Education

Education, schools, and learning

Young boy doing homework
Eric Cuthbert / Flickr CC / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

When my oldest daughter started preschool, I was surprised by the amount of homework she would get. She was only four years old, but already bringing home a packet of worksheets on Monday to finish by Friday.

It's been a long time since my own preschool and kindergarten years, but I don't recall having such a rigorous curriculum. I do, however, remember playing and "doing" in the classroom.

Girl with statue reading book
Donnie Ray Jones / Flickr CC / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

A while back I told you why it's so important to read to babies from the time they're born. When you do, it stimulates language skills and cognitive thinking, encourages bonding between parents and kids, and sets the stage for school readiness.

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

If you follow State of Opportunity regularly, you may have seen or heard us talk about the school-to-prison pipeline. It’s a nationwide pattern of students being pushed out of schools and into the criminal justice system.

Integrated Classroom
By Leffler, Warren K., photographer [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Today marks 62 years since the landmark Supreme Court decision of Brown v. Board of Education. The Court ruled that "separate but equal" public schools for black students and white students were unconstitutional.

The case inspired education reform everywhere, and formed the legal means of challenging segregation in all areas of society.

Does private funding have a place in public schools?

May 12, 2016
401(K) 2012 / Flickr CC / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Should an anonymous donor be able to save a public school? 

The question was raised by a story I listened to yesterday on NPR.

Traverse City Area Public Schools in northern Michigan has lost 12% of its students in the past decade. And last fall its superintendent recommended closing three elementary schools.

Handcuffed man
houstondwiphotos mp / Flickr CC / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

If you've ever filled out a job application, I'm sure you've come across the question asking whether you've ever been convicted of a criminal offense.

For someone who was formerly incarcerated, having to check "yes" can make it nearly impossible to find a job or a place to live.

Homeless teen with backpack
U.S. Department of Agriculture / Flickr Creative Commons / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

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.

flickr.com/hckyso

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.

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