A Stunning Stat on Education

despondent young woman

Homelessness and School Support

This stat knocked us sideways.  Imagine this:  in NYC, 144,000+ children are homeless.  They live in shelters or with family members, often moving every few nights to a new site. The actual number is 114,659 students.  https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/15/nyregion/homeless-students-nyc-schools-record.html

How does that support good education outcomes?  It doesn’t.  This is a real-life example of social insecurity/ housing insecurity that has real-life impact on the success of the student and her lifelong ability to earn a living.

It’s part of the total support system of improving health and lives.  Called the Social Determinants of Health, #SDOH shows the impact of low level or missing determinants in health care.  Some of the points are home security, mental health support, secure job and wages.   We wrote about it here. 

Children need the security of the education and a safe home in order to succeed.  Switching domiciles, sleeping in shelters, or being removed from families are not moments of security.  The stigma and interruptions that are inherent in homelessness– even something as not being able to join an after-school program or sport– become messages of unworthiness to a growing child. 

Workers with Low Education Have Not Recovered from Recession

Excerpt from Brookings: The Great Recession inflicted economic pain on many American families, but its burden was not equally distributed. Ultimately, the brunt of the Great Recession was borne by those without the protection of postsecondary education. College raises average lifetime earnings, and it also helps insulate workers from economic downturns, providing economic security in the times they need it most. Finally, racial disparities have been less severe in recovery than in the worst years of the Great Recession, though differences in employment rates persist. For the American labor market to be truly healthy, it needs to work for all people—not just some.


When we consider school policies, educational requirements, and post high-school education, we must test our ideas across a continuum of barriers that can lead to poorer outcomes.  Clearly, in the largest and most prosperous economy in the world, there is no place for homelessness, and even minus space for kids without home security.  

NYT Article Promotes Neighborhood as the Unit of Change.

neighborhoods matter in every child's future

No, starfish are not saved one by one.

Oct. 18, 2018

You’ve probably heard the starfish story. There’s a boy on the beach who finds thousands of starfish washed ashore, dying. He picks one up and throws it back into the ocean. A passer-by asks him what’s the point of that. All these thousands of other starfish are still going to die. “Well,” the boy responds, “I saved that one.”

Many of our social programs are based on that theory of social change. We try to save people one at a time. We pick a promising kid in a neighborhood and give her a scholarship. Social programs and philanthropic efforts cream skim in a thousand ways. Or they mentor one at a time, assuming that the individual is the most important unit of social change.

Obviously it’s possible to do good that way. But you’re not really changing the structures and systems that shape lives.

Maybe the pool story is a better metaphor than the starfish story. As a friend of mine puts it, you can’t clean only the part of the pool you’re swimming in.

neighborhoods as the unity of change
Thinking in neighborhood terms means radical transformation in how change is done.Martha Irvine/Associated Press

It could be that the neighborhood, not the individual, is the essential unit of social change. If you’re trying to improve lives, maybe you have to think about changing many elements of a single neighborhood, in a systematic way, at a steady pace.

One of the signature facts of the internet age is that distance is not dead. Place matters as much as ever, and much more than we ever knew.

Read More https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/18/opinion/neighborhood-social-infrastructure-community.html

Some research supporting the concept 

Low-income children who moved at birth from the low upward-mobility area of Seattle’s Central District to the high upward-mobility area of Shoreline earned, at age 35, $9,000 a year more than those who had made this move in their 20s.

Shoreline is 10 miles from the Central District.

In a classic study, the sociologist Eric Klinenberg showed just how important neighborhood is in determining who survives in a crisis. Klinenberg compared deaths in two Chicago neighborhoods during a heat wave in 1995. More than six times as many people died in North Lawndale as in South Lawndale, even though the two places are demographically comparable.

The fact is that human behavior happens in contagious, networked ways. Suicide, obesity and decreasing social mobility spread as contagions…

David Brooks, NYT 10.19.18

Thinking in neighborhood terms requires a radical realignment in how you see power structures. Does the neighborhood control its own networks of care, or are there service providers coming down from above? Do the local norms of interaction need to be changed? For example, do people feel it’s normal to knock on a neighbor’s door and visit, or would that be considered a dangerous invasion of privacy? Are there forums where the neighborhood can tell its collective story?

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David Brooks has been a columnist with The Times since 2003. He is the author of “The Road to Character” and the forthcoming book “The Committed Life: When You Give Yourself Away.”

Florida Can’t Get ESSA Accountability Approved

School accountability fails a 3rd time

3rd Submission still fails the requirements

Florida officials have made yet another attempt to win approval for their federal education accountability plan, submitting revisions on both June 6 — a day after receiving a negative status update — and again Aug. 24 after the June proposal was not approved.

The key point of contention, according to a cover letter from Gov. Rick Scott, has not been the concerns over learning requirements for English language learners, as some civil rights advocates repeatedly have hammered to improve.

Related coverage: Civil rights groups urge U.S. Education Secretary DeVos to reject Florida’s latest accountability plan 

Rather, Scott noted, the state Department of Education has worked “extensively” with its federal counterpart in the area of Florida’s “acceleration measures.”

The state has sought to exempt students from grade level math exams in high school if they successfully completed the courses in middle school. It has provided data indicating that those students continue to perform well in advanced levels of math, and stated it does not want to change its model.  More…https://www.tampabay.com/blogs/gradebook/2018/09/12/whats-the-holdup-with-floridas-federal-essa-accountability-plan/