Student Populations

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:
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Do Low-Income Boys Struggle More than Low-Income Girls in School?
How does socioeconomic status affect students and are boys more sensitive to disadvantage than girls?

If you live in the United States you cannot help but be aware of the gender gap. In the professional world, men are paid more than women and women often do not receive the same opportunities as their male counterparts. But how does the gender gap manifest in schools, especially public schools?

The sad truth of the matter is that low-income students often do not receive the same quality of instruction or educational opportunities as upper class students, but even within the lower income class there are disparities between boys and girls. There is a great deal of evidence to suggest that low-income boys are more disadvantaged than low-income girls and they may have a harder time breaking out of the broken public school system to make a better life for themselves.

Public School Statistics in the United States

According to the Southern Education Foundation (SEF), low-income students have become the majority in children attending public schools. A survey conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) showed that 51% of the students in the U.S. public school system came from low-income families in 2013. In some states the percentage is even higher. For example, in Mississippi the number of low-income children in public schools is 71% - that is nearly three out of four students.

Not only are these statistics troubling in terms of educational disparity, but the SEF comments that, “No longer can we consider the problems and needs of low income students simply a matter of fairness… their success

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‘My Brother’s Keeper’ Seeks to Give African-American Boys a Boost
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
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New York’s Schools are the Most Segregated in the Nation
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.”
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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
  • Incorrect spelling
  • 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
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Autism and Public School Assistance
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” because the degree and severity of each individual is subjectively specific. Most commonly, however, individuals suffromng 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
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Recent Articles
When asked to rank the quality of their child's school, most parents rated it a B average. And yet politicians would have you believe that the American public-school system is failing. How are America's public schools really doing, and how do we know?
The Common Core State Standards Initiative has changed the course of education in the United States, particularly with its emphasis on standardized testing. But how does standardized testing affect teaching quality? Keep reading to find out.
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