News Feature

Early Childhood Spending Benefits Don’t Fade Away

North Carolina’s investment in early child care and education programs resulted in higher test scores, less grade retention and fewer special education placements through fifth grade, a study from the Center finds.

Researchers found the programs’ benefits did not fade with time, as in some early childhood intervention programs. Instead, the positive effects grew or held steady over the years.

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How Children Develop Language

Makeba Wilbourn, Duke University February 28, 2017

What is the best way to help facilitate vocabulary development for all racial groups? Faculty Fellow Makeba Wilbourn‘s research looks at how cultural differences and gestures such as point affect vocabulary development. Wilbourn says research has shown that black and white mothers speak to their young children in different ways, leading them to learn vocabulary differently. “It’s not about deficits, it’s about differences,” she said.

WUNC's The State of Things »

Dodge Proposes New Joint Ph.D. Program for Duke

February 17, 2017

Center Director Ken Dodge proposed a joint Ph.D. program between the Sanford School of Public Policy, the sociology department and the department of psychology and neuroscience to Duke’s Academic Council. Dodge said that students from those disciplines have increasingly wanted to translate their research to public policy and such a program would allow them to do that.

Duke Chronicle »

Would Jobs Programs Stop Homelessness?

February 17, 2017

A federal jobs program alone would not be enough to fix homelessness because many homeless people are already employed in low-paying jobs, according to Faculty Fellow William Darity Jr.  “What we’d want to do is take an inventory at the municipal level and identify what the most pressing local needs are then structure a jobs program so we could match those needs with the skills, interests, and talents of folks who seek public sector employment,” he said.

Next City »

The Importance of Identifying Autism Before Age 1

February 15, 2017

Identifying autism before a child’s first birthday opens the door for researchers to create more interventions and therapies, according to Faculty Fellow Geraldine Dawson.  “We’re learning that there are biological changes that occur before the symptoms start to emerge,” she said. “It’s the ability to detect autism at its very earliest stages that’s going to allow us to intervene before the full syndrome is manifest.”

Scientific American »

Thinking Differently About Public Education

KIPP co-founder Mike Feinberg February 15, 2017

If critics of public education want different results, they are going to have to start thinking differently, according to Mike Feinberg, co-founder of KIPP public charter schools. “There is a concept of public education and then there is how we deliver public education,” Feinberg said at a lecture presented by the Center. “We deliver it the same way and expect different results. If we want extraordinary results for our kids, we have to do extraordinary thinking.”

Duke Today »

Fewer Teaching Assistants Results in Lower Test Scores

February 15, 2017

Teacher raises throughout North Carolina have led to a decrease in teaching assistant positions and that could impact student test scores, particularly among disadvantaged students, according to research by Faculty Fellow Helen Ladd. “The evidence shows that additional teaching assistants for disadvantaged student groups contribute to higher test scores,” according to the study.


Should a High School Diploma be a Voting Requirement?

Jennifer Lansford, Duke University February 11, 2017

Requiring a high school diploma to vote is a provocative and problematic notion, according to Center Faculty Fellow Jennifer Lansford. “Graduating from high school is one of the best predictors of positive financial and long-term outcomes,” Lansford said. But when it comes to restricting voting based on education, “we run the risk of becoming a more elitist society by privileging people from families with higher education.”


How Maltreatment Affects the Developing Brain

Duke Center for Child and Family Policy Director Kenneth A. Dodge February 10, 2017

Children who have been maltreated early in life are at greater risk for future problematic behavior, according to research by Center Director Ken Dodge. In the Fast Track intervention, Dodge and his colleagues taught 1,000 kindergartners to use a stoplight as a metaphor for processing emotions and responses. Years later, those students displayed positive patterns of self-regulation. “We believe that it is cost beneficial to intervene directly beginning at a young age,” he said.

Charlie Rose »

Racial Differences in Family Wealth

William (Sandy) Darity February 10, 2017

The wealth gap between black and Latino families versus white families has been increasing since the Great Recession, according to research by Faculty Fellow William Darity Jr. and his colleagues. They’ve found the black family has a median of $7,113 in wealth, while the median white family has $111,440 in wealth, Darity attributes the gap to social policies that foster educational segregation and redlining.