Kimberly Springer

Social Media/Web

Kimberly is Social Media Producer for Michigan Radio. She's in charge of harmonizing members' and listeners' online and offline experience. After several years of university teaching, Kimberly returned to UM's School of Information for a master's of science degree specializing in social computing, digital engagement, and archival science. She's interested in working with public radio stations and journalists to make optimal use of their archival sound. Her public radio experience includes producing an award-winning series on social activism, The Good Fight, and script writing for the Peabody award-winning series, Will the Circle Be Unbroken. She does have a plan for zombie apocalypse, but she won't tell you what it is. 

Ways to Connect

Michigan Radio

We'd like to thank all of the State of Opportunity and Michigan Radio fans who came out to our first Day of Opportunity

About 76 people volunteered, including Michigan Radio staff from State of Opportunity, our newsroom, and Stateside with Cynthia Canty. We were pleased to welcome volunteers of all ages. 

Volunteers helped three local organizations with a range of tasks, including gardening, weeding, sorting canned goods, stocking shelves, and getting very good with operating a conveyor belt. 

abandoned toy in dump
Geraint Rowland / Flickr

Reports about pollution and environmental degradation can easily seem like something that happens somewhere else.

And when the impact isn't visible on the surface, the health effects can go unchecked and be devastating for children.

In a new State of Opportunity documentary airing this Thursday, Michigan Radio's Lester Graham, looks at the impact of environmental pollution on children who live in poverty. 

Vinoth Chandar / Flickr

This Thursday, we're shifting gears at State of Opportunity.

For our call-in show, we want to talk with you and our invited guests about ways to help at-risk kids break the cycle of poverty. 

People posting to our Facebook conversation so far have been adamant that schools and education are the way to give kids a better chance in life.


Bill Ferriter / for the love of learning

In the run-up to our call-in show for next week, we're looking for alternatives to schools as the solution for breaking the cycle of poverty for Michigan's children.

The point is not that education isn't the answer, but what haven't we tried?

Technology, as we've said before, has its costs and benefits. But when it comes to low-income kids and technology, the assumption is that no money equals no technology.

That assumption is wrong.

Erin Nekervis / Flickr

For the rest of this week and next, we're preparing for our upcoming call-in show

We've focused a lot on schools and education because it's such a huge part of children's and parents' lives. After all, after age five, that's where kids spend most of their time and have formative experiences. 

But when it comes to answering the big questions, do we rely too much on schools? What solutions do we overlook when we put all our eggs in the education basket? 

One in four of Michigan's children lives in poverty conditions.

U.S. Navy / Wikimedia Commons

A new study on parental involvement with their kids' schooling is making the rounds. Keith Robinson (University of Texas at Austin) and Angel L. Harris (Duke University) wanted to find out whether parent involvement impacted academic achievement.

Here are the factors they looked at, according to Dana Goldstein, from The Atlantic:


We've talked about the digital divide here before at the Technology and Opportunity desk, but usually in terms of class and race.

But what barriers to accessing technology do people with physical, intellectual, cognitive, and developmental disabilities face?

Nearly 15% of kids, that's about 10 million, have a diagnosed developmental disability.

Alan Cleaver / Flickr

Researchers are finding that poor and working class communities are often the test spaces for new surveillance technologies.

State of Opportunity intern and NPR Kroc Fellow Gabrielle Emanuel looked at how poor people are observed through photography and fine art.

But newer technologies, such as closed-circuit television, are also piloted in poor communities before being introduced to communities with more money.

And, more likely, people with greater financial resources have the means to protest invasions of their privacy. The United Kingdom, for example, has one of the most heavily observed populations of any Western nation.

Officials said the cameras were installed in the interest of public safety, but researchers who actually talked to people in poor communities have found that numerous CCTV cameras don't, in fact, make people feel safer. Instead, anxiety is increased.  

As State University of New York at Albany Professor, and author of Digital Dead End: Fighting for Social Justice in the Information Age Virginia Eubanks observes, "Marginalized people are in the dubious position of being both on the cutting edge of surveillance, and stuck in its backwaters."

One of our most popular, and saddest, posts is about the challenges kids face later on in life if they're born to parents who are living in poverty. The disadvantage begins before a child actually enters the world and starts with a lack of prenatal care. Jennifer Guerra and Dustin Dwyer revisit, "The problem with growing up poor" and how it contributes to further inequality gaps later in life.

JD Hancock / Flickr

Michigan Radio brings its monthly Issues & Ale panel discussion to Grand Rapids' Founders Brewery on Wednesday, March 12 from 6:30 p.m. - 8 p.m.

We're asking you about closing the digital divide in education. Do all kids have the access to classroom technologies that they need to be digitally literate and tech-ready?