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disparities

Abdul El-Sayed (right) meets with Joseph Mutebi
Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

Detroit built its public health departments back in the 1800s, when cholera was rampant.

 

But in 2012 the city gutted that department and privatized it. Now, after its historic bankruptcy, public health is back under city management. But it’s a shell of a what it once was.

 

Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

  

Last fall, I spent a ton of time in two different fifth-grade classrooms: one made up of poor kids, the other made up of kids whose families are mostly well-off. I wanted to see how the two classroom experiences differed, and boy did they ever. We're talking night-and-day differences here. 

Don't believe me? Take a listen for yourself

I decided to revisit the poor school to see what – if anything – had changed. 

At the beginning of the school year, the students at Myers Elementary in Taylor struggled with math, reading and discipline issues. Here's what the classroom sounded like back in September:  

  

And here's what the classroom sounded like when I returned to the school in May:

Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

In our latest documentary, The Education Gap, we talk about the disparities between high-poverty schools and low-poverty schools. I urge you to listen to the full documentary if you haven' t yet because there's a lot to unpack there. Meantime here's a quick description of the two schools we featured during the hour:

The wealth gap was bad before the recession, but now it's even worse. A new study by the Urban Institute shows that, on average, non-Hispanic white families "were about four times as wealthy as nonwhite families, according to the Urban Institute’s analysis of Federal Reserve data. By 2010, whites were about six times as wealthy." Experts say the continued and growing wealth gap will make it that much harder for future generations of American minorities to advance and prosper. A disturbing thought when you consider the country is moving closer and closer to a majority minority.

This video blew my mind. A few friends posted the video on Facebook, and I finally got around to watching it this morning. It's a quick six-minute piece about wealth distribution in the U.S. - what people think the wealth distribution looks like, what people wish wealth distribution looked like, and the reality of what wealth distribution looks like in this country. The disparity between reality and what folks perceive to be the ideal is staggering. I want you to watch the video with this question in mind: How sustainable is this system of wealth distribution?

Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University

There has been an explosion of research over the past decade that shows how important the first few years of a child’s life are in terms of brain development. To help us make sense of how those early experience can shape a child’s brain, we called up Dr. Jack Shonkoff, director of the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University.

Here's a short video clip of journalist and author Paul Tough talking about his new book "How Children Succeed." We're planning a special call-in show with Tough next month. What questions do you have for him?