Seattle Project Tackles Suburban Poverty & Early Education Deficit

roadmap project

Reposted from Thrive by Five Washington:

The changing face of the poor in America goes beyond the deep poverty in the nation’s cities. While it still exists, is being outpaced by rising poverty in its suburbs. Only about a quarter of low-income children are enrolled in high-quality early learning programs, a number that drops to 17 percent if you exclude Seattle, The Road Map Project said today in its 2014 Results Report. Lack of access is probably one of the main reasons the report found only 39 percent of the region’s kindergarten students are ready to start school.

The Road Map Project has an ambitious program to tackle the problem with a comprehensive plan to improve education from infancy through high school in South King County and south Seattle, Washington. The project’s overall goal is to double the number of students who are on track to graduate from college or ready for a career by 2020.

In early learning the project is working to increase school readiness, expand full-day kindergarten and improve access to good child care and preschools, while improving quality among providers. Even though the project is only four years old, it reported today that quality among child care programs is rising. By the end of 2014, half of child care providers in the Road Map Project’s region were in the state’s quality rating and improvement system, Early Achievers, higher than statewide enrollment of 43 percent.

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Are You Technology Rich, But Innovation Poor?

light bulb innovate

Reposted from eSchool News:

At the start of a webinar Alan November recently conducted for school leaders, he asked attendees if they felt they were leading an innovative school as a result of the implementation of technology. More than 90 percent responded that they were. At the end of the webinar, when polled again, only one leader claimed to be leading an innovative school.

The complete reversal was due to a presentation on the six questions that you will read about in this article – a list of questions that were developed to help clarify for educators the unique added value of a digital learning environment, and whether their assignments were making the best use of this environment.

Want to test your own level of innovation? If you answer no to all six questions when evaluating the design of assignments and student work, then chances are that technology is not really being applied in the most innovative ways. The questions we ask to evaluate implementation and define innovation are critical.

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The Truth About Lifting One’s Self Out of Poverty

city poverty

Reposted from Johns Hopkins Magazine:

Karl Alexander has spent more time in prisons than most professors. For 25 years, the Johns Hopkins University sociologist and his Johns Hopkins colleague Doris Entwisle followed the lives of 790 children growing up in a variety of Baltimore neighborhoods. The researchers interviewed their subjects almost every year while they were in school and every few years after they became adults. Early on, the participants could usually be found in school or at home. But as they aged, some of them began to land in prison. So Alexander, Entwisle, and their colleagues followed them there.

Alexander and his colleagues recorded every story. They collected a mountain of data: each subject’s work history, how far he or she had advanced in school, their past drug use, number and ages of children and other family members, and relationship status. The sociolo­gists combined this information with data from earlier interviews of both study subjects and their parents, along with profiles of the neighborhoods where their subjects grew up, school report cards, and family backgrounds. Pulling these strands together, the researchers wove a rich tapestry from the lives of children growing up in Baltimore from the early 1980s through the mid-2000s.

Many of the middle-class children in the study progressed through life’s stages as expected: school, college, work, marriage, par­enthood. But for poorer children, the picture was largely bleak. In their book The Long Shadow: Family Background, Disadvantaged Urban Youth, and the Transition to Adulthood (Russell Sage Foundation, 2014), co-authors Alexander, Entwisle, and Linda Olson, an instructor in the School of Education, combine an explication of 25 years of data with powerful anecdotes—stories of murdered friends and siblings, absent fathers, mothers too addicted to drugs or alcohol to pro­vide basic care, dreams deferred. The researchers show how, at each step on the path to adulthood, neighborhood and family and school conspire to pass down advantage and disadvantage from generation to generation. Contrary to the popu­lar American narrative that everyone has equal access to opportunity as long as he or she is will­ing to work hard, the reality revealed by the study is grim. Education and hard work lift people from the inner city out of poverty only in excep­tional cases. The vast majority born poor are almost certain to stay that way.

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The Opportunity Escalator is Broken


Reposted from the New York Times:

The best escalator to opportunity in America is education. But a new study underscores that the escalator is broken. We expect each generation to do better, but, currently, more young American men have less education (29 percent) than their parents than have more education (20 percent). Among young Americans whose parents didn’t graduate from high school, only 5 percent make it through college themselves. In other rich countries, the figure is 23 percent.

The United States is devoting billions of dollars to compete with Russia militarily, but maybe we should try to compete educationally. Russia now has the largest percentage of adults with a university education of any industrialized country — a position once held by the United States, although we’re plunging in that roster. These figures come from the annual survey of education from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, or O.E.C.D., and it should be a shock to Americans.

A new Pew survey finds that Americans consider the greatest threat to our country to be the growing gap between the rich and poor. Yet we have constructed an education system, dependent on local property taxes, that provides great schools for the rich kids in the suburbs who need the least help, and broken, dangerous schools for inner-city children who desperately need a helping hand. Too often, America’s education system amplifies not opportunity but inequality.

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Daniel Pink: We Have a Poverty Problem More Than An Education Problem [VIDEO 3:23]

“Our poor kids do better than the low-income kids in other countries. Alright? We just happen to have, disgracefully, a heck of a lot of poor kids. THAT’s the problem we should be addressing. I lose sleep over the size of child poverty and poverty in general in this country. I don’t lose sleep if we were ranked 24th or 17th. I wish we were number one, but the real issue here is what do we do to address the kids we are systematically leaving behind.”