John Escovedo / Flickr

I've gotten dozens of press releases in the past few days dealing with the extension of the Bush-era tax cuts.

And while I'm not keeping up with every blow-by-blow in the political death match over Congressional spending, I am trying to figure out how families who struggle to make ends meet are going to fare under some of these dueling policies.

Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

What if we told you there was a man in Harlem who thinks he's figured out how to break the cycle of poverty?

You'd probably want to meet him, right? We sure did.

user wax115 / morgueFILE

Got milk?

Breast milk, to be specific.

Beginning next month, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (of soda ban fame) is now making the push for mothers to ditch infant formula and use breast milk instead. The New York Post reports:

Brennan Schnell / Flickr

A video making its way around the web right now is a powerful demonstration of what a toll it takes - even on very successful people - to come out of difficult circumstances.

There are plenty of statistics on this site showing it's really hard for kids born without economic opportunity to get ahead. But rapper Lupe Fiasco shows what an emotional toll that lack of opportunity can take on people - even people who beat the odds and find success. 

graphic from "Achievement Growth: International and U.S. State Trends in Student Performance

Tonight, millions of Americans will tune into the opening ceremony for the 2012 London Olympics, eagerly waiting to see whether the U.S. will resume its dominance in the race for gold.

If only we did so well in the race to educate our kids. 

the Annie E. Casey Foundation's Kids Count Data Book

The Annie E. Casey Foundation's annual Kids Count Data Book is one of the best resources for tracking how our kids are doing in the U.S., and for tracking how different states stack up. 

The latest Data Book was released yesterday, and Michigan Radio's Kate Wells reports the numbers were pretty bad for Michigan. Jane Zehnder-Merrell, of the Michigan League for Human Services told Wells: 

woman in cap and gown
Schlüsselbein2007 / Flickr CC / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

We've been taking a look at what research can tell us about getting ahead in America. Last week, we brought you "Five facts about achieving the American Dream." This week, we're keeping the format, but changing the focus. Here's our list of five ways to improve opportunity for disadvantaged kids:

1. Start in the home.

So let’s meet Angela Ducket, and her daughter, Aurora.

Join us for Issues & Ale: Can Kids in Michigan Get Ahead. Michigan Radio's Jennifer White will host this discussion exploring these questions, as we look to define the problem of poverty in Michigan. This is the first community event in Michigan Radio’s “State of Opportunity” project.

Do you live your life in a bubble?

Jul 24, 2012
Juan Calderon via Flickr

Things get old really fast on the internet, so by now it's safe to say that this quiz from March is retro enough to be due for a revival.

U.S. poverty could soon top 1965 rate

Jul 23, 2012

The Associated Press is reporting that when census numbers come out this fall, poverty in America will be at its highest rate in close to 50 years. In 2010 the census found 15.1 percent of people in America were living below the poverty line-that's about 1 in 7 people.