Tag Archives: Chicago

University of Chicago Urban Education Lab study: Targeted tutoring can reduce the education gap

28 Jan

People want an education for a variety of reasons. Some have a love of learning. Others want to attend a good college or vocational school. Still others, see an education as a ticket to a good job. Increasingly for schools, the goal is to prepare kids with the skills to attend and succeed at college. In order to give children the skills to succeed, schools need teachers who are effective at educating their population of kids. There are many themes in the attempt to answer the question, what will prepare kids for what comes after high school. What will prepare kids for what comes after high school is a good basic education. The schools that provide a good basic education are relentless about the basics.

Sharon Otterman wrote a good news story in the New York Times about how a relentless focus on the basics can yield results. In Brooklyn School Scores High Despite Poverty Otterman reported:

To ace the state standardized tests, which begin on Monday, Public School 172 in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, finds money for coaches in writing, reading and math. Teachers keep detailed notes on each child, writing down weaknesses and encouraging them to repeat tasks. There is after-school help and Saturday school.
But at the start of this school year, seven or eight students were still falling behind. So the school hired a speech therapist who could analyze why they and other students stumbled in language. A psychologist produced detailed assessments and recommendations. A dental clinic staffed by Lutheran Medical Center opened an office just off the fourth-grade classrooms, diagnosing toothaches, a possible source of distraction, and providing free cleanings.
Perfection may seem a quixotic goal in New York City, where children enter school from every imaginable background and ability level. But on the tests, P.S. 172, also called the Beacon School of Excellence, is coming close — even though 80 percent of its students are poor enough to qualify for free lunch, nearly a quarter receive special education services, and many among its predominately Hispanic population do not speak English at home.
In 2009, the 580-student primary school, tucked between fast-food restaurants and gas stations in a semi-industrial strip of Fourth Avenue, topped the city with its fourth-grade math scores, with all students passing, all but one with a mark of “advanced,” or Level 4. In English, all but one of 75 fourth graders passed, earning a Level 3 or 4, placing it among the city’s top dozen schools.
On average, at schools with the same poverty rate, only 66 percent of the students pass the English test, and 29 percent score at an advanced level in math, according to a New York Times analysis of Department of Education statistics. And though it is less well known, P.S. 172 regularly outperforms its neighbors in Park Slope and Carroll Gardens, where parents raise hundreds of thousands a year for extra aides and enrichment.
The school’s approach, while impressive in its attention to detail, starts with a simple formula: “Teach, assess, teach, assess,” said Jack Spatola, its principal since 1984.
Mr. Spatola attributed the coaches and other extra help to careful budgeting and fighting for every dollar from the Department of Education; the school’s cost per pupil, in fact, is lower than the city’s average. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/26/education/26test.html?pagewanted=all?pagewanted=all

What this school does well is know its student population and design assessments and interventions targeted at its population of kids. It is an example of the think small not small minded philosophy. Motoko Rich reported about another example of the think small and focus on the individual philosophy in her story about the University of Chicago study focused on targeted tutoring.

Rich reported in the New York Times article, Intensive Small-Group Tutoring and Counseling Helps Struggling Students:

A new paper being released Monday by the National Bureau of Economic Research suggests a promising approach for helping the most challenged students, who often arrive in high school several years behind their peers.
The study, which was conducted by a team led by Jens Ludwig, the co-director of the University of Chicago Urban Education Lab, provided a program of intense tutoring, in combination with group behavioral counseling, to a group of low-income ninth- and 10th-grade African-American youths with weak math skills, track records of absences or disciplinary problems. Those students learned in an eight-month period the equivalent of what the average American high school student learns in math over three years of school, as measured by standardized test scores, over and above what a similar group of students who did not receive the tutoring or counseling did…..

Jann Ingmire reported in the Phys.Org article, Targeted tutoring can reduce ‘achievement gap’ for CPS students, study finds:

For the new report, published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, the UChicago team tracked the impact of tutoring and mentoring among 106 ninth- and tenth-grade students at Harper High School in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood for six months in 2012 and 2013. Students were selected randomly to permit rigorous analysis of the outcomes. In addition to a significant jump in math test scores, students receiving tutoring and mentoring failed two fewer courses per year on average than students who did not participate, and their likelihood of being “on track” for graduation rose by nearly one-half.
“These results come from a randomized experiment of the sort that generates gold-standard evidence in medicine, but remains far too rare in the area of social policy,” noted Roseanna Ander, Executive Director of the UChicago Urban Education Lab. The lab is part of the UChicago Urban Education Institute, which is dedicated to creating knowledge to produce reliably excellent schooling.
One benefit of the Match tutoring approach is that it takes on the “mismatch” between a student’s grade level and the actual skills he or she has developed, which in disadvantaged urban settings like Chicago can be four to ten years behind grade level in math, which is a key gateway to high school graduation, said Jens Ludwig, Co-Director of the Urban Education Lab and McCormick Foundation Professor of Social Service Administration, Law, and Public Policy.
“So much of the energy in education policy is in improving the quality with which grade-level material is taught in classrooms,” Ludwig said. “But that’s not going to help a ninth-grader who is struggling with third- or fourth-grade math problems.”
Perhaps because students in the study got the targeted help they needed to catch up, Ludwig said, “These effects on schooling outcomes are larger—much larger—than what we see from so many other educational strategies.”
To help students catch up to grade level and re-engage with regular classroom instruction, the Match program administered a regimen sometimes described as “tutoring on steroids.” Virtually all participants were African American males from low-income families. Some of the 106 participants were selected via random lottery to receive the Match program’s individualized math tutoring for one hour per day, every day; each math tutor works with just two students at a time. In addition, students in this group received to non-academic intervention for one hour a week through the BAM mentoring program. BAM, developed by Chicago non-profit Youth Guidance and World Sport Chicago, uses elements of cognitive-behavioral therapy and non-traditional sports activities to strengthen social-cognitive skills, including self-regulation and impulse control. Other students participated in BAM alone, and the rest received the school’s existing programming.
“In addition to gains in achievement test scores we also saw improvements in engagement with school, such as an increase in attendance of about 2.5 weeks per year” said Jonathan Guryan, Associate Professor of Human Development and Social Policy in the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University and Co-director of the University of Chicago Urban Education Lab. “The results indicate this combination of programs may potentially be one way to narrow the black-white test score gap.”
The expansion of the BAM mentoring and Match tutoring approach to serve more CPS students will allow researchers to better understand the mechanisms of how these programs work and whether they can produce the same results on a larger scale.
The UChicago team’s NBER study concludes, “The impact of the pilot intervention reported in this paper are large enough to raise the question of whether the field has given up prematurely on the possibility of improving academic outcomes for disadvantaged youth.”


The (Surprising) Efficacy of Academic and Behavioral Intervention with Disadvantaged Youth: Results from a Randomized Experiment in Chicago
Philip J. Cook, Kenneth Dodge, George Farkas, Roland G. Fryer, Jr, Jonathan Guryan, Jens Ludwig, Susan Mayer, Harold Pollack, Laurence Steinberg
NBER Working Paper No. 19862
Issued in January 2014
There is growing concern that improving the academic skills of disadvantaged youth is too difficult and costly, so policymakers should instead focus either on vocationally oriented instruction for teens or else on early childhood education. Yet this conclusion may be premature given that so few previous interventions have targeted a potential fundamental barrier to school success: “mismatch” between what schools deliver and the needs of disadvantaged youth who have fallen behind in their academic or non-academic development. This paper reports on a randomized controlled trial of a two-pronged intervention that provides disadvantaged youth with non-academic supports that try to teach youth social-cognitive skills based on the principles of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and intensive individualized academic remediation. The study sample consists of 106 male 9th and 10th graders in a public high school on the south side of Chicago, of whom 95% are black and 99% are free or reduced price lunch eligible. Participation increased math test scores by 0.65 of a control group standard deviation (SD) and 0.48 SD in the national distribution, increased math grades by 0.67 SD, and seems to have increased expected graduation rates by 14 percentage points (46%). While some questions remain about the intervention, given these effects and a cost per participant of around $4,400 (with a range of $3,000 to $6,000), this intervention seems to yield larger gains in adolescent outcomes per dollar spent than many other intervention strategies.

The NBER Bulletin on Aging and Health provides summaries of publications like this. You can sign up to receive the NBER Bulletin on Aging and Health by email.

You may purchase this paper on-line in .pdf format from SSRN.com ($5) for electronic delivery.

It is going to take coordination between not only education institutions, but a strong social support system to get many of these children through school. This does not mean a large program directed from Washington. But, more resources at the local school level which allow discretion with accountability. For example, if I child is not coming to school because they have no shoes or winter coat, then the child gets new shoes and/or a coat. School breakfast and lunch programs must be supported and if necessary, expanded. Unfortunately, schools are now the early warning system for many families in crisis. In addition, to families and schools, corporate support can be useful in helping to move at-risk children into the mainstream.


‘Becoming A Man’ course: Helping young African-American men avoid prison https://drwilda.com/2013/07/03/becoming-a-man-course-helping-young-african-american-men-avoid-prison/

Study: The plight of African-American boys in Oakland, California https://drwilda.com/2012/05/27/study-the-plight-of-african-american-boys-in-oakland-california/

Schott Foundation report: Black and Latino boys are not succeeding in high school https://drwilda.com/tag/african-american-male/

We give up as a society: Jailing parents because kids are truant https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/12/18/we-give-up-as-a-society-jailing-parents-because-kids-are-truant/

Jonathan Cohn’s ‘The Two Year Window’ https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/12/18/jonathan-cohns-the-two-year-window/

Who says Black children can’t learn? Some schools get it

Inappropriate discipline: The first step on the road to education failure

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Feral children, race pimps, the ‘knockout game’

20 Nov

Here’s today’s COMMENT FROM AN OLD FART: Lydia Warren of the Daily Mail reported about the knockout game in the 2011 article, Knockout King: The sickening ‘game’ claiming lives across the country as youths beat up the vulnerable ‘for attention’:

Punched to the ground, left bruised, brain damaged and sometimes even dead – these are the vulnerable victims of an increasingly popular ‘game’.

‘Knockout King’ is the frightening phenomenon that has claimed lives across the country as teenagers and young adults seek out sick thrills.

In the planned attacks, a group will appoint a leader and then choose a defenceless victim at random.

They punch the victim to the ground, sometimes filming the attack on mobile phones.

Reports from across the country – including Massachusetts, New Jersey and Chicago – have identified victims as immigrants, elderly and often alone.

Films of the attacks are then uploaded to social networking sites or YouTube, in turn fuelling others to create copycat videos, experts believe.


There are more stories describing the brutally of this teen behavior.

Reports Of ‘Knockout Game’ Spread to Philadelphia’s SEPTA System

Teen ‘knockout game’ continues to harm innocent people http://www.nydailynews.com/news/crime/teen-knockout-game-continues-harm-innocent-people-article-1.1521185

Thugs target Jews in sick ‘knockout’ game http://nypost.com/2013/11/19/thugs-target-jews-in-sick-knockout-game/

John T. Bennett wrote a prescient 2011 American Thinker article, The Knockout Game: Racial Violence and the Conspicuous Silence of the Media:

Local media outlets have failed to report on the racial aspect of the attacks. At best, the media will allow the race of attackers to be revealed by mugshots, or quotations from police or victims. This follows a conscious policy of self-censorship that has been openly admitted by major newspapers.

A New York Times editor says that his paper will report on race “only if it’s relevant to the story” or if readers would “learn something” from the description. The Chicago Tribune’s editor, Gerould Kern, explains his paper’s “approach” to concealing the truth: “We do not reference race unless it is a fact that is central to telling the story.” Of course, no guilt-ridden white liberal editor will ever admit that race is relevant, unless of course a white is attacking minorities. The Los Angeles Times explains that the media will not report race because they don’t want to “unfairly stigmatize racial groups.” The Washington Post ombudsman openly admits that the Times’s staff “worried about hyping a story that involved race” when blacks brawled on the Metro. Instead of stigmatizing racial groups, the liberal media prefers to condemn minorities via low expectations and preferential, secretive reporting — which only creates a cloud of ominous suspicion over the race issue. But at least racial groups aren’t being stigmatized.

A senior reporter from the Houston Chronicle admits, “We don’t ever include race normally — unless race is made an issue by other people.” In other words, if racial interest groups make something of the issue, race will become part of the story. And we all know which racial groups advocate on their own behalf, and which one doesn’t.

The liberal media policy of resolute silence about race and crime may strike a reasonable observer as troubling, given the violence and obvious racial aspect of the knockout game and flash mob attacks. The net effect of this Orwellian reporting is to place minority feelings above the public interest in safety. For those of us who are curious about our society and group behavior, who should be able to rely on the professional media, the reporting is worthless.

When the liberal media does touch on the topic of race and flash mobs, it is only to condemn conservative blogs for mentioning race at all. The Village Voice, for instance, thoughtlessly dismisses the concerns about racial mob violence, reasoning that because crime is falling, racial mob violence shouldn’t be criticized. The progressive tendency will be to define these stories as isolated incidents — it is easy extrapolate a social problem, but that could be misleading in the big picture.

But the knockout game must be seen in the context of black-on-white violence in America. The big picture is that black-on-white violence is a social problem that deserves more attention, regardless of whether the overall crime rate is rising or falling. Department of Justice statistics show that 33% of white murder victims are killed by a non-white, while only 8% of black murder victims are killed by a non-black1. Even greater disparities exist in violent crime and robbery2.


The perpetrators are feral children.

Dictionary.com defines a feral child:

World English Dictionary

feral child

— n

a neglected child who engages in lawless or anti-social behaviour


How does society manufacture feral children? The media paints a picture of carefree sex without consequences many of those least prepared to parents display a lack of personal responsibility which race pimps turn into a tirade against the system.

How to Spot Signs of Abuse

Child Information Welfare Gateway has an excellent guide for how to spot child abuse and neglect The full list of symptoms is at the site, but some key indicators are:

The Child:

Shows sudden changes in behavior or school performance

Has not received help for physical or medical problems brought to the parents’ attention

Has learning problems (or difficulty concentrating) that cannot be attributed to specific physical or psychological causes

Is always watchful, as though preparing for something bad to happen

Lacks adult supervision

Is overly compliant, passive, or withdrawn

Comes to school or other activities early, stays late, and does not want to go home

The Parent:

Shows little concern for the child

Denies the existence of—or blames the child for—the child’s problems in school or at home

Asks teachers or other caregivers to use harsh physical discipline if the child misbehaves

Sees the child as entirely bad, worthless, or burdensome

Demands a level of physical or academic performance the child cannot achieve

Looks primarily to the child for care, attention, and satisfaction of emotional needs

The Parent and Child:

Rarely touch or look at each other

Consider their relationship entirely negative

State that they do not like each other https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/factsheets/preventingcan.cfm

If people suspect a child is being abused, they must get involved. Every Child Matters can very useful and can be found at the Every Child matters site and another organization, which fights child abuse is the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform People must push for tougher standards against child abuse.

The number of single parents is skyrocketing in the U.S. The single mother guide provides the following information:

Out of 12.2 million single parent families in 2012, more than 80% were headed by single mothers.

Today, 1 in 3 children – a total of 15 million – are being raised without a father.3 Of that group, nearly half live below the poverty line.

Around 45% of single mothers have never married, around 55% are either divorced, separated or widowed.4 Half have one child, 30% have two.

About two thirds are White, one third Black, one quarter Hispanic. One quarter have a college degree, one sixth have not completed high school.
Statistics of Single Parent Families

* with child(ren) under 18





Single Mothers 10,025,000 85.2 10,322,000 84.1
Single Fathers 1,735,000 14.8 1,956,000 15.9


At any one time, about two thirds of single mothers are also working outside the home, a slightly greater share than the share of married mothers who are also working outside the home.

However, only two fifths of single mothers are employed full-time the entire year, and a quarter are jobless the entire year.

If a single mother is able to work, her earning power still lags significantly compared with men’s, about 78 cents to a $1 for the same job. The wage disparities are even greater for women of color — African-American women (62 cents), Hispanic (55 cents) and Latinas (53 cents).6


Half of single mother families have an annual income less than $25,000. Median income for single mother families ($25,353) is only one third the median for married couple families ($78,699).7

Only one third of single mothers receive any child support, and the average amount these mothers receive is only about $300 a month.8

Update: According to The Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution, the annual earnings single-parent families plummet 20% between 2007 and 2010, compared to only 5% for two-parent families.9


Single mothers are more likely to be poor than married couples. The poverty rate for single-mother families in 2011 was 40.9%, nearly five times more than the rate (8.8%) for married-couple families.10

Poverty rates were about one in two for Black (47.3%), Hispanic (49.1%), White (33.0%), and Asian (26.3%). Among all other ethnic groups, Native American female-headed families with children have the highest poverty rate (53.8%).

Nearly one in five children (21.9%), some 16.1 million, were poor with 47.6% of them now living in single-mother families, up from 46.6% in 2010. In contrast, among children living in married-couple families, 10.9% were poor, down from 11.6% in 2010.11


Two fifths of single mother families are “food insecure,”12 one seventh use food pantries, one third spend more than half their income on housing, which is generally considered the threshold for “severe housing cost burden.”

Single-parent families are among the poorest in the nation and as such, are extremely vulnerable to homelessness. Among all homeless families, 8 out of 10 are headed by single women with children; two fifths are African Americans (43%).13


Many Single Parents are not Going to Like these Comments

Queen Victoria had it right when she was rumored to have said something to the effect that she did not care what two consenting single adults did as long as they did not do it in the streets and scare the horses. A consenting single parent does not have the same amount of leeway as a consenting childless single adult because the primary responsibility of any parent is raising their child or children. People have children for a variety of reasons from having an unplanned pregnancy because of irresponsibility or hoping that the pregnancy is the glue, which might save a failing relationship, to those who genuinely want to be parents. Still, being a parent is like the sign in the china shop, which says you break it, it’s yours. Well folks, you had children, they are yours. Somebody has to be the adult and be responsible for not only their care and feeding, but their values. I don’t care if he looks like Brad Pitt or Denzel Washington. I don’t care if she looks like Angelina Jolie or Halle Berry or they have as much money as Bill Gates or Warren Buffet, if they don’t like children or your children, they have to be kicked to the curb. You cannot under any circumstances allow anyone to abuse your children or you. When you partner with a parent, you must be willing to fully accept their children. If you can’t and they are too gutless to tell you to hit the road, I’ll do it for them. Hit the road.

Race Pimps and the Feral Children Issue

The Urban Dictionary defines a race pimp:

Race Pimp

A ‘Race Pimp’ is a race monger. They feed off racial tension and they live and die by racism. They offer nothing new, nothing good, nothing to repair, only conflict between the races. They are socially irresponsible, and think nothing of destroying innocent peoples names if it means furthering their own finances and level of fame. Reverend Wright from Chicago is the worst kind of Race Pimp because he uses the house of worship to race bait and sell his political agendas….and at the same time making a profit.

“Did you see Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson race Pimping on CNN today?”


Too many children living in poverty are living in crisis. Decreasing the number of single parents and promoting the delaying of parenthood could address a huge portion of the issue of poverty. Education and employment at livable wage jobs are also important. Problem is race pimps only want to look at victimhood and not empowerment. They certainly don’t want to deal with the moral issue of single parenthood given their personal histories. So, race is the issue highlighted, unless the victim cannot be used for political capital. So, the gang civil war in Chicago and Black-on Black violence is scarcely addressed and they won’t address the charged racial issues involved in the knockout game.

So, this society produces more feral children who become more reckless and more violent while the race pimps attempt to schedule their next made for TV march.

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