Strange Things Along the Way

So my life is still data gathering and Excel, but I’ve been noticing some interesting things that I may look into later. The first thing I’ve been noticing was a trend in Salinas, CA elementary schools that I was using as a comparative sample to my MLK school in Salinas. At these schools, male and female students are either nearly dead even in math proficiency scores or the females are proficient 10-20% points above the males.  The schools in Salinas are completely Latino, as far as statistically reportable goes. This has me wondering if this pattern will emerge in other fully Latino schools. I haven’t seen it in more diverse schools.

Another random thing I’m noticing is in San Francisco middle schools. California apparently collects data on the level of parental education for their students who test.  Now, traditional thought on this subject is that the higher the parental level of education, the higher scores the children will get.  But check these scores out! (the percentage refers to the percentage of children who got proficient or above on state testing whose parents are in the particular category)

At Visitacion Valley Middle, the breakdown was :

Not high school grad – 25%

High school grad – 17%

Some college – 35%

Decline to state – 18%

At Horace Mann Middle:

Not high school grad – 25%

High school grad – 21%

Some college – 10%

Decline to state – 18%

It seems that the kids of non-high school grads are really holding there own there! I have two theories of why this could be. First theory is that maybe the non-high school grads are also not able to afford day care and are thus at home with their kids during the day to supervise and assist with homework to a greater extent than the other parents. The second theory would be that those parents wish they had more opportunities for a better education and push the importance of learning on their children more than some other parents would.  I saw a lot of both groups growing up. A lot of the migrant families I knew pushed education very hard for their children and their kids did very well, even though the parents had a limited education (often only to 8th grade, if that). I also grew up in the days without time limits on welfare and knew plenty of welfare moms who made sure their kids did their homework and helped them learn at home to supplement what the school was doing.

I’d love to hear any other theories if anyone has any! I just thought I’d share my little bright spot in this whole data collection thing. There’s some really random trends in some of these neighborhoods. I’m loving how researching one thing can lead to so many more ideas to work on later.


2 responses to “Strange Things Along the Way

  1. I do not know what type of community this is, but sometimes the smarter students have to leave school to support their home. I know of smart people who never graduated (because of this reason), and I know of not as smart people who did because they were not forced to leave school. Maybe this type of thing happens often in this community. Keep up the good work. Good luck.

    • Most of the schools in my study are elementary grades, so hopefully they aren’t in a position to be contributing to the family finances, though that can happen. I know what you are saying though. If the school district my mom lived in when I was a teenager didn’t have a special school for homeless kids and kids who were the financial supporters of their families, I probably wouldn’t even have a high school diploma. I’m a big supporter of alternative education 🙂

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