’ gains were most pronounced, the graduation rate for all students also continued along a slow upward trend. Across Minnesota, 82.2 percent of last year’s senior class graduated within four years — the highest overall rate recorded by the department…”
  • How Boston achieved its record high school graduation rate, By Josh Kenworthy, March 3, 2017, Christian Science Monitor: “Dante Omorogbe might sound like any other school kid rattling off his grades: ‘A – for senior math, A- in Algebra …,’ but for the 21-year-old senior, they mean so much more.  Mr. Omorogbe originally was set to graduate in 2014. That was until, after a fight with his dad, he was ‘tossed’ out on the street. Eventually, his grandmother took him in for a while, but with her working during the day, Omorogbe needed to care for his gravely ill grandfather. School eventually became too much, so he dropped it…”

School Breakfast Programs – New Jersey

More than half of low-income children get breakfast in school in NJ, By Diane D’Amico, February 14, 2017, Press of Atlantic City: “Almost 268,000 low-income children in New Jersey got free or reduced-price breakfast in the last school year, a 6 percent increase from the year before, according to a national report. But breakfast is still not readily available to every child eligible to receive it.  The annual School Breakfast Scorecard, released Tuesday by the Food Research and Action Center, shows New Jersey improved its national ranking from 23rd in 2014-15 to 19th in 2015-16…”