Education, schools, and learning

ant tree art / flickr

Governor Snyder recently signed into a law a set of rules about absences from school. These laws don’t affect every kid and family. But families living in poverty who get cash assistance from the state can lose those benefits if their children are truant. The issue is that this new law, like the state Department of Health and Human Services policy it is based on, doesn't define truancy.

Our friends at WBEZ partnered with the daily herald for an analysis of 10 years' worth of Illinois elementary school test score data. What they found is a relentless, strong correlation between test scores and parent income. Schools with the most students living in poverty had the lowest test scores, and vice versa. The correlation between test scores and parental income held for every income group, and it remained very consistent over time. Click through to see the graphs.

Photo courtesy of the Cortez family

Today’s State of Opportunity story is brought to you by the letter "S," as in study. There’s a new study out that shows Big Bird, Snuffy, Bert and Ernie have a much bigger impact on kids’ lives than just helping them count to ten and learn their ABCs.

Last October, the Harvard Business Review published an essay on Hacking Tech's Diversity Problem.

Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

The Washington Post ran a story this week, highlighting disparities in public education funding and calling it "one of the sleeper civil rights issues of our time."

The article points to two new studies that show how disparities in school funding harm students in poverty and the country as a whole.  Here's an excerpt:

The NPR Ed team asked reporters from 14 member stations for stories to help explain the nationwide rise in graduation rates. My colleague Jennifer Guerra contributed a story that may sound familiar to State of Opportunity listeners. Click through to see the app, and see Jennifer's work.

Jennifer Guerra / publisher23

I want to give a huge shout-out to all the teachers who took our recent State of Opportunity survey about special-education training. You ROCK! We got a ton of responses and I promise to share some of them with you, but first, a bit of context.

user Mark Ramsay / flickr

Thousands of high school seniors this month will put on their caps and gowns, walk across a stage, and get their diplomas. Go graduates! 

But it also got me thinking about the countless students who, for various reasons, won't make it to graduation. For instance, students with emotional disabilities, who have some of the worst graduation rates in the country. Fewer than half graduate compared to a national average of around 80%.

Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

Our story this week featured a family that struggled to get the best education for their special needs daughter. It took the help of a lawyer from the University of Michigan's Pediatric Advocacy Clinic to get the school district to agree to put the young girl in a general ed classroom instead of a self-contained classroom for severely disabled children.

U.S. Department of Education

Last week I did a story about credit recovery and one high school's use of the online, after-school program to keep students at risk of failing "recover" credits to stay on track for graduation. But there's just one catch: we know next to nothing about these credit recovery programs.