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Education focus of daylong Kalamazoo Matters events

Sept. 24, 2010

KALAMAZOO--The Kalamazoo Matters series will continue Tuesday, Oct. 5, with presentations and discussions about out-of-school stressors that affect the learning of children from disadvantaged neighborhoods, and what families, the community and schools can do together to address them.

The Kalamazoo Matters series features expert guest speakers who engage Kalamazoo area residents in conversations about how to help children from every neighborhood have a more equal chance to remain healthy into adulthood, become well educated and eventually be employed in good jobs. Organizers launched the series last April with an event focusing on how a wide array of health indicators are related to income, race and neighborhood, and what Kalamazoo could do to become a healthier community.

On Oct. 5, the focus shifts to how income, race and neighborhood also are related to chances for school success. Throughout the day, Dr. David Berliner, a noted educational psychologist, will speak on this topic and how broader community and societal support for children is needed if ambitious learning goals are to be achieved.

"Research over many years has found that the environment in which children grow up has even more to do with learning than the characteristics of the schools that students attend," says Dr. Timothy Ready, director of Western Michigan University's Lewis Walker Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnic Relations, which is one of the Kalamazoo Matters organizers.

"Children in disadvantaged families and neighborhoods are more likely to experience untreated health problems, food insecurity, frequent changes of residence, and a variety of social stressors that take a toll on children's learning, even before they start school. In Kalamazoo, as in most other communities around the nation, we need a broader, more cohesive approach to supporting our kids' learning and development."

These themes will be discussed at two Kalamazoo Matters events Oct. 5. Both discussions are free and open to the public.

Edison United Lunch Conversation
Tuesday, Oct. 5, noon

A luncheon discussion will be held from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the Hispanic American Council, located at 930 Lake St. in the old St. Joseph Grade School gymnasium. The luncheon will include participation by residents from the Edison neighborhood. To reserve a seat, call (269) 385-6279.

Service Learning Discussion
'University-Community Collaboration to Improve Education'
Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2:30 to 4 p.m.

No reservation is required for the second event, which will begin at 2:30 p.m. on WMU's campus in the Fetzer Center's Kirsch Auditorium.

During that event, Berliner will make a presentation focusing on the need for university-community partnerships and the importance of moving beyond categorical and single discipline-based approaches to these issues. WMU's Center for Service Learning will host informal discussions between community-based providers of youth and family services and WMU students interested in becoming involved in service learning.

Dr. David Berliner is Regents Professor of Education at Arizona State University. His newest book is "Collateral Damage: How High-Stakes Testing Corrupts America's Schools," which he co-wrote with Sharon Nichols.

Berliner also co-wrote a best-seller with B.J. Biddle titled "The Manufactured Crisis: Myths, Fraud and the Attack on America's Public Schools" and co-wrote the textbook "Educational Psychology," now in its sixth edition.

He is a member of the National Academy of Education, a Fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, and a past president of both the American Educational Research Association and the Division of Educational Psychology of the American Psychological Association. In addition, Berliner has prior teaching experience at the universities of Arizona and Massachusetts, Teachers College and Stanford University, as well as at universities in Australia, the Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland.

For more information about the fall Kalamazoo Matters events, contact WMU's Timothy Ready at timothy.ready@wmich.edu or (269) 387-2141. Visit wmich.edu/walkerinstitute to learn more about the Walker Institute and service learning at WMU.

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Media contact: Jeanne Baron, (269) 387-8400, jeanne.baron@wmich.edu

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