School Fundraisers and Inequality

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I’m a card-carrying member of three parent school associations. I write the weekly newsletter for the special-education parents’ group and help organize social events for disabled kids. But my involvement is minimal compared to the extraordinary efforts by others who raise money for schools in our town. With fundraising skills honed by former careers in business and law, these parents tap into the deep pockets of residents to collect large sums of money, which purchase items as small as a doormat in front of the school for muddy boots to costly gifts, like Chromebooks for every child. These groups also assist those in the community who are less affluent, providing college scholarships and helping create social connections for marginalized families with special-needs children.

But is all this work from parent-school groups—work that is done with the best of intentions—unfairly increasing advantages in already privileged communities? Are my volunteer activities magnifying the differences between rich and poor school districts? Education policy experts disagree about the impact of these groups in schools.

More here.

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The Hidden Hunger on College Campuses

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College conjures up images of all-you-can-eat dining halls, midnight runs for pizza, tubs of ice cream in the dorm-room fridge, and ethnically sensitive burritos. I remember working in the dishroom of a dining hall as a student and grabbing trays of half-eaten burgers and pancakes from the conveyer belt, dumping all the mess into large trash cans. If anything, college is associated with an excess of food, where students gain the “Freshman 15.”

Recent research on hunger at colleges opens serious questions about those assumptions.

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The Convoluted Profits of Academic Publishing

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Richard Price always had an entrepreneurial bent. He started a cake business in his mum’s kitchen during a summer break from his doctoral program at Oxford, eventually converting it into a sandwich-delivery service after realizing people only ate cake once a week. Then, when one of his philosophy papers took three years to get published, Price channeled his business interests into a new venture aimed at streamlining that academic process.

After finishing his DPhil (the English equivalent of a Ph.D.), Price raised venture capital in London and moved to San Francisco to start Academia.edu in 2008.

More here.