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Old 12-13-2011, 11:11 AM
 
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Poverty plays a huge part in it but parental involvement even more so. There are poor people that are pushing their kids to get a good education to give them a chance to succeed just like there are rich people who don't give a carp about their kids and their kids are just as bad in school. For most people it comes down to the emphasis placed on getting an education in the home. Now, there will always be kids that have an amazing internal drive to do well, succeeding by doing the opposite of what is shown at home and those who come from families that place a high value on education, yet have no internal motivation to do anything or not much of anything in school.
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Old 12-13-2011, 02:07 PM
 
Location: GOVERNMENT of TRAITORS & NAZIS
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There are exceptions to every situation. But the exceptions in no way disproves or discredits the reality. We can argue it is the environment causing the poverty, the people, or the luck of the draw. What ever the reason the reality is it exists and as long as we say NCLB, we have to accept the idea that the system is comparing apples to oranges--all the while trying to force the oranges to become apples.
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Old 12-13-2011, 06:38 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Momma_bear View Post
I recall reading a study years ago about the number of words a young child hears on a daily basis being a strong predictor of school success. The study dealt with how many words middle class kids heard when they were young compared to kids who lived in poverty.

I cannot remember the authors of the study but I remember that the conclusion was that lower income parents of all races spoke fewer words to their child and that correlated strongly with school readiness and school success. I wish I could remember who did the study. If I find it I will repost.
It is the study by Betty Hart and Todd Risley: Meaningful Difference in the Everyday Experiences of Young Children (1995)

When you read the Hart-Risley study, one of the most telling measures of future school achievement is the parents' vocabulary. The children of professional parents have, on average, a larger vocabulary than the parents of children in families on public assistance. When your parent has the vocabulary of a well-educated five-year-old, there is not much that he or she can do to help once you get out of primary school.

In our state, children in some areas routinely start kindergarten with the vocabulary of a typical two-year-old. In my school, the typical sophomore is a year overage and reads on a fifth-grade level. The students appear to progress about half as fast as they should to be on grade level. They have almost no general knowledge whatsoever, a situation that has been exacerbated by the nearly exclusive focus on the state tested subjects.


The most disturbing language scenario that I have heard discussed is that the children of immigrant parents in many areas are left alone while their parents work two jobs. They are exposed to language only on television, and they are growing up essentially without language--neither that of their parents nor English. Once the critical points of language development pass, it is very difficult to make up lost ground. This is the reason that I advocate for universal preschool beginning at age two for anyone who wants it. It would be expensive in the short run, but I believe that we would make up the savings in the following thirty years.

Diane Ravitch stays on point when she keeps bringing up the fact that the correlation between school achievement and poverty overlap almost completely. It's a point that most in this country don't want to acknowledge. We ignore it at our peril.
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Old 12-13-2011, 07:21 PM
 
Location: Victoria TX
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Absolutely right. The Conservative idea of punitively starving the poor into submission will have no other effect than to increase the number of children who will be growing up in financially-challenged households. This is unlikely to pay dividends in better educated children.

Children do not suffer because their school is broke. They suffer because their mother is broke.
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Old 12-13-2011, 07:50 PM
 
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Originally Posted by jtur88 View Post
Absolutely right. The Conservative idea of punitively starving the poor into submission will have no other effect than to increase the number of children who will be growing up in financially-challenged households. This is unlikely to pay dividends in better educated children.

Children do not suffer because their school is broke. They suffer because their mother is broke.
One of the problems I have found when playing the devil's advocate with the conservative ideas regarding the poor is that they don't seem to be able to get that I take an extreme position in order to get them to think. Jonathan Swift had the same problem, even when he proposed his Modest Proposal regarding the problem of the poor.

Frankly, the subtext of the conservative vision of education implies to me that they want an underclass of ignorant servants so desperately dependent upon them for survival that they don't complain about their diminishing quality of life. It's Slumdog Millionaire meets Waiting for Superman.
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Old 12-13-2011, 08:29 PM
 
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Over the last two decades of teaching in low-SES schools (a euphemism for poor), some kids have done well despite dysfunctional or absent parents, but many more have fallen by the wayside. Too many have been corrupted by their families, carrying on the family tradition of a life of crime. The situation has improved somewhat since the days when crack was first introduced and gang violence raged. Now the students are almost never on crack. The parents, sadly, may be. The crime rate is much higher than in the past, but it is more property crime than violence. There is still gunfire almost every night in most of my students' neighborhoods, but no more or less than in the past. The murder rate is about 60 percent of what it was when I first began at my school, but it's still high. Because the population has dropped in the city, the per-population rate is about the same.

Kids who grow up in this environment don't develop the middle class values that corporate America expects in order to join the game. It is sometimes nearly impossible to try to get the students to understand how different life is outside their experience. They don't really understand that most adults don't hit other people when they have an argument--they sue. Often, they are motivated emotionally by loyalty to their community, even as they admit that things are not right. The trick is to find the right age to get the students to imagine that they really can learn and go to college or learn a trade and make a life for themselves without feeling as if they are abandoning their family. That was the question that I had after Hurricane Katrina and Bill O'Reilly pointed out that even the worst schools have libraries. It only makes a difference for the kids who somehow sense that they need to change their lives. Nobody else they know tries to live a better life, so why should they? Especially when everyone makes fun of them for it except their teachers?

We as a people have to decide to what extent we will allow the achievement gap to expand before this country won't be able to deny any longer the need for universal early childhood education, preferably beginning at age 2. That is when language acquisition still benefits from the plasticity of the neural connections before the pruning-away process begins. All children need to have certain basic common experiences, such as going to the zoo, a farm, or a beach. It is a lot to expect from a five-year-old child that Z is for Zebra, when he's never even seen a horse. Children learn how to write by learning to hold crayons and coloring. Some kids never even learn the names for their colors before school. They've never held a crayon or pencil or had a book read to them. Many don't even know their own real names, because everyone has a nickname.

I don't think that most Americans realize how bad things are in some areas. It's getting worse, and I wonder how long it will go on before someone does something. I've got maybe another 15 or 20 years of teaching in me max, if the stress doesn't kill me first. I want to be able to pass the torch to someone who cares as much as I do, but I don't have much hope of that. Who will teach the poor kids if teachers are punished for their students' scores?

Meanwhile, we have NCLB, which has completely co-opted several of my classes which did not get to meet before exams due to the district's mandated semester exams based on the state-test models that the students study all year. It's insane. Anyone hear a fiddle?
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Old 12-13-2011, 08:42 PM
 
Location: Middle America
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Originally Posted by Workaholic? View Post
Then why do some students who come from extreme poverty, with no parent involvement in their education, who go to terrible schools, do well and succeed in life and have a great career and make lots of money?
Beause outliers exist in virtually all contexts, and tend to get significant press.

For every "rose above a bad situation and succeeded against all odds" kid you read a heartwarming feature story about (trust me, I used to write heartwarming feature stories for a living), how many kids do you suppose aren't making it out, and aren't making the paper unless it's talking about arrests?
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Old 12-13-2011, 09:40 PM
 
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Originally Posted by lhpartridge View Post
YES! That's it. Thank you.
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Old 12-14-2011, 01:03 AM
 
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Originally Posted by zthatzmanz28 View Post
But education was available to the masses starting late 1800s. It was originally designed to teach "conformity" to the immigrants and to assist in the assimulation of the foreigners to American culture.
Yes, and the day we stopped teaching immigrants to speak English in all schools and assimilate is the day the systems went to the dogs. Multiculturalism was a major reason for downfall. The "PC" of making everyone bend over backwards for ethnic groups is a disaster.

Before I get clobbered for saying that, I point out that Buffalo and Erie County have some of the most vibrant and wonderful ethnic areas around where you can be in one neighborhood and hear Italian, another and hear Polish and on mostly the westside of the city, hear Spanish and all the languages of the new immigrants from Africa and other areas of the world. We have lots of celebrations of ethnic origin. All of these people keep their cultures alive in homes and in their ethnic group. I taught in the school system; I had, over almost 30 years, many kids who came in not speaking English except for a few words. Up to about 1990, most kids did learn English. Now, it is not needed -- ESL is everywhere and English is often not ever the primary language taught.

Who suffers? The kids. They get out of school and can't find jobs because they have no grasp of proper English.
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Old 12-14-2011, 04:50 AM
 
Location: GOVERNMENT of TRAITORS & NAZIS
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Originally Posted by BuffaloTransplant View Post
Yes, and the day we stopped teaching immigrants to speak English in all schools and assimilate is the day the systems went to the dogs. Multiculturalism was a major reason for downfall. The "PC" of making everyone bend over backwards for ethnic groups is a disaster.

Before I get clobbered for saying that, I point out that Buffalo and Erie County have some of the most vibrant and wonderful ethnic areas around where you can be in one neighborhood and hear Italian, another and hear Polish and on mostly the westside of the city, hear Spanish and all the languages of the new immigrants from Africa and other areas of the world. We have lots of celebrations of ethnic origin. All of these people keep their cultures alive in homes and in their ethnic group. I taught in the school system; I had, over almost 30 years, many kids who came in not speaking English except for a few words. Up to about 1990, most kids did learn English. Now, it is not needed -- ESL is everywhere and English is often not ever the primary language taught.

Who suffers? The kids. They get out of school and can't find jobs because they have no grasp of proper English.
Not sure what this has to do with living in poverty and not getting an education, but the folks here in NC seem to have all the jobs and they speak very little English.
The problem is that those living in poverty often times are not "expected" to do well therefore they are not exposed to or pushed to excel.
If some want to get into a xenophobic discussion as to what and when the system went all inclusive, then the poverty issue is once again ignored and the tail wagging will continue.
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