Let’s really test how good Oakwood schools are: send poor kids there.

The State of Ohio seems to be in denial- the standardized tests that we use to rate schools are more indicative of the students economic status than any correlation to school funding, quality of education, or ethnicity, yet, we’ll continue to use the data to fix the wrong things:

Randy Hoover’s research showed Ohio has a large poverty gap in test performance between poor students and their wealthier classmates, regardless of race or ethnicity.

Hoover said the correlation of nonschool factors like median income with test performance was off the charts.

“This is an extremely high correlation for social science research,” he said. “I’ve never seen anything this high.”

Hoover’s findings support a Dayton Daily News 2006 study of test performance and poverty in Ohio’s 610 school districts that produced similar results. For that study, the newspaper’s computer analysis of the impact of several student characteristics on test scores found median income of the district had by far the most powerful impact on its test performance.

Hoover’s study went further. The three factors he found were most likely to predict test performance were the percentage of single parent wage earners, the percentage of poor children and the median family income in the district.

Combining those factors for what Hoover called the “lived experience index.” He found they were responsible for at least 61 percent of a district’s test performance.

Hoover studied about 60 variables to see which correlated best with test performance.

“On most of them I got no correlation whatsoever,” he said.

Karla Warren, a state education department spokeswoman, said the study does not fairly reflect efforts to ensure tests treat students of all wealth levels and ethnicity evenly.

“The Ohio Department of Education doesn’t support the findings of this study, and we stand by our tests,” she said. “Our tests undergo a detailed review process.”

But Hoover argues the study shows Ohio draws invalid conclusions about the quality of school districts by using tests that largely measure how poverty impacts each district.

In fact, when Hoover, an education professor and former classroom teacher, looked at school district performance after controlling for “lived experience” factors, he found a different range of school district test performance — far more high poverty districts scored well and more wealthy district scored badly.

“There are as many school districts with advantaged students significantly underperforming as there are school districts with disadvantaged populations,” Hoover wrote. “The stakeholders reading the Ohio school report cards have no way of knowing if the schools and districts are actually advancing academic achievement.”

Student achievement gap exaggerated, prof claims.

When I first ran for Mayor, I said Dayton was now characterized by economic segregation which was way more heinous than racial segregation. I wasn’t taken seriously then either.

It’s easy to test these results- let’s start distributing poor kids around to all the school districts- so that no more than 15%  of any school is below poverty level: Oakwood, Centerville, Beavercreek, Springboro- and then we’ll reexamine test scores.

Benjamin Disraeli once said “there are lies, damn lies, and statistics.” One day, maybe the liars we elect will learn how to use statistics properly.

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26 Responses

  1. TeresaLea September 1, 2008 / 10:39 am
    If there is a God, she would most definitely let me be at the meeting when this was announced…

    The looks on the parents faces would be priceless.

  2. Gene September 1, 2008 / 11:02 am
    Again, Oakwood kids go to Oakwood. Beavercreek kids go to Beavercreek. So on and so on. If you want poor kids to go to these schools then they need to move to those cities. All of those cities have section 8 housing and rental property.

    We are not ever going to redistribute poor kids to wealthier districts, so why bother talking about it? For DPS to succeed, we need the foll wing to happen:

    1) Tell parents or perspective parent NOT to have kids until they are financially and emotionally ready

    2) Teach them how to be parents. Show these parents the importance of reading with you child, proper nutrition, proper discipline. If they fail they go to jail

    3) parents are also responsible for any and all test scores. If the kid fails then the parent also fails.

    Tough. Deal with it. If you really want a better world with better people who don’t abuse kids then you start with stuff like this. Otherwise, hands off. No Dayton kid is going to Oakwood, deal with it.

  3. Larkin September 1, 2008 / 11:14 am
    You couldn’t pay me enough money to send my child to Oakwood schools, where the chief life lesson is the downside of privilege. At 13, my son is bright enough to recognize that the town’s self-congratulatory “100 Years of Excellence” is offensive and repugnant.

    Though Disraeli coined the phrase “Lies, damned lies and statistics” in this country, it belongs to Mark Twain, who made it his own.

  4. Gene September 1, 2008 / 1:14 pm
    Larkin – so you must be a little bitter poor person who thinks celebrating achievements and centennials is a waste of time. I thinks the same thing.

    There is nothing wrong with Oakwood. I know. I lived there. I know a lot of people there. They are normal, a few rich, yes, a few stuck up , sure. But the vast majority are just like people in Dayton or Kettering or Centerville or elsewhere. If you have not lived in Oakwood, if you did not go to their schools, well then your opinion is tainted, yet welcome. You can think what you want but there is the truth that Daytonians are jealous of people who live in Oakwood.

  5. Jeff September 1, 2008 / 1:51 pm
    ^
    Oakwood has one of the highest % of academics..college professors and instructors…of any census tract in the county.

    There are also a lot of professionals there, doctors, lawyers, and engineers.

    It is the home of the intellectual elite as much as the economic elite. People see the old money aspect of the place, the stereotype, but its more complicated and interesting than that.

  6. Dad September 1, 2008 / 1:57 pm
    This discussion flies in the face of my own experience in Boston.
    When I went to school, boys and girls did not attend the same central high schools but did go to the same district high schools. Generally, those who went to the Public Latin School and Girls Latin School did far better than those who went to other schools.

    I went to English High School, the oldest public high school in America. I showed my transcript when I applied for college and was immediately told that I had been accepted, even though I failed English in my senior year and did not have the four mandatory units of English.
    Some of my friends went to the district’s Brighton High School and were not accepted at any college, even with the GI Bill of Rights. And we all came out of the same poor neighborhood.

    Only one girl from our neighborhood went to college, the daughter of a physician who demanded that she be on the honor roll and rewarded each A with a two-dollar bill.

  7. Jeff September 1, 2008 / 2:03 pm
    Hoovers’ research says that low income/socially disorganized school districts will always score low based on state proficiency scores, which is a good rationlization for low scores.

    It’s also a good rationalization for defeating the upcoming levy becuase why bother throwing more money at a problem thats not an academic problem, but rather a social and economic problem.

    Here’s a question:

    If Dayton has the worst public school system in the state, is it also the poorest district in the state, and does it rank at the bottom of Hoovers other variables: % single parents and % children in poverty?

  8. David Lauri September 1, 2008 / 2:18 pm
    Fun idea, but it’d be getting too close to Dayton/Montgomery County Unigov for suburbanites’ comfort. Actually this is perhaps the biggest reason Unigov will never happen here, because the whites who could afford flight out of the city to the suburbs don’t want their kids mixing with black kids or with kids from lower class families.
  9. Larkin September 1, 2008 / 11:58 pm
    @Gene,
    You know what they say about people who make assumptions, she said with a sly grin.

    We just moved to Dayton last year (solely for the purpose of sending our son to Stivers… most performing arts high schools are in giant cities.) I bought my house with cash, I still own my house in Montana free and clear. We are comfortable, but not wealthy.

    My husband is a retired railroad worker, the son of Chinese immigrants who ran a neighborhood grocery in South Central L.A. I am a journalist, mostly idle these days, by choice. I grew up in a delightfully broken home (two English professors, one English physician) and was educated in Boston, where I chose to live in Dorchester, though my mother would have preferred if I’d settled in the Back Bay.

    Bitter? Of course not. But smugness really gets up my nose, and in my world travels I have seen few places so smug without-any-apparent-reason-to-be-so as Oakwood appears to be. Not surprisingly my realtor was hot to show me properties there, but I simply wasn’t interested.

    That the village of Oakwood calls themselves “excellent” is just as obnoxious as a person who refers to himself (or herself) in such lofty tones. They could have come up with any number of charming slogans to celebrate their history, but “100 Years of Excellence” is nauseating. What a waste of time for Daytonites to be jealous of Oakwood; at least Dayton is Genuine.

    Spent the day winding my way up the Mississippi to Memphis. Amazing. Goodnight.

  10. Jeff September 2, 2008 / 5:36 am
    ^
    another example of real estate agents steering in-migrants away from the city.
  11. Greg Hunter September 2, 2008 / 9:07 am
    No Dayton kid is going to Oakwood, deal with it.

    I agree, but the disregard for the social consequences have and continue to erode the City and surrounding communities. The pervasive lack of understanding and tolerance has contributed to the slow decline of the City. Racism and the Drug War are failed American Policy’s but they continue so long because of sheer stupidity. People and Business’s have voted with their feet and tax dollars. Louisville’s UniGov is the answer, but only dumbasses and gluttons for punishment stay in this town!

  12. Larkin September 2, 2008 / 9:24 am
    @Greg,
    So you presumably are voting with your feet. I heard much the same kind of rhetoric about Pittsburgh 25 years ago, yet they managed to pull themselves up by their bootstraps. If you don’t want to be pro-active and constructive, then fine, get the he!! out. But don’t make such pejorative remarks about those who choose to stay, particularly when few of your observations seem to be grounded in fact.
  13. Gene September 2, 2008 / 9:42 am
    they say they are excellent bc they are compared to Dayton. This is not the only community to pat itself on the back – God forbid they show a little pride. This community has produced results, results that are BETTER educated kids, better citizens, producers, providers, people who care and help the community. Look at Dayton and you see almost the opposite, so Larkin deal with the fact that they ARE better than you! :)
  14. Jeff September 2, 2008 / 3:43 pm
    Unigov is really not the answer, at least not to population decline to people leaving the county/city.

    Louisville (Jefferson County), Indianapolis (Marion County), and Lexington (Fayette County) all have mergerd city/county governents, and all these counties saw a net out-migration in the 2000-2005 time frame.

    Of these three, Louisville and Lexington also have a merged county-wide school district, and the Louisville district is embarking on a socio-economic integration plan

    Here’s a migration comparison for metro areas around Dayton:

    http://www.urbanohio.com/forum2/index.php/topic,17055.0.html

    Larkin, if there is nothing keeping you and your family here in Dayton you should consider relocating to Louisville, as it’s a much more progressive community.

  15. Dan September 2, 2008 / 5:19 pm
    I have lived within the city limits of Dayton for most of my life. I also have many, many friends who reside in Oakwood. I really cannot recall one instance where they are another Oakwood resident were “smug” with me. Granted, I have met a few oddballs from Oakwood, but I have met a whole lot more then just that from Dayton.

    Oakwood has a great community, great school system, great fire/police. I have even heard that in Oakwood when a resident calls the police for any reason whatsoever, they must respond in person within a certain reasonable amount of time.

    We cant get the police to respond to our neighborhood for anything, fighting, drug dealing, robbery in progress, etc. And to be honest, when they do decide to come, its a less then pleasant experience. Really makes a person wonder why they even bothered to call in the first place.

    Oakwood has a lot to be very proud of. They have worked hard and long, invested a lot of time and effort to develop an excellent community. If I could afford to live there comfortably, I would have moved there 10 years ago.

  16. Larkin September 3, 2008 / 1:04 am
    Gene, get a life.

    “Better” in what sense, and by whose measure? I came to Dayton by choice, and I hope to make a difference here. I’m done with this thread, and perhaps with this blog altogether.

  17. David Esrati September 3, 2008 / 6:25 am

    @Larkin-
    Please ignore Gene. Please don’t be “done with this blog altogether”
    @Jeff- nice work on the stats (as always). Fascinating stuff.

  18. Gene September 3, 2008 / 10:02 am
    my point was that people from Oakwood, some of them at least, actually think they are better than you, which of course is a joke. Hence the :). This is the perception of them, I was just using this idea to make a joke. No one is better than Larkin, especially if that Larkin played SS for the Cincinnati Reds.

    Poor kids would not work well in Oakwood. Their clothes would not work for today’s fashions :)

  19. Gary September 3, 2008 / 4:55 pm
    Since I don’t know Gene or Larkin I won’t be quoting any Kipling on this thread!
  20. Larkin September 3, 2008 / 9:51 pm
    Gene, mea culpa. I missed the smiley face. This is the problem with the internet; its hard to pick up nuance.

    Gary . . . something from Kipling (with a wink, of course) “A woman’s guess is much more accurate than a man’s certainty.”

  21. Oakwood Grad September 2, 2009 / 7:22 pm
    As a recent graduate of Oakwood who grew up on the poor southern part of the city, I have never understood why Oakwood is soo hated throughout the Dayton region. I wear shirts saying Oakwood High School and I am looked at differently when I go throughout the area. I agree there are a few kids and familes which believe they are better than everyone else, but the overwhelming majority are normal down to earth kids. I graduated in 2007 and I’m proud to say that every single one of my classmates went on to the college level. This includes even the poor kids too. With all do respect if the parents of children in other school districts would care as much as the parents of Oakwood’s, then maybe your school district woulden’t be failing.
  22. David Esrati September 2, 2009 / 9:52 pm

    @Oakwood Grad- welcome to the site.

    I don’t think you have a handle on what “poor” means. No disrespect intended. The reason parents move to Oakwood is that they care- and they can. That’s not an option for 80% of the students at Dayton Public Schools.

    I’d like to know how much section 8 housing there is in Oakwood- I’m sure Jeffrey can point us in that direction. If you’d like to have your eyes opened, feel free to come campaigning with me over the next 8 weeks- it will be a cathartic experience for you.

  23. Gene September 3, 2009 / 2:07 pm
    Moving to Oakwood may not be an option for 80% of the students/parents who live in Dayton, but CARING is an option for 100% of DPS parents, and honestly only about 5% care. How do I know this? Only 3 parents showing up for parents night at one of the DPS a few years back told me everything I need to know about who lives in Dayton, or at least the people with school age kids.
  24. Terri October 9, 2009 / 4:37 pm
    I live in Dayton and love my old home and the neighborhood.  My grandkids live in a modest home in Oakwood and I take them to school.  Everyone I have met there is very friendly, actually some of the nicest people I’ve met.  The kids at the elementary school do NOT dress in designer clothes or even fancy clothes.  I was actually surprised by all of this.  I must say I had preconceived ideas myself.  I love it there.  It is so nice to walk in the neighborhoods with all the friendly people and the homey atmosphere.

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