The latest trends, laws and resources for a variety of student populations. Every child has different needs, and this section offers helpful information for LGBT, special education, gifted, low-income, and minority students.
View the most popular articles in Student Populations:
- Children with ADHD: Public Schools and Plans for Support
- Does Your Child Have a Written Expression Disability? Dysgraphia Symptoms and Public School Solutions
- ‘My Brother’s Keeper’ Seeks to Give African-American Boys a Boost
- Gay Friendly Public Schools: Will New Program Ideas Decrease Violence and Tension?
- New York’s Schools are the Most Segregated in the Nation
President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative aims to improve academic opportunities for students of color, especially African-American boys.
It is no secret that youth of color, particularly black boys, face a mountain of obstacles to success. Black boys are more likely than their white peers to be suspended or expelled from school, more likely to drop out, less likely to graduate from high school, more likely to be unemployed, in prison, and die at an early age. These are problems that school districts, cities, and states have sought to fix for years and years, but with only pockets of success. It is a bleak outlook, but one that the Obama administration seeks to change with the most comprehensive reform and aid effort yet.
About the Initiative
The overarching purpose of My Brother’s Keeper is to address gaps in educational and related services that persist for young men of color. The initiative is a cooperation between local, state, and federal agencies, private business, and non-profits to bring essential services to the nation’s neediest youth. In total, the initiative includes five primary goals:
- Prepare Children to Learn – Provide support programs that foster intellectual, physical, social, and emotional growth so children are prepared to begin school.
- Boost Literacy – Support early learning initiatives that get children reading at grade level by age 8.
- Help Kids Graduate from High School Prepared for College – Promote educational programs that prepare students for success in postsecondary environments and facilitate training for in-demand jobs.
- Facilitate Workforce Readiness – Assist youth in finding quality jobs that allow them to support themselves and their
A recent report reveals that public schools in New York isolate students not only by race, but also by socioeconomic status. In this article, we examine the extent of segregation in New York’s schools, its causes, and potential solutions to this problem.
On May 17, 1954, the United States Supreme Court issued its decision in Brown v. Board of Education, which declared that segregation in public schools was unconstitutional. Yet, 60 years later, public schools across the nation continue to be highly segregated based on race and socioeconomic status. Curiously, America’s most segregated schools are not in the Deep South, but in New York, a state that has expansive ethnic, cultural, social, and economic diversity. Perhaps even more surprising, New York City, one of the most diverse cities in the world, also has one of the most segregated school districts in the country.
Segregation by the Numbers
According to a report by UCLA’s Civil Rights Project, school segregation in New York is widespread and occurs not just in metropolitan New York City, but also in rural areas and in urban locales upstate. However, as the nation’s largest public school system with 1.1 million students, the New York City Public Schools greatly influence the depth and breadth of the segregation problem. And a significant problem it is. Although the number of Asian and Latino students has dramatically increased since the late 1980s, exposure of these groups to white students has decreased. In fact, of New York City’s 32 school districts, 19 had less than 10 percent white enrollment as recently as 2010. Some of New York City’s schools, particularly charter and magnet schools, are identified by the authors of the report as being so segregated that they are classified as “apartheid schools.”
Does Your Child Have a Written Expression Disability? Dysgraphia Symptoms and Public School Solutions
Learn about the symptoms of dysgraphia, a written disability that impacts otherwise intelligent students, as well as the means of support available through public schools.
While dyslexia, reading struggles, and language-based learning disabilities have been points of focus for public schools, many experts are now shining light on written expression issues. With a rising number of students struggling with conveying their thoughts, feelings, or ideas in writing, public school leaders are striving to create programs to support written expression disabilities.
Labeled dysgraphia, a written expression disability is essentially a cognitive struggle that inhibits an otherwise intelligent child from explicating ideas in a written form. To find out if your child is coping with an undiagnosed written expression disability, learn more about the symptoms, as well as how your child's public school can offer support.
The Symptoms of Dysgraphia
Often referred to as the "sibling" of dyslexia, dysgraphia can be identified from a variety of symptoms. As the National Institute for Neurological Disorders reveals, "Dysgraphia is a neurological disorder characterized by writing disabilities... (causing) a person's writing to be distorted or incorrect."
Expanding on this definition, Audiblox, a cognitive educational company, reports that the most common signs of dysgraphia typically include:
Illegible writing and consistently poor handwriting
Inconsistent use of letters
Mixture of upper and lower case letters
Mixture of print and cursive letters
Irregular and inconsistent letter sizes
Irregular and inconsistent letter shapes
Reading words incorrectly (i.e. saying "boy" instead of "child")
Unfinished words and sentences
General struggle to communicate through writing
Dysgraphic students often display frustrations when attempting to write thoughts and ideas in an organized manner. This is most obviously observed by a student's hate for writing. However, experts
Learn more about the recent research on autism spectrum disorder, and how public schools are working to help even young students with autism.
According to research and studies from the Centers for Disease Control, an average of 1 in 150 births results in a child who is diagnosed with autism. With this statistic, it is predicted that over 1.5 million Americans alone are potentially dealing with some form of disorder on the autism spectrum. While the cause is still unknown, autism is growing at a rate of an estimated 10-17 percent each year, as this disorder is now more prevalent and common than diabetes, pediatric cancer, and AIDS combined.
As Autism Spectrum Therapies explains, “Autism is a complex developmental disability […] (and) is considered a neurological disorder, though the specific cause is not known.” Today, medical experts and researchers can typically diagnose autism by a child’s second birthday; however, new breakthroughs are providing signs of autism in infants as early as just 6 months of age. As these medical breakthroughs continually advance, schools, parents, and the medical community are discovering new avenues for providing autistic children with full and inclusive support.
Public Schools and Encouraging Social Behavior
Since autism spectrum disorder is a neurological issue, each individual coping with autism expresses unique and different symptoms and indications. This condition is referred to as a “spectrum” since the degree and severity of each individual is subjectively specific. Most commonly, however, individuals suffering with autism spectrum disorder struggle with social and communicative skills, which are often most obviously realized once a child is exposed to social opportunities at school. As Autism Spectrum Therapies explains, “Social interaction and communication skills are the
Learn more about the proposed gay-friendly public schools and whether they are a positive alternative for your child.
According to National Public Radio’s (NPR) review of the new public school initiative to create gay friendly public schools, the city of Chicago is instilling plans for “a new school where gay students and others wouldn't face the bullying and harassment they endure in other schools.”
As Chicago has surfaced as the focal point of this controversy, acting as one of the first cities in the country to widely support this public program shift, school and community leaders are caught in the middle of a national and heated debate.
The Background: Why Create Gay Friendly Schools?
While Chicago is currently earning the most attention for its plan to create a gay friendly school, cities across the country have implemented these programs in the past. Specifically, New York created the gay friendly Harvey Milk School, while Milwaukee created the Alliance High school; both of these programs have been reported as inspirations for the up and coming Chicago school, which is intended to open in 2010.
As the CNN report, “Chicago May Get Gay Friendly High School,” reveals, school and community officials in Chicago created the proposal for the gay friendly high school so that students of all sexual preferences and identities could attend school without feeling harassed or in danger. William Greaves, Chicago’s liaison to the gay and lesbian community, is one of the advocates for the new school, and is also a contributor to the school’s proposed design. According to CNN, he proposed the “Social Justice High School-Pride Campus,” where approximately
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Learn whether a year round attendance schedule or traditional schedule may be more appropriate for your child.
July 12, 2017
It is helpful to know the issues involved when considering public versus private schools. More about these considerations here.
July 02, 2017
Should sixth graders be placed in elementary or middle school? We explore the pros and cons of the issue.