Posts Tagged by schools
|August 20, 2013||Posted by M. P. under Budget, Education, Research||
As we approach the start of another school year, students in Pennsylvania may find themselves returning to fewer elective classes (even in math science and English), increased class sizes, old textbooks, suspension of field trips, and fewer teachers and staff due to furloughs and hiring freezes. These intended changes, from a survey conducted by the Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials and the Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators, also include, 22 percent of districts cutting tutoring programs for students (just under a third – 32 percent – did the same for the 2012-13 school year), and 13 percent of districts ending summer school programs for 2013-14, as did 21 percent last year.
While the enormous impact of the recession prompted serious budgetary reviews, from the dinner table to the halls of the State Capitol, the reduction in education funding has hit urban schools first, and worst. While fingers point at various “causes of the problem” and some argue the problem doesn’t exist but for mismanagement, the financial shortfall, at least in urban Pennsylvania schools, appears to be a mixture of shrinking tax bases, shrinking enrollment, ever-increasing per-pupil spending, and bureaucratic administrations, coupled with reductions in funding from the Commonwealth. Still, cutting programs (like tutoring) that are designed to help struggling students seems to only contribute to the achievement gap that already exists between schools in poorer areas and their more affluent counterparts.
The report, Poverty and Education: Finding the Way Forward by Richard J. Coley of Educational Testing Service (ETS) and Rutgers University professor Bruce Baker, examines the connection between poverty and life outcomes, including success in education and future employment. The researchers note the academic achievement gap is larger between poor and not poor than between races, with those living in extreme poverty lagging most behind peers in cognitive performance. Poverty is also associated with outcomes of less schooling, lower income, and higher likelihood of involvement in the criminal justice system. The impact of poverty on educational quality is illustrated in the brief, The Impact of Teacher Experience, Examining the Evidence and Policy Implications by Jennifer King Rice, through a discussion of data that indicate high-poverty schools have teachers with the least experience and, according to some studies, a lower level of effectiveness. A National Center on Educational Evaluation brief reports that, overall, poorer students had unequal access to the highest quality teachers (although the study on just 10 districts is not generalizable).
Lest one think such relationships have little bearing on their local schools, the issue of poverty and education is no longer just a concern for city residents as the 2000’s saw a shift in the distribution of families living below the poverty line. Suburbs are the fastest growing pockets of poverty in the country, according to the book Confronting Suburban Poverty in America by Elizabeth Kneebone and Alan Berube. Over the last decade, the population of poor in the suburbs grew by 64 percent and at a brisker pace than in many of their regional cities. According to Kneebone and Berube, there are more poor people living in the suburbs now than anywhere else in America.
This past year, school districts – urban and suburban – have dealt with budget issues by challenging mandates that limited the number of students to teachers in a classroom, removing access to or increasing participation fees for extracurricular activities, and reducing the number of available courses. A cursory read of the trends in income, funding steams and predicted economic growth suggests that even the more affluent districts won’t be able to escape the experience of severe budget cuts and need for increased tax revenues for too much longer.
|July 23, 2012||Posted by M. P. under Children and Family, Education, Policy, Research, Youth Development|
A paper from First Focus and the Brookings Institution estimates that 2.3 million children homes have already fallen victim to the foreclosure of their family home with an additional 3.0 million children at risk of losing theirs in the future. These figures do not include the 3 million youth potentially at risk of eviction from rental properties if that property is foreclosed upon. All in all, approximately 8 million children and youth are, or have been, somehow impacted by the unprecendented amount of foreclosures that have occurred in the United States over the past half-decade. .
The Urban Institute released a report earlier this year that examined the impact of the foreclosure crisis on public school students in three east coast cities, Baltimore, New York, and Washington, D.C. The cross-site study, The Foreclosure Crisis and Children: A Three-City Study by Kathryn L. S. Pettit and Jennifer Comey, concluded that foreclosure is a risk factor for students as it disrupts education and social bonds and may increase reports of mental and physical health issues, risk for criminal victimization and the likelihood of attending a school lower-performing than from whence they came. Some other conclusions:
- Racial disparity was mixed across sites. While African-American students were disproportionately affected by home foreclosures in the New York City research site, data indicate that neither Washington DC or Baltimore experienced the same impact.
- In Washington, D.C., students were more likely to be living in less affluent neighborhoods and (in both Washington, D.C., and New York City) in poorer schools prior to foreclosure, compared to the Baltimore site where the foreclosed upon students originally lived in better neighborhoods and attended higher-achieving schools.
- At the Baltimore and Washington, D.C. sites, students impacted by foreclosure were more likely to move out of the school system via transfer to a private school, dropping out, or physically leaving the area than were their New York City peers.
With home foreclosure identified as a trigger for numerous risk factors to the health, safety and development of students, The Urban Institute report lists numerous policy recommendations for public schools, local government, housing officials and researchers to consider when exploring and/or addressing the short and long term impacts of this unprecedented wave of foreclosures.
According to the data from the Brookings paper mentioned above, The Ongoing Impact of Foreclosures on Children by Julia B. Isaacs, in February 2011, 118,000 or 4 percent of Pennsylvania children were already foreclosed upon or in the process of foreclosure on their family-owned home. Has your nonprofit witnessed the impact of home foreclosure on the kids you work with or on clients and their children? Do you consider home foreclosure a risk factor for youth or something different altogether?
|July 7, 2012||Posted by M. P. under Children and Family, Education, Federal Government||
Data released by the U.S. Department of Education quantifies the extent of homelessness among American youth, as over one million homeless children are enrolled in preschool through the 12th grade in public schools across the country. The 2010-11 count (1,065,794) is up 13 percent from 2009. For the purposes of the research, youth are classified as “enrolled” if they attend class and participate in activities at a public school.
According to the report, Education for Homeless Children and Youths Program Data Collection Summary, a presentation of analyses from the school year 2010-11 (including comparisons to data from prior years) the number of homeless children enrolled in public schools increased 57 percent since the beginning of the recession (the 2006-2007 school year). States with the largest increases in the numbers of homeless students include Kentucky and Utah (47 percent), Michigan and West Virginia (38 percent), and Mississippi (35 percent).
A positive takeaway from the report is that the academic performance of homeless students in grades 3-12 appears to have improved somewhat. In 2008-09, 49 percent of these students met or exceeded standard state proficiency in reading and 48 percent in math; in 2009-10, 52 percent of grade homeless students in grades 3-12 met or exceeded standard state proficiency in reading, and 50 percent did the same in math.