May 24, 2019

Contextual Healing

A new report from AEI finds that people who live in areas with more public spaces and amenities, such as libraries, parks, restaurants, and theaters, are more satisfied with their neighborhoods, more trusting, and less lonely. Given the negative impact on health and well-being of being lonely — so much so that it is now called a loneliness epidemic — this report presents important findings to counter the harm of social isolation. The main findings include:

  • 23% of Americans live in very high or high amenity neighborhoods, 44% live in moderate amenity neighborhoods, and 33% live in low or very low amenity neighborhoods
  • White Americans and more educated Americans are overrepresented in high amenity neighborhoods.
  • People in high-amenity neighborhoods feel more positively about their communities
  • Greater access to amenities is associated with lower levels of social isolation
  • Greater access to amenities is associated with higher levels of interpersonal trust so people are more willing to help their neighbors


For Your Consideration

An Atlantic article published yesterday draws attention to two new reports on the status of low-income students in higher education. The good news is that the share of undergraduates who are in poverty or nonwhite has increased over the last decade, according to a new analysis from Pew Research Center.

Pew undergraduates

The bad news is that there is still a 50 percentage point gap in the percentage of students (2009 ninth-graders) enrolled in postsecondary education three years after high school graduation (in 2016) between the highest and lowest socioeconomic students, according to a new report from the National Center for Education Statistics.

NCES graphic

Now, those 2009 ninth graders who graduated in 2016 could still enroll in postsecondary education, but this report clearly shows that postsecondary education remains out of reach for too many students despite efforts to increase the number of lower income students in higher education.

It’s worth it to read through the rest of the Pew Research report. It shows the trends we have been hearing about as we have traveled the state visiting community colleges: fewer students are enrolling in community colleges, but those who do are more likely to be in poverty.

Dropping Knowledge

If you haven’t read Liz Bell’s article on the draft recommendations from the Governor’s Commission on Access to Sound, Basic Education, you should. The Commission, formed in 2017 to advise the state on how to meet its Leandro obligations, has been meeting over the past two years and released draft recommendations for the first time last week. The recommendations are broken down by topic: finance and resources, teachers, principals, early childhood, and assessment and accountability.

Recommendations include:

  • Expand North Carolina Teaching Fellows program
  • Expand state and/or federal funding for professional development for principals
  • Revise the principal salary schedule to weigh experience more than it currently does
  • Expand access to NC Pre-K

How are we doing?

Thank you to one of our Friday@Five readers, Elizabeth, who responded to my question a few weeks ago asking why you read Friday@Five. She said:

Friday@Five seemed to be a great way to get a feel for the education discussion happening around NC as well as the research that is taking place there. Also I appreciate that it keeps me up-to-date on recent publications focused on education beyond NC as well.”

Why do you read Friday@Five? How can we improve? Send your thoughts and feedback by replying directly to this email or emailing [email protected]. Thank you!

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