Giving our most vulnerable children a chance at education

While the number of children and youth in foster care comprise a small number of the total student population in Texas, their difficulties are boundless. These difficulties include, chaotic lives filled with danger and extreme neglect. Additionally, the educational outcomes for children and youth in foster care are meager compared to the general child population. These outcomes include higher school suspensions and expulsions, grade repeats, poor attendance, lower scores on state assessments, and higher school dropout rates.

Keeping Central Texas children safe

The problems plaguing Texas’ system for child protection seem to be on everyone’s mind. As Nichole Aston discussed in her latest blog, there are far too many children in Central Texas facing serious neglect, abuse, and/or family violence. Children sleep in state agency offices due to lack of foster homes, live in unsafe and unsanitary residential centers, and fall prey to traffickers. How do we all come together to fix an issue and a system so huge and so laden with problems?

Improving the experience of the most vulnerable children in Central Texas

The abuse, neglect, and abandonment some children endure is often unimaginable and inhumane. They arrive at shelters, treatment centers, and foster homes traumatized and many have behavioral and mental health issues as a result. They have learned to survive by using anger, violence, and emotional detachment. Many have school related issues and learning disorders, various forms of mental and physical issues, and some have post-traumatic stress disorder at rates higher than military and war veterans. These are preventable, community health and societal problems that need to be addressed.

The philanthropic value of impact investing

One of the questions we are continuously grappling with is how to maximize the impact of our giving. We want to know that the products or services we are investing in actually meet the needs of beneficiaries. To this end, we are learning that the market can serve as a powerful mechanism to ensure that products or services are responsive to and meet the needs of beneficiaries.

Putting the ‘impact’ back in impact investing

In 2011, our India team came across two brilliant young brothers in Bangalore – Harsha and Soorya Mahabala – who had formed an organization called Edutel. The two brothers discovered they could broadcast lessons from high-quality teachers to affordable private schools across urban and rural Bangalore using spare government satellite bandwidth.

Urban Teachers: Preparing great teachers

Teaching is a high stakes, demanding profession that requires a highly trained and highly skilled professional to ensure every child in a classroom is learning. For too long, inconsistent teacher quality in urban schools has resulted in declining student achievement and widening opportunity gaps. As noted in a case study published by the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, at Urban Teachers we are working hard to change this. We have committed to preparing a pipeline of demonstrably effective teachers who are accountable to student learning and who are dedicated to teaching in high-need schools for the long haul.

Boston Teacher Residency: Creating teachers who teach ambitiously

This is part of a series of case studies that highlight how four teacher preparation programs define data literacy training for their teacher candidates. In partnership with WestEd, we studied four programs – Western Oregon University, Boston Teacher Residency, Relay Graduate School of Education and Urban Teachers – to help shed light on what constitutes … Continued