Tuesday, January 19, 2010

An interesting comment, in response to my email a week or two ago:

Thanks for honing in on the new immigrant vs. generational poverty question.  At our charter middle school, an enormous percentage of our students' parents attended the failing middle school across the street, so this is a big one for us.   Two quick points:

a.       I think the generational poverty (becoming apathetic) question perversely affects local political debates, when opponents to charter school expansion and shared-space defend "neighborhood" schools, i.e. the idea that children actually should go to the same schools their parents went to, even if they are terrible. 

b.      This impacts school culture first, and academic achievement second.  I can tell instantly, I'd argue, when a school has a majority of striving students (from striving, often immigrant, families), because the increased level of focus and commitment to 100% is tangible (classroom participation, homework completion, posture, physical appearance).  This is even within the no excuses movement.  I would speculate that learning time trades off with time for redirection/classroom management much more significantly in schools with kids living in generational poverty.  One then wonders what that does for the joy-factor, time for enrichment, etc…

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