November 7, 2018

On today's show, Adrian talks with Salvador Segura at a Microsoft Giving event.  Later in the show, Bruce Gale talks with Kid Heroes Taylor and Jordyn Jackson who founded Soaring Samaritans Youth Movement.

The "achievement gap" has gained a lot of attention in recent years…it is measured by standardized tests, grades, course selection, high school dropout rates, college completion rates. It refers to the difference in academic performance between groups...especially white students and their black and Hispanic peers.

Many are now using the term "opportunity gap" as it highlights the real difference between low-income and middle class schools and their students.  It looks at areas like classroom materials, books, field trips, technology and experienced teachers in these schools.  The opportunities of these students are largely determined by Zip Code, socioeconomic status, ethnicity and race.

Federal data shows that in almost all major cities in the U.S., an overwhelming majority of Hispanic and African American students attend public schools where most of their classmates qualify as poor or low-income.  This is a huge obstacle in making quality education available to all students. Studies show that the average student from a low-income family scores much lower on standardized tests of reading and math skills than students from higher-income families.

Public school funding, very much dependent upon property taxes, is “inherently unequal” from district to district.  Since minority students are often poor students, their schools rely on lower property tax bases, and are therefore generally poorly funded.  It's hard to attract good teachers to these schools and the turnover rate is extremely high.

While in Seattle, Adrian had the opportunity to speak with Salvador Segura, a Microsoft employee, who volunteers his time mentoring Hispanic students in public schools.

Hispanic students have made impressive academic gains over the past decade, but almost a quarter are still not proficient in reading – and in some states, they're more than three grades behind their peers.

Researchers find this data troubling because Hispanic students represent the single largest minority group. Today, 1 in 4 U.S. children is Hispanic, and by 2030 the proportion will be 1 in 3.  While Latino students make up 27 percent of the U.S. student population, just 8 percent of the nation’s teachers identify as Latino.

65% of Latino students who go to college attend the open-access colleges… the lower, crowded and underfunded two-year and four-year parts of the system. That has real implications for their graduation and success.  Hispanic parents want their children to get degrees, but they don’t understand how the higher education system works.

Taylor and Jordyn Jackson
Taylor and Jordyn Jackson

Jordyn Jackson (8 years old) and Taylor Jackson (13 years old) are Co-Vice Presidents of One World Play Project’s program to promote positive play and our Kid Heroes of the Week.  

As seasoned philanthropists, the best friend/sister duo united their passion for activism, and deep love of soccer by forming a non-profit humanitarian charity called the Soaring Samaritans Youth Movement 5 years ago. Through this, they donate soccer balls and sports balls to children across the world for positive impact of upward change. Their movement also fundraises for much needed youth education programs. @SoaringSamaritansYouthMovement

Taylor and Jordyn have personally hand delivered thousands of soccer balls around the world.  Their most impactful donations include special balls that are virtually indestructible to children in poorly funded education programs, soccer centers in low income communities, and orphanages.

On today's show, Bruce Gale brings us an interview with our earlier Kid Heroes, Taylor and Jordan, who share their story.