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State of Opportunity looks back on five years of reporting on low-income families

Apr 12, 2017

State of Opportunity took Michigan Radio’s Issues & Ale stage for the final time last night at Ypsilanti’s ABC Microbrewery.

Last night's audience at ABC Microbrewery in Ypsilanti.
Credit ABC Microbrewery / Instagram

The project wraps up at the end of April after five years of stories about the barriers to success low-income kids and their families face in Michigan.

Last night’s event recapped how things have changed for at-risk youth since State of Opportunity began.

Michigan Radio’s senior editor Sarah Hulett hosted the event and panelists included State of Opportunity reporters Jennifer Guerra and Dustin Dwyer, and Sarah Alvarez, a past reporter for the project.

Discussion revolved around State of Opportunity's major themes, including inequality between schools serving low-income and middle class communities, Michigan’s child welfare system and early childhood education.

The audience also heard clips from past stories, like this clip from one of Guerra’s stories:

Audience members took part in the conversation as well. For instance, one person asked the following:

“I firmly believe that part of the issue as far as students of African descent is low expectations from the teacher, and we had that in our own family…. In the schools that you visited where the students didn’t expect to go to college, I’m just wondering if the teachers didn’t expect them to go to college and if that, perhaps, made a difference?”

Hear Guerra’s response below.

Dwyer also pointed to a study out of Johns Hopkins University that finds “Black students are more likely to graduate if they have at least one black teacher.”

To hear the full Issues & Ale conversation, listen at the top of the post.

Our next Issues & Ale event is titled "Protecting Our Drinking Water." Click here for more information.