Category Archives: Uncategorized

Willie L Brown Jr. Elementary School

Man, I don’t know what these folks are doing at Willie L. Brown Jr. Elementary in San Francisco, CA, but they could have instructed the kids to pick option C for every test question and scored better on their state assessments than this. I’ve seen some pretty bad scores working on this project, and as a Cali native I know how sad their education is, but this is seriously so bad, I had to put ’em on blast:

So, Willie L. Brown Jr. Elementary, why in the heck are only 5% of your student body proficient in English Language Arts by 7th grade? Why only 3% proficient in Math in 7th grade?? How is that even statistically possible?????

I’d also like to point out that 0% of their female students are proficient in Math. That’s right, folks, ZERO.

(I’m so glad this school isn’t named after MLK 🙂 But I guess I should mention that Willie Brown is a former mayor of San Francisco and is Afro-American for people who aren’t familiar with CA politics)

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.

Data + Excel = *yawn*

Sorry folks, but compiling data someone else collected is kinda boring! It’s times like this that I wish I could just run some script to spider MLK websites for me and plug the state data into an excel sheet. That would be nice.  Instead, I’m rating school websites based on the scale I posted earlier, looking for year of founding, and finalizing exactly what data is going to get analyzed out of the mountains of stuff the Feds are requiring the states to collect. The upside is all the data is there. The downside is there is tons of it. So, if anyone wants to hear my adventures in plugging data into Excel, I’ll be happy to expound on that. No really, I would be thrilled.

Comedic Relief? (also completely irrelevent)

I know all of you out there need something to laugh about to make it through the day.

The website for Kennedy-King in Gary, IN makes note that their first principal of the school was named Homer E. Simpson.  That made me giggle.

250-Word Abstract

A stereotype exists that schools named in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK) should be avoided as they are under-performing institutions serving poor, minority children. The stereotype regarding MLK schools is an extension of a broader perception that all MLK eponymous places are undesirable and should be avoided.  This stereotype is pervasive in society and has been mentioned in scholarly research, newspapers, a radio interview with an education professional, and even a popular comedy routine. This paper analyzes the actual academic performance of more than 100 public MLK schools in situ as well as in comparison to similarly situated public schools within five miles of each MLK school to examine the validity of the stereotype in general and by neighborhood. Data is analyzed by several variables including degree of social disclosure of toponymic status on school’s website, year school was named in honor of MLK, percentage of socio-economic disadvantaged students, as well as percentage of minority students and English learners.  Academic data is gathered from standardized testing that is required by the No Child Left Behind Act. Researcher hypothesizes that the oldest MLK schools will have the worst academic performance and the newest schools will have the best academic performance and the lowest levels of poverty and minorities. Researcher postulates this is due to the mainstreaming of MLK as an American hero to be honored by all citizens, not just Black citizens, which results in increase of MLK schools in more affluent areas and improvements to existing MLK schools.

Criteria for Social Disclosure of Toponymic Status Rating

The Social Disclosure of Toponymic Status Scale is a 1-4 scale used to determine how open each MLK school is to the public (via its website) as to the fact that it is named for MLK and its evident level of incorporation of MLK-associated ideals in the mission or curriculum of the school.

1 – Website clearly denotes the school is named for MLK on the top level page, as well as includes a picture or short biography of MLK or announces incorporation of MLK’s associated ideals in mission statement or curriculum on top page or linked pages.

2 – Website clearly denotes the school is named for MLK on the top level page but any incorporation of MLK ideals is not evident on website.

3 – Website denotes the school is named for MLK in linked pages, but not evident on top level page.

4 – Website does not indicate whether or not the school is named for MLK and the researcher had to call the school directly or use other resources to determine toponymic status.