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Old 05-16-2009, 05:32 PM
 
Location: Middle America
37,409 posts, read 53,703,533 times
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They can also make it so that even quality educators have absolutely no pull with a given student in the first place. There are absolutely parents who hold education and educators in contempt, openly and blatantly so, and that attitude is passed on to their children, and the educator has no chance to even get a foothold. There are parents who openly encourage disrespect for both teachers and the entire system of education.

Ah, well, natural selection.
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Old 05-16-2009, 06:53 PM
 
31,689 posts, read 41,109,753 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Randomstudent View Post
I agree with that I just believe your conclusion does not follow very well. You also said.

..."Wealthy people don't opt for mediocrity. That is why they work so hard so they afford excellence for their kids."...

Often wealthy people are just born that way, simple as that, from birth they have more money than the vast majority of Americans so in this case they really do not have to work for anything also often mediocrity cannot be avoided simply with wealth as such some of the wealthy do opt for mediocrity in these areas (i.e. grades among other things). There nothing wrong with that, its just that a person's wealth and drive/hardwork often, but not always, have nothing to do with each other.
We have a difference in perspective on achievement and wealth. I stand by my statements and in fact poverty and wealth are both outcomes that result from the self initiative or lack their of by individuals. Poor people demonstrate the behaviors that all to often doom them to continual poverty. This was not true fifty years ago but events of the last half century have enabled those of us who had self initiative to escape and left behind those without to deal with their shortcomings. As many a teacher in here has said if those still trapped would just apply themselves and try they would have options.
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Old 05-16-2009, 07:12 PM
 
Location: NC
9,984 posts, read 10,412,400 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TuborgP View Post
We have a difference in perspective on achievement and wealth. I stand by my statements and in fact poverty and wealth are both outcomes that result from the self initiative or lack their of by individuals. Poor people demonstrate the behaviors that all to often doom them to continual poverty. This was not true fifty years ago but events of the last half century have enabled those of us who had self initiative to escape and left behind those without to deal with their shortcomings. As many a teacher in here has said if those still trapped would just apply themselves and try they would have options.
I agree with that in the cases of people who are born poor or middle class, but not for those individuals that are born wealthy. There are quite a few wealthy people who really do not need any initiative whatsoever to be wealthy. They are just born that way and some, not all, but some, really do not take initiative nor do they need to. Likely their parents, grandparents, or great grandparents did, but for them it is relatively unimportant in regards to gaining wealth. I know a few people that are extraordinarily wealthy, but have just coasted through life not really working for much and settling for mediocrity in most of what ever they did. While they may not have been doing much, their portfolios were growing from their birth under the care of good managers so that regardless of what they do they will be millionaires or close to it by age of 25 and beyond. Now many of the people I know who are in this situation do work hard, achieve things, and apply themselves, but from what I have seen there is not that much difference in wealth between them and those people in the same position who just settle for mediocrity. Again not that this is good or bad or whatever. It just seems to be the way it is on the high end of the economic spectrum.
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Old 05-16-2009, 07:25 PM
 
Location: Virginia
1,938 posts, read 7,135,325 times
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Children of poverty often come to school without breakfast. Yes, we have programs for that, but I teach in a Title school and unfortunatley, tardiness is a huge issue. The kids are getting themselves up and ready for school and often arrive late, past breakfast time.
Children of poverty come dressed inappropriately- winter boots in the spring, sandals in the winter, clothes that don't fit or aren't washed, etc. This hinders their learning.
Children of poverty are malnurished because they live off of little food and unhealthy food- lots of preservatives/sugar and little fresh fruit/veggies. This affects their ability to focus.
Children of poverty often come from one parent households or parents who work crazy hours sometimes offering little stability or time for quality time together. These children seek attention in a variety of ways then at school. Additionally, it affects bedtime.
Children of poverty don't have support at home with homework affecting their grades/progress.
Children of poverty often have parents who are stressed about financial situations creating a stressful home which isn't the same as a nurturing home. Children pick up on the stress.
Children of poverty also frequently spend a lot of time at daycare, often open to close, where often homework isn't worked on, and quality time with parents is missed.
These are generalized statements and don't apply to everyone. I am only citing influential factors of why children who live in poverty don't excel in school. If you look at demographics, affluent areas have the highest performing schools. This isn't because the teachers are better, it isn't because the curriculum or resources are better, nor is it because the students are smarter. Its because there is a different style of life at home, parenting is different, more parents are involved at schools in these areas, the parents themselves are educated past high school and often hold graduate degrees. Education is valued in a different sense, whereas in a poverty stricken area, it is seen as free daycare for the day.
I have worked in both types of schools. I spent far less money on supplies for my students in the affluent area because parents who worked and couldn't volunteer felt guilty for not being able to give time so they bought lots of supplies and asked for lists of things they could do to help. As I work in my low income/Title school, the majority of my money I spend on the kids is on socks/shoes, snacks to feed them, coats, jeans, toothbrushes/paste, combs and barretts, alarm clocks, field trip money, detergent, things like that. We do have a higher budget for school supplies for pencils, notebooks, etc. so those things aren't needed. Its the other necessities that I spend my money on. The personal items that I buy, I keep at school and don't let the kids wear home for fear of never seeing them again. So I must launder these things at school and label them well.
I would also like to add that the amount of time I spend listening to a child talk about home stuff takes away from teaching time. You might frown about this, but this is important time. I get to listen to how a little girl didn't sleep much the night before because mom kept waking her up to put her in the car so they could go to a different friends house (mom was partying), or how mom and her new boyfriend kept her up late because they were too loud (aahhh hem..use your imagination), I hear from the little boy who shares a room with his new baby brother and mom wouldn't get up to feed the baby so he tried to make the bottle, then made a mess and got yelled at for it. I get to listen to how tired children are because they have no bed to sleep on and had to sleep in box again with the pile of clothes.

How do you know that the best teachers aren't already working in poverty stricken areas? Those who choose not to work in Title schools don't want to deal with the stress of teaching and the obstacles that poverty brings too. I agree, working in affluent areas is far easier because you spend so much more time teaching and less time parenting. There are far fewer behavior problems, you aren't buying clothing and personal hygiene items, or healthy snacks to feed the kids. You aren't spending nights on the phone or personal time in the car driving to apts/homes trying to contact a parent, you have a better attendance rate because sick kids stay home and get better before returning, etc.
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Old 05-17-2009, 09:07 AM
 
3,532 posts, read 6,437,986 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Weekend Traveler View Post
When students in poverty stricken ghetto schools fail most of the blame always goes to the teachers and principal. Very little official blame goes to our messed up culture, the parents, or the sweet little students. It is easier to blame the teachers and administrators.

I know there are some really bad teachers at some really bad schools, but I wonder if even the best teachers and principals could turn around some of the terrible under performing schools.

If the hundred best teachers in the country were assigned to teach at the worst school in America would there really be that much change?
You raise an interesting question, and since I have worked in one of the most notorious city and school district in the state of CA and probably the USA--Compton, and where I grew up, I have seen hundreds of teachers come and go through Compton's revolving door.

Many of these teachers had good intentions and many wanted to make a difference. I think the key mistake that we as teachers make with working with any child, is not understanding their culture, their environment, and what they are dealing with at home on a daily basis. For me, it would be hard for me to teach high achieving kids in a predominately upper middle class district.

COMPASSION FOR KIDS, especially kids in the inner city go a long way. These are kids who don't want u to feel sorry for them; they basically want to know that you care (even though they will still be disruptive in class and fight learning)

Many of the kids I have taught in Compton weren't technically bad kids, but they were misguided and some of them were raising themselves. I was fortunate to be not only a teacher from Compton helping my kids learn, but one who actualy taught some of my own classmates kids. The parents I went to high school with supported me and were proud of me because I was giving back to my community where I was raised.

For me, (not bragging at all) I think I could make a difference in any inner city/ghetto district because I have been where those kids are and I understand them. A good teacher ,who grew up in an upper middle class community, won't be able to understand as easily what it means to sleep in a house with 30 people, hear gun shots daily while being used to the shots, not know if your mom will get evicted for the 5th time that school year, or have simple things we take for granted like food, electricity, phone service, and clean clothes to wear to school.
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Old 05-18-2009, 07:50 AM
 
Location: mass
2,905 posts, read 7,359,171 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Weekend Traveler View Post
When students in poverty stricken ghetto schools fail most of the blame always goes to the teachers and principal. Very little official blame goes to our messed up culture, the parents, or the sweet little students. It is easier to blame the teachers and administrators.

I know there are some really bad teachers at some really bad schools, but I wonder if even the best teachers and principals could turn around some of the terrible under performing schools.

If the hundred best teachers in the country were assigned to teach at the worst school in America would there really be that much change?
My first thought when I read this was how do you measure the "best" teachers? Is a teacher the "best" because all his/her students are excelling? And then are they all excelling because the teacher is the "best" or a whole combination of other factors?

but your idea sounds interesting. If the "best" teachers went to under-performing schools that would certainly show weather they were really the best or not.
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Old 05-18-2009, 09:15 AM
 
Location: Ocean Shores, WA
5,092 posts, read 14,855,808 times
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Sending the best teachers to the worst schools is like putting on your best clothes to work in the yard.

The best teachers should work at the best schools where they can do some real good and be appreciated for it.

The worst schools are just temporary storage for the children of the underclass.
There is no way that will ever change short of a revolution which levels the social and economic playing field.
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Old 05-18-2009, 09:29 AM
 
Location: Rockland County New York
2,984 posts, read 5,865,297 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fat Freddy View Post
Sending the best teachers to the worst schools is like putting on your best clothes to work in the yard.

The best teachers should work at the best schools where they can do some real good and be appreciated for it.

The worst schools are just temporary storage for the children of the underclass.
There is no way that will ever change short of a revolution which levels the social and economic playing field.
After working in NYC South Bronx I agree with you.
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Old 05-18-2009, 09:51 AM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
90,296 posts, read 120,991,693 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mommytotwo View Post
My first thought when I read this was how do you measure the "best" teachers? Is a teacher the "best" because all his/her students are excelling? And then are they all excelling because the teacher is the "best" or a whole combination of other factors?

but your idea sounds interesting. If the "best" teachers went to under-performing schools that would certainly show weather they were really the best or not.
I'm late to this party, but I agree with mommytotwo (so am I, BTW!) There is a direct relationship between school test scores and the socio-economic status of the parents. In other words, high-scoring schools are located in affluent areas, with a few exceptions, of course. To me this means that most of those kids would score well no matter who was teaching. An exaggeration, perhaps, but not much. That is why some of us, when discussing schools in the city/state forums, warn parents that there are bad teachers in "good" districts, and vice versa, and the school test scores are no measure of how their particular child will do in a school.

Last edited by Katarina Witt; 05-18-2009 at 09:54 AM.. Reason: switch good and bad
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Old 05-18-2009, 10:06 AM
 
Location: Los Angeles (Hollywood)
174 posts, read 517,506 times
Reputation: 193
Well, I wish it weren't true Fat Freddy, but I think you're correct.

On a slightly more bright side, when I first began teaching at my high school, an older teacher gave me the best advice I've ever heard from anyone. [I would say, "including instructors in teacher preparation classes", but I didn't learn much of anything that was real from them.] Teacher preparation workshops and professional development are a big money making racket, but that's a subject for another thread.

This teacher told me, "No matter how badly behaved a class of high school kids might be, no matter how much they may try to block you, you will always find at least one or two kids who actually want to learn something. Find the one or two and teach to them."

This woman was absolutely correct. I have taken her advice to heart. Sometimes when you find one or two genuine learners and shower them with attention, some of the others will want what they have. The one or two could become four or five. I keep good records and give out a majority of fails. The district doesn't like that, but they have these quick fixes in place (intersession and adult school) which allow them to graduate functionally illiterate kids.

In LA Unified we still have "Time out" rooms [although there are administrators in district headquarters who would like to dismantle them]. A kid gets out of hand and I send him or her out. It might take a matter of months, but the acting out begins to lose steam when there's nothing fueling the excitement.

You can NEVER accomplish the same things in an urban school like mine that you would in suburban utopia, but it's never a waste of time either.
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