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University of Wisconsin–Madison
Poverty-related issues in the news, from the Institute for Research on Poverty

Category: Education

Homelessness and Food Insecurity Among College Students

  • The hidden crisis on college campuses: Many students don’t have enough to eat, By Caitlin Dewey, April 3, 2018, Washington Post: “Caleb Torres lost seven pounds his freshman year of college — and not because he didn’t like the food in the dining hall. A first-generation college student, barely covering tuition, Torres ran out of grocery money halfway through the year and began skipping meals as a result…”
  • Hunger and homelessness are widespread among college students, study finds, By Vanessa Romo, April 3, 2018, National Public Radio: “As college students grapple with the rising costs of classes and books, mortgaging their futures with student loans in exchange for a diploma they’re gambling will someday pay off, it turns out many of them are in great financial peril in the present, too. More than a third of college students don’t always have enough to eat and they lack stable housing, according to a survey published Tuesday by researchers at Temple University and the Wisconsin HOPE Lab…”

Child Care Subsidies – California

Thousands of families are eligible for child care subsidies. Actually getting them? Good luck., By Priska Neely, March 27, 2018, Southern California Public Radio: “When her son Jeremiah was born, Bertha Terrones spent weeks calling centers to find care. Eventually, after months passed, she went to visit in person. ‘You feel helpless, like, you’re watching and can’t do anything about it because there’s no progress,’ said Terrones, in Spanish. ‘The programs aren’t reaching the cities where these services are needed most.’  Terrones, who lives in Cudahy, in southeast L.A. County, spent more than a year on a waitlist. Tens of thousands of families across L.A. County face similar experiences. While 51 percent of babies and toddlers in the county are eligible for state-subsidized child care programs, only 6 percent of these children are served, according to new analysis by Advancement Project California, released on Tuesday…”

School Choice

  • Battle over private school choice playing out at Texas polls, By Julie Chang, March 15, 2018, Austin American-Statesman: “The battle over whether public money should be spent on private school tuition played out at polls across the state this month and will continue in runoff contests on May 22. Public school teachers, who launched a noteworthy get-out-the-vote campaign, and supporters of so-called private school choice ended the March 2 Texas House primaries in a draw…”
  • Black students have longer commutes under school choice, By J. Brian Charles, March 15, 2018, Governing: “Black children often travel farther to school and face longer commute times than their white and Latino classmates, according to a new report from the Urban Institute. In cities including Denver, New York City and Washington, D.C., black children are more likely to leave their own neighborhood in search of a high-quality school, according to the study, which examined urban school districts that operate school choice programs…”
  • Inside the virtual schools lobby: ‘I trust parents’, By Anya Kamenetz, February 13, 2018, National Public Radio: “A free day at the aquarium! For Marcey Morse, a mother of two, it sounded pretty good. It was the fall of 2016, and Morse had received an email offering tickets, along with a warning about her children’s education. At that time, Morse’s two kids were enrolled in an online, or ‘virtual,’ school called the Georgia Cyber Academy, run by a company called K12 Inc. About 275,000 students around the country attend these online public charter schools, run by for-profit companies, at taxpayers’ expense…”

Student Homelessness – New York City

New York City is failing homeless students, reports say, By Elizabeth A. Harris, March 15, 2018, New York Times: “City workers assigned to help homeless students are desperately overwhelmed, leaving many of those children, among the most vulnerable in the public school system, to miss enormous amounts of school and fall far behind their classmates, two reports say.  Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration has been scrambling for years to stanch the cascade of families falling into homelessness, a wave that has become a crisis for the city, his administration and, most of all, the tens of thousands of people with no place to live. The two reports, scheduled to be released on Thursday, highlight how far the city has to go in addressing their needs…”

School Funding – Baltimore, MD

Free lunch program unintentionally cost some Baltimore schools thousands in federal funding, By Talia Richman, March 7, 2018, Baltimore Sun: “When Baltimore’s public school district joined a universal free lunch program three years ago, the city celebrated. Now every student in the district, regardless of income, could get healthy, wholesome food each day, courtesy of federal taxpayers. But in an unintended consequence, the move has cost some of the city’s high-poverty schools hundreds of thousands of dollars in other federal funding — losses that have led principals to cut staff and programs from some of the buildings that need them most…”

Medicaid Spending to School Districts

Medicaid’s little-known benefits for millions of US students, By Anna Gorman and Carmen Heredia Rodriguez, March 6, 2018, CNN: “Gerardo Alejandrez used to punch classmates, throw chairs and curse at his teachers, conduct that forced him to switch from school to school. ‘I had a lot of anger issues,’ the 16-year-old said recently. Then Gerardo entered a class at Oakland Technical High School for students who have mental health or behavior issues. In that classroom, the teacher gets support from Erich Roberts, a psychiatric social worker assigned to the group. Oakland Unified School District bills Medicaid, the nation’s insurance program for low-income residents, for Roberts’ services…”

Disparities in School Suspensions

  • Minnesota students of color and those with disabilities disproportionately suspended, study finds, By Kelly Smith, March 2, 2018, Star Tribune: “Students of color and those with disabilities are twice as likely to be suspended or expelled from Minnesota schools than their white peers or students without disabilities, a new state study reveals. The analysis, released Friday by the state Department of Human Rights, showed that students of color made up 66 percent of all school suspensions and expulsions in the 2015-16 school year, even though students of color only make up 31 percent of the student population in Minnesota…”
  • Disparities continue in suspensions of black students in California, By Jill Tucker, February 20, 2018, San Francisco Chronicle: “Each day, nearly 400 black students across California are suspended from school for a behavioral infraction, typically sent home to serve their sentence. That adds up to 68,000 days of school missed by African American students, most of them boys…”

School Funding – Connecticut

In school funding fight, Connecticut weighs uncertain next steps, By J. Brian Charles, February 7, 2018, Governing: “Connecticut is the richest state in the country. And like all affluent states, Connecticut pours billions into education each year. Only the District of Columbia and two other states (Alaska and New York) spend more per student. But for all the money Connecticut spends, it can’t seem to close the gap between students in the richest districts in the state (places like Greenwich, Westport, Avon and Farmington) and the poorest districts in the largest cities like Hartford, New Haven and Bridgeport…”

Racial Achievement Gap

How a popular college-prep program is narrowing achievement gap for black, Latino students, By Beau Yarbrough, February 2, 2018, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin: “Minority students lag behind white students in college graduation rates. But the AVID program, common in Southern California schools, helps narrow the achievement gap, according to a new report. The news comes even as schools are starting to expand who’s offered a spot in the program…”

School Funding – Baltimore, MD

How Baltimore schools determine what constitutes poverty among students, families, By Talia Richman, January 26, 2018, Baltimore Sun: “The Baltimore school board voted this week to revamp the district’s funding formula, choosing to provide extra dollars to schools on the basis of student poverty rather than standardized test scores. So how does Baltimore City Public Schools decide who qualifies as poor? Districts across the country have historically used the percentage of students who qualify for free-and-reduced priced meals, or FARMs, as a proxy for poverty. But given Baltimore’s large number of qualifying students — 86.5 percent received free or discounted meals in the 2014-15 school year — the district began offering free meals for all students through a federal program that eliminates the need for families to fill out the cumbersome FARMs application…”

Gifted Student Programs

The push to find more gifted kids: What Washington can learn from Miami’s wins, By Claudia Rowe, December 7, 2017, Seattle Times: “Every year, Lisette Rodriguez runs through the same conversation with angry, confused parents. No, she explains, their child does not qualify for a gifted-education program, despite having a high IQ score of 129. And yes, she adds, the child sitting at the next desk does qualify — despite scoring 117 — because his family is poor. ‘You’re telling me that my child would have been in gifted but isn’t, just because I can pay for his lunch?’ parents ask, incredulous. Yes, exactly, says Rodriguez, who directs advanced academic programs for Miami-Dade County Public Schools. The nation’s fourth-largest school district has been using this two-tier system since the early 1990s to broaden its pool of students deemed gifted, largely because research shows that a child’s IQ is not static and can stretch with exposure to books, museums and complex material. Or, conversely, shrink under stress, frequent moves and other realities common for low-income families…”

School Districts and Student Achievement

  • How effective is your school district? A new measure shows where students learn the most, By Emily Badger and Kevin Quealy, December 5, 2017, New York Times: “In the Chicago Public Schools system, enrollment has been declining, the budget is seldom enough, and three in four children come from low-income homes, a profile that would seemingly consign the district to low expectations. But students here appear to be learning faster than those in almost every other school system in the country, according to new data from researchers at Stanford…”
  • Stanford University study: Rochester schools last in U.S. in growth, By Justin Murphy, December 5, 2017, Democrat and Chronicle: “A novel, large-scale study from Stanford University shows Rochester-area primary schools are dead last among the 200 largest cities in the country for academic growth. The study, from Stanford’s Center for Education Policy Analysis, examines standardized test score results for all Rochester children and reports the apparent progress by cohort year — that is, how much more 2017 eighth-graders know compared to 2016 seventh-graders…”

Homeless Students and Academic Achievement – New York

New report shines light on homeless students’ achievement gap, By Jay Rey, December 12, 2017, Buffalo News: “Homeless students in New York City fared better on state assessment tests than students in Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse who had never been homeless. Meanwhile, more than 16 percent of students in the Buffalo Public Schools who took the state tests two years ago were either homeless or had been homeless at one time. In either case, those students were about half as likely to meet state math and reading standards compared to their classmates who have always had their own place to call home…”

Minimum Wage – Chicago, IL

Chicago raised its minimum wage two years ago, but some still earn less. Here’s why., By Nereida Moreno and Greg Trotter, December 1, 2017, Chicago Tribune: “Maria Leon, a single mother of three and longtime Gage Park resident, says she worked for years in two Chicago restaurants for less than the city’s minimum wage. Last year, she sued the restaurants, which have the same owner, alleging they were violating city, state and federal wage laws. The two sides reached a settlement, but Leon believes it’s important to speak up on the matter…”

Student Homelessness

New study finds that 4.2 million kids experience homelessness each year, By Leila Fadel, November 15, 2017, National Public Radio: “Marquan Ellis was evicted from his home in Las Vegas, Nevada when he was 18. His mother battled with a drug and gambling addiction while he stayed at his godmother’s house. But he couldn’t stay there forever. He found his way to the Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth where he enrolled in the independent living program…”

Academic Gaps in Early Childhood

Study: Academic gaps persist — but haven’t widened — between high- and low-income kindergartners, By Neal Morton, November 6, 2017, Seattle Times: “When education economist Emma García started researching the academic gaps that show up in kindergarten between low-income students and their high-income peers, she had reason to suspect the gaps had widened in recent years…”

High-Poverty Schools

  • Rich school districts will benefit more than poor ones from Washington’s budget, new analysis suggests, By Neal Morton, October 31, 2017, Seattle Times: “In the days after the Washington Legislature approved a new state budget in June, school-finance experts began reading the fine print. They soon started warning that while lawmakers may have increased state spending on schools, some richer districts would get a bigger boost than many poorer ones…”
  • Report: Virginia’s high-poverty schools don’t have same opportunities for students, By Justin Mattingly, October 30, 2017, Richmond Times-Dispatch: “There are ‘striking deficiencies’ in educational opportunities for students in high-poverty Virginia schools, a new report has found. Students in high-poverty schools, or schools where at least 75 percent receive free and reduced-price lunch, have less access to core subjects like math and science, lower levels of state and local funding for instructors, who are less experienced in these schools, according to a report from The Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis, a research organization based in Richmond that focuses on economics and policy…”

Public Universities and Low-Income Student Enrollment

Top public universities are shutting out poor students, report says, By Danielle Douglas-Gabriel, October 26, 2017, Washington Post: “Graduating from a selective college can help low-income students climb the economic ladder, but many of the nation’s top public universities are turning their backs on the group. Since the late 1990s, almost two-thirds of selective public universities have reduced the share of students they enroll who come from families earning less than $37,000 a year, according to a report released Thursday by New America. Policy analysts at the think tank found that a near-identical share of these schools have increased the percentage of students they enroll who come from families earning at least $110,000…”

Student Homelessness

  • 10% of New York City public school students were homeless last year, By Elizabeth A. Harris, October 10, 2017, New York Times: “The number of homeless students in the New York City public school system rose again last year, according to state data released on Tuesday. The increase pushed the city over a sober milestone: One in every 10 public school students was homeless at some point during the 2016-17 school year…”
  • Central Florida’s homeless students top 14,000, By Kate Santich, October 10, 2017, Orlando Sentinel: “Mimi is 16, the oldest of six kids, all living in a single room at an Orlando homeless shelter with their mom. Between high school and a fast-food job, she is up most weekdays until midnight. Then she sets three alarms each morning — at 4, 4:30 and 4:40 — to ensure she catches the 5:37 a.m. bus.  ‘I always jumped from school to school every couple of months,’ she said. ‘It was stressful, but I got used to it. This was just how we live.’  These days, it’s how a lot of Central Florida kids live…”