STATE OF OPPORTUNITY. Can Kids in Michigan Get Ahead?
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This special reporting project wrapped up in May 2017. Read more.

Have free time this weekend? Check out these recommendations.

baby laying down reading
Donnie Ray Jones / Flickr CC /

As the week winds down, many of us are looking forward to a little rest and relaxation. I thought I'd share some recommended reading – and listening – for you to check out if you have some free time this weekend:

1. How Segregated Schools Built Segregated Cities

An increasing number of black kids in the U.S. go to schools where more than 99% of the student population are minorities. School segregation is often blamed on segregation in neighborhoods, but according to this piece from CityLab, that may be backward thinking.

We’ve gotten used to explaining the segregation we see in our schools by pointing to the segregation we see in our neighborhoods. It seems pretty simple: Kids who don’t live in the same place aren’t likely to go to the same school. But that explanation has it backwards. In many cities across the U.S., public schools were the first and nearly always the most effective of the tools white residents had to police the boundaries of their neighborhoods. Often, it was school segregation that created neighborhood segregation, not the other way around.

2. Better Together: How School Diversity Makes A Difference

Data from the state Department of Education show school districts in Michigan are deeply segregated. So, how did we get to this point? And what benefits come with less segregated, more diverse schools? Get answers to these questions by listening to Better together: How school diversity makes a difference, a State of Opportunity special that aired on Stateside earlier this week.

3. We Live Here – A documentary about neighborhood schools in Detroit

Over the last 15 years, cities across the country have faced wave after wave of school closures. The district that closed the most schools during that time was Detroit Public Schools.  Since 2000, the city has seen nearly 200 school buildings shuttered. But, what happens to a neighborhood – and the kids who live there – when a school closes? Find out in State of Opportunity's latest documentary.

4. Survey Says: To Be American Is To Speak English

What does it mean to be "truly American"? A study released Wednesday by the Pew Research Center found nearly nine in 10 people in the U.S. say for a person to be considered truly American, it’s important that they speak English. And being able to speak English matters more than sharing in national customs or traditions, religious affiliation or even birthplace.

Paulette is a blogger for Michigan Radio's State of Opportunity project, which looks at kids from low-income families and what it takes to get them ahead. She previously interned as a reporter in the Michigan Radio newsroom.
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