Students who grow up in poverty tend to have less access to higher education. This severely limits their chances of leaving poverty in their adult life. The first step in helping these young people succeed in life as adults is to understand the challenges they face early on.
National efforts to increase college attainment and to address the nation’s skills gap have focused heavily on community colleges. Understanding returns to community college programs is particularly important for low-income students, since nearly half of low-income students begin their college careers at community colleges, compared to just 15 percent of high-income students. Using administrative data from California, we find that students who earn vocational certificates and degrees see large earnings gains that vary substantially by course of study.
In the classroom at Kit Carson Middle School in Sacramento, Michal Kurlaender sits at one of four small desks pushed to face each other. The walls are papered in yellow, red and bright blue, and wavy corrugated borders frame a flutter of papers under the banner “AMAZING.”
Kurlaender is interviewing a teacher as part of her evaluation of the school’s teacher development program to improve students’ college readiness skills. The sudden, grating buzz of the class bell startles everyone. Kurlaender smiles. “It’s nicer when it’s the music instead,” she says.
In this podcast, Harry Holzer and Center Director Ann Stevens discuss how colleges have taken on the role of building the U.S. labor force. In March, 2015, Holzer visited the center as a Visiting Scholar to present the seminar “Building Labor Market Skills among Disadvantaged Americans.”
Domestic violence is a significant problem in the U.S. It leads to serious medical and emotional costs for victims and their children, but also has important negative spillovers. Our new work finds that exposure to a higher proportion of peers experiencing domestic violence during primary school leads to lower academic achievement in the long-run, even after moving to schools with a mixed peer composition.
During Ariel Kalil’s visit in April as a Center for Poverty Research Visiting Faculty Scholar, snatches of conversation could be heard from her temporary office. One student asked about how to make his work more relevant to public policy. Another talked about what it was like being a first-generation college student.
“I guess in some part they wanted to find out more about the path that I had taken, because it is a bit unusual,” says Kalil.
In this podcast, Kathleen Short and Center Director Ann Stevens discuss the Supplemental Poverty Measure and other attempts to measure poverty throughout the nation. In November, 2014, Short visited the center to present the seminar “The Supplemental Poverty Measure for 2013: Latest Estimates and Research.”
In recent years, inner-city school districts have worked to balance budgets despite funding cuts and unpredictable enrollment due to demographic changes. While redistricting—the process of changing school boundaries, closing and/or consolidating schools—can effectively address budget and enrollment problems, it can disproportionally affect disadvantaged students and families.
In this podcast, visiting scholar Stephanie Jones and Amanda Guyer, a UC Davis Associate Professor of Human Development and Family Studies, discuss the long-term impacts of poverty and violence on social and emotional development in a conversation that ranges from classroom interventions to cross-disciplinary research into non-cognitive skills.
Over the past 45 years, the United States has experienced a rising standard of living, with real GDP per capita more than doubling between 1959 and 2004. In contrast, living standards among some groups seem to have stagnated. Although a number of studies have documented a correlation between macroeconomic conditions and poverty, the relationship is not as simple, or as strong, as one might think. What additional factors can explain the starkly different trends in economic well-being that are measured by overall GDP growth and the poverty rate?
In July 2013, California Governor Jerry Brown overhauled the state’s school finance system, which has long been criticized for its complexity and failure to meet student needs. The prior system generally did provide more revenues to districts serving many disadvantaged students, but the new Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) dramatically increases the state’s investment in those districts, and creates a more transparent and equitable school finance system.