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View Diary: Why the Achievement Gap Matters and Will Remain (147 comments)

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  •  Most people in the middle class have no idea (11+ / 0-)

    of the conditions of poverty and its associated conditions.  I have worked in a Title I school for 15 years.  Ninety five percent of the students qualify for free or reduced lunch.

    In this community we have many parents who are incarcerated, parents who have been deported, parents dead way too young from conditions and diseases that a middle class person might be able to live with.  We have children who are afraid that they or their parents will be deported and the family split up.  There are live in boyfriends who beat up kids' mothers and them too.  We have sexual abuse, physical abuse, and employer abuse, when an undocumented person is gypped out of their pay.

    Parents who are financially challenged move often.  I had a 4th grader who had gone to 13 or 14 different schools in just five years. We have parents that don't send their kids to school regularly, or keep all the kids home, even when only one is sick.  

    Our staff is fabulous and works hard to close the achievement gap, but in the end, the diarist is so right. It is an equity gap, and no matter what my great staff does, there is and will be a barrier, unless we address the issues of poverty in America.

    Remember, you can't have crazy without az.

    by Desert Rose on Sun Jun 26, 2011 at 11:15:54 AM PDT

    •  Then there are the kids (8+ / 0-)

      Where there are 3-4 families sharing a hotel room as their housing, the kids whose families are couch-surfing, the kids who move around several times in a month...

      Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

      by elfling on Sun Jun 26, 2011 at 12:01:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah, you reminded me of a time (5+ / 0-)

        when my principal and I were making home visits, and the apartment manager told us of a family that weren't sending their kids to school.  We knocked on the door.  The only furniture was bedding on the floor. The parents didn't send the kids 'cause we're a uniform school and they couldn't afford the uniforms.  Needless to say, we have uniforms for families like this, so we told them to send the children the next day, and we suited them up.

        We have quite a few McKinney-Vento kids.

        Remember, you can't have crazy without az.

        by Desert Rose on Sun Jun 26, 2011 at 12:20:06 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I agree that it's hard (4+ / 0-)

      but I do not accept the idea that no matter what a great staff does there will always be a barrier.

      My students face similar challenges and yet they are thriving academically. There are a number of things that we do that help them be successful. We work as a team and share the work. We see all kids as our kids and aren't afraid to open up our classrooms to each other.

      The main problem I have with test-based reform is that it encourages competition and the implementation of bad curriculum. If you want a teacher to do a good job, you need to give them a supportive environment and some freedom to teach with materials that they find inspiring. It's hard to inspire others when you find the texts you read boring.

      Poverty makes the job more difficult, and reform efforts can make it seem impossible, but the gap can be closed within the systems we already have in place. It's vision that is lacking.

      •  We do the same. So tell me where are you? (0+ / 0-)

        Remember, you can't have crazy without az.

        by Desert Rose on Mon Jun 27, 2011 at 06:40:22 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  And tell me your state scores, even though (0+ / 0-)

        I don't support judging schools one one test.

        Remember, you can't have crazy without az.

        by Desert Rose on Mon Jun 27, 2011 at 06:41:29 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm in (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Desert Rose

          CA

          90% low-income. 100% minority students. About 80% enter as ELs, though most FEP out by the time they graduate from elementary. We've been on lock down because of shootings in the neighborhood more times than I can count.

          The kids grow each year. By 5th grade more than 70% of our students are proficient/adv. in ELA, and 85% in math.

          They also demonstrate leadership, learn to communicate to solve conflicts, complete inquiry based projects, and develop their writing skills. We aren't perfect, but we're constantly working on developing our practice.

          •  We have similar demographics (0+ / 0-)

            and our reading scores and ELL reclassified rates are similar.  Our math scores were good before they changed the math standards two years ago, but the last two years they have been rotten.  We're moving to Common Core math standards this year in K and 1 and revising our curriculum to match.

            Tell me more about this:

            They also demonstrate leadership, learn to communicate to solve conflicts, complete inquiry based projects, and develop their writing skills.

            and your parent programs and community outreach, if you would.

            Here in AZ, public education is detested by the legislature and we have had a 22% cut over the last three years.  Our class sizes keep growing. The NCLB bar keeps getting higher.

            We do excellent work in my school too, but when I looked at long term data on our kids, academic success was not sustained through high school.  Ultimately that's the part that matters.

            Remember, you can't have crazy without az.

            by Desert Rose on Tue Jun 28, 2011 at 07:40:57 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

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