Bottom 30 elementary schools in Utah by test scores

Published: Thursday, May 31 2012 10:48 a.m. MDT

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School District: Weber District

Percent proficient: 50.99%

Percent of children on free or reduced lunch: 62.09%



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Sneaky Jimmy
Bay Area, CA

Apparently there is a free lunch and it comes at the cost of a proficient education - just drawing conclusions from the information provided.

Howard Beal
Provo, UT

Sneaky Jimmy:

Yeah, kids that come from less affluent situations struggle in school. I don't think not feeding them or making them pay for lunch is going to help test scores.

Kearns, UT

Could it be that the only meal some of these kids get during the day is at school? If they are on free lunch, there are likely other needs that aren't being met at home. We do a lot of lip service claiming that children are our most important commodity here in Utah, but do we really put our money where our mouth is? Perhaps county services could step up and offer after-school programs at these schools to help bridge the gaps. What about programs for parents so that they have better job skills, learn about nutrition and health for their children, and have the additional tools to pull out of poverty? Wouldn't that make a bigger difference?

Salt Lake, UT

Free and reduced lunch is the way that poverty level is determined in a school, due to the information provided by parents when they apply. Looking at Salt Lake District, for example, in which both worst-performing and best-performing schools made the lists, it's easy to see that performance indicators point to neighborhoods of poverty vs. affluence. Although there are exceptions to this, especially as we target resources on those low-performing schools, it still points to the fact that POVERTY is the number one cause of low achievement (and also crime and poor health), not ethnicity. Many great things are going on in schools to counteract the effect of poverty as Really?? (above) suggested, making it unfair to judge these scores by test scores alone.

Gainesville, VA

When we lived in So. CA my children attended title I schools (schools that don't meet testing standards and the majority of kids on free lunch). With that said to this day the 5th grade teach one of my boys had was bar none the best one ever! We have had the opposite experience at the "best" schools with what I would consider a mediocre teacher. In VA we lived in a more affluent area and kids in our school were given both free breakfast and lunch and the after school program ran until 6pm. I don't think that is the solution either. Schools should not be raising our children nor should they be expected to feed our children. I don't have the answer nor any great suggestions but what I think we all need to consider is how much government do we really want in our lives because the more we ask for and get from the government the more our lives are run by it.

Salt Lake City, UT

My children attended one of these bottom schools. Believe me when I tell you it is not whether or not school food services are provided that affects these scores. It is a combination of: teachers, the resources or lack there of-financial or otherwise, individual school policies which negatively affect their styles of teaching, classroom size, positive reinforcements, moral; Combined with whether or not schools/teachers/students are supported through the community, local businesses,non-profits, home, and family volunteers. These are the factors that make or break an education. There is no where to place the blame upon ourselves if all that is done is complaining about the situation. I encourage everyone to volunteer just 1 hour to their local school this coming school year. Anything helps reading support, aide support, tutoring in math and reading, a classroom presentation for your star student. Talk to teachers find out what they need. We've got nothing else to lose by trying. RunAmuck4Good, let's see what happens.

Peter R
Provo, UT

I'm an educational researcher so, to me, this is a wonderfully interesting list. Samhill, the reason these statistics (race and % of kids on free/reduced lunch) are included is because they are historically two of the strongest predictors of success (it's an inverse relationship) in schools all across the nation. People have thought about this, and studied it, quite in depth, and there is some thought that went into this.

That said, Lasvegaspam hit the nail on the head regarding Wasatch. It doesn't fit the normal profile of a school with such a high population on free/reduced lunch. However, the unreported statistics of parental education level is perhaps a better predictor than anything (though it's head to tease apart from socio-economic status). I know a lot of graduate students who live in the tree streets whose children qualify for free/reduced lunch, and they are staunch supporters of their children's education. Parental involvement is perhaps the most important aspect of any successful education. I imagine the teachers in the failing schools are trying just as hard to succeed, but don't get the same level of parental support as others.

West Jordan, UT

Well, there are several things that one can draw from the statistics. One which I found alarming, was that a few schools had over 97% on Free or Reduced Lunch. I am not faulting anyone for that, however, only 4 of the schools under 50% of students on Free or Reduced Lunch. Correlation does not equal causation, but...

salt lake city, ut

There are more government handouts than any other time in US history. Makes one wonder why there seems to be more poor and unemployed people than ever before. Are all these programs really helping or making us less independent? Certainly there are situations that can come to anyone where they need a helping hand. But I know from experience that schools encourage people to sign up for free lunch and ESL programs as that qualifies schools for more government money.

salt lake city, ut

The money that is spent on "fast foods" could be better used making simple healthy foods at home for much less money. But you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink!
With crock pots, meals can be prepared in less time than driving to a take out and one doesn't have to be home while it's cooking.

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