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16 of 70 Youngstown students could fail 1st grade



Published: Thu, June 16, 2011 @ 8:30 p.m.

YOUNGSTOWN — Sixteen first-graders at Harding Elementary School risk not advancing to second grade, despite a student-to-teacher ratio of 15-to-1.

The district followed the direction of an academic-recovery plan in hiring additional kindergarten and first-grade teachers to create that ratio in those grades.

Harding had 70 students enrolled in first grade in the school year that just ended.

Though Harding saw the highest number of first-graders in danger of being retained, it isn’t the only district elementary school to log double digits.

Of Taft’s 72 first-graders, 13 may not be promoted to second grade. At William Holmes McGuffey Elementary, 11 of 109 first-graders face the same possibility.

At Kirkmere, it’s six out of 46 first-graders; at Martin Luther King, six out of 104. At Paul C. Bunn, only one of the 60 first-graders at the school is in danger of not moving on to second grade, and at Williamson, the number is seven out of 61.

For the complete story, read Friday's Vindicator and Vindy.com


Comments

1saysithowitiz(98 comments)posted 3 years, 1 month ago

"Sixteen first-graders at Harding Elementary School risk not advancing to second grade, despite a student-to-teacher ratio of 15-to-1."

Looks like there is some hard evidence to support SB5. I'm all for teachers and really believe that many are underpaid, however there needs to be a system in place where the teachers are held accountable. And should the argument about parents being held accountable come up, I support that too. But if you have teachers saying that it's the parents' fault, the teachers should not be able to bargain for things such as classroom size because it would matter if it was 15 or 30 students.

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2commyliberal(94 comments)posted 3 years, 1 month ago

Children enter public school at age 5 (approximately). Who is responsible for making sure these children are ready to learn? Is it teachers?

Also how many of those students who are failing need to be identified as having a learning disability? The classroom teacher is not able to get more help for a special needs child if the school district responsible will not provide it.

It is not a simple matter of teacher to student ratios. Sorry no black and white answers here. It is not about unions!

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3piak(508 comments)posted 3 years, 1 month ago

I dunno. I flunked the 2nd grade and somehow got through the rest of the way.

Nowadays there's pre-school, then Kindergarten then the first grade. By this time the kid is supposed to be 6 yrs old by some date (possibley Sept 1 of the school term). Maybe if they're exposed to a lot of written material and they aren't in the habit of reading, it is going to be tough for them. It would take a joint-effort of both teachers and parents to help the kids.

Or maybe the kids that are failing are just an indication of "it is what it is".

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4VINDYAK(1799 comments)posted 3 years, 1 month ago

If a child cannot pass the tests of their present grade, then fail them and hold them back. Let's forget about their pride and their friends and begin teaching them. These same 16 must be the same 16 who graduate from high school and cannot fill out an employment application without assistance. What a sorry bunch of students we are raising. This is directed at the parents just as much as at the schools.

This bothers me so much because we are spending more than ever before to educate and yet we are becoming more illiterate than ever before with our children barely able to speak proper English. In fact, children raised in the Bahama's and Jamaica speak better English than our children do.

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5Lifes2Short(3875 comments)posted 3 years, 1 month ago

It all boils down to the "parents".

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6SAVEOURCOUNTRY(467 comments)posted 3 years, 1 month ago

SB5 will make this worse. Less qualified teachers will be all that is left to service these failing students and their failing parents. How many of those who could have failed showed up to an open house or even one parent conference? My guess from experience is none.

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7VINDYAK(1799 comments)posted 3 years, 1 month ago

I received a recorded call from AFL-CIO yesterday urging me to join the fight to reverse SB5.

So now the big-time, big bucks unions are involved in this to continue teaching children on how to beat the system and graduate Summa dumn Laude. Now I understand.

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8UnionForever(1470 comments)posted 3 years, 1 month ago

Ratio of 15:1 and highest spending per pupil in the state and an over 20% failure rate. That tells me Governor Kasich and the GOP Legislature are dead on with SB5 passage. If these high paid teachers with their plush pension and healthcare benefits do this bad then let's get someone in those positions who can and pay them a bonus for good performance instead of rewarding these failed teachers. In the private sector, you would be FIRED for such poor performance.

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9Education_Voter(838 comments)posted 3 years, 1 month ago

This has nothing to do with poor teaching.
The school is trying to do what they can.

They are holding back some students to see if immaturity prevented them from learning to read, and do some basic math. There will be other interventions as well.

Some will not learn even after another year. They will be tested for cognitive disability.

Some will qualify.
Sorry. It is what it is.

Feel bad? Work to stop drugs. Try to stop kids from having babies at 14, 15.

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10SAVEOURCOUNTRY(467 comments)posted 3 years, 1 month ago

Amen Education_voter,
However, in todays day and age, personal responsibility is no where to be found. If I screw up, its someone else's fault. Blame the teachers for kids coming to school that don't know what is needed to be successful like their ABC'c and being able to count to TEN.....most schools require counting to 100. They can't even hold a pencil correctly yet. But THAT IS THE TEACHERS FAULT! God bless China in the take over of America as we are RACING TO THE BOTTOM!

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11walter_sobchak(1847 comments)posted 3 years, 1 month ago

Questions that need asked:

What are the percentages of children from one parent "households"?
What is the breakdown of the students that were in Head Start?
What is the ratio of white/black/latino and do these children come from homes where the parents don't speak English?

The breakdown of the schools is interesting, though. Only one of 60 at Paul C. Bunn, the school that serves the the Brownlee Woods area, that has the most stable family structures and, dare I say (dare,dare) that has the highest percentage of white families! I wonder how many parents feel ashamed that their kid can't pass first grade and how many care, period?

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12YtownParent(276 comments)posted 3 years, 1 month ago

The whole education system is to blame. We moved our daughter out of Paul C. Bunn's kindergarten two years ago. One of the reasons was the insane 36:1 student teacher ratio that was too much for the teacher & aid to "allow" the students to stop and wash their hands after using the bathroom. As well as the twice weekly movies, which was an hour more TV time than she has ever been allowed at home.

All our issues were met with, "my union rep says I don't have to discuss anything with you" from the teacher & "you're taking it too seriously. It's only kindergarten" from the principal and superintendent. Thankfully that principal is no longer at Bunn and the new administration seems to be taking education as seriously as the students should, but can you expect a student to take it seriously when the schools haven't for so long.

Our daughter was able to adjust to a new school and the much more demanding academic environment, because she had teachers who put the time and effort in & she matched their work minute for minute, task for task. Her first quarter C report card became straight A's the second quarter & has remained that way since, because the teachers reinforced what she learns at home by their own efforts and examples. Something that has been sorely lacking from the Youngstown Schools for decades.

The unions are deservedly under fire because they have not flexed their muscles on educational issues. The YEA only strikes over their precious wage packages. The YEA only responds to insults to their fragile egos. The union has never walked out over the subpar educational environment. The YEA has yet to file complaints with the state over the numerous quidelines and standards that are not met. (The state standard is 15:1.)

It is time the state drew the line and tied every state educational dollar to each student & every dollar goes to the school/district the parents choose for their child. Our daughter is on the ed choice scholarship and the Youngstown City Schools still receive every dollar for her when she does not and will never set foot in any of their schools again. Until real educational change happens the parents need to go on strike.

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13walter_sobchak(1847 comments)posted 3 years, 1 month ago

YtownParent,
Very insightful post! But, if you think the union and its leadership care about anything but teacher compensation and staff levels, then I have a bridge I want to sell you. The union leadership ONLY cares about the money because they can only be paid out of dues! Everything else they talk about is lip service! I do applaud the new superintendent on the new initiatives he is implementing and I hope that they work.

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14Education_Voter(838 comments)posted 3 years, 1 month ago

Y'town Parent,

You are misinformed.

Bet you have been told that before.

The "Ed Choice Scholarship" is a fancy word for "voucher". In other words the taxpayer funding that would have gone to Youngstown City Schools is paying your tuition (probably at Youngstown Christian).

The teachers at Youngstown Christian are the same as teachers in Youngstown City. I mean literally, the same. They have also worked for Youngstown City.

I would love to hear the other side. The "union rep" has no part in teacher-parent relations. Teachers will meet with parents, although they may ask you to meet after class, especially in a 36 to one classroom. By the way -- the story is about that ratio changing during the past year.

The YEA meets regularly with the Administration to deal with academic issues in a special committee, and in the past those meetings have at times been contentious.

But I don't think a union can legally strike for those issues, and in any case school employees in our area have been working for many years to avoid strikes.

Seems like no one notices, though.

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15YtownParent(276 comments)posted 3 years, 1 month ago

Education Voter, I'm not sure for how "many years" you believe school employees in Youngstown have been working to avoid strikes, but as The Flyiing Fickle Finger of Fate so aptly pointed out, the YEA practically created the teacher's strike. If a union rep has no part in parent teacher relations, then how come ""my union rep says I don't have to discuss anything with you" is the only answer we ever got when requesting to schedule a meeting with the teacher?

As for the other side of the story, you'll never be able to hear it. The Youngstown Schools refused to comment on it when they were contacted by The Vindicator over the issues we had with the school in March of 2010. Instead, the school issued a defacto "gag order" by threatening to press charges against us for harassment if we asked to meet about our daughters education again or spoke to anyone about it. Both the teacher and the principal at Paul C. Bunn during that time have left and that only one of their First Graders failed to pass tends to support the notion that those two were a large part of the problem.

No, our daughter does not go to Youngstown Christian, specifically because the teachers came from the Youngstown Schools. We did our homework and made certain that all of the teaching staff at the school (whom have 10+ years experience each) never worked in the Youngstown Schools.

If the funding for the Ed Choice Voucher really truly comes directly out of the Youngstown Schools portion of state funding, then you made my day. It is only too bad that every dollar does not come away from the Youngstown Schools. I believe in meritocracy and they have not earned it. Nor have the schools taken any responsibility for their mistakes and errors.

The lack of responsibility and accountability in the education system is why the Youngstown Schools are given little to no forgiveness for their actions. The school board, the teachers, and the administrators blame the parents, the community, the state and budget for their failings for decades instead of admitting that they made mistakes and correcting them. Maybe that will change, but would you trust your child's education to maybe?

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16Education_Voter(838 comments)posted 3 years, 1 month ago

Guess what?
I guess you are too young to remember 1968. The fickle finger of fate on "Laugh In" was ridiculing the voters of Youngstown, not the union.

And, you can't even remember the last strike, can you?
How about the last strike in ANY area school?

All I can say is, "God bless your new school." If Maria Pappas was reluctant to speak to speak to you, something was very threatening about you. There was a good reason that the affluent Pittsburgh suburb of Cranberry hired her as superintendent. That's where she went.

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17AnotherAverageCitizen(1174 comments)posted 3 years, 1 month ago

ytown parent

If I may make a suggestion,

MOVE to where you think your child will get the best education. I wish the best for her.

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18AnotherAverageCitizen(1174 comments)posted 3 years, 1 month ago

So why is the highest ratio the Head lines? Misleading? Maybe?

Head lines

PAUL C BUNN teachers deserve merit raises, with the highest percentage of kids getting good education and progressing forward.

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19YtownParent(276 comments)posted 3 years, 1 month ago

That is the rub, AnotherAverageCitizen. The attitude of the schools and those who unquestioningly support them whether the schools are right or wrong, is MOVE. We purchased our house within the City of Youngstown & pay our (higher) income taxes to the City of Youngstown, because my wife and I both support the community the shaped and formed our pluralistic ideals. While we may have given up on the Youngstown Schools ability to adequately educate our children, neither of us is willing to even entertain the idea of giving up on the people of Youngstown. Unlike the dozen neighbors on our street in Brownlee Woods alone who have.

If we just shut up and MOVE, then the city will be left with a loss of revenue from income taxes as well as water bills and the income from retail taxes from the business we patronize. Our taxes and spending alone will not break the city, but the hundreds that have left have put the city in the fiscal situation it is in today, lower revenues and more responsibilities. It is the city, not the schools, who has to pay the cost from crime and the blight of unsellable houses.

My dear educated Education-Voter, we did meet and speak with Maria Pappas on many occasions, and she did everything in her power to overcome the issues. Alas you cannot mediate a conflict if one party refuses to participate in any negotiations. Maria Pappas only error was the same as every other person in the Youngstown Schools who refuse to hold the teachers responsible for their actions, but insisted that we should sue the Youngstown Schools instead.

While several lawyers insisted we had a winning suit and were willing to file it without cost to us, neither my wife or I felt the hard working tax payers of Youngstown should foot the bill for one public employee's negligence and abuse of power. So we moved our child out of the Youngstown Schools, a course of action that should easily be available to any parent in any school district. That is the point of all of my posts, when the schools err so much a parent should be able to move their child elsewhere as they choose, without having to result to home schooling or an online classroom, both options I have grave reservations about ever using.

Thankfully the Youngstown Schools are seeking to improve in more than the hollow words of campaign promises and political spin (as my other post on the fuller article recognizes). Of course this will not work if parents do not participate in their child's education and do not question and hold their child's educators responsible. Both are equally important and neither does any good without the pairing of the other. I hope the Youngstown Schools, or our Ohio State Legislators, come up with concrete & enforceable ways to hold parents accountable too. Parents sitting in detention with their child, for incomplete or undone homework and/or their child's in school behaviors, is exactly what we need to couple with the accountability of the schools.

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20YtownParent(276 comments)posted 3 years, 1 month ago

Amen, AnotherAverageCitizen! Those teachers who students have progressed should be given real performance bonuses, in the form of higher pay-rates & not worthless certificates or overpriced plaques. Unfortunately those teachers who haven't earned them would most likely sue the Youngstown Schools, aka us taxpayers, to get it the raises overturned.

Thank you for pointing out what the rest of us overlooked in this argument.

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21AnotherAverageCitizen(1174 comments)posted 3 years, 1 month ago

Taking your child to another school and your wish to take your taxes to another school, isn't much different then moving. You can move and still donate your income tax to the city if you still desire.

And I would guess on average Paul C Bunn students have done as well or better the the innner city schools have for years.

My next and biggest question is. What percentage of PCB students live with mom and dad, compared to Harding? I know some will chastise me for this question. But I would bet that the % are close to the same as the numbers in the article.

I do feel for those children on single parent homes, and for the single parent. It is tough and not fair.

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