Tuesday, August 24, 2010

more from the L. A. times

I haven't had a chance to think about this yet, but here's the latest from the L.A. times:

L.A.'s Leaders in Learning

I certainly agree with their basic point that a school can look good because of its student body, even when it does very little useful teaching.


  1. Here's my blunt answer: parents shop for the school with the best reputation. And sure, you can make great gains in a "low achieving" area, but who cares? Say you improve those students as a whole from being in the tenth percentile on the test to the thirtieth. A 20 percent gain! But who cares... it's not enough.

    Certainly if I were shopping for houses and had a lot of money, I could care less if the richie-rich people near me were underachievers. They can afford to be. The school will graduate children who go to college. And playing into that is the fact that I want to sell my house someday, and living in a yucky school district won't help move the merchandise.

    Achievement and test scores are nowhere near the same thing. What matters is the PERCEIVED calibre of the student body. Realtors know this. Colleges know this. Parents know this.

    There aren't easy and pat "answers" to improving student achievement in certain neighbourhoods, particularly when you throw hot potato issues like race and poverty into the mix. Kansas City spent two BILLION dollars trying to attract the middle class into the school district, and it didn't work.

    People like me moving into the area look at the demographics, the provisional accreditation, the free/reduced lunch rate, and watched the news for a bit. NO WAY we'd move to Kansas City school district, nevermind that we'd have to pay double city taxes and have my husband commute 40 minutes each way (because he works in downtown KC and MUST pay 2 percent of his gross income. But he can't vote there unless he lives there... something is wrong with this picture). We have THAT MUCH INCENTIVE to stay OUT of the inner city schools.

  2. So I checked out Wonderland Ave. Elementary in Hollywood on Great Schools website so I could do what the parents do there- Guess I'll need to learn and speak Korean for starters.

    There is a high percentage of "whites" too.. but that category isn't helpful to me because I've seen failing schools just packed with whitey too.

    Kimchi, anyone?

  3. I have always been skeptical of test scores in terms of rating schools for the very reasons the Times article brings up. Too often they do reflect the advantages that children bring from home and then the schools get the credit for that. At the very least, I hope the Times article forces parents to think about what a good school is. Or more importantly, what constitutes a quality education.