In the Neighborhood: Covering Poverty’s Influence on Education

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Overview

In the Neighborhood: Covering Poverty’s Influence on Education
Seminar on Poverty & Education

There’s no question that living in a neighborhood with concentrated poverty and racial isolation can take a big toll on children’s learning. But how can journalists go deeper to better understand — and convey to readers — the educational challenges posed when families don't have enough money for food, heat and other essentials, and often encounter the trauma of neighborhood violence? How can stories get beyond the stereotypes and statistics to put a human face on the circumstances of children in highly impoverished neighborhoods, and how those are translating into the classroom? What can schools and communities do to help counter the effects of concentrated poverty?

We’ll provide guidance from expert journalists and researchers to help you cover this important topic. Join us for a workshop October 22 in Chicago.

There’s no question that living in a neighborhood with concentrated poverty and racial isolation can take a big toll on children’s learning. But how can journalists go deeper to better understand — and convey to readers — the educational challenges posed when families don’t have enough money for food, heat and other essentials, and often encounter the trauma of neighborhood violence? How can stories get beyond the stereotypes and statistics to put a human face on the circumstances of children in highly impoverished neighborhoods, and how those are translating into the classroom? What can schools and communities do to help counter the effects of concentrated poverty?

We’ll provide guidance from expert journalists and researchers to help you cover this important topic. Join us for a workshop October 22 in Chicago.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Breaking the Cycle: Small Steps That Help Students in Poverty

(Flickr/Matt Dempsey)

It’s the story told over and over: A child from a poor neighborhood attends a failing school but somehow beats the odds and rises to success.

The assumptions surrounding that story are that success is the exception for a child in poverty, and that failure is the norm. We are surprised that a child from a low-income community achieves strong academic outcomes, but unfazed at the fact that most of his or her classmates don’t.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Researching Poverty’s Effects on Learning

(Flickr/Geraint Rowland)

One question that often comes up during state legislative sessions is whether it’s a waste of money to increase educational spending in large urban areas with high poverty and low student achievement.

“There’s a very pervasive view out there that money doesn’t have an effect on outcomes at all,” said Kirabo Jackson, an economist at Northwestern University, during a panel at the Education Writers Association’s October seminar on poverty and education.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Why High-Poverty Schools Need Not Be ‘A Fact of Life’

Poor schools are often surrounded by high-poverty neighborhoods. But experts say that doesn't have to be the case. (Creative Commons/Mark Strozier)

As reporters, we often take it for granted when we visit a high-poverty school that it will be surrounded by a similarly struggling neighborhood. And we’re not alone, according to Paul Jargowsky, the director of the Center for Urban Research and Urban Education at Rutgers University. Even as the events in places like Ferguson, Missouri, have prompted important discussions about urban poverty, he says these talks are ignoring a more fundamental question: Why do we have these concentrations of low-income communities to start with?

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Telling the Story of Children and Poverty

(Creative Commons/zaphad1)

In researching his book There Are No Children Here: The Story of Two Boys Growing Up in the Other America, journalist Alex Kotlowitz met with his two young subjects each week for pizza. He wanted to know about Lafeyette and Pharoah’s world in one of Chicago’s poorest neighborhoods. In the beginning, he would ask about gangs, violence, shooting and drugs. All Lafeyette and Pharoah wanted to talk about was the spelling bee at school.