Tag Archives: student

Hungry hungry students

With the Hollywood depictions of frat bros chugging beer and hippies snacking on munchies, the starving college student might seem like a myth.

Yet student hunger in higher education is no folk tale. Although the national data on college student hunger is abysmal, recent surveys suggest that show many students don’t get enough to eat.

One study by researchers at the Wisconsin Hope Lab found that nearly one in five students reported that they did not have enough money to buy food, ate less than they felt they should or cut down the size of their meals.

Stephen Smith talks to an author of that report, Katharine Broton.

The facts and fictions of student debt

Stories all over the news have identified a new crisis in the United States: student debt. They say debt is crushing college students, topping $1 trillion dollars overall. That’s more than both credit card and auto loans; it’s second only to mortgages.

Yet our guest this week says that scary trillion-dollar number isn’t what we should focus on.

Sandy Baum is a senior fellow at the Urban Institute and author of Student Debt: Rhetoric and Realities of Higher Education Financing.

Baum says loans provide access to college for students who couldn’t other wise afford it. Instead of dismissing debt out of hand, every student should evaluate what kind of higher education is worth it for them.

‘My frain is bried’: shadowing a student

Recently, more than 1400 educators from all 50 states and 30 different countries took the Shadow a Student Challenge.

They followed around a student for a whole day: riding the bus, working on science projects, doing jumping-jacks, eating lunch, performing in plays. All in the name of building empathy for what it’s like to be a student nowadays.

Ingrid Fournier, a 6th grade teacher in a suburb of Grand Rapids, Michigan, was one of them.

Mrs. Fournier says she was expecting the day to be a lot of “sit ‘n git.” In other words, there would be a lot of sitting around, with the teacher lecturing and pouring knowledge into students.

She says, at least at the 5th grade level, that wasn’t the case at all.  “There was so much rich information that I couldn’t keep it all in my head,” Mrs. Fournier says.

And, Mrs. Fournier reports, there was little down time.

“As a teacher, I get prep time with a 30 minute block at some point during the day. I guess I didn’t realize how important that is to me…and to humans,” says Mrs. Fournier. She thought about kids who go home after school and close their bedroom door: they need alone time, like we all do.

The student Mrs. Fournier shadowed, 5th grader Nure Hamad, says she could use more breaks during the school day.

Looking back, Mrs. Fournier says she was shocked at how disjointed the classes were. And now she assigns little to no homework.

At the end of the day, a couple of students asked Mrs. Fournier how it went. “And I said ‘my frain is bried.’…They just all started giggling. And then one of my girls said ‘Well, welcome to our world.'”


The Shadow a Student Challenge is part of School Retool, a project of the Stanford d.school and Ideo.

How tutoring helps students

Private tutoring for students can cost thousands upon thousands of dollars per year.

But economist Jonathan Guryan co-authored a study that found tutoring improves student learning and graduation rates.

He studied a pilot tutoring program in Chicago Public Schools that helped students struggling at math. One tutor met with two students at a time, so the tutor could match the students at their individual math level.

Guryan wants to expand the program nationally.

Our documentary, One Child at a Time, takes a deep dive into personalized learning in the United States.