By Alexis Lai, CNN
(CNN) - Jay Lin is the embodiment of the American dream - and what is increasingly a Chinese dream.
Originally from Wenzhou in eastern China, he moved to New York City as a teenager. After earning degrees from Ivy League universities - Cornell and Columbia - he secured a comfortable job in a bucolic town in Connecticut.
Now he is helping others in China follow his path, where the desire for elite U.S. education is alive and well.
In the last decade, mainland Chinese have reshaped the international student body at U.S. colleges and universities, notably at Ivy League institutions. In the 2009-2010 academic year, China surpassed traditional "study abroad" heavyweights like Canada, India and South Korea, to lead international enrollment across U.S. higher education, according to the Institute of International Education. The U.S.-based institute's most recent figures reveal that mainland Chinese students increased 23% to more than 723,000 in the 2010-11 academic year.
by Deena Zaru, CNN
(CNN) Some kids spend after-school hours and weekends at music classes and football practice. For these kids, summer is the time for space camp and swimming lessons. But those whose families struggle to pay the bills and can’t afford extras often miss out on these educational experiences. And as their classmates progress, some find themselves getting further behind.
According to sociologist Roxanna Harlow, there is a direct link between poverty and a child’s level of educational achievement. And in Carroll County, MD, where over 90 percent of the population is white, kids of color face a unique set of challenges.
“I feel strongly that good education should be accessible to everybody, especially these extras that can really make the difference,” said Harlow. “We don’t turn anyone away based on money.”
Dr. Harlow founded Higher Learning Inc. (HLI), a non-profit organization that “provides active educational enrichment for underserved youth” because she was moved by the contrast between the affluent college students she taught and the young people she encountered on the street corners of Baltimore and her native Chicago, who had few opportunities to succeed.
The program offers Saturday sessions during the school year as well as two summer sessions.
“I decided to start a program that targeted students of color who are lower income and behind the most in terms of educational achievement” said Harlow, “and I chose to focus on academic experiences that they would not get in school.”
CNN’s Schools of Thought blog is a place for parents, educators and students to learn about and discuss what's happening in education. We're curious about what's happening before kindergarten, through college and beyond. Have a story to tell? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org