Educationa Vital Signs: Parents & Communities

It’s often said that a student’s teacher has the greatest impact on his or her academic achievement -- and that’s true, as long as we’re talking about in-school impact. Because the best and most influential teachers of children are their first ones: Their parents. Children whose parents talk to them, read to them, sing songs to them do better in school. Research shows that by the time they start kindergarten, the children of affluent parents have heard thousands more words from their parents than those from poorer home – and that discrepancy shows up in school performance. Basic economics, and the economics of time, can have a huge impact: It’s hard, for example, to spend a lot of time interacting with your children when you’re working three jobs and struggling to pay the rent. Educators know that engaging parents is critical to improving the achievement of their children. So is involving the community. Many schools in disadvantaged areas are becoming more like “one-stop” community centers, with health clinics, parenting classes, and other services. In order to serve all families, schools of the future must adapt to their needs and to the needs of the community.

U.S. Teenage Pregnancies, Births and Abortions, 2008

The U.S. teen pregnancy rate reached a 30-year low in 2008, down 42 percent overall from its peak in 1990, according to a report from the Guttmacher Institute. The pregnancy rate among very young teens (those younger than 15) fell even further, plummeting 62 percent from 1990-2008. U.S. Teenage Pregnancies, Births and Abortions, 2008, also reports that the abortion rate among U.S. teenagers declined 33 percent from 1986 to 2008, and is now at its lowest rate since abortion was legalized in 1973.

February 2011

2012 Assets & Opportunity Scorecard

Twenty-seven percent of all U.S. households are now asset poor, that is, lacking enough savings or assets to cover their basic expenses for even three months. Forty-four percent of households of color are asset poor as compared to 20 percent of white households. Fifty-six percent of America’s consumers have subprime credit scores, and only 47 percent of households of color own their homes, compared to 73 percent of white households. The 2012 Assets & Opportunity Scorecard from the Corporation for Enterprise Development reports that asset poverty is most prevalent in Nevada (45 percent) and lowest in Vermont (15.7 percent).

January 2012

Kindergarten Entrance Ages

Increasingly, states are supporting kindergarten admission cutoff dates of age 5 by September or earlier of the entrance year. This has been the trend over the past 35 years, and according to the Education Commission of the States’ report, Kindergarten Entrance Ages, only 12 states will not have a September cutoff date for the 2012-13 school year. Most states instituting a September kindergarten admission cutoff date chose September 1.

January 2012


What’s Trust Got to Do with It?

What’s Trust Got to Do with It?, a report from Public Agenda of parents’ views about their persistently failing public schools and possible solutions such as charter schools, finds five important emerging themes: Parents with children in low-performing schools want change; parents remain loyal to their local schools despite low performance; parents often do not realize how inadequate their schools are; broader social problems intensify the effects of poor school performance; and many parents are suspicious of district decision-makers.

December 2011


Changing Families, Changing Workplaces

The number of working mothers with children 18 or younger increased to 71.6 percent in 2009, up from 47.4 percent in 1975. Seventy-four percent of all working mothers in 2009 worked full-time. Sixty-four percent of all first-time mothers return to work by their child’s first birthday. A report appearing in the Fall 2011 issue of The Future of Children, “Changing Families, Changing Workplaces,” says that over the last 50 years, education related inequality in income and number of work hours has grown, and that employees are increasingly working nonstandard hours. Workers who have high incomes work longer hours, while workers who have lower incomes struggle to secure enough work hours to support their families financially.

Fall 2011


The Widening Academic Achievement Gap between the Rich and the Poor 
Family income is now as strong a predictor of student achievement as parental education. A new publication from the Center for Education Policy Analysis, The Widening Academic Achievement Gap between the Rich and the Poor, says that, as the income gap between high- and low-income families has widened, so has the academic achievement gap between children from high- and low-income families. The authors find that a given difference in parents’ income corresponds to a 30 percent to 60 percent greater difference in their children’s academic achievement.
December 2011


The Re-Emergence of Concentrated Poverty 
Concentrated poverty (40 percent of people living below the poverty line) in metropolitan areas almost doubled over the past decade in the Midwest, with the Great Lakes metro areas experiencing the highest rates. Concentrated poverty rose twice as fast in metropolitan suburbs than in urban areas. According to a new Brookings report, The Re-Emergence of Concentrated Poverty, people living in extreme-poverty neighborhoods are now more likely to be native-born, white, high school or college graduates who own their homes and do not receive public assistance.
November 2011


Don’t Count Us Out
Don’t Count Us Out, a new study from Public Agenda, reveals that, in the minds of the public, more information does not equal more trust. Results indicate that a media blitz of glossily presented facts and figures might actually make the public more distrustful. The study found that responsiveness of an organization can be more valuable than benchmarks. To the public, being able to find someone in an organization who listens respectfully to their ideas is an important dimension of accountability—perhaps the most important one.
September 2011


Guardian of Democracy: Civic Mission of Schools
A report from the Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools recognizes an American trend towards civic ignorance and offers common-sense solutions to parents, schools, and policymakers to help re-engage U.S. students in their own democracy. The report, Guardian of Democracy: Civic Mission of Schools, recommends that schools’ civics curriculum be integrated across subjects, focus on how citizens can participate in civic life, and continue into college. Parents are encouraged to review civic learning within their child’s school and help their children stay informed on current events.
September 2011


The Immediate Impact of Different Types of Television on Young Children’s Executive Function
Fast-paced television shows could interfere with children’s brain function. The authors of The Immediate Impact of Different Types of Television on Young Children’s Executive Function, published by the American Academy of Pediatrics, say that just nine minutes of watching Nickelodeon’s fast-paced SpongeBob SquarePants significantly and negatively affected the immediate executive function of 4-year-olds participating in their study. Nickelodeon has questioned the veracity of the study’s results, citing the lack of diversity among the study’s participants and the subjective nature of a questionnaire completed by parents, which was used as part of a regression analysis when factoring test results, as well as other issues.
September 2011


The KIDS Count Data Book
The KIDS Count Data Book from The Annie E. Casey Foundation says that, in 2010, 11 percent of U.S. children had at least one parent seeking employment—double the number in 2007. The child poverty rate increased 18 percent between 2000 and 2009. Five key measures of child well-being have improved, however; the infant mortality rate, child death rate, teen death rate, teen birth rate, and the percentage of teens not in school and not high school graduates have all decreased.
August 2011

MetLife Report on American Grandparents
The new “MetLife Report on American Grandparents” says that 63 percent of American grandparents have given money or financial assistance to their grandchildren 25 years old or younger in the last five years, and 26 percent have increased their level of financial assistance in response to the current recession. The total amount of assistance received is usually below $5,000. Financial assistance is most often given in the form of cash (83 percent), followed by gifts (33 percent) such as a computer, car, or furniture.
July 2011


Improving Student Transfer from Community Colleges to Four-Year Institutions
Nearly 44 percent of all U.S. undergraduates are enrolled in community colleges, and 50 percent to 80 percent of these will try to transfer to a four year institution and earn a bachelor’s degree. “Improving Student Transfer from Community Colleges to Four-Year Institutions,” a report from the College Board, recommends that four year institutions receiving these students focus on: institutional leadership and commitment to the transfer pathway; outreach and preparation for staff and students; financial aid options; admission and enrollment ease of use; and student and academic affairs engagement.
July 2011


Florida leads nation in advanced class enrollment
Florida leads the nation in Advanced Placement and advanced math class enrollment, across all student income levels. A new ProPublica analysis of survey data from the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights says that, in many states, students from wealthy districts take many advanced courses, while in poorer districts, access to such classes is limited, creating an opportunity gap. While the analysis does find a link between race and access, it also finds that poverty is really the determining factor behind who attends advanced classes. An interactive Web tool allows users to search for a school and compare its students’ advanced course participation and other characteristics with other schools in the area.
June 2011

Opportunity gap persists
Despite our best efforts, disparities in educational resources and opportunities continue to exist in U.S. public schools. Within 7,000 school districts sampled for the U.S. Department of Education’s Civil Rights Data Collection, 3,000 individual schools do not offer algebra II classes and 7,300 schools do not offer calculus. Schools that serve large numbers of black students are twice as likely to be staffed by inexperienced teachers as are schools serving white students. Only 22 percent of the districts operate pre-K programs for low-income children.
June 2011


Aflac WorkForces Report: Benefits and the Workforce
The 2011 Aflac WorkForces Report says that 54 percent of America’s workforce would accept a new job at a lower salary if that job had better benefits, and 42 percent said that a well-communicated benefits program would make them less inclined to look for a new job. However, 66 percent said their human resources department is not or is only somewhat effective at benefits communications. Fifty-three percent of workers said they will be looking for a new job in the coming year.
June 2011

The Impact of Social Media Use on Children, Adolescents and Families
More than half of all teens use a social media site at least once a day. A new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics, The Impact of Social Media Use on Children, Adolescents and Families, offers a rundown on the latest social media research and advises parents and their kids on ways to navigate this new world. The report advises parents to close their own “participation gap” by learning how to use social media themselves, and recommends supervising children’s online experiences actively, rather than depending on monitoring software.
March 2011

Talking to Kids and Teens about Social Media and Sexting
A new tip sheet for parents from the American Academy of Pediatrics about kids and social media, Talking to Kids and Teens about Social Media and Sexting, recommends keeping the family computer in a public part of the home, finding out what platforms friends are using, checking chat logs and social networking profiles, setting time limits for Internet usage, and creating a system to monitor children’s online usage—then following through.
March 2011

USA Today/Gallup poll says youth outlook mixed
Only 44 percent of Americans believe today’s youth will have a brighter future than their parents had, according to a recent USA Today/Gallup poll. Most pessimistic about youth’s future are Americans earning $75,000 or more a year and older Americans aged 50-64. While Republicans have their doubts (31 percent), the majority of Democrats (60 percent) believe youth can look forward to a better tomorrow, as do 57 percent of youth ages 18 to 29.
May 2011

Shifts in Population and Loss of Children Across the New Orleans Metro Area
The population of metropolitan New Orleans has dropped 11 percent overall since 2000, but the largest drop in the metro area’s population has occurred among children, according to Shifts in Population and Loss of Children Across the New Orleans Metro Area, a report published by the Greater New Orleans Community Data Center. Over the last decade, the metro area has lost seven percent of its adult population but 22 percent of its children under 18, a trend observable in the majority of the cities and towns comprising the metro area.
February 2011


For Millennials, Parenthood Trumps Marriage
For Millennials, Parenthood Trumps Marriage, a new analysis of attitudinal surveys from the Pew Research Center, finds that in the minds of the Millenial generation (18- to 29-year-olds in 2010), marriage and parenthood are no longer necessarily linked, and Millenials value parenthood far more than marriage. Fifty-two percent of Millenials say good parenting is “one of the most important things in life,” but only 30 percent of Millenials feel the same way about marriage. In fact, 44 percent of the Millenials surveyed said that marriage as an institution is becoming obsolete.
March 2011

Sexual Behavior, Sexual Attraction, and Sexual Identity in the United States
New data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) show that young people are waiting longer to engage in sex. Twenty-seven percent of males and 29 percent of females 15 to 24 who were surveyed in 2006-2008 for Sexual Behavior, Sexual Attraction, and Sexual Identity in the United States had never had any sexual contact with another person. Only 22 percent of young men and women in this age group were still virgins at 24 in the CDC’s 2002 survey.  The data also show that older age at first intercourse is associated with higher percentages of oral sex as a first sexual experience.
March 2011

Women in America
Women in America, a new report from the White House Council on Women and Girls, finds that women are marrying later and having fewer children, and increasingly they are remaining childless. Women who do have children are more frequently raising them without a spouse. Women continue to outnumber men at older ages, and are more likely to live in poverty than men. Women who head single-parent households are particularly likely to live in poverty, due to the fact that women only earn 75 percent of what their male counterparts earn, at all levels of education. Women are less likely now than in the past to be victims of violent crimes, but are still more likely than men to be victims of intimate partner violence and stalking. One out of every seven adult women in America goes without routine health care.
March 2011

Criminal-Justice and School Sanctions Against Nonheterosexual Youth  
A new study concludes that nonheterosexual youth suffer disproportionate punishments at the hands of schools and criminal justice systems. Criminal-Justice and School Sanctions Against Nonheterosexual Youth finds that self-identified gay, lesbian, and bisexual teenagers are 1.2 to 3 times more likely to receive punishment from their schools and the courts than “straight” teenagers, with nonheterosexual girls experiencing 50 percent more police stops for minor transgressions than their straight cohorts.
February 2011


Maternal Employment, Work Schedules, and Children’s Body Mass Index
A new study shows a link between the amount of time mothers worked in their child’s lifetime and an increase in the child’s body mass index (BMI). The study found that for every 5.3 months a mother was employed, there was an increase in her child’s BMI of 10 percent of a standard deviation, or nearly 1 pound every 5 months beyond what is typically gained by a child of average height as he or she ages.
February 2011

Injustice at Every Turn
A survey of 6,000 transgender and gender non-conforming participants finds that 78 percent of those who expressed their identity while in K-12 schools reported being harassed, 35 percent were assaulted physically, and 12 percent experienced sexual violence. Injustice at Every Turn reports that fifteen percent of those responding said harassment led them to leave either a K-12 or post-secondary school. Fifty-one percent of those who reported being harassed at school attempted suicide. The suicide rate for the general population is 1.6 percent.
February 2011

Strengths and Challenges of Community Organizing as an Education Reform Strateg
A new study finds that many school reforms fail due to the lack of trust, understanding, or cultural relevance to the community targeted by the reform, and recommends community organizing as a strategy necessary to achieve any successful reform. The study, Strengths and Challenges of Community Organizing as an Education Reform Strategy, says that—unlike conventional reform strategies—community organizing addresses power relationships; develops the political will to advance equity; develops relevant, innovative solutions; looks beyond education to comprehensive reform on issues such as poverty, housing, transportation, and health care; and builds democratic capacity.
January 2011


Associated Press/Stanford University Education Poll
Most people blame parents for poor public schools. A recent poll conducted by the Associated Press and Stanford University finds that 68 percent of all respondents said that parents deserve “a great deal” or “a lot” of blame for the problems facing this country’s public schools, followed by state education officials (65 percent). Only 35 percent of the respondents blamed teachers “a great deal” or “a lot.” Sixty-seven percent felt that, when it comes to education, the U.S. is falling behind the rest of the world.
October 2010

Millenials would rather text
A new survey of 18- to 34-year-olds by Zipcar says that almost half (45 percent) of them already drive less than they used to do, and 64 percent would make a further reduction in driving if they had other transportation options. These young adults say the high cost of gas, parking, and maintenance (80 percent) and the option to spend time with friends online (54 percent) make car ownership less desirable.
December 2010

Modern Family: In an Age of Upheaval, Reinventing the Ties that Bind
What does it mean to be a family today? Marriage and children are frequently delayed; the average man now marries at 28, the average woman at 26. The recession has led to a recurrence of the kind of multigenerational household so common in the last century. Living in a traditional, nuclear family in a traditional, suburban environment is no longer the norm. The current issue of Baltimore’s Urbanite magazine focuses on the Modern Family: In an Age of Upheaval, Reinventing the Ties that Bind.
November 2010

Characteristics of the 100 Largest Public Elementary and Secondary School District in the United States: 2008-09
America’s largest 100 school districts educated 22 percent of all her public school children in 2008-09. Twenty-two percent of all public school teachers were employed by the 100 largest districts. Almost 50 percent of these very large districts are in just three states – California, Florida, and Texas. Annual per pupil expenditures ranged from $6,363 in Utah’s Granite District to $23,298 in Boston. Read Characteristics of the 100 Largest Public Elementary and Secondary School District in the United States: 2008-09 for more information.
November 2010

The Reversal of the College Marriage Gap
In a reversal of a century-long marital pattern in the U.S., college-educated young adults (62 percent) are now more likely to have married by the age of 30 than young adults without a college degree (60 percent). A new report, The Reversal of the College Marriage Gap, hypothesizes that this shift results from declining economic fortunes among non-college-educated young men. Median annual earnings for this group declined 12 percent from 1990 to 2008. The median age at first marriage is now 28.
October 2010

A Spatial Analysis of Risks and Resources for Reentry Youth in Los Angeles County
A new study of Los Angeles County youth finds that the kind of neighborhood a youth settles into upon returning from incarceration influences recidivism. Reentry was higher in communities that experienced higher rates of violence, vacant housing, lower rates of education, lower availability of mental health services, and higher densities of alcohol outlets. A Spatial Analysis of Risks and Resources for Reentry Youth in Los Angeles County recommends altering neighborhood structure as the best means to reduce recidivism.
October 2010

Housing Policy Is School Policy
A study of 858 public-housing students enrolled in Maryland’s affluent Montgomery County public schools says that, seven years after enrolling, these students scored 8 percent higher on standardized math tests than their cohorts in higher-poverty schools -- who had received additional services. According to Housing Policy Is School Policy, by the time the public-housing students had left elementary school, they had reduced – by 50 percent in math, and 33 percent in reading -- the achievement gap with their more affluent classmates.
October 2010

Graduate Employment Gap: Students of Color Losing Ground
Prior to the recession, Latino and Asian American high school graduates enjoyed lower unemployment rates than their white cohorts, but the recent increase in unemployment across all races has erased their advantage. A new briefing paper, Graduate Employment Gap: Students of Color Losing Ground, says that over the recession all nonwhite groups of college graduates have experienced a much greater increase in unemployment rates than have white college graduates, but black high school graduates and black college graduates face the greatest increase in rate of all, with black college graduates facing a “double whammy”: the highest rate of unemployment and the highest level of student loan debt.
October 2010

Since the Start of the Great Recession, More Children Raised by Grandparents
One in ten American children now lives with a grandparent, with a sharp six percent increase in grandparent caregivers between 2007 and 2008 alone, says a new study from the Pew Research Center. The study also finds that, while Hispanic and black children are still more likely to be raised by their grandparents, the sharpest rise in the number of grandparent caregivers has occurred among whites (up 9 percent between 2007 and 2008). Read Since the Start of the Great Recession, More Children Raised by Grandparents.
September 2010

Understanding Very High Rates of Young Child Poverty in the South
The national poverty rate for children under six was 21 percent in 2008, but the average poverty rate for young children in the South in 2008 was almost 24 percent, with some southern states experiencing far higher rates. Understanding Very High Rates of Young Child Poverty in the South says that divorce and out-of-wedlock childbearing in the South exacerbate levels of child poverty, as do low levels of educational attainment and a history of racial discrimination.
August 2010

Using Data to Promote Collaboration in Local School Readiness Systems
School readiness is critical to achieving reading proficiency by third grade. A new brief from the Urban Institute, Using Data to Promote Collaboration in Local School Readiness Systems, finds that risks to children’s readiness for school are concentrated in low-income neighborhoods, but that the best chance for improving school readiness comes when a local collaboration of stakeholders forms and makes school readiness their mission over the long term. State support of these collaborations is recommended.
August 2010

Parents and the High Cost of Child Care
Child care is expensive and continues to get more so. Child care costs have increased twice as fast as the median income since 2000, with costs for infant care exceeding the average annual amount families spend on food in every region of the U.S. Center-based infant care costs now exceed the cost of tuition and fees at a four-year public college in 40 states, says a new report, Parents and the High Cost of Child Care.
August 2010

Characteristics of the 100 Largest Public Elementary and Secondary School Districts in the United States
In 2007, the nation’s 100 largest school districts educated 22 percent of all public school students. California, Florida, and Texas were home to 45 of these districts. The 100 districts had a higher median pupil/teacher ratio (15.4 vs. 15.2), and larger average school enrollments (677 vs. 513), the majority of which were Black or Hispanic (63 percent). Read Characteristics of the 100 Largest Public Elementary and Secondary School Districts in the United States for more information.
July 2010

What Works for Home Visiting Programs
A new report from ChildTrends, What Works for Home Visiting Programs, finds that high-intensity programs averaging four or more visits a month for more than a year produced positive outcomes for children in early childhood (0-3); weekly home visits conducted by trained non-professionals produced mixed results for preschoolers (4-5); teaching parenting skills during home visits had a positive impact for middle childhood (6-11); and visits from trained non-professionals for one year or longer worked best for adolescents (12-17).
July 2010

Voters Want High School Reform – Survey Results
Almost three-quarters of voters believe that improving public high schools is “urgent” or “extremely urgent,” says a new survey from the Alliance for Excellent Education. Forty-nine percent feel President Obama is not paying enough attention to the situation, 58 percent feel Congressional Democrats aren’t, and 62 percent feel Congressional Republicans are ignoring the problem. Over three-quarters of voters say they want Congress to change NCLB (reauthorize ESEA) to improve public high schools this year.
July 2010

Patriotism – Gallup Poll Results
Almost one third (32 percent) of Americans call themselves “extremely patriotic,” a recent USA Today/Gallup Poll says. The number of Americans identifying themselves as “extremely patriotic” has risen consistently and is up 13 percent since 1999. The number of Republicans and conservatives calling themselves “extremely patriotic” has grown 24 percent since 1999; 84 percent of Tea Party followers say they are “extremely” or “very” patriotic. Forty-three percent of Americans under 35 describe themselves as “somewhat” or “not especially” patriotic.
July 2010

Are We Beginning to See the Light
Parents and the American public are buying into the need to ramp up STEM education. Nine in 10 of those surveyed for Public Agenda’s new survey, Are We Beginning to See the Light, say that advanced math and science will be useful even to those students not pursuing a STEM career. Nonetheless, more than half of parents surveyed (52 percent) said the math and science their child is getting is “fine as it is.”
June 2010

Children of Immigrants
Half of all children of immigrants live with two foreign-born parents, and more than 60 percent of these children have at least one parent with limited English proficiency. Children of Immigrants: Family and Parental Characteristics, a recent report from the Urban Institute, also reveals that 25 percent of children of immigrants have parents that are not high school graduates, but they are also likely to live with both parents and in extended families, and that 92 percent of immigrant families exhibit high work effort.
May 2010

The State of Metropolitan America
Social trends and changing demographics have transformed America’s metropolitan areas over the past decade. The suburbs are no longer bastions of middle-class, married, white couples and their families -- increasingly, they are home to immigrants, minorities, poor people, and senior citizens. A new report from the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program, The State of Metropolitan America, says that the U.S. faces five “new realities”: population growth and expanding metropolitan areas, population diversification, an aging population, uneven higher educational attainment, and income polarization.
May 2010

The Class of 2010: Economic Prospects for Young Adults in the Recession
This spring’s high school graduates face the worst job market in a quarter century, says a new report from the Economic Policy Institute. Unemployment among young high school graduates averaged 22.5 percent over the past year, up from 12 percent in 2007. The number of young people neither employed nor enrolled in school has likewise increased to 17.7 percent, up from 14.5 percent in 2007. Restrictive eligibility rules often make these young workers ineligible for unemployment insurance.
May 2010

The New Demography of American Motherhood
Mothers are more educated today. A study from the Pew Research Center says 54 percent of American women reported at least some college education in 2006, up from 41 percent in 1990. Mothers are also less likely to be white and less likely to be married now than two decades ago. Fifty-three percent of mothers were white in 2008, down from 65 percent in 1990. A record 41 percent of all births in 2008 were to unmarried women.
May 2010

Race/Ethnic Differences in Effects of Family Instability on Adolescents' Risk Behavior
Adolescents who are exposed to repeated changes in a parent’s marital status and experience family instability are more likely to become sexually active early, become parents outside of marriage, or engage in delinquency, according to a new study published in the Journal of Marriage and Family. White and Mexican-American adolescents who experience family instability seem particularly at risk, and they are more prone than their black adolescent peers to early sexual activity and unwed parenthood.
April 2010

Families Can’t Afford the Gender Wage Gap
Women now comprise 50 percent of the work force, and their earnings are increasingly critical to their families’ economic survival. A new report from the Center for American Progress says that, in 42 states, more than six in 10 families with children have a woman as the breadwinner or co-breadwinner. Yet women still earn less than men do. On average, a full-time, full-year, working woman earns 77 cents for every dollar a man earns, losing $431,000 over her career.
April 2010

Teens and Mobile Phones
Cell phones now function as communications hubs for American teens, according to the latest report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project. Seventy-five percent of 12- to 17-year-olds own cell phones, up from 45 percent in 2004. Teens call their parents on their cell phones, but text their friends. Fifty-four percent of teens send texts daily. One in three teens -- mostly girls 14 to 17 -- sends more than 100 texts every day, or more than 3,000 texts a month.
April 2010

Births: Preliminary Data for 2008
While preliminary data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show the overall rate of childbearing by unmarried women increased to historic levels in 2008, the teen birth rate in the U.S. fell 2 percent -- to 41.5 per 1,000 -- between 2007 and 2008, reversing the trend of the last two years. The data also show that the birthrate for Hispanic teenagers has declined to 77.4 births per 1,000, an historic low.
April 2010

Our Working Nation: How Working Women Are Reshaping America’s Families and Economy and What It Means for Policymakers
Women now make up one-half of the nation’s work force. Four in 10 mothers are either their family’s sole breadwinner or make as much or more money than their spouse. Most families no longer have someone at home full-time to deal with emergencies or daily household details. Nonetheless, the school day still ends long before the workday ends, and schools close for three months every summer. The majority of workers must negotiate family responsibilities with their spouses, but most workers -- especially in nonunion settings -- are powerless when negotiating their schedule with their employer. The authors of a new report from the Center for American Progress, Our Working Nation: How Working Women Are Reshaping America’s Families and Economy and What It Means for Policymakers, say that recognizing and incorporating new realities of workplace and family dynamics into our domestic and economic policies is essential to stabilizing the middle class and improving our economy.
March 2010

The Return of the Multi-Generational Household
A record number of Americans live in multigenerational families, according to a new Pew research study. Fully 16 percent of the population now lives in a household containing at least two adult generations, the greatest number to lives in such households since 1940, when 25 percent of the population lived in extended family households. The study attributes the trend to the effects of the recession and to demographic changes such as delayed marriage, immigration, and greater longevity.
March 2010

Generation M2: Media in the Lives of 8- to 18-Year-Olds
Today’s 8- to 18-year-olds spend 7.5 hours a day consuming media -- more time than most of their parents spend at work, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation study, Generation M2. Because children tend to multitask while consuming media -- talking on their cell phones while listening to their MP3 players while surfing Facebook -- those 7.5 hours effectively become 10 hours and 45 minutes of media usage per day. Twenty percent of all youth media consumption now occurs on mobile devices.
January 2010

Family Structure and the Economic Mobility of Children
Children of divorce may be at a disadvantage. A report from the Pew Charitable Trusts, Family Structure and the Economic Mobility of Children, suggests that divorce is a significant barrier to a child’s economic mobility. Among children who start in the bottom third of the income distribution, only 74 percent of children with divorced parents exceed their parents’ family income as adults, compared to 90 percent of children whose parents did not divorce.

Family Scholarly Culture and Educational Success
The strongest predictor of high educational attainment for a child is not highly-educated parents, but the presence of books in that child’s home. According to a 20-year study conducted at the University of Nevada-Reno, Family Scholarly Culture and Educational Success, having as few as 20 books in the home has a significant impact on a child’s educational attainment, and the more books are added, the greater the impact.

What’s Going on with Young People Today? The Long and Twisting Path to Adulthood
Young Americans are living at home longer, are earning lower wages, and rely on their parents for financial support -- behaviors more like the young adults of a hundred years ago than those of their baby-boomer parents. A new study published in Transition to Adulthood finds that parents currently spend 10 percent of their annual income shoring up their grown children’s adult lives. This could overwhelm impoverished families, or those whose security is undermined by the recession.

Between Two Worlds: How Young Latinos Come of Age in America
Hispanics make up 1 in 5 schoolchildren and 1 in 4 newborns, making them the largest and youngest minority group in the United States. Demography is destiny, and these young people will be a strong and shaping force on American society in the 21st century. How do these young Latinos view themselves? A new report from the Pew Research Center, Between Two Worlds: How Young Latinos Come of Age in America, shows that young Latinos are satisfied with their lives; value education, hard work, and success highly; and are optimistic about their future. The report also shows that 52 percent of Latinos ages 16 to 25 identify themselves first by their family’s country of origin. Twenty percent use the terms “Hispanic” or “Latino” when describing themselves. Only 24 percent describe themselves as “American” first.
December 2009

Teens and Sexting
Four percent of teens ages 12-17 report that have sent nude or nearly nude images or videos of themselves to someone else via text messaging on their cell phone (sexting). Fifteen percent of the same group says they have received such messages, as well. These are some of the findings of a new report from the Pew Research Center, Teens and Sexting. The report also finds that these images are shared as part of sexual activity, or even as an alternative to it. Teens use the images as a way of starting or maintaining a relationship with someone else. And, sometimes, the images are used for their entertainment value among friends. “Sexually suggestive images have become a form of relationship currency,” says Amanda Lenhart, author of the report. “Teenagers have always grappled with issues around sex and relationships, but their coming-of-age mistakes and transgressions have never been so easily transmitted and archived for others to see.”
December 2009

Why Are Young Children Missed So Often in the Census?
More than 1 million children under age 10 and three-quarters of a million children under age 5 did not get counted in the 2000 Decennial Census, facts that do not bode well for the 2010 Census. Underreporting of children is particularly disturbing, since Census figures are used by more than 140 programs (many touching children) to distribute more than $400 billion of federal funds to states and localities. According to a new report from The Annie E. Casey Foundation, Why Are Young Children Missed So Often in the Census?, the undercount resulted from challenges in data collection (the census form only has space to collect information for six household members at any given residence), the fact that children are 50 percent more likely to live in hard-to-count areas, and problems defining and capturing modern families.
December 2009

MAMA SAYS: A National Survey of Mothers’ Attitudes on Fathering
There is a father-absence crisis in America. So said 93 percent of the mothers surveyed for MAMA SAYS: A National Survey of Mothers’ Attitudes on Fathering, from the National Fatherhood Initiative. The survey found sharp differences in how married and unmarried mothers perceive fathers’ parenting abilities. Married mothers are much more positive about fathers’ performance, but most moms think dad is replaceable by single moms or by other men. Fathers of young children were viewed as doing a better job at parenting than were fathers of teens. The moms in the survey listed “work responsibilities” as the biggest obstacles to dads’ effective parenting, but moms also said that they could do a better job of balancing work and family themselves if dad helped out more.
December 2009

Staying Competitive: Patching America’s Leaky Pipeline in the Sciences
Data sources indicate that women are more likely than men to “leak” out of the “sciences pipeline” before obtaining a position at a university, according to Staying Competitive: Patching America’s Leaky Pipeline in the Sciences, a new report from the Center for American Progress and the University of California’s Berkeley Center on Health, Economics & Family Security. The report is unusual, in that it identifies when and why women (and men) with caregiving responsibilities drop out of the academic science career path, and how family affects whether or not women make it to the top of the scientific community. The study examines the effect on “leaks” of family formations (marriage, childbirth) and family responsive benefits such as paid maternity leave. The study finds that married women with children are 35 percent less likely to enter the tenure track than married men with children.
November 2009

Teens and Distracted Driving: Texting, Talking and Other Uses of the Cell Phone Behind the Wheel
One in four American teenagers reports having texted while driving, and boys are just as likely as girls to text while driving. A new study by The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, Teens and Distracted Driving: Texting, Talking and Other Uses of the Cell Phone Behind the Wheel, also reports that virtually half (48 percent) of all teenagers say they have been the passenger of a texting driver. “Cell phones are ... devices that can make our lives more efficient,” says Mary Madden, co-author of the report, “and whether you’re a teenager or an adult, it’s tempting to think you can manage several different activities at once.”
November 2009

Parenting Infants and Toddlers Today
Parents are getting the message that certain activities and experiences help children’s development. Ninety-three percent of parents surveyed for Zero to Three’s new report, Parenting Infants and Toddlers Today, understand the importance of reading to young children, and 80 percent of parents believe that play with other children, comforting their child when distressed, and setting and enforcing rules will help their child’s social development.
November 2009

Parents Matter: The Role of Parents in Teens’ Decisions about Sex
Positive parent-teen relationships can help delay teen sex. A new brief from Child Trends, Parents Matter: The Role of Parents in Teens’ Decisions about Sex, finds that teen girls who reported they have a strong relationship with both parents were less likely to have sex before age 16 (22 percent) than are girls who reported poor relationships with their parents (37 percent). Teenagers with nosy parents also delayed sex. Forty-three percent of girls who said their parents knew “little or nothing” of their whereabouts when not at home had sex before age 16, but only 22 percent of those girls whose parents knew “everything” about where they were and whom they were with had sex before 16. Adhering to traditional dinner routines also seems to help teens delay their first sexual experience. Thirty-seven percent of teen boys who eat dinner with their family four days a week or less had sex before age 16, but only 31 percent of boys whose families had dinner together every night did.
November 2009

Children's Exposure to Violence: A Comprehensive National Survey
Most U.S. children are exposed to violence in their daily lives, either in the home, school, or community, according to a survey issued by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. More than 60 percent reported exposure within the past year.
October 2009

Telling It Like It Is: Teen Perspectives on Romantic Relationships
Teens know what a good relationship looks like. They know to look for respect, trust, honesty, and good communication when seeking a partner, and realize that teen relationships will not be adult-like in every way. But the teens surveyed for a recent Child Trends research brief, Telling It Like It Is: Teen Perspectives on Romantic Relationships, have low expectations of ever being in such a relationship. Teen girls are especially pessimistic about their chances of finding a worthy partner. Many of the teens surveyed felt they had no examples of adults in healthy relationships to emulate.
October 2009

The State of City Leadership for Children and Families
The National League of Cities has released a report that identifies “the nation’s 32 most cutting-edge city innovations to help children and families thrive,” and features emerging and established trends in municipal leadership that promote child and family well-being. The report describes new directions in after-school programs, community wellness (measures to combat childhood obesity), early childhood care, public education, family antipoverty efforts, agency effectiveness, and programs surrounding youth civic engagement, violence prevention, and transitional services.
September 2009

The Economy’s Impact on Back to School
The economic downturn is having at least one positive effect: Parent volunteerism is on the rise. Fifty-three percent of all parents polled in a GreatSchools survey, The Economy’s Impact on Back to School, plan on volunteering this year at their child’s school, with 60 percent of African-American parents planning to volunteer.
August 2009

Evaluation of Experience Corps: Student Reading Outcomes
Using older volunteers as tutors can significantly improve the reading skills of students in the early grades, according to a study by researchers from Washington University in St. Louis. The study examined more than 800 students in three cities in an effort to gauge the effectiveness of Experience Corps, a 14-year-old nationwide tutoring program that trains adults 55 and older to help elementary school children with their reading. The report found that the program had “statistically significant and substantively important” effects on the youngsters’ reading skills, as measured by standardized tests and teacher evaluations.
June 2009

Changing Patterns of Nonmarital Childbearing in the United States
A new report from the National Center for Health Statistics indicates that the recent increase in unwed mothers among older teens is only a reflection of a larger trend towards single parenthood among all young women in their 20s and 30s in the U.S., where nearly four out of every 10 births is to a single woman.
May 2009

Survey of Fathers’ Involvement in Children’s Learning
Fathers are more involved in their children’s education than they were 10 years ago. A recent survey shows double-digit gains in the percentage of dads who take kids to school, visit their child’s classroom, or attend school events. There is room for improvement, however; 39 percent of surveyed dads have never read to their children, and 54 percent still don’t volunteer at school.
May 2009

Working Together to Help Youth Thrive in Schools and Communities
Coordinated networks of community-based mental health services for children with mental health challenges can dramatically improve academic, behavioral, and emotional performance while saving school districts money, according to Working Together to Help Youth Thrive in Schools and Communities, a report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Districts where children with mental health challenges participated in coordinated programs saved $4.5 million, largely because more students were promoted to the next grade.
May 2009

Lost Opportunity: A 50-State Report on the Opportunity to Learn in America
The Schott Foundation for Public Education’s new report, Lost Opportunity: A 50-State Report on the Opportunity to Learn in America, says that only eight states provide a moderately proficient education to their students, and that only 51 percent of African-American, Latino, Native American, and low-income students have the same opportunity to learn as white students.
May 2009

The Economic Impact of the Achievement Gap in America’s Schools
The Economic Impact of the Achievement Gap in America’s Schools highlights the economic and social impact of achievement gaps in U.S. public schools. The report states that “educational gaps impose on the United States the economic equivalent of a permanent national recession,” but says the gaps “can be closed. Race and poverty are not destiny.”
April 2009

The Rapid Growth and Changing Complexion of Suburban Public Schools
The Pew Hispanic Center released a report on striking population increases in the nation’s suburban public schools. Most of the increases are due to new Latino, black, and Asian students. Chicago Public Radio worked with Pew to crunch the numbers specifically for Chicago suburbs and found more highly segregated black and Hispanic districts in the Chicago suburbs than anywhere else in the nation. The audio discussion is available at aspx?audioID=33735.
March 2009

Poverty and Potential: Out-of-School Factors and School Success
A Great Lakes Center policy brief, written by researchers from Arizona State University, details the poverty-induced physical, sociological, and psychological effects on students that limit what schools alone can accomplish. The brief lists six negative out-of-school factors that inhibit achievement: low birth-weight and nongenetic prenatal influences; inadequate medical, dental, and vision care; food insecurity; environmental pollutants; family relations and family stress; and neighborhood characteristics.
March 2009

Basic Prose Literacy Skills
An estimated one in seven adults – about 32 million in all – have such low literacy skills that it is tough to read anything more challenging than a children's picture book or to understand a medication's side effects listed on a pill bottle. The National Center for Education Statistics report, Basic Prose Literacy Skills, says 3.6 million of the 23 million adults added to the population between 1992 and 2003 have low literacy skills.
January 2009

America's Most Literate Cities 2008
Minneapolis and Seattle are the USA's most literate cities, according to an annual study examining the "culture and resources for reading" in the nation's largest metropolitan areas. The study by Central Connecticut State University analyzed six key indicators of literacy (newspaper circulation, number of bookstores, library resources, periodical publishing resources, educational attainment and Internet resources) against population rates for cities with populations of 250,000 or more.
January 2009

The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy
After declining for 14 consecutive years, the teen birth rate in the U.S. increased 5 percent between 2005 and 2007. Research indicates that children in single-parent families are more likely than children with two parents to be poor, drop out of high school, and have lower grade point averages, lower college aspirations, and poorer school attendance records.

Stress in America
The American Psychological Association has included children, tweens, and teens in its annual Stress in America survey for the first time this year. The results suggest that stress, worry, and financial difficulties have a much greater impact on children than their parents believe. Almost half (45 percent) of 13- to17-year-olds surveyed said they worried more this year than last year, but only 28 percent of their parents recognized that their teens’ stress had increased. Similarly, 14 percent of 8- to 12-year-olds and 28 percent of teens reported that they worried a great deal, but only 2 percent to 5 percent of parents rated their child’s stress as extreme.

PTA Online Newsroom
The National Parent Teacher Association (PTA) has a new online newsroom. The site has links to the latest education news. Visitors can access a list of PTA regional contacts, news releases, an event calendar, regularly updated audio and videos, downloadable event photos, links to PTA’s social networks on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Fotki, and the PTA blog.

Basic Needs Budget Calculator
The National Center for Children in Poverty has developed Basic Needs Budgets that outline the costs of basic daily expenses for families with children, in an effort to examine what they need to make ends meet.

The 20th annual KIDS COUNT Data Book from the Annie E. Casey Foundation offers comprehensive data on the well-being of America’s children on a state-by-state basis. The Data Book is widely recognized as a leading source of data about children in America, listing hundreds of indicators on topics such as education, employment, income, and youth risk factors. This year, the Foundation has backed the data with an extensive, easy-to-use online access system -- the Data Center -- which includes a mobile site ( where data are optimized for BlackBerry and iPhone access.

Californians and Higher Education
In the poll released by Public Policy Institute of California, the majority of Latino respondents said that they see college preparation as the main purpose of public school. A much smaller percentage of blacks and Asians (30 percent) and whites (20 percent) see college that way. Fifty-three percent of foreign-born residents also see college preparation as the ultimate goal of public schooling, versus 27 percent of American-born residents.
November 2008

Who Are America’s Poor Children?
More than 13 million of the nation’s children live in poverty and 11 percent of all kids in the United States do not have health insurance, according to the report, Who Are America’s Poor Children? The report by the National Center for Children in Poverty says the number of children living below the poverty line has increased 11 percent since 2000. The state with the lowest poverty: New Hampshire, with 6 percent. The highest: Mississippi, with 29 percent.
October 2008

National Survey of American Attitudes on Substance Abuse XIII: Teens and Parents
Parents who fail to monitor their children’s school night activities, safeguard their prescription drugs, address the problems of drugs in their children’s schools, and set good examples increase the risk that their 12- to 17-year-old children will smoke, drink, or use illegal and prescription drugs, according to the National Survey of American Attitudes on Substance Abuse XIII: Teens and Parents, the 13th annual back-to-school survey conducted by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University.
October 2008

1st Report to the Nation on Youth Courts and Teen Courts
Global Issues Resource Center released the 1st Report to the Nation on Youth Courts and Teen Courts. This report documents significant highlights and events over 15 years of this juvenile justice prevention and intervention program that uses volunteer youth to help sentence their peers.
September 2008

F as in Fat: How Obesity Policies Are Failing in America 2008
Adult obesity rates increased in 23 states and did not decrease in a single state in the past year, according to F as in Fat, a report by the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. In addition, the percentage of children who are obese or overweight is 30 percent or higher in 30 states. Four states (Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, West Virginia) now have adult obesity rates above 30 percent, and the number now exceeds 25 percent in 31 states.
August 2008

Back-to-School Benchmark Survey
Parents focused mostly on shopping for school supplies and clothes in preparing their children to go back to school this fall, according to the national Back-to-School Benchmark Survey, commissioned by GreatSchools. Parents overlooked simple and low-cost activities, such as meeting their child’s teacher, increasing their child’s reading time, and making sure their child eats a nutritious breakfast.
August 2008

The Parent-Child Relationship: A Family Strength
Contrary to popular opinion, most parents report close bonds with their children, communicate with their children about important topics, and are acquainted with most of their children’s friends, according to The Parent-Child Relationship: A Family Strength, a new Child Trends fact sheet. Although some declines are seen in these areas as children get older, high parental involvement and positive parent-child interactions endure throughout childhood into the teenage years for most adolescents.
August 2008

Reversal of Fortune: A New Look at Concentrated Poverty in the 2000’s
After dramatic declines in concentrated poverty in the 1990s, the number of low-income workers and families living in high-working-poverty neighborhoods rose by 41 percent in the first half of this decade, according to a report by the Brookings Institution, Reversal of Fortune: A New Look at Concentrated Poverty in the 2000’s.
August 2008

Parental Involvement in Middle Childhood: Can It Protect Children from Harmful TV Viewing Habits and Behavior?
A Child Trends fact sheet, Parental Involvement in Middle Childhood: Can It Protect Children from Harmful TV Viewing Habits and Behavior?, finds that children who watch more than three hours of television a day, who do not communicate very well with their parents, and whose parents know few or none of their friends have greater levels of externalizing (acting out) and internalizing (i.e., depression or anxiety) behavior problems. Moreover, the combination of frequent TV viewing and low levels of parental involvement is related to particularly elevated levels of behavior problems in children.
August 2008

Teen Drivers Often Ignore Bans on Using Cellphones and Texting
Despite a North Carolina ban on cell phone use for young drivers, teenage drivers use of the phones has increased, according to a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Parents and teens alike believe the ban on hand-held and hands-free phone use isn't being enforced. Researchers conclude that North Carolina's law isn't reducing teen drivers' cell phone use.
June 2008

2008 Kids Count in Colorado
Between 2000 and 2006, Colorado had a 73 percent increase in the number of children living in poverty, the highest rate of increase in the nation, according to a report by the Colorado Children’s Campaign. About 180,000 children in Colorado were living in poverty in 2006, nearly 76,000 more children than were living in poverty in 2000. At the same time, the total number of children in the state increased only six percent.
June 2008

Collaborating with Families
Vanderbilt University’s IRIS Center and the PACER Center have created an interactive, online module to support educators in diversifying and improving family participation. According to the centers, many schools enjoy a high level of parent involvement, but schools should look for ways to get families of students with disabilities more engaged.
May 2008

Engaged for Success
Service-learning programs provide hands-on activities that bring relevance to classroom lessons and keep more students engaged in school longer, according to Engaged for Success, a report by the organization Civic Enterprises. The report says students who are involved in the programs are more interested in class work, more motivated, and more likely to have better attendance in school.
April 2008

Los Angeles on the Leading Edge: Immigrant-Integration Indicators and Their Policy Implications
Half of Los Angeles’ English-language learners were born in the United States but still are not proficient in English, a fact that points to poor education by the public schools, a report by the Migration Policy Institute says. The report, Los Angeles on the Leading Edge: Immigrant-Integration Indicators and Their Policy Implications, says more work needs to be done to help immigrants and their families become integrated into the U.S. culture. According to the report, more than half of ELL students nationwide go to schools where 30 percent or more of students are English-language learners.
April 2008

U.S. Population Projections: 2005–2050
Immigration will continue to play a major role in the nation’s growth, according to a report from the Pew Research Center that examines population projections through the year 2050. According to the report, the Hispanic population will triple in size and increase its share of the total U.S. population to 29 percent. Among non-Hispanic race groups, the Asian share will rise to 9 percent, the black share will hold steady at 13 percent, and the white share will fall to 47 percent.
February 2008

Paying the Price: The Impact of Immigration Raids on America’s Children
For every two people detained in immigration enforcement operations, one child is left behind, according to Paying the Price: The Impact of Immigration Raids on America’s Children, a new report by the National Council of La Raza and the Urban Institute. Two-thirds of the children are U.S. citizens, and a similar share is under age 10. The report also details the consequences of immigration enforcement operations on children’s psychological, educational, economic, and social well-being.
February 2008

The Norton Online Living Report
The Norton Online Living Report by Symantec surveyed children and adult Internet users in the U.S., U.K., Australia, Germany, France, Brazil, China and Japan and found that while parents in the U.S. think their kids are online two hours a month, in reality, kids report spending 20 hours a month. Also, 41 percent of U.S. teens agree that their parent have no idea what they are looking at when online.
February 2008

The Over-scheduling Myth
Less than one in 10 children can be described as over-scheduled and only six in 10 participate in organized after-school activities at any given time, according to research by Child Trends. The report suggests switching the focus on the few children and youth who are over-scheduled, to those who do not participate at all.
February 2008

The Last Have Become First: Rural and Small Town America Lead the Way on Desegregation, and Are Teachers Prepared for Racially Changing Schools?
The Civil Rights Project at the University of California, Los Angeles, has released two studies examining social integration in American public schools. The Last Have Become First: Rural and Small Town America Lead the Way on Desegregation analyzes regional, ethnic, and housing patterns and how they relate to school segregation. Are Teachers Prepared for Racially Changing Schools? explores how well teachers ready themselves to work in an environment with diverse faculty and students.
January 2008

Durable effects of concentrated disadvantage on verbal ability among African-American children
Students who live in depressed, segregated communities for long periods have less exposure to formal English, potentially losing as much as four IQ points in the process, according to researchers from Harvard University, New York University, and the University of Chicago. This lack of community quality means students could lose as much as a full school year’s worth of education.
January 2008

A Blueprint for Big Broadband
Federal and state governments must come together with the public sector to solve a pending “crisis” in high-speed Internet connectivity, according to A Blueprint for Big Broadband, a report released by the nonprofit association Educause. The report says the demand for bandwidth has accelerated well beyond the capacity of current broadband networks – a problem that has enormous implications for education in the U.S.
January 2008

Promoting ELL Parental Involvement: Challenges in Contested Times
Parent of English Language Learners (ELLs) are faced with daunting barriers when they attempt to become informed and involved in their child’s school, a factor that limits communication and participation, a policy brief from the Great Lakes Center says. The center recommends that policymakers fund the implementation of nontraditional parental involvement programs that reflect a reciprocal involvement in the school/parent community.
January 2008

The 2008 Education Next-PEPG Survey of Public Opinion
Public confidence in America’s public schools and No Child Left Behind declined in 2008, according to findings from the second annual national survey by Education Next and the Program on Education Policy and Governance at Harvard University. And, with the presidential election in high gear, survey respondents give a clear edge to Democrats as the party “more likely to improve the nation’s schools.”
Fall 2008

Public Engagement: A Primer from Public Agenda
The Center for the Advancement of Public Engagement has released a primer on ways to cultivate greater community engagement with public life and a more citizen-centered approach to politics. The primer is organized around four themes to help citizens engage other citizens in their work toward a common goal: Creating Civic Capacity for Public Problem-Solving; Ten Core Principles of Public Engagement; Examples of Key Practices and Strategies; and the Power of "Citizen Choicework."

The Experts' Guide to the K-12 School Market Second Edition
The Experts' Guide to the K-12 School Market Second Edition is a new resource designed to help businesses develop and compete in the industry. A survey of previous purchasers revealed that many chief executives found the guide applicable to their corporate strategy as well as to the daily operations of their staffs across multiple departments.

Community Agenda for America's Public Schools
A coalition of leading educators and community organizations, including the National School Boards Association, has produced a Community Agenda for America's Public Schools. The group seeks to address complex social problems -- including poverty, violence, substance abuse, and family instability -- by focusing on schools. The agenda calls for more partnerships between public schools and local community groups, health-care providers, and other social services to help struggling students, especially in the nation's urban and rural areas.

Overcoming Inequality: Why Governance Matters
The failure of governments across the world to tackle deep and persistent inequalities in education is consigning millions of children to lives of poverty and diminished opportunity, according to a report published by UNESCO. Blaming a combination of political indifference, weak domestic policies, and the failure of aid donors to act on commitments, the 2009 Education for All Global Monitoring Report Overcoming Inequality: Why Governance Matters, warns that national and global education disparities are undermining efforts to achieve international development goals.

2008 Report Card on the Ethics of American Youth
Josephson Institute's 2008 Report Card on the Ethics of American Youth, a report on the attitudes and conduct of 29,760 high school students, reveals entrenched habits of dishonesty in today's young people -- - stealing, lying, and cheating rates climb. Following a benchmark survey in 1992, Josephson Institute conducts a national survey of the ethics of American youth every two years.

Sprint, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, and the National Education Association Health and Information have launched a program, “4NetSafety,” to help teens understand the impact of decisions they make while online, as well as the potential dangers they face. The project also will help educators implement Internet safety education and keep parents informed of potential online risks.

The Family Life Project
Two universities in Pennsylvania and North Carolina are studying the effects of poverty on children who come from rural areas and small towns. The Family Life Project, a joint effort by Penn State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is the largest, most comprehensive and representative study to date on child development in rural America. The project is funded by the National Institutes of Health.

The Five Freedoms Project
The Five Freedoms Project, backed by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, launched two new resources -- its official website and online network. The sites will support the work of all educators, students, and citizens who share a commitment to First Amendment freedoms, democratic schools, and the idea that children should be seen and heard.

The Effects of Background Television on the Toy Play Behavior of Very Young Children
Adult television is a disruptive influence on very young children’s behavior. The Effects of Background Television on the Toy Play Behavior of Very Young Children, which ran in the journal Child Development, was released by The Society for Research in Child Development. In it, researchers found that background TV significantly reduced toy play episode length as well as focused attention during play for children under 36 months.

Lifelong Learning: New Strategies for the Education of Working Adults
More than half of America's 120 million workers between the ages of 25 to 64 have no postsecondary degree or postsecondary credential of any kind, according to Lifelong Learning: New Strategies for the Education of Working Adults from the Center for American Progress. The report states that with the labor force growing slowly between now and 2040, the U.S. can no longer pursue an education policy that essentially gives up on adults.
December 2007

Putting the Juvenile Back in Juvenile Justice
Treating youth as adults in the criminal justice system increases their risk of crime later in life, according to a report from the Action for Children North Carolina. The report is critical of North Carolina, Connecticut, and New York, the only three states were 16-year-olds are considered to be adults in the criminal justice system. Connecticut is moving the age to 18 by 2010.
December 2007

A Philadelphia Story: Building Civic Capacity for School Reform in a Privatizing System
Philadelphia organizations have not worked collaboratively on various aspects of school reform since the district was taken over in 2001, leaving the effort vulnerable as the city deals with a fiscal crisis and new leadership, a report by Research for Action says. The report, A Philadelphia Story: Building Civic Capacity for School Reform in a Privatizing System, offers “guiding principles” that promote transparency in decision-making and the mobilization of the civic leaders.
December 2007

Who are America’s Poor Children?
The Official Story
Nearly 13 million American children live in families with annual incomes of less than $20,000, which is below the federal poverty level for a family of four. A report from the National Center for Children in Poverty says the current U.S. poverty measure is acknowledged to be inadequate, yet the political will necessary to implement an official change is lacking. Data collected in the 1950s indicate that families spent about one-third of their income on food, and poverty is still measured by multiplying food costs by three. However, in present day, food comprises far less than a third of an average family’s expenses as housing, child care, health care, and transportation costs have risen disproportionately.
November 2007

Achievement and Behavior in Charter Schools: Drawing a More Complete Picture
The growing popularity of charter schools is more a result of students’ improved behavior and better attendance than higher achievement, according to Achievement and Behavior in Charter Schools: Drawing a More Complete Picture. The study by the National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education, based at Teachers College, Columbia University, looked at an unnamed large urban school district and examined attendance records as well as test scores. While test scores may vary, the authors note, parent and student satisfaction generally remains high across the board.
October 2007

The New Three R’s: Rules, Regulations and More Rules
Legal fear is a daily reality in Colorado’s schools, with 51 percent of teachers claiming they have been threatened with a lawsuit, and more than 60 percent of teachers and administrators saying they fear being sued by parents and students, according to Common Good Colorado’s The New Three R’s: Rules, Regulations and More Rules. The study, which surveyed Colorado public school teachers and administrators, says the fear of litigation stems from basic tasks like assigning a grade, breaking up a fight, or evaluating a teacher.
October 2007

Tangible Steps Toward Tomorrow
Engaged parents are considered key to students’ success, but becoming involved in a child’s education is not a one-step process, according to Tangible Steps Toward Tomorrow, a report by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Most often, by accident, schools are sending signals to parents through grim, jail-like buildings that meet security needs but exclude the community.
October 2007

Building Effective Youth Councils: A Practical Guide for Engaging Youth in Policy Making
The National League of Cities’ Institute for Youth, Education, and Families and the National Conference of State Legislatures have published Building Effective Youth Councils: A Practical Guide for Engaging Youth in Policy Making. The report highlights six key tasks for laying the foundation for an effective youth council and supporting youth action. Highlighted are effective programs developed in Boston, Des Moines, Grand Rapids, Mich., Hampton, Va., Nashville, Tenn., and San Francisco, as well as sample city ordinances, application forms, and links to youth council bylaws, membership agreements, release forms, research, and other resources.
July 2007

Parents, Children & Media: A Kaiser Family Foundation Survey
Parents say they are getting control of their own children’s exposure to sex and violence in the media, but they remain concerned about inappropriate content in the media more broadly, according to Parents, Children & Media: A Kaiser Family Foundation Survey.
June 2007

Whole Child Education is a new website by ASCD that calls on parents, educators, policymakers, and communities to join forces to ensure children become healthy, safe, productive, engaged citizens.

Learning Environment Survey Report 2006-07
A survey of parents, teachers, and middle and high school students by the New York City public schools revealed that half of students say that earning good grades isn’t respected by peers. The survey, Learning Environment Survey Report 2006-07, paid for by the school system, also found that a quarter of parents wanted smaller class sizes and a third of teachers did not trust their principals. About 587,000 of those surveyed responded, and the school system had recorded the results by school.

Unneccessary Roughness? School Sports, Peer Networks, and Male Adolescent Violence
Participation in contact sports such as wrestling and football in high school increases a male athlete’s likelihood of getting involved in fighting by 40 percent, according to a study published in the American Sociological Review. The study found that male high school football players with all football-playing friends were 45 percent more likely to engage in serious fights that football players who had a lot of friends who did not play the sport. It also found that male tennis players were 35 percent less likely to get into fights than males who participated in contact sports.

Achievement Trap: How America Is Failing Millions of High-Achieving Students from Lower-Income Families
Low-income, high-achieving students are being short-changed by No Child Left Behind, according to Achievement Trap: How America is Failing Millions of High-Achieving Students from Low-Income Families. The report, released by Civic Enterprises and the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, looks at students below the median income level who start school performing at high levels, but lose ground at every level of school and plummet in college. According to the report, the faulty assumption that these students don’t need help to achieve at high levels is causing an enormous talent drain in our schools.

Reaching Out to Diverse Populations: What Can Schools Do to Foster Family-School Connections?
How can schools move beyond a limited level of family involvement and encourage all families to become more active in their children’s schools and education? A strategy brief from the Southwest Educational Development Laboratory (SEDL) gives schools suggestions on how to get families from different ethnic and economic backgrounds to participate in schools. In Reaching Out to Diverse Populations: What Can Schools Do to Foster Family-School Connections?, author Chris Ferguson says schools can help parents become more comfortable playing a strong role in their children’s education.
September 2005

Parents' Roles in Shaping Early Adolescents' Occupational Aspirations
Parents, fathers in particular, are more likely to provide a more supportive math and science environment for their sons than for their daughters, a study by the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan concludes.
July/August 2001