Professor Sandra Newman of Johns Hopkins University found in a recent study that families that spend more than the anticipated 30 percent of their income on housing have children who often under-perform scholastically.
The study suggests that families that spend around 30 percent of their income on housing often put a lot more of what is left over into their children’s education and quality of life.
This is not simply saying that being rich is better than being poor; it draws a unique causal relationship between housing and school performance. A mother who works three jobs to pay a high rent may not be able to check homework as much.
“When a family moved from spending more than half of its income on housing to the 30 percent ideal, they invested an average of $98 more on their children,” read a press release from the university regarding the study. “Not a lot of money, but enough to make a difference.”
What does this mean for New York City? This was a national study, but if this is true, the biggest effect would be right here in New York City. Housing costs in all boroughs are very high. If the mayor is committed to digging in on the issue of universal pre-k, there should be research that goes with it that tracks performance and the income to rent ratio.
This is important public policy, since the city has often scratched its head on how to get better results from students. There is much to be done in the classroom, but there may be some part of this that has to be explored outside the classroom, as well.
The political side of this is to get developers to go along with including affordable housing along with the luxury condos and units that are so attractive to develop. Not an easy task.
Comeback for Crumbs
Crumbs Bakery, maker of high-end cupcakes, went out of business only to be rescued and brought back in about one week.
Crumbs was built on the idea that the trendy nonfood enjoyed by the yuppie masses would last forever. And that could have worked if Crumbs had not over-extended itself.
A Starbucks every few blocks works, but the city does not need cupcakes everywhere. The appetite is just not there. People need their coffee; they do not need an Artie Lange cupcake every day.
Now, investor Marcus Lemonis is convinced he can make Crumbs about more than just cupcakes. The new plan, should the owners and Lemonis want to thrive, should focus on bringing back the mystique of Crumbs by making their locations fewer in number.
Hopefully, the one in Washington’s Union Station will remain, because there is nothing like an Elvis cupcake before a long bus ride back to Port Authority.