State of Opportunity

Wednesday during Morning Edition and All Things Considered

State of Opportunity is a special project produced by Michigan Radio with major financial support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

The project features documentary reports, first-person storytelling, youth journalists, an online portal, and Michigan Radio’s Public Insight Network.

The goal is to expose the barriers children of low income families in Michigan face in achieving success.

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

Holding people in jail because they are too poor to make bail is unconstitutional, the U.S. Department of Justice declared in a court filing last week.

The filing came in support of the case of Maurice Walker of Calhoun, Georgia, who was kept in jail six nights because he could not pay the fixed bail amount of $160.

Hospital Beds
Presidencia de la República Mexicana / Flickr CC / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Hospitals seem to prefer kids with private insurance over those with public insurance, and it shows in how they're treated.

That's according to a recent paper by Princeton economists Diane Alexander and Janet Currie.

The researchers looked at hospital billings from New Jersey, for kids who visited any emergency room between 2006 and 2012.

A young girl plucks out notes on the violin
Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

No doubt you’ve heard by now about Pokemon Go!. It was all the rage this summer. But we did manage to find a group of kids who put down their smartphones and picked up something much more old school.

Seven weeks ago, Kennedy Craig had never held a violin in her hands, let alone play one. But here she was, seven weeks later, plucking out "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" on a pint-sized violin. She likes the instrument so much she wants "to get one for Christmas!"

frankjuarez / Flickr CC / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Today, the most economically segregating school district border in the nation is the one that separates Detroit Public Schools from the Grosse Pointe Public School system.

That's according to a new report released Tuesday by EdBuild, a Washington D.C.-based nonprofit that studies school funding.

President Bill Clinton
Gage Skidmore / Flickr CC / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Twenty years ago, President Bill Clinton signed a welfare reform bill he said would "end welfare as we know it."

The goal of the bill was to get poor families off welfare and into the workforce.

three women and one man with microphone
April Van Buren / Michigan Radio

That's the question we explored at our latest State of Opportunity live event. 

We had a full house at the Cook Library Center in Grand Rapids on Thursday for "Stories From the Shadows." The evening included personal stories from undocumented immigrants living in Grand Rapids as well as a panel discussion about the most pressing issues facing that community.  

State of Opportunity reporter Dustin Dwyer moderated the conversation with our three panelists: 

Preschoolers
U.S. Department of Agriculture / Flickr CC / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

In June, the U.S. Department of Education released its 2013-2014 Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC) results.

The CRDC is an annual survey of all public schools and school districts in the country.

Baron Coleman is a Neighborhood Police Officer for the city of Detroit
Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

Trust between police and the black community has taken a major hit after the spate of recent police shootings of black men around the country. So this week, we're taking a look at how some Michigan cities are trying to rebuild that trust, starting at the neighborhood level.

 

 

 

I'm the police, and I'm here to help...and BBQ

 

Little girl meditating
Dan Ox / flickr cc / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Have you ever found yourself in a stressful or overwhelming situation where you had to tell yourself to stop and breathe?

If so, you've practiced mindfulness and may not have even known it.

Rita Benn is co-founder of the Michigan Collaborative for Mindfulness in Education. She explained to Michigan Radio's The Next Idea:

mosaic mural of man reading
takomabibelot / flickr

Summer Mondays can be hard.

Maybe you spent all weekend on the beach at Lake Michigan or you're already thinking about your upcoming vacation. Either way, it takes a little while to get back in the groove of the work week.

I find the best way to cut through the summer brain fog is by learning something new. Think of it as warm-up exercises for your brain.

I compiled a few of the most interesting reads the State of Opportunity team came across this past week. So pour yourself another cup of coffee and do a few mental jumping jacks to get the week started. 

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