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Reply to "The Effect of Public Schools on Our Kids"

Here, readers are getting conflicting messages in argument. At the start of your argument, you praise the students in your district for performing well on standardized test scores despite limited funding. Now, you discuss concerns about the students in your district arriving to school having no books. How can the students perform well on standardized test(despite limited funding) if they rarely arrive to school with any books?[/quote]

I'm sorry, I wasn't clear at all, was I? I was talking about three different districts:
1. Newark - $18,000 a year per student, horrible graduation rate, horrible test scores, horrible environment (schools unclean etc.)

2. Trenton - $15,000 a year per student. See Newark comments, plus add personal observations of no students bringing home or taking books to school.

3. Home district - $11,000 per student, racially diverse student body, high test scores, high graduation rate, schools in good repair. Students worry me they are going to damage their backs by carring ultra heavy backpacks to and from school each day (elementary to high school age)

Now go back to my original question - how can the students in Trenton ever improve their learning if they never bring any books home from school?? How can we work to change this?

As far as the "These racial groups just don't do well on standardized tests." Can't argue with that - I agree. On the other hand, it doesn't explain how my racially diverse home district manages to have excellent test scores across all the NCLB 'categories' of race, etc.

FYI, just so you know my bias, I taught in Trenton's (inner city urban) elementary schools and although I don't live there, I chose a career change and when my children came a long chose to homeschool them rather than send them to our 'excellent' home district.