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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.

prison cell
Dave Nakayama / Flickr CC / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Nearly 5 million children—or 7% of kids in the U.S.—have had a parent incarcerated at some point in their life.

Black children and children from disadvantaged families are the most likely to experience parental incarceration. And that can have significant consequences for their future development. 

Book and coffee
rawpixel.com / Flickr CC / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Many of you may be looking forward to an extra day or two of rest due to the holiday weekend. It's a great time to catch up on these recent stories you may have missed.

The subtle brilliance of Sesame Street’s first episode starring an autistic Muppet | Vox

kid and school bus
Isabelle Acatauassu Alves Almeida / Flickr CC / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

My husband and I will be sending our youngest daughter off to kindergarten this fall. I must admit, I'm nervous, but she turns five in July and we feel like she's ready for a structured learning environment.

U.S. IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT

President Donald Trump said he wanted to go after “bad hombres,” but his immigration policies affect more than just those who are here and have committed crimes. Undocumented immigrants with no criminal history are also being deported. That's the case with a Michigan father of four who's been told he has to leave the country by the end of the month. 

African-American student and teacher
U.S. Department of Education / Flickr CC / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Who did you most admire when you were a kid? Maybe it was your parent. Or a teacher. Or your favorite TV or movie star.

Role models, both positive and negative, help shape how children behave in school, relationships, and when making decisions.

Art museum
Pavel Bibiksarov / Flickr CC / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Exposure to the arts improves a child's lifelong outcomes. Arts education increases the likelihood of graduating from high school; attending and finishing college; and makes students more likely to register to vote.

And having access to art and cultural resources may also improve key aspects of social well-being in disadvantaged neighborhoods, according to a recent study.

Antonio Thomas and Julieaunna Clark are students at Muskegon Heights Academy high school
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Students in Muskegon Heights are very familiar with uncertainty. They’ve been threatened with school closure many times over the past several years—first because of finances, now because of failing test scores. 

Muskegon Heights Academy high school is one of the 38 schools the state School Reform Office says could close by the end of year if some kind of turnaround plan isn’t put in place.

Graphic of a brain
A Health Blog / Flickr CC / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Our experiences shape who we are.

Here at State of Opportunity, we've talked extensively about how Adverse Childhood Experiences—or ACEs—can affect a child throughout their lives. But new research suggests traumatic experiences in adulthood can be just as harmful.

kid holding lunch tray
Tim Lauer / Flickr CC / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Children who experience hunger may lag developmentally behind their peers starting as early as kindergarten. That's according to a new study published in the journal Child Development.

Study authors suggest that dealing with hunger in the first five years of life can hurt school performance not only in kindergarten, but for years to come.

Google sign
:D / Flickr CC / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

The tech industry has a diversity problem.

In 2014, Hispanics made up only 4.4% of the professional-level workforce at the headquarters and local branches of the top 75 Silicon Valley tech firms, according to the Center for American Progress. And blacks made up just 1.9% of these firms.

Google recently released its workplace diversity data, which revealed black employees represent only 2% of the company's workforce, according to NPR. And although the company admits to falling short of its diversity goal, it's taking a step toward changing that with a new campus called Howard University West.

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