Over five decades of economic decline and racial conflict, a Western Pennsylvania mill town has found unity and hope on the football field. "There is no drug dealing at the Pit, and rarely any violence," Walker says. "It really is sacred ground; it's like a miracle. You've got guys that, any other time of the day, they're going to try and rip each other's throats out, but they just walk past each other in the Pit. They're there to watch those kids play."
"The hurricane lives in a complicated place. Everyone's experience is both communal and personal, obvious and hidden. The memory of the death is everywhere, buried in shallow and temporary graves." (SL Longform ESPN)
Only a few weeks after becoming an independent media company, This American Life covers "The Problem We All Live With" -- namely, why desegregation is still the only proven way to improve bad schools, and what happens when one school district accidentally has to attempt it.
Aunt Bertha is a web-based platform that connects Americans in need to locally available government programs, non-profit organizations, and community-based resources that offer free or low-cost assistance with health and dental care, job placement, emergency and long-term shelter, clothing and household goods, child and elder care, legal aid, assistance with navigating the social safety net, and much more. All programs are searchable and sortable by ZIP code, city, or eligibility. Find food, health, housing, job training programs and more, anywhere. [more inside]
Meredith Broussard at The Atlantic discusses another way the system of standardized testing is rigged against the underclass - thanks to the incestuous relationship between testmakers and textbook manufacturers, the tests are easy to pass - if the students are taught from the right textbooks, which many poorer districts simply cannot afford. [more inside]
What was the average American college graduate's college-related debt in 2013? What state has the highest rate of poverty in the United States? Answer these and other depressing questions (or submit your own) at How Wrong You Are.
Increasing the accessibility of cultural capital: "In New York, a place whose cultural institutions attract people from around the world, there are residents who not only have never visited those institutions but also some who have never even been uptown."
Juárez Correa felt a chill. He’d never encountered a student with so much innate ability. He squatted next to her and asked why she hadn’t expressed much interest in math in the past, since she was clearly good at it. “Because no one made it this interesting,” she said. -- Wired reports on a teaching method finding success in Mexico
Lack of resources, benign discouragement from well meaning adults, active exclusion by powerful gatekeepers: a classroom scientist discusses things that kill opportunity for inner city youth. [more inside]
A three-part series on the fate of 59 fifth-graders who were given an extraordinary gift: the promise of a college education paid for by two wealthy businessmen. Part 2, Part 3
"Internet Essentials" is a $10/month internet plan available to any family with one child eligible for free lunches at American public schools. [more inside]
Armed with a netbook, medical supplies and a bicycle, Bangladesh's InfoLadies are giving millions of poor people access to crucial information on their doorsteps that will improve their chances in life
The Economic Consequences of Mr. Bush. "The next president will have to deal with yet another crippling legacy of George W. Bush: the economy. A Nobel laureate, Joseph E. Stiglitz, sees a generation-long struggle to recoup." [Via Firedoglake.]
AIGA: Inequality Matters
"All he has left now to remember the grandson he once carried on his back is a stack of workbooks -- trigonometry, politics, history. Mr. Zheng does not recognize enough Chinese characters to read them. But he keeps the books as memorials." The best human interest story of the year, and a look into the lives of China's rural poor.