From first-generation college student to social justice warrior

Janice Mendoza

Janice Mendoza

As a child, my mother always motivated my brother and I to achieve through public education. In her heart, she knew that being educated would be the only route that we would have out of poverty.

As a kid in elementary school, I faced two main challenges: 1) English was not my first language, and 2) my mother’s lack of education prevented her from being able to help me with my academics. Living in a predominantly Mexican American community in San Bernardino, California, my teachers faced extra pressures in aiding my development. I found myself falling behind due to my inability to complete homework assignments. For a while, my brother who is one year ahead of me held the responsibility of trying to teach me various subjects. Finally, I received an invitation to participate in an after-school program to address my needs. (more…)

Tuscola Today: Up for the count: Vassar, Millington welcome student gains

“Joslyn, citing statistics in the 2016 Kids Count In Michigan Data Book published by the Michigan League for Public Policy, stated Tuscola County’s child population – from ages 0 to 17 – fell by 13.1 percent from 2006 to 2013. The data book states that in 2006, the county had 13,554 young people in that age bracket, but had only 11,773 in that age bracket in 2013.” Oct 15, 2016 — Tuscola Today

SNAP: Fighting the long-term effects of hunger

I admit I do not understand what it feels like to be truly hungry. Sure, I’ve forgotten my breakfast or lunch from time to time, but I’ve always been able to count on the fact that there would be food in my cupboards. I cannot imagine the short- and long-term effects of hunger.

Yet, for many Michiganians, and many children, hunger is still a real problem. According to a recent federal report, between 2013 and 2015, almost 15% of Michigan households struggled to put food on their tables. Nationally, this rate is higher among households with children. (more…)

It’s time to end racial inequity in education

My father, a man of Norwegian descent who grew up on a small farm in southern Minnesota, was one of many beneficiaries of the GI bill. As part of the first generation in his family to attend college, with public financial support he excelled and launched a career as a professor of economics. The opportunity given to my father changed the trajectory of my parents’ lives and mine.

While ostensibly race-neutral, the G.I. Bill did not have the same effect on educational attainment for Black and White veterans after the war, in part because of admission policies that limited access to colleges and universities. As a result, a public policy that appeared to increase equality and opportunity actually did little to overcome consistent institutional barriers and inequities in access to education and housing for veterans of color. (more…)

Carolyn Wreggelsworth

Carolyn Wreggelsworth

Carolyn Wreggelsworth

Carolyn Wreggelsworth is the League’s Bookkeeper. She has extensive experience in nonprofit accounting services, and loves to see progress in automating all aspects of the accounting system. Identifying and solving accounting glitches motivates her. She received her degree in Business from Davenport University.

Giving back to the world is one of her values. Especially the wonderful community she’s lucky to raise her family in, giving a helping hand whenever, wherever and however she can.

She loves yoga because it makes her feel good and allows her to eat more pie. Her favorite place is anywhere people are gathered to sweat, breathe and break boundaries together.

A student’s take on college debt

Carlos Rios Santiago

Carlos Rios- Santiago

Classes are underway again and it is an exciting time for students like me. We get to see old friends, take new and interesting classes, and experience the unique culture our campuses have to offer. However, there is a question that pesters us every waking moment, gnawing at us as we listen to lectures…“How the heck am I going to pay for this?”

At 17, with my only work experience being Burger King, I had to know EXACTLY what I wanted to do for my entire life and how I was going to pay for it. Both are equally daunting at that age. Naturally, when choosing what school to go to, cost was a huge factor. How students pay varies. Some of us might have some money saved up from minimum wage jobs, parents who are able to contribute, or scholarships that help ease the burden. Even so, many of us will struggle to graduate without taking out student loans that will saddle us with debt for the next decade or more of our lives. (more…)

Public News Service: Tackling Racial Inequities Head on in Michigan

As hundreds of Michiganders gathered at a forum Monday to discuss poverty and racial inequity, a new report examines persistent racial disparities in educational opportunities for Michigan kids.The forum was sponsored by the Michigan League for Public Policy, which also released the report.

League President and CEO Gilda Jacobs said the research indicates racial disparities exist in nearly every area of public policy, including reading proficiency, school discipline, college attainment, student debt, incarceration rates, employment and income. Oct 11, 2016 — Public News Service

WEMU: Michigan League for Public Policy puts a spotlight on racial inequality

Looking to have what they call an “honest discussion” about racial inequality in Michigan, the Michigan League for Public Policy held its annual forum Monday.

CEO and President of the League, Gilda Jacobs had high hopes for the community response to the forum. “We want people to walk away more informed than they were before,” she said. “We want them to get fired up. And we want them to figure out what they can do to make thing different in this state.” Oct 10, 2016 — WEMU

WWMT: Report: Gaps in educational opportunity stem from policy decisions

A new report released today shows large gaps in educational opportunities for Michigan kids stemming from government policy decisions.
The findings say students of color are more likely to be poor, and that’s largely because their parents faced the same disadvantages their kids are, today. Oct 10, 2016 — WWMT

Michigan Radio: Michigan League for Public Policy puts spotlight on racial inequality

The Michigan League for Public Policy aimed to have what it called an “honest discussion” about racial inequality in Michigan at its annual forum Monday.
From the Flint water crisis to the state of Detroit Public Schools, the League wanted Michiganders to take a hard look at how racial inequality impacts their communities and learn about ways to make change. Oct 10, 2016 — Michigan Radio

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