School Funding – Connecticut

In school funding fight, Connecticut weighs uncertain next steps, By J. Brian Charles, February 7, 2018, Governing: “Connecticut is the richest state in the country. And like all affluent states, Connecticut pours billions into education each year. Only the District of Columbia and two other states (Alaska and New York) spend more per student. But for all the money Connecticut spends, it can’t seem to close the gap between students in the richest districts in the state (places like Greenwich, Westport, Avon and Farmington) and the poorest districts in the largest cities like Hartford, New Haven and Bridgeport…”

Racial Achievement Gap

How a popular college-prep program is narrowing achievement gap for black, Latino students, By Beau Yarbrough, February 2, 2018, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin: “Minority students lag behind white students in college graduation rates. But the AVID program, common in Southern California schools, helps narrow the achievement gap, according to a new report. The news comes even as schools are starting to expand who’s offered a spot in the program…”

School Funding – Baltimore, MD

How Baltimore schools determine what constitutes poverty among students, families, By Talia Richman, January 26, 2018, Baltimore Sun: “The Baltimore school board voted this week to revamp the district’s funding formula, choosing to provide extra dollars to schools on the basis of student poverty rather than standardized test scores. So how does Baltimore City Public Schools decide who qualifies as poor? Districts across the country have historically used the percentage of students who qualify for free-and-reduced priced meals, or FARMs, as a proxy for poverty. But given Baltimore’s large number of qualifying students — 86.5 percent received free or discounted meals in the 2014-15 school year — the district began offering free meals for all students through a federal program that eliminates the need for families to fill out the cumbersome FARMs application…”

Gifted Student Programs

The push to find more gifted kids: What Washington can learn from Miami’s wins, By Claudia Rowe, December 7, 2017, Seattle Times: “Every year, Lisette Rodriguez runs through the same conversation with angry, confused parents. No, she explains, their child does not qualify for a gifted-education program, despite having a high IQ score of 129. And yes, she adds, the child sitting at the next desk does qualify — despite scoring 117 — because his family is poor. ‘You’re telling me that my child would have been in gifted but isn’t, just because I can pay for his lunch?’ parents ask, incredulous. Yes, exactly, says Rodriguez, who directs advanced academic programs for Miami-Dade County Public Schools. The nation’s fourth-largest school district has been using this two-tier system since the early 1990s to broaden its pool of students deemed gifted, largely because research shows that a child’s IQ is not static and can stretch with exposure to books, museums and complex material. Or, conversely, shrink under stress, frequent moves and other realities common for low-income families…”

School Districts and Student Achievement

  • How effective is your school district? A new measure shows where students learn the most, By Emily Badger and Kevin Quealy, December 5, 2017, New York Times: “In the Chicago Public Schools system, enrollment has been declining, the budget is seldom enough, and three in four children come from low-income homes, a profile that would seemingly consign the district to low expectations. But students here appear to be learning faster than those in almost every other school system in the country, according to new data from researchers at Stanford…”
  • Stanford University study: Rochester schools last in U.S. in growth, By Justin Murphy, December 5, 2017, Democrat and Chronicle: “A novel, large-scale study from Stanford University shows Rochester-area primary schools are dead last among the 200 largest cities in the country for academic growth. The study, from Stanford’s Center for Education Policy Analysis, examines standardized test score results for all Rochester children and reports the apparent progress by cohort year — that is, how much more 2017 eighth-graders know compared to 2016 seventh-graders…”

Homeless Students and Academic Achievement – New York

New report shines light on homeless students’ achievement gap, By Jay Rey, December 12, 2017, Buffalo News: “Homeless students in New York City fared better on state assessment tests than students in Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse who had never been homeless. Meanwhile, more than 16 percent of students in the Buffalo Public Schools who took the state tests two years ago were either homeless or had been homeless at one time. In either case, those students were about half as likely to meet state math and reading standards compared to their classmates who have always had their own place to call home…”

Minimum Wage – Chicago, IL

Chicago raised its minimum wage two years ago, but some still earn less. Here’s why., By Nereida Moreno and Greg Trotter, December 1, 2017, Chicago Tribune: “Maria Leon, a single mother of three and longtime Gage Park resident, says she worked for years in two Chicago restaurants for less than the city’s minimum wage. Last year, she sued the restaurants, which have the same owner, alleging they were violating city, state and federal wage laws. The two sides reached a settlement, but Leon believes it’s important to speak up on the matter…”

Student Homelessness

New study finds that 4.2 million kids experience homelessness each year, By Leila Fadel, November 15, 2017, National Public Radio: “Marquan Ellis was evicted from his home in Las Vegas, Nevada when he was 18. His mother battled with a drug and gambling addiction while he stayed at his godmother’s house. But he couldn’t stay there forever. He found his way to the Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth where he enrolled in the independent living program…”

Academic Gaps in Early Childhood

Study: Academic gaps persist — but haven’t widened — between high- and low-income kindergartners, By Neal Morton, November 6, 2017, Seattle Times: “When education economist Emma García started researching the academic gaps that show up in kindergarten between low-income students and their high-income peers, she had reason to suspect the gaps had widened in recent years…”

High-Poverty Schools

  • Rich school districts will benefit more than poor ones from Washington’s budget, new analysis suggests, By Neal Morton, October 31, 2017, Seattle Times: “In the days after the Washington Legislature approved a new state budget in June, school-finance experts began reading the fine print. They soon started warning that while lawmakers may have increased state spending on schools, some richer districts would get a bigger boost than many poorer ones…”
  • Report: Virginia’s high-poverty schools don’t have same opportunities for students, By Justin Mattingly, October 30, 2017, Richmond Times-Dispatch: “There are ‘striking deficiencies’ in educational opportunities for students in high-poverty Virginia schools, a new report has found. Students in high-poverty schools, or schools where at least 75 percent receive free and reduced-price lunch, have less access to core subjects like math and science, lower levels of state and local funding for instructors, who are less experienced in these schools, according to a report from The Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis, a research organization based in Richmond that focuses on economics and policy…”

Public Universities and Low-Income Student Enrollment

Top public universities are shutting out poor students, report says, By Danielle Douglas-Gabriel, October 26, 2017, Washington Post: “Graduating from a selective college can help low-income students climb the economic ladder, but many of the nation’s top public universities are turning their backs on the group. Since the late 1990s, almost two-thirds of selective public universities have reduced the share of students they enroll who come from families earning less than $37,000 a year, according to a report released Thursday by New America. Policy analysts at the think tank found that a near-identical share of these schools have increased the percentage of students they enroll who come from families earning at least $110,000…”

Student Homelessness

  • 10% of New York City public school students were homeless last year, By Elizabeth A. Harris, October 10, 2017, New York Times: “The number of homeless students in the New York City public school system rose again last year, according to state data released on Tuesday. The increase pushed the city over a sober milestone: One in every 10 public school students was homeless at some point during the 2016-17 school year…”
  • Central Florida’s homeless students top 14,000, By Kate Santich, October 10, 2017, Orlando Sentinel: “Mimi is 16, the oldest of six kids, all living in a single room at an Orlando homeless shelter with their mom. Between high school and a fast-food job, she is up most weekdays until midnight. Then she sets three alarms each morning — at 4, 4:30 and 4:40 — to ensure she catches the 5:37 a.m. bus.  ‘I always jumped from school to school every couple of months,’ she said. ‘It was stressful, but I got used to it. This was just how we live.’  These days, it’s how a lot of Central Florida kids live…”

College Students and Food Insecurity

  • UC Irvine opens expansive food pantry as more college students struggle with hunger, By Teresa Watanabe, September 27, 2017, Los Angeles Times: “UC Irvine student Ernest Devin Rankin grew up in Anaheim on one meal a day as his disabled parents, who had six children, struggled to stretch food stamps and disability payments. When he got to college, he could only afford the cheapest dining plan, offering 100 meals a quarter. When those meals ran out, he asked friends for help or survived on $1 fast-food burgers, tacos and burritos…”
  • As many students nationwide grapple with hunger, California offers food assistance, By Hannah Harris Green, September 29, 2017, Marketplace: “Students all over the country are back on campus, which means anxiety about new roommates and classes. But new research tells us that a lot of those students also worry about getting enough to eat.  Emaline Friedman is one such student. She shops at the Pavilions grocery store at Melrose and Vine in Los Angeles, because it’s located close to where she lives, and offers a lot of fresh produce and organic food. She’s in Los Angeles taking care of an elderly relative while she writes her psychology dissertation at the University of West Georgia. She relies on California’s food assistance program, called CalFresh…”

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…”