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Why Are Children Underperforming in Schools?

Policy Matters

Release Date: 11/04/2020

Books That Shaped My World show art Books That Shaped My World

Policy Matters

In May 2020, , the Mary Gibbs Jones Professor of Humanities and current chair of Rice University's History Department, became the first Rice professor to be honored with the Pulitzer Prize. His award-winning book, Sweet Taste of Liberty: A True Story of Slavery and Restitution in America, chronicles the life of Henrietta Wood, a freed slave who successfully sued one of her former owners. Since receiving the Pulitzer, Dr. McDaniel's book has only become more relevant in the midst of important conversations about racial justice in modern-day America. This podcast originally took place as an...

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What Can We Expect of the Biden Administration When It Comes to Immigration? show art What Can We Expect of the Biden Administration When It Comes to Immigration?

Policy Matters

President Joe Biden is committed to reversing his predecessor’s restrictive, often punitive approach to immigration. In general terms, how will his policies differ from those of President Donald Trump? What has Biden already done on the immigration front? What are likely new initiatives, particularly as they affect migration from Mexico and Central America? What are the advantages to a regional approach to migration from these countries? This episode’s guest is , the Francoise and Edward Djerejian Fellow for Mexico Studies and Director of the Center for the United States and Mexico at the...

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Covid-19 and the Transition to a Cashless Economy show art Covid-19 and the Transition to a Cashless Economy

Policy Matters

The Covid-19 pandemic in the United States has led to a sharp increase in cashless transactions. This is part of a broader trend toward electronic payments. What are the advantages of cashless transactions? How will their rise affect poorer households, particularly those which do not use banks and/or rely on alternative financial services? What security and privacy concerns does the shift toward cashless transactions raise? What are the prospects of a transition to an entirely cashless economy? This episode’s guest is , Fellow in Public Finance at Rice University’s Baker Institute for...

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Covid-19, Vaccines, and Prospects for a Return to Normalcy show art Covid-19, Vaccines, and Prospects for a Return to Normalcy

Policy Matters

We are at a dramatic moment in the Covid-19 pandemic in the United States. Even as infections and deaths reach horrifying highs, vaccines are becoming available.   What is Operation Warp Speed? How successful has it been in developing vaccines? What vaccines are currently available in the United States? What others are in the pipeline? How is the roll-out going? How long will it be before we return to normalcy? This episode’s guest is , Fellow in Science and Technology Policy here at the Baker Institute. She has written and spoken extensively on Covid-19 and vaccines for it.

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Federal Debt, Covid-19 and Wealth Inequality show art Federal Debt, Covid-19 and Wealth Inequality

Policy Matters

U.S. Federal debt, already at the highest level since World War II, has grown dramatically as Washington has expended huge sums to address plummeting output caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. How sustainable is this debt? What explains the long-term trend toward lower interest rates? What was the picture of wealth and income inequality in the United States on the eve of Covid-19? How will the pandemic affect it? This episode’s guest is , fellow in public finance here at the Baker Institute. His area of research involves the development of dynamic macroeconomic models for fiscal policy...

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Covid-19: Is the End in Sight? show art Covid-19: Is the End in Sight?

Policy Matters

Covid-19 has reached global pandemic proportions and has altered our way of life significantly. Starting in China and spreading all across the world, it has exacted an enormous human and financial price. The United States is now facing a health and economic crisis without close parallel in our history. What is the current status of the pandemic in the United States and Texas? Where do we stand with vaccine development and deployment? How will anti-vaccine sentiment impact public health? And what should the Biden Administration’s Covid policy be when it assumes power in January? This...

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Holding the Line Against China show art Holding the Line Against China

Policy Matters

Managing its relationship with China is surely the most acute geopolitical challenge facing the United States today. How should we assess the Chinese threat to US interests?   Is it likely to increase or decrease with time? What can the United States, by itself and in concert with allies, do to counter China’s play for hegemony in Asia and the Pacific? This episode’s guests are and Dr. Andrew Erickson. Collins is the Baker Botts Fellow in Energy & Environmental Regulatory Affairs at the Baker Institute’s Center for Energy Studies. Dr. Erickson is Professor of Strategy at...

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Coronavirus-19, a Biden Administration and Energy Markets show art Coronavirus-19, a Biden Administration and Energy Markets

Policy Matters

Global oil markets are still reeling from the disruptions of the spring – especially the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. How are oil markets handling this turbulence? What is the situation with other energy sources, such as natural gas, coal, and renewables? What impact will a Biden Administration have on the US energy sector? And what can much-maligned international oil companies do to regain public trust?   This episode’s guest is . He is the Fellow in Energy and Global Oil at Rice University's Baker Institute. Mark has 35 years of experience working at the intersections of energy,...

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Election 2020 Postmortem show art Election 2020 Postmortem

Policy Matters

On November 3, Americans elected Joe Biden president by substantial margins in the Electoral College and popular vote. But the political picture elsewhere is less clear. The Senate still hangs in the balance with all eyes on two January runoffs in Georgia. Elsewhere down-ballot, Republicans held their own. Texas Democrats, in particular, had a disappointing night, falling far short of their goals. What are we to make of the murky election results? And what are we to make of the numerous major polling errors around the country? This episode’s quest is . He is the fellow in political science...

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Why Are Children Underperforming in Schools? show art Why Are Children Underperforming in Schools?

Policy Matters

Education may be a great equalizer when it comes to economic mobility. But reality falls far short of this ideal. One reason: factors outside the school system can have a decisive impact on academic performance, particularly for students from poor households. The Baker Institute recently undertook an in-depth analysis of 80 Harris County schools to determine how these factors – ranging from food insecurity to depression – help shape educational attainment. What do the study’s findings tell us about the needs of less-advantaged students in Harris County?   Are these lessons...

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Education may be a great equalizer when it comes to economic mobility. But reality falls far short of this ideal. One reason: factors outside the school system can have a decisive impact on academic performance, particularly for students from poor households. The Baker Institute recently undertook an in-depth analysis of 80 Harris County schools to determine how these factors – ranging from food insecurity to depression – help shape educational attainment. What do the study’s findings tell us about the needs of less-advantaged students in Harris County?   Are these lessons transferrable to the nation at large? And how has the Covid-19 pandemic affected already existing inequalities?

This episode features two guests. The first is Dr. Quianta Moore, Fellow in Child Health Policy at the Baker Institute’s Center for Health and Biosciences. The second is Dr. Christopher Kulesza, Research Analyst in the institute’s Child Health Policy Program. They are co-authors of “Why are Children Underperforming in School? A Comprehensive Needs Assessment of Students in Harris Country.”