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MY Lansing Action Guide

MY Lansing Action Guide is a comprehensive plan co-created by community and municipality to close gaps in economic equity for families with children of color ages 0-25.

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Evaluation of a Sleep Education Program for Low-Income Preschool Children and Their Families

Educational interventions in early childhood can have an effect on parents’ sleep knowledge, attitudes, and self-efficacy, and on children’s sleep behavior. However, repeated exposure to the new information may be important for parents as well as their children. 

Read the full report here

The Michigan Dream at Risk


Michigan has been a land of opportunity since before the state was birthplace to the automotive industry. It’s been a place where hard work was rewarded by good jobs, where towns flourished into true communities and became great places to raise families.

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Tough Love: Bottom-Line Quality Standards for Colleges

With roughly $180 billion in federal student aid and tax benefits provided each year to colleges and universities with virtually no performance strings attached regarding low-income student access, degree-completion, and post-enrollment success measures, these institutions are getting a pass.

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Why Low-Income and Food Insecure People are Vulnerable to Overweight and Obesity

Due to the additional risk factors associated with poverty, food insecure and low-income people are especially vulnerable to obesity (see the section on the Relationship Between Hunger and Overweight or Obesity and the section on the Relationship Between Poverty and Overweight or Obesity). More specifically, obesity among food insecure people – as well as among low-income people – occurs in part because they are subject to the same influences as other Americans (e.g., more sedentary lifestyles, increased portion sizes), but also because they face unique challenges in adopting healthful behaviors, as described below. (For more information on the influences all Americans face, see the section on Factors Contributing to Overweight and Obesity.)

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New poll reveals challenges and opportunities facing African American families

new poll released by WKKF and Ebony Magazine found that many African Americans are troubled by a wide range of issues, especially economic challenges such as obtaining meaningful employment and livable wages. Seventy-three percent, or almost three-fourths of the survey’s 1005 respondents, are concerned about income inequality.

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Families at Risk, Report II


Unemployment Insurance (UI) is the major public insurance program in the United States that protects families against the dangers of involuntary job loss. This report examines the impact of changes made to Michigan’s UI program in 2011 on program access for Michigan’s unemployed workers. Based on analyses conducted on state-level administrative data, study findings are consistent with the conclusion that the 2011 changes to Michigan’s UI program have reduced the number of short-term unemployed workers who access state program benefits. The changes are associated with between a 19.2% and 34.8% reduction in the UI recipiency rate for Michigan’s short-term unemployed. This report further documents that the reduction in state benefit weeks from 26 to 20 caused workers to lose additional weeks from related federal UI programs, which were prorated based on the number of benefit weeks offered by states. 

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Bullying Statistics


Bullying is becoming more and more frequent among today's youth in locations like school and online, according to recent bullying statistics. There are different types of bullying of which bullying statistics reveal almost half of all students have experienced.

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Early Warning! Why Reading by the End of Third Grade Matters

Millions of American children reach fourth grade without learning to read proficiently. The shortfall is especially pronounced among low- income children: Of the fourth-graders who took the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) reading test in 2009, 83% of children from low-income families—and 85% of low-income students who attend high-poverty schools—failed to reach the “proficient” level in reading. Reading proficiently by the end of third grade is a crucial marker in a child’s educational development. Failure to read proficiently is linked to higher rates of school dropout, which suppresses individual earning potential as well as the nation’s competitive- ness and general productivity. 

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United States Youth Unemployment Rate

Youth Unemployment Rate in the United States increased to 14.50 percent in March of 2014 from 14.40 percent in February of 2014. Youth Unemployment Rate in the United States is reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Youth Unemployment Rate in the United States averaged 12.32 Percent from 1955 until 2014, reaching an all time high of 19.60 Percent in April of 2010 and a record low of 7.80 Percent in September of 1956. This page provides - United States Youth Unemployment Rate - actual values, historical data, forecast, chart, statistics, economic calendar and news.

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Michigan now ranks in bottom five states for learning progress in some subjects

Michigan now ranks in the bottom five states for student learning progress over the last decade in some subjects, according to The Education Trust-Midwest’s new 2014 State of Michigan Education report.  Michigan is one of only six states in the nation that posted negative student growth in fourth-grade reading, according to new national assessment data. 

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State of Population Health Report 2013


Earlier this year, “Detroit Future City,” the Detroit Strategic Framework, was released and presented throughout the city. The plan offers a reasoned approach to redesigning a smaller city, specifically as it addresses the need to promote sustainable residential neighborhoods and quality of life. The underlying cohesion is the health of the population: An economically viable Detroit begins with healthy neighborhoods. 

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What Girls Say About STEM

Generation STEM is national research report investigating girls' perceptions, attitudes, and interests in the subjects and general field of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) from the voices of girls themselves. The report consists of a literature review, as well as qualitative (focus group) and quantitative (survey) research with 1,000 girls across the country. The study finds that girls are interested in STEM and aspire to STEM careers, but need further exposure and education about what STEM careers can offer, and how STEM can help girls make a difference in the world.

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State of the Nation in Gifted Children


Business and government leaders continue to raise concerns about the future supply of highly skilled employees that can meet the nation's economic and national security needs. Although there are pockets of leadership across the nation in policies and practices that support our high ability and high-achieving students, the 2012-2013 State of the States in Gifted Education survey shows that the United States as a whole has not yet committed attention and resources to ensure that high-ability students will receive an education that maximizes their talent and supports them in attaining advanced levels of achievement in school and beyond. The survey, conducted in conjunction with the Council of State Directors of Programs for the Gifted, examines policy and practice affecting the education of gifted and talented students. The report is the only national compilation of data about gifted and talented education. Forty-two states, the District of Columbia, and Guam responded to the survey. 

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Study Finds Hip Hop Students Face Discrimination

A new study finding that Black and Latino students who identify with ‘hip-hop’ culture face unfair disciplinary practices in urban schools may help shape more equitable school districts in the Greater Lansing area.
Professor Muhammad Khalifa performed an ethno-graphic study to understand the full cultural context of schools in Southeastern Michigan over the course of two years. The study gathered individual responses, field notes, school data and involved shadowing subjects to create a more in depth picture than what could have been represented with interviews and surveys.
Khalifa, a Michigan State University assistant professor of education completed his investigations during his Doctoral work.
“Traditional schools have casted aside ‘hip-hop’ culture as a deviance,” said Khalifa. “There are achievement, suspension and disciplinary gaps that can be resolved if educators begin to view these students as assets instead of burdens.”
The findings of this study follow a recent charge from the Obama administration to discontinue zero tolerance policies that critics believe marginalize students that do not conform to their school district's cultural norms. Based on Khalifa’s study, schools can perform an equity audit to determine which students, parents, teachers and non-instructional staff are feeling excluded by the school system.
“We are very clear on which teachers are struggling and how to map a plan for improvement,” asserted Khalifa, “Until we have a handle on our equity data and a plan to create a district that is inclusionary instead of exclusionary, than we are not serious about reforming education.”

Professor Khalifa is currently working with a team to provide area schools with access to an online equity audit that can be performed and returned electronically. This inexpensive resource would generate a report giving school leaders and communities an equity benchmark for their school, as well as a way to move forward in an inclusive and culturally responsible way.
Source: Muhammad Khalifa, Michigan State University
Writer: Tashmica Torok, Innovation News Editor

Growth chart for the brain may pave the way for preventive early interventions


Researchers at Penn Medicine have generated a brain development index from MRI scans that captures the complex patterns of maturation during normal brain development. This index will allow clinicians and researchers for the first time to detect subtle, yet potentially critical early signs of deviation from normal development during late childhood to early adult.

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Program-related Investing for Nonprofits


For more than four decades, foundations in the U.S. have used program-related investments (PRIs) to address urgent societal needs ranging from housing, education, and health to community development, environment, and arts and culture. PRIs are investments made by foundations to support charitable activities, and, unlike grants, PRIs provide foundations a return on their investment through repayment or return on equity. According to the Ford Foundation, since their initial use in the 1960s, PRIs have helped organizations establish a loan repayment history, generate earned income, gain access to new funding, and develop new financial management history. As the world faces increasingly complex social and economic issues, there is renewed interest among foundations and philanthropists in harnessing the promise and potential of program-related investing to fulfill individual and community needs. 

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The Benefits of Florida's Test-Based Promotion System


State and municipal policymakers are increasingly addressing the practice of social promotion in schools—moving children along to the next grade whether or not they have mastered the curriculum—by mandating test-based grade promotion.

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A tiny town in Ohio tried paying kids to do better on state tests. Guess what happened.


I've been thinking a lot lately about standardized state tests. This fall, I spent about six weeks observing a classroom of third graders in Grand Rapids as they got ready to take their MEAP tests for the first time. 

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Food Banks: Hunger's New Strike


Feeding America member food banks have increasingly reported that many clients are no longer coming to their pantries only for short-term, emergency situations. Food assistance has become a staple for many people – those that need the extra help to make it through the month on a more consistent basis. This report, for the first time, confirms anecdotal reports from food banks by examining the reported patterns of service utilization from 61,000 client interviews nationwide captured in the 2010 Hunger in America study. 

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Norms and Trends of Sleep Time Among US Children and Adolescents

These are the results of a study examining the norms and trends of sleep time among US children and adolescents.

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Faces of Economic Mobility


This interactive data tool explores income and wealth mobility for 16 family types, providing a unique perspective on how education, family structure, and race affect Americans’ likelihood to do better or worse than their parents did financially. Only white and black respondents are included because of small sample sizes for other racial-ethnic groups in the Panel Study of Income Dyamics.

Users may click through the interactive to see where they stand based on the profile options selected.

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Language gap between rich and poor children begins in infancy, Stanford psychologists find


Fifty years of research has revealed the sad truth that the children of lower-income, less-educated parents typically enter school with poorer language skills than their more privileged counterparts. By some measures, 5-year-old children of lower socioeconomic status score more than two years behind on standardized language development tests by the time they enter school.

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Report of the 2012 National Survey of Science and Mathematics Education

The Report of 2012 National Survey of Science and Mathematics Education details the results of a survey of 7,752 science and mathematics teachers in schools across the United States. Areas addressed include: teacher backgrounds and beliefs, teachers as professionals, science and mathematics courses, instructional objectives and activities, instructional resources, and factors affecting instruction.

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The School Staffing Surge

"America’s K-12 public education system has experienced tremendous historical growth in employment, according to the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics. Between fiscal year (FY) 1950 and FY 2009, the number of K-12 public school students in the United States increased by 96 percent while the number of full-time equivalent (FTE) school employees grew 386 percent. Public schools grew staffing at a rate four times faster than the increase in students over that time period. Of those personnel, teachers’ numbers increased 252 percent while administrators and other staff experienced growth of 702 percent, more than seven times the increase in students."

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Michigan Good Food Charter

Barely into a new millennium, the need for a thriving economy, equity and sustainability for all of Michigan and its people rings truer than ever. As part of achieving these goals, we need to grow, sell and eat “good food” – food that is healthy, green, fair and affordable. 

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2012 School Report Card

This report card ranks all Detroit public schools and public charter schools as well as some private schools. It also includes suburban schools where at least 30% of the students are from Detroit. New this year, the schools are organized by geography to help parents find a school close to where they live or work. Excellent Schools Detroit also used the state’s new, much higher standards for school quality.

View the report card.

Michigan Education Dashboard

The Michigan Education Dashboard ranks Michigan's school and student performance as either "progressing," "declining" or "staying about the same" for a number of relevant performance-gauging categories such as "student accountability," "culture of learning" and "value for money." The user-friendly charts compare prior percentages to current percentages for an easy-to-comprehend reference tool charting Michigan's education system performance overall.

Click here to view the data.

Communities of color find more prominent role within philanthropy sector

Michigan-based Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS) is one of the grantees featured in a new report that examines the changing face of philanthropy.

As the U.S. population shifts – with ethnic and racial groups growing faster than the overall American population – the W.K. Kellogg Foundation finds the philanthropic landscape is rapidly changing to become as diverse as the country's population. "Cultures of Giving: Energizing and Expanding Philanthropy by and for Communities of Color," a new report commissioned by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation with major funding by the Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, shows how philanthropy is evolving, with some of the most significant growth stemming from identity-based philanthropy — a growing movement to spark philanthropic giving from a community on behalf of a community, where "community" is defined by race, ethnicity or gender.

ACCESS, which conducted the first research ever done on giving in the Arab American community, inspired Arab American donors to identify themselves as philanthropists who can give strategically and began laying the groundwork toward establishing the Arab American community's first ever identity-based fund.

This report explores current shifts within the philanthropy sector and showcases key learnings, best practices and successful models to promote and enhance philanthropy and giving among communities of color. It shares WKKF's journey so that others might learn from both its successes and mistakes, and it challenges fellow funders to consider new ways to collaborate with and advance the impact of identity-based philanthropy to positively impact the country's most vulnerable children and families.
29 Articles | Page: | Show All
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Can systemic racism impact infant mortality?

Even when controlling for poverty, education level, and tobacco use of a mother, maternal and infant health outcomes are far worse for minority populations than European-American women. What's causing the continued disparities? And what can West Michigan do to ensure all babies born here have the best chance of reaching their potential? Zinta Aistars reports on Strong Beginnings, one local program working to give all families a fair start.

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Company Supports 4th Grade Field Trips to Lake Michigan

Parents working more than one job or odd hours, a lack of funds, and no transportation often prevent kids from experiencing one of Michigan’s incredible natural resources. For the majority of west side Grand Rapids elementary school kids, Lake Michigan is sadly out of reach. OST has teamed up with Grand Rapids Public Schools to give fourth-graders at west side schools the opportunity to experience the big lake firsthand.


Youth Decide Where Grant Dollars are Spent

For Grand Rapids students who serve as trustees-in-training on the GRCF Youth Grant Committee, giving back to the community goes hand in hand with empowering students to succeed. 
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