Huh? Money to the Best Schools, Not the Worst | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Huh? Money to the Best Schools, Not the Worst

Can someone explain to me why we're giving extra money to the top-performing schools, and not to the lowest-performing that clearly need it the most???

Seven Jackson schools that achieved the highest level in state ratings will receive $10,000 from the district to spend on school needs. Those schools now rated Level 5 superior-performing include three new ones: Walton, Davis and Smith elementary schools. They join Casey, George, McWillie and Power APAC that were also Level 5 last year.

The district's seven Level 4, exemplary schools — Isable, Johnson, Key, McLeod, Poindexter and Spann elementary schools and Murrah High — will receive $5,000.

Superintendent Earl Watkins made the announcement earlier today while unveiling the district's state and federal accountability results, the day before the Department of Education releases statewide results on Thursday.

The announcements were made at Walton Elementary, one of the new Level 5 schools.

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Previous Comments

ID
107505
Comment

I think the thought is to motivate other schools to work harder to earn the money. But I will say, as a Casey parent, our school even though it is a level 5, desperately needs SO MUCH! The bathrooms have one sink that works. The Kindergarten students are in portable buildings, I could literally go on for days. I wouldn't say that just because our school performs well, that we don't need money. Casey is mainly a transfer school I would go as far as to say that maybe 3 or 4 families (including mine) actually live in district, we have students from every part of Jackson. I understand where you are coming from but every school in Jackson could use that money.

Author
tiffitch
Date
2006-09-03T08:11:16-06:00
ID
107506
Comment

I hardly think it's fair to distribute money according to how well students do on a standardized test. Every school could use more.

Author
Ironghost
Date
2006-09-03T09:50:47-06:00
ID
107507
Comment

I agree completely but what I was trying to say is that Casey does need the money. I don't think the school should be penalized because it did do well either.

Author
tiffitch
Date
2006-09-03T11:28:12-06:00
ID
107508
Comment

Two reforms I'd make in education. 1. Do away with basing funding per pupil. There has to be a better way to determine funding than that. Too many school are lax on discipline or setting and following academic standards because they are too scared of losing students and thus money. Discipline and teaching should not conflict with the district's interest in getting funding. 2. I'd do away with most standardized tests. Instead, issue a diagnostic test at beginning of the year. At the end of the year give the same tests. That will tell you which schools and teachers are actually teaching. Even if you have kids who aren't that bright, are poor, in unstable homes, etc, the better schools and teachers should be able to get some improvement during a school year and it will give you a better snapshot.

Author
Kingfish
Date
2006-09-03T13:11:28-06:00
ID
107509
Comment

I'd do away with most standardized tests. Instead, issue a diagnostic test at beginning of the year. At the end of the year give the same tests. That will tell you which schools and teachers are actually teaching. Even if you have kids who aren't that bright, are poor, in unstable homes, etc, the better schools and teachers should be able to get some improvement during a school year and it will give you a better snapshot. What exactly is the difference between "diagnostic tests" and "standardized tests"? Your idea doesn't sound that different from what's already happening. Curious, Tim

Author
Tim Kynerd
Date
2006-09-03T13:45:36-06:00
ID
107510
Comment

Schools already test students at the beginning of the year to determine each student's knowledge and skills. This way, teachers are better able to teach that child according to strengths and weaknesses. While I believe that this money is a reward to the schools who achieved high levels, I haven't read anything about any of the lower performing schools having money and resources taken away. Please keep in mind that these are schools in the same district, so resources are pretty much the same. I personally see no problem with rewarding these schools. I agree with the parent from Casey; even though a school may be a Level 4 or 5 doesn't mean that it doesn't need the money to use for its students. I'm sure that there is a plan to boost the lower performing schools that need it.

Author
kayo
Date
2006-09-05T15:30:38-06:00
ID
107511
Comment

Sorry, I'm a little fried right now; it's been a long day. I don't know how clear I was earlier and I just wanted to add to my previous comments. Any school system wants its schools to do well, so I'm sure that there is some sort of plan, including additional resources, to help the lower schools. Money is not the only answer. These lower performing schools need more community adoptors, parents that are more involved in their children's education, more Book Buddies, more mentors, more tutors, etc. Money can only provide so much of that. What we really need is a community that more supportive of our school system. This is completely off-topic, but I have to say the whole situation with funding education reminds me of a line from GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES, when Marilyn Monroe says that she wouldn't marry a man for money, but it helps. Back on topic: We can argue all day and night about whether these incentive grants are going to the right places or not, but if you want to know what JPS is doing for the lower schools, you should just contact them. If you have already, I'm curious about what they had to say.

Author
kayo
Date
2006-09-05T16:07:51-06:00
ID
107512
Comment

Bump. This is a good question, and I missed it the first time around. The truth is that this all goes back to the "bootstrap" mentality, which is also the line of thought that justifies tax cuts to the rich, corporate welfare, and so forth: Those who have plenty earned plenty and deserve to be rewarded, and those who have little earned little and deserve to be punished. Teachers and administrators who don't care about students are the reason schools fail. Since they don't care about students, and their paycheck will not increase due to additional funding, they have no incentive to improve test scores. Teachers and administrators who do care about students are the reason schools succeed. Since they do care about students, they will improve academic performance regardless of funding. Either way, the incentive approach doesn't work. Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2006-09-07T13:38:52-06:00
ID
107513
Comment

>The truth is that this all goes back to the "bootstrap" mentality, which >is also the line of thought that justifies tax cuts to the rich, corporate >welfare, and so forth: Those who have plenty earned plenty and >deserve to be rewarded, and those who have little earned little and >deserve to be punished. I do not agree that this is what is happening in this instance with JPS. I do not believe that the schools that earned a higher level had plenty and are being given plenty more. I also do not believe that the schools that earned a lower level earned it because they had little and are being punished anyway. >Teachers and administrators who don't care about students are the >reason schools fail. Since they don't care about students, and their >paycheck will not increase due to additional funding, they have no >incentive to improve test scores. I had to take a deep breath and count to 20 when I saw this. That statement is not completely true. I agree that bad teachers and administrators would drive a school into the ground, but I don’t think that is the reason every low-performing school is at the bottom. The schools that are successful are successful not only because of caring educators and teachers but also because of support staff, parents, and community support. I’ve seen some pretty sorry teachers who for some reason think that being a teacher is an easy way to pull a paycheck and some benefits. They don’t last long. This is not the job to coast along in. A lot of people quit early in their career (like in the 1st year) because it’s hard. Unfortunately, some of those people really care about students. As far as an incentive for higher test scores, how about keeping one’s job? If that is the sole motivation, that person will not make it. They will either quit or be told to leave. I’ve also seen teachers who work an ungodly number of hours, spend their own money on food, clothing, eyeglasses, school supplies, deodorant, soap, etc. for their students. These same teachers call parents, go to students’ homes, tutor after school, give up planning time to give extra to help students, and so on, and yet students still do not perform well on these tests. These teachers and administrators care about their students but have to counter what that child experiences at home. I’ve seen some pretty sorry parents, too. However, as a teacher one must know that one does not have control over what goes on at home, so one must do everything one can during the school day. As far as the lower schools, JPS is focusing on how to help them. There is a plan. Check the website. It looks like money is going to all of the schools, it’s just being called different things.

Author
kayo
Date
2006-09-07T16:07:49-06:00

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