How class impacts educational achievement

EQUITY | The Atlantic looks at how family income has become a more important determining factor in children’s educational achievement than race: (Atlantic, 8/28)

Fifty years [after the March on Washington], social class has become the main gateway—and barrier—to opportunity in America.

The country is far from fulfilling King’s dream that race no longer limit children’s opportunities, but how much income their parents earn is more and more influential. According to a 2011 research study by Stanford sociologist Sean Reardon, the test-score gap between the children of the poor (in the 10th percentile of income) and the children of the wealthy (in the 90th percentile) has expanded by as much as 40 percent and is now more than 50 percent larger than the black-white achievement gap—a reversal of the trend 50 years ago. Underprivileged children now languish at achievement levels that are close to four years behind their wealthy peers.

The article considers the wealth of lessons, trips, and other expensive experiences, not to mention private school tuition, that wealthy families can afford. But what makes this article even more disturbing at this particular point in time is the 57,000 children cut from Head Start because of the sequester this year.

- Donna M. Cooper has been named the new Pepco Region President (Pepco, 8/28)

- On the Washington Area Women’s Foundation blog, Nicole Crozier reflects on what was missing at Saturday’s rally celebrating the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington: (WAWF, 8/27)

…Even in the diversity of the communities represented on Saturday, I still felt a siloing of communities and identities. I felt we were missing something – that sense of underlying unity. That thing that transcended race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, class…that thing that made us all brothers and sisters in a movement for humanity overall. That thing that reminded us that we could not divide the essence of our being into artificial buckets of race, sexual orientation, gender, etc. And that our communities and identities were not distinct and separate, but inextricably linked.

- Prince George’s County has over 800 new teachers this year, because over 600 teachers left last year for higher paying positions elsewhere. (Gazette, 8/29)

- Here’s the third and final post in the Wonk Blog series on rising cost of college tuition. This post digs into why tuition is rising. (WaPo, 8/28)

WORKFORCE | New Labor Department rules will encourage government contractors to set benchmark goals for hiring veterans and people with disabilities. If all contractors meet the goals in the first year, nationally 200,000 veterans and 585,000 people with disabilities could find jobs. (WaPo, 8/29)

WRAG Members: On September 12, WRAG is hosting a brown bag discussion on strategies for helping veterans transition to civilian employment. More information here.

HEALTH | Montgomery County has taken some small steps to make walking to two schools in the county safer for students. (GGW, 8/28)

TRANSIT | Fairfax County Grapples With Huge Silver Line Costs (WAMU, 8/28)

Researchers at the University of Washington have finally figured out a way that, someday, might make it possible for me to finally learn how to dance salsa and do math.

The Daily is taking an extra long weekend this weekend, so we’ll be back on Tuesday.

- Rebekah

New data on District’s child poverty…David Robertson to leave Council of Governments…Maxine Baker joins AARP Foundation [News, 2.9.12]

YOUTH/POVERTY | D.C. Action for Children has released data snapshots of the District’s eight wards and concludes that the city’s child poverty rate has barely changed in the last few years – it remains at 30 percent on average, and nearly 50 percent in Ward 8.

- Press Release
- Ward data snapshots

HOUSING | A massive $26 billion settlement between state and federal officials and five major banks will help reduce the financial burden on as many as one million troubled homeowners. The settlement helps homeowners by “reducing the amount they owe on their mortgages, lowering their interest rates and paying restitution to homeowners who suffered mortgage-related abuses.” (WaPo, 2/9)

Related: Full details of the settlement


- Former WRAG Board Chair Maxine B. Baker has joined the AARP Foundation as senior vice president for Impact Programs. Her work will focus on the issues of hunger, housing, isolation, and income for aging adults. AARP Foundation president Jo Ann Jenkins says:

Maxine brings a wealth of experience and is widely acknowledged as an energetic and visionary leader who will be instrumental in realizing the goals of the Foundation and making a difference in the lives of so many individuals.

- David Robertson, executive director of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, has announced that he will be leaving the organization in January 2013. Robertson has served in his current position since 2003, and has been with COG in other capacities for more than 20 years. He has also been a key leader in both the Region Forward plan and the 8 Neighbors group.

In a press release, COG Board Chairman Frank Principi said:

“Mr. Robertson has been the consummate professional in his capacity as COG’s executive director. He leaves big shoes to fill and the Board will use the next few months to find the best qualified person to build on his record of leadership and success.”

- Congratulations to Joseph Rigby – Chairman, President, and CEO of Pepco Holdings Inc. - who has been voted “Best Business Philanthropist” in a poll conducted by the Washington Business Journal! Rigby also chairs the United Way for the National Capital Region. (Informer, 2/9)

DISTRICT | Most of the D.C. workers accused in the unemployment benefits fraud scheme won’t be prosecuted. The city’s attorney general estimates that the threshold for prosecution will likely be $20,000. (Examiner, 2/9) The lesson here: If you plan to steal from the government, make sure to steal less than $20k.

EDUCATION | Maryland AP scores top nation again; Virginia at #3 (Examiner, 2/9)

LISTEN | Allison Fine’s latest podcast discusses The Power of Stories in Social Change (Chronicle, 2/9)

NONPROFITS | The Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of Washington, DC (YNPNdc) is capturing the demographics and opinions of our region’s emerging leaders in the nonprofit sector. Here’s a short survey – which they would appreciate if you also share with your colleagues in the local nonprofit world. Added incentive: your participation could win you a $100 AMEX gift card or a $25 donation to the charity of your choice!

Does it seem a bit odd to anyone else that the Post has an op-ed from Vladimir Putin?

Rebekah has the Daily tomorrow. See you all on Monday – and stay warm this weekend!

District has $240 million surplus…Pepco buys UMD-designed solar home for ‘living classroom’…Gray asks for inquiry into affordable housing project [News, 1.31.12]

BUDGETS | Mayor Gray and District CFO Natwar Ghandi have announced that the city has a $240 million surplus. Some council members are now asking whether they “overshot when they instituted emergency furloughs and increased income taxes last year.” (WaPo, 1/31) Well, yeah, but only by a couple hundred million. Better to be in the black than the red though.

Related: The D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute has a helpful Q&A on the surplus and what happens next. (DCFPI, 1/31)

HOUSING | Million-Dollar Wasteland: D.C. mayor to ask for inquiry of ill-fated housing deal (WaPo, 1/31) “Peaceoholics, the nonprofit organization that proposed building the housing for at-risk young men in 2008, no longer owns the three apartment complexes, which were purchased with money from the city’s Department of Housing and Community Development.”

Follow up: Though the Post article ran in today’s paper, WAMU is reports that the D.C. Housing and Community Development has already responded by firing a staffer. (WAMU, 1/31)

EDUCATION | District’s science education standards top the nation (Examiner, 1/31) The standards themselves are rated as excellent, but the proficiency of students is not.

ENVIRONMENT | Pepco has announced that it will purchase an energy-efficient home designed by the University of Maryland that won the 2011 Solar Decathalon. Pepco will use the home as a “living classroom” and will “conduct research at the home, monitoring its performance and adding their own efficient innovations like smart thermostats and an electric car charging station.” (Urban Turf, 1/31)

WORKFORCE | D.C. Council Chairman Kwame Brown has proposed that the status “unemployed” be added to the list of people protected from discrimination under the Human Rights Act. The Business Journal reports that such a requirement would cost the city more than half-a-million dollars and add more than 150 annual investigations to the Office of Human Rights. (WBJ, 1/31)

Unemployed due to the tough economy is one thing, but, as a matter of ethics, some people have also lost jobs for reasons that potential employers should know about.

ARTS | Last month, Congress quietly took control of a piece of the Mall away from the Park Service. Now filmmakers are worried that they won’t be able to use a favorite spot to film the Capitol. (WaPo, 1/31)

Related: This could mean bad news for productions like Transformers, and even worse news for productions like Transforming Philanthropy.

Spoiler warning! If you want Super Bowl commercials to be a surprise, don’t read on. Otherwise, you might enjoy these two clever commercials from Honda. One is a tribute to Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, featuring Matthew Broderick, and the other features Jerry Seinfeld and some characters from his old sitcom – plus a surprise guest at the end.


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