Research en Ideas and stuff: Interesting things we're reading at State of Opportunity <p></p><p>There have been more than a few emails between the State of Opportunity team this week about research or articles&nbsp;with some version of "we need to share this," as the subject. &nbsp;</p><p>Not all of it is made for easy sharing on social networks, so we've developed kind of a backlog that we're going to take care of right here, right now.&nbsp;</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">It's not necessarily sunshine and rainbows, but I threw in some cheer at the end.&nbsp;</span></p><p><strong>How do you make a living on zero income?</strong></p><p>One thing we've talked about since the beginning of this project is how many kids in Michigan are growing up in a household that earn&nbsp;no&nbsp;income. It might seem impossible, but it could be a reality for as many&nbsp;as 10% of the group of women who at one time got cash assistance, or "welfare." We've met several of these folks in our reporting.</p><p> Mon, 16 Jun 2014 17:06:21 +0000 Sarah Alvarez 608 at Ideas and stuff: Interesting things we're reading at State of Opportunity Can the American Dream be revived? <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The American Dream is an idea that has a long history in this country. For immigrants in the </span>1800s<span style="line-height: 1.5;">, America was seen as a land of opportunity, a place where anyone could achieve anything. All that was required was hard work.</span></p><p>There has been a lot of discussion among policymakers in the past few years about how to make the American Dream more of a reality. But at the same time, new research shows that opportunity in America hasn’t changed much in a long, long time.&nbsp;</p><p>So, what does that research tell us about the policy of improving opportunity?&nbsp;</p><p> Wed, 12 Mar 2014 10:00:00 +0000 Dustin Dwyer 538 at Can the American Dream be revived? What a massive land lottery in antebellum Georgia tells us about wealth and opportunity today <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">In the early </span>1800s<span style="line-height: 1.5;">, the newly formed state of Georgia had a lot of new land under its control. The land had been taken mostly from the native Muskogee and Cherokee people, and leaders of the young American state were looking for ways to transfer the land to white settlers. What they ultimately decided on was a series of lotteries.&nbsp;</span></p><p>The forced transfer of property from native people to white settlers was common in America during the 19th century, but the lottery system was not. It meant that basically any white male adult in Georgia, rich or poor, had the same shot at winning a valuable piece of land. And, while the system itself was unjust and just plain wrong on multiple levels, it also set up an ideal research experiment.</p><p>If you're a social scientist looking back, what you see in Georgia in the early 1800s isn't just a lottery, it's a <a href="">randomized controlled trial</a>. And it&nbsp;<span style="line-height: 1.5;">allows economists to ask a question that's still relevant today: What happens to a family when it suddenly comes into wealth?&nbsp;</span></p><p> Fri, 07 Mar 2014 01:53:05 +0000 Dustin Dwyer 534 at What a massive land lottery in antebellum Georgia tells us about wealth and opportunity today A fox a bear and an antelope tell you all you need to know about empathy <p>I've been planning to do a radio story on empathy for more than a year, but it's never really come together. Now I probably don't have to. This animation from the <a href="">Royal Society of Arts</a>&nbsp;narrated by&nbsp;<a href="">Brene Brown</a>&nbsp;breaks down the difference between empathy and sympathy so well, and why it matters.<iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="//" width="560"></iframe></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The only thing this animation doesn't cover that I am curious about, is the connection between empathy and policies around poverty. I talked to researcher</span><a href="" style="line-height: 1.5;"> Elizabeth Segal,</a>&nbsp;one of the few academics studying this,&nbsp;<span style="line-height: 1.5;">about the connection. </span></p><p> Tue, 04 Mar 2014 17:31:41 +0000 Sarah Alvarez 529 at Whiteboard: Thought provoking stories about the "War on Poverty" <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Every so often we post </span>something<span style="line-height: 1.5;"> in the "whiteboard" category. Named after the modern incarnation of the chalkboard, they're usually meant to help educators work through some of the themes we deal with here at State of Opportunity with their students.&nbsp;</span></p><p>But the recent coverage of the &nbsp;<a href="">50th anniversary of President Lyndon Johnson's declaration of the War on Poverty</a> is a whiteboard moment for all. There's been lots of<a href=""> talk from politicians spanning the spectrum </a>from Florida's Republican Senator Marco Rubio to President Obama, about whether or not the war has been successful.</p><p>One important aspect of this debate is the view that policy makers and their constituents have about "poor people."</p><p> Thu, 09 Jan 2014 15:53:47 +0000 Sarah Alvarez 485 at Whiteboard: Thought provoking stories about the "War on Poverty" Ideas & Stuff: Why kids in poverty are rarely seen as "gifted" <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">I came across a study today that looked at how a group of very gifted children became "innovators and leaders" as adults. </span><a href="" style="line-height: 1.5;">The study</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">, from Vanderbilt University, identified 320 gifted children at the age of 13 using an SAT test. The cutoff score meant that all of the 320 students in the sample represented the top 1 in 10,000 for achievement on that test.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The study's authors followed the kids for 30 years, and (surprise, surprise) the children ended up achieving great things. Most earned at least a Masters degree in college. Forty-four percent earned a PhD. Many held patents. A few wrote novels. Two became vice presidents at Fortune 500 companies.&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">One ended up advising the president.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">What do these results tell us? The study's authors say the results show conclusively that gifted kids make for gifted adults. From <a href="">the study's</a> conclusion:&nbsp;</span></p><blockquote><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Young adolescents with profound talent in mathematical&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">and verbal reasoning hold extraordinary potential for&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">enriching society by contributing creative products and&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">competing in global economies.</span></p></blockquote><p>But, as you might have guessed, I don't think the lessons from this study are quite so simple.&nbsp;</p><p> Tue, 07 Jan 2014 19:21:31 +0000 Dustin Dwyer 483 at Ideas & Stuff: Why kids in poverty are rarely seen as "gifted" The video where we explain..."resilience" <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">We all know words have meaning. But where I think we can agree we might have to&nbsp;</span><em style="line-height: 1.5;">disagree</em><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> is on the "right" meaning of certain words.&nbsp;</span></p><p>We've noticed the use---perhaps, overuse---of the word <strong>resilience&nbsp;</strong>in the media. Is resilience something that we say about other people when&nbsp;<em>we</em> feel helpless to do anything about the situation? That certainly seems to be the case as we approach the<a href=""> anniversary</a> of the murder of 20 children and 6 adults at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut. Children who are <a href="">victims of natural disasters</a> are the most obvious case for claiming resilience. We even hope for <a href="">nature's resilience</a> in spite of climate change.&nbsp;</p><p> Fri, 13 Dec 2013 16:25:04 +0000 Kimberly Springer 471 at The video where we explain..."resilience" Four tips to help folks move up the economic ladder <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>We all know about the American Dream, right? Start out poor, work hard, become rich. But Diana Elliott, with the Pew Charitable Trust's&nbsp;<a href="">Economic Mobility Project</a>, says there's a wide gulf between The American Dream Idea and The American Dream Reality.</p><p>"Many Americans believe that it’s possible to start poor and become wealthy over the course of a lifetime," says Elliott. "But in fact, when we look at the data, we see that<a href=""> just 4% of Americans</a> start at the bottom and make it all the way to the top in that next generation."</p><p>So how did that 4% do it? Well, there's no hard and fast rule that says 'have these qualities, will succeed.' But a&nbsp;new Pew study called <a href=""><em>Moving On Up</em></a>&nbsp;looked at data from over 700 adults, and it shows that folks who managed to climb up at least one rung on the economic ladder shared these characteristics: Wed, 11 Dec 2013 12:00:00 +0000 Jennifer Guerra 465 at Four tips to help folks move up the economic ladder 8 new charts showing how race and economics affect a baby's chance of survival in Michigan <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">My colleague Steve </span>Carmody<span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;</span><a href="" style="line-height: 1.5;">reported yesterday</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> on a new study looking at the social factors at play in Michigan's higher-than-average infant mortality rate. This is a topic we've been discussing on State of Opportunity pretty much since the project began, and our own Jennifer Guerra produced </span><a href="" style="line-height: 1.5;">an award-winning documentary</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> last year on the racial disparities in infant mortality.&nbsp;</span></p><p>And if you haven't followed this reporting, let me get right to the point of it all: Researchers and public health experts now believe things like poverty and racism are literally killing babies.&nbsp;</p><p>It's a strong claim, but it comes from a strong, and growing, body of research. For an overview, you should definitely check out Jennifer's documentary linked above. But if you just want a quick glance at the latest evidence, you can look at the results from the new Michigan Health Equity Status Report released yesterday.&nbsp;</p><p>Here, then are eight charts from <a href="">the report</a>:</p><p><strong>1.&nbsp;</strong></p><p> Tue, 26 Nov 2013 16:39:53 +0000 Dustin Dwyer 455 at 8 new charts showing how race and economics affect a baby's chance of survival in Michigan How your name might influence what people think about you <p>I've been thinking a lot about names lately - what they mean, what they project, what kinds of assumptions people make when they hear a name. So I decided to call up some experts and ask them: what's in a name?</p><p> Wed, 20 Nov 2013 06:00:00 +0000 Jennifer Guerra 450 at How your name might influence what people think about you