Living near good schools will cost an extra $200K
April 19th, 2012
06:04 PM ET

Living near good schools will cost an extra $200K

By Tami Luhby, CNNMoney

(CNNMoney) - Want to live in a good school district? It'll cost you an extra $200k.

Home values are $205,000 higher, on average, in neighborhoods with high-scoring public schools versus schools with low scores, according to a new report issued by the Brookings Institution.

Homes in high-scoring neighborhoods typically have 1.5 additional rooms, and 30% fewer are rented, the study found. Housing costs average $11,000 more per year in areas with better schools.

Some of the areas with largest differences in housing costs also have the widest gaps in school test scores. The Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk metro area in Connecticut, for instance, has both the widest gap in test scores between higher-income and lower-income neighborhood schools and the largest difference in housing costs, at $25,000.

Not surprisingly, income has an impact on test scores. The average low-income student attends a school that scores at the 42nd percentile on state exams, while the average middle/high-income student goes to schools that score at the 61st percentile.

Poor students have become more concentrated in schools with other poor students since 1998, Brookings found. The average low-income student attends a school where 64% of fellow students are low-income, though they represent only 48% of all U.S. public school students. The percentage of economically integrated schools is less than 7%.

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April 19th, 2012
02:23 PM ET

Opinion: All kids should take 'Poverty 101'

Editor’s note: Donna Beegle is president and founder of Communication Across Barriers, a consulting firm that works to increase communication across poverty, race, gender and generational barriers, in part with “Poverty 101” workshops. She has a doctorate in education leadership from Portland State University.

By Donna Beegle, Special to CNN

(CNN) – My dream is that a person will not be able to graduate from college without taking a Poverty 101 course. Poverty hurts all humanity and it’s the responsibility of everyone to bond together to eradicate it. Our ignorance about poverty perpetuates it and divides us as a nation.

I didn’t always know this. I was born into generational poverty; for many decades, most of my family members were uneducated, unskilled and, like 44 million Americans, illiterate. They survived in temporary, minimum wage jobs that didn’t pay in respect, nor provide opportunities for advancement.

My dad worked temporary seasonal jobs, the only ones he could get with limited literacy, no education and no specific job skills. My mom, like her widowed mom, picked cotton. We were highly mobile and survived mostly on migrant labor work in Arizona, California, Oregon and Washington. We followed the fruit season to pick cherries, strawberries, oranges and grapefruits. We picked green beans and dug potatoes. They were workers of the land, never owners. My family worked very hard and worked very long hours, but we were still evicted.

In school, I did not know the middle-class life examples teachers used to explain academic subjects. I was unable to understand and speak in their middle-class language; I said “ain’t,” didn’t know whether to use “gone” or “went,” didn’t know a difference between “seen” or “saw.” When told to “go look it up,” I dutifully went to the dictionary, only to find five more words I did not know and words no one in my world used. This just reinforced there was something wrong with my family, friends and me. It reinforced that education was not for me.

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April 19th, 2012
01:20 PM ET

Today's Reading List

Here's what the editors of Schools of Thought are reading today:

The Atlantic: Fixing Education: The Problems Are Clear, but the Solutions Aren't Simple
A panel of educators, including New York City Public Schools Chancellor Joel Klein and American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, agree that America's education system needs to be fixed. Several of their ideas, like school choice and strengthening neighborhood schools, seem to be mutually exclusive.

Miami Herald: Charter school principal suspended for tampering with FCATs
A charter school principal is accused of opening Florida's standardized test packets, taking notes and then making a study guide for teachers. Because of the allegations, students at Ramz Academy charter school in Little Havana didn't take the test.

CantonRep.com: Silent support for 'Fish' at Carrollton BOE meeting
School officials told Austin Fisher he couldn't walk at graduation because the senior missed 16 days of school while taking care of his cancer-stricken mother. Protests by Fisher's supporters led to a meeting with Carrollton Schools Superintendent Palmer Fogler, and school officials reversed their decision.

SFexaminer.com: City looks to boost summertime learning
According to the National Summer Learning Association, summer vacation contributes to the test score gap between ninth-graders from richer and poorer families. As part of a California initiative, San Francisco plans to have summer learning activities for about 19,000 of the city's youth, with most of the students attending programs subsidized with public funding.

Education Week: Catastrophic Brain Injuries Hit All-Time High in H.S. Football
Until 2008, the number of students who became permanently disabled due to brain injuries from high school football never reached double digits. In 2011, 13 students had severe brain injuries attributed to playing the sport, more than any other year on record.

The new graduation rates
April 19th, 2012
06:15 AM ET

The new graduation rates

by John Martin, CNN

(CNN) - The District of Columbia's 2011 high school graduation rate is down 20 percentage points from 2010. Utah's rate dropped from 90% in 2010 to 75% in 2011 - 15 percentage points. And Georgia's 2011 rate dropped 13 points from the year before. These significant drops aren't because of performance. It's all in the math. States are changing the way they figure out graduation rates.

The new formula is a bit of simple division: The number of current graduates is divided by the number of them that sat in a ninth-grade classroom for the first time four years earlier. It’s called the “four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate,” and it requires states to keep track of every student who enters ninth grade and follow them wherever they end up - at graduation or elsewhere.

In 2005, governors from all 50 states signed on to use this new formula. Before then, states used different ways to measure graduation rates.
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