In today’s Daily Progress, James Fernald has a story about the achievement gap in Charlottesville schools. It’s really long, and actually has a few graphs, so I figure it’s probably pretty good. I haven’t actually read it, but, y’know…it’s got a lot of words. And that’s got to count for something.
Hey, it’s exam week, what can I say?
8 thoughts on “C’ville Schools’ Achievement Gap”
Although the achievement gap issue is interesting to discuss, it has been discussed thousands of times before in many cities nationwide. This is a nationwide issue, not just a local one. I feel as though discussion forums such as the ones held at Buford should give way in part to organizational and planning meetings to address specific steps on how to improve the gap based on research conducted across the country.
There are several components to social change, one of the first being public awareness. I understand the importance of discussion and public rally. However, ineffective social change stagnates in this stage and does not move forward. We know many effective strategies for closing the achievement gap. The difficult part is implementation. It’s time to start.
Fernald mentions early on in his article that the number of African-American students recieving meals benefits has increased in the past decade or so, giving the false perception that African-Americans are becoming worse off socio-economically. Well one should expect AA participation in meal benefits to increase since the total African-American population also increased in the past decade.
What needed to be compared is the percent of African-American students COMPRISING the free and reduced population now to what it was 5 and 10 years ago. You will find that today’s percentage of 73% is actually LESS THAN 1995’s percentage of 74% and 2000’s percentage of 77%.
I think many city taxpayers would also like to know the number of free and reduced lunch kids who are actually in our schools that do not have a city address at which they actually live. Many of our students use babysitter or other family members addresses so they can attend school near their caretakers place of residence when their parent(s) is/are at work.
Why do some kids have to pay for lunch and others get free lunch? Why do some kids bring a packed lunch along with everything else they have to carry? I think every student should get a free lunch included in the tuition. Why do we need to identify students whose families have less than some arbitrary income? How early does the stigmatization begin? Why do we care if a kid goes to a school closer to where the parent works or near the babysitter? Why are we slaves to rules that create distinctions that serve only to separate? There are plenty of other lessons to learn.
Well cvillenative- think of it this way- if Albemarle and C’ville would do what is best for the kids and join their school systems, kids that live in the county could be bused to their babysitters. Albemarle and C’villes scores would be closer and behavior problems in the city would be less. Many of the kids who you are paying taxes for do not belong in the school they are in and are a main cause of behavior problems in the classes that those parents who live in the city are being taxed for. If they aren’t paying when others are- what the heck is up with that- there should be NO OUT OF DISTRICT TUITION IF NOT EVERY KID WHO IS OUT OF DISTRICT IS PAYING!
I do agree that for funding purposes the system should be a bit tighter. For example, the city school system might consider allowing transfers from the county for special reasons but receiving compensation from the county. The county could expect the same from the city. While there are probably ways to fight parents and “lay down the law,” it would probably be more effective to find ways to work with parents. Another option would be to team with the county in providing easier transportation between locations in the city.
I disagree that a main cause of the behavior problems come from kids outside of the city. I know there are some children that present challenges, but I doubt ending such a practice would result in widespread behavioral changes in the classroom. I have met many challenging kids who live within inside city limits.
Beyond that, I have seen great behavior management with kids from very unfortunate backgrounds. While there are truly “difficult kids,” there are also really effective teachers that can help overcome background variables. I am not trying to minimize the importance of parenting, but great teachers can manage a classroom and change behavior with most students in spite of other variables.
I’m just happy to see somebody acknowledge that there are “behavior problems” in the classroom. I spoke extensively on school violence and possible solutions at a forum at Charlottesville High School April 13, 2000. Of course, I attended Cville public schools from kindergarten to graduation. So no reason to listen to me.
It’s past time to merge the two school systems. Middle school kids that live off Fountaine Ave. ride a bus 30 minutes to Henley. Buford is only blocks away from their homes. Murray High School is a godsend to county kids in need of a true Glasser School. It should be open and available to the city kids, it is on Rose Hill ….in the middle of the city!
We have 3 of the top 1000 high schools in America in a very small area!
Let’s take advantage of geography and talent. Our kids need us and our country neighbors to work together for the best for not only our students but their families. TIME TO MERGE SCHOOL SYSTEMS!!!
Take a 40 year old lesson from Fairfax City!
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