Home > Education, Society > Concentration of poor in South DeKalb hurts schools

Concentration of poor in South DeKalb hurts schools

March 23, 2011

This is part of a NY Times Op-Ed. You can read the full thing here. Also read the comments, some are very enlightening.

Educators know that it is very difficult to get consistently good results in schools characterized by high concentrations of poverty. The best teachers tend to avoid such schools. Expectations regarding student achievement are frequently much lower, and there are lower levels of parental involvement. These, of course, are the very schools in which so many black and Hispanic children are enrolled.

Breaking up these toxic concentrations of poverty would seem to be a logical and worthy goal. Long years of evidence show that poor kids of all ethnic backgrounds do better academically when they go to school with their more affluent — that is, middle class — peers. But when the poor kids are black or Hispanic, that means racial and ethnic integration in the schools. Despite all the babble about a postracial America, that has been off the table for a long time.

I am a pessimist at heart and after reading the above Op-Ed from the NY Times, it just hardens me even more to the fact that our society continues to drift into two opposing camps. Not by race so much as by class. Education was touted as the equalizer to poverty. With a decent education you could escape the ignorance and poverty of the previous generation. Today, it seems that door is slowly closing. Fact is schools with large populations of poor families are the schools that are failing to educate their citizens out of poverty. In fact, these schools are doing the exact opposite. These schools have teachers with far less experience and far less passion. Children come from homes where education is marginalized only to arrive at school where the same attitude affects a super majority of the students and a few of the staff as well. Coming from a poverty stricken family is not the fault of the child, but we place the burden of being poor on the child. Children who have the opportunity to escape these poverty stricken schools do far better than those who are stuck there. Concentrating poor and uneducated people in any situation is not good for them nor is it good for our society. It did not work in housing, and it is not working in our educational system.

  1. March 25, 2011 at 11:52 am

    I couldn’t agree with you more! I get very upset when people blame the poor education of poor students on their poor parents. It’s so easy to snuff, “It’s their own fault – the parents aren’t doing their part”. This is un-American, IMO. We are supposed to equalize opportunity in our public schools. Children should learn to properly read, write and perform basic math calculations regardless of the stature or influence of their parents. It’s not rocket science. Something is not happening in our schools that always used to happen — basic education.

    Personally, I lay the blame on the administration – they have used far too many resources to staff themselves with high-paying jobs, leaving teachers with too many poor students and an overwhelming task – with very little direct support. Title 1 funds can and should be used to fund support teachers in the schools working directly with students in small groups to ensure that a solid, early foundation is built. There is no need for a virtual “army” of “instructional support or coaches” who are paid more than teachers, to basically criticize teachers. These people need to get in the schoolhouse, roll up their sleeves and support the teachers by working with students individually or in very small groups.

  2. Just Watch
    March 25, 2011 at 8:01 am

    One opportunity for making a positive change in DeKalb is to reduce the number of school board members. What we have right now is not working. Many members of the South DeKalb delegation are resisting the effort to see this through. I strongly suggest that readers of this blog contact their state representatives, especially Howard Mosby and Pam Stephenson. They are the main forces standing in the way of this much needed change. Please email and CALL them today. Let them know you want them to support HB 22 and that you will remember at the next election how they behaved related to this issue.

    Representative Howard Mosby (D) District 90
    404 656-0287 (office)

    Representative Pam Stephenson (D) District 92 404 656-0126 (office) pam.stephenson@house.ga.gov

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