Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Inequity in American Education of the Poor: Part 4

Another crucial factor in determining education inequality is the family background of students.  There is a proven correlation between the academic successes of parents with the academic success of their children.  In a Harvard’s “Civil Rights Project,” Lee and Orfeild identified family background as the most influential factor in student achievement.  Only 11% of children from the bottom fifth earn a college degree while 80% of the top fifth earn one.    This translates to a home-life that is more supportive of educational success. 

As mentioned in family background, access to resources play a hugely important role in education inequality.  In addition to the resources, access to proper nutrition and health care influence the cognitive development of children.  Children who come from poor families experience a disadvantage from the start.  The lack of resources is directly linked to ethnicity and race.  Black and Latino students are three times more likely than whites to be in high poverty schools and twelve times as likely to be in school that almost everyone is poor.  Therefore, parental involvement and awareness is extremely important.  Additionally, children from poorer families, who are often minorities, come from families that distrust institutions. Disadvantage parents must educate themselves in order to assure the success of their children and their children’s children.  Education must become a priority in the home and the schools must make these parents feel welcome and important partners.

High poverty schools must have all the characteristics of an effective school.  The schools of the poor students must focus on achievement and monitor student progress.   There must be a cooperative working environment and the school’s atmosphere must be safe and orderly.   With strong leadership, dedicated highly effective teachers, parental involvement, and high expectations for all students, and time on task any schools with poor students should meet with academic and personal success.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Inequity in American Education of the Poor: Part 3

To ensure students are mastering the skills necessary to be college or career ready, measuring of academic success materialized. However, most racial and ethnic subgroups of children have improved their scores over time, performed better on mathematics, reading and science measures.  Nevertheless, the achievement gap causes critic to blame the public education for failing to teach the poor students. For every critic pointing out the failures of the system, there’s a success story to be told that outlines the progress public education has made. 
The U.S. Department of Education released a report in December 2011, documenting that school districts across our country are unevenly distributing their state and local funds, shortchanging schools that serve low-income students.  The report reveals for the first time the extent of inequity in our nation’s per-pupil expenditures from state and local sources among the schools within a school district. 
Weber was an early researcher to the literature school inequity.  In his 1971 study of four effective inner-city schools, Weber focused on reading achievement that was clearly successful for poor children on the basis of national norms.  All four schools had strong leadership and the principal was instrumental in setting the tone of the school; helped decide on instructional strategies; and organizing and distributing the school's resources.  All four schools had "high expectations" for all students.  All four schools had an orderly, relatively quiet, and pleasant atmosphere.  All four schools strongly emphasized pupil acquisition of reading skills and reinforced that emphasis by careful and frequent evaluation of pupil progress.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Inequity in American Education of the Poor: Part 2

High academic expectations for all students that are measurable and attainable are imperative in order to close the inequity gap in American public education.  It all begins with our failure to have high expectations for the children of the poor.  This simply requires that an effective school bring the children of the poor to minimal mastery of basic skills. Focus must be on student learning with a combination of discipline, intensity, concentration, and commitment.   Research proves that our public schools know the methods and technics in order to successfully educate all children.   An average student who attended “high rigor instruction schools” would learn about 78% more mathematics between grades 8-12 than comparable students in a “low rigor instruction school.  We must stop throwing money or funding at the problem, and strategically educate these students with research based methods and rigor.    

Despite several decades of reform, public schools in America are criticized by some as not teaching all children effectively.  Consistently poor test results and low graduation rates prove the critics right. It takes a village to raise a child, but the same village must share accountability when many of their children are not learning in the public educational systems, especially the poor.  Districts with higher poverty rates have fewer highly educated, experienced teachers and less stable teaching staff.  These schools need highly trained and most effective teachers in their classroom. Highly effective teachers show passion, respect, caring attitude, fairness, skilled communication, creativity, sound knowledge of content, and have a positive impact on the lives of students, parents, and colleagues. Schools of underprivileged students must have educators with these traits. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Inequity in American Education of the Poor: Part 1

Public schools that teach poor children successfully must have strong leadership, an environment of high expectations that all children can learn, highly qualified teachers, and active parental awareness and support.  Progress of society must be measured by our willingness to develop the least among us. Evolution necessitates public policy that begins by making the poor more educated and less underprivileged.  This means the standard of education to public schools must be equitable and teaching poor children at least as well as middle-class children.  This certainly is not happening in most schools for the poor in America.

Being a strong instructional leader is the challenge for principals in schools today, but even more challenging in schools with high poverty residents.  Academic and social success is too complex for a principal to achieve alone.  There must be a leadership team that works together to develop a vision and goals that are achievable.  On the other hand, without strong instructional leadership at the helm to both create and manage the vision, teachers are not likely to form committees to improve the school.  The principal must set high expectations, develop teacher leaders, and maintain a positive attitude toward students, staff, and parents.  This is not always easy when you are dealing with an at-risk population.

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This weblog seeks primarily to be a resource to parents and their children facilitating, "Empowerment & Personal Responsibility through Education."

This weblog is an extension of BestEducationPossible-theCommunity an online community dedicated to Parents and their efforts to empower their children through Education.

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