September News Slice: Back to School Edition



Welcome to the SWS News Slice, a summary of our top five news articles in education from the past month.


1. How Schoolchildren Will Cope With Hurricane Harvey, The Atlantic

In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, over 100 districts in southeastern Texas are currently undergoing school closures affecting hundreds of thousands of students. Aside from the structural damage wreaked on the schools themselves, the tropical storm has also taken an emotional toll on students, putting them at a greater risk for symptoms of anxiety, depression, and aggressive behavior. The storm continues to affect students’ health and general well-being as students who typically receive free or subsidized meals are unable to receive the proper nutrition they need.

To donate to the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund, please click here.

For a more comprehensive list of ways to help and additional places to donate, please click here for a list of local, national and online organizations compiled by The New York Times.


2. Snyder's attorneys in federal court today: DPS kids have no right to literacy, Detroit Metro Times

We wrote about this article in a previous Project Spotlight but thought it meaningful enough to bring up again, especially as the upcoming academic school year approaches and our Detroit Literacy Project is implemented within the Detroit Public School system. On Aug. 10, 2017, attorneys representing Michigan Governor Rick Snyder argued that the state of Michigan is under no obligation to ensure literacy among students within the Detroit Public School system. Their argument was in response to a lawsuit brought on by seven Detroit schoolchildren who sued Gov. Snyder for denying them the right to literacy, as they described classrooms which lacked books, teachers or any sort of infrastructure which might encourage learning.

If you’re passionate about promoting literacy amongst students in Detroit, please consider donating to our Detroit Literacy Project campaign here.


3. The Biggest Misconception about Today’s College Students, The New York Times Opinion Pages

An interesting profile of college student demographics in the United States written by Laguardia Community College President Gail O. Mellow. Of the nearly 18 million undergraduates currently studying in the U.S., over 40 percent attend community colleges. Despite the fact that community colleges house the majority of low-income, first-generation students, there is substantially less public funding for community colleges than for four-year colleges.

Mellow addresses the need for increased funding, public support and policy changes to support these under-resourced institutions which educate nearly half of all undergraduates in the country.


4. High-Achieving, Low-Income Students: Where Elite Colleges Are Falling Short, NPR

This piece takes a look at several of the barriers to higher education faced by high-achieving, low-income students as they undergo the college application process. Factors such as affordability of applying (and difficulty navigating the bureaucratic process of obtaining a fee waiver), representation on campus, accessibility of college counselors, ability to make college visits and more all affect these students’ success in applying to college.


5. Arkansas’ Agim using past struggles to educate, help youth, The Washington Post

A feel-good feature piece on McTelvin Agim, defensive lineman for the Arkansas Razorbacks and current sophomore undergraduate at the University of Arkansas. Following a weekend sentence at a juvenile detention center for attempting to steal a car, and while struggling to cope with the loss of his grandmother, Agim made his comeback as a high school football star who eventually was recruited to his current college team. As part of a player requirement to perform a minimum of two hours of community service per semester, Agim returned to his hometown of Texarkana, TX to share his story with a group of teens in a detention center.


Starts With Soap is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit run entirely by college and high school students. We’re part of a diverse coalition of organizations working to combat the inequities in education, some of which are highlighted in this newsletter. Make a difference today by making a tax-deductible contribution, and find out more by visiting our website. Have questions? Contact Claire Wang at