Last night, 60 Minutes reported on the sharp increase of children living in poverty with a story titled, “Homeless Children: The Hard Times Generation.” Census data showed that 47.8 million Americans–15.7% of the U.S. population–lived in poverty in 2009 [see our related post, “Revised Census Numbers Show More Americans Living in Poverty”].
We know that there is a widening income gap between high-income and middle-class families, and we also know that poverty can suppress a child’s potential to excel. As we have seen in our experiences, poverty creates stress for children and can impede their ability to thrive in school. As the children in story explain, it’s hard to study at home when the electricity has been turned off.
From the story:
The government considers a family of four to be impoverished if they take in less than $22,000 a year. Based on that standard, and government projections of unemployment, it is estimated the poverty rate for kids in this country will soon hit 25 percent. Those children would be the largest American generation to be raised in hard times since the Great Depression.
The pre-k program at Boston’s Eliot K-8 School, a City Connects school, was featured on the Today Show this morning during their special Education Nation coverage. Principal Traci Walker Griffith invited Matt Lauer into the school to see how preparing children for the routines and rituals of being a student sets them up for success in kindergarten. Watch the clip here.
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From TED: Education scientist Sugata Mitra tackles one of the greatest problems of education — the best teachers and schools don’t exist where they’re needed most. In a series of real-life experiments from New Delhi to South Africa to Italy, he gave kids self-supervised access to the web and saw results that could revolutionize how we think about teaching.
Charles Leadbeater, a researcher from the London thank tank Demos, delivers an interesting global perspective on the need for radical innovation in education in this engaging TED talk. Rather than developed urban neighborhoods, Leadbeater concentrated on transformational new forms of education and schooling that have emerged in the slums in Brazil and Africa. He acknowledges that especially important in these settings for schools, families, and communities to work together.
TED, which stands for Technology, Entertainment, and Design, is a California-based nonprofit that brings together the world’s most fascinating thinkers and challenges them to give the “talk of their lives” in 18 minutes.