Young boy doing homework
Eric Cuthbert / Flickr CC / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

When my oldest daughter started preschool, I was surprised by the amount of homework she would get. She was only four years old, but already bringing home a packet of worksheets on Monday to finish by Friday.

It's been a long time since my own preschool and kindergarten years, but I don't recall having such a rigorous curriculum. I do, however, remember playing and "doing" in the classroom.

Song of the Sea on the "big screen" at the Play House
Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

It’s been decades since Mr. Rogers invited us to be his neighbor.

 

 

All were welcomed – rich, poor, black, white, immigrant. But today the reality is neighborhoods are much more segregated and homogenous. There are, of course, exceptions. As part of our year-long look at neighborhoods and their impacts, we'll be spending time in a diverse neighborhood on the border of Hamtramck and Detroit that's actively working to integrate.

 

 


neighborhood
symmetry_mind / Flickr CC / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

This month we entered our fifth and final year of State of Opportunity.

Whether you've followed us from the beginning, or joined us somewhere along the way, you'll know we've talked a lot about factors that affect the development of children and adolescents, from birth to young adulthood.

This year, we'll be shifting our focus heavily to neighborhoods.

How do our neighborhoods make us who we are? How much do they define us and the way we see the world? How do they shape our personality or impact our future?

Girl with statue reading book
Donnie Ray Jones / Flickr CC / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

A while back I told you why it's so important to read to babies from the time they're born. When you do, it stimulates language skills and cognitive thinking, encourages bonding between parents and kids, and sets the stage for school readiness.

A low-income, tiny house community is coming to Detroit

May 20, 2016
Tiny house
Tomas Quinones / Flickr CC / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

In April, we wrote about a tiny house community that recently opened in Austin, Texas. The residents who live there all have one thing in common: They are chronically homeless.

jail cells
miss_millions / Flickr CC / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

If you follow State of Opportunity regularly, you may have seen or heard us talk about the school-to-prison pipeline. It’s a nationwide pattern of students being pushed out of schools and into the criminal justice system.

Paulette Parker / Michigan Radio

Angels Above Baby Gowns takes all those dresses you only wear once and put away, like wedding and bridesmaid gowns, or prom dresses – and turn them into burial gowns for babies. They call them "angel gowns." Then, they give them to parents and hospitals, for free.

Dawn Lafferty started Angels Above two years ago after reading a news story about a mom in the state of Washington whose son died at birth. The mom went home and made a gown to bury him in out of her old wedding dress. Lafferty, who has been sewing since she was 10 years old, says she thought it was a great idea.

Integrated Classroom
By Leffler, Warren K., photographer [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Today marks 62 years since the landmark Supreme Court decision of Brown v. Board of Education. The Court ruled that "separate but equal" public schools for black students and white students were unconstitutional.

The case inspired education reform everywhere, and formed the legal means of challenging segregation in all areas of society.

Four ways cities across the U.S. are fighting hunger

May 16, 2016
Girl eating peach
Bruce Tuten / Flickr CC / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

How close do you live to the nearest grocery store? I live within ten minutes of at least three chain grocery stores: Kroger, Meijer and Walmart. But places to buy quality, affordable food are not easily accessed by everyone.

Does private funding have a place in public schools?

May 12, 2016
401(K) 2012 / Flickr CC / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Should an anonymous donor be able to save a public school? 

The question was raised by a story I listened to yesterday on NPR.

Traverse City Area Public Schools in northern Michigan has lost 12% of its students in the past decade. And last fall its superintendent recommended closing three elementary schools.

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