Haves vs. Have nots

Discussion in 'General Education' started by YoungTeacherGuy, Jan 10, 2015.

  1. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Jan 10, 2015

    My district is going through lots of changes in preparation for the move from K-5 to K-6 schools. School attendance boundaries will be changed; therefore, lots of parents are up in arms.

    Anyway, BF & I went to dinner last night. A man and his wife sitting very close to us were discussing the fact that their children are possibly going to attend another school in the fall due to the boundary changes. Side note: I believe the gentleman may've been hard of hearing because he was speaking extremely loudly. I'm pretty certain everyone in the restaurant could hear his conversation.

    A couple (sitting in close proximity to the husband & wife who were talking about boundary changes) chimed in. Apparently, their children all attend the same school. The wife said, "It's okay if they move to x school--as long as they don't get shipped over to (insert name of my school)!" The man with the loud voice started laughing.

    My BF said my face turned as red as a tomato. Yes--the majority of the students at my school are learning English as a second language. Yes--98% of my kiddos receive free/reduced lunch. Yes--we're located in a not-so-desirable neighborhood. Does that mean we're a substandard school? Absolutely not. Here's why:
    1. Due to the number of ELs and students who receive free/reduced lunch, we receive a lot of extra funds. Those funds allow us to have 1:1 devices for ALL 600 children at our site.
    2. We may not have a lot of parental involvement, but we do have quite a bit of fundraising that happens throughout the year that allows our students to go on field trips--the same field trip the kiddos in the more affluent area of town go on!
    3. We provide extra curricular activities (sports & clubs) during lunch and enrichment/tutorial after school for all students.

    I am the product of the school where I serve as VP. I can wholeheartedly say that there is a rich tradition of achievement, dedication, and care for the children who attend this school. Our teachers are some of the most hardworking and committed people I've ever had the pleasure of working alongside.

    Just because my school is located on the wrong side of the tracks doesn't mean we're subpar!

    I'm pretty certain it's obvious that the people at the restaurant hit a nerve. It's unfortunate that their narrow-minded views are keeping them from seeing that there are phenomenal teachers across our district--not just at their children's school.

    I truly can't explain the way I felt when my school was painted in a negative light. I was literally shaking. :(
     
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  3. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    It's your school, you take pride in your work, so of course you reacted strongly. The school obviously has a reputation to those who only hear things and they don't know the truth. I'm sure once these people's kids will attend your school, they will change their mind.

    Our school is known as the school where the bad kids go. I don't know what everyone thinks, but a lot of them think it's like the school that was in Dangerous Minds (and back in the day before my principal came along it was almost like that)
    In reality our kids are pretty well behaved, we haven't even had a major fight this school year (I think there was one teeny tiny one).

    people don't know what's going on until they're actually there.
     
  4. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Having worked at a school that was affluent, I can tell you that money can't buy an education if there is no parental support. When students and parents feel entitled, the students suffer, since no on is holding them accountable. In my current assignment we are anything but affluent, but our students understand the concept of self worth that comes from working towards goals and achievement. Be proud of your school - you can't change narrow minds easily, but hard work and effort will triumph in the end. Your students are lucky that you have a clear vision of what they have to offer - it will make them better students as your faith in the district wears off on them. :)
     
  5. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Having worked in a school in the suburbs with affluent families and active parent participation, and having worked in a school with poor families, Title 1 resources, and less parental involvement... I'd rather my daughter attend the first type of school. That's nothing against teachers working in low-income schools. They do a fabulous job.
     
  6. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    I can imagine that that is a very difficult thing to hear. Please know that they are ignorant about your school. They really are. The public is largely ignorant on all things about school and teachers. As hard as it is, try not to take it personal.
     
  7. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    I'm sorry that you felt insulted. Please don't be. Parents want what is best for their children and like it or not, many parents don't think that a school that is mostly ESL and has 98% free/reduced lunch, is the best.

    I agree with them. I've had my children at a variety of schools. I've taught at a variety of schools. I know that you and your colleagues aren't subpar. I know the children aren't "subpar." But the education children receive at one school can be radically different than the one they receive at another in the same district.

    My children attended a school where the majority of students were on free/reduced lunch. But not by much. On average it was around 55%. Just barely over half. There were very few ESL students, maybe five total. We did not have an ESL teacher assigned to the school, one was shared with the middle school close by. It was an awesome school. The vast majority of involved parents were comfortable financially but the ones that weren't were welcomed and volunteered from time to time. The parents that didn't give a flip about their kids' education were in the minority. The school had a real community feel about it. The kids were respectful for the most part.

    Then there was a major overhaul with the district's lines. A few changes at the district level that impacted the student body. The numbers started changing. When I finally pulled my youngest child out of the school the free/reduced lunch percentage had gone up to about 80% and each CLASS had about five/six ESL students in it. The staff changed very little those first few years. But the learning dropped tremendously. Teachers that an older child had before, who I knew were excellent teachers, were unable to give MY child what I wanted him to have because they were too busy putting out fires. The entire school climate changed completely in just a matter of three years.

    Do I think that all poor kids are troublemakers? No. But when I see high poverty rates my experience tells me that classes will be more disruptive. That students will have less support at home and will therefore need more of the teacher's time. That there's a good chance, with that level of poverty, that some of the parents didn't think school was important enough for THEM to finish and have passed along the same attitude with their own children.

    FTR, none of the parents I know personally would care one bit about having 1:1 laptops for their elementary school children. Especially if the trade-off was being in a school where language was a barrier for most of their classmates and poverty was the norm. Why should they care? They have computers, usually multiple, in their own homes.

    Again, I'm sorry your feelings were hurt. I hope that once you can see it from a parent's perspective, you'll feel a bit better. At least not take it personally. There are truths to the feelings that those parents (and I) have and when it comes down to your own child, you want what is best for THEIR education. Societal equity be damned.
     
  8. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    Jan 10, 2015

    ICAM.
     
  9. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    I totally agree with everything 2ndtimearound said, and I say this as a teacher who has never worked in anything but low SES schools. My teammates and I were just looking at the state's rankings (based on test scores, of course) the other day. My current district is 111 out of 127. The district I left to come here was literally number 127! I have always worked with very knowledgeable and dedicated teachers. I certainly don't think that the teachers in the affluent districts who are getting better test scores are simply better teachers than the ones I work with. However, if I had kids I wouldn't want to put them in a school like mine. Honestly, for me the number one concern would be behavior. We have so many more behavior problems and the learning environment is often disrupted. Beyond that, the teachers are forced to be very focused on teaching to low level students. Our teachers often have to spend little time on grade level standards because they're spending so much time trying to get students caught up on things they were supposed to learn in younger grades. The higher level students are often pretty much ignored because like 2nd time said, the teachers are so busy putting out fires elsewhere. Even if my hypothetical child struggled, I'd want them in a more affluent school where there would be more resources for struggling students due to the fact that there are less students that are behind. Yes, my school gets title one money and has two title 1 teachers, but we have 50-60% of students who are below grade level. Everyone is spread very thin trying to help these students. The nearest middle class district doesn't get title 1 money, but they have few struggling students and can devote a lot of time and energy to them. When we get IEPs from that district, students with very mild disabilities (think maybe a half year behind grade level) were often getting 6-8 hours per week of sped support. We're simply spread to thin to that- even our neediest students can only get 3-4 hours per week. We have two ELL teachers, but we have 120 kids that need ESL services. When we get an ESL student from this nearby district, we'll find out that the student was getting 1:1 support with the ELL teacher.
     
  10. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    ^^^

    Conversely to that, my last year as a SPED teacher, I had two students transfer to my school from very low SES schools. Each of them was at least three years behind as readers. One was getting thirty minutes a week, the other three hours a week. I wrote both of them IEPs for 15 hours a week (5 hours pull-out, 10 hours in-class support), and one of them got an extra 2 hours a week of 2:1 ESOL support.
     
  11. daisycakes

    daisycakes Companion

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    Jan 11, 2015

    I have only worked at low SES schools. Some I would send my own children to, some I would not. I honestly would have said something like, "I know a lot of hard working teachers at X school" and just made that gentleman aware that he is talking loudly in a public place about something pretty sensitive.
     
  12. Sam Aye M

    Sam Aye M Mr. Know-It-All

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    Jan 11, 2015

    I'm sorry that happened to you, YTG. I've almost always worked in low SES schools, and a a product of low SES schools as well, and I know how hard it is to hear stuff like that. And as a product of those schools, I know sometimes it stings a little more, because they are talking about ME. they'll say they're not, but if not me, or my siblings, or my friends, who ARE you talking about? I've purposely chosen to return to these districts, because I feel like I can be an example to these students. I've been where they have been. I know the struggles, the stares, etc. I've had people laugh or turn up their nose when they heard I was from THAT school. That's really where I have to take myself mentally when I hear things such as you heard. It stinks. There's no other way to describe it.
     
  13. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    So sorry, YTG. I have heard the same thing. Chicago is a very competitive city around education, middle school and high school especially. There are 600+ schools, but a very pervasive mentality that only a handful are any good. One blog that I follow has post after post from affluent parents who do not even consider my school an option. People lie about their addresses or move out of the city entirely to avoid going to my school. I will admit we have our issues, but it's not THAT bad. We work really hard to make it as nice as we can. I'm sad so many people won't give neighborhood schools a chance.
     
  14. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    You all bring up a lot of great points. I appreciate your honest feedback & support!

    I've gotta let it go, but the fact that he mentioned my school (he could've mentioned others) really brings tears to my eyes!
     
  15. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    Jan 11, 2015

    YTG, you're a better person than me! I would've walked over there and started listing all the reasons my school is awesome, and highlighted the accomplishments of the kids. And I probably would've done it not so nicely.

    I've worked both in low SES and middle SES schools. Every school I've worked in has had great and terrible teachers. My current school, has 39% free/ reduced lunch, but it used to be 17%. Some teachers have struggled with that change and don't recognize that you can't always assign large projects to be completed at home. These same teachers struggle some with reaching all learners because they've never really had to differentiate before. It's not that they can't or don't want to, it's just new to them.

    My district, which has very few low SES neighborhoods overall, also had a lot of complaints when boundary lines were redrawn a few years ago. My school gained a very affluent section of town, and those parents were miffed because they wanted to stay at their school. My school is ranked higher academically than where they were, but many people buy houses so they can be zoned for specific schools. By October, the parents were very happy to be at our school.
     
  16. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    Jan 11, 2015

    That would be pretty hurtful to hear. :(

    I really wish that there was a way for school to be equally distributed as far as SES is concerned. Of course, that isn't possible and would be incredibly expensive.
     
  17. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    You do a fantastic job with the students you teach. The job you do is one hundred times more valuable than those working at affluent schools who teach kids who already know how to learn.

    You're teaching students who really need this education to get out of the situations they are in.

    I've worked at low SES schools, and I understand why parents would rather that their child attends an affluent school. If an entire school is low SES the focus is more on getting the students up to speed rather than providing for those who are advanced and need more of a challenge. (Not saying that advanced programs don't exist at low SES schools though!)

    I currently teach at a very middle of the road school. We're not really low or high because we're placed between two very different neighborhoods.

    The school down the street is very affluent and I constantly hear about parents wanting to get their kids into THAT school. I always see bumper stickers for honor students for THAT school. I have friends who work there, and they constantly tell me the differences between our schools, and I'm glad I don't work there.

    From what I hear, the parents are stuck up, the students are stuck up, and the teachers are stuck up. The admin sucks, and the teachers have to deal with millions of inane phone calls from parents for no reason at all. Yes they get a ton more technology than us (since we're middle of the road we don't get Title 1 funding either nor parent money), they get to go on more field trips, but our school feels so much more like a family than theirs.

    You probably shouldn't let what they say get to you. Not every school is for every family. You are angry because of their preconception that your school is a poor school even though it's not. It's a good school for helping your population. All they see is Hispanics and minorities, so I wouldn't be surprised if race was a portion of their judgment.
     
  18. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    When I stated that I had worked in an affluent school, I should have been more specific. Peregrin5 has nailed what I experienced. The feeling of being entitled and above the rules had many teachers discouraged and ready to leave teaching. The fact that admin backed annoyed parents who thought their child should not have to do the work or obey the rules was demoralizing and yes, although there were a variety of races represented, Asians were automatically considered smart, but Hispanics were looked down upon. YTG, your school has much to offer, and hopefully you won't lose your advantages or strong parental support due to boundary changes.
     
  19. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    I have to second, third, what others have said about working at affluent schools. They definitely have their own advantages.

    FTR, when I made choices for my own children, I chose neither the lowest socioeconomic schools nor the most affluent. Being a teacher, I have the choice that many do not. And I still chose middle of the ground schools. I felt that they would provide the best overall education for my children.
     
  20. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    Jan 11, 2015

    My county is a lot more diverse (okay, let me put the PC aside for a second, it's a lot more brown) than the neighboring counties and it gets a lot flack for that. I know so many families who moved out of my county so their kids to go to other schools. Hell, believe it or not I've even seen people talk bad about my county on THIS FORUM.

    I met this woman the other day and I mentioned that my esposo and I might be moving to a neighboring county since that's where his work is. She goes on to say about how it's nice that we can live where we want and don't have to think about schools since we don't have kids. And how my county is a nice place, but the schools aren't. I was ||this close to saying "what, too many black people for you?" I mean ****.

    Anyways. I know exactly what you're talking about. I hate when people talk **** about my county, the place where I grew up, went to school and now teach in. They don't know what they're talking about. They don't know the importance of diversity. And I'm glad stuck up people like them stay out of my cool ass county!!
     
  21. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    I like diversity. I chose that awesome school I mentioned for a few reasons, one of the top ones was diversity. But just like change, diversity for diversity's sake isn't always a good thing.

    What is it about diversity that is appealing? For me, I loved the fact that at the kindergarten registration was a first-generation Japanese boy who was translating the forms to his mother. That there were a variety of cultures and beliefs represented in that kindergarten room: Japanese, Chinese, Cuban, low SES African-American, the black child of our deputy mayor, doctors' kids, teachers' kids, devoutly religious kids (some were Christian, some Jewish, some Muslim), and more. Just because the majority of children weren't "brown" doesn't mean there wasn't a lot of diversity.

    Diversity does not equal "brown." A school that is filled with children from the same neighborhood, have the same skin color and have the same core values, even if they aren't "white" is not a diverse school.
     
  22. ecteach

    ecteach Devotee

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    Jan 11, 2015

    I went to an elementary school that was considered "bad." Those were the best 6 years of my life. We had teachers who genuinely cared. They weren't there because they HAD to be. They were there because they loved us. To this day if I see one of my elementary teachers, he/she will hug me, and ask about my life. We never knew we were considered less than, because they truly didn't feel that way.

    But, then we were then bused to a "good" middle school. Those were the three worst years of my life. My parents couldn't afford the Abercrombie clothes, and I was super embarrassed of where I came from. I watched friends change, and do ANYTHING to fit in. The grass isn't always greener on the other side.

    High school got better, because there was one high school for the whole county, which led to tons of places to fit in.

    Keep doing what you are doing.
     
  23. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    YTG, I'm sorry. How frustrating. I taught in two of those schools in your school district, all on the "wrong side of the track" and I absolutely LOVED both of those schools- the staff, teachers, and students. I agree with the others, just keep doing what you're doing. :)
     
  24. GTB4GT

    GTB4GT Cohort

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    Jan 11, 2015

    You are obviously passionate. and young (given your pseudonym). When I read your post and the ones about the religious emails, etc. I just want to say to you (and others) that you will reach a point in your life when the words, thoughts, posts, etc. of others will be of no concern to you.You cannot control what others say or do. you can, however, choose how to respond.

    I am sorry that you have suffered. but his comments are not worth your precious time stewing over or even thinking about for 1 second. Young people think their time is infinite. I certainly did. However, now I realize that it is not. therefore I try not to squander it on random comments by others, especially strangers, no matter how ridiculous or ignorant they may be.

    Regards.
     
  25. Miss84

    Miss84 Comrade

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    Jan 11, 2015

    Honestly everyone has their opinion and choice.
    You know your school because that is your reality.
    Clearly the parent speaking about your school, is only going by what he has heard and probably a school like yours ISN'T his/or his kid's reality.
    I didn't have the reality of public schools (elementary/middle), let alone in a Title 1 school, so I would ensure that my child has the same educational experience that I did.
    It's one thing to have a preference, but some people forget to not be rude about it.
     
  26. Preschool0929

    Preschool0929 Cohort

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    Jan 11, 2015

    Our district is going through a similar situation. They are building 2 new elementary schools and are currently in the redistricting process. My school is 88% ESL and 98% free and reduced lunch. On the district facebook page, whenever they post about a redistricting meeting, there are ALWAYS comments like "I don't care what school my child goes to, as long as it's not XYZ elementary school" (my school). It is disheartening, as we have an amazing group of teachers and admin. However, when I look at the behavior issues that we have, which are substantial, and the achievement gaps that exist, I honestly don't think I would want my child to go to my school. I completely love each and every teacher, but I look at the classes that are SO needs-heavy and I know how much we struggle to get kids to grade level because they start so far behind.
     
  27. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    Jan 11, 2015

    That's kind of what I went through, too. Looking back, if I had to guess, I would think that my elementary school had around 50% free/reduced lunch. There wasn't a lot of cultural diversity, but I lived in an older neighborhood with smaller houses.

    My middle school was actually in the same building as my elementary school, and was a combination of 3 elementary schools: a high SES school, a low SES school, and mine. It was a whole new world for me. Middle school was the first time that I realized how little my family had compared to the kids who had a lot of money. It was a difficult adjustment, and I spent many years trying to pretend that my family had money, too. It's said how much money determines popularity at that age. I really hope that I can teach my children that there are more important things in life.
     

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