A New York Times graphic, based on data compiled by researchers at Stanford, showing a correlation between socioeconomic status and academic performance among sixth graders throughout the country. | Screenshot
Friday, April 29, 2016 || By Michael Romain
On average, sixth graders at District 89 schools performed more than five grade levels lower on reading and math tests than sixth graders in Lexington, Massachusetts between 2009 and 2012.
More locally, D89 sixth graders performed nearly four grade levels lower than their counterparts in River Forest District 90 — where children performed nearly three grades ahead — and in Oak Park District 97 — where they performed nearly two grades ahead.
The reason for the discrepancies aren’t shrouded in mystery.
The median family income in District 89 during the years in question was $47,000, according to the Stanford study. The district’s student population is 55 percent Hispanic and 41 percent African-American. In Lexington, the median family income is $163,000 and the student body is 59 percent white and 33 percent Asian/other.
In Oak Park, the median family income was nearly $100,000 and the student population was around 56 percent white and 13 percent Asian/other. In River Forest, median family income was more than $180,000 and the student population was 76 percent white and 10 percent Asian/other.
Most other public school districts across the country, the data shows, are governed by the same stubborn dynamics of race and economics. There are two axes on the Times’s beautifully rendered graph. The horizontal axes reflects parents’ socioeconomic status while the vertical axes reflects grade-level performance on reading and math tests relative to other public school districts.
As is expected, there’s an undeniable correlation between the median family income and academic performance. As the Times notes:
“What emerges clearly in the data is the extent to which race and class are inextricably linked, and how that connection is exacerbated in school settings.
“Not only are black and Hispanic children more likely to grow up in poor families, but middle-class black and Hispanic children are also much more likely than poor white children to live in neighborhoods and attend schools with high concentrations of poor students.
“These schools can face a myriad of challenges. They tend to have more difficulty recruiting and keeping the most skilled teachers, and classes are more likely to be disrupted by violent incidents or the emotional fallout from violence in the neighborhood. These schools often offer fewer high-level classes such as Advanced Placement courses, and the parents have fewer resources to raise extra money that can provide enhanced arts programs and facilities.”
Perhaps somewhat less surprisingly, however, is this graph:
“Even more sobering, the analysis shows that the largest gaps between white children and their minority classmates emerge in some of the wealthiest communities, such as Berkeley, Calif.; Chapel Hill, N.C.; and Evanston, Ill. The study, by Sean F. Reardon, Demetra Kalogrides andKenneth Shores of Stanford, also reveals large academic gaps in places like Atlanta and Menlo Park, Calif., which have high levels of segregation in the public schools.” VFP
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In honor of the late Lennel Grace, a tireless Maywood advocate for clean paths, sidewalks and streets, attend this year’s annual Illinois Prairie Path Cleanup, Saturday, April 30, 8:45 a.m. to 12 p.m., starting at 11th Avenue and Prairie Path, in Maywood. RSVP JoAnn Murphy, so she can plan accordingly.
Operation Uplift to host April 30 reunion kickoff/fundraiser, in lieu of annual luncheon
Operation Uplift, the Maywood nonprofit that operates the West Town Museum of Cultural History and hosts an annual Martin Luther King, Jr., luncheon, has announced that it will be hosting a reunion kickoff to help support and bring awareness to its daily services in lieu of a luncheon this year.
“Please help us continue to provide more cultural awareness to our local community, stimulate individual growth, community pride, and educate the Proviso Township area about the collections of art, artifacts and significant historical materials we hold within our doors,” according to a recent release put out by the organization.
The reunion kickoff activities will include educational tours, an African attire fashion show, live entertainment and food.
It will take place on Saturday, April 30, from 1 PM to 4 PM, at Operation Uplift/West Town Museum, 104 S. 5th Avenue, Maywood.
Donations or pledges of any amount are greatly appreciated. Those who give via checks should make them payable to: Operation Uplift, Inc.
For more information please call Jeri Stenson at 708-289-4955 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. VFP
WOW Fundraising Event, May 1