Schools with Poverty

All evidence suggests that it is bad policy to concentrate children in schools with high rates of poverty.  It’s not good for the students.  It’s not good for educators.  And, it’s not good for the community.

The only schools with high rates of poverty that consistently outperform peer schools require students to attend school 50% more a year – long days, weeks and years.  That takes resources.

This is something that our school district – like most school districts across the country – must confront.  But a school district cannot face up to the issues of poverty on its own.  A community must get behind and support school district leaders and managers.

Here are a handful of reports/books on the topic.  I have not yet had the opportunity to look at the Pew report in depth.

Pew Hispanic Center, The Role of Schools in the ELL Achievement Gap.

Piton Foundation, The Case for Economic Integration.

Piton Foundation, Mixed Income Schools Gaining Favor.

Richard D. Kahlenberg, All Together Now: Creating Middle-Class Schools through Public School Choice


4 Responses to “Schools with Poverty”

  1. Brad Jolly Says:

    John, I admire and share your concern for the academic success of low-income students. You might consider supporting the Seeds of Hope program run by the Archdiocese of Denver. The archdiocese is actively looking for ways to serve even more low-income students, and Seeds of Hope provides the funding for doing that. Catholic schools cost taxpayers much, much less than do public schools, so supporting Seeds of Hope might be a win-win-win-win for the Catholic schools, the public schools, the taxpayers and most importantly, the students.

  2. Kelly Meilstrup Says:

    At risk of raising the ire of the whole community, have we looked into year-round schools, particularly in our lower income neighborhoods? I haven’t researched how year-round schools compare with more traditional school calendars, but I am curious how effective that route might be. Would it eliminate the problem of students forgetting over the summer some of what they learned the previous year?

  3. Brad Jolly Says:

    Ms. Meilstrup, count me as one citizen who would not necessarily be irate at the prospect of year-round schools, depending on the nature of the plan. In some Douglas County schools, they use a year-round calendar that has about the same number of instruction days as St. Vrain’s schedule – about 9 weeks on and 3 weeks off. Such a schedule eliminates the long, brain-atrophying breaks, but it also discourages some kinds of sports participation. Regardless of the schedule, I would not support any program in which government schools discriminated against certain children on the basis of their parents’ income.

  4. Brad Jolly Says:

    John, here is an interesting article about how a paternalistic approach gets it done for low-income, minority students. It’s 180° out of phase with St. Vrain, in terms of both approach and results.

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