How mixed income neighborhoods could save schools

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  • Frank G. UT, UT
    May 6, 2015 2:29 p.m.

    What is often not said in opinion pieces like this is the effect the poor children have on the middle class kids. While the poor kids are reaping the supposed benefits from the middle class kids (via Osmosis?), the middle class kids often suffer from the presence of poor children woefully unprepared for studies. Often they are impacted by poor impulse control, behavioral issues and the very real reduction in curriculum quality that occurs when schools need to compensate for special ed. I don't see a poor child's future to be more important than a middle class child's future. What harm is being done to the middle class child in these situations?

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    Nov. 22, 2012 8:28 a.m.

    I know everyone likes the mantra of local control, especially in the Red states? But would local control mean that students of color would not be segregated? Would those students with special needs (ESL, Special Ed) get resources?

    By the way, these things didn't come in some places easily, it actually took the federal government sending in troops to some states to enforce integration. Then conservatives used the neighborhood school concept to create de facto segregation which we have all across our country.

    And unlike many professions many teachers do choose to go the hardest schools. Not all, but many. But creating mixed wealth neighborhoods might be a way to take on the wealth gap and some of these issues.

    I have to look no further than my own community to find the dangers of local control, where two high schools exist that are light years away from each other in resources. Even their feeder middle schools show the dearth that exists in resources and facilities. Local control can be good but it can also be dangerous. Hopefully in Provo, a new set of leaders can do better as it seems this is happening.

  • Demisana South Jordan, UT
    Nov. 19, 2012 8:04 p.m.

    Redshirt has some good ideas. In a nutshell, turn all schools into charter schools, with parent/teacher boards in charge. I think a lot of parents feel totally powerless to do anything about the schools. Especially in poorer neighborhoods, people are used to having little control over their lives. Put them in charge and a lot could change.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Nov. 19, 2012 4:26 p.m.

    To "UtahBlueDevil" again, you are wrong. Educators do have a choice about the the type of kids that they teach. When a teacher is looking for a job, they can choose which schools they want to teach at. The better schools will choose the better teachers because more teachers want to teach at the schools where the parents care about education.

    Think of it this way. Would you work for a company if it was located in a very poor area with high crime rates, or would you work for a similar company located in the suburbs in a low crime rate area? (the job is the same, with the same pay and duties)

    My solution is simple, but impossible to do because the lawyers would never allow it.

    Let students fail. If they don't pass 2nd grade they don't go to 3rd until they do.

    Allow teacher to discipline students.

    Allow kids to drop out at age 16 if they want.

    Raise standards for what is to be taught. Eliminate any teaching software from the classroom. Cut testing to 1 standardized test per year.

    Fire all bad teachers. Bad teachers are determined by parents, students, and administration. Eliminate districts.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Nov. 19, 2012 4:03 p.m.

    "Tell us liberals, how do you mandate a change in society's attitudes?"

    Really... there are no poor conservatives, whose kids go to demographically poor conservative schools. Lets just stop with the political demigodary. There are poor, low performing kids from every political orientation.... perhaps it is these attitudes that treat each issue as though it were a political point making opportunity rather than working on actual solutions that have us in the mess we have.

    And the funny thing is - pretty much no one disagrees with your first points. But educators don't have the option of picking or choosing which kids they educate. Educators have very few levers they can pull.... their charter very limited in scope.

    The options we have is we can run around name calling, blaming, trying to score points.... or we can work to fix issues with the tools we have. If you have a bright idea - share it. Give us that "conservative - non liberal" magic bullet.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Nov. 19, 2012 11:47 a.m.

    The researchers are dumb. The answer is something that they, along with so many educators, don't realize that the success of students come from their parents and the peers' parents. Just look at the story presented here. When her child was going to a low-income school filled with kids who's parents don't place a high priority on education, all of the children suffer. When she enrolled her child in the school filled with more affluent kids, he did better. His mom cared about the education, and so did the parents of the other children.

    Tell us liberals, how do you mandate a change in society's attitudes?

  • tabuno Clearfield, UT
    Nov. 19, 2012 11:35 a.m.

    It's really disappointing to read an article about mixed neighborhoods and school performance written by a Deseret News reporter who overlooks the fact that Salt Lake City School Board more than 15 years ago made a bold, controversial high school boundary decision to balance ethnic and income of families as part of their setting high school boundaries. Having a local angle to this article and not report on it seems a dismal omission. This reporter didn't seem to do their investigative homework every well and took the easy way out by just focusing on the readily available national reports. It must the Deseret News cutbacks and the overworked reporters they may be the real problem here.

  • Clarissa Layton, UT
    Nov. 19, 2012 11:23 a.m.

    I live in an area that is somewhat in the poorer economic area, mainly because of apartments. As I didn't have children, the school boundaries don't worry me, but as I am a retired teacher, who taught at a school with a more affluent population and a lot less poverty, that is where my chidren would have gone. I would have moved before I would have allowed my kids to go to the schools in our boundaries. I've noticed that most of the children in my area either go to charter schools, or they have applied to attend other schools that are in a nicer area. Can't say I blame them. Unfortunately, this does leave the schools within my boundaries lacking in parental support and leadership from other students in their classrooms. It is very sad, but parents want school choice and are using it.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Nov. 19, 2012 6:12 a.m.

    Too many forget that how a school performs has a much to do with the engagement level of the local community as it does with anything that happens inside the 4 walls of a classroom. Many kids don't have the same "at home" resources that other kids enjoy. To really fix the problem, you need to go outside the walls of the school, and fix the community. Diversified communities are one way that ensures you don't end up with deep pockets of kids with little outside support.

    My wife was a teacher for many years, across many grade levels in elementary school. It was really obvious to see which kids had support systems at home that could help them learn to read. It made no difference which color or race they were - if the kids didn't have parents that were engaged in the process, the child usually fell behind.... not always.... but far to often. At schools with deep community engagement - these effects were drastically diminished. When there were other kids parents in class that helped all kids, those kids who needed extra encouragement fell behind far less often.

  • My2Cents Taylorsville, UT
    Nov. 19, 2012 3:38 a.m.

    Equality in education in Utah has never been nor ever will be their goal. The per pupil budgeting system is based on property taxes of the rich and poor. The higher end homes with higher end incomes are usually paying more property tax to education and it is an entitled argument that they pay more into the board of education so their children schools are entitled according to social status rather than per pupil standards.

    Per pupil is an average not an actual reality to disillusion the masses of equal education, there is no equality in education or spending at all. There is enough money for all, but 50% of the budget goes to 5 or 6 schools in Utah and SLC.

    This is the grand lie of education and why per pupil spending is out dated method for an education system to use. Per pupil funding has created this gap and will always be the road block of equality in school funding.

    Equality in education for all schools must mean every school has equal shares of our invested funds and all should give proportionally to our income level. Abolish property as method of taxation for education.