PBS will premiere American Promise, winner of the U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, on Monday, Feburary 3rd. Check your local listings for times.
From the Sundance Institute:
American Promise is an epic and groundbreaking documentary charged with the hope that every child can reach his or her full potential and contribute to a better future for our country. It calls into question commonly held assumptions about educational access and what factors really influence academic performance. Filmmakers Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson deliver a rare, intimate, and emotional portrait of black middle-class family life, humanizing the unique journey of African-American boys as they face the real-life hurdles society poses for young men of color, inside and outside the classroom.
Children’s Defense Fund published a new report, The State of Americas Children 2014, which provides a comprehensive analysis of national and state data on population, poverty, family structure, family income, health, nutrition, early childhood development, education, child welfare, juvenile justice, and gun violence.
The report suggests that the number of homeless children enrolled in public schools in the state of Minnesota increased by 97% between the 2006 and 2012.
The study also shows that students who live in poverty fare far worse in the public school system than those from higher income families.
Approximately 75% of lower income fourth and eighth grade Minnesota public school students performed below their grade level in math and reading in 2013; less than 50% of higher income students performed below their grade level in math & reading during the same time period.
Minnesota ranks 5th in state spending per child enrolled in state preschool programs yet, among states that offer pre-K programs, Minnesota ranks 39th in 4-year-old access and 22nd in 3-year-old access to these programs.
Source: The State of Preschool 2012, The National Institute for Early Education Research
New research from Stanford University found that by the age of eighteen months, children from low-income families heard approximately 30 million fewer words then children from affluent families.
Anne Fernald, associate professor of psychology at Stanford, conducted research to determine how quickly and accurately young children identified objects based on simple verbal cues.
“By 2 years of age, these disparities are equivalent to a six-month gap between infants from rich and poor families in both language processing skills and vocabulary knowledge,” Fernald said. “What we’re seeing here is the beginning of a developmental cascade, a growing disparity between kids that has enormous implications for their later educational success and career opportunities.”
Despite the findings, Fernald does point to a silver lining in her research:
“The good news is that regardless of economic circumstances, parents who use more and richer language with their infants can help their child to learn more quickly.”