Monday, November 24, 2014

Use of free/reduced lunch status as a measure of poverty

The recent A+ Schools report uses the percentage of students receiving free and reduced lunch as a measure of poverty.  From the a report by the American Educational Research Association:

"Most education studies use the simplest and most convenient measure of poverty: the percentage of a school’s students who are eligible for free/reduced-price lunch. Although this measure provides a picture of the proportion of children who come from disadvantaged backgrounds, it also has some problems. First, it does not necessarily capture all relevant dimensions of poverty, such as the effects of concentrated poverty in a school’s neighborhood and the neighborhood effects (Aaronson, 1997; Furstenberg & Hughes, 1997). Second, the accuracy of this measure has been questioned because many eligible families do not apply, and some schools give free lunch to all students, regardless of their status. In addition, because children from families that are below 185% of the federal poverty level are eligible for free/reduced-price lunch, the actual median family incomes for two schools, both having 100% student eligibility, can be vastly different."

Search AD90C18Fd01_0 to find the full report.


Anonymous said...

And now everyone gets a free lunch, so that data will be gone, even if it wasn't the best measure... Hmm that will make it even easier for PPS or A+ schools to blame the achievement gap on teachers. I wonder if that was the purpose all along. You know bill gates doesn't believe that poverty affects learning. I wonder how many other gates/broads school have given everyone a free lunch? It certainly is an efficient way to eliminate data that refutes their beliefs.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting comment on "refuting beliefs".

Sounds like to many teachers on this blog do not believe that they have the power and/or opportunity nor responsibility to close achievement gaps.

If that is what they think or believe or state repeatedly, certainly that is what will follow them into reality.

Students, consequently, have not a chance in the world in such classrooms. Seems also that students know it and choose to be elsewhere.

Questioner said...

What schools do they choose?

Anonymous said...

Don't forget about the free breakfast for everyone program started about five-six years ago. All students got breakfast if they wanted it. Breakfast was not Cocoa Wheat's or oatmeal. Bagels with egg, breakfast pizzas and burrito's , cold cereal were common fare.

Anonymous said...

"Seems also that students know it and choose to be elsewhere."

"What schools do they choose?"

Some choose the street where there is far more likelihood of success, approval, fellowship, concern, attention, learning (whatever), feedback, rewards (tho short-lived), acceptance, opportunities, etc.NONE of which is available in schools for certain young people so why would they want to "be there".

Questioner said...

Schools have always had to compete with the lure of the streets; higher graduation rates across the country show that higher percentages of students are getting the message that it is generally better to put up with conditions that aren't exactly to their liking, or work to change them, rather than choosing the alternative.

Anonymous said...

Really? And the same statistics could be found in PPS. However, When achievement and skills are reported at 30% proficiency and graduation rates for those same students are at 90%, what is the long term research that supports the success for the 60% of PPS students in some PPS schools who graduated without the minimum skills required for graduation?

What percent of those students were reduced to poverty, the school to prison pipeline, violent deaths, or lives with few options due to inferior educational opportunities?

Questioner said...

It is clear to everyone that PPS needs to do a better job. However, it is also clear that students who stick it out in school and make the most of whatever opportunities are available (there are learning opportunities in every school) are better off than those who take to the streets.