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189. How to Fix a Broken High Schooler, in Four Easy Steps (Rebroadcast)

2016-02-03 | 🔗
Okay, maybe the steps aren't so easy. But a program run out of a Toronto housing project has had great success in turning around kids who were headed for trouble.
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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My name is Carolyn occur. I would see executive director of region, part community Helsinki Regent Park in downtown Toronto is known for having one of Canada's oldest biggest worst housing projects so we're doing. All this work were investing more and more dollars. I when I went to region, particularly health centre, nineteen. Ninety two, the budget was about two point: eight million by a boat eighteen, ninety six. Ninety seven budget was close to six million instead of things improving things we're getting worse in terms of crime and murder and violence. This kind of thing we were very distressed over. What was happening to our young people- and we did really understand it. We were doing more and more always investing more and we
seeing an improvement There were about nine murders in regional park in not two thousand, which was the year before we started pathways to education pathways to education was a voluntary programme for high school kids Medium park. It wasn't an education programme. Exactly was more like life support the path program they say, has four pillars. Those accounts laying academic, social and financial, its Philip orientalists, he's an economist nursery of Toronto, with a particular interest in education over the years Borealis had heard about pathway patients that it was something of a miracle cure for low performing ice moors. He wondered if that could possibly be true, Have we to education? Had a pro bono study done
in the mid two thousands by consulting from and the director that did, the problem now study was a member of the board of pathways and came out. The report. I can feel your antenna as an empirical economist already going up ray. I MACE report done by a consult, Missus, Boffin, consulting group. I believe right it was Boston, consulting group and good and reputable, but still a pro bono report Commission someone who's also sitting on the board of the non profit that's running the thing you might be a little bit skeptical. Yes, what was striking about report was it suggested that before pathways to drop out rate was fifty six percent and very soon after pathways was introduced, the drop out rate with ten percent. So you had a forty six percentage point fall in the drop out rate, and the report is a tribute to the
reduction pathways, and this type of magnitude effect is virtually unheard of in the education literature. It's like the holy GRAIL of programmes that try to improve El comes especially among disadvantaged households, and if these risks it's for true. We should try to figure out exactly how to replicate them across the country? And in the? U S, because they are so large with solving of our problems, So on today's programme were the results true. If so, how did it happen and most important when the rest of us sign up. I'm happy,
from W and Y see studios. This is for economic, radio, the podcast that explores the hidden side of everything. Here's your house, Stephen Governor, Carolyn occur, was running a community health centre in Toronto housing project I was driven to break the cycle of poverty. How do you break the cycle of poverty? Well educated. Should an income are the two most powerful determinants of health? We talk about this in our last episode. The huge returns to education, especially if you ve, got a good thing. We know a good teacher can increase the lifetime income of a classroom by over two hundred and fifty thousand dollars. We also talk about how you s, teachers on average, aren't as good as we might lake and that its not necessarily
fault, so I think it s the way we train teachers is fundamentally broken in this country, but teachers and schools are only one side of the education equation is also the students and their families and the schools don't have much to say about how well equipped or more faded those kids? Maybe we often used to jokingly, say you know, the facts gave us a bit kids that they have the first educate him. By the same token, kids come with the best parents, they happen again and we have to take them. They are for here is the paradox: returns to education are huge, but the kind of kid who really needs those big returns from a poor, maybe broken family, is least likely to get a good education. As much as the school system might want to help not really set up for it, so what about a community health centre in housing project?
he wasn't an obvious idea in the beginning, at least even to Caroline ECHO in the community, had quite a stick and it was sensationalism, made a lot of headlines right region park, as is horrible place in, and look happening there. Now we never felt way. We felt a privilege to be able to serve the community and very distressed by the fact that we were working. harder and expanding more efforts and investment to improve the health of the community, and we seeing, can improve at all they kept trying new things. And we were doing our third or fourth strategic plan. Finally, they couldn't help but notice the relationship between school and all the bad stuff happening in region park We worked with the Toronto District School Board. They told us we had a fifty percent high school dropout rate and that only twenty percent kids were going on to post secondary and when the director of the programme came and told me that
I said now. I know why these kids are shooting each other. They have no hope and no future Tucker and her colleagues changed. Their focus, I didn't dwelling on all the bad outcomes in their neighborhood about the good outcome is rare as they might be, and we brought in focus groups the young people who grew up in region park who had made it through. Personally were doing well. We asked them what made the difference in their lives and every one of those people, told us somebody took them under their wing. It was either teacher. It was either parks and recreation. person- and they taught them- and they help them all the way. Now this only happened to a handful of people spontaneously, but we were listening listening exceptionally important and we determined they lack academic support.
Is absolutely no one they can go to for help with homework. they lack social capital and am no networks whatsoever. They go from one house of poverty to another. There's no And her uncle who can help them get a job. So I was thing I have to make an old boys network here and she and her staff came up with basically the pathways to education model that Philip orientalists the University of Toronto. economists what the idea and the motivation being that if they could break this cycle by reducing the drop out rates and encouraging individuals, in the community to go onto doing well in their careers and then give back to the community that they came from. That would be a way to try to turn the community around.
pathways to education would be a voluntary programme funded merely by the government and nonprofit. All you had to do to qualify would be a high school kid in the neighborhood, a contract long with the parent that you'll do everything you're supposed to do in two thousand and one and pathways began. One hundred and fifteen incoming freshman signed up every year. The new cohort was added. Within a few years, more than six hundred kids were participating in the program spread to two other housing projects in Toronto. The take up rate was about eighty five percent, its unique in that the origins of the programme are neighbourhood based its not directly explicitly tied to the school. and yet they coordinate a lot, but this was the we're hoods source is important because it helps give the students sense of community even away from the school that their part of this group on or off the school grounds, and that is the key.
Indeed he really paying attention to them. It's a community trying to get him to sign up for the programme and is the community to providing support. That's. What Carolyn occur means all boys network to get Regent part kids, to go to school. To do well and could take more than just one or two lines of intervention in fact took four counselling, academic, tutoring social activities and financial incentives. On the council side, every student that enters great nine gets assigned student parents support worker column, SBS Dubious the SBA studies, page advocates who meet on a regular basis with the students to check in How they're doing an it's their job.
I've been war to help ensure the academic success of the student. The next pillar is on the academic side, where tutoring services are available up to four nights a week, students have to visit their SBS W twice a month and their expected to attend shootings MRS twice a week, and thus, if their grades are above a certain amount around seventy percent and as incentives to do those things, there's the financial pillar. So as long as a student continues to participate in all the activism pathways, they are eligible to receive free public transportation that can get them to school and back and also a college scholarship that builds up to four thousand dollars by the. and of high school four thousand for each year of college or total total. So financial incentives, but, let's be honest, not huge, free transportation, certainly not huge
but something and enforce has not. Yet when interviewing the students participating pathway, it is clear that the public transportation is a big deal to them that they feel that they have to participate in order to get the public aspiration tickets aroused that they would be walking to school on when they see their friends getting the free public transportation as well. I think that they see that as a big advantage that they want to do. We have a contract parent sign it because we need permission to look degrades, look at the marks so that, when apparent called up in you, didn't give my Johnny enough bus tickets, we would say well Johnny, it's cool on Wednesday. That's why he didn't get too. For that day, oh, he did ditty. The kids told me they would get the bus tickets
they sell em for cigarettes only the first time, because he would learn right away now. They can't get to school and then the last pillars, the social pillar, where pathways dooms are eligible and required to go to at least one group activity a month. and these group activities are designed want to keep him out of trouble and encourage them to hang out with also academically interested students and two to have. On or even learn something along the way to develop a new hobby, and so the activities can range from us events or bowling nights. Sometimes they can even be more sophisticated where they will have cause to behaviour therapy and encourage them to think about managing their stress.
Coming up on economics. Radio will learn just how effective pathways education was and what we really want to know of all those different interventions which we're doing the heavy lifting it virtually impossible to even imagine setting up the ideal experiment investigated, Philip Borealis had heard that pathways to education was phenomenally successful, helping kids stay in school and do well, but the source of this rumour was a report that has been commissioned by
pathways board member Borealis as a research academic, one to look at the data for himself right. So I started engaging pathways and possibly working with their data. While back it took me a few years to convince them that I was generally to evaluate the program and look in the programme from now. Partisan perspective and I think, to their credit that they were also interested, having a third party evaluate the programme, worry obvious was able to get hold of some publicly available data, but it was when pathway started, feeding him our data that he could really measure what was going just prior to the introduction pathways programming, two thousand and one the enter great nine students in two thousand
The eventual graduation rate, five, your reservation rate for them was forty percent and Two years later, it does jump up quite a bit too almost sixty percent. So a twentieth percentage point ink is an graduation rate for students who were entering from region part and keep in mind. The programme is phased in start great nines entering in two thousand and one so great in two thousand one we're not eligible but great nines and then all the great nines entering afterwards were eligible for pathways. And so you compare that to the change in the graduation rates for students from other housing projects. The increase in graduation was lesson five percentage points she had to twenty percent point increase over to your periods,
firstly from region park, and then you had only three or four percent point change in the other products. So the estimated impact of the programme is about a fifteen. Sixteen percent for increasing the huskies reservation rate with which is huge area its huge. It's not the large effect that the Boston consulting firm was finding, but still it's a large enough effect to get really excited about sewed. Not only do I find large increase in the high school graduation, but also by the twenty percent point increase in college going as well. So one would think that educators and politicians around the world are looking at this as a beacon of light and saying: hey, let's replicate, replicate, replicate or adjust to our own needs. Is that the case or no more? Sometimes I just cry the pathways program to people outside of Canada as the Harlem Children's Zone of Canada. If we have this interesting,
Around that's relatively young and that people are becoming more aware of that seems to be successful, at least in the settings it had been so far examined. I think the programme certainly intriguing to want to consider possible expansion both in Canada. In the? U S, I think, Overall, there is some effort to try to disentangle what parts the programme where the king The events that are really driving these positive impacts and taking from that knowledge ways to surround the programme, Philip in the paper you with your co authors rights. It is not possible to tell from the results in this paper whether only a few components of the programme drive the results or whether its integration is crucial. So can you talk to me about that from it
Are you can't tell which of these different interventions are the ones that are moving the needle and which of these perhaps, you suspect, are driving the games, because the analysis simply looks at what happens to these graduation rates or college going rates before and after the programme compared to some comparison groups? The main estimated facts are on the overall impact of the programme. What happened when the programme was introduced, but of course that doesn't really say even with these large impacts what's driving them, whether it's just one component or one pillar of the programme, or whether it is really important that all these services are provided. At the same time, I think it's virtually impossible
even imagined, setting up the idea or experiment investigate that the title of my papers and integrated approach for helping disadvantaged youth integrated, because I think it may well be that a student who goes to see his SBS W. gets advised to make sure that they're going to tutoring and while they're going to tutoring, they meet some friends or students, and then they get encouraged go to the group activity, and then they keep doing this because they want the incentives. So everything is sort of working together to help ensure the participation Philip. You write that the cost of this programme is nearly five thousand dollars per student per year. This, of course, is on top of the class already going to the public school through taxes and so on, and that doesn't include pro bono, tutoring and so on. So in some places be no five.
those year on top of all those other things that are not counted in a dollar fashion. Here that biogas a kid a good private school education, so considering the cost of this programme per head, what can you tell us about? Overall, are a wise. You said that you found that pathways education the increases Highschool completion and post secondary in roman law, but as large as those in seem, you know, first of all, its relatively expensive and second of all, its still barely half of these kids are finished. High school even so end or going to college. If the impact that were finding pathways is really correct in terms of a fifteen percent point increase in, oh graduation raid, a twenty percent point increase in the college going rate. If these translate to hire earnings, say tempers you're a fifteen percent year and possible non pecuniary benefits, as well as better house, lower crime rates, more social participation, these Bennett,
our huge because their added up over a lifetime, whereas the CASA pathways, in only for a four year five year period, the potential impact from just a small increase. The rate of return from these would lead to an increase in lifetime wealth that is likely to be quite substantially more than the twenty thousand total cost of the programme and in fact, with some back of the army estimates. I find that the tax revenue alone from the higher earnings is enough to cover the present value, the programme Philip orientalists wanted to measure efficacy of pathways to education, not only because he's an economist who pays attention to education, but because he thinks that most,
economists who pay attention to education are missing the point for the longest time economics as modeled education as a well thought out investments, and so all decisions are the right ones. If a student decide set here she doesn't want to study or she wants to drop out of high school our traditional models say that that's the right thing to do that they're doing the best but they can under the circumstances and our ability in and what not and more recently, economic started incorporating elements of psychology and sociology in a neuroscientist to recognize that we don't always get it right when thinking about me, the term investment decisions, especially when it has to do with ourselves and and these kinds of things in one of your papers. You make the point that young people while meeting education to do well later are kind of the worst candidates
understanding how much they need education to do? Well. later and you open with a quote from Aristotle to never aid which I love, the roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet right. My father, always mention quote when I was a kid to remind me that, however bitter the experience education is right now that the effort from staying home Friday night or do something that doesnt really seemed unexciting were fun and requiring concentration and thinking. However, tedious the benefits are, long term and their big and the difficulty making these two, such decisions is especially true for, children and adolescents, whose brains are just not even developed at a point when the cortex and parts of the brain that are really focused on trying to in the future and think about the consequences are taking many
is to develop. Is this? Do you think problem that were only starting to realize. Now. Ours is something you know, look Aristotle knew it did. We forget it for a few thousand years and where and we're just getting back to it is something that you think education, folks and Ed reform. People of known all along, I think, were starting to pay more attention to the possibility that a more behavioral model might be a better way of describing, how all individuals are making schooling decisions, and that opens up to a lot of possibilities for power. So, on the one hand, students Maine, Beginning always right, that's not to say that they always get it wrong. But on the other hand, there is room with this knowledge to come in and think about alternative ways to help we haven't thought about before, so, if you think of education as a form of investing,
as we know when it comes to financial investing, there are all kinds of mistakes. What kind of mistakes do students make in thinking about education, I guess I'm a boil down to four points. One is, as students are often too focused on the present day- the emphasised a future. They don't think about it as much as they should. The second is that students tend to over rely on routine just keep doing what they ve been doing and not I think, maybe other routines might be better for them. Three is that students sometimes think too much about negative identities. They focus on. What they're not good at or they might hang out with the wrong crowd and be in whence negatively in that way and the fourth one is that mistakes and more likely
just for situations or in situations where there is not enough information right. So when you talk about that integration- and you talk about all the different components of it, there is the social worker that's attached to the student and the parents. There's the academic tutoring. There's a financial incentives is the the activities in the social pillar. When you describe it like that, and when I read about the programme itself, it strikes me that basically, this programme is performing the function of a community and the family within the community. So I'm just curious. I know it's attractive because it works well and because relatively unusual but did not strike you at any point that holy cow. What this programme is due it is essentially back filling
what society and families used are already be doing on their own. Without a special programme designed to achieve it is possible as possible that the programme is succeeding because there not enough support at home or in other parts of the community. I think all households I'm degree or other sometimes in this out on, providing encouragement or that nudge towards using services that students themselves may not feel that they want to use. I think one interesting possibility is that the programme is working assessed by mandating that some student see Someone on a regular basis to talk about their academic goes to get reminded about why there in school or where they're going in to get mandate, to use tutoring services, even if they dont really feel that they have time or that they don't need the help
Carolyn actor, who helped set up pathways. Education was instrumental in making the tutoring mandatory she's, not even a behavioral economists. Nope her background nursing that's where she learned to listen, so I changed actually all does to make tutoring mandatory. After our first year, which we called a pilot year We brought in the youth. We did focus groups with the tutors inventor Hata. We improve this and we asked the young people,
How do we increase attendance at tutoring and the nautilus boys of all looked Edison said you have to make it mandatory So you see the young people want structure and they want to know Oh that somebody's caring about them. We care, if you skip school bringing them it's radio is produced by W and why see, studios end up near productions. Today's episode was produced by Susie Lichtenberg and David Herman with help from Jewel Werner. The rest of our staff includes Ervic Gunjay, J Coward merit, Jacob Christopher Worth. Reg results be
caution: the highly bitch, Alison Hockenberry and Caroline English. You can find all our episodes at for economics dot com. You can also subscribe to the spot guest on Itunes or where we get your progress. And after things from us, either Stephen doubly again one more thing: if you liked the episode you just heard, we think you like something else in the freedom of radio network. Look for this interview on the new pod cast people. I mostly admire with host Steve, let it but my guest today Subaru she collects championships she's for W Nba championships, five euro, the best about championships to end she a championship.
for international basketball, federation, world cups and four olympic Gold medal. I would think that, in order to be the player you are, you would have to be a person who acted gets better under pressure rather than worth. Well. Obviously, there are people who are known for heading big. Shots are known for playing, while in big gangs that exists for sure, but I think we kind of frame it the wrong way. It's not that you're gonna make nine at it. it's that you might make three at a ten but somebody else's, making zero it's on, whose most Successful it's like who's, the most successful The least successful that is, people mostly admire. You can find it on your favorite podcast app subscribe now, so that you don't miss single episode.
Hey there, Stephen dubbing again, one more thing. If you like for economics, radio, I think you'll. Also like the latest episode of people, I mostly admire the podcast hosted by my free economic, spreading co, author, Steve Levin. Here's what it sounds like a guest today, Sue bird. She collects championships she's for W Nba championships, five euro, the best, while championships too, and see a championships for International Basketball Federation World cups. and four limpid gold medals. I'd love to talk about the economics of professional basketball, so the average player in the NBA made eight point three million dollars into that nineteen and in the W Nba, the average with eighty thousand is frustrating just now. I think. Actually, if you look at
twenty twenty, our minimum is now higher, but we all put in the same amount of work. So is it hard to swallow, knowing that somebody else's work is being rewarded at times by I live in reality. I understand business and economics. Some people look at us as like charity. They go will will help them out like an it in a terrible. What sense? Not unlike this business, vestment way and we think do look at us as an investment immediately. Its talked about how we don't make money- and it's like fifty years ago in the nba- did either, but people are willing to make that investment get behind it and growing people. I mostly admire you can find on your favorite podcast app.
Transcript generated on 2021-01-29.