Thursday, December 1, 2011

Districts Pay Less in Poor Schools, Report Says

Never under estimate the federal government's power for discovering the obvious. A newly released study showed that students in poor neighborhoods are frequently taught by low-paid rookie teachers who move on as they gain experience. The quote below from the New York Times is priceless. Everyone in America knew that poor schools had the most inexperienced and often poor teachers. Is there some conspiracy to deprive these children of a quality education? Maybe, but the single best explanation is that good teachers don't want to teach children who "don't want to learn." I put the last four words in quotation marks because a number of elite schools have demonstrated that these children can make significant progress, and many go on to college in these exceptional schools.
Unfortunately, the schools led by exceptional educators and backed up by the best teachers are rare exceptions. It's not just a matter of salary or experience. The conditions under which a teacher has to work are extremely important. Most of the poor children go to schools, which are the oldest and most dilapidated in each school district. If school districts weren't able to keep up all the maintenance in the past, and build new schools when necessary, it is going to be more difficult in the future when monies are going to be tight tightly budgeted. With so many people are out of work and/or owning homes that are worth less than they paid for them, they are not going to vote for increases in taxes to provide more money for the schools. 

If you are an experienced teacher with demonstrated competence and seniority, would you rather work in an old rundown school with rust and mildew, or, in one of the districts where the schools have all the bells and whistles? Would you rather teach children who are frequently underfed, often neglected, and have little motivation to learn, or teach motivated children wanting to learn, well fed, and cared for by their parents who expect them to go to college? Don't reach for your pencils these are rhetorical questions.

The report went on to document that the problems began in 1965 with the passage of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which channels money to educate poor children. The report cites a loophole that allowed school systems to report educator salaries on a district wide basis, which masked the difference between schools with low-income children and those with middle or upper middle class incomes. That's another surprise. Can you imagine people working the system for Washington? Ask the bankers. Maybe they could load the school districts the money lady..

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