The new year is a symbolic new start, but really the news just keeps flowing, highlighting issues that continue from one year straight to the next. Here are a few of the stories that keep our minds buzzing as we enter 2020.

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Helping students up the economic ladder

In a series of three case studies, the Chronicle of Higher Education highlights programs at a large Midwestern university, a historically black college and a nautical academy that help students overcome the hurdles of higher education and succeed. Strategies include special orientation programs, lessons on time management and setting high expectations because low-income does not mean less-than.

New SNAP rules could affect part-time college students

Rules about who can and can’t get Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits —  formerly called food stamps — have always been confusing for part-time students. And since early December, when the Trump administration announced new rules implementing work requirements for people who receive SNAP, the situation got worse. NPR delves into what we know and don’t know about how the new rule affects college students and why it matters. 

Overcoming the awkwardness of one of the most important calls in your life

UW Daily writer McKenzie Murray gives a straightforward account of how to get past the awkwardness of calling a suicide crisis line. Murray reminds the reader that the crisis-line volunteer doesn’t know them. “There’s no pressure to try to seem coherent or witty or functional. You can just blubber and cry if that’s what you need.” The article also delves into what resources are available to students and other people who need any level of support.

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How to start creating anti-racist schools

This Mindshift article explores how race theory scholar Ibram X. Kendi’s ideas on anti-racism can be applied to school systems. It delves into everything from how the “canon” of what should be taught was developed to how we use test scores to define intelligence. “It boils down to this,” Katrina Schwartz writes. “If one thinks the fundamental racist problem in society is ‘those bad people,’ then one can essentially do nothing. But if racism is bad policies, then ‘you need a collective effort to change those policies.’ ”

Looking beyond this year’s scores for a longer-scale measurement of growth

A new study from Stanford looks at how students are improving over time by looking at test scores and student growth. This story from the Salem Reporter focuses on improvements in Oregon and includes an interactive graphic that lets you focus in on your district.