Learning Experience #2 Essay

For our second Learning Experience of the semester, myself and the rest of Learning Circle 5 read the article “Urban School Reform, Family Support, and Student Achievement” by Kiersten Greene and Jean Anyon and created a lesson for the class based off of it. In this article, the authors dive into the issue of urban inner city school reform and how family support affects student achievement. First, the authors talk about how the effects of urban decay in the 20th Century significantly affected public education, especially public schools in inner city neighborhoods. They talked about how many urban cities lost a great majority of the property taxes that went towards funding public education when many middle class families moved to the suburbs and thus taking their tax dollars with them. They then moved on to discuss the correlation between a student’s socioeconomic status and their educational achievement. Furthermore, living in poverty can affect a child’s cognitive development and behavioral issues. The authors also talked about how increased financial resources help increase student achievement, especially in literacy. Parents who have more time and money are able to spend more time and resources nurturing their children’s development through things like tutoring if necessary, participating in sports and other extracurricular activities.

I felt that the authors took an informative approach in writing this article and that it was very research-based. It was clear that the authors did a vast amount of research for this article, as they cited numerous outside sources for their findings. The authors also implemented some statistics to help support their claims, like for example mentioning that school districts with many poor and minority students have an average of $966 less of state dollars to spend per student than schools with the lowest numbers of poor and minority students. The authors also gave the useful statistic that in 2001, 16% of all American children lived below the official poverty line. The authors also referenced some studies done on this topic. Overall, I have no criticisms towards this article due to its meticulous research and informative approach.

For our Learning Experience lesson, our Learning Circle thought that it would be beneficial to start out with an engaging activity, so we gave them all tests, that were administered by Audrey, that varied in difficulty to represent different schools based on SES patterns in a given neighborhood. The kindergarten test represented an affluent school with many resources, the fifth grade test represented a school with resources and some diversity, and the ACT reading section was meant to showcase a struggling inner city school. The point of this activity was to get the class engaged and curious right away since they didn’t know why they were taking the tests. It was also a good way to introduce the topic of our article. I then talked about the first section of the article, which was a history and background to why many inner city schools are impoverished and failing. I felt that it was very important to give a clear knowledge of why this is an issue that our society is dealing with because if we don’t understand why something happened, we can’t move towards creating long-lasting solutions. After giving a run-down of the history, we then showed a video that I found to pull everything that was just taught together nicely. It used the city of Detroit as an example to explain why many inner city public school districts are failing. Lexi’s section was about how SES affects student achievement and she talked about how there is a distorted view of how American poverty affects children. She then did an activity comparing and contrasting public and private schools, since the type of school a child is in can affect their academic achievement. Lauren then went on to discuss her section of the article, which was about how increased financial resources raises educational achievement of poor children. Due to the stress of it, poverty can also put children at risk for developing behavioral issues at school. She then did an activity that gave two different scenarios of different families to help the class see some characteristics of a high and low SES family. Audrey then concluded the lesson by wrapping up the main points and giving a Kahoot to the class.

As a group, we all worked together on choosing activities that we felt would best engage the class, while still securing knowledge of the article. We also all contributed in creating the presentation so that it would flow nicely and be organized. Individually, it was my job to create the lesson for the first section of the article, which was a history and background of why there is so much poverty in inner city schools. My goal was to present this information in a clear and concise way so that the class could get an understanding of the issue. I was also searching for a video that would help bring what I was talking about together, and I was very happy with the video I found from The Atlantic because it was not too long, but still did an excellent job using Detroit as an example to show how deep-rooted and serious this issue is.

References for the Lesson:

Greene, K. & Jean Anyon (2010). Urban School Reform, Family Support, and Student Achievement, Reading & Writing Quarterly, 26:3, 223-236.

Google Slide Used During the Lesson Link:

https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/15SPn6sTeBYgTDBQuyKlb6IytGb0P1tVa8R3GV6bj0Uo/edit#slide=id.g103bfc8975c_2_33

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