University of Pennsylvania study: Disadvantaged kids affect performance of peers

19 Feb

Moi wrote in Race, class, and education in America:
Many educators have long recognized that the impact of social class affects both education achievement and life chances after completion of education. There are two impacts from diversity, one is to broaden the life experience of the privileged and to raise the expectations of the disadvantaged. Social class matters in not only other societies, but this one as well.
A few years back, the New York Times did a series about social class in America. That series is still relevant. Janny Scott and David Leonhardt’s overview, Shadowy Lines That Still Divide http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/15/national/class/OVERVIEW-FINAL.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 describes the challenges faced by schools trying to overcome the disparity in education. The complete series can be found at Social Class http://www.nytimes.com/pages/national/class/

Sam Dillion wrote an insightful New York Times article, Merger of Memphis and County School Districts Revives Race and Class Challenges:

When thousands of white students abandoned the Memphis schools 38 years ago rather than attend classes with blacks under a desegregation plan fueled by busing, Joseph A. Clayton went with them. He quit his job as a public school principal to head an all-white private school and later won election to the board of the mostly white suburban district next door.
Now, as the overwhelmingly black Memphis school district is being dissolved into the majority-white Shelby County schools, Mr. Clayton is on the new combined 23-member school board overseeing the marriage. And he warns that the pattern of white flight could repeat itself, with the suburban towns trying to secede and start their own districts.
“There’s the same element of fear,” said Mr. Clayton, 79. “In the 1970s, it was a physical, personal fear. Today the fear is about the academic decline of the Shelby schools.”
“As far as racial trust goes,” Mr. Clayton, who is white, added, “I don’t think we’ve improved much since the 1970s….”
Toughest of all may be bridging the chasms of race and class. Median family income in Memphis is $32,000 a year, compared with the suburban average of $92,000; 85 percent of students in Memphis are black, compared with 38 percent in Shelby County…. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/06/education/merger-of-memphis-and-county-school-districts-revives-challenges.html?emc=eta1

People tend to cluster in neighborhoods based upon class as much as race. Good teachers tend to gravitate toward neighborhoods where they are paid well and students come from families who mirror their personal backgrounds and values. Good teachers make a difference in a child’s life. One of the difficulties in busing to achieve equity in education is that neighborhoods tend to be segregated by class as well as race. People often make sacrifices to move into neighborhoods they perceive mirror their values. That is why there must be good schools in all segments of the country and there must be good schools in all parts of this society. A good education should not depend upon one’s class or status. https://drwilda.com/2011/11/07/race-class-and-education-in-america/

Lyndsey Layton reported in the Washington Post article, Disadvantaged children can hurt achievement of others in their classrooms, study finds:

Large numbers of low-income children who begin formal schooling with many disadvantages – poor medical care, homelessness, an uneducated mother, for example – not only struggle with schoolwork but hurt the achievement of other children in their classrooms, according to a new study.
A team of researchers from the University of Pennsylvania studied more than 10,000 children who were enrolled in public schools in Philadelphia from kindergarten through third grade. They found that in schools with a high concentration of children with “risk factors,” the academic performance of all children – not just those with disadvantages – was negatively affected.
For example, researchers found that children who were homeless or mistreated disrupted their classrooms, pulling down reading achievement and attendance rates among children who were not homeless or mistreated. Along the same lines, schools filled with many students who did not receive adequate prenatal care had overall poor reading achievement, even among those children who did get prenatal care.
Led by John Fantuzzo, the peer-reviewed study was published last week in Educational Researcher…..http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/disadvantaged-children-can-hurt-achievement-of-others-in-their-classrooms-study-finds/2014/02/13/9f3fa068-94df-11e3-83b9-1f024193bb84_story.html?wpisrc=emailtoafriend

Here is the press release from the University of Pennsylvania:

Contact the Penn GSE Press Office
Kat Stein, Executive Director
Sunday, Feb 16, 2014 | Welcome to the Penn GSE Press Room!
PENN GSE STUDY SUGGESTS THAT IN THE CLASSROOM, THE RISKS OF THE FEW AFFECT THE PERFORMANCE OF THE MANY
February 10, 2014
Contact: Kat Stein, Exec. Director of Communications
katstein@gse.upenn.edu / (215) 898-9642

Study Mines “Big Data” Across Philadelphia Social Agencies and Public Schools to Examine Impact
Philadelphia, PA, February 10, 2014 – If big-city school systems had a clear picture of the risks that put their students most in danger of falling behind academically, educators and policy makers could build locally targeted solutions for the achievement gap. Last week, Educational Researcher published a University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education (Penn GSE) study that moves that idea closer to reality. Led by Dr. John Fantuzzo, the research team focused on using integrated administrative data to more fully understand complicating factors for children at risk – and the impact of multiple risks on the broader educational environment.

In schools with high concentrations of students with risk factors, such as homelessness and low maternal education, the performance of all students—not just those experiencing these risks—was negatively impacted. The study, which looked at third grade students in Philadelphia, demonstrates that race and poverty are not telling the whole story in examining educational well-being, and that problem-solving focused on certain children can benefit the entire school.

In the study, Fantuzzo and his co-authors used an integrated data system, which they helped to develop. This system, while protecting student privacy, combined records stored by the schools and social service agencies for thousands of third-graders from across Philadelphia to study the relations between risks and educational outcomes.

Third graders were chosen because third grade is the first time that children take state-mandated achievement tests, giving the researchers a consistent measure of academic performance. The data, which had been collected by public agencies over the children’s lifetimes and even extended back before their births to the time of their mothers’ pregnancies, enabled the researchers to use sophisticated analytic techniques to find the association between academic performance and various risks and protective factors over time. Here is a summary of the peer-reviewed article:

“An Investigation of the Relations Between School Concentrations of Student Risk Factors and Student Educational Well-Being,” by John W. Fantuzzo, Whitney A. LeBoeuf, and Heather L. Rouse, investigates the relationship between school concentrations of student risk factors such as homelessness, maltreatment, and low maternal education, and measures of reading, mathematics, and attendance. The authors, examining an entire cohort of third-grade students in the School District of Philadelphia, document the negative impact of high concentrations of students with risk factors on the other children who attend school with these peers but are, themselves, not experiencing these risk factors. Large concentrations of students with low maternal education, homelessness, and child maltreatment were found to be among the most harmful to overall student performance, after accounting for student-level risks and demographics. The findings show that poverty and race do
not tell the whole story when it comes to educational well-being.

The integrated data system in Philadelphia, which began in 2002, is part of Actionable Intelligence for Social Policy (AISP), an initiative funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation through a grant to Penn professors Dennis Culhane, School of Social Policy and Practice, and John Fantuzzo, Graduate School of Education.While harnessing the power of large amounts of public data to find solutions to civic problems is a recent trend, AISP has been in the big data field for many years. AISP was ahead of the curve, using research and relationship-building to tackle the complicated challenges of integrating disparate data systems in order to reveal previously unseen patterns, patterns that can teach us about the impact of homelessness on reading skills, send emergency services to those most in need during a crisis, or help medical professionals care for rural patients more effectively. AISP is building a nationwide network of agencies that use
integrated data systems to answer big questions; create efficiencies; and solve the conundrums of technical disparities, legal roadblocks, and privacy challenges along the way – essentially to use data for the common good.

Penn GSE is one of the nation’s premier research education schools. No other education school enjoys a university environment as supportive of practical knowledge building as the Ivy League’s University of Pennsylvania. The School is notably entrepreneurial, launching innovative degree programs for practicing professionals and unique partnerships with local educators, and the first-ever business plan competition devoted exclusively to educational products and programs. For further information about Penn GSE, please visit http://www.gse.upenn.edu.

People tend to cluster in neighborhoods based upon class as much as race. Good teachers tend to gravitate toward neighborhoods where they are paid well and students come from families who mirror their personal backgrounds and values. Good teachers make a difference in a child’s life. One of the difficulties in busing to achieve equity in education is that neighborhoods tend to be segregated by class as well as race. People often make sacrifices to move into neighborhoods they perceive mirror their values. That is why there must be good schools in all segments of the country and there must be good schools in all parts of this society. A good education should not depend upon one’s class or status.

The lawyers in Brown were told that lawsuits were futile and that the legislatures would address the issue of segregation eventually when the public was ready. Meanwhile, several generations of African Americans waited for people to come around and say the Constitution applied to us as well. Generations of African Americans suffered in inferior schools. This society cannot sacrifice the lives of children by not addressing the issue of equity in school funding in a timely manner.

The next huge case, like Brown, will be about equity in education funding. It may not come this year or the next year. It, like Brown, may come several years after a Plessy. It will come. Equity in education funding is the civil rights issue of this century.

Related:

Study: race determines how one views meritocracy https://drwilda.com/2013/08/14/study-race-determines-how-one-views-meritocracy/

Michael Petrilli’s decision: An ed reformer confronts race and class when choosing a school for his kids https://drwilda.com/2012/11/11/micheal-pettrillis-decision-an-ed-reformer-confronts-race-and-class-when-choosing-a-school-for-his-kids/

The role economic class plays in college success https://drwilda.com/2012/12/22/the-role-economic-class-plays-in-college-success/

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com
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