Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Quick Links in Reference to Conversations

Hi folks,
Over the week a number of conversation strands unfolded and here are some pertinent links...

2. Paul Tough on What it Takes to Make a Student-- a piece that he wrote for the NY Times in 2006 that I suspect inspired him to take on the book project involving Geoffrey Canada. The paragraph on vocabulary and language acquisition that was referenced during the discussion on closing the achievement gap.
Researchers began peering deep into American homes, studying up close the interactions between parents and children. The first scholars to emerge with a specific culprit in hand were Betty Hart and Todd R. Risley, child psychologists at the University of Kansas, who in 1995 published the results of an intensive research project on language acquisition. Ten years earlier, they recruited 42 families with newborn children in Kansas City, and for the following three years they visited each family once a month, recording absolutely everything that occurred between the child and the parent or parents. The researchers then transcribed each encounter and analyzed each child’s language development and each parent’s communication style. They found, first, that vocabulary growth differed sharply by class and that the gap between the classes opened early. By age 3, children whose parents were professionals had vocabularies of about 1,100 words, and children whose parents were on welfare had vocabularies of about 525 words. The children’s I.Q.’s correlated closely to their vocabularies. The average I.Q. among the professional children was 117, and the welfare children had an average I.Q. of 79.
For more background on Hart and Riseley's work here is a good summary in the American Educator titled The Early Catastrophe: The 30 Million Word Gap by Age 3. The American Educator is the professional journal for American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and I've found it to be an excellent read.

3.  The Forbe's article on America's Fastest-Dying Cities. Springfield is on this list.

4.  City Thinks 2009: Springfield Public Forum. Education, Poverty and Hope. We will be attending many of the events including Paul Tough's lecture this Thursday 10/15, 7 pm at American International College. 

5.  2007 Report from the UMass Donahue Institute on Springfield's rank as the sixth-worst city in the nation for children living below the poverty level.

SPRINGFIELD - With troubling implications for the city's future, Springfield ranked sixth worst in the nation for the percentage of its children living in poverty in 2006, according to recent census figures.
The U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey found that 44.6 percent of people under age 18 in Springfield lived below the federal poverty line in 2006. That was more than three times higher than the state's child poverty rate, 12.4 percent, and well more than twice the national rate of 18.3 percent in 2006.

In 2008, Springfield Republican article on the rising poverty rates in Springfield and Holyoke Schools.


  1. After reading the Forbes article, I found that Ohio is a dying states. There are so many cities like,Youngstown, Canton, Dayton and Cleveland. Also Michigan is a place of where the American Dream died along the motor business. I wonder what the level of crime is currently and the change since the loss of jobs and opportunities. Most of these cites being rust belts, I wonder have the current administrations have done with the spaces there. Also, Smith and Wesson is the largest manufacturer of handguns in the United States with corporate headquarters in Springfield. One may ask what is the level of crimes committed with guns in that city?

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