Monday, September 8, 2014




COME JOIN US FOR A COMMUNITY DISCUSSION, with panel speakers & snacks, at:
              Buchanan YMCA, 1530 Buchanan St, San Francisco, CA 94115
              Thursday Sept. 11th, 2014, 6 – 9 PM, Panel Discussion begins at 6:30.

Obama has recently stated "you're never so poor that you have no choice but to watch TV and not read or do homework with your children."  However, and despite some exceptions in certain gropus, the most accurate predictor of academic achievement, which is the primary determinant of financial success and security as an adult, is your family income as a child.

*How can we equalize educational outcomes for all our students in order to reduce poverty in the future? Or is this impossible to do without eliminating poverty first?

* Do you know that there is a wide achievement gap between the Whites/Asians and African Americans/Latinos in our schools and that family income is the most accurate predictor of academic success?

* Do you know that SF schools are highly segregated racially and socio-economically?

* Do you know that African American students in SFUSD have the lowest standardized test scores in California? Yes, even lower than Oakland.

* Do you know that non-whites will become the majority of the US population by 2042?

* Do you know that some poor immigrant groups outperform White students in affluent suburbs?  Why & how?

*Do you know Lowell High School, with 41% of its students economically disadvantaged (free or reduced lunch), significantly outperforms $25-40k private and wealthy suburban public schools with under 5% of students economically disadvantaged, on SAT Scores and AP Averages, college graduation, performance and admission rates?

*Do you know the U.S. actually has less class mobility as measured by quintiles than most European and other 1st World Nations, though some immigrant groups have tremendous class mobility mostly due to education (Asian, Nigerian, Cuban, Persian, Lebanese, to name a few)?

*Do you know Latinos, Asians and African American Students trail their ethnic counterparts in LAUSD, only SFUSD's whites do better, so our status as the highest scoring urban district is based purely on our high Asian percentage?

*So, is poverty and English language handicap responsible for the students' Achievement gap?  If so, how and why do some in poverty outperform so many kids with every advantage, with one recent study showing no academic advantage whatsoever to private schools?  And what can we do, if anything, to reduce or eliminate the achievement gap?

Please RSVP and for more info, email or call 415-876-1025 if you have questions.  For ongoing discussion, check out

Invited Panelists include Former Principal Vincent Chao, Community Advocate and Educator/Administrator Dr. Veronica Hunnicutt, United Educators and the SFUSD School Board.

Please also read the article below, a recent article by Robert Reich
American kids are getting ready to head back to school. But the schools they're heading back to differ dramatically by family income.
Which helps explain the growing achievement gap between lower- and higher-income children.
Thirty years ago, the average gap on SAT-type tests between children of families in the richest 10 percent and bottom 10 percent was about 90 points on an 800-point scale. Today it's125 points.
The gap in the mathematical abilities of American kids, by income, is one of widest among the 65 countries participating in the Program for International Student Achievement.
On their reading skills, children from high-income families score 110 points higher, on average, than those from poor families. This is about the same disparity that exists between average test scores in the United States as a whole and Tunisia.
The achievement gap between poor kids and wealthy kids isn't mainly about race. In fact, the racial achievement gap has been narrowing.
It's a reflection of the nation's widening gulf between poor and wealthy families. And also about how schools in poor and rich communities are financed, and the nation's increasing residential segregation by income.
According to the Pew Research Center's analysis of 2010 census tract and household income data, residential segregation by income has increased during the past three decades across the United States and in 27 of the nation's 30 largest major metropolitan areas.
This matters, because a large portion of the money to support public schools comes from local property taxes. The federal government provides only about 14 percent of all funding, and the states provide 44 percent, on average. The rest, roughly 42 percent, is raised locally.
Most states do try to give more money to poor districts, but most states cut way back on their spending during the recession and haven't nearly made up for the cutbacks.
Meanwhile, many of the nation's local real estate markets remain weak, especially in lower-income communities. So local tax revenues are down.
As we segregate by income into different communities, schools in lower-income areas have fewer resources than ever.
The result is widening disparities in funding per pupil, to the direct disadvantage of poor kids.
The wealthiest, highest-spending districts are now providing about twice as much funding per student as are the lowest-spending districts, according to a federal advisory commission report. In some states, such as California, the ratio is more than three to one.
What are called "public schools" in many of America's wealthy communities aren't really "public" at all. In effect, they're private schools, whose tuition is hidden away in the purchase price of upscale homes there, and in the corresponding property taxes.
Even where courts have requiring richer school districts to subsidize poorer ones, large inequalities remain.
Rather than pay extra taxes that would go to poorer districts, many parents in upscale communities have quietly shifted their financial support to tax-deductible "parent's foundations" designed to enhance their own schools.
About 12 percent of the more than 14,000 school districts across America are funded in part by such foundations. They're paying for everything from a new school auditorium (Bowie, Maryland) to a high-tech weather station and language-arts program (Newton, MA).
"Parents' foundations," observed the Wall Street Journal, "are visible evidence of parents' efforts to reconnect their money to their kids." And not, it should have been noted, to kids in another community, who are likely to be poorer.
As a result of all this, the United States is one of only three, out of 34 advanced nations surveyed by the OECD, whose schools serving higher-income children have more funding per pupil and lower teacher-student ratios than do schools serving poor students (the two others are Turkey and Israel).
Other advanced nations do it differently. Their national governments provide 54 percent of funding, on average, and local taxes account for less than half the portion they do in America. And they target a disproportionate share of national funding to poorer communities.
As Andreas Schleicher, who runs the OECD's international education assessments, told the New York Times, "the vast majority of OECD countries either invest equally into every student or disproportionately more into disadvantaged students. The U.S. is one of the few countries doing the opposite."
Money isn't everything, obviously. But how can we pretend it doesn't count? Money buys the most experienced teachers, less-crowded classrooms, high-quality teaching materials, and after-school programs.
Yet we seem to be doing everything except getting more money to the schools that most need it.
We're requiring all schools meet high standards, requiring students to take more and more tests, and judging teachers by their students' test scores.
But until we recognize we're systematically hobbling schools serving disadvantaged kids, we're unlikely to make much headway.


At September 9, 2014 at 3:07 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Obviously poverty and income is the best predictor of academic success. How can you expect children to learn when they are worried about their next meal, ignored, abandoned, shot at, threatened, in fear, have a mother bringing over strange men to pay the bills, and have drugs and an incredible amount of racism everywhere they look. This is awful. This is unacceptable. We are so rich and should share our wealth to ensure no one is in poverty. NOBODY! This is so greedy and awful and humiliating and it is wrong to blame the victim! We must solve poverty before we expect good grades. Celeste.

At September 9, 2014 at 2:08 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree it is a challenge, but if poverty is impossible to overcome, why do some ethnic groups do well while in poverty? Many immigrants thrive in school while in poverty. It all comes down to support and effort. If you study 14 hours a week, as the average Asian American 11-18 year old does, you will do better than if you study 5.6, which the average white American does. The good students study more. I agree we need support, but these kids who you are saying can't possibly study because they don't know where their next meal is coming from are spending over 40 hours a week watching TV and playing games and are overweight at a higher rate than rich kids. Focus on what you can change. You can turn off the TV and XBox and study more, anyone can, and many are. Why isn't this ever mentioned?

At September 10, 2014 at 3:12 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think I am rich, or for sure, not poor. My one and only kid plays PC games all the time and his school performance is near the bottom. He does not worry about his next meal- in the Refrig, the frozen food section. I knew many low-income people where the school feeds their kids, non stop. They also have more kids = more wealth. Many of them have bigger, newer and higher cost car than I, bigger TV, etc. I am not complaining. Who is? Some do better than my kid. Some don't. It's not about poverty it's about something else. Motivation, interest, liking it. I don't know why he does bad.

At September 10, 2014 at 3:03 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

People who are poor are that way because they are stupid and or lazy. My parents came to this country from China with nothing but a great work ethic. They couldn't even speak the language. Almost 30 years later, they have two profitable businesses, a paid off house in Atherton and they have my grandparents living with them because they believe in honoring their elders.

Most American children are spoiled and it will probably be the ruin of this once great country.

At September 11, 2014 at 2:51 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

The issue of poverty and the achievement gap is a critical subject to discuss. Until we address these issues, more children will not receive a quality education and will not become productive members of society. We need to attack the factors that cause poverty and deliver the best teachers and educational systems for our low-income students.


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