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Old 02-06-2019, 12:02 PM
 
Location: The mountain of Airy
5,219 posts, read 5,135,074 times
Reputation: 3469

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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarketStEl View Post
There's another contributor to the problem. You can find that person in the mirror.

How the Systemic Segregation of Schools is Maintained by 'Individual Choices' | NPR

If we have to have an organization that pleads with / pushes / encourages white families* to choose to enroll their children in public schools where they may not be in the racial majority, then we have a problem still:

Integrated Schools: Families Choosing Integration

The anecdotal evidence I've been collecting, which is now being backed up by research, leads me to believe that affluent white parents will be doing their children no harm by sending them to schools like Chester A. Arthur in Graduate Hospital (GreatSchools.org rating: 3; Niche grade: C) or Anna L. Lingelbach in Germantown/Mt. Airy (GreatSchools.org rating: 2, Niche grade: C-). The former has a very active Friends Of group that's spent some serious money improving the school's playground and facilities as well as buying supplies and materials for the teachers.

The two Lingelbach parents I spoke with one Sunday after services at First Presbyterian Church in Germantown** were white women, and from their dress and demeanor I could pretty confidently place them in the upper reaches of the neighborhood's income distribution. They were absolutely pleased with the education their sons and daughters were getting and with the quality of the school staff.

I'm aware that there are schools in the city where the kids themselves might make learning more difficult. Most of them, I'd submit, don't fall into that category. The resources parents bring to the table also make a difference in how children perform, and those resources are the same no matter what school their kids attend. Will all this rub off on the other kids from less privileged backgrounds? The jury's probably still out on this, but it's safe to say they won't do any worse.

*Trust me, it's not the black families who need convincing. They know that their kids will get a better education if they go to school with white kids than they would if they went to an all-black school. It's just the way Dream Hoarders operate that keeps them from being able to do so.

**One of the reasons I love the neighborhood where I live now is because it's a mostly low-income neighborhood that still has plenty of not-poor residents in it who care about it a great deal. (So do many of the poorer ones.) They're all trying to figure out how they can work with one another to bring this place back up where it belongs. The process isn't easy, I can tell you that, but at least they're working at it. What about the rest of you? Afraid you'll get shot? (You probably won't. I haven't in the nearly six years I've lived here.)
'
Anyone who can afford to give their kid the best education possible, will. End of story. And I don't know if you were trying to be facetious about the "kids going to school with white kids", but it's certainly not as you describe. Not from a matter of causation in the way that you explain it. And if these schools, where people are satisfied with their children's educations, were as good as you say, wouldn't you think some of the test scores would be better? Test scores aren't everything, but they are something.


At the end of the day, the problem is one of economics (not color of skin). Pouring more money into the district will get meager results if the parents don't work hard and care about their children's education (and behavior and future). It's nice to hear that people in your neighborhood care, even though it's a lower income neighborhood. However, that's not the case in many lower income neighborhoods in Philly that I've seen.
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Old 02-06-2019, 12:10 PM
 
Location: The Best Philly, West Philly
947 posts, read 663,405 times
Reputation: 2365
Quote:
Originally Posted by Patmcpsu View Post
From my perspective, we can see the results of spread-out school funding in our own backyard: Delaware. Delaware's public school funding sources breakdown is (source: DEMYSTIFYING DELAWARE’S PUBLIC EDUCATION FUNDING) with average per pupil spending of $14,713:
  • Federal: $200 million (~10%)
  • State: $1.4 billion (~60%)
  • Local: $700 million (~30%)

For reference, here's PA's breakdown of sources (source: Pennsylvania school funding, explained) with average per pupil spending of $15,418:
  • Federal: 3%
  • State: 36%
  • Local: 58.6%

And what's the general end-result? Delaware's schools are consistently subpar, with anybody who can afford it sending their kids to private schools. Anybody I know would prefer PA public schools over DE public schools, but then again, I don't know any poor inner-city families.

But my point is that rich kids will still get a better education than the poor kids (unless you outlaw private schools). Once you accept that, the only difference is whether you prefer the rich kids to attend private or public schools.

All that being said, the name of the game is defining a minimum level of education that poor kids are entitled to, and ensuring they get that (by state and/or federal subsidies, if necessary). This is already the policy that's in place, and the debate is really what a "minimum level of education" actually consists of.
I'm not just concerned about the "minimum level of education", which I would generally describe as an operating expenditure, but also about the level of funding that districts receive for capital expenditures. Correct me if I'm wrong, but capital expenditures aren't included in per-pupil spending.

The level of available funds for capital expenditures is a large reason why people tout suburban SDs as being "better" than urban and rural SDs in PA. On top of the additional funds that it will typically take to educate, support, and nurture a child/teen who has been raised through poverty and the facts of life that typically come with it, urban and rural SDs also struggle to either update or build new facilities. How is a student supposed to learn at an adequate level when there is a lack of heat in the winter, a lack of air conditioning in the summer, and lead in the water fountains, among other things?

Rich kids will always have access to better educational opportunities; however, that doesn't mean that we should leave entire cities behind just because they happen to have a larger concentration of socioeconomically disadvantaged people. This especially becomes the case when one considers that Philadelphia County is PA's only $1 trillion dollar county, paying more in taxes to the Commonwealth than we receive in benefits. PA would be losing population, GDP, and national status without Philly and its metropolitan area, so one would think that PA's politicians would take steps to ensure its continued success. The big thing that holds back families from moving to the city is the situation with our SD.
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Old 02-06-2019, 12:42 PM
 
Location: Pocopson
143 posts, read 46,485 times
Reputation: 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilliesPhan2013 View Post
I'm not just concerned about the "minimum level of education", which I would generally describe as an operating expenditure, but also about the level of funding that districts receive for capital expenditures. Correct me if I'm wrong, but capital expenditures aren't included in per-pupil spending.

The level of available funds for capital expenditures is a large reason why people tout suburban SDs as being "better" than urban and rural SDs in PA. On top of the additional funds that it will typically take to educate, support, and nurture a child/teen who has been raised through poverty and the facts of life that typically come with it, urban and rural SDs also struggle to either update or build new facilities. How is a student supposed to learn at an adequate level when there is a lack of heat in the winter, a lack of air conditioning in the summer, and lead in the water fountains, among other things?

Rich kids will always have access to better educational opportunities; however, that doesn't mean that we should leave entire cities behind just because they happen to have a larger concentration of socioeconomically disadvantaged people. This especially becomes the case when one considers that Philadelphia County is PA's only $1 trillion dollar county, paying more in taxes to the Commonwealth than we receive in benefits. PA would be losing population, GDP, and national status without Philly and its metropolitan area, so one would think that PA's politicians would take steps to ensure its continued success. The big thing that holds back families from moving to the city is the situation with our SD.
In less words, you're saying that facilities should be considered under the umbrella of "minimum level of education". For basic things such as water, heat and general safety, I agree. And if the Philadelphia School District truly can't afford basic facilities, I'm fine with the State/Feds providing funds for it. I could be wrong (this is all outside of my wheelhouse), but I believe that's the system that's already in place when school districts submit their appropriation requests to the state.

But if a rich area out in the suburbs wants to gold-plate their facility, and it's being funded by the local tax-payers who are actually using it, how is that a bad thing exactly?
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Old 02-06-2019, 12:53 PM
 
Location: Germantown, Philadelphia
4,160 posts, read 2,014,302 times
Reputation: 2618
Quote:
Originally Posted by AJNEOA View Post
Anyone who can afford to give their kid the best education possible, will. End of story. And I don't know if you were trying to be facetious about the "kids going to school with white kids", but it's certainly not as you describe. Not from a matter of causation in the way that you explain it. And if these schools, where people are satisfied with their children's educations, were as good as you say, wouldn't you think some of the test scores would be better? Test scores aren't everything, but they are something.


At the end of the day, the problem is one of economics (not color of skin). Pouring more money into the district will get meager results if the parents don't work hard and care about their children's education (and behavior and future). It's nice to hear that people in your neighborhood care, even though it's a lower income neighborhood. However, that's not the case in many lower income neighborhoods in Philly that I've seen.
I wasn't being facetious. Find me a school with an African-American share of the student body above 60 percent and a grade of B or better on Niche or a 7 or better on GreatSchools.

On the other hand, economics also plays a role. If the schools don't have enough money to hire enough teachers to get the class sizes down below 30, or ideally, below 25, then even the kids with engaged parents and resources and support at home, regardless of race, will have a harder time excelling or performing to the best of their abilities.

Between that, residential segregation, and the reluctance of white parents to "choose integration," the losers are middle-class African-Americans (like those living in don't-you-dare-call-it-Cedarbrook, which is 95 percent African-American*) - and their poorer brothers and sisters who could use the improvements even more.

*This is not what the residents of that neighborhood hoped would be the case when they moved into it starting in the 1960s. Back then, it was almost all white and heavily Jewish**, and the developers who built the houses in it starting after the Cedarbrook golf course crossed the city line in 1945 told the buyers they were living in Mt. Airy. Technically, they weren't - the neighborhood is part of pre-consolidation Bristol Township, which includes the Oak Lanes, Ogontz and Fern Rock - but that didn't matter to them. It did, however, to the people who formed East Mt. Airy Neighbors in the early 1960s and joined their west-of-Germantown-Avenue counterparts in taking a stand against fearmongering and white flight. They drew their boundary at the old township boundary - Stenton Avenue. Thus there was no organized effort to keep the little chunk of the Northeast in the Northwest integrated. The current racial breakdown there is the result.

**This is a common succession pattern in many American cities because the same covenants that kept blacks from buying houses in many neighborhoods also forbade sales to Jews.
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Old 02-06-2019, 01:05 PM
 
Location: Germantown, Philadelphia
4,160 posts, read 2,014,302 times
Reputation: 2618
Now that I've taken another shot at the race argument, I should in fairness offer a research-based counter.

I forget where I heard this - I think it was on "Freakonomics Radio", but I couldn't find it mentioned in any of the synopses in the show archives - but one researcher on education sought to do a correlational study of factors that are assumed to affect school performance and outcomes.

I think the researchers used test scores as their performance metric.

It turned out that the correlations between most of the variables used to explain performance gaps and the performance gaps were weak.

The one that wasn't: Percentage of students receiving free or reduced-price school lunches, which is widely used as a proxy for poverty.

Maybe someone can find a link to the study or the radio show where it was cited. I need to get back to work now.
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Old 02-06-2019, 02:21 PM
 
Location: The mountain of Airy
5,219 posts, read 5,135,074 times
Reputation: 3469
Quote:
Originally Posted by MarketStEl View Post
I wasn't being facetious. Find me a school with an African-American share of the student body above 60 percent and a grade of B or better on Niche or a 7 or better on GreatSchools.

On the other hand, economics also plays a role. If the schools don't have enough money to hire enough teachers to get the class sizes down below 30, or ideally, below 25, then even the kids with engaged parents and resources and support at home, regardless of race, will have a harder time excelling or performing to the best of their abilities.

Between that, residential segregation, and the reluctance of white parents to "choose integration," the losers are middle-class African-Americans (like those living in don't-you-dare-call-it-Cedarbrook, which is 95 percent African-American*) - and their poorer brothers and sisters who could use the improvements even more.

*This is not what the residents of that neighborhood hoped would be the case when they moved into it starting in the 1960s. Back then, it was almost all white and heavily Jewish**, and the developers who built the houses in it starting after the Cedarbrook golf course crossed the city line in 1945 told the buyers they were living in Mt. Airy. Technically, they weren't - the neighborhood is part of pre-consolidation Bristol Township, which includes the Oak Lanes, Ogontz and Fern Rock - but that didn't matter to them. It did, however, to the people who formed East Mt. Airy Neighbors in the early 1960s and joined their west-of-Germantown-Avenue counterparts in taking a stand against fearmongering and white flight. They drew their boundary at the old township boundary - Stenton Avenue. Thus there was no organized effort to keep the little chunk of the Northeast in the Northwest integrated. The current racial breakdown there is the result.

**This is a common succession pattern in many American cities because the same covenants that kept blacks from buying houses in many neighborhoods also forbade sales to Jews.
It was the way you worded it that I took issue with tbh. The whole "choosing integration" isn't how I see it, coming from at least one parent. It's a matter of test scores and ratings that are driving my impending decision. My point being that it's not all about "choosing integration". It's almost always about socioeconomics though.
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Old 02-06-2019, 04:17 PM
 
Location: Philadelphia, PA
1,002 posts, read 574,462 times
Reputation: 1466
The overall situation of public schools in Philadelphia is pretty terrible, yes. My first job teaching out of college was in West Philly, and the condition of the school and it's students were appalling. If you ever want a perfect example of how black students are treated as third-rate nobodies by society-at-large, go to a poor, predominantly black neighborhood school. Some of the issues they face are cultural, but by far and away the biggest problem is that society just doesn't care that they aren't getting a fair opportunity. The single biggest challenge to me during that year was trying to figure out how I could try treating years of social and personal neglect in my 6 year old first graders while still trying to teach them something. I came to the conclusion that even on your best days, the impact you made was minimal because you were fighting against forces far bigger and deeper then your single self. It also didn't help that the teacher turnover rate was close to 1/3 every single year, and hardly anyone stayed more than 3-4 years. It was a lot of first year teachers, like myself, who would take those jobs because we lacked experience. When you have a whole team of brand new teachers, you're often left to fend for yourself and at 22 it was overwhelming for me. I left after a year.

Now granted, there are a lot of exceptions. I currently teach at a Title I school with a completely free and reduced lunch program for everyone, a large immigrant and ESL population, and where the large majority of parents don't speak English and work long hours at blue collar jobs. We are one of the highest achieving schools in the city despite this. I'm surprised the school hasn't come up in the conversation yet (I won't mention where though). The point is, urban education for lower SES students can be done right and successfully, but it needs a special kind of dedication and investment from the people who work in it, the students who attend it, the parents of the kids, and society in general. Unfortunately, many parts of that are missing in America's urban public schools because of lingering racism and growing economic inequality.
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Old 02-07-2019, 02:02 AM
 
Location: Germantown, Philadelphia
4,160 posts, read 2,014,302 times
Reputation: 2618
Quote:
Originally Posted by AJNEOA View Post
It was the way you worded it that I took issue with tbh. The whole "choosing integration" isn't how I see it, coming from at least one parent. It's a matter of test scores and ratings that are driving my impending decision. My point being that it's not all about "choosing integration". It's almost always about socioeconomics though.
I guess the thing is that, as with so much else in our society, the two get conflated.

White flight, which helped create the current school situation, occurred not because the fleeing whites knew anything about the socioeconomic status of the blacks who were moving in. The whole housing policy apparatus was based on the assumption that blacks by definition "lowered property values." And since school attendance is tied to place of residence, that meant the schools would become all-black too.

The school segregation fight in Tredyffrin-Easttown in 1935, where a Main Line community that had a sizable black population already attempted to put those residents' children in a separate school, is also emblematic of the conflation. The school board sold it as a concern for the welfare of the black children, who, they argued, would be better served attending a school of their own with black teachers. The blacks in the townships weren't buying it. It took them four years and a boycott, but they won the fight.

And if you read the material on that website I linked above, much of it is aimed at convincing parents that there's little or no risk in sending children to such schools. This would be directly relevant here in Mt. Airy, for instance.

Which brings us to one of the schools I mentioned upthread, one whose enrollment stats will probably prove your point while not invalidating mine. Anna L. Lingelbach Elementary School has 421 students in grades K through 8. Its attendance zone takes in all of Germantown's northwest quarter - where almost all of the neighborhood's most affluent residents, including the 5 percent of households with annual income >$125K, live - and the southernmost sliver of West Mt. Airy, which is more affluent and whiter than East Mt. Airy overall - but this sliver includes the Census tract with the lowest MHI in all of Mt. Airy.

85 percent of Lingelbach students are African-American. 100 percent of them are on free or reduced-price lunch - thanks to a policy change that took effect in 2014; that policy enables the district to serve free lunches to all students regardless of household income. Were this policy not in effect, however, we would probably find that the overwhelming majority of Lingelbach students would be eating a subsidized lunch because the more affluent parents in its attendance district send their kids to private or public charter schools.

Here's what one such parent who took their kid out of private school and enrolled the child at Lingelbach said in 2015 on GreatSchools. That parent gave the school four stars out of a possible five, as four of the nine GreatSchools users who submitted reviews did:

Quote:
I'm giving Lingelbach four stars based on the caliber of the philadelphia public schools. My son came to Lingelbach after spending 3 years and $21,000 for private school. I was very apprehensive about sending my son to lingelbach, however, he is finally getting the support that my $21,000 couldn't buy him in private school. The school is older[*] and definitely could use more resources but the teachers are commited and go above and beyond. The PE teacher is great and there is dragon boat racing and basketball, just to mention a few. They have a nurse and a counselor. Last year they got a new computer lab and hopefully new technology is on its way. The principle is new and is helping to turn this failing school into an achieving school. He is green and is not approachable but hopefully that will improve. My son has grown by leaps and bounds over the past two years but I probably will not keep him at lingelbach, past next year. The lack of resources is a problem, the lack of parent involvement is disheartening and frankly some of the kids are behavior problems and can be a distraction from learning. On a positive note. HSA is small but mighty. Wish neighborhood families would return.
* Anna L. Lingelbach School was built in 1957 on a lot that includes a ca. 1910 English Gothic mansion that is city-owned, historic and currently unused. It's actually among the newer schools the SDP runs. Age of the facilities is one big difference between the city schools here and the suburban ones.

Now, note what this parent said when they explained why they weren't going to keep their child in Lingelbach after the following year (boldfaced in the quote; the review was written in February of 2015). A lot of what she writes about is socioeconomic in nature; parents in lower-income households, for whatever reason, often don't devote the time or attention better-off ones do to their kids' schooling, quite possibly because they don't have the time to devote. But again, the socioeconomic status and race are probably conflated here (2.1 percent of all Lingelbach students are white; worth noting, however, is that five percent are of two or more races, a figure that's probably higher than at other SDP schools. Six percent are Hispanic, one percent Asian, and less than one percent native peoples or Pacific Islanders).

So the parent who did this is clearly an affluent parent who "chose integration" not because they were previously apprehensive about the racial composition of the school but because they no longer wanted to spend money on performance they weren't getting. And they got it at Lingelbach - but they were still troubled enough by the downsides to pull their son out again.

As I said, this proves your point while not invalidating mine, except to the extent that race didn't really factor into this parent's decision to both enroll and withdraw their son from the school. But since the two are conflated (including in the minds of many African Americans), race can often be a proxy for socioeconomic status.

And it does require conscious, deliberate, affirmative action on the part of the parents to overcome the apprehension. Were more of this parent's fellow Germantowners and Mt. Airyites to follow her lead, some of those downsides would diminish.

Last edited by MarketStEl; 02-07-2019 at 02:19 AM.. Reason: correcting unclear comparative statement
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Old 02-07-2019, 02:12 AM
 
Location: Germantown, Philadelphia
4,160 posts, read 2,014,302 times
Reputation: 2618
Quote:
Originally Posted by MB1562 View Post
The overall situation of public schools in Philadelphia is pretty terrible, yes. My first job teaching out of college was in West Philly, and the condition of the school and it's students were appalling. If you ever want a perfect example of how black students are treated as third-rate nobodies by society-at-large, go to a poor, predominantly black neighborhood school. Some of the issues they face are cultural, but by far and away the biggest problem is that society just doesn't care that they aren't getting a fair opportunity. The single biggest challenge to me during that year was trying to figure out how I could try treating years of social and personal neglect in my 6 year old first graders while still trying to teach them something. I came to the conclusion that even on your best days, the impact you made was minimal because you were fighting against forces far bigger and deeper then your single self. It also didn't help that the teacher turnover rate was close to 1/3 every single year, and hardly anyone stayed more than 3-4 years. It was a lot of first year teachers, like myself, who would take those jobs because we lacked experience. When you have a whole team of brand new teachers, you're often left to fend for yourself and at 22 it was overwhelming for me. I left after a year.

Now granted, there are a lot of exceptions. I currently teach at a Title I school with a completely free and reduced lunch program for everyone, a large immigrant and ESL population, and where the large majority of parents don't speak English and work long hours at blue collar jobs. We are one of the highest achieving schools in the city despite this. I'm surprised the school hasn't come up in the conversation yet (I won't mention where though). The point is, urban education for lower SES students can be done right and successfully, but it needs a special kind of dedication and investment from the people who work in it, the students who attend it, the parents of the kids, and society in general. Unfortunately, many parts of that are missing in America's urban public schools because of lingering racism and growing economic inequality.
<clap clap clap clap clap>

Gotcher back.

Wish you would identify the school publicly. Since you no longer teach there, it might be worth it to see how it rates on the school ranking sites.

Again, part of the problem stems from the conflation of race and socioeconomic status - which is why I wrote above that "middle-class African-American families are the losers" in the broader struggle.

It shouldn't be the case that black kids need to have white kids present in the schools for them to get a better education. But it is, by and large, and this post illuminates some of the reasons why. Imagine what kind of progress might ensue if the teaching staff at this school didn't turn over every 1 to 3 years.
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Old 02-07-2019, 06:39 AM
 
Location: Philadelphia, PA
1,002 posts, read 574,462 times
Reputation: 1466
Quote:
Originally Posted by MarketStEl View Post
<clap clap clap clap clap>

Gotcher back.

Wish you would identify the school publicly. Since you no longer teach there, it might be worth it to see how it rates on the school ranking sites.
.
The school I taught at previously was Belmont Charter School, at 40th & Brown in Belmont.

I think I told you privately in a PM awhile back of the school I teach at now.
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