Great op-ed from the NY Times on how basic (and fairly inexpensive) things can make the difference for low-income kids of all ages. When people ask me, "What would you do?" these are the kinds of things shown to work that I support.
- While they were graduate students at Harvard, two young professors designed and tested a program
to help students stick to their college plans. Benjamin L. Castleman,
now at the University of Virginia, and Lindsay C. Page, at the
University of Pittsburgh, set up a system of automatic, personalized
text messages that reminded high school students about their college
deadlines. The texts included links to required forms and live
-The same researchers also tested a texting program
to keep students from dropping out of college. The problem is important
because the graduation rate of low-income college students is dismally
low; two-thirds leave without a degree. Community college students
received texts reminding them to complete their re-enrollment forms,
particularly aid applications.
- Two researchers at Stanford University, Eric P. Bettinger and Rachel Baker, analyzed an innovative counseling program in which a professional academic coach calls at-risk students to talk about time management and study skills.
- Susanna Loeb and Benjamin N. York, both also at Stanford, developed a literacy program
for preschool children in San Francisco. They sent parents texts
describing simple activities that develop literacy skills, such as
pointing out words that rhyme or start with the same sound. The parents
receiving the texts spent more time with their children on these
activities and their children were more likely to know the alphabet and
the sounds of letters. It cost just a few dollars per family.
Why aren’t schools, districts and states rushing to set up these
measures? Maybe because the programs have no natural constituency. They
are not labor- or capital-intensive, so they don’t create lots of jobs
or lucrative contracts. They don’t create a big, expensive initiative
that a politician can point to in a stump speech. They just do their
job, effectively and cheaply.
What's on your mind?