research

Some bits of scientific research seem so obvious, you wonder why anyone even thought to do the study. But this seemingly obvious result out of the UK does have some surprises. Researchers found that kids who read for enjoyment end up doing better in school - which most of us probably realize. But it turns out that when researchers controlled for many different factors, reading for pleasure actually outranked parental education as a major factor in kids' academic progress. So if you want disadvantaged kids to learn more in school, cultivate a love of reading outside of it.

flickr user el frijole

  If you want to know how kids gets their ideas about something like race or gender, it’s not just a matter of asking them. They might not know where they got their ideas. And you can’t really control all the variables.

For nearly two decades, psychologist Rebecca Bigler at the University of Texas has been testing race and gender ideas using colored t-shirts in a summer school program. 

What is the State of Opportunity project?

Jul 2, 2012

Michigan was once the epicenter of economic opportunity. Here, a person could move out of poverty and into the middle class simply by getting a job on the assembly line. Millions of people did just that.

But today, the path out of poverty seems narrow in Michigan. And the outlook for the next generation can look downright scary.

Here is what we know:

Nearly one out of four children in Michigan lives in poverty. The disadvantages these kids face start piling up before they’re even born. Pregnant mothers living in poverty are less likely to get good prenatal care, and more likely to have negative birth outcomes, such as low birth weight or early delivery. When their children are born, it’s less likely they’ll have the time or the resources for development activities such as reading. By the time these kids enter kindergarten, they’re already far behind their middle and upper class peers. And the gap only gets worse with time.

It's a core belief in America that every child should have the opportunity to succeed, no matter where they live or how much money is in their parents' bank account.

But the brutal truth is 42 percent of children raised in poverty stay in poverty as adults. Among those who make it out, most don’t make it very far.

So how do we break the cycle? That’s what this new project is all about.