Education Is Key To Lifting Children In Baltimore And Syria Out Of Poverty

Education Key To Future Of Syria
Noting that 73 percent of Syrian refugees have had their academic instruction interrupted as a consequence of the war, Woo says the nation’s future is dependent upon education.

“This is a personal disaster for every single Syrian who expected to graduate from university. But it is also a disaster for the country and for the world. How will Syria ever rebuild and recover without architects to redesign its demolished cities or lawyers to rewrite its constitution? How will Syria ever rebuild and recover without architects to redesign its demolished cities or lawyers to rewrite its constitution?” questions Woo.

Why Do Some Children Survive And Overcome Poverty?
It is a given that children born into poverty have before them a long and challenging road toward achieving the American dream. Or simply finding themselves in a better situation than the one into which they were born. Some kids make, while others don’t. The question is why is one which a team of researchers have strived to answer in the book, Coming of Age in the Other America.

The book is largely based on a series of interviews researchers conducted in 2010 with kids between ages 15 and 24, all of whom had been educated at some point in the Baltimore public school system.

“One of the things that really struck us is that in the midst of disadvantage probably about half of our group of young people had created something that we called an identity project that acted as a life raft to get them through the disadvantage that they might face in their neighborhood or family or school,” one of the researchers, Susan Clampet-Lundquist told MarketWatch.

These are passion projects that included interests as varied as writing poetry and customizing cars.

The authors found some hope amid the desolation, but also found areas which continue to prevent children from reaching their full potential.

The authors suggest improving the amount of information given to parents and children about what life can be like if they follow the right path.

They argue for showing them “what happens when they graduate high school, and how the short-term choices they make about where to go to school, what kind of degree to pursue, what kind of job to take, could have very long-term consequences,” reports The Atlantic’s Alana Semuels.

In concrete terms, “this means better college and career counseling in high school, more information about how students can parlay community college experience into time at a four-year college, and more information about how different courses of study lead to different jobs

According to The Atlantic, out of the 116 youth studied who are not still in high school, 90 percent of those with an identity project graduated, while only 58 percent of those without one did so. And 82 percent of those with an identity project were in school or working, compared to 53 percent of those without an identity project.

Information Is The Key To Improving Education Outcomes
It is common for politicians and policy reformers to discuss their support for education in terms of dollars and cents; whether budgets have been increased or slashed. But evidence is amassing that shows financial investment does little to improve results and that the focus should be on information.

“Prioritizing information is the necessary first step toward building more effective education systems.  Without this commitment, more money may not deliver much in terms of better results.  This is why the evidence has found that programs receiving a large share of investments such as teacher training, capacity building, and investments poured into model schools with better infrastructure, teachers, and materials have not always translated into better skills,” argues Natalie Chun, an economist with the Asian Development Bank.

One of the reasons why money has minimal impact on outcome is because simply pouring more dollars into reforms that are often guided by ideology and preconceived biases tends to ignore factual, concrete evidence about which reforms work and which do not.

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