What the best and wisest parent wants for his own child, that must be the
community want for all of its children. Any other ideal for our schools is
narrow and unlovely; acted upon, it destroys our democracy.
—John Dewey, educational philosopher, The School and Society, 1907
- 31% of all students in the United States are concentrated in 1.5% of urban schools with total per person revenues that are only 89% of the average total pupil revenue.
- Under-funding of urban schools is affected by funding formula including low weights for compensatory education, bilingual or English as a second language programs, and attendance-based foundation programs.
- Urban students are likely to have higher rates of mobility, absenteeism, and poor health. They are also less likely to have health coverage, which decreases attendance and reduces funding based on attendance-based formula.
Children living in urban areas are much more likely to be living in poverty than children in other types of communities. In 1990, 20% of children nationwide were living in poverty. However, 30% of children living in urban areas lived in poverty, compared with only 13% of those in suburbs and 22% of those living in rural areas (Krantzler et al, 1997). A school in which more than 40% of the students qualify for reduced-price lunches or free lunch is considered a school with a high concentration of poverty.
Approximately, 40% of urban students attend schools with high poverty concentrations. This is a large number compared to the 10% of suburban students and 25% of rural students who attend such schools (Reyes et al, 2004).
Poverty comprises the “600 pound gorilla” that most affects American education today (Berliner, 2005). The concentration of poverty in a school is a major factor associated with student academic achievement.
In fact, according to Krantzler et al (1997), the “relationship between school poverty concentrations and school academic achievement averages is stronger than the relationship between individual family poverty and individual student achievement.”
Poverty is strongly correlated with race and ethnicity. Consequently, African-American and Hispanics are greatly overrepresented in the groups that suffer severe poverty in urban areas (Berliner, 2005).
In 1999, 17% of Americans age 5 to 24 were from families which the primary language spoken was not English. Sixty-five percent of these students’ families speak Spanish (Slavin, 2005). Due to the large Hispanic population, urban public schools have higher proportions of students with limited-English proficiency. According to Krantzler et al (1997), in 1993-94, compared to the national average urban schools had two times the proportion of students with limited-English proficiency. Students who process limited mastery of English cost more to educate.
In my humble opinion, the school reform movement in America, is glossing over some deeply troubling things that are happening before our eyes. Schools are embedded in cultures and communities and with out really "looking" at some of these not too pleasant realities....
According to a Justice Department report released in July 2003, the U.S. prison population surpassed 2 million for the first time—2,166,260 people were incarcerated in prisons or jails at the end of 2002 (the latest statistics available). Since 1990, the U.S. prison population, already the world's largest, has almost doubled.
About two-thirds of prisoners were in state and federal prisons, while the rest were in local jails. The report does not count all juvenile offenders, but noted that there were more than 10,000 inmates under age 18 held in adult prisons and jails in 2002. The number of women in federal and state prisons reached 97,491.
About 10.4% of the entire African-American male population in the United States aged 25 to 29 was incarcerated, by far the largest racial or ethnic group—by comparison, 2.4% of Hispanic men and 1.2% of white men in that same age group were incarcerated. According to a report by the Justice Policy Institute in 2002, the number of black men in prison has grown to five times the rate it was twenty years ago. Today, more African-American men are in jail than in college. In 2000 there were 791,600 black men in prison and 603,032 enrolled in college. In 1980, there were 143,000 black men in prison and 463,700 enrolled in college.
Lets not jump right to solutions yet..... lets keep sharing and learning a bit.....
"At the beginning of the twenty-first century," according to Gary Orfield and his colleagues at the Civil Rights Project at Harvard University, "American public schools are now 12 years into the process of continuous resegregation.
The desegregation of black students, which increased continuously from the 1950s to the late 1980s, has receded to levels not seen in three decades."
The proportion of black students in majority-white schools stands at "a level lower than in any year since 1968."
The four most segregated states for black students, according to a recent study by the Civil Rights Project, are New York, Michigan, Illinois and California. In New York, only one black student in seven goes to a predominantly white school.
"The notion that apartheid in the South could be dismantled 50 years ago seemed wildly improbable as well," he noted. "Breaking down the barriers to interdistrict integration and reducing residential segregation in the suburbs have at least as good a chance of ultimate success. It will take a major political thrust in order to achieve this. We will certainly need some better people on the courts. But look at what Charles Hamilton Houston and W.E.B. Du Bois and those who worked with them during the decades long before the Brown decision faced when they were looking at a system of apartheid in the South which nobody was seriously resisting and which neither political party was opposing. And they nonetheless were asking, 'How do you take this thing apart?' And they did it. They started a movement. They created the intellectual force to make it possible. This is what we need to do as well."
Doe this not need to be part of our discussion concerning school transformation?
(The proportion of black students in majority-white schools stands at "a level lower than in any year since 1968.")
Is there any hint of the reason(s) for some of the declines? Are the number of black applicants going down? Number of qualified (GPA or "test") black applicants applying to these schools going down? Are the schools becoming more "white" or are other minorities coming in? Could part of it be that they have just spread out more, or have the number of predominantly white schools gone down in the last 3 decades?
Is this just with blacks, or could part of it be poverty, with numbers declining for all lower income peoples?
Someone once told me that most statistics will usually say whatever you want them to say. So I have learned to try and dig more things out whenever I see them.
Hi Paul..... here you go.... lets look a bit into just one of our urban public school K-12 disticts..............
Chicago Segregated African American Elementary Schools which could have faced reconstitution at the end of the 2008-2009 school year
1. Bass (1140 W. 66th St. 60621); 508 total students; 99.8 percent African American students.
2. Bethune (3030 W. Arthington 60612); 353 total students; 99.4 percent African American.
3. Bontemps (1241 W. 58th St. 60636); 393 total students; 98.7 percent African-American.
4. Bradwell (7736 S. Burnham 60649); 770 students; 99.9 percent African American.
5. Brunson (932 N. Central Ave. 60651); 806 students; 96.4 percent African American.
6. Copernicus (6010 S. Throop 60636); 346 students; 99.4 percent African American
7. Curtis (32 E. 115th St. 60628); 470 students; 97.7 percent African American
8. Doolittle (535 E. 35th St. 60616); 431 students; 99.1 percent African American.
9. Dulles (6311 S. Calumet 60637); 429 students; 99.8 percent African American.
10. Dumas (6650 S. Ellis 60637); 382 students; 99 percent African American.
11. Earle (6121 S. Hermitage 60636); 394 students; 100 percent African American.
12. Fermi (1415 E. 70th St. 60637); 239 students; 98.7 percent African American
13. Fuller (4214 S. St. Lawrence 60653); 283 students; 99.6 percent African American
14. Fulton (5300 S. Hermitage 60609); 654 students; 82.3 percent African American; 17.5 percent Hispanic American.
15. Harvard (7252 S. Harvard 60620); 519 students; 98.7 percent African American
16. Henderson (5650 S. Wolcott 60636); 461 students; 98.7 percent African American.
17. Hinton 644 W. 71st St. 60621 421 99 percent African-American.
18. Holmes (955 W. Garfield Blvd. 60621); 462 students; 99.6 99 percent African-American.
19. Howe (720 N. Lorel 60644); 540 students; 99.4 99 percent African-American.
20. Johnson (1420 S. Albany 60623) 281 students; 99.3 99 percent African-American.
21. Kershaw (6450 S. Lowe 60621); 273 students; 98.9 99 percent African-American.
22. Key (517 N. Parkside 60644); 389 students; 98.5 99 percent African-American.
23. Lathrop (1440 S. Christiana 60623); 322 99.1 99 percent African-American.
24. Lavizzo (138 W. 109th St. 60628); 506 students; 98.6 99 percent African-American.
25. Lewis (1431 N. Leamington 60651); 813 students; 86.1 99 percent African-American; 13.5 percent Latino (110 students who are minorities but are not black).
26. Libby (5300 S. Loomis 60609); 569 students; 92.8 99 percent African-American; 7.2 percent students who are Latino (41 students who are minorities but not black).
27. May (512 S. Lavergne 60644); 588 students; 98.8 99 percent African-American.
28. McKay (6901 S. Fairfield 60629); 1,052 students; 89 99 percent African-American; 11.1 percent Latino (116 students who are minorities but not black).
29. Medill (1301 W. 14th St. 60608); 147 students; 100 99 percent African-American.
30. Morton (431 N. Troy 60612); 284 students; 94.7 99 percent African-American.
31. Nash (4837 W. Erie 60644); 584 students; 99.1 99 percent African-American.
32. O'Keefe (6940 S. Merrill 60649); 675 students; 100 99 percent African-American.
33. Park Manor (7037 S. Rhodes 60637); 378 students; 99.7 99 percent African-American.
34. Parkman (245 W. 51st St. 60609); 156 students; 87.8 99 percent African-American; 11.5 percent other minorities (18 students this school year).
35. Reed (6350 S. Stewart 60621); 297 students; 100 99 percent African-American.
36. Ross (6059 S. Wabash 60637); 411 students; 100 99 percent African-American.
37. Schiller (640 W. Scott 60610); 190 students; 99.5 99 percent African-American.
38. Sherman (1000 W. 52nd St. 60609); 584 students; 99.1 99 percent African-American.
39. Smyth (1059 W. 13th St, 60608); 592 students; 98 99 percent African-American.
40. Wentworth (6950 S. Sangamon 60621); 427 students; 98.6 99 percent African-American.
41. West Pullman (11941 S. Parnell 60628); 424 99.5 99 percent African-American.
42. Yale (7025 S. Princeton 60621); 294 students; 99.7 99 percent African-American.
Total 19,097 students in the 42 schools that could have faced 'turnaround'
97.7 percent African American
This list consists of Chicago public elementary schools (42) that could have been subjected to 'turnaround' at the end of the 2008-2009 school year because of 'academic failure.'
The main reason suburban students achieve and graduate at much higher levels isn't per-pupil expenditure; it's differences in the socioeconomic status of the student bodies in Chicago and the surrounding districts.
Decades of research have found that the biggest determinant of academic achievement is the socioeconomic status of the family a child comes from and the second biggest determinant is the socioeconomic status of the school she attends.
The main problem with Chicago schools isn't that too little is spent on students but that the school district has overwhelming concentrations of poverty.
In the 2005-06 school year, Chicago public schools spent $10,409 per pupil, much less than New Trier ($16,856), but slightly more than several high-performing suburban school districts, including ones in Naperville ($9,881) and Geneva ($9,807). The key difference is that while 84.9 percent of Chicago students come from low-income homes, New Trier has a low-income population of 1.9 percent, Naperville has 5 percent and Geneva 2.4percent.
What Chicago students need even more than higher per capita spending is what New Trier, Naperville and Geneva schools provide: middle-class environments. It's an advantage to have peers who are academically engaged and expect to go to college; parents who actively volunteer in the classroom and hold school officials accountable; and highly qualified teachers who have high expectations. On average, all these ingredients to good schools are far more likely to be found in middle-class than poor schools.
Low-income students in the 4th grade who are given a chance to attend more affluent schools are two years ahead in math of low-income students in high- poverty schools, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress.
Indeed, low-income students in affluent schools outperform middle-class students in high-poverty schools. More important, research has long found that while black students don't do better sitting next to whites per se, low-income students of all races do better in middle-class environments.
I think you are right with your last sentence. Poverty or near poverty level students are going to require more work, just to get the to the level of the higher income students coming into school. I think that socio-economics plays the biggest role in all of this. We need to figure out a way to bring and keep lower income students up to levels of the students from higher income levels. But finding an effective way of doing this, will be a tough and expensive proposition. More money is actually being spent on the higher income students, just less by the school and more by the parents. This would include day care, parent involvement and all the other resources that the higher income families can afford. This could also include studying time, where lower income families the older students may end up being the babysitter while the parent(s) work. Maybe it will take some kind of better solution, and even more money to solve this problem?
But then again, it may be something else completely!
Hi All.... thanks for the thoughful responces.....
In Chicago, by the academic year 2002-2003, 87 percent of public-school enrollment was black or Hispanic; less than 10 percent of children in the schools were white. In Washington, D.C., 94 percent of children were black or Hispanic; less than 5 percent were white. In St. Louis, 82 percent of the student population were black or Hispanic; in Philadelphia and Cleveland, 79 percent; in Los Angeles, 84 percent, in Detroit, 96 percent; in Baltimore, 89 percent. In New York City, nearly three quarters of the students were black or Hispanic.
Even these statistics, as stark as they are, cannot begin to convey how deeply isolated children in the poorest and most segregated sections of these cities have become. In the typically colossal high schools of the Bronx, for instance, more than 90 percent of students (in most cases, more than 95 percent) are black or Hispanic. At John F. Kennedy High School in 2003, 93 percent of the enrollment of more than 4,000 students were black and Hispanic; only 3.5 percent of students at the school were white. At Harry S. Truman High School, black and Hispanic students represented 96 percent of the enrollment of 2,700 students; 2 percent were white. At Adlai Stevenson High School, which enrolls 3,400 students, blacks and Hispanics made up 97 percent of the student population; a mere eight tenths of one percent were white.
Whether the issue is inequity alone or deepening resegregation or the labyrinthine intertwining of the two, it is well past the time for us to start the work that it will take to change this.
Why Segregation Continues to Matter for Students and Communities
This report is about school desegregation and resegregation and is an assessment of the current
status of the promise of the Supreme Court nearly fifty-five years ago to end segregated
schooling of southern blacks, which the Court ruled was “inherently unequal.” We now have a
society where 44 percent of our public school children are non-white and our two largest
minority populations, Latinos and African Americans, are more segregated than they have been
since the death of Martin Luther King more than forty years ago. Schools remain highly unequal,
sometimes in terms of dollars and very frequently in terms of teachers, curriculum, peer groups,
connections with colleges and jobs, and other key aspects of schooling. Segregated black and
Latino schools have less prepared teachers and classmates, and lower achievement and
graduation. Segregated nonwhite schools usually are segregated by poverty as well as race.
Being in a school where everyone is poor, teachers transfer out as soon as they can, parents are
powerless, and gangs sometimes shape the environment of the community is deeply harmful to
students. These are the high schools that account for most of the nation’s “dropout factories,”
where a frightfully large share of the students, especially young men, fail to graduate and too
many end up virtually unemployable. These schools have the most students with chronic health
and developmental problems, the most disruptive neighborhood conditions, and many other
forms of inequality.