Poverty and School Achievement: “Equalizing inputs is not equalizing outputs.”

The biggest divide between poor and wealthy students is one of community connection, argues Harvard researcher Robert Putnam in a new book.

“But Mr. Putnam also finds that achievement gaps between wealthy and poor students of the same race are now larger than gaps between races of the same economic group.”

Source: blogs.edweek.org

Poverty is not an excuse for low achievement, but a reason why we need to invest more in leveling the playing field between middle and low-income students.

  • Poor students’ participation in extracurricular activities fell from nearly 80 percent in the early 1980s to about 65 percent in the mid-2000s. Wealthy students’ participation stayed steady at more than 85 percent during the same period.
  • It’s hard to make schools the centers of their communities if the communities aren’t there.
  • a deeper and more fundamental gap between wealthy and poor students: the connection gap
  • 16 states had funding systems that provided less money per pupil to high-poverty school districts, while only 17 provided more per-pupil spending for districts with greater poverty.
  • Schools with 75 percent poverty or more offered one-third the number of Advanced Placement courses in 2009-10 than did wealthier schools—four each year on average compared to nearly a dozen each year at schools with 25 percent poverty or less.
  • high-poverty schools have more than twice as many disciplinary problems as low-poverty schools.

The book offers a few suggestions on ways educators can help rebuild poor students’ social and educational supports, including:

  • Tailor school-based parent-involvement programs to specific skills and supports. For example, Mr. Putnam suggests that rather than simply asking parents to “read to your child every day,” schools can provide coaching on specific skills, like questioning-and-response practices.
  • Build more community-school partnerships to provide health, social services, and enrichment activities for students in schools.
  • Ensure that students in poverty have access to both advanced courses and strong career training, even in high-poverty schools.

What do 6-year-old’s punishment for being late and Vandy Coach’s outburst have in common?

In in the case of the 6 year-old…

GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) — An Oregon school district is reviewing its tardiness punishments after a picture posted on Facebook of a 6-year-old sitting behind a cardboard screen in the lunchroom generated widespread outrage.

The Grants Pass School District issued a statement saying it “is taking the concerns raised very seriously,” and the punishment “was never intended to isolate or stigmatize students.”

Nicole Garloff says her son, Hunter, was upset when she dropped him off late at Lincoln Elementary School, so she checked on him at lunchtime. She found him sitting behind a cardboard screen. She took him home, and posted a photo on Facebook. So did the boy’s grandmother.

More than 115,000 people have shared the photo Laura Hoover posted on Facebook of her grandson.

In the case of the Vanderbilt Basketball Coach…

Coach Kevin Stallings “used offensive and inflammatory language directed toward a student-athlete” after the conclusion of an recent contest.

Source: wgntv.com

I have found this guiding principle to be of great value in dealing with both adults and students:

Reward publicly. Admonish privately.

While one could argue the details of each situation, had either the coach of the school leader followed that guiding principle, cool heads might have prevailed and controversy could have been avoided.

The “belief gap” or the “soft bigotry of low expectations”?

There are schools in the U.S. where poor children of color succeed academically. That shouldn’t be controversial, but it is, especially for many educators who seem devoted to a deficit based narrative about children in poverty.”

Source: storify.com

Essential Question:

Do schools and teachers fall just short of success with under-resourced, under-served, low-income students because they are like “doubting Thomas”–I will believe it when I see it, and, since I have not seen it, I do not really believe it? Do we repeat the maxim that ‘all students can learn’, but when it really comes down to it, do we fall just short of doing whatever it takes to ensure that all students actually learn?

Who really gets tested by state exams

The Virginia Standards of Learning are high stakes — for the teachers.

Source: www.washingtonpost.com

5 Highly Effective Teaching Practices

Check out these researched-based, best teaching practices and share with us the ways you already use them in your classroom.

Source: www.edutopia.org

Affluent Suburban Schools Struggle With Rising Poverty

A new study from the University of Virginia outlines demographic shifts that are presenting challenges for suburban schools.

Traditionally Affluent Suburban School Systems Struggle With Rising Poverty.

The Washington Post (2/26, Brown, Shapiro) reports a University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service study found that inner suburbs’ poverty rates are rising even as cities “are becoming younger, more affluent and more educated.” As the number of low-income children rise “in traditionally affluent and high-performing school systems,” suburban school superintendents and school boards “are wrestling with how to adequately serve the rising number of poor children who come to class with far more needs than their more affluent peers.”

Source: www.washingtonpost.com

Experience has taught me that, in the case of serving traditionally under-served, low-income students, the 10,000-hour rule definitely applies. It takes years to understand the nuances of educating under-resourced students. The key is that poverty is not an excuse for low achievement, but poverty is the reason why we have to do things differently.

Teacher language has significant impact on student reading comprehension

This study examined teachers’ language use across the school year in 6th grade urban middle-school classrooms (n = 24) and investigated the influence of this classroom-based linguistic input on the reading comprehension skills of the students (n = 851; 599 language minority learners and 252 English-only) in the participating classrooms. Analysis of speech transcripts revealed substantial variability in teachers’ use of sophisticated vocabulary and total amount of talk and that individual teacher’s language use was consistent across the school year. Analyses using Hierarchical Linear Modeling showed that when controlling for students’ reading comprehension and vocabulary knowledge at the start of the year, teachers’ use of sophisticated vocabulary was significantly related to students’ reading comprehension outcomes, as was the time spent on vocabulary instruction. These findings suggest that the middle school classroom language environment plays a significant role in the reading comprehension of adolescent learners. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved)

Source: my.apa.org

Metametrics has reported that teachers routinely speak below the level of students’ ability to comprehend. Teachers must use higher levels of language in their classrooms to improve students reading comprehension.

teaching according to students’ “preferred learning styles” has little to no empirical backing

Researchers say the idea of teaching to students’ preferred learning styles has little empirical support. The fact that it persists may say something about our education system.

Source: op-talk.blogs.nytimes.com

Students should take fewer tests: Stop double-testing!

ED Allows Oklahoma To Avoid Math Double-Testing.

Education Week (2/25) reports in a brief item that ED has approved Oklahoma’s request for “Oklahoma middle school students who are taking advanced-mathematics courses” to “no longer be required to take their grade-level math tests.” The piece notes that the move “reflects movement on an idea gaining steam among Washington policymakers, state schools chiefs, and even President Barack Obama: Students should take fewer tests.”

Source: www.edweek.org

Principals should be given “more latitude and flexibility for evaluating and determining teacher success.”

Louisiana Principals To Determine Teacher Success.

The Alexandria (LA) Town Talk (2/26, Leader) reports Louisiana Superintendent of Education John White on Wednesday recommended that principals be given “more latitude and flexibility for evaluating and determining teacher success.” White, the Town Talk notes, will present his recommendations “along with others from the Department of Education and the Act 240 subcommittee to the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education next week for its approval.”

        The Bayou Buzz (LA) (2/26) reports White “said Wednesday he is optimistic Louisiana’s top school board next week will approve” his recommendations. “We are empowering the principal to arrive at a judgment rather than relying on a computer in Baton Rouge,” White told reporters.

Source: www.thetowntalk.com

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