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WCGreen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-18-10 11:47 AM
Original message
Have you noticed that the schools being shut down and are pointed
out as failing are never in places like Westlake, Ohio where I live or Grosse Pointe, or any other enclave of wealth and prestige.

Those schools are always at the top in education and college bound people.

Most of the schools where the children are at risk are predominately in the wost of the worst inner cities and in pockets where unemployment is high, crime is at or near epidemic proportions and the schools themselves are literally crumbling.

And yet they say that environment and money have no bearing on the performance of schools.

You don't know how many of the people I am forced to associate with simply because I wanted to live in the city I grew up in spout that if our kids can do great in school and go onto college why can't, here's the killer "Those" people do it?

About ten years ago I went, as a favor, to give a talk about politics to a friend of mines government class. The class she was teaching was in the worst of the worst areas of the Cleveland City Schools. I had been giving talks for a while in schools all over Cuyahoga County. I walked in and the kids had this blankness about them, they weren't fidgeting, horsing around, nothing. They just sat there. Nothing I said made any impact on them at all. Not one question, not one comment. To the students I was just another adult, another blah blah blah to listen to in order to just get through another day.

When I walked out of the room i was literally drained. I felt I was a failure, that I couldn't get so much as an angry glare. Indifference was the norm. My friend walked with me to my car after class and she said I had done a great job. I was stunned. She said if they didn't want to be there they would have just walked off, not bothered to come today. That was the best turnout in her class in eight weeks.

As I pulled out of the driveway of an almost dilapidated school that was of a 1960's modern style, I looked out over the rise and saw the BP building rising up over the tree line. I remembered when that was built less than ten years ago to keep then Sohio from moving out of the city. The mayor at the time, George Voinovich, had cut most of the potential financial benefits for schools like the one I just pulled out of by "abating" potentially millions of dollars of property tax revenue that could have been used to help out the city schools. That building still remains half empty and yet another big 60 story building was being erected downtown with the same set of "abatements".

Of course this can be dismissed as anecdotal and I guess they would be right it is anecdotal but at least I went to see how inner city schools differ from the suburban schools I was use to.

Still I think I can safely say this; you know that old Real Estate chant, location location location is more often than not as applicable to students as it is to buildings.

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jody Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-18-10 11:54 AM
Response to Original message
1. In my state the variable "per cent school lunch" explains about 2/3 of the variation in test scores.
That variable is a surrogate measure for poverty.

Race and per student spending explain less than one percent of variation in test scores.
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hack89 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-18-10 12:06 PM
Response to Original message
2. Per student spending is no indicator of successful schools
for example, my town has the 3rd lowest per student spending in Rhode Island yet is one of the top 5 school districts in the state. The worst schools have some of the highest per student spending.

The difference is purely demographics - in Rhode Island the best indicator of school performance is the percentage of students eligible for free or subsidized lunch.

Government support for jobs, health care and other social programs are the issue.
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WCGreen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-18-10 12:33 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. But per spending also includes security in some schools, expensive repair
of crumbling buildings and other expenses that schools in more affluent districts. Just pointing that out.

Here is an indicator that I thought interesting...

http://www.manhattan-institute.org/html/ewp_03.htm#14

Specifically, the studys findings include the following:

Only 70% of all students in public high schools graduate, and only 32% of all students leave high school qualified to attend four-year colleges.

Only 51% of all black students and 52% of all Hispanic students graduate, and only 20% of all black students and 16% of all Hispanic students leave high school college-ready.

The graduation rate for white students was 72%; for Asian students, 79%; and for American Indian students, 54%. The college readiness rate for white students was 37%; for Asian students, 38%; for American Indian students, 14%.

Graduation rates in the Northeast (73%) and Midwest (77%) were higher than the overall national figure, while graduation rates in the South (65%) and West (69%) were lower than the national figure. The Northeast and the Midwest had the same college readiness rate as the nation overall (32%) while the South had a higher rate (38%) and the West had a lower rate (25%).

The state with the highest graduation rate in the nation was North Dakota (89%); the state with the lowest graduation rate in the nation was Florida (56%).


Another look at stats....

http://www.usatoday.com/news/education/2006-06-20-dropo...

The Cleveland School system in this ranking is near the bottom in the graduation rate. Only Detroit, Baltimore, New York and Milwaukee have lower graduation rates.

Why, for instance, does Cleveland score so bad but chicago, a very similar city as far as history, location and racial mix score so differently.

The only thing that springs to mind is that Cleveland had a huge white and economic flight in the 60's through the 80's. chicago still had a whole lot of vibrant inner city residential areas where Cleveland has virtually none.

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slampoet Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-18-10 01:37 PM
Response to Reply #2
8. "George H. W. Bush was born on third base and grew up thinking he Hit a Triple.....
Edited on Thu Mar-18-10 01:39 PM by slampoet
...but you can't blame George , he grew up with a silver foot in his mouth."

- Gov. Ann Richards

Never was a truer sentence said about privilege in America. I live in the shadow of Brown University and i can tell you there are a lot of people born on third base who blatantly and willfully ignorant because they've never had a bad grade they couldn't talk their way out of. The well off always require less effort and resources to maintain their level than it requires for the unfortunate to advance upward.
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WCGreen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-18-10 01:39 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. I love that line....
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jody Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-18-10 05:25 PM
Response to Reply #2
17. Understand re jobs, health care, etc. but what about family and related influences? How can a school
do its job in a few hours every day if students return to an environment that devalues education?
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JAbuchan08 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-18-10 06:48 PM
Response to Reply #17
20. Why do so many people assume that lack of family support
is automatically due to "devaluing" education. That may be true for some, but there is also the question of resources in the home, the parent's ability to be present in the child's life due to their work obligations etc.
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jody Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-18-10 06:55 PM
Response to Reply #20
21. Good point. Do you have a source to support your assertion because I don't for mine. n/t
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JAbuchan08 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-19-10 09:55 AM
Response to Reply #21
27. I don't know that I've made an assertion.
I merely approached his assertions with skepticism. Take parental involvement once again. Firstly I don't know how a lack of involvement automatically translates into a devaluation of education. I can think of a few reasons why it might be more difficult for a poor parent to be involved in their children's education beyond merely thinking it's unimportant, time being one, and educational resources at home being another.

I know for a fact that lower income areas consistently achieve lower test scores than higher income areas. If we take gorfle's assertions at face value (and I see no reason not to) we are left with two facts.

A) That - generally speaking - students in low income areas do worse than students in high income areas.

and

B) That students with involved parents do better in school than students with disengaged parents.

Again, taking Gorfle's statements at face value this means that students in low income areas have less involved parents than students in high income areas, which seems to indicate that parental involvement is generally predicated on income and which would seemingly refute the point that parental involvement is the single greatest predictor of student success.

I might be missing a logical connection here, but that is my reasoning.
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hack89 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-19-10 11:39 AM
Response to Reply #17
28. I don't really have an answer
I wish I did.
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hlthe2b Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-18-10 12:07 PM
Response to Original message
3. Same reason wealthy communities have no problem getting
the $$ and will to initiate epidemiological studies in their communities when a health concern emerges, while those living in poverty-ridden zones adjacent known toxic waste sites or "cancer alleys" are ignored.


The class system and unregulated capitalism at play.
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slampoet Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-18-10 01:52 PM
Response to Reply #3
10. My High School was located next to a JunkYard with a car crusher and the whole 9 yards
The town 15 miles away had the Herman Miller and Eames chairs and desks that they later sold off for NYC collector prices and built a whole new wing onto their already wealthy school.

We always resented that even though both schools were within 35 miles of the local Nuclear power plant, the rich school had decontamination drills where they were directed to OUR school gym to be washed off, whereas we never had a single decontamination drill in our own gym let alone in the rich school's gym.

We learned early on that we were considered expendable.
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Kalyke Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-19-10 12:54 AM
Response to Reply #10
25. If the rich inherit the Earth, then woe be to them.
They wouldn't last five minutes.

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gorfle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-18-10 01:17 PM
Response to Original message
5. Look at the research of Dr. John Ogbu
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Ogbu

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

He noted that when black families moved to affluent areas so as to expose their children to the "better" schools in those areas, their children still did not do as well.

The reason, he deduced, was that black people see the school as a place they send their children to to be educated, and they do not follow up with at-home emphasis on school work, whereas other demographics make education part of their at-home culture.

"The black parents feel it is their role to move to Shaker Heights, pay the higher taxes so their kids could graduate from Shaker, and that's where their role stops," Ogbu says during an interview at his home in the Oakland hills. "They believe the school system should take care of the rest. They didn't supervise their children that much. They didn't make sure their children did their homework. That's not how other ethnic groups think."

Parental involvement and parental expectation is key to student academic success.
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WCGreen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-18-10 01:23 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. for sure but it isn't the only factor as many would say...
Just as I state that money isn't the only factor. In fact, I believe strongly that it is more important of how that money is spent.

For instance, if your school is older and less efficient, you are spending larger amounts on utilities and maintenance.
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gorfle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-18-10 01:36 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. I think it is the driving factor.
The simple fact is it does not matter how good your teachers are or how good your teaching environment is if the students are unmotivated to learn.

Conversely, highly motivated students will overcome even bad teachers and bad teaching environments.

Some very rare students are self-motivated. Some very few teachers are exceptionally motivating.

But by and large most kids aren't motivated to do schoolwork, and the only people who have the authority and capability to motivate them are their parents.

If parents don't force their children to perform well academically, either by carrot or stick, then chances are their kids won't bother.

As my high school economics teacher used to say, "If you let a man sit under a tree and eat bananas all day, that's what he'll do." That's just what kids in school will do, too, unless parents enforce a different behavior.
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JAbuchan08 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-18-10 06:59 PM
Response to Reply #7
22. While I agree that no student is going to perform without
discipline and drive, it is easy to lose that drive in an impoverished environment. Exceptional students with strong support structures are going to succeed in the worst environments, but as the environments grow worse the discipline and drive required are going to be greater and fewer and fewer students are going to count as exceptional. They are "exceptional" students because they are not the rule.

A decent life shouldn't be an exceptional achievement in our society.
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gorfle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-19-10 12:37 AM
Response to Reply #22
23. This is why parental involvement is most important.
As I said, some very few students are self-disciplined and self-motivated, but most are not. Most require someone forcing them to do the hard work that is involved in getting a quality education.

The only people who can do that are parents.

Regardless of the environment, rich or poor, the most critical aspect of getting a quality education is student motivation, and the people most able to motivate students are parents. As Dr. Ogbu showed, just moving to a wealthier environment is not sufficient. You must have parental involvement.

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JAbuchan08 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-19-10 09:53 AM
Response to Reply #23
26. Yes, but if you look at the statistics
it consistently shows that rich locals score higher on tests than poor locales. It may be true that parental involvement is a greater predictor of student success than income on an individual level, but if parental involvement is the greatest influence this seems to indicate that poverty and lack of parental involvement go hand in hand.

Speaking on an anecdotal level. It's not surprising to hear that the single income middle-class parents of a suburban child in a good school attend every PTA meeting and have an encyclopedia set at home, but when we hear the same about a single mom in the inner-city we (rightly) view that as exceptional, because we know on a very basic level that it is more difficult to be an involved parent when one is not facing one's own income related challenges.

I guess I just don't understand why you keep on stressing parental involvement. It strikes me as another version of the bootstrapper ethos. ie. if they weren't such lazy willfully ignorant bums they wouldn't need NEED improvements in their schools because they would be pulling themselves up by their bootstraps.

No disrespect to you, but that is how it strikes me viscerally.
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gorfle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-19-10 12:13 PM
Response to Reply #26
29. DING!
...but if parental involvement is the greatest influence this seems to indicate that poverty and lack of parental involvement go hand in hand.

Ding! You nailed it.

I think this is probably because wealthier parents better understand the value of education and thus take a more active role in their children's education. Moreover, they are more likely to have the education themselves to be able to BE actively involved in their child's education. If you're ignorant (and thus likely poor), you have no CHOICE but to hand your child off to the state and hope the state takes care of it. If you're educated (and thus likely to not be poor), you can supplement what the state provides.

I guess I just don't understand why you keep on stressing parental involvement. It strikes me as another version of the bootstrapper ethos. ie. if they weren't such lazy willfully ignorant bums they wouldn't need NEED improvements in their schools because they would be pulling themselves up by their bootstraps.

It's because Dr. Ogbu's study confirms what I have long suspected - it's not money that is at the root of the problem, it's parents not insisting that their kids keep their noses to the academic grindstone.

I'm all for improving schools. But too many people just want to throw money at the problem as if money were the root cause of the problem. It isn't. Having parents that demand academic excellence is the root cause of the problem. No amount of money will solve that problem.

So in short, framing this as a money problem when in fact it is a cultural problem contributes to the problem.
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Arugula Latte Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-19-10 12:18 PM
Response to Reply #29
30. There are more practical barriers than not understanding the value of education
A lot of working class or poor parents have to be at shitty jobs all day that don't allow time off for attending school activities and the like. Professionals tend to have more flexibility, and sometimes they make enough money so one parent can stay at home or work only part time and thus devote more energy and attention to the kids' schooling.
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gorfle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-19-10 01:27 PM
Response to Reply #30
31. This is not what Dr. Ogbu found in his study.
The parents of the students in Dr. Ogbu's study were professional (doctors, lawyers, etc) and from traditional, two-parent black families.

"Black students did not look upon their parents, that is sucessful black professors, doctors, businessmen, in traditional two parent families, many of who sacrificed to enable their children to attend the best school in the area as role models. Instead, they emulated the rappers and thugs, the dress, the patois, and in some cases the actual thuggery.

"The black parents feel it is their role to move to Shaker Heights, pay the higher taxes so their kids could graduate from Shaker, and that's where their role stops," Ogbu says during an interview at his home in the Oakland hills. "They believe the school system should take care of the rest. They didn't supervise their children that much. They didn't make sure their children did their homework. That's not how other ethnic groups think.""


The people in the study were not working class poor parents who had to be at shitty jobs all day.

The differentiating factor was not money or affluence, it was the hands-off attitude of the parents concerning education.
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reggie the dog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-18-10 03:35 PM
Response to Reply #5
12. standardized tests are often culturally biased
people from the dominant cultural group have higher cultural capital thus do better.
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gorfle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-18-10 05:11 PM
Response to Reply #12
15. Ogbu accounted for discrimination
"The professor and his research assistant moved to Shaker Heights for nine months in mid-1997. They reviewed data and test scores. The team observed 110 different classes, from kindergarten all the way through high school. They conducted exhaustive interviews with school personnel, black parents, and students. Their project yielded an unexpected conclusion: It wasn't socioeconomics, school funding, or racism, that accounted for the students' poor academic performance; it was their own attitudes, and those of their parents.

Ogbu concluded that the average black student in Shaker Heights put little effort into schoolwork and was part of a peer culture that looked down on academic success as "acting white." Although he noted that other factors also play a role, and doesn't deny that there may be antiblack sentiment in the district, he concluded that discrimination alone could not explain the gap."
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WCGreen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-18-10 05:22 PM
Response to Reply #15
16. Shaker Heights is one of the most well funded schools in the Cleveland
area and has a long tradition in a search for excellence...

I would also say that in 1997, the integration of the Heights was still in it early days and that now the integration is almost complete. My three nephews and nieces that went to Shaker Hts from 1992 through 2008 all had black Friends and socialized across the racial and economic stratas.

Relying on a thirteen year old study is hardly a way to base an opinion on.

I'm just pointing that out.

BTW, I live on the West side of Cleveland and Shaker is on the East. Although I don't normally go over the river, I have seen a decided change in Shaker Hts from the 90's thru the 00's. I did do a lot of politicking on the east side during the 90's as I worked for a few county wide candidates.

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gorfle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-18-10 06:03 PM
Response to Reply #16
18. Why?
Relying on a thirteen year old study is hardly a way to base an opinion on.

Why? What has happened in the last 13 years to invalidate the study? Or was the study valid then, but is no longer valid? Have black academic scores come up on part with whites at Shaker Heights? If so, why?

The way I see it, the age of the study has nothing to do with the validity of the study when it was conducted. And what the study showed when it was conducted is that parental involvement was the determining factor of student success.

If you think this is no longer so, you'll need to cite some evidence to make your case.
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WCGreen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-18-10 06:06 PM
Response to Reply #18
19. Not about parental involvement...
But the stuff about Black kids not wanting to do stuff that would make them appear white has defiantly changed over the 13 years since that study.

I apologize, for not making that clear.
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gorfle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-19-10 12:39 AM
Response to Reply #19
24. That was not the fundamental thrust of his observation.
You'll note in the article that even when the study was conducted, the fear of appearing white did not apply in all-black school environments.

The factor that most determined student success was still parental involvement.
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reggie the dog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-18-10 03:32 PM
Response to Original message
11. It is open class warfare
the bourgeoisie against the proletariat. No child left behind means no WEALTHY child left behind......
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Fresh_Start Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-18-10 03:43 PM
Response to Reply #11
13. the wealthy kids were never left behind
I've always believed it was a gift to businesses that produces educational materials and testing materials.
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reggie the dog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-18-10 03:45 PM
Response to Reply #13
14. it is a gift, but the real goal is to cut funding and close down
schools in poor neighborhoods, to ensure that they have sub standard education so they cannot move up the social ladder. It is just the same as Reagan making universities in California start charging tuition again because as he said " people do not appreciate a free education" when he meant "to many biggidy niggers, spicks, women, and members of the working class are getting educated"....
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