Sunday, November 21, 2010

Money ain't a thing.

Rick Green, blogger for the Hartford Courant, has two posts about the highest performing schools across all state goals. The first is a focused on the highest achieving high schools. After hearing from disgruntled readers pointing out that his first list was simply a look at the wealthiest schools, he posted the fifteen highest performing school districts with low-income students across all state goals. I thought I'd provide a little but more information:

Rick Green, blogger for the Hartford Courant, has two posts about the highest performing schools across all state goals. The first is a focused on the highest achieving high schools. After hearing from disgruntled readers pointing out that his first list was simply a look at the wealthiest schools, he posted the fifteen highest performing school districts with low-income students across all state goals. I thought I'd provide a little but more information. Here are the high achivers and poverty rate:


Here are the highest performing districts for their low-income students as well as the poverty rate for those towns:

























What I notice about the two graphs is that, other than the Elm City College Preparatory District (a charter school), the poverty rates of the towns are relatively similar. This similarity might suggest that the low-income students attending classes with middle-class students has a positive effect on their education because their numbers are so few.


I decided to test this theory by looking up the lowest performing high schools and the town poverty rates. Five of the schools are located in Hartford and two are located in Bridgeport. They are a mix of magnet, charter, and regular public schools. Collaborative Alternative Magnet is located in New Haven County, but the "town" doesn't exist in the data I'm looking at:




All of the lowest performing schools, with the exception of Stamford Academy and Briggs High School, reside in concentrated areas of poverty. What does exactly does this data really mean? I'm not sure. But I do find the data interesting. The low performing school I work at, which falls into the bottom 15% of Connecticut schools carries the weight of a town poverty rate of nearly 16%.

From all the data, one school district intrigues me the most--Elm City College Preparatory. This charter school is part of the Achievement First network. That their two schools are finding success with low-income students means they are doing something right. Critics would scream "creaming," but that rant is getting tired.

The other intersting debate which grows out of the data is funding. Some attribute the success of the first list to income only. Some attribute the failure of the latter list to a lack of income only. But, in 2007-2008, Bridgeport Public Schools spent $11,132 per-pupil. Avon Public Schools, one of the top ten, spent $10,161. My school district spends just over $12,000.

In the end, I'm not smart enough to synthesize a great deal from all of these numbers. But there is one conclusion I have come to: there is no one size fits all solution. And ultimately, we should be willing to examine multiple methods and not simply disregard them because they don't fit our political or social viewpoints.

4 Comments:

At 4:40 PM , OpenID teachj said...

I think we too often see education as an all or nothing sort of game. But there are three factors that all go together to create student success. They are Parental Involvement (P), Economic Status (E) and Teacher Quality (T). So the formula for student success is PxExT=S. You can overcome poor parental involvement with money and quality teaching. You can overcome poverty with highly involved parents and quality teachers. And you can overcome poor teaching with highly involved parents and money. The worst schools have no money, uninvolved parents and bad teachers. The best schools have money, highly involved parents and quality teachers. But you must have at least two pieces in order to overcome the missing one.

 
At 5:07 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I take exception to the idea that poor districts are saddled with BAD teachers. There are some of us who are(were) very good at what we do and few staff members from other districts are truly able to handle the students, connect with them and make good progress.

The % of students performing well at a school as an example, East Lyme High school- as a high performing school.

There are not many students at poverty level there. The school culture is very different from DRG I.

Working in Windham and having my own kids at ELHS I know the cultures and can truly tell you the measuring in such an article is comparing apples to pears.

If you fit in, and run with the culture of the building and student body, it’s go, go, go get ready for college.
Be on a team each season, get into clubs, get a great resume...
Prep for SATs, prep for competitive 4 year colleges.

High pressure is from students on each other...

 
At 5:09 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think in order to make sense of the data,you would also have to take into account how the money is allocated. The percent of special education students would need to be taken into account for one. (Thus a school may average $11,000 per student but if the cost for special education is $30,000 for one student, the money spent on the "average" student is a lot less. How current is the technology? How much money is spent on resources? Does this come from the general education budget or another line item in a different budget.
Also, the climate of the school will play a critical role in student achievement. If the students and the teachers do not believe then the school is bound to fail regardless of the amount of resources put forth.

Ultimately, the leadership of a school has to set the message of success. If this does not happen then the educational process becomes an exercise in futility.

 
At 11:32 PM , Anonymous IMT - CDL Noida said...

IMT- Ghaziabad is one of the premier B- School of the country and running full time /part time/ Distance Learning Programme from last 24 years.

 

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