A Chance for Everyone to Learn

Head Start is a program that gives young children of low-income families a fighting chance to succeed in school. Capital Area Community Services Head Start is located in Old Town and has more than 1,600 kids and families involved. Services are provided to pregnant mothers and children up to four years old. Head Start Director Lucy McClintic said families have to go through an interview process so Head Start can place the child in the proper school. “Families with low income turn in an application and then have to be interviewed so we know what type of services we need to provide for them and what school will be best for the child,” said McClintic.

Achievement gap widens between poorer, richer students

By EDITH ZHOU
Capital News Service
LANSING – Michigan has 1.2 million families, with 2.3 million children, 42 percent of them live in low-income families, according to the National Center for Children in Poverty. And an achievement gap between them and wealthier children is widening, according to new research. That achievement gap is measured primarily by scores on standardized tests, said Pamela Davis-Kean, director of the Center for the Analysis of Pathways from Childhood to Adulthood at the University of Michigan. Davis-Kean, who studies influences of family environments on children’s development, said, “Parents’ income does have indirect influences on children’s school achievement since they don’t have extra money to pay for private day care or tutors.”
Davis-Kean’s research found that home environments are one cause of achievement gaps. “What’s more important are parents’ education levels.

Low-income families need tax cuts too, advocates say

By SAODAT ASANOVA-TAYLOR
Capital News Services
LANSING – As the federal government debates whether to extend Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy,some experts say tax cuts should be available even to low-income people. Judy Putnam, press officer of the Michigan League of Human Services, says it’s commonly accepted by the federal government that low-income people do not pay taxes. “This is simply not true. Everybody is contributing their fair share,” she said. The organization’s new report, “Got Skin in the Game?” argues that low-income households in need of government assistance do, in fact, pay taxes.