Colleges and Low-Income Students

  • Are colleges doing enough to support low-income students?, By Lucy Schouten, March 24, 2016, Christian Science Monitor: “Breaking the cycle of poverty can start with admission to college, but it doesn’t end with just getting in.  A report by the US Department of Education describes practical strategies for the federal government, states, and the institutions themselves to help with recruiting – and graduating – students from low-income backgrounds…”
  • A new approach to increasing low-income college grads, By Amy Scott, March 24, 2016, Marketplace: “Just over a decade ago, low-income students at Georgia State University graduated at barely half the rate of other students. Today that gap is closed, thanks to initiatives like more intensive advising and grants of as little as $300 to cover unmet financial need.  Meanwhile, the ASAP program at City University of New York nearly doubled completion rates for community college students, by giving them more academic support…”
  • Do financial aid policies make paying for college harder for some?, By Corey Fedde, March 18, 2016, Christian Science Monitor: “College is getting more expensive – especially for low income students.  On Tuesday, a study released findings that low income students face significant challenges meeting the financial requirements to attend many private universities and an increasing number of public universities, despite financial aid.  The study was the third report in a multi-year series from The New America Foundation’s Education Policy Program. Together, the studies suggest the issue is getting worse…”

Economic Mobility – Charlotte, NC

Where children rarely escape poverty, By Emily DeRuy and Janie Boschma, March 7, 2016, The Atlantic: “Charlotte, North Carolina, wants to change its status as one of the worst places in the United States for poor children to have a shot at getting ahead as adults. If the city succeeds, its efforts may offer a roadmap for other major metro areas gripped by barriers such as concentrated poverty and school segregation. Improving schools, particularly how they serve poor black and Latino children, will be a crucial piece in the fight to reduce inequity. Right now, the percentage of children in Charlotte attending schools where at least half the students are poor varies significantly by race…”

College Students and Food Insecurity

Colleges beginning to address the issue of student hunger, By Bill Schackner, March 7, 2016, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: “Matt Armento’s first trip to the food pantry on the Community College of Allegheny County’s South Campus was as a sophomore volunteering to hand out pasta, canned goods and fruit to other students just scraping by. Honors students at CCAC South had decided that their service project would be to staff the pantry during its soft opening last fall. An honors student himself, Mr. Armento was there to join them. But in reality, he was facing the same financial pressures that had brought his peers there for assistance. So when the pantry held its grand opening this semester, he came back — this time as a recipient…”

Low-Income Households and Internet Access

  • Bridging a digital divide that leaves schoolchildren behind, By Cecilia Kang, February 22, 2016, New York Times: “At 7 p.m. on a recent Wednesday, Isabella and Tony Ruiz were standing in their usual homework spot, on a crumbling sidewalk across the street from the elementary school nearest to their home. ‘I got it. I’m going to download,’ Isabella said to her brother Tony as they connected to the school’s wireless hot spot and watched her teacher’s math guide slowly appear on the cracked screen of the family smartphone. Isabella, 11, and Tony, 12, were outside the school because they have no Internet service at home — and connectivity is getting harder. With their mother, Maria, out of work for months and money coming only from their father, Isaias, who washes dishes, the family had cut back on almost everything, including their cellphone data plan. So every weeknight, the siblings stood outside the low-slung school, sometimes for hours, to complete homework for the sixth grade…”
  • F.C.C. fine-tunes plan to subsidize internet access, By Cecilia Kang, March 8, 2016, New York Times: “People who do not have regular access to the Internet can fall behind in school, at work and in other everyday tasks. The Federal Communications Commission is close to what it hopes will be a solution to address that gap: $9.25 a month. The agency on Tuesday will circulate a final proposal to F.C.C. members to approve a broadband subsidy of $9.25 a month for low-income households, in the government’s boldest effort to date to narrow a technological divide that has emerged between those who have web access and those who do not. While more than 95 percent of households with incomes over $150,000 have high-speed Internet at home, just 48 percent of those making less than $25,000 can afford the service, the F.C.C.’s chairman, Tom Wheeler, has said…”

Racial Achievement Gap and High-Poverty Schools

The concentration of poverty in American schools, By Janie Boschman and Ronald Brownstein, February 29, 2016, The Atlantic: “In almost all major American cities, most African American and Hispanic students attend public schools where a majority of their classmates qualify as poor or low-income, a new analysis of federal data shows. This systemic economic and racial isolation looms as a huge obstacle for efforts to make a quality education available to all American students. Researchers have found that the single-most powerful predictor of racial gaps in educational achievement is the extent to which students attend schools surrounded by other low-income students…”

Pre-Kindergarten – Indianapolis, IN

Indy pre-K shatters goals, setting up funding fight in 2017, By Brian Eason, March 1, 2016, Indianapolis Star: “A pilot program offering prekindergarten scholarships to low-income families in Indianapolis is shattering expectations, but not entirely in a good way. The good news, relayed last week at a City-County Council committee hearing, is that just one year into the five-year program, the public-private partnership already has secured $33.2 million of its $50 million goal. The bad? That initial goal will only pay for less than a third of the demand…”

High-Poverty Schools – Dallas, TX

Dallas ISD to ask city for help integrating high-poverty schools, By Tawnell D. Hobbs and Holly D. Hacker, February 16, 2016, Dallas Morning News: “Dallas ISD wants to try something radical this fall: Open a school where half the kids are poor and half aren’t. It’s radical because the vast majority of DISD schools are high poverty. Campuses with socioeconomic diversity are few and far between. Many middle- and upper-class families have left DISD over the years for private or suburban schools. To succeed, Dallas ISD will have to lure more students from families with more money back to district schools. Research shows that poor children do much better when they learn alongside wealthier peers…”

Stateline’s State of the States Report

State of the States 2016, January 25, 2016, Stateline: “Stateline’s annual State of the States series looks at some of the pressing issues state lawmakers are facing as they begin their work this month. The five-part series includes analytical articles, infographics and interactives…”

National School Lunch Program

Obama’s plan to give free lunches to millions more kids, By Roberto A. Ferdman, January 27, 2016, Washington Post: “The Obama administration will announce new plans Wednesday to launch a pilot program aimed at increasing poor children’s access to food through the National School Lunch Program. The pilot program will allow participating states to use Medicaid data to automatically certify students for free and reduced-price school lunches. Currently, families have to submit an application — a laborious process for parents and a costly one for schools — even when they have already proven that they are income-eligible through their participation in other government assistance programs…”

Young Black Men and Unemployment – Chicago, IL

Nearly half of young black men in Chicago out of work, out of school: report, By Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz, January 25, 2016, Chicago Tribune: “Nearly half of young black men in Chicago are neither in school nor working, a staggering statistic in a bleak new youth unemployment report that shows Chicago to be far worse off than its big-city peers. To 24-year-old Johnathan Allen, that’s no surprise. ‘It’s right there in your face, you don’t need statistics,’ Allen said as he testified before a room full of lawmakers and public officials Monday at an annual hearing about youth unemployment, where the report was presented. He encouraged everyone to walk down the street and witness how joblessness devastates communities…”

Income and College Attendance – Ohio

New state report cards show how college readiness and attendance rise with affluence, plummet with poverty, By Patrick O’Donnell, January 20, 2016, Cleveland Plain Dealer: “New state report card data shows a predictable pattern of how poverty is related to lower college attendance and lower scores on college admissions tests – poor school districts do poorly and affluent districts do well. The Plain Dealer and the Ohio School Boards Association each compared school district poverty rates to college enrollment and readiness data on the state report cards. Across multiple measures, the consistent pattern is that success rates are high when a district’s poverty is low, and low when poverty levels are high…”

High School Graduation Rate – New York City

New York City’s high school graduation rate tops 70%, By Elizabeth A. Harris, January 11, 2016, New York Times: “As New York State officials met on Monday to consider changes to high school graduation requirements, the state announced that the graduation rate inched up last year, with New York City’s edging above 70 percent for the first time. Despite that increase, white students remained far more likely to receive a diploma than black or Hispanic students. And high school graduation remained out of reach for many students with disabilities…”

Staffing at High-Poverty Schools

Study: Low-scoring teachers tend to work in schools with high poverty rates, By Juan Perez Jr., January 12, 2016, Chicago Tribune: “Elementary schoolteachers who scored lowest on Chicago Public Schools’ job performance evaluations were more likely to work at schools serving the city’s most disadvantaged students, an educational think tank concludes in a report released Tuesday.  In observational evaluations and ‘value-added’ evaluations that adjust for the socioeconomic status of the student body, more teachers who received the lowest scores worked in schools with the ‘highest levels of poverty,’ according to the University of Chicago Consortium on School Research…”

Racial Achievement Gap – Wisconsin

Wisconsin’s racial achievement gap widens, By Abigail Becker, December 16, 2015, Appleton Post-Crescent: “When Madison Memorial High School sophomore Demitrius Kigeya solves math problems in his head, other students give him surprised looks. He believes it is because he is black.  ‘I just pay attention in class and do my homework,’ said Kigeya, 15.  Odoi Lassey, 16, a junior, echoed Kigeya’s feelings. ‘People don’t expect you to know anything,’ explained Lassey, who, like Kigeya, is a high academic performer, plays on the high school soccer team and is active in Memorial’s Black Student Union. ‘It’s almost as if you know something, they think you’re weird or you’re acting white … some people think you’re not black just because you try to help yourself out and do well in school.’  The negative stereotype that follows students such as Kigeya and Lassey is rooted in Wisconsin’s dismal racial academic achievement record…”

Early Childhood Experiences

  • Only in America: Four years into life, poor kids are already an entire year behind, By Roberto A. Ferdman, December 17, 2015, Washington Post: “Wealthy parents aren’t just able to send their kids to top pre-schools—they can also purchase the latest learning technology and ensure their children experience as many museums, concerts and other cultural experiences as possible. Low-income parents, on the other hand, don’t have that opportunity. Instead, they’re often left to face the reality of sending their kids to schools without having had the chance to provide an edifying experience at home.  That might sound foreboding if not hyperbolic, but it’s a serious and widespread problem in the United States, where poor kids enter school already a year behind the kids of wealthier parents. That deficit is among the largest in the developed world, and it can be extraordinarily difficult to narrow later in life…”
  • Class differences in child-rearing are on the rise, By Claire Cain Miller, December 17, 2015, New York Times: “The lives of children from rich and poor American families look more different than they have in decades.  Well-off families are ruled by calendars, with children enrolled in ballet, soccer and after-school programs, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. There are usually two parents, who spend a lot of time reading to children and worrying about their anxiety levels and hectic schedules.  In poor families, however, children tend to spend their time at home or with extended family, the survey found. They are more likely to grow up in neighborhoods that their parents say aren’t great for raising children, and their parents worry about them getting shot, beaten up or in trouble with the law…”

US High School Graduation Rate

  • US high school graduation rate ticks up to 82 percent, By Jennifer C. Kerr (AP), December 15, 2015, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: “The U.S. high school graduation rate inched up to 82 percent and the achievement gap narrowed, according to new federal data that raise concern among education officials and others that too many students still aren’t getting a diploma. The latest figures released Tuesday by the Education Department showed wide disparities in graduation rates according to where students live. Leading the way was Iowa, with a graduation rate of nearly 91 percent. The District of Columbia had the lowest rate, 61 percent…”
  • High school graduation rate hits all-time high; 82 percent finish on time, By Lyndsey Layton, December 15, 2015, Washington Post: “The national high school graduation rate hit an all-time high in 2013-2014, with 82 percent of students earning a diploma on time, according to federal data released Tuesday.  The data shows that every category of student — broken down by race, income, learning disabilities and whether they are English-language learners — has posted annual progress in graduation rates since 2010, when states adopted a uniform method of calculating those rates…”

State funding for K-12 Education

Report: Most states providing less K-12 funding than before Great Recession, By Valerie Strauss, December 13, 2015, Washington Post: “A new report on public school funding across the country finds that most states are now providing less support per K-12 student than before the 2007-2009 Great Recession — and that some states continue to cut funding…”

Achievement Gap

  • Achievement gap in D.C. starts in infancy, report shows, By Michael Alison Chandler, December 10, 2015, Washington Post: “The District is a national leader in providing universal access to preschool for 4- and 5-year olds, an investment designed to improve school readiness and narrow a a rich-poor achievement gap that is apparent by kindergarten.  But, according to a new report produced by Child Trends and commissioned by the Bainum Family Foundation, the achievement gap starts much earlier — in infancy — and the city isn’t prepared to deal with it…”
  • Black students struggling more in Michigan than other states, according to report, By Jonathan Oosting, December 10, 2015, MLive.com: “African-American students are further behind their peers in Michigan than in most other states, according to a new report from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation.  African American students are disproportionally impacted by shortcomings in the national education system, according to the report, which points to ongoing struggles to improve outcomes for minority students and close achievement gaps…”
  • Minority students make gains, but achievement gap remains, By Mary Niederberger, December 10, 2015, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: “While there has been some improvement in academic achievement among African-American students since the early 1990s, overall performance levels remain critically low nationally, and Pennsylvania’s results fall below national averages. That information was contained in the report ‘The Path Forward: Improving Opportunities For African-American Students,’ released today by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and the NAACP…”

Staffing at High-Poverty Schools

High-poverty schools often staffed by rotating cast of substitutes, By Emma Brown, December 4, 2015, Washington Post: “Mya Alford dreams of studying chemical engineering in college, but the high school junior is at a disadvantage: Last year, her chemistry teacher at Pittsburgh’s Westinghouse Academy quit just weeks after school started, and the class was taught by a substitute who, as Alford put it, ‘didn’t know chemistry.’  The year before, there was no permanent biology teacher until December. Students at Westinghouse, a high-poverty school in one of Pittsburgh’s roughest neighborhoods, often see a rotating cast of substitutes, Alford said. ‘You’re looking at test scores,’ Alford said of the school’s low performance on state standardized tests in math, science and reading. ‘But we didn’t have a stable teacher…'”

US High School Dropout Rate

  • The nation’s high school dropout rate has fallen, study says, By Emma Brown, November 10, 2015, Washington Post: “The U.S. high school dropout rate has fallen in recent years, with the number of dropouts declining from 1 million in 2008 to about 750,000 in 2012, according to a new study to be released Tuesday. The number of ‘dropout factories’ — high schools in which fewer than 60 percent of freshmen graduate in four years — declined significantly during the same period, according to the study by a coalition of education groups…”
  • Report: Quarter-million more students now graduate from H.S. each year, By Greg Toppo, November 10, 2015, USA Today: “About a quarter-million more students graduated from high school in 2012 than four years earlier, new research shows, with the number of ‘dropout factories’ — high schools that persistently graduate fewer than 60% of students — cut in half since 2008. U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan welcomed the findings, saying that poorly performing high schools have been ‘failing generations of students…'”