Saturday, March 24, 2007

Effect of Students vs. Teachers on School Scores

Pointing to demographics is considered just another excuse by the right wing ideologues. In parts of west Williamsburg schools are undergoing a reverse of the situation below as richer white people move in. Most of them are young, so the kids are still at the pre-k- 1st grade level. I spent the last 5 years I was in the system at one of these schools before the changes began to occur. Historically, it was one of the lowest scoring schools in the district because of a high number of immigrant Spanish kids. As we saw the neighborhood start to change we joked how the school would rise to the top of the heap. BloomKlein will argue and give credit to their leadership and that of the principal (who is very young). Maybe even merit pay for teachers (when the UFT caves in on the next contract) and bonuses to supervisors. Some teachers find that some of the "new" parents meddle in areas that make them uncomfortable and seem to prefer the poorer group of parents.

The following was posted to
Eugene Falik

There is a very interesting experiment taking place in [Union Free] School District 15 (Lawrence-Cedarhurst) on Long Island. This is an upper income area that has historically been a top district with Westinghouse/Intel winners, Merit semifinalists, etc.

There has not been any significant turnover by the professional staff, yet scores are lower each year. Of course, this has created many complaints and much soul searching among the local residents. The significant change appears to be the districts demographics. There has NOT been an influx (so far as I am ware) of any group that is disadvantaged, or might be expected to have poorer grades. On the other hands, there has been a withdrawal of students who may have been a catalyst for learning, in addition to contributing to higher grades. This is because the Jewish population of the area has changed. The Jewish population had consisted of Conservative and Reform Jews who sent their children to the public schools. It has become increasingly Orthodox, a group that sends their children to yeshivas rather than public schools.

The result is that the same teachers who appeared to be so good before now appear to be less competent. Is it really true that they are less competent? I don't think that a serious argument can be made for that position.

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