Tag Archives: low-income children

New York University study: Low-income children missing out on language learning both at home and at school: A double dose of disadvantage

16 Apr

Educators have long recognized the importance of vocabulary in reading and learning. Francie Alexander wrote in the Scholastic article, Understanding Vocabulary:

Why is vocabulary s-o-o important?
Vocabulary is critical to reading success for three reasons:
1. Comprehension improves when you know what the words mean. Since comprehension is the ultimate goal of reading, you cannot overestimate the importance of vocabulary development.
2. Words are the currency of communication. A robust vocabulary improves all areas of communication — listening, speaking, reading and writing.
3. How many times have you asked your students or your own children to “use your words”? When children and adolescents improve their vocabulary, their academic and social confidence and competence improve, too.http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/article/understanding-vocabulary

A University of Chicago study, “Quality of early parent input predicts child vocabulary three years later,” published in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences highlights the importance of parental involvement at an early stage of learning. See more at: http://news.uchicago.edu/article/2013/06/24/giving-children-non-verbal-clues-about-words-boosts-vocabularies#sthash.V4f1L1Vb.dpuf

Science Daily reported in Low-income children missing out on language learning both at home and at school: A double dose of disadvantage:

Children from poor neighborhoods are less likely to have complex language building opportunities both in home and at school, putting them at a disadvantage in their kindergarten year, finds a new study led by NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development.
The findings, published in the Journal of Educational Psychology, suggest that language learning should involve both families and teachers in order to overcome these early disadvantages and ensure learning opportunities for vulnerable students.
“Children may go from a home with limited physical and psychological resources for learning and language to a school with similar constraints, resulting in a double dose of disadvantage,” said Susan B. Neuman, professor of childhood and literacy education at NYU Steinhardt and the study’s lead author. “Our study suggests that neighborhoods matter and can have a powerful influence on nurturing success or failure.”
Research shows that children’s academic achievement is predicted not only by their family’s socioeconomic status, but also by the socioeconomic status of their school. These two factors together have an impact on children’s access to learning resources, including adults who create language-rich opportunities when they speak with children.
“Children’s early exposure to a rich set of language practices can set in motion the processes that they use for learning to read, including the vocabulary and background knowledge necessary for language and reading comprehension,” Neuman said. “Consequently, children who have limited experience with these kinds of linguistic interactions may have fewer opportunities to engage in the higher-order exchanges valued in school….” https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/04/170414105818.htm


Low-income children missing out on language learning both at home and at school
A double dose of disadvantage
Date: April 14, 2017
Source: New York University
Children from poor neighborhoods are less likely to have complex language building opportunities both in home and at school, putting them at a disadvantage in their kindergarten year, finds a new study.
Journal Reference:
1. Susan B. Neuman, Tanya Kaefer, Ashley M. Pinkham. A Double Dose of Disadvantage: Language Experiences for Low-Income Children in Home and School.. Journal of Educational Psychology, 2017; DOI: 10.1037/edu0000201

Here is the press release from NYU:

News Release
A Double Dose of Disadvantage: Low-income Children Missing Out on Language Learning Both at Home and at School

Apr 14, 2017

Education and Social Sciences Research Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development
New York City
Children from poor neighborhoods are less likely to have complex language building opportunities both in home and at school, putting them at a disadvantage in their kindergarten year, finds a new study led by NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development.
The findings, published in the Journal of Educational Psychology, suggest that language learning should involve both families and teachers in order to overcome these early disadvantages and ensure learning opportunities for vulnerable students.
“Children may go from a home with limited physical and psychological resources for learning and language to a school with similar constraints, resulting in a double dose of disadvantage,” said Susan B. Neuman, professor of childhood and literacy education at NYU Steinhardt and the study’s lead author. “Our study suggests that neighborhoods matter and can have a powerful influence on nurturing success or failure.”
Research shows that children’s academic achievement is predicted not only by their family’s socioeconomic status, but also by the socioeconomic status of their school. These two factors together have an impact on children’s access to learning resources, including adults who create language-rich opportunities when they speak with children.
“Children’s early exposure to a rich set of language practices can set in motion the processes that they use for learning to read, including the vocabulary and background knowledge necessary for language and reading comprehension,” Neuman said. “Consequently, children who have limited experience with these kinds of linguistic interactions may have fewer opportunities to engage in the higher-order exchanges valued in school.”
In this study, Neuman and her colleagues examined language-advancing resources in both the homes and schools of 70 children who recently made the transition from preschool to kindergarten. Half of the families lived in poor neighborhoods in Detroit, while the other half lived in more demographically diverse Michigan communities that were largely working class.
The researchers followed the children through their kindergarten year, conducting targeted observations in both home and school settings. During four hour-long home visits, the researchers observed the engagement between parents and their children to understand the degree of cognitive stimulation in the home and the quality of the interactions. They also conducted four half-day observations in kindergarten classrooms during which the teachers’ speaking was recorded. The researchers analyzed the language spoken by parents and teachers for both quantity (number of words spoken) and quality (using varied vocabulary and complex sentences).
These observations were combined with assessments of the children’s school readiness skills, including vocabulary knowledge and letter and word identification.
The researchers found that children in low-income neighborhoods had fewer supports for language and early literacy developments than did those in working class communities. In both settings, there were significant differences in the quality of language directed at children, but there was no difference in the quantity of language overall.
At home, parents in low-income neighborhoods used shorter sentences, fewer different words, and had lower reading comprehension than did parents from working class neighborhoods. In the classroom, children from the low-income communities attended kindergartens characterized by more limited language opportunities. Teachers used simpler sentences, less varied vocabulary, and fewer unique word types, potentially oversimplifying their language for students.
Children in all neighborhoods experienced learning across their kindergarten year, but children in the working class communities outpaced their counterparts from low-income communities, particularly in expressive vocabulary.
“We found that the quality of one’s educational opportunities is highly dependent on the streets where you live. Tragically, the children who need the greater opportunity to learn appear to be the least likely to get it,” Neuman said.
The results suggest that no matter the strength of the early boost children receive in preschool, differences in later environmental influences can either support or undermine this early advantage.
“Too often we have focused on what happens within early childhood programs instead of the environmental supports that surround them. We need to account for the multiple contexts of home and school in our understanding of children’s early development,” Neuman said.
Tanya Kaefer of Lakehead University and Ashley M. Pinkham of West Texas A&M University coauthored
the study. The research was funded by the Institute for Education Sciences, US Department of Education (R305A110038).
About the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development (@nyusteinhardt)
Located in the heart of Greenwich Village, NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development prepares students for careers in the arts, education, health, media, and psychology. Since its founding in 1890, the Steinhardt School’s mission has been to expand human capacity through public service, global collaboration, research, scholarship, and practice. To learn more about NYU Steinhardt, visit steinhardt.nyu.edu.
Press Contact
Rachel Harrison
Rachel Harrison
(212) 998-6797

The goal of parents, teachers, students, and society should be that all children succeed in obtaining a good basic education. In order to achieve this goal, children must come to school ready to learn. See, Illiteracy in America https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/12/07/illiteracy-in-america/


The importance of the skill of handwriting in the school curriculum https://drwilda.com/2012/01/24/the-importance-of-the-skill-of-handwriting-in-the-school-curriculum/

The slow reading movement

Why libraries in K-12 schools are important

University of Iowa study: Variation in words may help early learners read better https://drwilda.com/2013/01/16/university-of-iowa-study-variation-in-words-may-help-early-learners-read-better/

Baby Sign Language: Does It Work?

Teaching Your Baby Sign Language Can Benefit Both of You http://psychcentral.com/lib/teaching-your-baby-sign-language-can-benefit-both-of-you/0002423

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com
Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

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Center on Budget and Policy Priorities Report: Improving access to school lunches

9 Sep

In School lunches: The political hot potato, moi said:

There are some very good reasons why meals are provided at schools. Education Bug has a history of the school lunch program

President Harry S. Truman began the national school lunch program in 1946 as a measure of national security. He did so after reading a study that revealed many young men had been rejected from the World War II draft due to medical conditions caused by childhood malnutrition. Since that time more than 180 million lunches have been served to American children who attend either a public school or a non-profit private school.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (Agriculture Department) has a School Lunch Program Fact Sheet

According to the fact sheet, more than 30 million children are fed by the program. Physicians for Responsible Medicine criticize the content of school lunch programs

In Healthy School Lunches the physicians group says:    

Menus in most school lunch programs are too high in saturated fat and cholesterol and too low in fiber- and nutrient-rich fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes (see PCRM’s 2008 School Lunch Report Card). Major changes are needed to encourage the health of the nation’s youth and to reverse the growing trends of obesity, early-onset diabetes, and hypertension, among other chronic diseases, in children and teens.  

A 2003 General Accounting Office (GAO) reached the same conclusion. See, School Lunch Program: Efforts Needed to Improve Nutrition and Encourage and Healthy Eating

The school lunch program is crucial for the nutritional well-being of many children. Catholic Online is reporting in the article, Nearly 15 percent of the U.S. population was on food stamps for month of August:

It was a harsh indicator of hard times here in the United States. Nearly 15 percent of the U.S. population relied on food stamps for the month of August, as the number of recipients hit 45.8 million. Food stamp rolls have risen 8.1 percent in the past year. The Department of Agriculture reported these startling new figures, that fly in face that the pace of growth has slowed from the depths of the recession….

Mississippi reported the largest share of food stamps recipients, more than 21 percent. One in five residents in New Mexico, Tennessee, Oregon and Louisiana were also food stamp recipients.


For many children who receive a free breakfast and/or a free lunch that means that they will not go hungry that day. See, Taking the Congressional Food Stamp Challenge [UPDATED] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rep-jan-schakowsky/taking-the-congressional_b_1072739.html

Education is the key for moving individuals, families, and communities out of poverty. In an ideal world, children would arrive at school ready-to-learn. Children who are hunger have a much more difficult time focusing in school. For a really good discussion of the effects of poverty on children, read the American Psychological Association (APA), Effects of Poverty, Hunger, and Homelessness on Children and Youth:

What are the effects of child poverty?

  • Psychological research has demonstrated that living in poverty has a wide range of negative effects on the physical and mental health and wellbeing of our nation’s children.

  • Poverty impacts children within their various contexts at home, in school, and in their neighborhoods and communities.

  • Poverty is linked with negative conditions such as substandard housing, homelessness, inadequate nutrition and food insecurity, inadequate child care, lack of access to health care, unsafe neighborhoods, and underresourced schools which adversely impact our nation’s children.

  • Poorer children and teens are also at greater risk for several negative outcomes such as poor academic achievement, school dropout, abuse and neglect, behavioral and socioemotional problems, physical health problems, and developmental delays.

  • These effects are compounded by the barriers children and their families encounter when trying to access physical and mental health care.

  • Economists estimate that child poverty costs the U.S. $500 billion a year in lost productivity in the work force and spending on health care and the criminal justice system.

Poverty and academic achievement

  • Poverty has a particularly adverse effect on the academic outcomes of children, especially during early childhood.

  • Chronic stress associated with living in poverty has been shown to adversely affect children’s concentration and memory which may impact their ability to learn.

  • School drop out rates are significantly higher for teens residing in poorer communities. In 2007, the dropout rate of students living in low-income families was about 10 times greater than the rate of their peers from high-income families (8.8% vs. 0.9%).

  • The academic achievement gap for poorer youth is particularly pronounced for low-income African American and Hispanic children compared with their more affluent White peers.

  • Underresourced schools in poorer communities struggle to meet the learning needs of their students and aid them in fulfilling their potential.

  • Inadequate education contributes to the cycle of poverty by making it more difficult for low-income children to lift themselves and future generations out of poverty. http://www.apa.org/pi/families/poverty.aspx


Unfortunately, not all eligible children are part of the school lunch program.

Nate Frentz and Zoë Neuberger write in the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities Report, Key Steps to Improve Access to Free and Reduced-Price School Meals:

The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) is a well-established federal program that provides school children with a nutritious lunch every school day.  In recent years, free and reduced-price school breakfasts and lunches have been especially beneficial for children from low-income families that are struggling to afford nutritious food in the midst of a severe economic downturn.  The program is also a reliable source of nutritional support for particularly vulnerable children, such as children in foster care or who are homeless, runaway, or migrant, all of whom are automatically eligible for free meals in school.  

The school lunch program has a strong track record of serving eligible children; children in households with income at or below 130 percent of the poverty line are eligible for free meals and children in households at or below 185 percent of the poverty line are eligible for reduced-price meals.  But some eligible low-income children still miss out on meals that could foster healthy development and learning.  Thanks in part to policy changes in recent years, school meal programs have made gradual progress in simplifying the enrollment process with the goal of reaching more eligible children.  Still, some families are unaware of the program or face other barriers to participation such as complex forms or limited English proficiency.  Even among children who are eligible for free school meals without having to apply, as many as one in seven fail to receive certification.[1]

State and local program administrators can take steps to improve program access for eligible children in several key areas.  This paper highlights helpful resources and describes six key opportunities for advocates and program administrators to ensure that all eligible children are certified quickly and easily for free or reduced-price school meals:

  • Reaching more children in households receiving SNAP benefits (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps) by improving direct certification data matching
  • Reaching eligible children who receive other means-tested public benefits by expanding direct certification data matching
  • Reaching children in foster care and homeless, migrant, and runaway children by strengthening processes to directly certify them
  • Eliminating access barriers by simplifying applications and subsequent communications
  • Ensuring year-long enrollment by retaining eligible children throughout the school year
  • Providing free meals to all children in high-poverty schools by utilizing the new community eligibility option

State and local administrators and advocates can use this paper to identify access barriers in their schools and take steps to eliminate them during the coming school year.  By planning ahead, they also can make more substantial changes for future years.  A checklist of key steps to consider is followed by more detailed descriptions of each.

Checklist of Steps to Improve Program Access

To Improve Direct Certification for Children in Households Receiving SNAP Benefits
  • Regularly assess progress toward reaching all children in households receiving SNAP benefits
  • Refine the data matching process
  • Use any available data to reach all children in the household
  • Conduct matches as often as possible and develop the capacity to look up individual children
  • Regularly provide training and guidance for staff
To Expand Direct Certification for Children Receiving Other Means-tested Benefits
  • Apply to participate in the Medicaid direct certification demonstration project
  • Strengthen direct certification for children in households receiving TANF cash assistance or FDPIR benefits
To Strengthen Direct Certification for Children in Foster Care and Homeless, Migrant, and Runaway Children
  • Use data from the state or local child welfare agency to directly certify children in foster care
  • Use the automatic notification a school receives when a child enters foster care or changes foster homes as the basis for direct certification
  • Strengthen the direct certification process for homeless, migrant, and runaway children who have been identified by appropriate officials
  • Complete an application on behalf of an individual child — especially an unaccompanied youth — who is known to be eligible, but whose family has not applied
To Simplify Applications and Encourage Eligible Families to Apply
  • Provide materials in a language and at a level that parents can understand
  • Ask only for information necessary to determine eligibility
  • Reduce the potential for applicants to make calculation errors
  • Include school meals information in routine contacts with families and communities throughout the school year to encourage newly eligible families to apply
To Retain Eligible Children Throughout the School Year
  • Eliminate temporary approvals
  • For children who enroll during the school year, rely on the previous eligibility determination if it can be obtained promptly or conduct a new certification — using direct certification or a new application
  • Conduct direct verification
  • For applications that cannot be directly verified, accept the least burdensome form of reliable documentation and clearly explain to parents what they must provide
To Utilize the Community Eligibility Option
  • Apply to USDA to implement community eligibility during the 2013-2014 school year
  • For subsequent school years, implement community eligibility in schools or districts that serve predominantly low-income students


Related Areas of Research

PDF of this report (22pp.) http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=3826

See, School Lunches: Report Outlines Steps To Streamline Access To Free And Reduced-Price Meals For Eligible Children http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/06/report-outlines-steps-to-_n_1862392.html?utm_hp_ref=education

Hungry children have more difficulty in focusing and paying attention, their ability to learn is impacted. President Truman saw feeding hungry children as a key part of the national defense.


Keeping our children healthy, hunger-free By Dr. Joe Thompson


Hunger in America: 2011 United States Hunger and Poverty Fact, World Hunger Education Service


Congress Pushes Back On Healthier School Lunches, Fights To Keep Pizza And Fries by Mary Clare Jalonick http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/15/congress-pushes-back-on-h_1_n_1094764.html?ref=education


What is a food hub?                                                            https://drwilda.com/2012/09/03/what-is-a-food-hub/

Do kids get enough time to eat lunch?                                          https://drwilda.com/2012/08/28/do-kids-get-enough-time-to-eat-lunch/

School dinner programs: Trying to reduce the number of hungry children                                                              https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/01/28/school-dinner-programs-trying-to-reduce-the-number-of-hungry-children/

School lunches: The political hot potato https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/11/03/school-lunches-the-political-hot-potato/

The government that money buys: School lunch cave in by Congress                                                                    https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/11/16/the-government-that-money-buys-school-lunch-cave-in-by-congress/

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Study: Poverty affects education attainment

29 Aug

In 3rd world America: Money changes everything, moi wrote:

The increased rate of poverty has profound implications if this society believes that ALL children have the right to a good basic education. Moi blogs about education issues so the reader could be perplexed sometimes because moi often writes about other things like nutrition, families, and personal responsibility issues. Why? The reader might ask? Because children will have the most success in school if they are ready to learn. Ready to learn includes proper nutrition for a healthy body and the optimum situation for children is a healthy family. Many of societies’ problems would be lessened if the goal was a healthy child in a healthy family. There is a lot of economic stress in the country now because of unemployment and underemployment. Children feel the stress of their parents and they worry about how stable their family and living situation is.

Sabrina Tavernise wrote an excellent New York Times article, Education Gap Grows Between Rich and Poor, Studies Say:

It is a well-known fact that children from affluent families tend to do better in school. Yet the income divide has received far less attention from policy makers and government officials than gaps in student accomplishment by race.

Now, in analyses of long-term data published in recent months, researchers are finding that while the achievement gap between white and black students has narrowed significantly over the past few decades, the gap between rich and poor students has grown substantially during the same period….http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/10/education/education-gap-grows-between-rich-and-poor-studies-show.html?emc=eta1

Teachers and schools have been made TOTALLY responsible for the education outcome of the children, many of whom come to school not ready to learn and who reside in families that for a variety of reasons cannot support their education. All children are capable of learning, but a one-size-fits-all approach does not serve all children well. Different populations of children will require different strategies and some children will require remedial help, early intervention, and family support to achieve their education goals.

Richard D. Kahlenberg, , a senior fellow at The Century Foundation wrote the informative Washington Post article, How to attack the growing educational gap between rich and poor:

In fact, research published by The Century Foundation and other organizations going back more than a decade shows that there are an array of strategies that can be highly effective in addressing the socioeconomic gaps in education:

* Pre-K programs. As Century’s Greg Anrig has noted, there is a wide body of research suggesting that well-designed pre-K programs in places like Oklahoma have yielded significant achievement gains for students. Likewise, forthcoming Century Foundation research by Jeanne Reid of Teachers College, Columbia University, suggests that allowing children to attend socioeconomically integrated (as opposed to high poverty) pre-K settings can have an important positive effect on learning.

* Socioeconomic Housing Integration. Inclusionary zoning laws that allow low-income and working-class parents and their children to live in low-poverty neighborhoods and attend low-poverty schools can have very positive effects on student achievement, as researcher David Rusk has long noted. A natural experiment in Montgomery County, Maryland, showed that low-income students randomly assigned to public housing units and allowed to attend schools in low-poverty neighborhoods scored at 0.4 of a standard deviation higher than those randomly assigned to higher-poverty neighborhoods and schools. According to the researcher, Heather Schwartz of the RAND Corporation, the initial sizable achievement gap between low-income and middle-class students in low-poverty neighborhoods and schools was cut in half in math and by one-third in reading over time.

* Socioeconomic School Integration. School districts that reduce concentrations of poverty in schools through public school choice have been able to significantly reduce the achievement and attainment gaps. In Cambridge, Massachusetts, for example, where a longstanding socioeconomic integration plan has allowed students to choose to attend mixed-income magnet schools, the graduation rate for African American, Latino, and low-income students is close to 90 percent, far exceeding the state average for these groups.

* College Affirmative Action for Low-Income Students. Research finds attending a selective college confers substantial benefits, and that many more low-income and working-class students could attend and succeed in selective colleges than currently do. Research by Anthony Carnevale and Stephen J. Rose of Georgetown University for the Century volume, America’s Untapped Resource: Low-Income Students in Higher Education , found that selective universities could increase their representation from the bottom socioeconomic half of the population from 10 percent to 38 percent, and overall graduation rates for all students would remain the same….http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/how-to-attack-the-growing-educational-gap-between-rich-and-poor/2012/02/10/gIQArDOg4Q_blog.html

There is no magic bullet or “Holy Grail” in education. There is only what works to produce academic achievement in each population of children. That is why school choice is so important. https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/02/11/3rd-world-america-money-changes-everything/

Samreen Hooda writes about a new study from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) in the Huffington Post article, Poverty Drives College Attainment Gaps: Education Department Report:

According to the study, much of the divide in educational limitations arises from poverty which “poses a serious challenge to a child’s ability to succeed in school and its prevalence is markedly higher among certain racial/ethnic groups than in others.”

Parental education levels also tend to influence how well students perform in school. Students whose parents are highly educated tend to have higher success rates. Thus children from ethnicities that haven’t traditionally had a chance at greater education have a greater hurdle at being successful in secondary and post-secondary education.http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/28/gaps-in-post-secondary-ed_n_1836742.html?utm_hp_ref=education

Here is the Executive Summary of the report: Higher Education: Gaps in Access and Persistence Study :

Executive Summary

Numerous studies, including those of the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), have documented persistent gaps between the educational attainment of White males and that of Black, Hispanic, American Indian/Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander males. Further, there is evidence of growing gaps by sex within these racial/ethnic groups, as females participate and persist in education at higher rates than their male counterparts (Aud, Fox, and KewalRamani 2010; Aud et al. 2011). In the interest of formulating policies to address these gaps, Congress directed the U.S. Department of Education to produce a report documenting the gaps in access to and completion of higher education by minority males and to outline specific policies that can help address these gaps (Higher Education Opportunity Act, H.R. 4137, 110th Cong. §1109, 2008). NCES was directed to produce the Higher Education: Gaps in Access and Persistence Study, a statistical report that documents the scope and nature of the gaps by sex and by race/ethnicity.

The primary focus of the Higher Education: Gaps in Access and Persistence Study is to examine gaps in educational participation and attainment between male Blacks, Hispanics, Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders, and American Indians/Alaska Natives and their female counterparts and to examine gaps between males in these racial/ethnic groups and White males. The secondary focus of the report is to examine overall sex and racial/ethnic differences. In addition to these descriptive indicators, this report also includes descriptive multivariate analyses of variables that are associated with male and female postsecondary attendance and attainment.

Postsecondary attendance rates are generally lower for youth from lower socioeconomic backgrounds and those from various racial/ethnic groups (e.g., Blacks and Hispanics) when compared to Whites and Asians (Aud et al. 2011). In 2010, as in every year since 1980, a lower percentage of male than female 18- to 24-year-olds were enrolled either in college or graduate school (39 vs. 47 percent). This pattern was also observed for Whites (43 vs. 51 percent), Blacks (31 vs. 43 percent), Hispanics (26 vs. 36 percent), American Indians (24 vs. 33 percent), and persons of two or more races (40 vs. 49 percent). In addition to college enrollment differences, there are gaps in postsecondary attainment for males and females. For instance, among first-time students seeking bachelor’s degrees who started full time at a 4-year college in 2004, a higher percentage of females than males completed bachelor’s degrees within 6 years (61 vs. 56 percent)—a pattern that held across all racial/ethnic groups.

This report will document the scope and nature of a number of differences between sex and racial/ethnic groups in education preparation and achievement as well as differences in postsecondary access, persistence, and attainment between males and females within and across racial/ethnic groups. The report presents indicators that include the most recently available, nationally representative data from NCES, other federal agencies, and selected items from the ACT and the College Board. The report draws on multiple sources that represent different years and different populations.

 In The next great civil rights struggle: Disparity in education funding, moi wrote:

Plessy v. Ferguson established the principle of “separate but equal” in race issues. Brown v.Board of Education which overturned the principle of “separate but equal.” would not have been necessary, but for Plessy. See also, the history of Brown v. Board of Education

If one believes that all children, regardless of that child’s status have a right to a good basic education and that society must fund and implement policies, which support this principle. Then, one must discuss the issue of equity in education. Because of the segregation, which resulted after Plessy, most folks focus their analysis of Brown almost solely on race. The issue of equity was just as important. The equity issue was explained in terms of unequal resources and unequal access to education.

People tend to cluster in neighborhoods based upon class as much as race. Good teachers tend to gravitate toward neighborhoods where they are paid well and students come from families who mirror their personal backgrounds and values. Good teachers make a difference in a child’s life. One of the difficulties in busing to achieve equity in education is that neighborhoods tend to be segregated by class as well as race. People often make sacrifices to move into neighborhoods they perceive mirror their values. That is why there must be good schools in all segments of the city and there must be good schools in all parts of this state. A good education should not depend upon one’s class or status.

I know that the lawyers in Brown were told that lawsuits were futile and that the legislatures would address the issue of segregation eventually when the public was ready. Meanwhile, several generations of African Americans waited for people to come around and say the Constitution applied to us as well. Generations of African Americans suffered in inferior schools. This state cannot sacrifice the lives of children by not addressing the issue of equity in school funding in a timely manner.

The next huge case, like Brown, will be about equity in education funding. It may not come this year or the next year. It, like Brown, may come several years after a Plessy. It will come. Equity in education funding is the civil rights issue of this century. https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/12/02/the-next-great-civil-rights-struggle-disparity-in-education-funding/


Center for American Progress report: Disparity in education spending for education of children of color https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/08/22/center-for-american-progress-report-disparity-in-education-spending-for-education-of-children-of-color/

Study: Low-income populations and marriage https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/07/14/study-low-income-populations-and-marriage/

Helping at-risk children start a home library https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/06/13/helping-at-risk-children-start-a-home-library/

Missouri program: Parent home visits https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/05/30/missouri-program-parent-home-visits/

When being poor is not enough: Defining homelessness https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/02/13/when-being-poor-is-not-enough-defining-homelessness/

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Why I support the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and PBS

15 Jul

Moi’s local PBS stations are KCTS Channel 9 and NPR’s KUOW. It had been a few years since moi had been inside the KCTS building as a member of the KCTS Advisory Board. The specific reason for moi’s return was a July 10, 2012 lunch speech featuring PBS President, Paula Kerger. Ms. Kerger provides competent and forward-looking leadership for PBS, but more important, she symbolizes PBS’s commitment to adapting and serving the areas in broadcasting which are under-served, whether it is in content of programing or geography.

Mayer N. Zald of Vanderbilt University writes in the 2008 article, Politics and Symbols: A Review Article:

The relation of symbols, myths and rituals to the functioning of the state and the social system is a venerable concern of social philosophy and social science. In social theory symbols and rituals have been variously presented as a means of evoking symbols of solidarity, and as representing and reaffirming the power and authority of the state, of signalizing the power within the state. Furthermore, symbols can be seen as reaffirming and rewarding the virtues held dear in the polity and as a means of reassuring the citizenry that all goes well. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1533-8525.1966.tb02268.x/abstract

Symbols are very important to what happens in society.

Moi remembers that when she was a member of the KCTS Advisory Board, there was the relentless drum roll in Congress to “defund” public broadcasting. Not much has changed. The reason this post begins with a discussion of symbols is evident when one looks at the PBS funding mix. According to Alternative Sources of Funding for Public Broadcasting Stations:

For public television and radio stations system-wide, the share of funding derived from the federal appropriation to CPB is approximately 15 percent, with larger percentages to smaller and rural stations, and smaller percentages to larger stations.

According to information reported to CPB by public television licensees during fiscal year 2010 (the latest information available),38 individual contributions accounted for 22 percent of system revenue, the largest single source of revenue. The share of revenue for public television from CPB was 18 percent. System-wide, public television revenue sources were as follows:
Source of Funding Percentage of TV System Revenues
Contributions by individuals 22%
CPB (federal appropriation) 18%
State government support 14%
Underwriting by businesses 13%
University support 8%
Foundation support 7%
Other federal grants and contracts 5%
Local government support 4%
All other sources 9%
The revenue received from these various funding sources differs significantly from licensee to licensee. Smaller licensees (those with less operating revenue) and licensees that provide service in small television markets tend to receive a greater percentage of their revenue from federal sources than large licensees and those operating in large television markets.

According to an earlier study by the GAO,39 for public television stations with annual budgets less than $3 million, the federal share of their revenue is approximately 33 percent, while for the largest public television stations the federal share is approximately 10 percent.

Public radio revenue sources are similar to those for public television, with individual contributions again being the largest source of revenue. The share of revenue for public radio from CPB in FY 2010 was 11 percent. System-wide, public radio revenue sources were as follows:
38 Each public television and radio station that receives a Community Service Grant from CPB must file an Annual Financial Report (AFR) or Annual Financial Summary Report (FSR) reporting its revenues and expenditures, and a Stations Activities Benchmarking Survey (SABS) on non-financial activities.
39 GAO Report at 29.

Source of Funding Percent of Radio System Revenues
Contributions by individuals 34%
Underwriting by businesses 19%
University support 13%
CPB (federal appropriation) 11%
Foundation support 8%
State government support 3%
Local government support 1%
Other federal grants and contracts 1%
All other sources 10%
Again, the relative sources of funds differ significantly from licensee to licensee. Smaller licensees and licensees that provide service in small markets receive a greater percentage of their revenue from federal sources than large licensees and those operating in large markets.


What critics of public television are really saying is that they do not like the symbolism of a public broadcasting system.

Prior to the luncheon, moi sent a series of questions to KCTS. Here are the key questions and the responses:

1.     Any stats that you have about how educational programs help teachers and students as well as parents


See the attached PDF on Raising Readers Success Stories, p. 13 (includes link to full study)

Children who watched SUPER WHY! scored 46% higher on standardized tests than those who did not watch the show.

Here is the link: http://www.pbs.org/about/media/about/cms_page_media/146/raising_readers_a_story_of_success_1.pdf

FROM READY TO LEARN (2005-2012 Report)

Here is the link:


2.     How programs help children of color, low-income children and children in families where English is not the first language


See attached PDF on Raising Readers Success Stories, pp. 5-6 (includes link to full study)

The study found that preschoolers from low-income communities who participated in the PBS KIDS Raising Readers media-rich curriculum outscored their peers who did not participate in the curriculum on all tested measures of early literacy, such as naming letters and knowing their sounds. Furthermore, children who

started out with the lowest literacy skills gained the most, learning an average of 7.5 more letters than children in the comparison group.1 Ultimately, the study showed that utilizing PBS KIDS Raising Readers content for both kids and teachers helps build critical literacy skills to better prepare children from low-income communities for success in kindergarten.

Here is the link:


4.     Any information about how PBS presents diverse views and engages its audience in thoughtful discussion about sometimes contentious topics.

Building on a long tradition of educational value, KCTS 9 and PBS are in the midst of developing new projects that extend the value of public media to teachers and learners both inside and outside of traditional classrooms. With more and more users looking to mobile and web-based platforms, public media is placing greater emphasis on “transmedia” content – content that follows users and learners across devices. For example, a child may watch SuperWHY! via broadcast as well as access its themed learning games through mobile/tablet. At the same time, her teacher might be pulling an interactive literacy game for a classroom Smartboard via PBS LearningMedia and taking an online professional development course on supporting early literacy via PBS TeacherLine.

What’s new with KCTS 9?

·         KCTS 9 is in the midst of rolling out a localized version of www.PBSLearningMedia.org (see below) and will begin producing standards-aligned digital learning assets geared particularly toward the needs of Washington schools. In-house educators have initiated listening sessions with districts and ESDs in the region.

·         This year KCTS 9 will institute a permanent home for its community-generated media projects. Dubbed the 9 Media Lab, this effort will include a comprehensive home for digital storytelling projects, with full time staff support, technical training and production support for community and youth participants, and a full complement of small, consumer grade video cameras, basic audio equipment and desktop editing units. As a preview to the 9 Media Lab, students and educators produced video diaries exploring education reform efforts at Lincoln High School in Tacoma. (Learn more at http://kcts9.org/education/golden-apple-awards/lincoln-center).

·         In connection with its documentary on the 50th anniversary of the Seattle World’s Fair, KCTS 9 teamed up with HistoryLink.org and others to produce a ten unit curriculum on the World’s Fair which is available free, online at http://kcts9.org/education/worlds-fair-curriculum and which won a Heritage Award from the Association of King County Historical Organizations (AKCHO).

·         This past year marked the 20th Golden Apple Awards, a ceremony and program that honors outstanding educators from across Washington state.

·         KCTS 9 continues to extend early learning support in Spanish as well as English. Vme, the Spanish language broadcast presented by KCTS 9 in Washington, offers 30 hours/week of high quality educational programming in Spanish – close to ten times the amount of children’s programming on commercial Spanish networks. Vme recently hosted a teacher training and family science night for migrant families in Toppenish.

What’s new with PBS?

·         As referenced above, PBS is ambitiously pursuing a transmedia approach. That means new resources are being developed to work in sync with the broadcast offerings of programs like Dinosaur Train, Sid the Science Kid, Curious George, Word Girl, Electric Company, Martha Speaks and other valuable programs. These new resources include mobile apps for phones, tablets and Smartboards, as well as strong web presence for PBS Kids, PBS Parents and PBS Teachers.

·         PBS LearningMedia (www.PBSLearningMedia.org) is a new online library of over 20,000 learning assets designed especially for use in the classroom. Teachers can search assets by subject, theme, grade level, media type and soon by standard. From STEM to early literacy, arts and social studies, the collection has resources for preK – post12. PBSLM allows teachers to stream content from children’s shows, American Experience, Frontline, NOVA, etc – it also allows them to access focused 2-4 minute clips that resonate with a particular classroom activity. This free service also allows teachers to create class lists to email links for clips, along with related questions to students and parents. (eg. a teacher message might be: “Tomorrow we are going to discuss federal vs. state power. Examine this clip from Freedom Riders and be ready to discuss how the federal government responded to states’ segregation laws during the Civil Rights Movement. Can you find any parallels to the recent Supreme Court ruling on Arizona’s immigration laws?”)

·         PBS TeacherLine (www.pbs.org/teacherline) offers a catalog of online professional development for educators. Courses in the areas of literacy, math, science, ELL strategies, instructional technology are available quarterly at competitive prices and teachers in Washington can receive clock hours and graduate credit through several institutions.

·         American Graduate (http://www.americangraduate.org/) is an effort by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting that uses media to highlight the challenges of secondary education, examines disparities, and supports efforts at improved graduation rates.

Clearly, for those who value early learning programs for at-risk children, PBS is a valuable instrument of delivery of quality programming for these children. Much of the PBS allocation goes to support under-served rural areas that are not competitive in a for-profit model.

The issue is the symbolism of a public entity model. Many of those who attack the PBS model do not want to admit that there is a value to having some institutions outside the for-profit model. These institutions provide “public” goods which do not readily translate into a for-profit model. One only has to look at the amount of reality television programming currently on television because these programs bring in advertising dollars. Do we, as a society, need more shows like, “Ice-Road Truckers” and “Cajun Pawn-Stars?” Moi supports PBS because it delivers quality, diverse programming, gives voice to under-served communities, provides a forum for the arts, and has children’s programming with high quality learning content. Yes, PBS is a powerful symbol, but the fact that it exists is a symbol of this society’s strength, not weakness.

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©