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- No, Chinese investors aren't 'buying up Detroit' – but they do have an eye on the Motor City
- If Arizona's bill to discriminate surprises you, you won't believe what's legal in Michigan
- The average Michigan family needs $52,330 a year to 'make ends meet'
- Watch a time-lapse video of the ice forming on the Great Lakes
- What all the snow and ice will mean for Great Lakes water levels
State of Opportunity
State of Opportunity is a multi-year reporting and community engagement project focused on how poverty affects children in Michigan. It will shed light on the challenges of growing up or raising kids while struggling to pay the bills and highlight the successes and the resilience of these families and the people who serve them.
Thursday, March 6, 2014 8:53pm
In the early 1800s, the newly formed state of Georgia had a lot of new land under its control. The land had been taken mostly from the native Muskogee and Cherokee people, and leaders of the young American state were looking for ways to transfer the land to white settlers. What they ultimately decided on was a series of lotteries.
The forced transfer of property from native people to white settlers was common in America during the 19th century, but the lottery system was not. It meant that basically any white male adult in Georgia, rich or poor, had the same shot at winning a valuable piece of land. And, while the system itself was unjust and just plain wrong on multiple levels, it also set up an ideal research experiment.
If you're a social scientist looking back, what you see in Georgia in the early 1800s isn't just a lottery, it's a randomized controlled trial. And it allows economists to ask a question that's still relevant today: What happens to a family when it suddenly comes into wealth?
Wednesday, March 5, 2014 6:00am
Today we have an update from a story we brought you in January. For that story, a documentary we called "The Big Test," I spent six weeks following a third-grade class at Congress Elementary in Grand Rapids. I watched as students got ready to take the state-mandated MEAP test for the first time. Students took the test in October. But the results of the test didn’t become public until last week.
So now, we're going back to Congress to see how students did.
Tuesday, March 4, 2014 12:31pm
I've been planning to do a radio story on empathy for more than a year, but it's never really come together. Now I probably don't have to. This animation from the Royal Society of Arts narrated by Brene Brown breaks down the difference between empathy and sympathy so well, and why it matters.
The only thing this animation doesn't cover that I am curious about, is the connection between empathy and policies around poverty. I talked to researcher Elizabeth Segal, one of the few academics studying this, about the connection.
Monday, March 3, 2014 12:10pm
We're getting ready for a new project here at State of Opportunity. We're excited about it.
We'll take the experiences of families in towns and cities around the state and turn them into useful news – the kind of news that usually travels between two people when they talk about the way things really work.
Part of what makes this project work are stories and insights from you and the people you know.
Right now, we're looking for stories about taxes.
- If you've ever been the victim of tax fraud or identity theft at tax time, we want to hear about it.
- If you've ever worked with a low-income taxpayer clinic to fix a tax problem, we want to hear about it.
- If you volunteer at a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) site and help people prepare their taxes, we want to hear the your best tax advice.
Friday, February 28, 2014 8:37am
The PBS series Frontline rang the techno-fear alarm again this week about millennials and their apparent eager willingness to be marketed to, as well as helping corporations sell stuff to other teens.
The program, Generation Like, introduced us to teens and marketers using social media to create an endless feedback loop of product endorsement and self-promotion. By all adult accounts, it was a bleak picture of a generation of kids who, when asked, didn't even know the meaning of "selling out."
The program was Instafamousness on a massive scale. Are we all following a very dangerous techno Pied Piper?
The ominous undertones of Generation Like made this report on low-income schools using mindfulness mediation a welcome breather.