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…”

Kids Count “Race for Results” Report

  • Children of immigrants experience more poverty, academic failure, report finds, By Michael Alison Chandler, October 24, 2017, Washington Post: “Children of immigrants, who make up 28 percent of all children in Maryland and nearly a quarter of those in Virginia and the District, are more likely to live in chronic poverty and less likely to perform at grade level in school, according to a report being released Tuesday by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. The report highlights disparities in opportunities for children of immigrants. It also highlights the harder-to-measure impacts of persistent stress on children affected by government policies that result in the profiling, deportation and detention of immigrants…”
  • New report finds racial disparities persist for Louisiana kids, By Wilborn P. Nobles III, October 24, 2017, New Orleans Times-Picayune: “Louisiana is among the toughest places in America for children to grow up, especially if you are black, poor or a child of immigrants, according to a study released Tuesday (Oct. 24). One bright spot? Louisiana has a relatively high rate of kids enrolled in an early children education when compared with other states…”
  • Study: Michigan last in well-being of black children, By Karen Bouffard, October 24, 2017, Detroit News: “African-American children in Michigan fare worse on key indicators of well-being than in any other state in the nation, according to a national study released Tuesday by the Annie E. Casey Foundation…”
  • Report: Oregon schools fall short for children of color, immigrant children, By Natalie Pate, October 25, 2017, Statesman Journal: “Oregon’s children of color and children living in immigrant families are struggling to find the resources and opportunities they need to thrive, according to a report released Tuesday. These children are more likely to live in low-income households, less likely to have access to proper health services and are graduating at lower rates than their white counterparts living in U.S.-born families…”

Children in High-Poverty Neighborhoods

Study: With more U.S. children living in high-poverty neighborhoods, schools will see impact, By Maureen Downey, July 17, 2017, Atlanta Journal Constitution: “A new study by researchers at Rice University, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Wisconsin looks at the rise in U.S. children — including a spike in white kids — living in poor neighborhoods since the Great Recession. That increase affects education, say researchers, because children in neighborhoods with higher levels of poverty start school less ready to learn…”

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…”

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…”

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…”

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…”

US High School Graduation Rate

The high school graduation rate reaches a record high — again, By Anya Kamenetz and Cory Turner, October 17, 2016, National Public Radio: “The high school graduation rate in the U.S. reached an all-time high of 83 percent in the 2014-2015 school year, President Obama announced today, marking the fifth straight record-setting year. Achievement gaps have narrowed even as all boats have risen. Graduation rates range from 90 percent for students who identify as Asian/Pacific Islanders to 64 percent for students with disabilities…”

Academic Achievement and Poverty – Ohio

Poverty link remains constant in Ohio students’ poor test scores, By Jim Siegel, Sunday October 9, 2016,  Columbus Dispatch: “Changes to state testing and district report cards gave schools plenty of new data to absorb this summer, but one constant remained. Regardless of which tests students are taking or if more districts are seeing D’s or F’s on their report cards, the results continue to show a strong correlation with poverty levels…”

Summer Programs for Children

New evidence that summer programs can make a difference for poor children, By Emma Brown, September 7, 2016, Washington Post: “During their long, languid summers, lots of children forget the lessons they learned in school. But the hot empty months pose an especially big academic hurdle for poor children, whose families might not have time or money for camps or enrichment activities.  Now new research suggests that school districts can stave off the so-called summer slide by offering free, voluntary programs that mix reading and math instruction with sailing, arts and crafts and other summer staples. The research also shows, perhaps unsurprisingly, that students have to attend the programs regularly to reap the benefits…”

 

Chronic School Absenteeism

  • Chronic absenteeism hinders students, By Annysa Johnson, September 6, 2016, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “The overwhelming majority of U.S. school districts — urban, suburban and rural — experience some degree of chronic absenteeism that puts students at academic risk, according to a study released Tuesday.  But half of all chronically absent students are enrolled in 4% of the nation’s school districts and 12% of its schools, including many in Wisconsin. And it disproportionally affects students of color, those who are poor and those diagnosed with learning disabilities…”
  • The long-term consequences of missing school, By Mikhail Zinshteyn, September 6, 2016, The Atlantic: “The precocious teen who’s too cool for school—earning high marks despite skipping class—is a pop-culture standard, the idealized version of an effortless youth for whom success comes easy.  Too bad it’s largely a work of fiction that belies a much harsher reality: Missing just two days a month of school for any reason exposes kids to a cascade of academic setbacks, from lower reading and math scores in the third grade to higher risks of dropping out of high school, research suggests…”

Achievement Gap – Oregon

Oregon test scores Show persistent achievement gaps based on race, income, By Rob Manning, September 8, 2016, Oregon Public Broadcasting: “Standardized test scores released Thursday show Oregon students improved, but only by one percentage point, on average, compared to last year.  The Smarter Balanced exams continue to show enormous achievement gaps based on race…”

Kindergarten Readiness Gap

  • Study: Poor kindergartners are catching up, By Lauren Camera, August 26, 2016, US News and World Report: “After decades of exponential growth in the gap of kindergarten academic readiness between poor students and their wealthier peers, that fissure is finally closing.  Between 1998 and 2010, the difference in kindergarten readiness between high- and low-income children narrowed by 10 percent to 16 percent, according to a study published Friday in AERA Open, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Educational Research Association.  Previously, that academic achievement gap between poor and wealthy children had grown by about 40 percent since the 1970s…”
  • Low-income kindergartners are closing the achievement gap, reversing a decades-old trend, By Emma Brown, August 26, 2016, Washington Post: “Low-income kindergartners are entering school with stronger math and reading skills, narrowing the academic gap with their affluent peers and reversing a decades-old trend, according to research released Friday.  The good news surprised researchers, who had expected to see school-readiness gaps growing — particularly given the broad societal trends of increasing income inequality and economic segregation…”

Poverty and Brain Development

How poverty affects the brain, By Erika Hayasaki, August 25, 2016, Newsweek: “The video tells the story of Malala Yousafzai, the Nobel Peace Prize winner from Pakistan who at 15 survived being shot in the head by the Taliban while riding a bus in 2012. ‘I want to get my education, and I want to become a doctor,’ she says, adding that the Taliban throw acid on some people’s faces and kill others, but ‘they cannot stop me.’  A 15-year-old boy watching the clip on a laptop inside the University of Southern California’s Brain and Creativity Institute seems unmoved by Yousafzai’s story—his face is blank, his shoulders slumped. An interviewer asks how it makes him feel…”

Poverty and Brain Development

Evidence grows of poverty’s toll on young brains, By Abigail Becker, July 6, 2916, USA Today: “Five-year-old Naja Tunney’s home is filled with books. Sometimes she will pull them from a bookshelf to read during meals. At bedtime, Naja reads to her 2-year-old sister, Hannah. ‘We have books anywhere you sit in the living room,’ said their mother, Cheryl Tunney, who curls up with her girls on an oversized green chair to read stories.  Naja and Hannah are beneficiaries of Reach Out and Read, an early intervention literacy program that collaborates with medical care providers to provide free books when families come in for check-ups…”

Racial Achievement Gap

  • New research uncovers little improvement in achievement gap, By Sarah Sparks, May 9, 2016, PBS NewsHour: “Fifteen years of new programs, testing, standards, and accountability have not ended racial achievement gaps in the United States. The Stanford Education Data Archive, a massive new database that allows researchers to compare school districts across state lines has led to the unwelcome finding that racial achievement gaps yawn in nearly every district in the country— and the districts with the most resources in place to serve all students frequently have the worst inequities…”
  • Seattle schools have biggest white-black achievement gap in state, By Gene Balk, May 9, 2016, Seattle Times: “White kids in Seattle’s public schools are doing great. They’re performing about two grade levels above the national average on standardized exams. That finding comes from a sweeping new Stanford studyof 2009-2012 test scores from third- through eighth-grade students around the country. But for black kids in Seattle, the data from that study paint a very different picture. They test one and a half grade levels below the U.S. average. Compared with their white peers in the city, black students lag by three and a half grade levels. That ranks Seattle, among the 200 biggest school districts in the U.S., as having the fifth-biggest gap in achievement between black and white students…”

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…”