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.
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!
“And there it is. A nearly all-white crowd chanting to a nearly all-black crowd, “Shoot! Shoot! Shoot!” Contemporary racism encapsulated by an attempt to package it as support for the police, exposed by calls to shoot black men.
As the new school year approaches, teachers know that their students may have regressed over the summer. But one program has made strides in preventing summer learning loss by enlisting parents as partners to help teach children. Special correspondent for education John Merrow reports on Springboard Collaborative, a non-profit organization that makes parents and teachers into partners. Continue reading →
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!
Imagine if you had to spend hundreds of dollars of your own money just to get your job done. That’s how much the average teacher had to spend on school supplies for their students in past years, experts said.
My friends can’t wrap their minds around the money I spend for my job.
Breaking news: Sky is blue. Cats meow. Pope Catholic.
Head Start teachers in my county got $100 bucks for the year to spend on classroom supplies. That’s not even what I spend on tissues in a year.
What about construction paper? Paint? Glue? Crayons? Markers? All that stuff they say I have to have?
During the course of this semester, you will be asked to mail 1-2 cards, notes of encouragement etc. Actual gift items are up to you, but please know that we all know money is tight and it is unlikely that you will receive a gift (so don’t feel like you have to). You are also welcome to make something for your buddy.
Whether you reveal yourself right away or not, is up to you. I think it is more fun to wait until the end.
You may put notes of encouragement in their ask box, send fan mail, or spend a little extra time thinking of solutions to problems they may face.
International teachers are welcome. So are pre-service teachers / student teachers.
You must have an active tumblr that has been on tumblr for over a month in order to participate.
Tumblr, Girlwithalessonplan, and I are not liable for any lost items, or other problems that occur due to this program. You submit your address and agree to participate at your own risk.
Please answer the survey questions and send them to positivelypt (at) gmail (dot) com
*Note: I am unable to reassign buddies mid-round. You get who you get, so please DO NOT sign up if there’s a chance you won’t be able to follow through on your end of the bargain. This is a short round, so it is easier for some to participate. For those that travel a lot — maybe not so much.
Sign ups end 9/3/2014
Address to mail items:
Are you willing to mail to a participant outside of the U.S.:
When I want to treat myself, I
Interests outside of teaching:
Anything else you want your buddy to know?
Favorite Office Supply:
Do you belong to any fandoms?
Please list any buddies you have already had so that I do not have to go searching through e-mails for that information.
To recap: In two years of homeownership, I have had to fix the A/C 4xs, had a flood and had to redo the whole floor and other items and am still fighting with insurance 7 months later, and now the dishwasher.
Wright, who has seen store surveillance video of the shooting incident, said Crawford was shot while talking on the phone, holding the butt of the gun with the barrel pointed at the floor.
He said Crawford was “shot on sight” in a “militaristic” response.
“Everything released is one-sided. There is nothing favorable to John Crawford. You can’t show different pieces, show it all, don’t trickle pieces to gain favor of the public, “said Michael Wright, Crawford family attorney. Wright wants to see the release of events in chronological order.
Wright says the video shows Crawford standing in the direction of some shelves. He say Crawford was talking on his cell phone and probably did not see or hear the police officer sent to the store to investigate. He said in one frame you see Crawford on the phone, the next you see him on the floor.
Crawford’s father questions the timing of the state’s investigation.
“My main concern is the delay. What’s taking so long? I understand it’s a process, but frankly, I see stall tactics,” said John Crawford II [the decedent’s father].
Crawford was speaking by cell phone to his girlfriend, who was with his parents, when he was shot.
“He said he was at the video games playing videos, and he went over there by the toy section where the toy guns were,” said LeeCee Johnson, the mother of his two children. “The next thing I know, he said, ‘It’s not real,’ and the police start shooting, and they said ‘Get on the ground,’ but he was already on the ground because they had shot him.”
Johnson put the phone on speaker mode, and she and Crawford’s parents heard him die.
“I could hear him just crying and screaming,” Johnson said. “I feel like they shot him down like he was not even human.”