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Old 08-22-2007, 12:19 PM
 
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When we try to find excuses for why some groups do poorly, we have to face the fact that in any neighborhood there may be one family that excels in spite of the odds.

There is no excuse that works 100% of the time when the ones that try, manage somehow to do better than the others. It has to do with desire.

 
Old 08-23-2007, 05:12 AM
 
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While I agree that there are poor schools in this country, meaning they don't do a good job overall not that they don't have money, it ultimately comes down to the student. You can give the kid EVERY opportunity to learn but if the student doesn't take advantage of those opportunities, there is little even the best school in the country can do. It HAS to start at home. If mom/dad don't start at a young age emphasizing the importance of doing well in school, very few kids will overcome that and succeed. Sad but true. Obviously you will always have exceptions in any situation.

With the way the federal financial aid is structured it is much easier for a poor person to go to college and get a degree without incurring debt. There really is no excuse for anyone not to be able to get a post-secondary degree of some kind other then sheer lack of commitment to do so.

We are not poor, we live in one of the best school districts in the nation, we both have college degrees and both graduated with top grades. Education is very important to us, however, our 15 year old son disagrees. It has been a constant battle with him to do his homework, study for tests, etc. Had we not put in the effort we have to make sure he does well, he would have failed at least 2 grades so far because of his lazy attitude. Now, take that same kid, put him in a house where the parents could care less about how well he does in school and where is he going to end up? It isn't the teacher's fault, it isn't the school's fault, it isn't our fault. The only one to 'blame' for his attitude is him.
 
Old 08-24-2007, 06:21 AM
 
Location: Oxford, England
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Poverty and disadvantage do breed a culture which is sometimes incompatible with education and if we seek to address this we will have to invest heavily in not only in schools but try to tackle the root of the problem which is poverty, poor housing, poor healthcare and other social issues.
This will take time and political will and I am not sure the will is there.
A modern society should be one in which all people have equal access to opportunity and in which they feel they have a stake. If we don't, ignorance, and disaffection with society leads to anti-social behaviour, crime and many other unpleasant issues we all end up saddled with.
Yes some of it is due to personal ability, some is due to the will to succeed but it is rather disingenuous to imply that a middle class white kid is on the same level as a poor ghetto Black kid who has spent his life on the streets. Our environment shapes who we are and very few are able to truly rise above their personal circumstances without help.

There was a fascinating experiment done recently in the UK where they took some kids from East London , on one of the worst inner city housing estates, and sent them to a very posh private school. Within days their behaviour had already improved and after a few months a few were doing better than the "normal" students.
It's very difficult to be motivated to study if you have poor role models, your parents are on drugs, your house is a slum and your neighbourhood a place where positive things rarely happen.
I think it's very easy to judge from the comfort of our cozy suburbs but I suspect a lot of us would not be terribly successful had we had to grow up feeling that nothing in life mattered and that nobody cared about us even being alive. You need self-esteem to value education and self-esteem comes from positive feedback and a sense of belonging.
 
Old 08-24-2007, 02:15 PM
 
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children can excel anywhere that the opportunity for an education is available-- even in a slum! i taught in a school district with test scores and management so disgraceful that it was taken over by the state, yet every year our high schools sent a number of kids to the most competitive universities in the state and the nation. they were no different from their peers in terms of background and life experiences: kids in foster or kinship care because their parents were drug addicted and/or incarcerated, with varying levels of commitment from their caregivers; kids with one or two parents working too much to pay attention to their schooling; kids with parents too overwhelmed to care; kids with parents too uncaring to care; kids with one or two parents working very hard AND paying attention to their schooling; kids with parents who never worked; or, in the case of two sisters who lived on their own and supported themselves while in high school, kids with no parents or guardians at all. they ran the gamut. the only thing that set them apart from their peers who didn't succeed was their commitment to making the most of the education that was offered, and finding role models elsewhere if home or community failed to provide suitable ones.

i simply don't accept the "my home/family/neighborhood isn't conducive to learning" excuse. i've seen kids rise above the worst circumstances to excel in high school and be admitted to top universities on full scholarships. others went to more modest universities and acquired debt to do so, and some who could have gone to college directly from high school chose responsible work or military service instead. they achieved because they wanted to, and found the resources-- in and out of school-- to make it happen. it was a choice.

Last edited by katenik; 08-24-2007 at 02:26 PM..
 
Old 08-25-2007, 11:57 PM
 
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I'm Asian and my parents were never involved in my education. I wouldn't call myself "smart" but I passed all my classes with A's, B's, and a couple of C's in high school and got a 3.0 GPA in college. My parents weren't involved but they expected me to get good grades. It was just a given. It's not about being poor, it's about setting standards. I know I know the whole poor district politics going on but instead of focusing on the "gap" between the racial groups, I think the focus should be on setting standards for all students, no matter what ethnicity, IMO.
 
Old 08-26-2007, 10:17 AM
 
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Let's be honest...Black and Hispanic kids need fathers!....There whole culture is screwed up. When "bad' is good and good is nerdy its no wonder why there so much more likely to be criminals. It's more important to these kids to know the words to the latest rap song than preparing for the future.
 
Old 08-27-2007, 11:07 PM
 
Location: Hell
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Poverty is not the only reason that Hispanic/black kids generally perform poorly.I agree that their culture is also responsible for it.
 
Old 08-28-2007, 04:48 PM
 
Location: Fort Wayne, Ind.
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Default No, No, No

This will never happen because of the government. What schools get the most money? Which schools get the best equipment and technology materials? Which schools get the repairs and improvements?

In a school district, which schools get most of the funds and which don't?

In my town, the schools that get the best, including the teachers, lay on the outer parts of the city and are mostly white and middle to upper class. The homes cost more which keeps the poor on their end and the wealthy on their end.

The bar of expectation is very low in some schools almost like saying, "Well, you are of color or of a different culture, so we won't expect much out of you because you don't need a good education." At these schools, the kid's are allowed to wear anything, violence is high, along with the drop out rate.

Other schools that raise the bar of expectation, have better dressed students, better behavior, and more students that finish school.

If a school in the inner city does well and the test scores are high, most likely, it will be closed. This happened in NYC. Why? Doesn't it seem that the government has a way of keeping people in their place? Didn't what happened in New Orleans (poor area) tell us anything? Would that have happened if the state was Orlando, Florida (wealthy/tourist)?

There will always be a gap until educators, parents, along with students stand up and say, "No more will we let this happen. We will no longer be slaves to Uncle Sam. We want change!" Does anyone see this happening?
 
Old 08-29-2007, 05:40 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amyfw View Post
This will never happen because of the government. What schools get the most money? Which schools get the best equipment and technology materials? Which schools get the repairs and improvements?

In a school district, which schools get most of the funds and which don't?

In my town, the schools that get the best, including the teachers, lay on the outer parts of the city and are mostly white and middle to upper class. The homes cost more which keeps the poor on their end and the wealthy on their end.

The bar of expectation is very low in some schools almost like saying, "Well, you are of color or of a different culture, so we won't expect much out of you because you don't need a good education." At these schools, the kid's are allowed to wear anything, violence is high, along with the drop out rate.

Other schools that raise the bar of expectation, have better dressed students, better behavior, and more students that finish school.

If a school in the inner city does well and the test scores are high, most likely, it will be closed. This happened in NYC. Why? Doesn't it seem that the government has a way of keeping people in their place? Didn't what happened in New Orleans (poor area) tell us anything? Would that have happened if the state was Orlando, Florida (wealthy/tourist)?

There will always be a gap until educators, parents, along with students stand up and say, "No more will we let this happen. We will no longer be slaves to Uncle Sam. We want change!" Does anyone see this happening?

That is an interesting observation and not at all true in our area. Our district is rated #1 in the state yet their per pupil funding is in the middle for all districts in the state. The so called worst schools, the inner city schools spend more then DOUBLE what we do in our district per pupil. I don't buy that the poor schools get less money-the problem is that more of that money is going to fund special needs programs that wouldn't be necessary if the majority of the kids came to school ready to learn--give some basics at home, had a hot meal in their tummy on a regular basis, etc.
 
Old 08-29-2007, 05:50 PM
 
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In our state, school district funding is virtually a level playing ground. Which means that a "more affluent" neighborhood gets the same access to funds per student, facilities, teachers, support services, as the "poorer" districts.

So the difference in the educational outcome is a a result of student/family interest, determination to success, and motivation to achieve. The schools can only provide educational opportunity and counseling ... but if the student's culture and outlook is not consistent with their learning and success, then the learning opportunity years are going to be wasted.

I've got a lot of friendships and associations with people of all races who are educated and successful professionals ... lawyers, doctors, architects, teachers, managers, business owners ... and I don't see a difference in their achievements based upon their skin color. They all simply realized at an early age that their life's success was dependent upon their personal effort, and each and every one of them put forth the effort to make that happen when given the opportunity (which they all got, despite some localized adversity which they had to overcome in some cases).

Some got pressure from their families to be productive. Some got pressure from their families in a negative way ... and they realized that the ticket out of the muck was to get an education and become employable and productive.

My hat's off to all of them ... I didn't have the determination they did to get that education when readily available and I had to get motivated later to succeed from a desire to keep a roof over my head and have the lifestyle I wanted to have. That forced me to work a lot of hours, and to hustle my way into a lot of businesses ... which ultimately yielded the results I wanted. But it sure would have been an easier life path to success with an advanced education.

IMO, many education professionals are so tied up with PC games that they can't see why education isn't going to work for students without motivation or determination. For a lot of youngsters, they need to face up to the realities of life ... be it from family, friends, school, church ... before they throw away the opportunities we provide them.

Do I have a solution? Not necessarily, but I do contribute funds and time to situations where "underprivileged" kids get to see how life can be for someone with a better circumstance. We take kids fishing, boating, camping, and flying. We help with 4H projects, and buy 4H raised livestock. And, I've set up a couple of "full ride" scholarships for kids interested in pursuing an automotive career ... based upon interest and aptitude (not need).

I suspect if more people gave back to their community instead of looking to the "government" to solve all the problems and ills of our society, that it would be a much less daunting problem to get kids onto the path to success.
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