Back to School, and to Widening Inequality

robertreich:

American kids are getting ready to head back to school. But the schools they’re heading back to differ dramatically by family income.

Which helps explain the growing achievement gap between lower and higher-income children.

Thirty years ago, the average gap on SAT-type tests between children of families in the richest 10 percent and bottom 10 percent was about 90 points on an 800-point scale. Today it’s 125 points.

The gap in the mathematical abilities of American kids, by income, is one of widest among the 65 countries participating in the Program for International Student Achievement.

On their reading skills, children from high-income families score 110 points higher, on average, than those from poor families. This is about the same disparity that exists between average test scores in the United States as a whole and Tunisia.

The achievement gap between poor kids and wealthy kids isn’t mainly about race. In fact, the racial achievement gap has been narrowing.

It’s a reflection of the nation’s widening gulf between poor and wealthy families. And also about how schools in poor and rich communities are financed, and the nation’s increasing residential segregation by income.

According to the Pew Research Center’s analysis of 2010 census tract and household income data, residential segregation by income has increased during the past three decades across the United States and in 27 of the nation’s 30 largest major metropolitan areas.

This matters, because a large portion of the money to support public schools comes from local property taxes. The federal government provides only about 14 percent of all funding, and the states provide 44 percent, on average. The rest, roughly 42 percent, is raised locally.

Most states do try to give more money to poor districts, but most states cut way back on their spending during the recession and haven’t nearly made up for the cutbacks.

Meanwhile, many of the nation’s local real estate markets remain weak, especially in lower-income communities. So local tax revenues are down.

As we segregate by income into different communities, schools in lower-income areas have fewer resources than ever.

The result is widening disparities in funding per pupil, to the direct disadvantage of poor kids.

The wealthiest highest-spending districts are now providing about twice as much funding per student as are the lowest-spending districts, according to a federal advisory commission report. In some states, such as California, the ratio is more than three to one.

What are called a “public schools” in many of America’s wealthy communities aren’t really “public” at all. In effect, they’re private schools, whose tuition is hidden away in the purchase price of upscale homes there, and in the corresponding property taxes.

Even where courts have requiring richer school districts to subsidize poorer ones, large inequalities remain.

Rather than pay extra taxes that would go to poorer districts, many parents in upscale communities have quietly shifted their financial support to tax-deductible “parent’s foundations” designed to enhance their own schools.

About 12 percent of the more than 14,000 school districts across America are funded in part by such foundations. They’re paying for everything from a new school auditorium (Bowie, Maryland) to a high-tech weather station and language-arts program (Newton, MA).

“Parents’ foundations,” observed the Wall Street Journal, “are visible evidence of parents’ efforts to reconnect their money to their kids.” And not, it should have been noted, to kids in another community, who are likely to be poorer.

As a result of all this, the United States is one of only three, out of 34 advanced nations surveyed by the OECD, whose schools serving higher-income children have more funding per pupil and lower student-teacher ratios than do schools serving poor students (the two others are Turkey and Israel).

Other advanced nations do it differently. Their national governments provide 54 percent of funding, on average, and local taxes account for less than half the portion they do in America. And they target a disproportionate share of national funding to poorer communities.

As Andreas Schleicher, who runs the OECD’s international education assessments, told the New York Times, “the vast majority of OECD countries either invest equally into every student or disproportionately more into disadvantaged students. The U.S. is one of the few countries doing the opposite.”

Money isn’t everything, obviously. But how can we pretend it doesn’t count? Money buys the most experienced teachers, less-crowded classrooms, high-quality teaching materials, and after-school programs.

Yet we seem to be doing everything except getting more money to the schools that most need it.

We’re requiring all schools meet high standards, requiring students to take more and more tests, and judging teachers by their students’ test scores.

But until we recognize we’re systematically hobbling schools serving disadvantaged kids, we’re unlikely to make much headway. 

Paging all art teachers:

christina-in-alaska:

I have never taught art before and only have an hour and ten minutes a week to do so this year. I’m teaching fifth grade to a group of kids who love art and want this time to engaging for them, but I have no idea where to start. Do you have any resources you can share to help me out? Google hasn’t been very helpful. Thanks for any help you can give!

Boost! msleahqueenhbic get on it!

swindontownswoodilypooper:

petrovasinspace:

f-i-v-e-byfive:

thesixtysevenchevyimpala:

ilovecountryeverything:

titaniumbovine:

peaceroxi:

steveisoncrack:


HEY TUMBLR, LET’S PLAY A GAME
To play this game, go to MapCrunch, select “hide location”, make sure you have all countries unselected, and click go. What this will do is drop you in a random part of the world. It’s as if you woke up on the side of a road in an unfamiliar country. The goal of the game is to find your way to an airport so you can return home. 
Bonus Hard Mode: No using outside sources, and that includes using google maps to figure out your location from signs or landmarks

…I had plans today but now.

THE AIRPORT GAME IS BACK.







I don’t know where the hide location thing is.

swindontownswoodilypooper:

petrovasinspace:

f-i-v-e-byfive:

thesixtysevenchevyimpala:

ilovecountryeverything:

titaniumbovine:

peaceroxi:

steveisoncrack:

HEY TUMBLR, LET’S PLAY A GAME

To play this game, go to MapCrunch, select “hide location”, make sure you have all countries unselected, and click go. What this will do is drop you in a random part of the world. It’s as if you woke up on the side of a road in an unfamiliar country. The goal of the game is to find your way to an airport so you can return home. 

Bonus Hard Mode: No using outside sources, and that includes using google maps to figure out your location from signs or landmarks

…I had plans today but now.

THE AIRPORT GAME IS BACK.

I don’t know where the hide location thing is.

Turning parents into teachers to fight the ‘summer slide’

Please donate to my Donors Choose project.

teachingtoday:

Guys-  this year my classroom has…nothing. Nothing to make it special. I am spread very thin financially right now and cannot afford to spend my own money on classroom decor and furnishings.   Over the past few years I have built up my classroom library and established reading workshop in my classroom, but I need some furniture.

All of my rugs and chairs have either broke or become disheveled.  Having a warm, comforting environment is so important for Reading Workshop.  Please consider donating to my Donors Choose project to help furnish my classroom to enhance the Reading Workshop experience.  

I know not everybody can contribute but if anyone can, I would be so incredibly grateful.  Five dollars would be an amazing donation— for real.  It is so hard to make reading a habit for 7th graders— but having a special, comfortable reading space in the classroom absolutely will help make it possible!

Make Reader’s Workshop Work! DonorsChoose Project

I have no monies, but I can boost!

queendecuisine:

1863-project:

tigertwo1515:

did-you-kno:

Source

Damn

OKAY, LET’S TALK ABOUT ROBERT SMALLS (BECAUSE HE HAS A NAME, THANK YOU VERY MUCH).
ANYWAY.
Robert Smalls was born into slavery in 1839 and at the age of 12 his owner leased him out in Charleston, South Carolina. He gravitated towards working at the docks and on boats and eventually became the equivalent of a pilot, and in late 1861 he found himself assigned to a military transport boat named the CSS Planter.
On May 12, 1862, the white officers decided to spend the night on land. Smalls rounded up the enslaved crew and they hatched a plan, and once the officers were long gone they made a run for it, only stopping to pick up their families (who they notified) along the way. Smalls, disguised as the captain, steered the boat past Confederate forts (including Ft. Sumter) and over to the Union blockade, raising a white sheet his wife took from her job as a hotel maid as a flag of truce. The CSS Planter had a highly valuable code book and all manner of explosives on board.
Smalls ended up serving in the Union Navy and rose to the rank of captain there. He was also one of a number of individuals who talked to Abraham Lincoln about the possibility of African-American soldiers fighting for the Union, which became a reality.
After the war, Smalls bought his owner’s old plantation in Beaufort and even allowed the owner’s sickly wife to move back in until her death. He eventually served in the South Carolina House of Representatives (1865-1870), the South Carolina Senate (1871-1874), and the United States House of Representatives (1875-1879) and represented South Carolina’s 5th District from 1882-1883 and the 7th District from 1884-1887. He and other black politicians also fought against an amendment designed to disenfranchise black voters in 1895, but it unfortunately passed.
Smalls ended his public life by serving as U.S. Collector of Customs in Beaufort from 1889-1911. He died in 1915 at the age of 75.
And now you know Robert Smalls.

ROBERT SMALLS IS THE MAN.

queendecuisine:

1863-project:

tigertwo1515:

did-you-kno:

Source

Damn


OKAY, LET’S TALK ABOUT ROBERT SMALLS (BECAUSE HE HAS A NAME, THANK YOU VERY MUCH).

ANYWAY.

Robert Smalls was born into slavery in 1839 and at the age of 12 his owner leased him out in Charleston, South Carolina. He gravitated towards working at the docks and on boats and eventually became the equivalent of a pilot, and in late 1861 he found himself assigned to a military transport boat named the CSS Planter.

On May 12, 1862, the white officers decided to spend the night on land. Smalls rounded up the enslaved crew and they hatched a plan, and once the officers were long gone they made a run for it, only stopping to pick up their families (who they notified) along the way. Smalls, disguised as the captain, steered the boat past Confederate forts (including Ft. Sumter) and over to the Union blockade, raising a white sheet his wife took from her job as a hotel maid as a flag of truce. The CSS Planter had a highly valuable code book and all manner of explosives on board.

Smalls ended up serving in the Union Navy and rose to the rank of captain there. He was also one of a number of individuals who talked to Abraham Lincoln about the possibility of African-American soldiers fighting for the Union, which became a reality.

After the war, Smalls bought his owner’s old plantation in Beaufort and even allowed the owner’s sickly wife to move back in until her death. He eventually served in the South Carolina House of Representatives (1865-1870), the South Carolina Senate (1871-1874), and the United States House of Representatives (1875-1879) and represented South Carolina’s 5th District from 1882-1883 and the 7th District from 1884-1887. He and other black politicians also fought against an amendment designed to disenfranchise black voters in 1895, but it unfortunately passed.

Smalls ended his public life by serving as U.S. Collector of Customs in Beaufort from 1889-1911. He died in 1915 at the age of 75.

And now you know Robert Smalls.

ROBERT SMALLS IS THE MAN.

"At 11 years old, I became a procrastinator and a blogger and I still have no regrets."

-one of my 8th graders, in her autobiography

Her whole autobiography reads like a stream-of-consciousness Tumblr post

Today really flew by. But at least I got so many things on my to-do list done!

Especially organizing all of my children’s books for the school year.  Now my hallway is clear and I don’t feel as claustrophobic (still have a lot of other things to put away).