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January 16, 2014 / Christian Clansky

Are educators giving the wrong message about college to low-income students?

It’s common knowledge that more education leads to more opportunity in life. As such, college access is a key priority for philanthropy and the government. Just today, President Obama announced a summit on college completion rates. But what if, in trying to convince low-income students of the importance of higher education, we’re discussing it wrong?

In The Atlantic, a teacher reflects on the perspectives of low- and higher-income students about school. The differences are stark, and the less privileged students focus on college as an economic ladder. That’s a significant problem, according to the teacher (Atlantic, 1/16):

When administrators, counselors, and teachers repeat again and again that a college degree will alleviate economic hardship, they don’t mean to suggest that there is no other point to higher education. Yet by focusing on this one potential benefit, educators risk distracting them from the others, emphasizing the value of the fruits of their academic labor and skipping past the importance of the labor itself. The message is that intellectual curiosity plays second fiddle to financial security.

FOOD | WRAG’s Washington Regional Convergence Partnership released a new report today on food hubs. The report, which grew out of last fall’s Food Hubs 101 event, features key facts and figures about local food hubs, recounts highlights from the event, and explores presentations from the event’s guests and panels. Check it out here. (Daily, 1/16)

HOUSING
– Potentially game-changing news: a professor at USC has developed a 3D printer that can build an entire house in just 24 hours. It sounds too good to be true, but the concept video is quite convincing. (NDTV, 1/13)

The applications of 3D printing are increasing at an incredible (and sometime scary) rate. It’s hard not to get excited about the possibilities, like printing an Aston Martin Vanquish so that I can finally be just like James Bond.

McDuffie Bill Would Dedicate Surplus Funds to Affordable Housing (CP, 1/15)

CWBI | Yesterday, we posted an FAQ about the Community Wealth Building Initiative. One of the initial business lines identified for the project is local green stormwater management.

Good news on that front. Today we learned that, the EPA, State of Maryland, and Prince George’s County announced a $100 million investment in community-based stormwater management. This sort of investment suggests that there is a strong foundation being laid that the CWBI might be able to build on.

PHILANTHROPY | In the choppy wake of the recession, many charities are having to rethink anti-poverty efforts. This article is behind a paywall, but here’s a snippet if you don’t subscribe (Chronicle, 1/16):

The slow recovery from [the economic] crisis, which peaked in 2007 and 2008, coincided with a political climate that has made it difficult to win increased social spending—both in Washington, where a deficit-cutting Congress faces intense pressure from Republicans for steep budget cuts, and in many state capitals, where the tough economy has taken a toll on state coffers.

Some advocates have had to give up on deadlines that once seemed realistic.

LOCAL | If you’re walking down the street and you smell something funny, don’t jump to conclusions! Sure, it might have been the person walking in front of you, but it’s more likely the result of the thousands – yes, thousands – of leaks in the District’s natural gas pipe system. Some of the leaks are at literally explosive levels. (WaPo, 1/16)

Related: The Post mapped out the leaks. It looks like we’ll be safe if we just hang out on the Mall, at Hains Point, or in Rock Creek Park. (WaPo, 1/16)

WORKFORCE | Yesterday, D.C. Mayor Vince Gray signed a minimum wage hike into law. Here’s what it will mean for the city’s residents. (CP, 1/15)


Leaving the comforts of home is the worst part of most mornings. And that’s true not just for people, but for animals, too. See this husky’s refusal to go to the kennel for proof. And check out the hilarious gallery of canine photobombers below the video.

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