Paulette Parker

Digital Journalist - Blogger

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.

Before working at Michigan Radio, she was the news editor of The Washtenaw Voice at Washtenaw Community College. She has an associate degree in journalism from WCC. And she is currently a junior at Eastern Michigan University, pursuing a bachelor's degree in media studies and journalism.

When she isn't working she is spending time with her husband and two young daughters.

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

America's public schools have reached a milestone.

The number of students who identify as minorities outnumbered white students for the first time during the 2014-2015 school year.

toddler playing in water
swong95765 / Flickr CC / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

What is your fondest childhood memory?

I remember playing outside almost every day until the street lights came on.

Riding bikes. Hanging out with friends at the park. Long before tablets and smart phones were a source of entertainment.

But a recent survey of 1,001 parents with kids between ages 4 and 14 found kids today spend much less time playing outside than their parents did.

Affordable housing under construction
Mark Hogan / Flickr CC / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

For every 100 extremely low-income households in the U.S., there are only 29 adequate, affordable, and available rental units, according to The Urban Institute.

So you would think with such high demand the solution would be simple. Just build more low-income housing, right?

Well, it turns out building affordable housing is not so affordable.

homeless man
Pedro Ribeiro Simoes / Flickr CC / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

The Democratic National Convention kicked off Monday in Philadelphia, and it's expected to draw tens of thousands of people to the city.

And while attendees may know Philly as the City of Brotherly Love, they may be less aware that it's home to roughly 15,000 people experiencing homelessness – around 700 of them unsheltered.

During the DNC, extra resources are available to homeless residents.

parking ticket on car
kdingo / Flickr CC / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Traffic tickets are an inconvenient expense. And if they aren't paid within a certain amount of time, you incur costly fees that only make the ticket harder to pay off.

But if you're poor, a ticket can be nearly impossible to pay. And unpaid violations can result in a suspended license or jail time, which means you can't go to work to pay your bills – including the ticket – digging you further into poverty.

the evening news
flash.pro / flickr cc / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

The attack in Nice, France.

The killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile.

kid and school bus
Isabelle Acatauassu Alves Almeida / Flickr CC / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

We've already reached the middle of July and this summer seems to be flying by.

Many stores already have pens, pencils, and notebooks prominently displayed. Their racks of new backpacks are fully stocked.

And while many parents will be falling back into the same school year routine as years past, others will be sending kids to school for the first time. If you're one of them, how can you make this transition easier for your little one?

1. Start your school routine early

Toddler at doctor
Brett Neilson / Flickr CC / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Typically, when a mother is covered by Medicaid, her children are automatically covered when they are born.

But many low-income toddlers inadvertently lose their health insurance on their first birthday, according to Kaiser Health News.

Seattle Parks / Flickr CC / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

From kindergarten through high school, I attended schools with pretty racially diverse student populations. I've seen that same diversity reflected in the friendships I've maintained throughout my life.

And it turns out those interracial relationships may have actually helped my development.

Construction workers
University of Salford Press Office / Flickr CC / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

You may have heard about the gender pay gap that exists between men and women. Simply put, it's when a man and woman share similar professional factors like educational background, amount of work experience, and hold the same position, yet the woman makes less than the man.