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School board says perceptions flawed



Published: Fri, October 10, 2008 @ 11:28 p.m.

YOUNGSTOWN — The city school board agrees that academic test scores need to improve, but it doesn’t agree with some of the other perceptions about the schools as outlined by the FAMILY Empowerment Student Achievement Institute.

Members of the institute formed a task force to conduct hundreds of random interviews with city residents, which were used to create a list of perceptions and recommendations for the district — all aimed at improving pupil performance.

The institute presented its findings to the board in September, along with a challenge to develop a plan to move the district from a state rating of academic watch to excellent by 2013 and a demand for a written response.

“We agree math, science and reading scores need to increase consistently in the right direction,” the board wrote in its response sent this week. The board is working on a school district strategic plan for education and would welcome community input and vision in the process of creating a more user-friendly and community-oriented plan.

The institute found a perception that there is no successful home-school-community partnership at every school.

The district is working on a list of successful home-school partnerships, the board said. Youngstown already encourages parental and community involvement through monthly parent meetings, creation of a Parent Patrol group as a community outreach and seeking parent volunteers.

The institute said its respondents believe there are underperforming teachers in the district, but the board said 98 percent of its teachers are deemed “highly qualified.”

The institute suggested that there appears to be a degrading criminalization of pupils who have no criminal intent or background, and that police officers treat pupils like “jailbirds in a prison.”

“We agree that we do not want to criminalize students,” the board wrote. “We know there is a proper way to work with children based on their social development, and we have provided professional development for all staff ... which promotes building positive relationships.”

There are pupils with no books or course syllabus to take home, the institute said.

For more on this story, see Saturday's Vindicator or Vindy.com.


Comments

1dmets(575 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

98% of the tearchers are "highly qualified" does not mean they are good teachers. i think that the teachers union is terrible cause they protect and keep jobs for teachers who are no good at what they do. As for school levies. They do need to be voted down everywhere so the gov't will see we, the home owners, are sick of them expecting more out the schools but will not fund what they implementing. Making the school ask for levies to high our taxes.

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2city_dweller(193 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

"The institute suggested that there appears to be a degrading criminalization of pupils who have no criminal intent or background, and that police officers treat pupils like 'jailbirds in a prison.'"

This is the most telling statement in the article, and The Vindy should definitely do a follow up on the pervasiveness of that attitude. Teachers, administrators, aides, police officers, and especially the greater community treat all the students like their worst counterparts. There is an almost innate assumption that every student is wrong, argumentative, selfish, defiant, and untrustworthy regardless of that student's individual merit. On top of that, the general message is that graduation is the best they can ever hope to achieve, and even that's a long shot. Is it any wonder, with that kind of "support network", these kids don't perform well?

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3preacher44320(2 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

I have to disagree with city deweller reasons why: you don't know all the teachers,aides,administrators, and police officers that work in the system. People dont want to hear and believe some pupils (not all) are very argumentive, defiant, and etc. These student have no respect for adults. The issue about dress code for examle: the school has been doing dress code for how long. Every year letters are sent home. However, students are defiant about what they can wear. Parent/teacher conference: the percentage of parents and guardiance going to these meetings are low. We need to stop putting the blame on just the schools. I'm not saying that YCS is perfect, there is a lot of room for improvements. But it is time that we come together as a community and work together. That mean volunteering time to help come up with a solution, and not be part of the problem. These children are the future. I'm tired of seeing young children failing. Believe or not, JJC is full with these children. You have Probation officers coming into schools. There is problems in the home. We have to seek out help to these children and family. Again we should not judge, we need to say "what can I do to help." I hope everybody will pray for these children. Because it effects everyone. Thank you and God Bless!

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4dmets(575 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

The generations keep getting worse! This generation of children expect to be able to do anything and everything they want. The parents are just as bad cause they back their kids. The problem is they expect school to be fun and do as they please. That is not the case. If the students would start to listen then the teacher, along with the rest if the staff can then loosen up some. It is a take and give situation. If the students would respect the teachers, then teaches in return wold give the student respect and some freedoms.

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5Education_Voter(816 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

I get so tired of all of these "urban legends" about the schools that people want to keep retelling. Old Man Grump spreads the story that Youngstown schools spend twice as much as suburban schools, even though this has been corrected more than once on these pages.

EVERY teacher is not autocratic and uncaring. If not that accusation we hear the opposite, the teachers are supposedly undemanding and fatalistic. In reality, the teachers are like those in suburban schools.

It is not true that Youngstown kids don't learn. For example, at the school I'm working at, about 60% of the kids passed their state tests. Another 30% were just a few points from the magic number. Only 10% of the kids have a serious learning problem. The 40% that did not pass were about a year behind in development when they entered kindergarten. They make a year's growth every year, but we have not found the formula that will enable them to show two years growth in one year, and thus catch up.

I know I'm wasting my breath, because the legends are so much more fun.

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6city_dweller(193 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

I think part of my post might have left some room for misinterpretation. I know many YCS teachers and principals dedicate hours upon hours to helping students and creating a positive and engaging learning environment. But I've also heard students referred to as "animals" and as "wastes of time" by those charged with providing an unbiased education. And the general community opinion couldn't be any more negative and defeatist. To hear many on these boards talk, you'd think there hasn't been a successful education provided in Youngstown in two decades. Added together, I think a lot of students get the message early on that not a lot of people are rooting for them. So is it any wonder when they don't perform as well as they could?

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7linra(6 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

Education... You never waste your breath when you speak the truth.
If we would all speak without bias the truth would emerge. This is a six of one and half a dozen of the other. Parents need to take more responsibility for their children's social behavior and for their own children's education. Yes emphatically there are teachers in the YCS system that care about the progress of students and there are teachers who care only about a paycheck that students guarantee.
Yes the burb teachers do better because many of the students they teach have less of the social and economic impediments that a lot of the urban teachers have to face thus their challenge is not as great.
For the survey that was performed, it needs a much broader base to really be significant, i.e. what areas of ytown were surveyed and over what period of time, how involved are these individuals in the school system, do they attend school events like pt conference etc. There is a great percentage of parents and students that would refute some of those numbers. Parents need to do their own research and find out facts for themselves instead of relying on opinion, naysayers, half truths not to mention blogs. Then and only then will the real truth be known. For each student to be a success it takes involvement and commitment from all three; parents, students and teachers.
Finally, since education in Ohio has been ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court should not the efforts rallied for blame against YCS and other districts that I have seen out here be corralled and aimed in the direction of the courts? - That way everyone would benefit. Oh... I forgot this is the Mahoning Valley - we don't like collaboration here do we?
Just think what we could/would accomplishment if we found a way to work together.....

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8linra(6 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

oops, I mean "Just think what we could/would accomplish if we found a way to work together.....

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9Bull_Chip(170 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

Defending the indefensible

I've posted it before, here it is again, by the numbers

NO, more money isn't the solution, accountability is

from the 2008 Ohio school report card

District-- standards met (out of 30)
Youngstown City-- 1
Campbell City-- 14
Sebring Local-- 16
Jackson-Milton-- 23
Struthers City-- 23
Austintown Local-- 25
Boardman Local-- 27
Lowellville-- 27
West Branch-- 27
Springfield-- 28
Western Reserve-- 28
Poland Local-- 29
South Range-- 29
Canfield Local-- 30

District-- AVG Teachers salary without benefits

Sebring-- 43,970
Struthers-- 45,913
Jackson-Milton-- 45,968
Western Reserve-- 45,975
Springfield-- 48,345
West Branch-- 49,191
Austintown-- 49,978
Youngstown-- 50,729
Lowellville-- 50,947
South Range-- 51,551
Campbell-- 51,690
Boardman-- 54,065
Poland-- 55,537
Canfield-- 57,842

District--- expenditures per student FY 07
Youngstown-- 15,387.93
Campbell-- 9,791.79
South Range-- 9,478.32
Jackson-Milton-- 8,964.78
Boardman-- 8,530.30
Austintown-- 8,503.23
Sebring-- 8,305.80
Poland-- 8,127.83
Canfield-- 7,877.38
Springfield-- 7,728.24
West Branch-- 7,664.36
Struthers-- 7,526.97
Western Reserve-- 7,505.41
Lowellville-- 7,110.44

a reward for failing

DISTRICT-- ADMINISTRATORS AVERAGE SALARY
Youngstown-- 71,957.14
Springfield-- 70,116.82
Canfield-- 70,090.56
Jackson-Milton-- 65,782.00
Boardman-- 65,439.83
Western Reserve-- 65,344.67
Struthers-- 65,063.25
Sebring-- 65,005.44
Poland LocaL-- 64,506.99
West Branch-- 64,368.00
Austintown-- 62,139.43
Campbell-- 57,276.33
Lowellville-- 55,052.75
South RangE-- 48,983.34

Know how your tax money is spent and what the results are. Non city residents (state and federal taxes) pay about 76 percent of Youngstown Schools' expenses, city residents pay only about 23 percent. As one of the people who pay the 76%, do we have a right to demand better performance from the Youngstown Schools?

DISTRICT--LOCAL FUNDING
Campbell-- 18.20%
Youngstown-- 23.20%
Sebring-- 23.80%
West Branch-- 30.50%
Struthers-- 33.10%
Springfield-- 41.50%
Austintown-- 43.90%
Lowellville-- 44.70%
South Range-- 51.00%
Western Reserve-- 52.30%
Poland-- 58.80%
Jackson-Milton-- 59.50%
Canfield-- 61.70%
Boardman-- 71.40%

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10city_dweller(193 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

And how many times do we have to point out that almost half of that $15,000 goes to CHARTER SCHOOLS!

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11OhioPerson(76 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

City dweller and Education voter I agree totally with you. In keeping with Bull Chip's stubborn and ignorant insistence that no more money should go to the schools "til everything's fixed", there are some free or cheap things that could be done to make learning a bit easier for the students. Like teach conflict resolution, give the kids some freedom and decision-making power, treat them with a little respect and let them practice (nonviolent) conflict resolution as an everyday part of their education. Less fear. Less racism. Less force/violence.

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12dmets(575 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

I think Charter schools are a waste of money. All of them should be shut down. But they are going to start doing that all on their own. They are not set to the same standards as the city schools. So nice, right? The problem is as these children's school are closed, due to scores on the ohio report cards, the students are then going into other schools were they are behind in learning. They were a terrible idea, and are only where school systems are doing poorly. I'm sure someone will have a negative thing to say about my post. But I know people who work in them, and one who goes to one. I know very well i do not want her going there! So I do know what I am talking about here.

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13Education_Voter(816 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

Education Weekly just had an article about how to fix the "No Child Left Behind" law, which the next President will have to face since it needs reauthorization.

Among their suggestions: Quit pretending that charter schools and a few vouchers are "choice". Give the kids the choice of a suburban school district, or shut up.

To Bull Chip: They said make the accountability honest. Use a good "value added" formula that takes into account the child's level when she started school, and removes the credit given suburban schools for learning that occurred at home, during summer vacations, with tutors, etc.

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14dmets(575 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

I do not think it is fair to give the choice of a suburban school. The people who live there pay much higher taxes and move there due to the excellent education they provide. Complete open enrollment would be a hugh mistake. Plus there are some schools with open enrollment but not may youngstown residents take advantage of it. They would have to provide transportation to and from school. They are to lazy to do it! I 100% believe that city redisent's children should not be able to get a free ride on other people's tax dollars. Pay higher property taxes so your schools can also have money to spend on their children education!

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15Education_Voter(816 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

You have noticed more of the issue than most citizens dmets, but don't worry about the suburban schools. The state would need to pay enough tuition for the out of district students to make them financially desirable to their new district. If the suburban schools then cannot handle a small proportion of low income/high needs students -- there needs to be more respect shown to the employees of YCS who are expected to educate a very high proportion of such students (in the example of Hayes, almost every student).

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16dmets(575 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

I know the biggest problem in th YCS is low income. A good portion of the people living in Youngstown are in that category, and I said a good portion. I do know there are people who do make good money who live in Ytown. The problem starts in the home, but parents are quick to point their fingers at the teachers and schools. These parents need to wake up, open their eyes, get off the couch, off the drugs(if on them), out of bed, get off the welfare, and go find a job. Become a GREAT role model for their kids. The parents need to take responsibility for their own kids. As for more respect shown to the YCS employees. There are still those who are not good at what they do, and need to go. You can not tell me that every teachers in YCS are amazing teachers who do everything possible, some do give up and throw in the towel on these students. Some DO just show up for the paycheck.

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17Bull_Chip(170 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

“City dweller and Education voter I agree totally with you. In keeping with Bull Chip's stubborn and ignorant insistence that no more money should go to the schools "til everything's fixed", there are some free or cheap things that could be done to make learning a bit easier for the students.”

No facts, just insults and accusations!

In non-NEA/OEA world, in the worst case, about ½ of the money for a student transferred to a Charter or other alternative school goes with the student. That translates to, in the WORST case, the school gets $7,500 for each student that ships out. In other words, if the school could get rid of all students, they would still receive over $7,000 for each resident, non-attending student.

The sad fact is the Y-Town schools would still be bankrupt if they had no students and still received over $7,000 for reach non-student.

These kids are being attracted to other districts and alternative schools because there is hope. Hope is the nemesis of the NEA/OEA. If they can’t force parents and students to use their product, they will, and are, failing.

Bull Chip for change and honesty!

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