Education, schools, and learning


Parents: you’ll find a note soon in your child’s backpack. Or maybe you’ll get a phone call.  A gentle reminder from your child’s teacher that it’s time for parent-teacher conferences.

And, you’ll make the time to sit down some evening to talk. It’s just one of the ways schools and teachers try to keep parents involved in children’s education.

But some parents have a harder time staying involved than others. Not because they don’t want to, or because they don’t care. Often, their work schedule just doesn’t allow it.

Dustin Dwyer

Shortly before 10 a.m., the tall strangers in business suits arrive for their tour.

"Morning," says Denise Brown, who is not a stranger, and not in a suit. She leads this early childhood program at Campus Elementary in Grand Rapids. She's today's tour guide for the tall strangers in suits.

"Wow, I’m overwhelmed with 20 of you," Brown says. 

Two years ago, the state of Michigan made a major new investment in preschool. Since then, state funding to help four year olds attend preschool has more than doubled. About 14,000 more children now have access to preschool.

Many of the tall strangers on this tour were deeply involved in making that investment happen. But they're not done yet. And today's event is, ultimately, about keeping the movement going. 

Could mindfulness help Michigan's kids escape poverty?

Oct 13, 2015
Papermoons / Flickr Creative Commons

Yesterday on The Next Idea, experts joined Cynthia Canty to talk about implementing mindfulness practice in schools. Mindfulness has been known to help both students and teachers deal with stress in the classroom.

Which direction are you going after high school?

Oct 8, 2015
Mike Carney / Flickr Creative Commons

With college costs on the rise, more low-income students are questioning whether attending a university is the best direction to go after graduating high school. Does community college make more sense? Is a Job Corps program or the military a better fit? 

flickr user biologycorner

We’ve talked a lot on State of Opportunity about racial achievement gaps - how the average test score for black, Hispanic or Native American kids isn’t as high as the average test score for a white or Asian student.

Now we want to talk about what the real world implications of those gaps might be. We tried to tackle the question by asking: What would the world look like if racial achievement gaps suddenly disappeared?

"There are two possible answers to that question," says Derek Neal, an economist at the University of Chicago. His research is focused on black-white inequality, and he’s studied how test scores play into that.

#IssuesandAle: The many faces of student debt

Oct 6, 2015
Yasmeen / Flickr Creative Commons

I've been doing a lot of thinking and talking about college access and affordability in preparation for the special State of Opportunity Issues and Ale. The event is tonight at One Well Brewing in Kalamazoo. It starts at 6:30pm.

Federal loan program for low-income students expires

Oct 5, 2015
Got Credit / Flickr Creative Commons

While you were sleeping, the Federal Perkins Loan Program expired last Wednesday night after the Senate failed to approve an extension.  

The loan program specifically caters to low-income students

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services

The number of kids in foster care is on the rise, according to a recently released report.

Last year, there were 415,129 kids in care nationwide. That's over 14,000 more kids than the year before.  

How can Michigan improve college access and affordability?

Sep 25, 2015
COD Newsroom / Flickr Creative Commons

The Center for Michigan’s latest report on improving career navigation and college affordability has received a lot of attention, and rightfully so. Student debt is an issue that is on a lot of people's minds; from the university admissions office, to the family dinner table and even on the presidential campaign trail.

Four in five Michigan residents say that improving college affordability isn't just a suggestion, but an urgent priority for the state.

Brittany Bartkowiak / Michigan Radio

The sun is beaming down on the University of Michigan’s Ann Arbor campus on what is likely one of the last summer days of the season. The open space in front of the library is full of students and professors rushing to grab lunch before their next class.