Education, schools, and learning

Homeless teen with backpack
U.S. Department of Agriculture / Flickr Creative Commons /

Bridge Magazine published a story Wednesday about barriers homeless college students in Michigan face while trying to pursue an education, and just how hard it can be for them to find help.

Especially when it comes to affording college.

As a college student myself, I can't imagine taking (and passing) classes, while having to worry about where I'm going to sleep and shower, and how I'm going to get my next meal.

Ilmicrofono Oggiono / Flickr Creative Commons / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Johns Hopkins University released a study this week that shows why the lack of diversity in teaching is a pretty big deal.

David Mulder / Flickr Creative Commons / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

On average, kids in the U.S. spend around 943 hours each year in the classroom.

And in those hours, teachers are expected to educate them and keep them safe.

But many teachers are also expected to buy their own supplies to perform these functions.

Education is one of the best ways to get ahead in America. So, why do so many young people from poor backgrounds drop out? An economic paper published this month by the Brookings Institution suggests one possible answer, and it has nothing to do with grades or test scores. Maybe, for kids who grow up poor, with evidence of inequality all around them, dropping out of school just seems like the rational choice. 

It should be the opposite. Most economists would say, kids who start out at the bottom of the economic heap should have the incentive to get as much education as possible. Many economists believe the problem really comes down to skills. Young people trying to climb up out of poverty want to be highly educated, the thinking goes. They just don't get the right skills and training along the way. In this model, the education system itself is where the problem occurs, and that's where the fix is needed.

But the new Brookings paper by economists Melissa Kearney and Philip Levine (who we previously mentioned here) suggests the problem lies elsewhere.

Five things to know about music and early literacy

Mar 23, 2016
Donnie Ray Jones / Flickr Creative Commons / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Is there a particular song that lifts your spirits every time you hear it? Or one that always brings back not-too-fond memories?

According to Yahoo! Beauty, in addition to its ability to shift our mood and tap into our emotions, when you listen to music you also work better, you can exercise harder and longer, and you experience changes in blood pressure.

But did you know introducing kids to music instruction helps them develop early language and literacy skills?

Five reasons you should be reading to baby from birth

Mar 18, 2016
Donnie Ray Jones / Flickr Creative Commons / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

New parents are often bombarded with advice and tips from everyone around them.

From things like how to dress your baby, to what to feed them, it can be a bit overwhelming.

But there is one piece of advice the American Academy of Pediatrics wants to make sure you follow: Reading to your baby from the time they're born. 

U.S. Department of Agriculture's photostream / Flickr Creative Commons /

It's 3 p.m.

The school bell rings.

For a lot of kids it's a moment of excitement, signaling the end of the school day.

But for many, the end of the school day means the start of an afternoon without direction, without productive activities, and maybe even without supervision.

For kids and families in need, afterschool programs provide essential services like a safe and supervised environment, enriching activities, healthy snacks and meals, and caring and supportive mentors.

Yes. Girls can be scientists, too

Mar 9, 2016
Intel Free Press / Flickr Creative Commons /

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? What do your kids say they want to be now? Police officer? Firefighter? Pirate?

When I was a kid I wanted to be a scientist. When I wanted to be an astronaut like Mae Jemison, my mom bought me a telescope. When I wanted to be a chemist, she got me a microscope.

But somewhere along the way, my interest in science waned until I became dispassionate.

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Did you go to college after high school and complete a degree? What influenced your decision, either way? 

It turns out that attitudes about the importance of a college education differ between racial and ethnic groups.

Black and Hispanic parents are more likely than white parents to see a college degree as key to their children's success, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey.

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

It’s 8:45 on a Saturday morning, and I’m following along with one of the co-founders of Reach Out to Youth, a long-running program that brings elementary age kids into medical school for a day.

The idea behind Reach out to Youth is that many kids are interested in getting into the medical field, but very few kids get to go inside a medical school.

"If you want to learn a language, you go to a country," Dr. Carolyn King says. "If you want to learn a career, you go to the place where the careers are."