Thursday, February 15, 2018

SOE work featured in Poverty Solutions progress report and 2018 projects


U-M Poverty Solutions published its first progress report and announced its 2018 grants, both of which feature the work of School of Education faculty and students. Poverty Solutions is a university-wide initiative committed to informing and testing innovative solutions for the prevention and alleviation of poverty. Poverty Solutions seeks to leverage the immense intellectual assets and broad academic scope of the university community in order to impact the lives of millions of Americans. SOE Dean Elizabeth Birr Moje serves on the Poverty Solutions Deans’ Governing Board. 

Progress Report
The first Progress Report published by Poverty Solutions features the work of Professor Christina Weiland, who co-wrote Cradle to Kindergarten: A New Plan to Combat Inequality. Her book offers a comprehensive, evidence-based strategy that diagnoses the obstacles to early learning and development, and charts a path to opportunity for all children. In 2017, Weiland and her co-authors presented in Michigan and Washington, D.C. to groups of education leaders and policymakers. 

Grant Awards
A project led by professors Matthew Diemer and Fabian Pfeffer (Department of Sociology) was one of the nine faculty grants awarded this year by Poverty Solutions. The project “Leveraging Wealth Data to Inform Asset-Building Policy” also involves CPEP doctoral candidate Aixa Marchand and Professor of Human Development and Psychology Rashmita Mistry.

Wealth plays a pervasive and pernicious role in transmitting inequality. Wealth—assets like savings and financial holdings such as housing—differs from income—wages, salaries, and cash assistance from the government—and is generally more unequally distributed than income. This contributes to widening social inequality, including impacts on educational attainment.

Wealth demonstrably impacts youth development and educational attainment, but the mechanisms resulting in this phenomenon are not yet established. This project leverages the Panel Survey of Income Dynamics to track family wealth, including identifying key opportunities to intervene across childhood and adolescence that could lead to higher educational attainment during adulthood.

The results could inform policies to help more Americans save and build wealth, creating optimal environments for high educational achievement, increasing social mobility, and equalizing opportunity.

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