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  1. Study Finds EITC Bolsters Recipients’ Self-Respect While Helping Them Financially

    America's welfare state is quietly evolving from needs-based to an employment-based safety net that rewards working families and fuels dreams of a better life, indicates a new study led by a Michigan State University (MSU) scholar.

    The major reason: the little-known Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), a $65 billion federal tax-relief program for poor, working families. The program has been expanded dramatically during the past 25 years, while cash welfare has been sharply curtailed.

  2. Study: Probation for Schools Spurs Transfer Patterns Linked to Family Income

    Schools placed on probation due to subpar test scores spurs transfer patterns linked to household income, a study by New York University (NYU) sociologists finds.

    Their study of a school accountability program in the Chicago Public Schools reveals that families were responsive to new information about school quality and that those with more financial resources were the most likely to transfer to other schools in the district or to leave the district altogether.

  3. Choice, Information, and Constrained Options: School Transfers in a Stratified Educational System

    It is well known that family socioeconomic background influences childhood access to opportunities. Educational reforms that introduce new information about school quality may lead to increased inequality if families with more resources are better able to respond. However, these policies can also level the playing field for choice by equalizing disadvantaged families’ access to information. This study assesses how a novel accountability system affected family enrollment decisions in the Chicago Public Schools by introducing new test performance information and consequences.

  4. Defining the State from within: Boundaries, Schemas, and Associational Policymaking

    A growing literature posits the importance of boundaries in structuring social systems. Yet sociologists have not adequately theorized one of the most fraught and consequential sites of boundary-making in contemporary life: the delineation of the official edges of the government—and, consequently, of state from society. This article addresses that gap by theorizing the mechanisms of state boundary formation. In so doing, we extend culturalist theories of the state by providing a more specific model of how the state-society boundary is produced.

  5. Understanding Educational Policy Formation: The Case of School Violence Policies in Israel

    This study explores mechanisms underlying processes of educational policy formation. Previous studies have given much attention to processes of diffusion when accounting for educational policy formation. Less account has been given to the day-to-day institutional dynamics through which educational policies develop and change. Building on extensive governmental archival data, complemented with interviews and media analysis, I study the development and transformation of school violence policies in Israel.

  6. States With Punitive Justice Systems Have Higher Rates of Foster Care, Study Finds

    The number of children in foster care across the country is driven not solely by child abuse and neglect, but by states' varying politics and approaches to social problems, a new University of Washington (UW) study finds.

    States with more punitive criminal justice systems tend to remove children from their homes far more frequently than those with generous welfare programs — meaning that two states with similar rates of child abuse and neglect could have very different rates of foster care entry.

  7. Symbolic Politics of the State: The Case of In-state Tuition Bills for Undocumented Students

    A symbolic politics approach contends that the meanings policy proposals convey, and the audiences they attract, may matter more than whether they become law. Yet, we know little about the sociopolitical conditions prompting lawmakers to engage in symbolic politics.

  8. Measuring College Learning in Sociology: SSRC and ASA Collaboration Reaches Milestone

    Book CoverIn 2013 the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) initiated the Measuring College Learning (MCL) project because SSRC recognized a pressing need for greater clarity, intentionality, and quality in U.S. higher education.

  9. ASA Applauds Supreme Court’s Ruling to Uphold Affirmative Action Program at University of Texas

    The American Sociological Association (ASA) applauds the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling today in the affirmative action case Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin. The judgement allows the university to continue using race as a factor in admissions decisions.

  10. A Hand Up for Low-Income Families

    by Sarah Halpern-Meekin, Laura Tach, Kathryn Edin, and Jennifer Sykes

    Welfare queens driving Cadillacs. Food stamp kings buying filet mignon. The stereotypes are rife. What if there was a way to support lower-income families without the stigma? There is. And it comes from an unexpected source: the Internal Revenue Service.