People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone.
- Audrey Hepburn
Friday, February 19, 2016
I was reading an article on the issues of schools, the poverty level of most public schools passes the 50% mark, as determined by FRL (free or reduced lunch) attendees. Then there are those who do not qualify, if not only marginally by the family income level that may seem on paper over the qualifying level but in rapidly gentrifying cities where rents are rising, costs of after care, the need for commuting, etc are factored in that number will be greater. And there are those who simply don't want the label.
I am at a "diversified" STEM school where I have been for the last 3 days doing a Career class. I have passed perhaps 2 white students the rest are faces of color and that is a lot of color. We have Asian kids who come from numerous Asian cultures - Vietnamese, Taiwanese, Chinese, Laotian, Cambodian, etc. They are all lumped under the yellow umbrella. Then we have African American. Okay that is Black American, Hatian, Jamaican, African and then there own breakdown - Ethiopian, Somalian, Eritrea, etc. Then we have Latino - Mexican, Central American, South American, Puerto Rico. Or we have Native American, Pacific Islander and those too broken into their respective "tribes". We have a rainbow flag that frankly doesn't cut it. But the one thing they share is poverty.
The reality is that our schools are filled largely with poor kids. There are pockets of schools and they are both public and charter, that have kids from middle class working class homes that are stable, have reliable income, a home, family support and the basic foundation one needs to build a home. Without a foundation you have nothing on which to build and there lies the problem.
Of the 3,285
comments I've read, I see folks are blaming baby daddies, the welfare
state, Obama, immigration policy, teen pregnancy and even disobedience.
But the message of the article and study is clear - the current
education reform debate is ignoring the most direct, predictable cause
of low performance in schools - poverty.
Poverty leads to less
attention and nurturing for kids. We can judge parents all day, but to
deprive young children of basic services in school means society is not
doing it's job and WE will be paying more later in social costs if we do
not intervene. Indeed, this is the key to fixing problems - by putting
kids from troubled homes ahead of the parents.
message here is that school 'reform' advocates are wasting our time and
tax dollars on testing kids needlessly when we can already tell by
their income who needs more support. We are also wasting precious
resources laying blame on the educators who in reality are the first
responders to kids in educational crisis, not just as teachers, but
Particularly for corporatist Democrats like
Obama and NY governor Andrew Cuomo, the attack on teachers has been so
naked, they don't even pretend the tests or evaluations are supposed to
be accurate anymore, they are just plowing forward with soundbites.
author does seem to conflate the official poverty level with lunch
subsidy data, but everyone knows we are in the middle of a prolonged
class war with the rich extracting wealth from circulation in our
economy at record levels.
economist Robert Moffitt recently analyzed 40 years of welfare data and
determined that U.S. "aid for the 2.5 million single-parents families
with the absolute lowest levels of earnings...dropped 35% between 1983
He noted during his May 2014 report release: "You would
think that the government would offer the most support to those who have
the lowest incomes and provide less help to those with higher incomes,
but that is not the case." He also noted that "single mothers seem to
be especially viewed as undeserving" under the current system
And the last few weeks have been a barrage of articles on how to desegregates schools, there was this in the New York Times, that had the most telling picture of kids regardless of color sitting in the lunchroom eating with their coats on. The idea is that if they shove in that shit as fast as they can they can play. Yes in 30 minutes that they are allotted this will solve many issues and have children ready to learn. Who wouldn't be? Really? This is a debate?
Then we have the idea that we are sure we can solve the problem with arts programs, more computers, better teachers, better tests, more grit and on and on. Here is a link to Lyndsey Lawton the Ed writer for the Washington Post. Read the dozens and dozens of articles that have one successful idea followed by one horrendous reality that faces our system of education.
I sit here after three days and as the adage goes, "company like fish stink after three days."
Immigrant children of cultures that emphasize education as the pursuit of freedom are like machines. They are utterly responsive only to that which they can receive grades and accolades. They are utterly disengaged from any creative pursuits (other than music and that is confined to orchestra as that it looks good on transcripts); then we have African immigrants whose worn torn families and the dynamics that it posses shows in the faces of utter disregard, disengagement and the reality that they are vilified by simply being Muslim. It gives a great cover to simply avoid doing the work and giving a shit. The black kids are all over the map and there is where the color barrier falls, as the white kids are the same. Unless the kids are in the Advanced Placement classes, the International Baccalaureate programs you don't see the reality that I see when I do meet a black kid who is smart as hell and intellectually curious. These are the kids that often don't test well and they don't have the financial resources to get the equivalent tutoring that their white counterparts do in order to "master" the test. That is what testing is, the ability to master that not measure success. That is the real discrimination.
And all kids regardless come to school with baggage, some of it a better brand, some of it less full, and some of it bursting at the seams. It shows at the end of day who has someone willing to help carry said bag and those who are toting it alone.
So how do we solve that problem. Well we have buzz words and other fads that will ensure that the solution is just an acronym away. The problem however is much larger than four letters can ever explain.
In an age of resegregation, these schools are trying to balance poor and wealthy kids
As U.S. public schools have
grown increasingly segregated by race and income, there is a growing
number of school districts and charter schools striving for greater
balance among their students, according to new research released Tuesday by the Century Foundation, a left-leaning think tank.
identified 91 school districts and charter school chains serving more
than 4 million students — including the District of Columbia and Chicago
public school systems — that are using tools such as magnet schools,
weighted lotteries and changes in school attendance zones to create more
balance between white students and those of color and between
low-income and more affluent children.
That is more than
double the number employing such tactics in 2007, according to Halley
Potter, a fellow at the Century Foundation and an author of one of two
The new methods, which rely on choices and
incentives, are a far cry from the forced busing policies that were a
hallmark of early desegregation efforts. In many cases, school districts
are focused on integrating children of different economic backgrounds,
as opposed to race, although the two are inextricably linked, Potter
of the growth of these socioeconomic strategies is a reflection of the
legal environment for racial desegregation, which just continues to get
trickier,” she said. “Communities serious about tackling integration
find that these tools are the best way.”
public schools are more racially segregated now than they were in the
1970s, according to the study. More than one-third of all black and
Latino students attend schools that are more than 90 percent non-white,
according to the Century Foundation. For white students, the image is
flipped: More than one-third attend schools that are nearly all white. Research shows
that children from low-income families — a group that is
proportionately more African American and Latino — perform better
academically when they attend schools that are not majority-poor.
Segregated, high-poverty schools tend to have fewer experienced
teachers, fewer challenging courses, inferior facilities, less access to
private funding and higher drop-out rates.
In Hartford, Conn.,
for example, black and Latino students from the city attend regional
magnet schools along with white students from more affluent suburbs. In
2013, there was no gap in state reading test scores for third-graders,
meaning white, Latino and black students all scored about the same. The
achievement gap also was eliminated between Latino and white students on
the fifth-grade reading test. And by 10th grade, the gap between
low-income students and their more affluent peers was 5 percentage
points on the reading test, compared with a statewide average of 28
There is no evidence that integration gives a similar
boost to the academic achievement of affluent students, Potter said. But
she and other researchers argue that exposure to people of other
backgrounds teaches skills that are essential to success in a globally
“You can’t argue that going to a more diverse
school is necessarily going to help middle-class kids who are already
coming in as high achievers,” Potter said. “But when kids have a chance
to be in a classroom with peers from different backgrounds, it promotes
communication, critical thinking and the kinds of cognitive skills that
are at the heart of the academic mission.”
The most common
strategy used by the school districts and charter networks is to redraw
school attendance boundaries in a way that captures a more diverse
student population. About a quarter of the districts have created magnet
schools, others have school-transfer policies that take into account
family income levels, and others have school lotteries that give extra
weight to income levels to promote diversity.
“One of the
take-home messages is the variety of different strategies that are
being used,” Potter said. “When people think of integration, they only
have one idea in their head of what that means — usually it’s forced
changes of who goes to school where. But there isn’t a one-size-fits-all
approach. It’s important to look to the examples of what other
communities and leaders have done to tackle these questions.”
is a priority of John B. King Jr., the acting education secretary, who
created a small pilot program as education commissioner in New York
State that offered grants to districts to launch programs aimed at
breaking up concentrated poverty in their schools. King has said that he
plans to use competitive grants to encourage diversity and will work
with other agencies to encourage more integrated schools and
communities. In his budget proposal Tuesday, President Obama is expected
to seek money in 2017 for a competitive grant program for school
districts to launch integration programs.