Investing in Education as if Children Matter: Averting the Next Big Neglect

There is an education crisis in our country that is reaching a dangerous peak. Growing poverty, attacks on the integrity of public education, calls for public funding of privately owned charters, a gridlocked federal government, and entrenched racial disparities guarantee that the Next Big Neglect will be in education. To understand the crisis we’re facing, look at the racial disparities in educational outcomes:

  • By the end of fourth grade, African American and Latino students are two years behind their White peers in reading and math. By eighth grade, they have slipped three years behind, and by twelfth grade, four years behind.
  • In 2010, the average four-year public high school graduation rate for all students was 78 percent. However, the four-year graduation rate for white students was 83 percent, compared to 71 percent for Hispanic students and 66.1 percent for African American students.[1]
  • The National Center for Education Statistics in 2009 and 2011 revealed that Black and Hispanic students trailed their White peers by an average of more than 20 test-score points on the National Assessment of Educational Progress in math and reading at 4th and 8th grades; this amounts to a difference of about two grade levels. These gaps persist 12 years after the passage of No Child Left Behind, the goal of which was to narrow achievement gaps through standardized assessments of students’ progress, and despite improvements in Hispanic and Black children’s reading and math performances.[2]
  • African American students are three times more likely than White students to be placed in special education programs, and are half as likely to be in gifted programs in elementary and secondary schools.
  • Black students are only about half as likely (and Hispanics about one-third as likely) as White students to earn a bachelor’s degree by age 29.[3]

Looking at these statistics some would argue that the low or under achievement is solely because Black and Hispanic children are not smart enough. This is wrong. Instead, these children are facing forces outside of the school walls that deeply impact their chances for educational success, and there is a wealth of research that explains how.

In this crisis, it is becoming more apparent that the fundamental question regarding our education system today is one of investment: are we brave enough to invest in success, or will we continue to invest in failure and jeopardize the lives of millions of children? This was a question posed by Geoffrey Canada, founder of the successful Harlem Children’s Zone (HCZ) project, to an audience of 200 at a recent event in Columbus Ohio.

“If you look at our [HCZ] cost structure, outside of the classroom, we’re spending an additional five thousand dollars per child. People think that’s expensive. I have a map in my office that charts the incarceration rates in Manhattan…. And I tell people, ‘That’s 40,000 dollars a year. No one blinks an eye.’ People don’t blink an eye. We have created a system in this country where we are totally prepared to go to scale on failure. Let that kid fail, I’ll pay any amount of money without blinking an eye and that part of the budget can’t be cut. But then people begin to focus on what we can’t provide to get children to succeed. These costs are minimum costs. Understand that this is shocking to people, that it actually costs money to save these children, right. But we’re spending the money.”

Every time the media reports another school closing—predominantly in minority and low-income neighborhoods mind you—Canada’s words are affirmed. Unfortunately, the common justification for closing these schools is that they are failing, and in light of stressed budgets, we need to use resources more efficiently. But as Canada pointed out, we are indeed spending the money. In these same cities where schools are failing, mayors are finding money for prisons and basketball arenas.

Let’s pause and consider the broader implications of school closings, and the great importance of schools and neighborhoods to not only our children’s life outcomes, but also the health of our cities and nation. As Geoffrey Canada noted,

“… [the] road map to fixing communities, we actually know what to do…. we know what poor children need…. Health and safety are prerequisites for really successful education and learning.  … It’s not magic. Nobody thinks that because your child has health care, suddenly they’re going to read well. We still need great schools, and great teachers, that’s part of it. But some of this stuff is pretty fundamental.”

He went on to say,

“A decision was made that we tried this and it didn’t work. The War on Poverty people say was a failure. So there is a real fundamental belief that in these places nothing works. … There is a new science, new concepts that are proven that we can bring to our communities to help redevelop them, and that is happening in education, and in community development. You can fix all the buildings you want. But at the end of the day if you just fix those buildings and you don’t deal with the underlying problems and challenges in that community, then guess what’s going to happen in 5 years…. You got to do both…. These problems are complex….”

What are these complex fundamentals that Mr. Canada is referring to? Why can we not afford to make these changes and improve these communities? And how do school closings fit into all of this?

Acknowledging the world we live in

The demographics of America are shifting. Rather than something to be feared, growing diversity can be a great thing. In fact, we’ve always been changing – demographically, socially, culturally and so forth. The problem isn’t demographics shifting; the problem is that many of our social systems today do not distribute opportunity to all groups equally. Many of our social systems were built on foundations of racial discrimination. The groups that will make up the majority of our population in the near future are those groups that have been most marginalized. That’s problematic.

Since half of babies born today are non-white,[4] by 2050 we will be a nation of majority-minority people. Yet, we cannot think of these changes as decades away; babies today will be entering pre-kindergarten in a mere 3 years. In 2012, 13 states and the District of Columbia had an under-5 age population that was “majority-minority,” up from five states in 2000. In 25 states and the District of Columbia, minorities now make up more than 40 percent of the under-5 group. Many children are growing up in impoverished households. In 2011, the percent of children under 18 living in poverty was highest for Black children at 39 percent, followed by American Indian/Alaska Native children at 36 percent and Hispanic children at 34 percent.[5] White and Asian children had the lowest poverty rates, 13 and 12 percent respectively.[6] Poverty rates for children under 5 were even higher. Black toddlers had a poverty rate of 41 percent; Hispanics 32 percent; whites 13 percent; and Asian toddlers 11 percent.[7]

There is great cause for alarm that our education systems, especially in communities of color, are not prepared. It can be argued that we are creating new systems of marginalization. This is evidenced by the onslaught of public school closings, and school privatization reforms—i.e. charters schools, online schools, and the like. It’s true that new approaches can sometimes reflect innovation; but the majority of these approaches have not shown to make educational improvements. They may actually result in declines.[8] This is compounded by the new marginalization impacts in higher education, through the snowballing costs of tuition,[9] rampant student debt,[10] and the attack on affirmative action.

Demographic shifts and educational restructurings are on a collision course at a time when, globally, higher education is at a premium. A recent study forecasts that 45 percent of jobs in 2018 will require at least an associate’s degree, yet only 27 percent of African American and 26 percent of Latino workers have such a degree, compared to 43 percent of white workers.[11]

If we continue to allow our education systems to fail children of color, the consequences will not be experienced by them alone. When we consider the increasing global value of higher education and our rapidly shifting demographics, it becomes clear that nothing short of our future national health is at stake.

“Given that our postsecondary education institutions, not to mention our public K-12 schools, will be counted on to serve ever-growing numbers of minority students, as these projections suggest, we need to address the fact that systems, policies, and practices designed for an earlier, more racially/ethnically homogeneous era will not suffice. More than ever, our national prosperity and security, in a globalized labor market driven by the prevalence of well-educated, highly skilled workers, depend on improving our performance with these populations.”[12]

“…The nation and individual states have been able to sidestep the need to do better because the economic consequences of not closing those gaps have not been particularly dire. However, today’s globally integrated economy increasingly rewards only those societies whose people have accumulated knowledge and skills. As a result our nation’s competitive advantage lies more than ever in its ability to unleash creativity and drive innovation, leveraging the skills and abilities of all its citizens.” [13]

Our schools are one of the best ways to prepare children for our increasingly diverse country in which they will play, grow, learn, and work. Several years of research support the conclusion that interracial contact through schools not only improves intergroup relations and reduces racial prejudices, it also improves critical thinking skills and academic achievement for all students.[14] In a global economy, these skills will be increasingly sought and rewarded.

How neighborhoods matter for children’s education

“Point to a group of toddlers in a low-income neighborhood, and — especially if they’re boys — they’re much more likely to end up dropping out of school, struggling in dead-end jobs and having trouble with the law.

Something is profoundly wrong when we can point to 2-year-olds in this country and make a plausible bet about their long-term outcomes — not based on their brains and capabilities, but on their ZIP codes.” – Nick Kristof, “For Obama’s Second Term, Mr. President Start Here,” New York Times. January 23rd 2012

Sixty years of social science research shows that neighborhoods matter for children’s outcomes,[15] especially when it comes to health and education. The conditions of the community in which children live have a strong influence on their future. Neighborhood location plays a vital role in determining the peers with whom children have the opportunity to associate, the conditions under which their family members live and work, the quality of air they breathe, the strength of the schools they attend, and the environments in which they move and play. Educational success is deeply linked with schools, neighborhood, health, and environmental factors. Simply closing schools, removing a neighborhood institution, and relocating students alone does not improve educational success.

In– School” factors

Racialized educational disparities suggest a mismatch between our educational services and the kids they are serving. This could include both exclusion and devaluation of cultural resources and opportunities. Experiences of implicit bias that translate to low expectations of teachers, and culturally invalidating classrooms, decrease self-esteem and the students’ beliefs in their ability to learn. Numerous studies document how achievement stereotypes (i.e. the belief that white students perform generally better than minority students) can result in the susceptibility of these students to teachers’ underestimations of their abilities, a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy.[16] Because of this, confidence in abilities can be weakened or engagement in school lessened.

Part of the issue is the cultural mismatch between students and teachers. Although classrooms are becoming more diverse, teachers remain mostly white. In 2010, over 80 percent of graduates earning a Bachelor’s Degree in education were white.[17] White teachers who lack cultural competency or harbor unconscious (implicit) biases may be ill-prepared to develop meaningful relationships with students of color, contributing to negative experiences for students of color.[18]

Educational disparities do not arise solely from what goes on in the classroom alone–or even mostly– although many arguments today for reform or privatization would leave one to believe that to be true. Research notes that of the in-school factors, teachers do exert more influence on student outcomes, compared to other in-school factors such as principals, technology, textbooks, and so on. Research also consistently notes that teachers account for approximately 20 percent of student achievement.[19] No one would argue these things aren’t important, and that improvements along all of these factors, including teacher quality, would benefit students. However, far greater contributors to success are socioeconomic factors, accounting for approximately 60 percent.[20] High poverty schools have to devote far more time and resources to family and health crises, security, children who come to school not speaking standard English, children who need special resources, children with no educational materials in their homes, and many children with very weak educational preparation.[21]

Teacher quality and accountability are important but they are only two facets of educational outcomes. The structures and support systems that surround children as they grow and learn are equally if not more important. Weakened social services, especially in light of the sequestration, can only intensify the challenges teachers face inside classrooms. It is projected that the sequestration will result in a $424 million cut to Head Start programs; a $353 million cut to WIC (supplemental nutrition assistance); additional cuts to maternal and children health services; and more cuts to mental health services for both children and adults. [22],[23] These are steps in the wrong direction.

Neighborhood factors

Research has consistently found that concentrations of high poverty in school depress students’ achievement for all students, regardless of individual promise.[24] School poverty has serious implications not just for students, but for districts, communities, and the region.[25] The poverty of a school–far more than the poverty of an individual– influences students’ educational outcomes. Impoverished students do better if they live in middle-class neighborhoods and/or attend more affluent schools.[26] Further, a majority of white students (52.7 percent) attend schools where fewer than 30 percent of students are poor, compared to one-sixth of Black students and one-fifth of Latino students.[27]

This might sound like an argument in favor of closing distressed schools. And it might, if displaced children were assigned to higher performing schools. But that is not happening. Despite promises that the kids displaced from school closings will be able to transfer to better schools, experience has not borne this out. In Washington DC, fifteen schools are slated to be closed. None of the receiving schools has a majority white student population—in fact, nine receiving schools are almost 100 percent Black, and almost all of the receiving schools have proficiency levels below the district’s average for the DC Public Schools (the average of DCPS is 50 percent).[28] Even more alarming, one-third of the students who will be displaced due to the latest round of school closings, were displaced in the first round of closings in 2008.[29] In Chicago, where fifty schools will be closed, thirty-six of the replacement schools are only negligibly better than those being closed.[30]

Health/Environmental factors

Environmental factors common to high‐poverty communities can negatively impact children’s educational outcomes indirectly as well. Nationwide, children in high‐poverty urban communities exhibit levels of lead in their blood nine times the national average. It is a condition linked to attention deficit disorder (ADD) and irreversible loss of cognitive functioning.[31] Six million children have lost an average of 7 IQ points as a result.[32] A study by Harvard Sociologist Robert Sampson found that, by the 3rd grade, the educational impact of living in a severely disadvantaged neighborhood is equivalent to having missed an entire year of school.[33]

Poor health of children has serious consequences for educational achievement. Lower birth weight babies often suffer from long-term disabilities, impaired physical and cognitive development, and decreased health overall throughout childhood.[34] Health problems can also diminish a student’s attention span or cause the student to miss school and fall behind.[35] The impact of health status on school achievement is so important that researchers estimate 25 percent of the achievement gap in education is attributable to differences in child and maternal health.[36]

Stress acts as a toxin to child development. Neighborhoods in distress produce a host of stressors that can profoundly impair social and skills growth; physiological and psychological health; and the capacity to learn and thrive. Children growing up in very poor families with low social status can experience unhealthy levels of stress hormones, which impair neural development.[37] Chronic stress can be a contributor to many health problems and the likelihood of disease. As described by the Centers for Disease Control:

Intensive and prolonged stress can lead to a variety of short- and long-term negative health effects. It can disrupt early brain development and compromise functioning of the nervous and immune systems. In addition, childhood stress can lead to health problems later in life including alcoholism, depression, eating disorders, heart disease, cancer, and other chronic diseases.[38]

Even short-term stress and anxiety, such as might be caused by transferring schools, can disrupt mental and emotional health. We have all experienced this type of stress at some point in our lives, whether it is transferring schools, the first day of college, or the first day on the job. Why would we think children would have it any easier? We cannot eliminate all stress in life, but we can attempt to minimize it.

Research has shown that stability in schools and the home, plays an important role in academic achievement. Studies find that students who move frequently (schools and/or housing) perform worse academically than their peers, particularly if they undergo multiple moves. In Chicago, a study of 6th graders over a 6-year period found that students who had moved four or more times experienced what amounted to a one-year educational gap compared to their peers who had not moved.[39]

Now consider this: Crispus Attucks, a Southside elementary school in Chicago that is on the chopping block, has one of the largest homeless populations in the city—almost half of its student body is homeless.[40] Clearly, these children need the stability that this school provides.

Food insecurity and hunger also impact a child’s ability to learn. The recession greatly increased food security for families. Between 2007 and 2011, there was a 94 percent increase in unemployment. Reliance on SNAP (i.e. food stamps) rose in response, by 70 percent over the same period.[41] Forty-five percent of SNAP participants are under the age of 18,[42] and one in five children in the United States lives in food insecure households, meaning that they do not know where their next meal is coming from.[43] Hunger and food insecurity during the early years of a child’s life (0-3) are especially damaging, impacting physical and mental development.

Research shows that going hungry makes kids sick.[44] And sick kids miss more school.  When they do make it to class, hungry kids have a harder time focusing, and may be more irritable or experience fatigue more than other children.[45] Food insecure children were found to exhibit higher levels of aggression or distressed behaviors, as well as a greater tendency to be withdrawn.[46] Even mild to moderate undernourishment can limit children’s ability to grasp basic skills.[47] One study found that food insecure children performed lower on math and reading, and were more likely to repeat a grade.[48] The research shows that hunger and food insecurity, above and beyond poverty, have significant and negative impacts on children’s educational performance. Transferring these children from one school to another does nothing to change the fact that these kids are hungry, and as such, have more difficulty in the classroom—any classroom—than their peers.

Given all of this research, the impulse to close schools in depressed communities is short-sighted. It may even compound the problems we are attempting to address. The better approach is to think about school reform in the larger context of community revitalization.

Invest as if kids matter

What the research is saying, is it does take a village. School closings are really a misguided attempt to fix what amounts to a budget problem (although also being justified as an academic issue). Without any strategy to reinvest in the distressed communities where distressed schools exist, or to really ensure that displaced children will attend integrated, academically stronger schools, the school closure movement will ultimately be more expensive in the long run. The trajectory of these kids’ path isn’t likely to change if the environments in which they live don’t change. What that means for these cities is a less educated work force, further deteriorated communities, and a greater reliance on social services and emergency care, all of which will have substantial impacts on city budgets. As Geoffrey Canada noted, we are investing enormous amounts of money but just not in the right things.

So what would it have looked like if in DC, where school closings in 2008 cost the city $40 million– above the projected $9.7 million price tag–had that money been invested instead in improving the conditions of those distressed neighborhoods? Or in Chicago, if the $100 million being spent on a new arena had been funneled into those communities that will end up losing their school? Likewise in Philadelphia, where 23 schools will be closing even though there is room in the budget for a $400 million prison, which is tragic given the research on the school-to-prison pipeline.

Instead of investing in failure we should invest in success. We should invest in distressed communities. Common sense and research would suggest this could go a long way in solving the education crisis in our country, and allow schools to do what they were meant to do all along; in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, to teach our kids how to think intensively and to think critically.

At a deeper level, these school closings call into question how we as a society view community, and our children as members of community.  We all have a stake in how children are faring, and whether we are providing every child the opportunity to reach his or her full potential. Our concern must extend equally to children stranded in the shrinking city of Detroit, the isolated hills of Appalachia, or the rural, invisible communities of the Central Valley, just as it does for children in the wealthy suburbs of Washington DC. Policy-makers must slow down the impulse to close schools to address their near term budget issues, and consider the long term implications for the fiscal health of their cities, but more importantly, the long term impacts these closures will have on children and communities.


End notes

[1] Abby Ohlheiser. “Graduation Rates Rising, but Disparity Remains,” Slate. January 22, 2013. Accessed August 13, 2013 at

[2] “Achievement Gap,” Online Posting. Education Week. Updated July 7, 2011. Accessed August 13, 2013 at

[3] “The Academic Achievement Gap,” Online Posting. Teachers College Columbia University, TC Media Center. June 9, 2005. Accessed August 13, 2013 at

[4] “Most Children Younger than Age 1 are Minorities, Census Bureau Reports,” Online Posting. US Census, May 17, 2012. Accessed August 13, 2013 at

[5] “Children Living in Poverty,” Online Posting. National Center for Education Statistics. Updated May 2013. Accessed August 13, 2013 at

[6] Id.

[7] “America’s Minorities Becoming a Majority,” CBS Miami, June 13, 2013. Accessed August 13, 2013 at

[8] In 2004, “the Department of Education’s national assessment of educational progress sampled the reading and math scores of 6,000 fourth graders at 167 charter schools and found only 25 percent of the charter school students were proficient in both reading and math compared to 30 percent of public school students who were proficient in reading and 32 percent in math.” See Ifill, G.  “Charter Schools.”  PBS Online News Hour.  August 18, 2004.  Available at More recently in 2009, “researchers from Stanford University found that fewer than one-fifth of charter schools nationally offered a better education than comparable local schools, almost half offered an equivalent education and more than a third, 37 percent, were “significantly worse.” See Gabriel, T.  “Despite Push, Success at Charter Schools is Mixed.”  The New York Times.  May 1, 2010.  Available at

[9] Kim Clark, “Tuition at public colleges rises 4.8%,” CNN Money. October 24, 2012. Accessed August 13, 2013 at

[10] Nancy Folbre, “Mortgaged Diplomas,” Blog posting. The New York Times Business Day. June 3, 2013. Accessed June 12, 2013 at

[11] Anthony P. Carnevale, Nicole Smith, and Jeff Strohl, “Help Wanted: Projections of Job Requirements and Skills through 2018,” Georgetown University, 2010. Available at


[12] Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education. “Knocking at the College Door: Projections of High School Graduates 8th Edition,” December 2012. Page xii. Available at

[13] Id. at 28

[14] For a summary of this research see: Brief Of 553 Social Scientists As Amici Curiae In Support Of

Respondents, Parents Involved In Community Schools, v. Seattle School District No. 1, Meredith v.

Jefferson County Board Of Education, 2006.

[15] M. A. Turner and D. Acevedo‐Garcia, Why Housing Mobility? The Research Evidence Today, Poverty & Race

Research Action Council Newsletter 14. January/February 2005.

[16] Clark McKown and Rhona S. Weinstein, “Modeling the Role of Child Ethnicity and Gender in Children’s Differential Response to Teacher Expectations,” Journal of Applied Psychology: 32 (1). July 31, 2006. Available at

[17] Emily Deruy, “Student Diversity is Up, but Teachers are Mostly White,” ABC News, March 21, 2013. Accessed June 12, 2013 at

[18] For example, one study found that several “novice white teachers reported that they often perceived lively debates occurring between African American males as suggestive of aggressive behavior,” concluding that such behavior was disruptive and thus warranted sanctions. See Lewis et al citing Weinstein, C.S., Tomlinson-Clarke, S., & Curran, M. (2004).  “Toward a conception of culturally responsive classroom management.”  Journal of Teacher Education, 55(1), 25-38. Page 8.

[19] Matthew Di Carlo, “Teachers Matter, But So Do Words,” Blog posting, The Shanker Blog, The Voice of the Albert Shanker Institute. July 14, 2010. See also Eric Hanusheck, “Teachers, Schools, and Academic Achievement,” NBER Working Paper 6691. August 1998.

[20] Dana Goldstein, “Can Teachers Alone Overcome Poverty? Steven Brill Thinks So,” The Nation. August 10, 2011. Available at

[21] See Gary Orfield and John T. Yun, “Deepening Segregation In American Public Schools,” Harvard Project on School Desegregation. 1997. Available on-line at See also, What Matters Most: Teaching For America’s Future, A Report Of The National Commission On Teaching America’s Future (Spring 1996): Summary Report. Racially segregated schools more often rely upon transitory teachers, have curricula with greater emphasis on remedial courses.

[22] Alissa Scheller, “Infographic: Social Programs Cut by the Sequester,” Center for American Progress. March 1, 2013. Available at

[23] Kate Randall, “US sequester cuts targets jobs, vital social services,” Online Posting. World Socialist. March 15, 2013. Accessed June 13, 2013 at citing cuts to nutrition, housing, and other needs for low income families; cuts to maternal and children health services; and cuts to mental health services for both children and adults.

[24] W. T. Trent, ―Outcomes of School Desegregation: Findings from Longitudinal Research‖, 66 J. Negro Ed. 255 (1997).

[25] Id.

[26] Stephen J. Schellenberg, Concentration of Poverty and the Ongoing Need for Title I Reform in Hard Work for Good Schools; Facts Not Fads in Title I Reform. The Civil Rights Project, Harvard University 1998) pgs 130, 137).

[27] Gary Orfield, “Reviving the Goal of an Integrated Society: A 21st Century Challenge,” The Civil Rights Project. January 2009. Page 15.

[28] Rania Khalek, “Racist School Closings in Washington, DC,” Truthout. May 31, 2013. Accessed June 12, 2013 at

[29] Id.

[30] Noreen S Ahmed-Ullah, “CPS approves largest school closure in Chicago’s history,” May 23, 2013. Accessed June 3, 2013 at

[31] Richard L. Canfield, Ph.D., Charles R. Henderson, Jr., M.A., Deborah A. Cory‐Slechta, Ph.D., Christopher Cox,

Ph.D., Todd A. Jusko, B.S., and Bruce P. Lanphear, M.D., M.P.H. “Intellectual Impairment in Children with Blood Lead Concentrations below 10 μg per Deciliter.” New England Journal of Medicine. Vol. 348, no. 16: 1517‐1526. April 17, 2003.

[32] Joel T. Nigg, G. Mark Knottnerus, Michelle M. Martel, Molly Nikolas, Kevin Cavanagh, Wilfried Karmaus, Marsha

D. Rappley, “Blood Lead Levels Associated with Clinically Diagnosed Attention‐Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and

Mediated by Weak Cognitive Control.” Biological Psychiatry Vol. 63, Issue 3: 325‐331. February 1, 2008.

[33] Robert J. Sampson, Patrick Sharkey, and Stephen W. Raudenbush, “Durable effects of concentrated disadvantageon verbal ability among African‐American children.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 105(3): 845‐852. October 28, 2007.

[34] Barton, Paul. 2003. “Parsing the Achievement Gap: Baselines for Tracking Progress.” Policy Information Center, Education Testing Services. Available online at

[35] Asthma, for example, is one of the leading causes of school absenteeism. Low‐income children and children of color experience higher rates of asthma than affluent, non‐White children. “Health and Achievement: Managing Asthma in the School Environment,” Online Posting. US Environmental Protection Agency. Updated April 2, 2012. Accessed June 13, 2013 at

[36] Currie, Janet. “Health Disparities and Gaps in School Readiness.” The Future of Children. 15 (1): 117‐38. Spring 2005.

[37] The biggest negative effects were found on language and memory. Clive Cookson, “Poverty mars formation of infant brains.” Online posting. Financial February 16, 2008. Accessed June 19, 2013 at

[38] Jennifer S. Middlebrooks & Natalie C. Audage. “The Effects of Childhood Stress on Health Across the Lifespan,” National Center for Injury Prevention and Control of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 2012.

[39] Rebecca Cohen and Keith Wardrip. “Should I Stay or Should I Go? Exploring the Effects of Housing Instability and Mobility on Children,” Center for Housing Policy, June 2011. Available at

[40] Noah Berlatsky, “Closing Schools Without Discussion Won’t Fix Chicago’s System, “The Atlantic. May 22, 2013. Accessed June 12, 2013 at

[41] Stacy Dean and Dottie Rosenbaum, “SNAP Benefits Will Be for All Participants in November 2013,” Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. August 2, 2013. Accessed August 12, 2013 at

[42]House Leadership SNAP Proposal Would Eliminate Food Assistance for 4 Million to 6 Million Low-Income People,” Online posting. Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Accessed August 18, 2013 at

[43] “Childhood Hunger in America,” Online posting. No Kid Hungry. Accessed August 18, 2013 at

[44] Dr. Larry J. Brown, “The Consequences of Hunger and Food Insecurity for Children: Evidence from Recent Scientific Studies,” Center on Hunger and Poverty, Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Brandeis University. June 2002. Citing Alaimo, K., “Food Insufficiency and American school-aged children’s cognitive, academic, and psychosocial development,” Pediatrics 108(1): 44-53. July 2001. Showing that one study found that low-income children under 12, living in food insecure households, were more likely to have frequent colds, ear infections, and other health problems compared to their counterparts living in food secure households.

[45] Id. citing Wehler, C.A., Scott, R.I., & Anderson, J.J.(1995). Community Childhood Hunger Identification Project. Washington, D.C.: Food Research and Action Center Health.

[46] Id. citing Reid, L.L. (2000). The Consequences of Food Insecurity for Child Well-Being: An Analysis of Children’s School Achievement, Psychological Well-Being, and Health. JCPR Working Paper #137. Chicago, IL: Joint Center for Poverty Research, Northwestern University/ University of Chicago.

[47] Id.citing Center on Hunger and Poverty. (1998). Statement on the Link Between Nutrition and Cognitive Development in Children. Waltham, MA: Center on Hunger and Poverty. 1998.

[48] Id. citing Alaimo, K., Olson, C.M., & Frongillo, E.A., Jr. (July 2001). Food insufficiency and American school-aged children’s cognitive, academic, and psychosocial development. Pediatrics 108(1), 44-53. The test looked at children between the ages of 6-11, and 12-16.

 [j1]hyperlink to video

Research Associate 2 Jillian was recently promoted to Research Associate 2 and Project Manager for the Opportunity Communities Program at the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at the Ohio State University. She is a committed community advocate whose work has allowed her to travel around the country and work with systems leaders and residents alike seeking to make positive transformations in their communities. Jillian specializes in research relating to equity in housing finance policy, civic engagement, community development, and regional sustainability. She has researched and co-written thirty publications in her time at Kirwan. She has traveled all over the country to work with community and advocacy groups around issues ranging from community engagement, community development, and fair housing and fair credit reform. She has also done work relating to health and healthcare, youth development, and education. She is currently very interested in the socio-demographic and economic changes facing our nation and communities and the policy implications of these changes. She is passionate in advocating that our federal policy making and our community development decisions reflect these changes and strive to ensure that opportunity and all that engenders remains available to everyone in our communities. Jillian has undergraduate degrees in Sociology and Economics, with Minors in Cultures and Communities and Urban Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee; graduate degrees in City and Regional Planning, and in Public Policy and Management from the Ohio State University.