My, now adult, "children" attended CFSD schools from elementary grades through high school. I also happen to be a teacher in the Sunnyside District. It's the POVERTY thing, STUPID!!!!... And it DOES take MONEY !!! The exposure, that is offered in affluent homes, the abundant resources that are taken for granted by the children of affluence, and the extravagance of financial security , have a huge impact on attitude and thus academic success.. Travel, books, philosophical conversations at the dinner table, healthcare, extra curricular activities that are part of the repertoire, opportunities that money can buy, and parents,themselves , who are more often than not ,highly educated , most certainly affect the educational atmosphere . That being said, the struggle, on the "southside" of every town, has to do with actually putting food on the table . The "struggle" is not about competition to which esteemed university one's kid is admitted.( BTW,the comment above praising the endless parent-talk about academia is true and,in my experience, was one quality that I, as a parent and a teacher , found to be a bit obnoxious ...as if school performance was THE measure of success,much more valuable than character.). Dysfunction is certainly not exclusive to poor neighborhoods. The community on the southside is a community of human beings,too.These are families with the same hopes and dreams as any families. These parents want exactly the same thing for their children as any parent does. POVERTY is the difference. It takes $$$ to give students the opportunities that wealthy communities take for granted..(above and beyond computers) . It is not unusual for some of my high school students to work all night and come to school exhausted , in order to help support their families.. I would say that that shows enormous resilience. The EXPECTATIONS are family first. There is no simple fix to the problems of inequality in education . NCLB is certainly not been the answer in leveling the playing fields, nor is the demonization of teachers, or parents ,or communities. The best I can come up with is to start recognizing the strengths of the various communities and take what works from all of them. BTW, if anyone believes that there are not behavioral issues ,drug problems, cheating, and bored ,obnoxious , unsupervised challenges in the Foothills schools, then I know a bridge you can buy in Brooklyn!
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