State of Opportunity

State of Opportunity
1:16 pm
Wed September 19, 2012

How to avoid burnout and help more people

Krista Nordberg, the Director of Advocacy for the Washtenaw County Health Plan.

Health insurance is such a political issue, talked about all the time and so dispassionately, that it can be easy to forget just how important it is to some families. But, last year the Census estimated paying for health care pushed at least 10 million Americans into poverty.

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Call-in show
10:53 am
Tue September 18, 2012

State of Opportunity: Special call-in show today at 2 p.m.

State of Opportunity Michigan Radio

Join us this afternoon at 2 p.m. for a special call-in show. We'll examine the disparities that exist in our society, and how they make it more difficult for children to break out of the cycle of poverty.

Michigan Radio reporters are working on a new three-year initiative to explore the issue of children living in poverty here Michigan. State of Opportunity captures the stories of children and families struggling to make ends meet. We’re going beyond the statistics and exploring what it takes to make Michigan a place where our every kid have a chance to build a positive future.

“Our project kind of has two ways at looking at these issues. We look at statistics, we look at data, and we look at trends. But then when we talk to the individuals, the individual stories don’t always match up with those trends,” reporter Dustin Dwyer said.

Reporter Jennifer Guerra is currently working on a documentary about the infant mortality rate in the state. She says the information she found was staggering. “Infant mortality is still a big problem in Michigan. We’re above the national average for the past twenty years,” she said.

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State of Opportunity
11:52 am
Tue September 11, 2012

Census to release poverty numbers showing America likely back at 1965 levels

About one in six Michigan children live in poverty. Economic mobility studies show these children will have a difficult time climbing out of poverty within their lifetime.
Michael Newman flickr

State of Opportunity is covering tomorrow's announcement of poverty estimates by the Census Bureau. The numbers will show how many Americans lived in poverty during 2011.

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State of Opportunity
11:18 am
Wed September 5, 2012

9-year-old Leah Rice is "Live from the kitchen!"

Leah Rice.
courtesy Melissa and Jeffrey Rice

Today, the State of Opportunity team turned their microphone over to 9-year-old Leah Rice.

She reflects on her family, highlights of her summer and her thoughts on going back to school.

(She was placed in an advanced class, to which she says "uh, Boo-yah!".)

You can hear Leah's story here.

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State of Opportunity
12:29 pm
Wed August 29, 2012

State of Opportunity: Michigan's most disturbing disparity

cheriejoyful Flickr

In Grand Rapids, African American infants are just slightly more likely to survive to their first birthday than infants born in the Gaza Strip. Six years ago, Grand Rapids had the worst infant mortality rate in the state. Today, it is sixth.

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State of Opportunity
10:36 am
Thu August 23, 2012

What it takes to raise successful kids

Fuscia Foot flickr

Having lots of money does not make somebody a better parent, but a child with wealthy parents is more likely to go to college, and more likely to have economic opportunity once they become an adult.

If you are a low-income parent and you want your kids to be successful, the numbers are not on your side.

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State of Opportunity
1:03 pm
Wed August 22, 2012

State of Opportunity: When funding dries up for programs that help kids

user CarbonNYC flickr

This week, Michigan Radio's State of Opportunity reporter explores a pilot project in Michigan that helped kids and reduced state caseloads.

So why, he asks, is it ending?

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Health
10:42 pm
Mon August 20, 2012

Why is lack of exercise the number one health concern for kids?

insipidlife flickr

Kids don't get enough exercise, and it's really bad for their heath. That's what many adults told a national survey. Lack of exercise was number one on the list of top-ten child health concerns according to the survey conducted by C. S. Mott Children's Hospital. Obesity and smoking rounded out the top three health concerns for kids.

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State of Opportunity
11:52 am
Wed August 15, 2012

State of Opportunity: Preschool in the summer

David Blair and his classmates listen to story time during a Grand Rapids Public Schools summer preschool class.
Dustin Dwyer Michigan Radio

This week, Michigan Radio's State of Opportunity reporter looked into children's first glimpse of classroom education-- preschool.

Dwyer reports that although early education can have a profound effect on the development of children, there aren't enough classes to go around.  Only about half of preschool-aged children attend classes.

He found one solution in Grand Rapids Public Schools, where preschools have extended classes into the summer.

Listen to Dwyer's story, in which parents, guardians and teachers of preschoolers speak about the benefits of summertime preschool and the challenges they face providing education opportunities for their children.

-Elaine Ezekiel, Michigan Radio Newsroom

State of Opportunity
11:39 am
Wed August 8, 2012

State of Opportunity: Even short-term parental joblessness can be a long-term problem for kids

Lamanda Coulter hopes her daughter Ronnie never remembers seeing her struggle
Lamanda Coulter

This week, Michigan Radio's State of Opportunity reporter delved into one of the uncomfortable truths of the Great Recession: that kids were among the hardest hit.

He writes that in 2010, one out of three kids in this country lived in a house where neither parent had full-time, year-round work. He says the recession affected everyone in America, rich and poor. But some groups were hit worse: people with no college degree, African-Americans and children.

Click here to follow Dwyer as he interviews parents feeling the effects of unemployment.

Check back in to the State of Opportunity website to read and listen to new stories every week.

-Elaine Ezekiel, Michigan Radio Newsroom

10:42 am
Wed July 25, 2012

Making luck: Five ways to increase opportunity for disadvantaged kids

Lead in text: 
Last week, Dustin Dwyer from our State of Opportunity team showed us how upward mobility isn't so easy in the U.S., especially for disadvantaged kids. This week, Dustin shows us how some might break that pattern.
We've been taking a look at what research can tell us about getting ahead in America. Last week, we brought you "Five facts about achieving the
11:34 am
Thu July 19, 2012

Five facts about achieving the American Dream

Lead in text: 
Follow Michigan Radio's Dustin Dwyer into a dark and dingy room in the basement of the Institute for Social Research building, where he uncovers five facts that might surprise you about the American Dream.
Our State of Opportunity team is looking into ways disadvantaged children in Michigan can get ahead, and we're planning on bringing you many personal
Arts & Culture
12:22 pm
Fri July 13, 2012

Listeners and readers weigh in about what State of Opportunity should cover next

State of Opportunity Michigan Radio

Michigan Radio's new State of Opportunity project just capped off its busy launch week, and we want your feedback.

We are relying on you for insights, questions and story ideas to help us tell complicated and important stories about childhood poverty in Michigan. Maybe you have a question, comment or a story idea for the project? We'd like to hear it. 

You can always comment on our Facebook page, but you can also connect with us in a deeper way by sharing your insight here. We promise to read all your comments and follow up as needed.

Visit the State of Opportunity website to see what some readers and listeners are already saying.

Education
10:43 am
Thu July 12, 2012

How do stereotypes shape your view of Detroit?

Young journalists in Detroit work to break stereotypes about what life in some of the city's under-reported neighborhoods is like.

Most of what people think they know about what poor people look like and what their problems are is clouded by stereotypes.

I met a group of young journalists in Midtown Detroit looking to paint a more accurate version of what life in a low-income community is really like. They write for a project called “Our life in the D.” Most of them are in high school and from neighborhoods in Detroit that don’t attract much money or attention.

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Economy
4:27 pm
Wed July 11, 2012

State of Opportunity's first live call-in show aired today

State of Opportunity live show
Logan Chadde Michigan Radio

Today, Michigan Radio's new State of Opportunity project aired the first of many live call-in shows and documentaries. 

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Law
9:32 am
Tue July 10, 2012

Three things people in poverty worry about that you probably don't

Many little things can conspire to keep people from climbing out of poverty.

Dustin Dwyer of Michigan Radio’s State of Opportunity project takes of look at some of them in his report, When Working Hard Doesn't Necessarily Get You Out of Poverty.

He writes, “life is hard for people in poverty. But, … you still have no idea what it’s like to live with poverty day after day.”

Here are three things that the average middle class person probably doesn’t worry about.

  1. "If you’ve got a college degree, and you’re on salary, would taking your daughter to school really be a major factor in losing your job?" It was for the father Dustin Dwyer spoke to in his story.
  2. Losing your kids to the foster care system, not because you do horrible things, but because you don’t have the resources.  University of Michigan law professor Vivek Sankaran says that happens more often than you'd think.
  3. Not being able to pay your parking tickets and losing your license.
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Health
11:01 am
Mon July 9, 2012

Six ways life is different when you grow up poor

Nearly a quarter of all kids in Michigan live in poverty. We want to believe these kids have an equal shot at success in life, but there’s a pile of research that suggests otherwise.

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Education
12:00 pm
Thu June 14, 2012

How much does preschool matter?

A 14 year study of 500 Michigan children showed the effects of preschool can last all the way through 12th grade.
U.S Embassy Manila, Phillipines flickr

Preschool matters a lot. Particularly for low income kids. In Michigan, low income students with one year of preschool were found to do better in school than other low income kids, and positive effects of that early education were seen all the way through 12th grade.

Those results are from a 14-year study of 500 Michigan children. The study is part of a recent evaluation of the state Great Start Readiness Program.

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