Continuing on the Educational Divide theme, it is apparent that in order to get more lower income people in college changes must occur at the K-12 stage. But what needs to change and how? This is one interesting idea that appears to have been successful in Raleigh NC:
Over the last decade, black and Hispanic students here in Wake County have made such dramatic strides in standardized reading and math tests that it has caught the attention of education experts around the country.The downside to this of course is that it requires sending some people to a school that is farther away, which means long bus rides.
The main reason for the students' dramatic improvement, say officials and parents in the county, which includes Raleigh and its sprawling suburbs, is that the district has made a concerted effort to integrate the schools economically.
Some experts said the academic results in Wake County were particularly significant because they bolstered research that showed low-income students did best when they attended middle-class schools.
"There is a lot of evidence that it's just sound educational policy, sound public policy, to try to avoid concentrations of low-achieving students," said John H. Gilbert, a professor emeritus at North Carolina State University in Raleigh who served for 16 years on the county school board and voted for the plan. "They do much better and advantaged students are not hurt by it if you follow policies that avoid concentrating low-achievement students."
"I think it's ridiculous," LaToya Mangum said of the 55 minutes that her son Gabriel, 7, spends riding a bus to the northern reaches of Wake County, where he is in second grade. On the other hand, she said, "So far, I do like the school."And it requires convincing the schools that used to have 100% middle and upper class students to take on some lower income students.
Although the figures can be calculated many ways, Mr. McNeal says about 2.5 percent - or about 3,000 children - are assigned to schools for economic balance or to accommodate the district's growth by filling new schools or easing overcrowding in existing ones. Most of those bused for economic diversity tend to be low-income, he said.
Every winter, the district, using a complicated formula, develops a list of students who will be reassigned to new schools for the following academic year, and nearly every year some parents object vehemently.I don't know if this is the answer, but it is definitely one way to attack the problem of concentrated poverty and the poor educational environments lower income people have access to.
"Kids are bused all over creation, and they say it's for economic diversity, but really it's a proxy for race," said Cynthia Matson, who is white and middle class. She is the president and a founder of Assignment By Choice, an advocacy group promoting parental choice.
The organization wants parents to be responsible for selecting schools, and it objects to restrictions that, in certain circumstances, make it difficult for some middle-class children to get into magnet schools.
Via New York Times